Archery is incredibly popular. A compound bow is one of the oldest and most popular compound bows used throughout history. The noticeable increase in bows in popular movies like Avengers, Hunger Games, and TV shows like Arrow and Revolution has helped to grow interest in the weapon. Additionally, the compound bow has always been considered as an important weapon in history and literature such as the story of William Tell.
But, there are other, more important reasons the compound bow is prominent. First, they are compact and extremely powerful, which makes them ideal for hobbies including target shooting and hunting. However, there are many different types of bows on the market.
Today's bows have changed a great deal from the bows used in history. In fact, the bows available today have even changed from a couple years ago. There are even significant differences in bows in the same category. For this buying guide, we are concentrating on compound bows.
In this guide, we will recommend the five best compound bows on the market and we will go over many popular accessories as well. By checking out this guide, you can learn what to look for when buying a guide, a list of pros and cons of each bow on the list, and thorough unbiased reviews of each product. By studying all these details, you will be able to pick the right compound bow to put on your hunting backpack, based on your budget, age, and in some cases gender.
Where to Buy a Compound Bow?
Before you begin reading this compound bow buying guide, it’s important to talk about where you should buy your weapon. Many bow hunters will make you believe that you can only buy this type of bow at a professional archery shop.
This may have been true many years ago, but changes in technology have made it possible to have a fully set-up compound bow delivered to your front door without ever leaving the house. Still not convinced? Consider that today almost all bows, compound, recurve, and cross, are ordered online and delivered to customers at their home.
It is true that some brands or compound bow types may be offered only online or in a pro shop, but it’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t much difference between bow brands. The biggest differences with this type of equipment is marketing. In this guide, we will be reviewing bows from brands you may have never heard of; however, each of these brands has been tried and tested by shooters just like you with favorable reviews.
Features of a Great Compound Bow
When we break down the best compound bows in this buying guide, we will be basing our opinions on the six features that are most important to bow hunters.
- Speed abilities
- Draw weight
- Draw length
- Let off
- Brace height
We will quickly go over what makes a bow one of the best here, to reduce the need to repeat this information in each of the five product reviews later in the guide. First, let’s start with speed.
1) Compound Bow Speed
When considering what compound bow will be great for your hunting season, you need to consider speed. All bows have a Feet Per Second (FPS) rating. The International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) standardizes the approach that manufacturers use to measure speeds.
Currently, the standard for measuring speed is 70lbs., 30” draw length, and a 350-grain arrow. It’s important to know if your compound bow is using different standards then this, the speed results will be different.
It’s best to choose a compound bow with the highest speed possible. The faster the speed of your arrow when shooting, the harder it will be for your prey to escape before the hunting arrow hits it. Additionally, the speed of the arrow also effects how hard the arrow will hit the target, which can result in whether your kill gets away or ends up in your freezer.
2) Draw Weight
After you’ve narrowed down the compound bows that meet your needs in regards to speed, it’s time to think about draw weight. Draw weight is the amount of weight you feel when you retract your bowstring. For many reasons, it’s important to choose a bow that has a maximum draw weight. It’s important to point out that if you plan to hunt deer, you’ll need a bow with at least 45lb. draw weight. But most hunters, choose a draw weight of at least 50 to 70lbs.
While hunters should always choose a draw weight of at least 45lbs., it’s important you don’t choose a bow with a draw weight that is too much for you. If the bow you want has a draw weight that you can’t handle, it can lead to poor shooting techniques.
3) Draw Length
Draw length is the distance between positions of the compound bow’s bowstring at rest and full draw. Draw length correlates with a person’s stature. The best way to determine your draw length is to measure your full arm span and divide that number by 2.5. All of the bows we will discuss in the buying guide have adjustable draw lengths.
4) Let Off
Now it’s time to talk about let off. The cams of a compound bow are held at full draw by a small percentage of the draw weight. Let off is calculated by taking the percentage of the peak weight you can hold at full draw. For instance, if your compound bow is set at a 70lb. draw weight and you have a 75% let off, you full draw is 17lbs., which means you need at least 17lbs. to keep the bowstring at full draw.
A compound bow with a low let off increases arrow velocity. A higher let off can lead to bad shooting forms, but is rather useful in hunting scenarios where you require the perfect shot to get a buck.
5) Brace Height
The brace height is the distance of the bowstring from the shooter’s grip on the bow. Short brace heights result in better stored energy and better arrow velocity. However, brace heights less than 6.5” or less can create flaws in shooting techniques. It’s best to start off with a brace height at 7”, the standard.
Lastly, when considering the five best compound bows were presenting in this buying guide, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. It’s best to choose a bow that meets as many as the characteristics above, but is still within your budget. When shopping for a bow, it’s important to realize whether accessories you will need to shoot are included in price or must be purchased separately.
Top 5 Best Compound Bows
Leader Accessories Compound Bow 30-55lbs with Max Speed of 296fps is quality archery hunting equipment. With this bow, archers will enjoy 30-55lbs of draw weight and a draw length of 19” to 29”. The maximum arrow speed from this bow is 296FPS with a 70% let off. The compound bow weighs just 3.3lbs, and is very easy to carry on long hunts.
- Draw Weight: 30 - 55 lbs.
- Draw Length: 19" - 29"
- Max Speed: 296 FPS
- Let Off: 70%
- Right handed bow
- Weight: 3.3 lbs.
- Aluminum Riser
- Axle to Axle: 28"
- Accessories included are a fiber optic sight, bow release aid, drop away arrow rest, peep sight, D-String, 2 30” aluminum arrows
- Great for beginners
- Arrows aren’t ideal for hunting.
- Included accessories may be too simple for experienced archers
Conclusion: The Leaders Compound Bow package includes everything a hunter needs when they're starting out. It’s a great bow for beginner bow hunters and newbie archers.
Southland Archery Supply’s Rage compound bow comes in several sleek colors and has a draw weight of 55 to 70lbs. This compound bow has an adjustable draw length of 25” to 31”. Bowhunters and archers enjoy this bow because it offers an affordable entry-level option for those looking to get into the sport. The durable compressed ABS limbs will ensure that you get plenty of shots from this compound bow. All adjustments can be performed with an everyday Allen wrench, which makes tuning this bow a breeze. With this bow, you can achieve arrow speeds up to 270 feet per second.
- 55 lb to 70lb draw weight
- 35” axle to axle
- 25” to 31” adjustable draw length
- Right-handed bow
- 70-percent let-off
- Enhanced accuracy
- Compressed ABS limbs
- Affordable but durable
- Ready-to-hunt package available
- Easy adjustments
- Small windows of adjustment for draw weight and length
- Only for right-dominant bowhunters
Conclusion: The Southland Archery Supply Rage bow is a great choice for those just getting into bowhunting or archery who want to invest in a durable, accurate bow without spending a fortune.
The Archery Lithium Bow from Martin is a great bow for avid hunters and target shooters. The compound bow features a 33.25” axle to axle and has a 7” brace height. The Nitro 3 Cam on the bow is adjustable and the draw length is 38” to 31”. Carbon arrows are shot at 335’ per second.
- 33.25” Axle to Axle
- 7” Brace Height
- Mossy Oak Camo Pattern
- Nitro 3 Cam
- Right handed bow
- 38” to 31” Draw Length Adjustment
- Nobs allowing the bow to be adjusted don’t stay in place all the time
The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package is a great ready-to-hunt option for new and experienced hunters alike. Along with 7 different shooting accessories, this bow package also features an extended 31” draw length and infinite draw setting with 5 to 70lbs of draw weight built in. For an extra competitive edge, this compound bow also includes a specialty stabilizer and solid back wall.
- 5lbs to 70lbs draw weight with infinite draw setting
- 13” to 31” draw
- Right-handed and left-handed options
- 31” axle to axle
- 80-percent let-off
- Rotating modules
- Weighs 3.2lbs
- Comes with 7 accessories
- Extended draw length
- Solid back wall
- Extremely adjustable
- Comparable bows can be found for less
- Not sturdy enough for serious archers
Convenient ready-to-hunt package for novice hunters, but won’t stand up to heavy use from a serious archer.