Choosing the best compound bow for the money out of the hundreds of options available today, may seem confusing. With so much misleading industry jargon, it can be overwhelming trying to find sensible, straightforward information that allows a shopper to find the top choice based on simple facts rather than puffed-up language.
We, at Pickabow, are aware of that fact, so we decided to smoothen that burdensome process for you. Whether you are a professional archer, a beginner, a woman or just a parent who wants his child to learn the ins and outs of archery, you will greatly benefit from our compound bow reviews which will guide you in making the right choice.
Best Compound Bow Comparison Chart 2018
|Bow||Speed||Draw Weight (lbs.)||Draw length||Our Rating||Price Range ($)|
|SAS Rage||270 fps||55-70||26" to 30"|
|Diamond Archery's Infinite Edge||310 fps||5-70||13" to 30"|
|Bear Archery Cruzer||310 fps||5-70||12" to 30"|
|PSE's Surge RTS||312 fps||50-70||19-1/2" to 30"|
|PSE Prophecy||340 fps||60||25"-30"|
|Martin Archery Lithium ||335 fps||50-70||26" to 31"|
Best Compound Bow By Price:
Despite the usual practice these days, we decided against reviewing only the higher priced bows. Not everyone can or want to spend 600+ dollars for his hobby. So we want to make sure that we provide a solution for both those looking for value and those that simply want the best, no matter the cost. So we try to have an option for every budget whether you have $200, $300, $400 or $500+ dollars to spend.
The Low Budget choice:
Cheap doesn’t always mean low quality
Southland Archery’s Rage is the right choice for those shooters who want to develop their talent without spending a fortune. The durability and high quality of this compound bow make it the perfect gear for harnessing your archery skills. Don’t let its price fool you. In our opinion it gives you way more than you would expect from an entry level bow. The materials used for this bow are of a great quality and it accepts all standard parts and upgrades. Speaking of upgrades, the bow sight and arrow rest that come with this bow could be better and you may consider purchasing an archery upgrade kit in the future (you can check our best arrow rest guide), but for this price you can’t really complain. This bow is an excellent bargain and while it may not be a PSE or Martin bow it offers a good overall experience for those on a budget. If you can’t spend more, don’t give it a second thought. The SAS Rage is money well spent. Read our full review
What we liked:
- The quality of its materials
- The really low price
What we didn’t like:
- The quality of the bow sight and the arrow rest
Low-Mid Price Range:
Versatility at its best
The Diamond bows are manufactured by Bowtech, one of the world’s largest archery suppliers. The Infinite Edge is one of the most versatile and best-selling compound bows in the world. The wide range of adjustable settings on Infinite Edge makes it the best choice for both beginners and a good option for more experienced shooters. Draw length can be adjusted to anywhere between 13″-30″ while draw-weight can range from 5 to 70 lbs! Unless you were a giant, you can adjust it to you liking for sure. If you reasonably wonder whether a bow perfect for starters can be used by an adult male or not, I have good news for you. At maximum settings, the Infinite Edge may be used for hunting effectively, as it produces the necessary kinetic energy to take down large game. Read our full review
What we liked:
- Its Versatility.
- You can adjust it to your liking
- It’s a compound bow that every beginner should consider
What we didn’t like:
- More advanced shooters would notice that the sight is of medium quality
An affordable and high quality bow
The Cruzer compound bow by Bear Archery is a great option for teens and adults. It comes with all of the accessories you need to start lining up and firing at targets, and its sturdy construction is designed to last for years. Proudly claiming to be the “last bow you will ever need”, the Cruzer also comes at an affordable price.
Weighing only 3.6 pounds this compound bow won’t cause arm fatigue, and it is perfect for younger archers. The aluminum construction provides you with a lightweight design that is sturdy and comfortable to handle. The draw length ranges from 12 inches up to 30 inches so you can use the bow with a variety of arrows, and you will love being able to adjust the draw weight down to 5 pounds or increase it up to 70 pounds. Perfect as a teaching aid, target shooting or hunting small game, everything you need is included with the Cruzer Compound Bow Package. Read our full review
What we liked
- The draw length and weight can be easily adjusted.
- The kit includes a wrist strap, quiver, stabilizer, fiber optic site, and arrow rest.
- Enjoy smooth and accurate shots.
Beginners might want to have the draw length and weight adjusted by a professional, until they are familiar with the bow.
Mid Price Range:
A high performing bow by PSE
The PSE surge is combining high performance with a great price. For its cost that thing can shoot pretty fast (320 fps). What really impressed us with the Surge though, is how effortless the draw-cycle feels, when compared to 70 lbs. draw weight bows at this price range. If however, your first priority is the absolute speed, then maybe it isn’t what you are looking for. There are faster bows out there but keep in mind that they cost twice as much. On the other hand, for those who are looking for great accuracy and are willing to sacrifice some fps for a smoother overall experience we believe that there is nothing better at this budget! Actually, the surge can beat a lot of higher priced bows. It is a great all-around bow, solidly built which is worth more than its selling price. We strongly recommend it. Read our full review
What we liked:
- Its value – You get much more than you paid for.
- The overall shooting experience
- Low noise and vibration levels
- It is a great upgrade to the legendary Brute X –
- It is smooth to draw
What we didn’t like:
- It’s not the lightest compound bow
Best Overall: For Hunting and Target Shooting
The Best Compound bow
If you are looking for a high roller compound bow to accompany you on your hunting expeditions or you 3d archery shooting, then you should strongly consider Lithium by Martin Archery. Having shot my fair share of Martin bows, I can reassure you that their quality has improved over the years. But, what about power? At 335fps with an 80% let-off and a draw weight up to 70lbs., it should be able to take down most legal game. Moreover, the Lithium is surprisingly quiet and accurate. It drops dead in your hand when you release the arrow; almost zero vibrations. To summarize, we feel that every bowhunter should try shooting this rig as it offers the best hunting experience you can have right now. It is the perfect companion for your never-ending quest to that perfect kill and the best compound bow available for sale in 2018. Select your size, buy it and enjoy this extraordinary bow. Read our full review
What we liked:
- The smooth shooting experience
- Almost zero vibration
- It is “quiet as a cat”
What we didn’t like:
- We couldn’t find any flaw
Fastest Shooting Bows on the Market:
NOTE: Our research for the fastest bows led us to the following ones. If you know of a bow faster than these that we failed to discover contact us here to update the list.
PSE Full Throttle
This is the king of the kings when it comes to speed, the world’s fastest compound bow. Full Throttle is strongly focused to the experienced, performance-centric shooter or better yet, the speed freaks. PSE has, yet again, pushed the limits and provides us with a rig that clocks in at a whooping speed of 370 FPS. Taking this outrageous speed into consideration, the Full Throttle seems quiet enough with little to zero vibrations. This is what modern technology can achieve- a state of the art, solidly built and very accurate bow with unparalleled speed. Keep in mind that while you can back this down quite a few pounds and enjoy a smoother draw and reduced vibration, shock and noise, this bow isn’t for anyone. If you aren’t a pro-hunter looking to test his limits, there are probably better options for you out there.
PSE prophecy became famous as the fastest single-cam compound bow available on the market. For a bow that can produce 340fps IBO speed, the draw is as smooth as it gets. Moreover, it combines this unparalleled speed with lots of features and relatively low cost. While suitable for both experienced and less advanced users, this is a hunting machine made especially for bowhunters searching for raw power, reliability and simplicity. Read our full review
Best youth compound bow:
While Infinity edge is a great all-around bow that your kids can use for a long time it is not the most economic choice. That, lower price spot is filled by the Genesis Original, which is widely used in Archery Training programs across the nation and is a very easy to shoot and setup bow. Furthermore, the draw length adjustability feature makes this bow suitable for kids of every age wanting to learn the basics. The Genesis can not produce the necessary power needed to hunt though, so it should only be used for target practice.
Best for women:
Bear Archery Siren
If you are a top-tier female archer you shouldn’t settle for an upgraded youth or a detuned man’s bow. The Siren is specifically designed for women, focused on delivering everything that a girl-shooter would demand. Bear has been extra careful with the design of Siren, trying to please their female clients who are interested in looks, as well as in performance. It can accommodate a wide range of strengths and sizes with draw weights and lengths ranging from 40 to 60 lbs and 22 to 27 inches respectively. While it can be used in 3D competition with great results, only an experienced female-hunter will use it to its full potential.
Compound Bow Parts and Terminology
Before you run out and buy a compound bow, it is important to understand the various parts and terminology used. Once you understand how these parts and terms apply to the bow, you will find it easier to choose the right one for you.
Archery shooting form
This refers to the way you stand and grip the bow, along with the position of your arm and how you execute your shot. Having the proper shooting form will make it easier for you to deliver consistently accurate shots.
Sometimes referred to as a bolt, arrows can be constructed from carbon, aluminum or a combination of the two materials. Most archers prefer carbon arrows due to its durability and ability to fly straight.
This small piece is generally located on the riser, and it provides a place for the arrow to rest until it is released from the bow. Arrow rests can be stationary or automatically drop down once the arrow is shot, and the right one for you will usually depend on your budget and personal preference.
This convenient shelf is also found on the riser, and it is designed to hold the arrow steady through all stages of the draw and release. An arrow shelf can also protect your hand from painful injuries.
Axle to axle measurement
Also referred to as the “ATA” this is the measurement from the top cam on the bow to the one located at the bottom.
This is a type of technique that is commonly used to make efficient shots, and involves tight the back muscles when the arrow is released.
You can find this small hole on the riser and it is used to screw the arrow rest tightly in place.
A bow string is simply the string that is on the compound bow, and is drawn back and released when you are ready to take a shot. The type of cam system on the compound bow will determine how the bow is strung.
If you want to find the brace height simply measure the compound bow from the bottom of the grip to the string. Shorter brace heights are capable of more speed and power, but can be difficult for beginners to maneuver and control. Longer brace heights are often recommended for target shooting, while shorter ones are ideal for use in tree stands or crowded hunting blinds.
The cutting head on an arrow is the “broadhead” and it is usually constructed from sharp stainless steel. Broadheads typically come in weights of 75, 85, 100 and 125 grain so you can choose the one that best suits your intended target. It should be noted that broadheads are not always recommended for use with all bag targets.
You can find the cables on a compound bow running from one cam to the other, and it helps ensure each shot is properly executed on the release.
Compound bows either have one or two cams, which are small metal discs attached by a pin at the ends of the bow limbs. The cams are where the string and cables end, and are responsible for transferring the power from the limbs to the string and arrow when it is released.
The draw weight is refers to the amount of force you need to draw the string fully back, and it is usually listed in pounds.
Commonly known as “practice tips”, field points are often used during target practice. The metal points easily attach to the arrow and can be found in varying grain weights.
Fletchings or Vanes
These are common terms used to describe the feathers or plastic vanes that are attached to the end of the arrow. It is used to help steer and correct the arrow’s trajectory during flight, and the size will affect the arrow’s speed. Larger fletchings are typically used for bird hunting, while smaller vanes will give you the speed you need to accurately hit large and small game animals.
FPS or feet per second is the term used to rate the speed and distance of the arrow when it is released from the bow.
The weight of the arrow is measured in grains.
This can be especially helpful with heavier draw weights. The “let off” will reduce some of the weight necessary to fully draw the bow back.
On a compound bow the fiberglass planks at the end of the riser and supporting the cam are the limbs. The limbs help to store and release the kinetic energy that is generated when the string is pulled back, and this is often rated in pounds. Most compound bows will allow you to adjust the draw weight simply by changing the limbs.
The release is a device that is attached or held in the hand used to draw and fire the bow to help relieve some of the tension. Most use a trigger that will release the bowstring, but there are also other types available.
Nock and Nocking point
A small insert at the end of the arrow is the nock, and the nocking point is where it is attached on the bow string before it is fired.
If you need a convenient way to carry your arrows you might want to look for a quiver. Some are permanently attached while others can be removed for easy storage when not in use. The size of the quiver can vary, along with the materials used in construction.
This convenient device generally uses a laser to accurately measure distances which makes it easier to hit targets farther away.
Generally constructed from lightweight aluminum the riser is the main component on a crossbow.
When the string is released it can vibrate and make a noise, which is why many archers recommend using a silencing aid when you are hunting with a compound bow.
Buying Advice – Make the most out of our compound bow reviews
When you take on a new sport, you also find in yourself a new fangled excitement. This excitement is what fuels your passion and more often than not takes you to the peak of your chosen field. However, there are times when passion tends to over-ride reason and that’s when one must be careful. Take for example the field of archery.
A relatively new archer will want to shoot all day long and use a bow that he sees the top archers using. While this is great in terms of achieving your dreams, it does not work out practically. If you are a novice in archery then chances are that you have been using a recurve bow. These are good and are also the only ones allowed in the Olympics right now. However, depending on your purpose, there are a lot of types you can choose from. If you are to choose a compound, then there are certain aspects you will have to keep in mind in order to choose the best compound bow possible.
There are a lot of different variations, many different models, different cam set ups, axel to axel, etcetera, etcetera. It can all get real confusing real quick. So this article and website is especially for the new archers who are currently in the market looking for a new bow. We want to give you a general idea of what all that information means.
What’s the hurry?
Buying your first bow is no small affair. Take your time, survey the market, read some compound bow reviews and see what is on offer. Talk to experts from various archery clubs and get their opinions of the type that will best suit you. Join a club and take a few lessons. Try out a variety of bows under supervision and base your decision on what you feel comfortable with.
The left and right of things:
It is an assumption that if you are right handed you will need a right hand bow and vice versa. Well! The thought is false. Get assessed by your coach and let him determine the kind of bow you will require. Some right-handers will need a left-handed while some will need a righ-handed. Also remember that it is mandatory that you are in good form. Being able to shoot accurately largely depends on how fit you are.
What’s your purpose?
Before you set out to buy a bow, ascertain what you want to use it for. Is it for target practice at a range or will you want to go hunting with it? Once you decide on this, there are further considerations that you will have to make. Are you comfortable using an archery release or your finger to draw the bow? What is the draw length you can withstand? What is the best arrow rest for you? What is the best bow sight you can get?
Your choice will also depend on the type of cam that you require. A lot of the bows on the market now are duel cams, two cam systems, a hybrid cam, a cam and a half or a binary cam. These cams basically are two cam systems that are designed to stay in time.
A cam allows you to draw your bow steadily and release it multiple times without feeling too much of a strain. A soft cam however will have you sacrificing on power whereas an aggressive cam is excellent for hunting.
You might also want to look at compound bows with a single cam.
Its advantages are that it does not allow for uneven wearing out as is possible with dual cams. Tuning dual cams can be tedious and this process is eliminated in a single cam. They are also much quieter and can make your bow ideal for hunting.
When choosing, there are some specifications you will have to keep in mind in terms of the length and draw weight. The longer your bow, the more accurate your shot will be and this is great for target practice. A shorter one will be great for hunters. If you are a beginner then choose one between 38 to 44 inches.
- Draw Length – The draw length of a compound bow is the length that the bowstring can be pulled back. When considering draw length in the best compound bows, it is important for a person to be aware of their own size and how it relates to draw length. Most people have an arm span equal to the height of their body. Before purchasing a compound long bow, one needs to know their arm span measurement. This number should then be divided by 2.5 so a person can choose the right compound bow draw length so they can accurately shoot. Too much draw length = poor shooting accuracy while too little may decrease speed and power.
- Draw Weight – The draw weight is the amount of weight that is needed to draw the bow to its fully drawn position. When choosing draw weight for the best compound bow, it behooves a person to research carefully and choose the draw weight based on their own personal comfort and the reason they are using their compound bow. Though many people want to reach for the highest draw weight they can, this is not always the best choice. If a bow requires too much strength to pull back, you are going to grow fatigued more quickly which means you will end up practicing less and not enjoying shooting your bow as much as you could if you would simply choose a bow that is more comfortable and expends no more than 75% of your energy with each draw.
Important Bow Parts
Cams are typically one of the most noticeable aspects of a compound bow. Cams are the two wheels that are found on either side of the weapon. Cams help to control the pulley action that occurs when the archer pulls back on the strings to shoot an arrow. There are three types of cams that can be found in today’s models.
- Soft cams allow a shooter to pull back on the strings of the bow with much less effort than other types of cams. A soft cam helps to prevent the fatigue that can often occur with other cam types so an archer is much more accurate, especially when firing multiple shots. Though a soft cam allows for drawing without much effort, power and speed are typically sacrificed. A soft cam is typically found in the beginner models.
- Aggressive cams (also referred to as hard cams) provide extreme power over soft cams. Though they take more effort, they are recommended for their superiority in power and speed which make them perfect for hunting so they can properly pierce the target and take it down.
- Single cam compound bows only have one came instead of the traditional two. These bows are typically able to keep their structural integrity for a longer period of time over double cam models. Single cam bows typically require less maintenance over their lifespan than double cam models. Though these models are quieter than double cam models, but they are generally less accurate.
Limbs are the two flexible arms that reach from the bow’s central mount to the cams. Compound bow limbs are meant to be rigid instead of flexible like in recurve bows. There are two varieties of limbs: standard and split. There is a great debate between archers on which one is better. Both offer their own pros and cons so it basically boils down to preference when it comes to choosing the type of limb on a compound bow.
- Standard Limbs (also known as solid limbs) are made from a single piece of material and are considered to be stiffer than a split limb model.
- Split Limbs are either made from two distinct pieces or one piece is divided. These limbs are considered lighter than standard limbs. Many archers believe split limbs produce less recoil and are quieter in operation.
There are also two other factors to consider when deciding on the limb. The materials and the angle are both crucial to how the bow performs.
- The material the limb is made of is crucial for its operation since all of the energy is stored in the limb. The industry standard material for limbs is carbon/fiberglass composite which is used because of its ability to offer high tensile and compressive force. Carbon and fiberglass composite materials offer superior strength that is recommended in all types of compound bows.
- You also need to consider the limb angle when purchasing a bow. The angle affects how straight the shot will be and how much recoil the archer will feel. Many compound bows are labeled as “parallel limb” because the limbs reach a ninety degree angle against the riser when drawn. While this type of limb offers a quiet fire, it can add to the overall weight of the compound bow.
Risers are important for how the bow operates and how it feels when being shot. The riser determines the brace height and the axle to axle length. The riser also plays an important role in the bow’s speed and accuracy. There are three basic types of risers to choose from when purchasing from among the best bow brands.
- Deflex Risers – In a deflex riser model, the arrow rest is placed in front of the limb pockets for a more traditional bow appearance. This type is typically considered the easiest to shoot, but provides the least amount of speed and power over other types of risers.
- Inline Risers – Inline riser bows feature an arrow rest that is in line with the limb pockets for a straighter appearance. Compound bows with inline risers are generally more difficult to shoot, but offer greater power and speed over deflex riser models.
- Reflex Risers – With a reflex riser bow, the arrow rest is placed behind the limb pockets. Reflex risers provide the greatest level of speed and distance, but are often considered the most challenging to shoot of all three riser types.
For more info check our ultimate guide:
Before you make your purchase make sure you do your due diligence. Once you have all these considerations in place, you are almost ready to choose what’s best for you. Now you can check the compound bow reviews on our site knowing what to look for.The next step is to identify a reliable sports store from where to buy your equipment or buy them online. You may also want to look into additional accessories that will aid you.
Your thorough research will help you to make an educated and informed decision.