Best Youth Archery Sets

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
233 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best youth archery sets

Last Updated September 2020

From The Hunger Games and Brave to Lord of the Rings and Robinhood, archery has been a movie staple for decades. Kids in particular are drawn to this sport, and “bow and arrow” still features prominently on many a Christmas list.

One of the best ways to introduce your child to archery is by picking them up an archery set. Youth archery sets can be found for a variety of ages and skill levels and provide your child with all the archery elements they will need to participate in the sport. Youth archery sets can also save you money and frustration over buying pieces one at a time.

This guide will cover all you need to know about youth archery sets, from what pieces a set should have and what sets are best for different age levels to more technical aspects such as draw length and draw weight. To find the perfect archery set for your child, continue reading our buying guide.

The relationship between draw length and draw weight is simple: a longer draw length will increase the draw weight.

Key considerations

What does the set contain?

Youth archery sets are all a bit different in terms of the number of pieces they contain. So long as the quality is high and the price consistent, more pieces equals better value.

Core youth archery sets consist of a bow, arrows, a quiver, and an arm guard. Some sets also include a variety of other elements that can range from safety glasses to paper targets.

Right or left-handed

While some bows in youth archery sets can be used by either right or left-handed archers, others are specific to one or the other. Often, which of your child’s eyes is dominant — right or left — is a better indicator of which bow you should go with.

If you are facing a right-handed/left-handed dilemma in selecting a bow, check out the FAQ section for how to determine which one your child needs.

Draw length and draw weight

Two of the primary ways to select a bow for your child are through its draw length and draw weight. Both take your child’s age and size into account and can be used to choose the proper sized bow.

Draw length

Draw length refers to how much you draw the bow string back when shooting an arrow. The actual length is the distance between the back of the bow grip and the very back of the arrow. This length will vary by archer depending on their size. Draw lengths for youth archery sets generally run between 14 and 25 inches. The taller your kid is, the longer the draw length.

Draw weight

The draw weight refers to the amount of force needed to draw the string back. Much like draw length, the larger your child is, the higher this number should be. For youth archery sets, draw weight can range from under 15 pounds (for kids under 100 pounds) to 15 to 25 pounds (for larger kids). The upper range for youth bows can reach 30 pounds.

EXPERT TIP

Right-handed archers will pull the bow string with their right hand, while left-handed archers will use their left.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Bows

Youth archery bows can be constructed from a variety of materials, with fiberglass leading the pack in popularity. In terms of bow types, you will have a choice here between recurve bows and compound bows.

Recurve bows

When you think of Robinhood’s bow, you are thinking of a recurve bow. These offer a simple design with basically just the bow frame and a single string. Recurves are generally cheaper, more common, and lighter than compound bows, but they can also require more strength to use.

Compound bows

Compound bows are designed to let off or release tension when they are fully pulled back, so they are easier to use than a recurve bow. Compounds usually use more than one string and a pulley system to do this and are designed more with hunting in mind than target shooting. Compound bows can be much more expensive than recurve bows.

Arrows

Materials used to construct arrows for these sets can range from plastic to fiberglass. The tips of the arrows are typically made from rubber, steel, foam, or even suction cups. When purchasing a set, know the number of arrows you will be receiving, as this can vary anywhere from 2 to 20, depending on the set.

Quiver

Used to hold the arrows when not in use, a quiver is pretty standard with these sets. Don’t expect high quality here, for the most part. Quivers will often be constructed from vinyl or a similar material and usually attach to a belt that you will need to provide.

While rare, some sets forego a quiver and include a clip that attaches directly to the bow to hold the arrows.

Arm guard and shooting tab

Arm guards are standard with the majority of youth archery sets; shooting tabs less so. Both are used to protect your skin from abrasions caused by the bow string. An arm guard attaches to your forearm and should be adjustable to fit a variety of archers. A shooting tab attaches to your fingers to protect them.

Bow grip

The bow grip is the part of the bow that you hold onto while shooting. It should be molded for comfort and reinforced for strength. As mentioned previously, bow grips can determine whether the bow is right-handed or left-handed, or whether it can be used ambidextrously.

Appearance

As these archery sets are geared towards kids, they usually can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. Brightly-colored bows and arrows can also help them stand out on the range so you don’t lose track of them.

Bright colors are fine for those sets that will only be used on a shooting range. Some youth archery sets at higher age levels can actually be used for hunting, too. Any set that will be used in this fashion should stick to more muted colors, such as black or camo.

Included accessories

No two youth archery sets are the same, and some of the more common extra elements you might find in sets include:

  • Targets: A standard item in most youth archery sets, targets are usually made from paper and provide you with something to aim for.
  • Safety glasses: Some sets include safety glasses to protect your eyes while shooting.
  • Carrying case: While rare, some sets provide you with a handy carrying case to keep all the elements of your set together.
EXPERT TIP

To find out your child’s optimum draw length, take their height in inches and divide it by 2.5.


Staff  | BestReviews

Youth archery set prices

Inexpensive: For $20 to $40, you will find sets geared largely towards the youngest shooters. These sets usually contain few pieces, and typically are less sturdy overall than more expensive sets. These sets will almost universally include a recurve bow.

Mid-range: If you spend from $40 to $100, you can expect to find a much better build and a wider variety and number of set pieces. While some compound bows sneak into this range, recurves are still the bow of choice. These sets are for older kids and offer more power overall.

Expensive: As you head north of $100 or even $200, expect to find compound bows for older teens. Bows in this range can usually be used either on the range or while hunting.

EXPERT TIP

Compound bows can use either twin cam or single cam systems. Single cams (identified through the one wheel atop the bow) are typically quieter and easier to maintain.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • While rare in an archery set like this, some bows feature an adjustable bow length, so the set can “grow” along with your child and allow you to stretch your money.
  • Kids are generally ready to graduate to adult bows when they are between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • All arrows can be dangerous if misused, but in terms of safety, foam-tipped arrows will generally do the least amount of damage.
  • While the overall physical weight of the bow isn’t a huge consideration, for younger children who haven’t developed much muscle mass it may be best to compare weights when shopping for one.
  • Pay attention to the stated age recommendations when shopping for a youth archery set and try to stay within them. Unlike shopping for sneakers or a coat, buying an archery set “one size up” will probably only result in a set your child is unable to use.
  • Some compound bows allow you to adjust the draw weight to better work with your child’s age or size.
  • One reason to avoid picking up an archery set in too garish a color — say neon pink — is that a year from now your child may want nothing to do with it. If you child goes through favorite colors on a regular basis, consider a set that offers a more muted tone.

Other products we considered

In addition to our favorite youth archery sets, we wanted to share a few more that caught our eye while researching this guide.

The Bear Archery Brave Bow Set serves as an introductory bow for ages eight and up. This set is available in a variety of colors and features a bow with a 15- to 25-pound draw weight.

For ages 10 and up, the iMay Recurve Bow and Arrows Set can be used by both left or right-handed shooters. It includes nine arrows and is available in both black and red.

Finally, the Kaimei Recurve Bow Archery Set is geared toward both left and right-handed archers who are 8 or older. The bow here offers a 14- to 20-pound draw weight, and the set itself ships with 6 fiberglass arrows and a couple of targets.

The majority of youth archery sets require little to no setup and can be used right out of the box.

FAQ

Q. How can I tell if my child is right or left eye dominant?
A.
This can be easily done by performing the following simple test:

  • Position the child — with both eyes open — 10 feet from a wall.
  • Have the child pick out a spot on the wall and point to it.
  • Tell the child to close their left eye. If the finger is still on the spot, then the child is right eye dominant.
  • If the finger is not on the spot, have the child try closing only the right eye instead. If the finger is now on the spot, then the child is left eye dominant.
     

Q. How dangerous are these archery sets?
A.
While the level of potential danger can vary set to set, you are essentially shooting pointy sticks around; this is an inherently dangerous practice. Sets that are geared towards older children and those that use harder arrow tips will be more potentially dangerous than sets with foam or suction cup-tipped arrows made for younger users. All archery sets, however, have the potential to do some damage if not used properly.

Adult supervision should always be practiced when kids are using these archery sets.
 

Q. Can adults use these?
A.
Yes, they can, but they may not enjoy the experience much. These archery sets are designed with younger archers in mind, and as such they won’t have the draw length or draw weight to really work effectively for adults. If an adult has their heart set on one of these, they should focus on sets at the upper edge of the recommended age range. Their best bet would probably be to search instead for a beginner adult archery set.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera Pasturel
    Ciera Pasturel
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda Snowden
    Melinda Snowden
    Web Producer
  • Michael Pollick
    Michael Pollick
    Writer
  • Rich Gray
    Rich Gray
    Writer

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