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Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for best fixed broadheads

Fixed broadheads often seem like a poor relation to their mechanical counterparts. There’s no fancy spring mechanism or shock collar. They just don’t sound as impressive. On the other hand, a fixed broadhead will never let you down. The blades won’t suddenly spring open in flight and ruin your shot. They won’t get stuck and fail to deploy on contact either.

Fixed broadheads are reliable, affordable, and still hugely popular. There are some very basic models, but there are also advanced designs to consider. You could argue that the mechanical broadhead has the edge in terms of accuracy (as long as it works), but its superiority is by no means a foregone conclusion. Some experts prefer fixed broadheads for big game because of their overall strength.

Here at BestReviews we’ve been taking a close look at all the latest fixed broadheads so we can help you choose the ones you’d like to try. Our recommendations cover both budget options and models from archery’s top names. We look at the technology in more detail in the following buying guide. 

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Archers love to debate the merits of mechanical versus fixed broadheads. They both fit the same shaft, and a set of three is very affordable, so why restrict yourself to one style? Try both, and then shoot the ones you prefer.

Key considerations

Mechanical vs. fixed broadheads

Mechanical broadheads are said to offer greater accuracy because, when folded, they’re more aerodynamic and their flight is less affected by wind conditions. This is true, but a couple of experts we consulted feel the difference is only noticeable beyond 30 yards, and not many experienced archers take on a shot much beyond that anyway.

Fixed broadhead blades are longer, often running the full length of the ferrule, and they are completely rigid. The diameter is typically less than for mechanicals, and thus the fixed broadheads create a narrower wound channel (though for crossbow hunters, a maximum diameter of 1.25 inches is recommended anyway). However, they usually have superior penetration. They’re also much less prone to damage. They cost less and last longer, too. Some archers prefer mechanical, and that’s fine, but don’t write off fixed broadheads before you’ve tried them.


The blades are invariably stainless steel, which resists corrosion. It’s a hard steel, which is a little more difficult to sharpen, but it keeps its edge well. When sharpening, it’s important to know whether it is a single- or double-sided blade. Some only require sharpening on one edge.

Blade configuration

Two blades: The most basic fixed broadheads have two blades. They’re slightly easier to shoot for beginners and preferred by some traditionalists. Their efficiency comes from high penetration of major organs (what’s called “pass through”), which creates fatal damage without a huge wound channel. 

Three blades: This is the most common type, and it can be machined as a single piece (sturdier and generally recommended for big game) or with replaceable blades. This configuration creates a broader wound channel.

Secondary blades: There are models with small secondary blades (often called “bleeder blades”) behind the initial two or three. These are intended to increase damage for a swifter kill. We’ve seen combinations that offer as many as six different cutting edges. 

Serrated blades: You may also see serrated blades. When we looked into the efficiency of these designs, the feedback was mixed. Many experts are of the opinion that a strong, three-blade fixed broadhead is still the optimum layout for power and durability because multiple blades tend to be thinner. Although it’s claimed that serrated blades retain an edge longer, they’re quite awkward to resharpen.

If you nick a blade badly, the fixed broadhead probably has to be thrown away. However, some can be disassembled so you can replace a single blade.



The broadhead tip is another key area, and it can be divided into two types: cut-on-impact tip and chisel point (or chisel tip).

Cut-on-impact tip: On this, the blades run the full length of the ferrule, right to the point, thus they begin to cut as soon as they hit the target. They provide increased penetration of soft tissue, particularly with lightweight bows, and are often preferred by those who shoot recurve or traditional horse bows and longbows. However, these tips are easily deflected by bone.

Chisel point: These are often made of high-carbon steel, which is extremely hard. Stainless steel is also used (which can’t really be faulted but isn’t quite as tough), and very occasionally titanium, which is superlight but as hard as high-carbon steel. With a powerful bow, a chisel point can punch a hole through just about anything, including bone. The blades are set back a little, increasing the wound channel after the initial damage has been done. If you drop a cut-on-impact tip on rocky ground you may do damage that’s hard to fix. If you drop a chisel point, it will probably just bounce!


Finally, there’s the ferrule, the body of the broadhead that terminates in the threaded portion that fits into the arrow shaft. This is vitally important because if it isn’t well made, your arrow’s flight won’t be true. These are usually CNC machined (digitally controlled) and should be spin tested to ensure accuracy. The very best will sometimes give you a figure for point deflection during rotation. It’s usually mere thousandths of an inch.

Three materials are used for ferrule: 

Steel is the strongest and cheapest, but it’s also heavy and prone to rust. 

Aluminum is the most popular, combining lightness and strength. Manufacturers often quote “aircraft-grade aluminum,” but unless they give an actual specification, it is really just marketing speak. 

Titanium is the other choice, which is lighter than aluminum but around three times as strong. However, it is expensive and so not as common.

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Broadhead weight is measured in grains. There are 7,000 grains to a pound. It’s a system that predates medieval times and may even go back to before the Egyptian pharaohs.


Sharpener: Sharpal 5-in-1 Broadhead Sharpener
This neat, compact tool is great for everyday carry and offers terrific versatility. There’s a special tungsten carbide sharpener angled specifically for broadheads, a clever universal broadhead wrench, a fletching stripper, and a dual-grit diamond stone. It’s made from stainless steel and aluminum to resist corrosion, and it’s very affordable.

Box: MTM Case-Gard Broadhead Box
Sometimes your new broadheads come in a decent box, but often they don't. Even when they do, the box isn’t big enough for an existing collection. This plastic case has a metal hinge for durability, is foam padded to protect those edges, and will hold at least 16 broadheads. It’s cheap and effective.

Wipe some bow wax or petroleum jelly on your fixed broadheads to help prevent rust.


Fixed broadhead prices

The cheapest fixed broadheads come in packs of 12 for around $20. These tend to be criticized for poor balance and lack of penetration. Some people have been tempted to use them as practice arrows, but that's false economy and a bit of a waste of time if the arrows you shoot when hunting are completely different.

Quality fixed broadheads are not expensive, basically falling into two categories. Budget models cost around $4 each, though you might bring that down to $3 if you buy them a dozen at a time. Most premium models are between $10 and $13 each, almost invariably sold in packs of three.

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A good archer can hit a target with a flawed arrow. A poor archer will miss, even with the best equipment in the world. Regular practice is the key. There is no substitute!


Q. Is the use of fixed broadheads legal?

A. Mostly yes, but there can be all kinds of restrictions depending on the area. Barbed broadheads, in which the rear angle cuts back toward the tip at less than 90° to the shaft, are illegal. Some states have a minimum blade width, which isn’t usually a problem, but it can be with some specialist broadheads like the small ones designed for turkey hunting. Rules might also cover bow weight, arrow length, and total weight (in grains) of the shaft and broadhead, so you really do need to check each state for specifics.

Q. Are 125-grain broadheads better than 100-grain broadheads?

A. For every archer that says yes, there’s probably another that says no! The standard has long been 100 grain because many feel it offers better balance with a lightweight carbon shaft, and you’ll find much greater choice. A 125-grain broadhead develops more momentum and thus will penetrate farther, particularly beyond 30 yards.

If you’re asking the question, chances are you’re fairly new to archery. We’d suggest you learn your bow on 100-grain broadheads, then when you’re confident enough to tell the difference, try a set of 125-grain broadheads and see if they suit you. There’s really no right or wrong, just what you’re most comfortable with.

Q. Is it worth sharpening fixed broadheads or should I replace them?

A. Your broadheads may not be as sharp as you like when you receive them, so a couple of minutes’ work on a general-purpose sharpening stone can do wonders. You can also get useful handheld tools, such as the one in the Accessories section, that are great for field use. Sharpening broadheads yourself will certainly prolong their life without great expense. Eventually, they will need replacing, of course, but you might as well get as much use out of them as you can!


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