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Best Archery Bows

Updated February 2023
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Best of the Best
Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Compound Bow
Bear Archery
Cruzer G2 Compound Bow
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Customer Favorite
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Great starter option that includes 6 accessories to provide everything you need to get started.


Available for both right- and left-handed users, this also boasts a 12-30-inch draw length range and shoots up to 315 fps. The added grip makes this easy to hold, and it has a comfortable feel. Includes a sight, quiver, stabilizer, and more.


Some buyers noted the peep sight was difficult to adjust and wasn’t always accurate when shooting.

Best Bang for the Buck
DOSTYLE Outdoor Recurve Bow and Arrow Set
Takedown Recurve Bow and Arrow Set
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Best for Youngsters
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With a padded grip and soft handling, this is a great pick for casual outings with children.


Ambidextrous handle works well for both left- and right-handed archers. Lightweight pick, so it doesn't require too much strength to shoot. Soft grip allows for comfortable maneuverability. The package also includes targets and carrying bag


May not be the best choice for more experienced archers.

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
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Simple Yet Solid
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This bow offers a comfortable handle with a grip and is made from maple with fiberglass lamination.


Draw length of 28 inches and features perks like pre-installed brass bushings and an arrow rest. It is available for both right- and left-handed users. Limbs are interchangeable and can be switched out if needed.


Some reports of the string being too loose and the arrow rest a bit flimsy.

PANDARUS Compound Bow Archery
Compound Bow Archery
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Starter Set
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This is a well-rounded set that includes all the necessary fundamentals.


Customize the draw weight and length with this option. Available for left-handed or right-handed users, as well as in a selection of colors. Purposefully integrates features such as a rotating axle, quiver base and cap, and stabilizers for clean shooting.


Some problems with the longevity of the device.

Bear Archery Royale Youth Compound Bow
Bear Archery
Royale Youth Compound Bow
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Trusted Brand
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A compound bow designed for kids with a maximum draw length of 27 inches.


Easily adjust the draw weight and draw length of this no-press bow with an Allen wrench. The draw weight can be as low as 5 pounds, making this bow easy for new archers to use. Carry 5 arrows at a time in the quiver. Launches arrows at speeds up to 290 fps.


Parents praise this bow, but say that it can benefit from getting a professional set-up before use.

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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 all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
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.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best archery bows

According to archeologists, humans have used bows for defense and hunting for over 70,000 years! These days, the military may no longer use archery (it is still taught for survival), but it remains hugely popular for target shooting, hunting, and fishing.

The choice of archery bows is staggering. The general types of traditional, recurve, and compound bows can be subdivided in several ways, and within each section, there are hundreds of variations in terms of performance and price. Choosing a bow — particularly if you’re new to archery — can be confusing, to say the least.

Longbows and recurve bows in particular will acclimate to how the archer draws and fires, developing a very personal balance. Sharing your bow, even for a relatively short period, can upset that, so it’s not recommended.

Key considerations


There are three main types of archery bow: traditional, recurve, and compound.

Traditional bows: These range from horn bows, which date back to the Egyptian pharaohs, to English medieval longbows, which historically were made from a single piece of wood and the same height as the owner, to Native American horse bows, which, depending on the tribe, were made of wood, sinew, and bone. A few skilled artisans still produce faithful copies of the originals, and numerous modern versions are available. Many archers like to try them for that authentic experience, but outside of historians, reenactment groups, and back-to-basics enthusiasts, they aren’t particularly popular. Modern versions are simply easier to use and maintain.

Recurve bows: These can be considered the first major development in the traditional bow. Though some use wood, most take advantage of metal alloys and modern laminating techniques. Recurve bows can be quite uncomplicated. They are smaller and lighter than compound bows, so they’re easier to carry. However, they require more physical strength to draw and hold on to a target and have less range. For some people, that’s a challenge they enjoy; others want things to be easier.

Takedown bows: These are a type of recurve bow that is very popular because the limbs (the parts that curve away from the riser, or grip) can be detached, making it much more compact for storage and easier to take from place to place.

Compound bows: These have a complex cable-and-pulley system that maximizes your power. Balance weights help take muscle movement out of the equation, thus increasing accuracy. The range can be as much as twice that of a recurve — it depends on your skill level — but they can be accurate at 60 or 70 yards. However, compound bows are considerably heavier and more complicated, which equates to higher prices and more maintenance.

Uses for archery bows

Target shooting: Any bow can be used for target shooting. Power isn’t particularly important: the targets don’t move and are set at an acceptable range for a particular kind of bow. All types are used at a competitive level and participating in a local archery club can be a lot of fun.

Hunting: If you want to hunt, your choice will largely depend on the type of game and the style of hunting you prefer.

  • Recurve bow: Being smaller and lighter, recurve bows have an advantage if you’re stalking, especially in rough cover. However, you’ll need to get closer to the prey than with a compound bow, and thus a recurve bow offers a greater test of skill. A recurve bow is quite capable of taking whitetail deer, but you’ll need a powerful model, and that means you’ll need more strength. Experienced hunters claim to take bigger game, though, in our view, considerable experience is required.
  • Compound bow: Combined with a mechanical broadhead arrow, a compound bow produces a tremendous amount of lethal power, enough for bighorn, elk, moose, and wild boar. However, you’ll probably be shooting from a static position in open ground.
  • Bowfishing bow: This can be either recurve or compound. Basic ones come with a spool for line, but fish retrieval has to be done by hand. More advanced models have a mechanical reel, often called a winch.

Don’t leave a longbow or recurve bow strung if you’re not using it. Constant tension will shorten the life of the bow and the bowstring.



Elsewhere on BestReviews, we’ve taken a closer look at recurve and compound bows in detail, and you might want to refer to those articles. However, there are a couple of important technical considerations that apply to both and help you tailor your archery bow to your height and strength.

Draw length

This is how far you pull back the bowstring from the bow. This needs to be within your normal comfort range for you to use the bow properly. To work out your draw length, hold both arms out horizontally and get someone to measure your span from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Divide that by 2.5. Young archers grow quickly and can soon outgrow their first bow. Don’t make do — change the bow or they could lose interest because their performance declines. Some bows are adjustable, but the amount varies.

Draw weight

This relates to the power of the bow, rated in pounds. The higher the draw weight, the greater the range and arrow speed it’s capable of, but the more effort it requires. In general, an archery bow’s draw weight is assessed at an equivalent draw length of 28 inches (whether the bow can actually draw that distance or not). The result can be anywhere from 5 pounds on a child’s bow to over 70 pounds on a compound bow. As you withdraw length, some adjustments may be available, particularly on compound bows.

What draw weight should you look for? You can find useful charts online to help you decide. Because recurve bows require more physical strength than compound bows, draw weights are typically around 10 pounds lower. For example, an adult archery beginner would want a draw weight of around 30 to 40 pounds on a recurve bow and about 45 to 55 pounds on a compound bow.

Did You Know?
Traditional English longbows were made from a single piece of yew wood, carefully selected to be one-third sapwood (new growth that works under tension) and two-thirds heartwood (older wood that works under compression). It provides perfect, natural flex.


Archery glove and arm guard: Toparchery Arm Guard and Protective Glove
To maintain proper grip and control of the bowstring, archers use either tabs or gloves. An arm guard protects your forearm from painful injuries. You usually need to choose these items separately. This combination is comfortable, effective, and low cost — ideal for beginners.

Archery practice arrows: Keshes Carbon Hunting Arrows
High-quality target and hunting arrows are expensive, so many people use a cheaper alternative for practice (though it’s good to have something that offers similar flight characteristics). These arrows suit compound, recurve, and longbows, up to 60 pounds, and have removable tips, a cost-effective way to customize them to suit your needs.

Archery target: Longbow Targets
There are many different archery targets to choose from, but if you’re looking for a cheap option to pin to a hay bale or fresh paper for a traditional straw target, Longbow has a very affordable range of different diameters, ring designs, and pack quantities.

Whatever kind of bow you have, humidity or excessive heat can cause problems. When storing your bow, you should keep it in a dry area and away from direct sunlight.


Archery bow prices

Inexpensive: You can get children’s and youth bows from quality makers — both recurve and compound — for as little as $25 up to around $60. We’d look at spending around $60 to $70 for the cheapest adult longbow or recurve bow.

Mid-range: Between $80 and $150 you’ll find a tremendous array of standard and takedown recurve bows. Good compound bows start at around $150, with huge choice up to $300.

Expensive: The most versatile and powerful target and hunting compound bows cost $350 and up, with a few at over $450. Competition target bows are a whole other thing. They start at around $800 and can top $2,000.

Premium: Traditional handmade archery bows are the most expensive. These range anywhere from $1,600 for an English medieval war bow to around $3,000 for a copy of an ancient Persian horn bow. These are not just showpieces but fully usable replicas.

Tips for archery safety

  • Never use an archery bow when you’re not 100% fit and focused. It should go without saying that archery bows are not toys.
  • Find an instructor. When you’re new to archery, we strongly recommend working with an experienced tutor. Not only does it reduce the risk of accidents, but you’ll also improve your technique more quickly and get more fun out of your sport.
  • Never “dry fire” your archery bow (pull and release the bowstring without an arrow). The energy that should be transferred to the arrow is absorbed in the frame and mechanism. It can cause catastrophic failure, breaking the bow and sending components flying in all directions. That’s not only expensive, but it’s also very dangerous to you and anyone near you.
You don’t need a case to store your bow, but don’t just leave it on the floor. You’re putting unnecessary stress on it and it will get dirty. A couple of hooks or a cheap rack keeps it in good condition and out of reach of inquisitive young hands.


Q. Do archery bows need a lot of maintenance?

A. No, though the mechanical assistance offered by compound bows means they require more than longbows or recurve bows. Frequent tasks are applying wax to bowstrings (and cables on compound bows) every two or three weeks, lubricating wheels and cams on compound bows (following the manufacturer’s recommendations), and general cleanliness. A quick once-over before each session should catch problems before they become serious.

Q. How often do I need to replace my bowstring?

A. Properly looked after, a bowstring can last two or three years (depending on the frequency of use). Some “hairiness” is common (usually a sign the bowstring needs waxing), but if individual strands start to come loose, it’s time to change it.

Q. Do I need a case for my archery bow?

A. It’s not an absolute necessity, but it’s worth thinking about. Soft bow cases are an inexpensive way to keep all your gear together when traveling. Hard cases offer better protection, especially for the complex mechanism of a compound bow. The case interiors often have arrow racks that keep them from banging together.

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