Archery bow technology has advanced a great deal from the first use of bows thousands of years ago, but that doesn't mean that the best bows have hundreds of fancy gadgets to go with them.
In 2021, some of the top bows are still classic barebows with just a basic riser and two limbs. For high-level competition, Hoyt, Spiga, and Gillo bows are the best bows.
There are four main types of archery bows, each of which behave differently and serve different purposes. The four types are compound bows, longbows, recurve bows, and crossbows.
Compound bows are the newest types of bow, made of composite materials and utilizing a system of cables and pulleys that can support heavier draw weights. Longbows are the simplest types of bows, made of wood and utilizing a simple string. These can be the most difficult to use due to their lack of support and advancements.
Recurve bows are the oldest bows known to man and are the easiest for beginners to learn to use. Recurves are the only bows allowed to be used by archers in the Olympic Games. Crossbows are the most unique of the group, employing a completely different system to fire. Using a trigger release system, crossbows are the simplest to use and are typically used by hunters.
High-quality bows can be made of wood or metal. In general, an aluminum or magnesium bow is more durable, is stronger, and usually requires less upkeep than a wooden bow would.
A wood bow tends to be quieter and lighter, both big benefits for hunting but not really a concern for target shooting.
At the end of the day, bow material comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy the look and feel of a classic wood bow, while others think that metal designs actually look cooler and offer more variety. Almost all competition bows are metal these days, but as far as hunting and recreation are concerned, going with either wood or metal should prove to be a fine choice.
|PSE "Razorback"||See on Amazon|
|Southwest Archery Spyder||See on Amazon|
|Bear Archery "Grizzly"||See on Amazon|
|Samick "Sage"||See on Amazon|
|SAS "Explorer"||See on Amazon|
|OEELINE Airobow||See on Amazon|
|Sanlida Archery Dragon X8||See on Amazon|
|TopArchery Traditional Recurve Bow||See on Amazon|
|Tongtu Takedown Recurve Bow||See on Amazon|
The PSE "Razorback" is primarily a beginner bow, ideal for youngsters getting into competitive archery or looking to go out bow hunting with their family for the first time. It comes in three different styles: the "Lil' Razorback", the "Razorback Jr.", and the "Razorback", each intended for different ages up to 15 years old. The limbs detach from a laminated wood riser without needing any tools, making this a great first takedown bow for your child.
The Razorback has an MSRP of $129.99, comes in both left- and right-handed styles, and has a standard bowstring included. All told, an affordable, dependable bow for a young person looking for entry into the sport. You can't go wrong with the PSE Razorback.
The Southwest Archery (SWa) Spyder is a 62-inch takedown bow that can be used for target shooting, hunting, and even bowfishing. The Spyder is great for beginners, but can also be used by intermediates as it comes in several draw weights from 20 pounds all the way up to 60 pounds. Made from two pieces of wood and multiple pre-drilled holes for accessories, the SWa Spyder boasts a classic look and a comfortable grip. The Spyder suits a diverse range of needs and skills, and so is a good bow if you don't quite know exactly what you need.
The Spyder carries a price range of $130-$150, and is durable enough that the price can be considered a great bargain for the amount of use you'll get out of it. It shoots cleanly, is highly customizable, and is an all-around good choice for any archer.
The Bear "Grizzly" is considered one of the best recurve hunting bows out there. Its limbs are overlaid with clear maple, and comes with hand-crafted tips and a Dacron string. It has been a classic hunting bow since 1950, with a shorter bow length (58 inches and weighing in at 2 pounds) that results in a generally quieter sound, excellent for hunting. The biggest downsides to the Grizzly are that it is not a takedown bow, currently only has a right-handed version, and tends to run more expensive than other models, with an MSRP of $400.00. The one-piece model does make the bow sturdy and durable, and it also comes with draw weights between 30 and 60 pounds. If you are passionate about hunting and you want to go with a classic recurve bow, the Grizzly is quite possibly your best bet.
The Samick "Sage" bow is an excellent choice for beginners. As a result of its high-quality, low cost, and accuracy, the "Sage" has long been considered one of the go-to bows for novices. It is a simple bow, meaning that for somebody just starting out it's perfect as there are no unnecessarily fancy gimmicks to understand. Just, aim, draw, shoot. Its riser is durable and long-lasting, with limbs that can last as a person becomes both more familiar with the sport of archery and more powerful. The "Sage" comes in a wide range of draw weights, from 30 pounds all the way up to 55 pounds. The "Sage" is Samick's most widely purchased takedown bow model and will usually run somewhere in the $200.00 range.
The SAS "Explorer" is a takedown bow featuring fiberglass limbs and an aluminum riser, and is terrific for beginners and intermediates. It comes with draw weights ranging from 22 to 34 pounds. The limbs are also laminated with maple, and the aluminum riser also gives the Explorer great durability. The Explorer is recommended for use among archers standing up to 6 feet tall, well-suited for children and teenagers.
This bow is great for target practice, but the fiberglass limbs mean that the Explorer can also be taken out for hunting as well, a major plus for the bow. The cheap price (costing only $100.00) and terrific durability make the Explorer a go-to bow for beginners, and can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the one downside is that this bow comes only in right-handed styles.
The OEELINE Airobow is a high-quality takedown recurve bow for all levels of archers. It is made of ergonomically high strength glass fiber sheets and hardwoods. A cool feature is the rounded edges, which make for better grip and feel. The Airobow is 62 inches in length and comes with draw weights ranging from 25 to 55 pounds.
Included with the OEELINE Airobow is a bow riser, bowstring, bow stringer, and two bow limbs. Compared to other bows, it is very affordable for its quality and won't cost you more than $125. This makes it a perfect option for beginners or professionals. When purchasing, choose which hand orientation fits your style (left or right). It also comes with a 6-Month warranty for all customers, a great added bonus to this awesome bow!
The Sanlida Archery Dragon X8 is a more than competent compound bow, with lots to offer for prospective buyers. At a price point of $199.99, this is a great option for anyone looking to acquire a compound bow on a budget. Price aside, the Dragon X8 comes with an adjustable draw length (between 18 and 31 inches) as well as up to 70 lbs of draw weight.
The Dragon X8 beginner package comes with the bow itself, a 5-pin compound bow sight, a brush arrow rest, a rubber stabilizer, a wrist sling, two peep sights, and eight various sized allen keys. The package provides all of the basics an archer might need in order to put up their best performance possible while also protecting themselves and their bow.
The TOPARCHERY Traditional Recurve Bow is a 53-inch bow designed for hunting. It comes with a draw weight ranging from 30 to 50 pounds, and draw length of 28 inches. While made of mostly wood, the bow has a strong fiberglass limb which allows for sturdy shots throughout multiple uses.
This bow comes with a bowstring, bow riser, and bow limbs. It is a perfect kit for beginners to teach them the great sport of archery. A big appeal of this bow is the price. For under $90, you can get a high quality bow to enjoy yourself hunting or at an archery range.
The Tongtu Takedown Recurve Bow is a great bow for archers of all different experience levels. The bow is made of an aluminum alloy, allowing it to come in just below four pounds of total weight. Additionally, the bow has a length of 51 inches.
The Tongtu Takedown Recurve is available in a bow and arrow package, featuring the bow itself, an arm guard, a finger guard, an arrow rest, a bowstringer-tool, and a dozen arrows. This assortment of accessories allows you to be ready to get out and shoot, the second the bow arrives at your doorstep.