Best Archery Compound Bows

Archery Compound Bow

Compound bows are most commonly used for target practice and hunting. These bows are more advanced than a traditional bow and are known for having more accuracy.


What are compound bows?

A compound bow uses a levering system that includes cables and pulleys. The central mount that holds the limbs, sights, and stabilizers is known as the riser. The riser is made of either aluminum or carbon fiber. There are wheels or “cams” on each limb of the bow. This pulley system creates tension when the arrow is pulled back. When the bow is fully extended, the mechanical advantage of the bow allows the archer to aim without focusing on keeping the bow drawn.

History of Compound Bows

The compound bow was first introduced in 1966 by Holless Wilbur Allen. His patent was later approved in 1969. Allen created the bow because he was frustrated with animals escaping arrows from his traditional bow. His goal was to boost arrow speed, and he eventually perfected the design of the compound bow. Compared to the carbon fiber bows of today, early compound bows were composed of fiberglass and wood.

Advantages and Disadvantages

A primary advantage of compound bows is the pulley system. The cams allow energy to be stored more efficiently, allowing less weight at full extension. This provides archers with a more accurate shot. Arrows are also shot faster with a compound bow, up to 370 feet per second. Disadvantages of compound bows include more maintenance and added weight.

Draw Length and Bow Size

The bow size is dependent on the draw length. The draw length of any bow is the distance at full draw from end to end, plus an additional 1.75 inches. The most common bow sizes are 58, 60, and 62 inches. These two factors are important because they impact how comfortable the bow will feel while shooting. A wrong size bow will affect form and accuracy.

What are the Best Compound Bows?

  1. Sanlida Archery Dragon X8 Hunting Archery Compound Bow
  2. Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow
  3. Predator Archery Raptor Compound Hunting Bow
  4. PSE Brute Force Lite Compound Bow
  5. Creative XP Compound Bow and Arrow
  6. iGlow Archery Hunting Compound Bow
  7. Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii
  8. Siege SAS Compound Bow w/ 5-Spot Paper Target
  9. Bear Archery Rant Compound Bow
  10. Diamond Archery 2016 Edge SB-1 Compound Bow

1. Sanlida Archery Dragon X8 Hunting Archery Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $199.99
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Brand: Sanlida
  • Draw Length: 18-31in
  • Draw Weight: 0-70lbs

The Sanlida Archery Dragon X8 bow is the best budget bow on the market. Featuring an adjustable draw length of 18-31 inches, anyone can use this compound bow. It shoots very well and is less than half the price of the most expensive bows. The bow does not come fully assembled but is easy to set up and get started.

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2. Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $374.00-$419.99
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Brand: Bear Archery
  • Draw Length: 30in
  • Draw Weight: 50-70lbs

This compound bow made by Bear Archery is built for all skills levels. A bow press is not needed because all adjustments are made with an Allen wrench. The bow weighs approximately 3 pounds and can fire arrows at 315 feet per second. Another feature is that the bow shoots quietly, which is great when hunting. The price tag is hefty, but it should not make people think this bow is only for experienced shooters.

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3. Predator Archery Raptor Compound Hunting Bow Kit

Specifications:

  • Price: $269.99
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Brand: Predator Archery
  • Draw Length: 24.5-31in
  • Draw Weight: 30-70lbs

This bow kit weighs almost 4 pounds and is one of the heavier compound bows available. The Raptor from Predator Archery shoots arrows at 320 feet per second, with a 75% let-off. In total, the bow is made of 15 parts. The bow is mostly pre-built as there are only five steps for assembling the bow out of the box. Compared to other compound bows, the Raptor is much wider. 

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4. PSE Brute Force Lite Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $379.99
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Brand: PSE Archery
  • Draw Length: 25-31in
  • Draw Weight: 70lbs

One of the most expensive compound bows on the list belongs to PSE Archery. This bow shoots at 332 feet per second along with a very high 80% let-off. It has a fully adjustable draw weight and length and features PSE’s madness hybrid cam. The Brute Force Lite is known for its extremely high quality, which is why the price is double some of its competitors.

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5. CreativeXP Compound Bow and Arrow

Specifications:

  • Price: $299.99
  • Rating: N/A
  • Brand: CreativeXP
  • Draw Length: 24.5-31in
  • Draw Weight: 30-70lbs

Creative XP is an American brand that makes bows for all skillsets. This bow kit comes with arrows, unlike other brands. The bow is 100% aluminum in order to promote durability. The bow offers a 75% let-off and arrow speeds of 320 feet per second, which is very competitive for the price. Assembly is quick and easy, allowing customers to enjoy using their bow immediately.

6. iGlow Archery Hunting Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $94.99
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Brand: iGlow
  • Draw Length: 27-29in
  • Draw Weight: 40-55lbs

The compound bow by iGlow takes on modern technology in a traditional shape. It is made of fiberglass and aluminum, giving it the look of an old-fashioned hunting bow while still packing a punch. It is not as complex as other compound bows, and arrow speeds only reach 220 feet per second. The bow weighs 4 pounds and is an excellent option for anyone on a budget.

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7. Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii

Specifications:

  • Price: $179.99
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Brand: Southland Archery Supply
  • Draw Length: 19-29in
  • Draw Weight: 30-55lbs

This compound bow by Southland comes in various colors. The bow shoots arrows at 260 feet per second, which is the middle of the pack among other bows. It comes with a highly adjustable draw length of 19-29 inches. The price for the bow is consistent with its performance, earning a rating of 4.5/5.

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8. Siege SAS Compound Bow w/ 5-Spot Paper Target

Specifications:

  • Price: $139.99
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Brand: Southland Archery Supply
  • Draw Length: 29in
  • Draw Weight: 40-55lbs

The Siege SAS Compound Bow is ready for use right out of the box. The bow comes with a paper target for immediate practice. Arrow speeds are limited to 206 feet per second, and the bow is specified for adults. It takes both carbon and aluminum arrows that are 30 inches in length. The price reflects that the bow is meant for beginners.

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9. Bear Archery Rant Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $309.99
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Brand: Bear Archery
  • Draw Length: 25-32in
  • Draw Weight: 50-70lbs

The Rant bow by Bear Archery features a smooth and quiet shooting experience. An 80% let-off allows archers to comfortably aim at targets. In addition to the bow, two sights and a stabilizer are included in the box. The top speed for arrows shot by the Rant is 310 feet per second.

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10. Diamond Archery 2016 Edge SB-1 Compound Bow

Specifications:

  • Price: $399.00
  • Rating: N/A
  • Brand: Diamond Archery
  • Draw Length: 15-30in
  • Draw Weight: 10-70lbs

The most notable feature of the Diamond Archery bow is the cam system. They rotate in sync, providing shooters with accuracy and consistency. The bow weighs 3.4 pounds and can shoot arrows 315 feet per second. Diamond Archery offers four colors for the Edge SB-1 bow, all available for the same price.

FAQ

Are compound bows more powerful than recurve bows?

Overall, compound bows are more powerful than recurve bows due to their pulley mechanisms that alleviate the force needed to draw the bow. With a recurve bow, the archer must rely solely on their own strength to draw the string. Compound bows, however, have sets of wheels and pulleys that assist the archer in drawing the bow with greater force, allowing for a more powerful shot.

Do you need a license to own a compound bow?

No, you don’t need a license to own a compound bow in the United States because it is not considered a prohibited weapon. However, using the bow outside of a controlled setting may require a license. If you plan to use the bow for hunting, you will certainly need a hunting license, which is issued by each individual state. Other restrictions regarding the size of the bow and where you are allowed to use it may also apply, so be sure to check your local law’s to be safe. 

How do I know when to adjust my draw weight?

In archery, the draw weight is the amount of force needed to draw the string back on your bow. The higher the draw weight, the faster, straighter, and more powerful the shots will be. Thus, increasing your draw weight will help you become a better archer. However, it is important to test yourself to see if you are ready to increase the draw weight. To do this, you should increase your draw weight by a few pounds (most bows have adjustable draw weights), then draw your bow and hold the position for 30 seconds. If you are able to do this, then the weight you adjusted to can be your new draw weight.