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Ever seen one of those seemingly over-convoluted bows that have pulleys, levers, and more string than the draw string all working at once?
They’re not unnecessary; they’re modern marvels of engineering melding with one of the oldest methods of hunting known to man.
Compound bows are primarily used by hunters to target their game, but they also have a slew of other benefits that you won’t find in other bow types.
Naturally, we had to compile a list of the best compound bows for the money, so you could get your hands on some of this calculated power in the palm of your hands.
Compound bows can seem easier to use than recurve bows, but they also come with their own series of counter balances that you need to keep in mind.
If you’ve ever been curious about compound bows and how to make them literally bend to your will, then let’s take a look at the best of the best to put that curiosity to rest.
Our Reviews Of The Best Compound Bow
#1 Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow
Among the top compound bows in all the world, Diamond is the best.
Using the Infinite Edge bow was basically a flawless experience that had us scrambling to try and scrutinize this as much as possible and find some negatives in it, but there’s really nothing: it’s the ultimate compound bow.
First and foremost, it’s crafted out of high grade aluminum alloy limbs, which justifies the cost.
Regardless of your capabilities, compound bows are all about being versatile, and Diamond put that mentality to work.
This is adjustable from 13” to 31” for your draw length, which is an insanely generous gap.
When it comes to draw weight, it’s entirely adjustable. Compound bows are something of a modern marvel, and they’re difficult to properly alter.
In fact, if you’re going to remove or augment it, you should usually seek out a professional who strictly deals in compound bows.
Diamond didn’t want you to have to deal with that, so they made it self-adjustable from 5 lbs of draw weight up to 70 lbs.
That’s a huge thing.
You can use this bow from your beginner stages all the way until you’re a seasoned professional, all without having to swap out limbs or upgrade at some point during the process.
It could very well be a ten-year bow, and it could last longer with some TLC.
The bow itself is fantastic, and there’s not a single problem with it. Purchasing it? That’s another story.
You get no warranty, which is a bit disheartening, but it’s not that risky of a gamble seeing as how Diamond’s bow is built stronger than any other compounds we’ve tested before.
Final notes include pinpoint accuracy, minimal soreness after extended use (thanks to the adjustable system), and an overall smooth experience.
Nocking an arrow feels like second nature. Diamond ruins all other bows for you; nothing will feel quite as smooth after this.
#2 Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Compound Bow
You can’t come across compound bow reviews without people equating whatever they’re reviewing to the Cruzer G2.
Designed with extra wide limbs, this gives you a ton of draw weight without as much of the resistance.
Compound bows are naturally easier to use than recurves, but this makes it as easy as can be to nock and release.
Available in eight different camouflages and colors, as well as a right-handed and left-handed design, this ultralight bow comes in at just 3 lbs, making it one of the most lightweight compound bows on the market.
While it’s not a feather in your hands, you wonder if all the hardware is actually there or not, because you’re not going to feel it.
There’s ample storage for arrows to grab at a moment’s notice, all without having to fully let go of the bow.
The grip just below the main limb is fantastically sticky; you’re going to feel like Spider-Man sticking to a building.
It makes grabbing arrows a breeze, but it makes maintenance a pain. You have to really pay attention to and care for the handle grip so you don’t end up with something uncomfortable.
Much like the Diamond Infinite Edge above, this is adjustable from 5 lbs of draw weight all the way up to 70 lbs.
Your draw length is slightly less impressive, but still goes from 12” to 30” for that 315 FPS ceiling.
Some final notes on this include a nock loop, whisker biscuit, sight, stabilizer and peep sight, among the ultra durable cams.
It’s a durable bow that’s fitted to last you for years, but there are plenty of working parts to take care of, so maintenance can be a bit of a bugger.
Pricing is on the higher end, but it’s well worth it for what you get. Bear Archery isn’t going to let you down.
#3 Gen-X Bow
There aren’t a lot of compound bow brands that could pull off what Gen-X did.
They made a compound bow without an unnecessary amount of fixings. It’s a simple design for those of you who just want to get out there and start firing, and leave all the rest at home.
We consider it the perfect transition from a recurve or standard bow into compound bows, for those of you looking to make a switch.
That design keeps the costs cheap, too, so you won’t have to hemorrhage money just to get a good compound bow.
Even with that low price tag, they were able to throw in aluminum cams and risers, giving you unparalleled power.
The stabilization from the axel-to-axel suspension is what makes this feel like you’re churning butter; it’s so smooth that you’ll forget everything you knew about recurve bows before.
Apart from the minimalist design, they also found the very best aluminum grade (6061-T6) to make this out of for rust resistance and longevity.
As far as compound bows go, this undergoes some of the least stress, and promises one of the longest lives of any compound bow on the market.
Gen-X includes its own custom bow strings, which are built with this exact tension in mind. The drawback? Well, they’re not built to handle what you need for hunting.
The maximum draw weight on this bow meets the standards for most North American hunting, but literally down to the last digit.
40 lbs of draw weight is where this caps out at, and that’s what you need to hunt.
What you’ve got here is an inexpensive compound that’s great for competition, and A-okay for hunting, but with limitations.
Users often compare this with the similar Genesis #20 bow, though it’s a bit larger and offers that adjustable draw weight range.
Gen-X is a great pick if you’re looking for something lightweight and compact. Limb bending is minimal.
If you’re looking to get someone you know into bow hunting and competitive archery, this is basically your perfect introduction to compound bows.
#4 RAPTOR Compound Hunting Bow Kit
Scott Archery is one of the dedicated brands that are just trying to find a better way to enjoy archery, and crafting excellent products in the process.
This strap was a true treat to use from the moment we strapped the wide-fitting nylon around our wrists.
It comes in a blurry woodland camouflage that will blend in with your jacket sleeve, and won’t alert any prey (that’s the problem with all-black nylon usually).
It’s definitely the best hunting release with a camouflage finish, and the red metal jaw and release lever don’t take anything away from that.
It’s subtle, and keeps your release in your peripherals without it blending into the rest of the strap. After all, it’ll be behind the bow and string, so it won’t be noticeable to prey.
But nothing is perfect, and Scott Archery did quite literally fall short on one aspect—the trigger length.
Not the release lever, but the entire metal trigger tubing that you hold in your hand. It’s a wee bit short, so your fingertips still feel very close to the bowstring while it’s drawn back.
It’s a minor issue, but you will notice your fingers drifting further apart from the release the more you use this.
There’s a metal diamond-shaped ring that holds the caliper on, while the nylon straps simply hold it in place and attached to the main wrist strap.
It’s ambidextrous in design, as well as a 360° swivel, but it would have been nice if the trigger was a little more adjustable.
Nevertheless, it’s durable and reliable down to the last bit of pressure.
#5 Leader Accessories Compound Bow
TruFire won the best archery hunting release top spot on this list, but we can’t ignore their super budget-friendly option, the Patriot.
It’s a simple nylon strap and release, but it gets the job done in the way that only TruFire can.
These are tested through 200 lb test weights on over 200,000 cycles to ensure everything runs smoothly, and that your bow release won’t fail you while you’re out on the trail.
The nylon is a bit roughly cut, but it doesn’t affect your wrist in the slightest, it’s just noticeably not the smoothest it could have been.
It’s secured on your wrist with a simple strip of velcro, so there’s no messing around with buckle tightness at any point during your hunt. Overall it’s pretty comfortable.
The design is ambidextrous and the trigger is fully adjustable, but it comes in a singular position, so keep in mind that you won’t be able to fold it back down your wrist.
No matter where you go you can’t find information about a bow release without seeing TruFire’s name pop up somewhere.
They made the jaw fully out of metal, giving it a sturdy design that won’t fail you, no matter how hard you try to run this thing through.
They guarantee this from its first shot well above its thousandth, making it a great release for newcomer competitive archers.
The price. You can’t beat the price, and while it’s normally indicative of quality (after all, you get what you pay for), TruFire didn’t cut corners on this.
They have a name to protect, and your have a bow to shoot. Get ready to welcome your partner in crime.
Compound Bow Buying Guide and FAQ
Are Compound Bows Easier to Draw?
Even your best budget compound bow is going to be easier to draw than a recurve or longbow.
Compounds have pulley and lever systems, which generally require about 20-25% pull for 100% draw weight.
That’s fantastic, and easy on your arms when you’re just starting out.
Archery can be a very demanding sport.
Compound bows may go through cables and strings faster than recurve bows though, so that is something to consider.
There’s a price for your quick-draw capabilities.
You’ll be able to fire all day though, even if it does put a little more stress on your bow.
They’re far more complex than recurves, but are also deemed to be safer despite their higher let-off.
Recurves can snap, but a compound is basically built for extreme stress.
Is a Recurve or Compound Bow Better for Beginners?
Arguably, the recurve is better for beginners.
If you want to practice archery for sport, they use recurve bows in competitions, especially the Olympics where compounds are currently not allowed.
Recurves teach you traditional archery when you’re just starting out, and give you a much better feet for how the rest of your hobby is going to go.
Compounds are physically easier to pull back, but they have more working parts.
While you will be able to draw an arrow quickly and with less resistance, that’s not what archery is really about: it’s about the challenge.
You may find that compound bows are good for those who wish to learn quickly when hunting is in mind, but if you’re in it for sport, a mix of compound and recurve will be good to round you out.
What Size Compound Bow do I Need?
There’s a way to figure out your draw length, and it’s fairly simple. You’ll need a second set of hands, and a tailor’s measure tape.
Stand with your chest flat, arms extended outwards, and even out your hands.
The length from your middle finger on your left hand, across your chest and to the middle finger on your right arm is what you need.
Divide that by two and a half, and you’ve got your draw length number.
But if you look at the best compound bow reviews, you’re going to see a common thread: adjustable lengths.
Most compound bow manufacturers make their limbs entirely adjustable so that you can purchase a compound bow for teenagers, and have it grow with them all the way through adulthood.
A good adjustable limb range would be about six or so inches.
That gives you the option, on average, to go from about 25” total draw length to 31”, which is where a lot of people cap out at.
Draw length isn’t just important, it’s something you need to accurately account for before you even fire your first arrow.
Too high a draw length, and you won’t be able to get the bow to maximum power.
Too low, you’ll end up risking a string break and backlash on your hands if you aren’t careful.
Adjustable compound bows are an investment.
What are the Parts of a Compound Bow?
Compound bows have many working parts, including:
Yeah, it’s a lot to get used to, but it’s important to know the anatomy of your compound bow inside and out.
Compounds bows come with locking mechanisms that act sort of like a safety feature on a firearm, and failing to engage this properly before firing could result in damage.
Learn your compound bow.
How to Shoot a Compound Bow?
It all starts with your form. Without your proper form, you’re basically incapable of doing anything properly, and your shots will be sloppy.
Practice standing with your legs evenly spaced apart (about 18”), with your back straight, not arched, and focus on your breathing before you even engage your muscle groups and bring the bow upward.
It’s going to take a little bit of practice here, and that’s okay. Just focus on form.
You need form with any bow, but you especially need to learn how the pulley system works on a compound bow.
Run through those steps each and every time you pick up your compound bow, and just get in the routine of proper form to really begin and eventually enhance your compound bow-firing capabilities.
Your Climb to Bowmaster Starts Now
You’ve seen the top tier compound bows on the market, and learned of their power—what’s stopping you from harnessing it for yourself?
You’re an archer, someone who wants to feel the thin shaft of an arrow slip through your fingers and find your mark.
That power can be expanded heavily with the right compound bow.
Whether it’s for hunting or for sport, compound bows have their place in your archery arsenal.
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