Let’s face it - the market is swarmed with various bow models. A beginner can pretty easily lose themselves in so many different options.
Here’s the good news: I’ve conducted detailed research and real tests on the best compound bow for beginners, and I found 5 incredible options. Have a check:
Best Compound Bows:
5 Best Compound Bow for Beginners Reviews:
1. Quest Centec Package (Best Mid Range Compound Bow):
If you’re looking for a best mid-priced bare bow you can build on and make it your new choice, the Quest Centec Package is a safe bet.
Perfect for hunting
Generally speaking, this bow is awesome for hunting purposes, for reasons we’ll explain later. It is perfect for younger people, such as teenagers or women.
The Quest Center is adjustable, which is always a nice touch. You essentially have the option to fine-tune everything according to your form.
The point we liked the most was the adjustable draw length.
Easy to adjust
You see, you can adjust the draw length to anywhere from 25.5 inches to 31 inches. It’s pretty easy to adjust without needing a bow press.
All you need to do is pull out the screw, rotate it to the desired draw length - and that’s it!
Grow with you
What’s more, the draw weight is adjustable to 40-55 pounds and 55-70 pounds.
That’s cool as this bow will serve you a long time - even when you become more skilled at using the bow and develop more strength.
What is draw weight?
Draw weight is the amount of force needed to pull a bow, and it’s measured in pounds.
Moreover, the bow gives a comfortable feeling while being whisper-quiet.
Because of little recoil, the bow itself doesn’t make much noise - even though it comes without a stabilizer.
The grip is excellent and well-machined with a flat back and a nice round edge.
It’s comfortable and aims right into the center of the bow, allowing for more balance.
However the bow is pretty heavy. It has 4.4 pounds max weight (without accessories), heavier than any other beginner bow.
While it’s not the best for carrying into the woods, it allows for more stable holding.
You can hold it all day, and it creates minimal float.
The best part?
I love the easy drip as it prevents the common, incorrect handling form, a popular error for youngsters. However, you will need to buy it separately.
The speed is decent - 325 FPS - and it’s all thanks to the medium ATA length of 32 inches. We’ll talk about ATA length later in this guide.
The draw cycle is very smooth because of the 6.75 inches brace height, which influences the arrows.
Breeze to set up
It’s a breeze to set up this bow and get it ready for hunting!
The downsides are that there’s no let off spec available online, and the package doesn’t include arrows or the release.
I have many bows, including this one. PSE has been making excellent products since 1971. I have had no problems with this bow or any other PSE product. Purchase with confidence.
2. PSE Bow Stinger Max - Best Affordable Bow For Beginners:
The first beneficial feature to mention here is the dual purpose of this bow. It’s the ideal choice for 3D and target shooting, as well as bowhunting!
Now, this is a single cam bow, meaning that the top wheel is idle.
The benefits of a single cam bow are numerous:
Great for novice
The adjustable draw length is a nice point, too. You can adjust the length to anywhere from 21.5 inches to 30 inches.
The rotation to the desired length is straightforward - and you adjust it using the half-inch increments.
Archers of any age and body type can use this bow - such as youth, adults, beginners, men, or women.
The draw weight is adjustable up to 55 pounds, or even up to 70 pounds.
Ready to shoot compound package
What’s so great about this bow is that it’s a full package including:
It shoots out arrows at 312 FPS - more than enough to take down any game in North America.
What is speed ratings?
Arrow speed is measured in feet per second, or fps. The higher the number, the faster the bow. A bow rated at 300 fps is faster than a bow rated at 290 fps.
The bow itself is rather quiet, thanks to a limb dampener that suppresses the vibrations and a string stop, which decreases noise a bit.
But you can still expect some shocks after shots.
The balance of the bow is amazing, thanks to the PSE standard grip.
The grip is thin, but it gives the user a good feel. It’s easy to maneuver and suppresses vibration.
Smooth draw cycle
The 7-inch brace height makes the pulling pretty smooth.
The let-off is 80%, which is fantastic for holding the bow for a long time - especially if you’re aiming from a treestand.
What is let off?
A compound bow uses cables and cams to store energy and reduce the holding weight at full draw.
This reduction in holding weight at full draw is called “let-off,” and is calculated as a percentage of the overall draw weight.
For example, a 40-pound bow with a 75 percent let-off would be ten pounds at full draw.
Solid back wall
The ATA is shorter - 30 inches - which provides a solid back wall, helping newbies shoot easier.
In this case, you can struggle with drawing stops.
While we’re at it, this makes the bow ideal for hunting from a ground blind or a treestand, thanks to its compact size.
Light to carry around
The PSE Bow Stinger Max is lightweight - only 3.8 pounds - making it easy to carry around.
It’s still heavier than some other bows on this list.
And it could make your shot a little shaky if you’re shooting long-range - as in, over 40 yards.
Hits dead on
As for the accuracy, it’ll be satisfying if you’re shooting deer or elk at under 50 yards.
Easy to tune
The bow is also easy to tune - and if you know how to do it, it’ll take less than 20 minutes.
I like that it’s made in the USA.
However, it doesn’t include arrows, and the accessories could be of higher quality.
It also requires some assembly. Oh, and the fact that the bow is a little noisy doesn’t help, either.
3. Hoyt Torrex - Best Hunting Bows For Beginners:
Hoyt Torrex is the best hunting compound bow for the money if you want to save up some bucks while you’re still a beginner in the archery world.
For starting archers
The first thing that makes this bow such a great purchase is the adjustable draw length - which allows you to change the length from 26 to 30 inches.
What’s more, it’s incredibly simple to dial in, and you can turn it without a bow press.
I liked this a lot; it allows the bow to fit many different sizes without the worry that it might be too long or too short for you.
You can change the poundage as well, from 30 to 70 pounds - allowing for a wide range of choices and fits.
From the beginner standpoint, this means you can utilize it until you get to intermediate skill level comfortably.
The let-off is 80%, which is fantastic, as it allows you to use little effort to fully draw the Torrex.
Another plus is that the bow is super quiet when shooting, making no noise - and it comes with a handshake notice.
The bow is whisper-quiet thanks to the Tec-Lite Technology, and it can withstand 1,500 dry fires.
The high-quality string suppression system and limb dampeners kill noise and post-shot vibration.
The superior grip stands out and ensures proper hand placement.
Plus, it feels comfortable in your hand and allows for consistent accuracy.
Smooth shooting experience
The smoother shooting experience is worth mentioning, too. All thanks to the roller guard and riser-mounted shock pods.
Super lightweight bare bow
The bow is super light - weighing only 3.8 pounds without the accessories.
Note that it can weigh up to 5.8 pounds with full equipment.
The speed is 327 FPS, the fastest compound bow on this list.
Smooth draw cycle
The draw cycle is super smooth, despite the short ATA length - only 30.7 inches, but the 7-inch brace height compensates for it.
There are 2 ways to buy:
The full combo comes with:
It’s a great bow, but the downside is that you’ll need help from a bow shop to assemble and tune in your new bow.
Also, the back wall might feel a bit spongy.
4. Bear Archery Cruzer G2 - Best Entry Level Compound Bow:
The Bear Archery Cruzer G2 is a good entry level compound bow - the top pick for a starter or a teenager trying out bows!
The Cruzer G2 serves dual purposes. It’s the perfect bow for target practice and hunting small games.
Ready to hunt bow package
What I liked the most about this bow is that it’s fully adjustable.
The draw length is adjustable from 12 to 30 inches, and the draw weight is adjustable from 5 to 70 pounds.
The poundage is enough to take down a deer, using the 50 or 60-pound set.
You can adjust it using the Allen wrench without a complicated bow press or taking it to the bow shop for adjustments.
And as you become stronger and more skilled, this bow will grow with you.
However, I don’t recommend this bow for serious hunting, as the clicking sound from the upper cam when pulling the string could spook deer.
What’s neat here, though, is that you can crank it down for bow fishing and crank it up for elk hunting.
Simple to set up
The setup is simple as it comes fully assembled.
And all you need to do is adjust it a bit, which won’t take more than half an hour.
This bow is also super light, weighing just 3 pounds, which is nice if you have shoulder issues.
However, do note that you’ll need a heavier stabilizer to get the steady shot.
The bow shoots perfectly smooth thanks to the 70% let-off, which eliminates the initial draw weight.
The 6.5-inch brace height helps, as it isn’t too short or too long.
What is brace height?
Brace height is the distance between the string and the deepest part of the bow grip.
Cool for veteran bow hunters
The bow is a perfect fit for hunting games, thanks to the short ATA length of 30 inches.
It’s easy to maneuver in tight spaces - such as climbing stands or hunting blinds.
The speed of this bow is 315 FPS, which is pretty fast.
Shoot like a champ
Plus, it’s incredibly accurate, allowing you to shoot like a champ.
You can easily get tight grouping once you sight the bow in, hitting dead-on within 20 yards.
Made in USA
The bow’s made in the USA, which promises quality, and it comes at a rather affordable price.
The only thing I found odd is that it’s too noisy.
Again, the bow is pretty affordable, but it’s made of cheap plastic, making it less durable.
It also comes with low-quality accessories; you should probably upgrade them later.
The bow package also doesn’t include arrows or the release, and the string is easy to wear out, so you should wax it regularly.
The peep sight is also cheap, and it could even come loose or slide up and down, even after 2 weeks.
Oh, and the string stopper can fall off relatively easily.
5. Diamond Infinite Edge Pro - Best Budget Compound Bow For Hunting:
If you’re looking for a first compound bow, the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro is the best value.
For beginners or seasoned veterans
The targeted user is someone looking for a budget bow to upgrade later.
And again, it has a dual purpose - target shooting for fun and bowhunting.
Can be adjusted on the fly
The bow is entirely adjustable with draw weight and draw length.
The poundage can be changed - from 5 to 70 pounds.
It’s pretty simple, too, as you just turn the limb clockwise or counter-clockwise to set it.
As for the draw length, you can select the range from 13 to 31 inches, rotating the setting of the cam.
Thanks to the adjustability, it can easily fit an 8+ year old kid.
What I liked about this bow is exactly the fact that you can tune it, meaning you can still use it even as your skills improve.
Smooth draw cycle
The draw cycle is silky-smooth, with no issues drawing the string, thanks to the 7” brace height.
Small drawing effort
The let-off is also nice - 80% - making the maximum draw effort only 14 pounds.
Thanks to the stiff back wall, the bow holds comfortably at full draw, enabling you to hold it for a long time on a deer hunting trip.
Ideal for hunting
The ATA length is short - only 31 inches - which is compact for hunting deer from a treestand.
As for the speed, it’s 310 FPS. But don’t rely on the accuracy for dead-on shots, as it’s still a budget friendly bow.
Ready to hunt bow package
I like that it comes in a complete package with:
Another plus is that the bow comes almost fully assembled.
It’s made in the USA. It requires minimal setup, mainly regarding:
I didn’t like that the accessories are cheap, leaving space for upgrading in the future.
The grip is also relatively small, requiring a little padding for comfort.
You will also need a bow press for tuning. There’s no space for DIY, you’ll need to take it to a bow shop.
Lastly, the bow can be pretty heavy for a beginner, weighing 3.2 pounds.
How To Choose a Top Compound Bow on the Market:
Picking a top bow can be a challenge even for the experienced hunters out there. However, it can be nearly impossible for newbies to find the right one.
The reason for that is that great compound bows have plenty of specs you need to consider.
From the cams to the IBO speed, there are plenty of specs many archers haven’t come across - yet.
So, just keep reading and find out what to look for in a compound bow.
Using your left or right hand to use your bow usually comes down to eye dominance. If you’re unsure what your dominant eye is, watch the video below for a better grasp of it:
Most bows out there are designed to be used with either hand - be that the right or the left one.
The safety features are located on each side to cater to the needs of right and left-handed people.
As for the cams, there are two common types of compound bow:
The primary difference is that single cams have a single wheel, while double cams have two.
The single-cam is the best option for someone looking for an archery bow - as they are pretty easy to maintain and aren’t likely to go out of tune.
Consequently, the bow is very accurate, and it’s pretty quiet when shooting, almost guaranteeing success.
The single cam bow is also more budget-friendly as it doesn't require much maintenance. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper, hassle-free bow, this is the better option.
However, the back wall usually isn’t as solid.
On the other hand, double cams have two symmetrical wheels and two cams on the lower part of the limb. That enables a solid back wall - unlike the single cam.
The double cam design may not offer the same accuracy - but it prevents over-drawing of the string.
Plus, you can still have the right form while shooting, but it comes with a downside.
Double cams are more costly to maintain and replace, and it can be a bit more complicated to keep everything in tune.
The upside is that the shooter doesn’t require much power to draw the string and shoot - unlike the single cam design.
Double cams are a fantastic option for anyone who dabbles in competitive shooting!
Axle To Axle (ATA)
What is axle to axle length on a compound bow?
The axle to axle (ATA) length is the distance between two axles. But the question is: “Is a longer axle to axle bow better?”
First of all, you should aim for a longer ATA - preferably over 34 inches.
Longer ATA allows the hunter to have a smoother draw cycle. On the other hand, that can pose a problem for shooters, as it takes off some of the speed.
Despite losing some of the FPS, shooters still prefer to have a longer ATA because they do well at full draw.
A shorter ATA enables higher speeds and works much better in small, confined spaces, such as a ground blind.
A shorter ATA means that the bow is generally smaller dimensions-wise, so they’re more appropriate for small spaces such as ground blind or hunting stand.
Bows with a shorter ATA are not as smooth regarding the draw cycle, though.
If that makes it more difficult for you to choose the ATA, stick to the middle - such as 32 and 33 inch ATA lengths.
They get pretty fast, but they lose less on the smoothness of the draw.
Brace height is used to describe the length between the farthest part of the grip and the string - and can also affect the speed, accuracy, and smoothness of the draw.
Long brace height (+6.5”)
With a longer brace height, you get a smoother draw cycle. However, that generally comes at the expense of a slower speed. Longer brace heights are those measuring over 6.5 inches.
Short brace height (-6.5”)
Shorter brace heights clock in at under 6.5 inches - and are generally associated with a rougher draw cycle.
Luckily, despite the loss of smoothness in the draw, the shorter brace height enables the shooter to get more speed out of the shot.
There are two questions we need to answer when it comes to the draw weight:
How to know my draw weight
First of all, determining the draw weight of a bow is a bit more difficult than checking the draw weight of a crossbow.
However, you will only need your bow and a draw weight scale.
Take your bow, and your draw weight scale, and attach the scale to the string. When attaching, you should make sure that the scale is near the nock.
Then, raise your bow with a good form, and pull it all the way back, to full draw. Then, check the draw weight scale and see the number - that’s the draw weight of your bow!
What is a good draw weight for beginners?
Now, determining the ‘good’ draw weight for beginners can be a handful. Here is the rule of thumb:
Ideal draw weight
Children under 100 pounds
Hunters under 140 pounds
Hunters under 160 pounds
Hunters under 190 pounds
Cocking MechaHunters over 190 poundsnism
Determining the draw length of your bow is a pretty simple task, as all you need to do is measure it. But first:
What is the draw length?
Draw length on a compound bow is the distance, or length, from the nock to the throat of the grip, when the string is at full draw, plus 1 ¾ inch.
The throat of the grip is the deepest part of the grip, and the nock is the nock point on the bowstring.
How to measure draw length for compound bow?
To do that, we use the “Wingspan method”:
And that is the correct estimate of your ideal draw length for your bow.
If you cannot seem to measure the draw length of your bow, you can always take it to your local shop and have it measured.
Good Let Off
Let off is a feature unique to compound bows.
To explain what let off is, I should discuss what separates compound bows from traditional bows first.
Traditional bows get the power and the FPS from the limbs flexing to push out the string.
Contrarily, compound bows have a complex system of cams and cables that enable the energy to push out the arrow at great speeds.
Despite having limbs - just like traditional bows - they’re smaller and don’t flex as much because they don’t need to.
The cams and cables system is pretty neat. It stores the energy, reducing the draw weight and allowing the shooter to shoot without much effort.
So, the draw weight that’s reduced is called let off, measured in percentages.
How do you calculate let off on a compound bow?
A compound bow with a let off of 70% ensures you only get to draw 30% of the draw weight.
For instance, a compound bow with a draw weight of 70 pounds with a let-off value of 70% will require just 21 pounds for pulling its string.
What is the average let off on a compound bow?
Hunting compound bows generally have a let off of 75 to 85%, so if you want to work up to hunting with a beginner bow, look at a let off of at least 75%.
That could prove to be rather convenient, as it can be almost effortless to hold the bow at full-draw, waiting for the prey - especially compared to other types of bows.
Bows can vary when it comes to weight. The weight of the bow can be important for various reasons - including your build and, therefore, the ability to carry the bow for extended periods.
Also, it can affect how well - or how accurate - you shoot, as heavy bows will be difficult to keep steady.
Their complicated design means that plenty of parts can be pretty heavy.
Sure, there are many best compound bows out there that weigh little to nothing - but they are almost always heavier than a recurve bow.
Let me explain…
If holding a heavy bow poses a problem for you, keep an eye on the mass weight of the bow. And remember:
The weight listed on the website is the weight of the “bare bow”, without any accessories.
All the accessories can add on a few pounds and make the bow double in weight.
That can be a pain in the ass.
What is IBO speed on a compound bow?
IBO Speed is a term coined by the Archery Trade Association, and it describes the speed of the arrow.
The IBO speed is measured using a bow of about 80 pounds of draw weight - give or take two pounds - with the maxed-out draw length and using a 400-grain arrow.
Let me tell you
You’ll have to keep in mind that the speeds listed on the websites are likely not the speeds you will achieve.
The draw weight is almost always much higher than 80 pounds, the grainage of the arrow can vary, and the draw length could be shorter.
All that will make your bow lose some of its speed (FPS).
You can try to use the same grain weight, but your bow will still be slower than advertised.
When it comes to the price, how much should you spend on your first compound bow?
Well, it comes down to your preferences and your budget.
If you feel that you’ll be interested in hunting with a bow for a long time, it might be better to set aside more budget and buy a higher quality bow.
If you feel that hunting with a bow will be more of an occasional hobby, you can stick to the inexpensive bow and arrow.
As you will not be using it that often - and you won’t need it for professional purposes - you can generally buy something cheaper.
Mid range compound bow
On the other hand, even if you want a professional bow, it might be best to invest in something medium-range at first.
There's a lot to learn before you become a pro, and you can damage your professional, expensive bow in the process.
If you wish to save money on your first bow, you absolutely should.
For first bows, you can truly spend too much money on it - so invest in a mid range dual purpose bow. It will pay off!
Here are top rated compound bow brands:
Well, a 70-pound draw weight can be a lot for most people out there, even if they are experienced hunters.
In my opinion, a 50-60-pound draw weight is good, and will likely work great for you.
However, you should pick the poundage according to your comfort level.
But keep in mind that you can take down even a big buck with 60 pounds of draw weight.
There’s no right answer as to how long compound bows last. It all depends on:
The cams and cables can wear out with use, but luckily, these parts are replaceable.
Remember that high end bows usually come with high-quality parts, meaning these bows will endure more wear and tear.
The idea behind the flagship compound bows is that this bow is a do-it-all unit.
It can serve equally well for hunters in cramped spaces such as ground blinds and hunters who like the spot-and-stalk style of hunting.
The hunter even has the option to change the peak draw weight according to their needs!
I loved reviewing each of these models - but only one is the best compound bow for beginners.
And that would be the PSE Bow Stinger Max - a fantastic dual-purpose single cam bow.
The let-off, adjustability, and the fact that it comes in a complete package with all the essential accessories make this bow worth the purchase every time!
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