Should your arrow length be the same as your draw length, 31", for instance?

SHOOTABLE. Yes. IDEAL? No. Let's find out a good arrow length and why it matters.

Draw Length Vs Arrow Length: Are They The Same?

Nope, draw length and arrow length are two measurements that are totally related but different.

What Is Draw Length?

draw length

Draw length is the distance between your nocking point and pivot points at full draw and omfortable positions.

How to measure draw length with an arrow:

  • Hold the arrow against the bowstring with your bow hand extended straight out.
  • With your other hand, draw the arrow back until it reaches the corner of your mouth (nocking point) to confirm the draw length.

How To Calculate Draw Length:

  • With your arms extended and palms flat on either side, have someone measure the distance between the tips of your left and right middle fingers.
  • Divide the wingspan distance by 2.5.
  • Rounded to the nearest half-inch if it contains a fraction.

Or you can use our draw length calculator here.

What Is Arrow Length?

Arrow length

Arrow length refers to the measurement from throat of the nock point to the tip of your arrow's shaft.

How To Measure Your Arrow Length:

As a rule of thumb, your arrow length equals draw length plus 1” - 2.5” forward the arrow rest.

For instance:

Say your buddy marked your draw length as 27”, then your arrow length should be 28” - 29.5”

Why does arrow length matter?

It affects the arrow spine and accuracy, which I'll explain below.

What is an Arrow Spine?

Arrow spine refers to the stiffness of an arrow shaft, which affects its ability to transfer energy from the bowstring to the arrow.

The deflection or bending determines the spine when weight is applied to the center of the arrow shaft.

Spine Rating:

The rating of an arrow spine ranges from 150 to 700 spine. The bigger number, the weaker the arrow spine.

For example, the arrow with a 500 rating is weaker than the 300 one.

What Affects the Arrow Spine?

The 3 factors that affect the arrow spine are:

  • Arrow length
  • Point weight
  • Draw weight

1. Arrow length:

How does the arrow length affect the spine?

Here’s the truth:

  • The longer the arrow length, the stiffer spine.
  • The shorter arrow, the softer spine.

For example:

Check out the Black Eagle spin chart below.

If you’re shooting a 20 lbs compound bow with a 24” arrow length, your spine rating will be 700, weaker than 32” with 500.

arrow spine

In other words, longer arrows are stiffer than shorter ones.

What happens if I don't follow spine chart?

Well you're certainly free to pick spine, but you arrows might "go to the hell".

2. Point weight:

The point weight of an arrow spine refers to the weight of the arrowhead or point attached to the arrow shaft.

For example, a 100-grain point weight means the arrowhead weighs 100 grains.

3. Draw weight:

Draw weight refers to the force needed to pull a bowstring back to its full draw length.

Larger draw weights require greater stiffness.

Here’s why:

A high draw weight bow bends arrows more; a stiff arrow is necessary to prevent irregular arrow flight.

A low-poundage bow needs softer spine arrows, or it'll bounce off your bow and go nowhere.

For example:

A 50 lbs draw weight requires a stiffer arrow spine than a 30 lb draw weight.

So How Long Should Your Arrow Be?

Too Short:

too short arrows

“Too short” means the arrow goes into the shelf.

What can it cause?

If your arrow length is too short, it can injure your hands when released.

The shorter the arrow, the stiffer it is, and as a result, the arrow can fly off and miss the intended target.

Too Long:

How To Shoot Out Of A Ground Blind Safely?

Too long arrows (32”, for instance) may protrude too far forward.

You'll get problems again as below:

  • Too long arrows might affect the arrow clearance (the ability of little to no touch between the arrow and bow parts when you release the arrows).
  • Lack of maneuverability in tight spaces such as a ground blind.
  • During the flight, too-long arrows might become unstable and land anywhere.

Medium Arrow Length:

The arrow length from 1" - 2.5" forward of the arrow rest is optimal.

You should cut flush from the shaft's end to the riser's middle when fully draw.


It allows the arrows to rest securely in the riser's middle, which works fine with fixed blades and broadheads.


At this point, the draw length is different from the arrow length.

Check out our draw length and arrow speed calculator to ease your archery journey.

What do you think? Leave us in the comment below.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.