Last Updated On: April 14, 2023

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Note: this calculator is NOT used for compound bow due to different mechanism. 

It's ideal for recurve and long bow. If you're a big fan of compound bow, use a bow scale or luggage scale instead.

bow scale


What is Actual Draw Weight?

Your actual draw weight IS NOT the labeled (factory) draw weight on your bow.

It is draw weight on your fingers and measured at a standard of 28”, which means:

  • If you're drawing more than 28", your actual draw weight is higher than labeled draw weight.
  • If you're drawing less  than 28", your actual draw weight is less than labeled draw weight.

Why Do You Need to Know Actual Draw Weight?

It helps to tune your arrows, especially in picking your arrow spine basing your draw weight.

You might pick stiffer or softer arrow shaft if you don’t really know actual draw weight.

For example:

If your actual draw weight is 33 lbs, but you think and pick arrow spine basing on your label.

The result? You lost money. A LOT.

Due to imperfect match.

What is Draw Weight?

The draw weight is the number of pounds required to pull back the bowstring to the advertised draw length. A # denotes this value.

For instance, 25# means the bow required 25 pounds of draw weight.

How much draw weight do beginners need?

As an adult beginner, you should start with a 20# to 30# recurve bow, regardless of physical fitness.

On the other hand, children should begin with 15 - 20 lbs draw weight.


If you use the recurve bow to hunt game, you should go for one with more penetration to get through the skin and fat layers. Otherwise, you’ll end up unethically.

For hunting purposes, your recurve bow should have a draw weight of at least 40 pounds. A higher draw weight also makes arrows more accurate over long distances.

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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.