Best Crossbow

The 14 Best Crossbows for 2024

If you’re a newbie to crossbows, selecting the right one can feel overwhelming due to the many available brands and models on the market. Recognizing this challenge, we’ve carefully compiled a list of the best crossbows for your money in 2024.

Modern crossbows, designed for hunting or archery, are equipped with advanced accessories including laser sights, scopes, slings, and complex cocking devices and cranks. These accessories significantly improve the accuracy and power of modern crossbows.

Before we delve into the top crossbows of 2024, let’s outline the criteria behind our reviews. Everyone’s needs vary when searching for a new crossbow – some prioritize speed, while a budget may constrain others.

The Following Factors May Influence Your Choice


While speed is a factor in our evaluation of crossbows, it’s not the most critical criterion. A crossbow with a velocity of 375 feet per second is sufficient for hunting most game.


Precision is an important factor when selecting a crossbow, as achieving close groupings at distances of 50 yards is vital for ensuring humane hunting outcomes.


It is also a very important factor. Limbs that are cracked or split can result in significant harm to the user, and it’s also essential for strings or cables to resist snapping to ensure safety.


Without a doubt, it is the most important consideration. Fortunately, features like finger guards, anti-dry fire mechanisms, and auto-engaging safety locks are now commonly found in the most new modern crossbows.

Easy to Use:

Cocking a crossbow might seem easy to do, but when you’ve got a crossbow with a draw weight of over 200 pounds, you might end up with an injured back or shoulders. If you already have shoulder or back problems, you might want to get a crossbow with a crank-cocking device.


Investing in a top-tier crossbow featuring the latest advancements, which may run into thousands of dollars, is undoubtedly worthwhile for those with the budget to afford it. Our assessment of a crossbow’s value incorporates a mix of specifications, integrating all the previously discussed attributes with the crossbow’s price.

With that in mind, here is the comprehensive list of the best crossbows for 2024.

The 14 Best Crossbows in 2024

1. Fastest Crossbow – TenPoint Vapor RS470

Our Score: 4.8/5.0

TenPoint’s Vapor RS470 is the fastest crossbow we’ve reviewed so far. This crossbow offers speeds of up to 470 feet per second with the custom Pro-Lite carbon arrows from TenPoint. On our chronograph, we managed to get an average of 468 feet per second!

This crossbow isn’t just the fastest crossbow on the market. TenPoint has become known for its revolutionary ACU crank-cocking devices, and it has equipped the Vapor RS470 with its latest ACUslide crank-cocking device. The ACUslide is the industry’s first silent and safe de-cocking mechanism available for crossbows.

TenPoint included an EVO-X Marksman scope mounted on a dovetail mount for the best accuracy possible. To lower the sound and vibrations the Vapor RS470 produces, TenPoint integrated a string stop system.

  • ACUslide: Safe and Silent Cocking and Decocking
  • 470 FPS: Fastest crossbow currently on the market!
  • Compact
  • Dead Silent Shooting
  • The price is rather high, but it is definitely worth it though!
  • Assemble it yourself or work with a local dealer

If you’re looking for an insanely fast crossbow and have the budget to spend, the TenPoint Vapor RS470 is definitely the crossbow to get. Featuring all the latest technologies from TenPoint, this crossbow is their flagship model for a reason.

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2. Most Accurate Crossbow – Ravin R29X Sniper

Our score: 4.9/5.0

Ravin released the Ravin R29X as its flagship model this year. Ravin has been producing great quality crossbows and we were very excited to review this crossbow. After a full year of reviewing crossbows, we can definitely say that the Ravin R29X Sniper is the most accurate crossbow currently available.

The Ravin R29X Sniper crossbow manages to shoot arrows at 450 feet per second with the included arrows/bolts. In order for Ravin to get the Ravin R29X Sniper to achieve <3-inch groups at 100 yards, they mounted a tactical scope to a jack plate adjustable elevation mount and combined a couple of technologies like HeliCoil Technology and the Frictionless Flight System.

Also included with every Ravin R29X Sniper crossbow package is Ravin’s new Silent Cocking System and is fully integrated into the stock of the crossbow. Every Ravin R29X Sniper package comes fully assembled and pre-tuned.

  • 450 FPS – Lightning Fast
  • Effortless and Silent Cocking Mechanism
  • HeliCoil Technology
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Price, although you do get what you pay for!
  • Not able to safely let go mid-draw

Ravin’s R29X Sniper crossbow package is currently the most accurate crossbow. Getting tight 1-inch groups at 50 yards shouldn’t be a problem at all with this crossbow. Everything you’ll need to hunt is included in this package.

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3. Best Reverse-Draw Crossbow – Wicked Ridge RDX 400

Our score: 4.4/5.0

Our top pick for the best reverse draw crossbow for the money is the Wicked Ridge RDX 400. Wicked Ridge is TenPoint’s budget brand, so you’ll be able to get TenPoint Technologies at a much cheaper price. This crossbow offers speeds of up to 400 feet per second, is very accurate, and is available with a rope-cocking sled or the ACUdraw PRO crank-cocking device.

Even though the Wicked Ridge RDX 400 is speed-rated at 400 feet per second, the recommended Wicked Ridge XX75 arrows will only reach speeds of 380 feet per second. To be able to reach speeds of 400 FPS, you’re required to buy a set of TenPoint Pro Lite Carbon arrows. These arrows weigh 65 grains less than the XX75 arrows. This results in less kinetic energy and therefore less penetration of the arrow.

We recommend only using the XX75 arrows, as this will ensure a longer life for the crossbow. With these arrows, we managed to get really tight groups at 50-yard distances and reach an average of 381 feet per second on our chronograph.

  • Relatively cheap Reverse Draw Crossbow
  • ACUdraw Technology
  • 400 FPS
  • Beginner friendly crossbow
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Made in the USA
  • The scope can use an upgrade
  • Trigger has some creep

If you’re looking for the best value reverse-draw crossbow then the Wicked Ridge RDX 400 is the best option. With speeds of 380 feet per second and high accuracy, this crossbow is able to take down almost any animal at 50-yard distances.

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4. Best Recurve Crossbow – Excalibur Bulldog 440

Our Score: 4.8/5.0

If you’re searching for the best recurve crossbows then you must’ve seen Excalibur crossbows popping up. We rate the Excalibur Bulldog 440 as the best recurve crossbow currently available on the market. The Excalibur Bulldog 440 is a high-quality recurve crossbow without all the maintenance that a compound crossbow requires.

Reaching speeds of 440 feet per second with a draw weight of 300 pounds, the Excalibur Bulldog 440 comes with the Charger EXT crank. Silently and safely cock or decock this crossbow with the Charger EXT crank.

Also included is a 100-yard illuminated multi-reticle TACT-100 crossbow scope for long-range target practice. To complete this crossbow, Excalibur installed their Expert Series Pro-Shot ACP trigger. This adjustable two-stage trigger has a smooth zero-creep 3-pound pull.

  • Fast and Powerful Recurve Crossbow
  • Silent Cocking
  • Silent Shooting
  • Lightweight
  • Pro-Shot ACP Trigger
  • Recurve Maintenance
  • Pro Package Contains Everything You Need
  • It’s pretty big compared to a compound crossbow

Excalibur’s Bulldog 440 crossbow is the perfect recurve crossbow. It has more than enough power to take down any animal you might encounter during your hunting trip. It’s very easy to replace strings during a hunting trip and general maintenance is a lot less than a compound crossbow.

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5. Most Compact Crossbow – Ravin R26

Our Score: 4.5/5.0

Ravin presented the Ravin R26 crossbow during the ATA show back in January 2019 and currently still ranks #1 as the most compact crossbow. Even though it’s the most compact crossbow, it still manages to reach speeds of 400 feet per second, features HeliCoil technology, and comes fully assembled and pre-tuned.

The Ravin R26 measures just 26 inches in length, 9.25 inches uncocked and 5.75 inches cocked. Included is a 100-yard Illuminated scope. It also features a built-in cocking mechanism so you can easily and safely cock and decock this crossbow.

  • 400 FPS
  • Most compact crossbow
  • Lightweight
  • Feels really well-balanced
  • Versa-Draw cocking system
  • Ergonomic Grip
  • Ready-To-Hunt
  • A little bit expensive
  • At this price, you’d expect a case included
  • Need to buy scope-level separate

This Ravin R26 crossbow isn’t just the most compact crossbow, it’s also a very accurate and powerful crossbow. Hitting speeds of 400 feet per second with <2-inch groups at 50 yards should be easy to achieve with the Ravin R26.

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6. Most Lightweight Crossbow – Wicked Ridge M370

Our Score: 4.3/5.0

Our award for the most lightweight crossbow goes to the Wicked Ridge M370. This crossbow weighs only 5.8 pounds and is still able to hit speeds of 370 feet per second, which is powerful enough for most animals.

Wicked Ridge is TenPoint’s budget brand, so you’re getting TenPoint technologies at cheaper prices. A couple of the unique features of the Wicked Ridge M370 are the Gordon Glass Limbs, the T4 Trigger, and the optional ACUdraw crank-cocking device.

Wicked Ridge features the M370 with “Gordon Glass Limbs” to keep the bow as lightweight as possible. The T4 trigger features a smooth, zero-creep, 3.5-pound trigger pull.

  • 370 Feet Per Second
  • Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • ACUdraw (optional)
  • Safe to use for beginners
  • Different arrow weights for speed rating

If you’re fine with a rope cocking 180 pounds then save yourself some dollars and get the Wicked Ridge M370 without the ACUdraw. If you’re looking for a crossbow with a low draw weight, then definitely take the ACUdraw package. The ACUdraw by TenPoint reduces the draw weight to 5 pounds, cocks accurately every time, and offers an effortless way to crank-cock the Wicked Ridge M370.

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7. Best Crossbow For Beginners – CenterPoint Sniper 370

Our Score: 3.9/5.0

While ranking the best crossbows for beginners, a crossbow must be pretty cheap, comfortable to handle, easy & safe to use, durable, adjustable, and able to take out most animals. The CenterPoint Sniper 370 has all of those features!

With a draw weight of 185 pounds, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 manages to shoot arrows at 370 feet per second. With the included 4x32mm scope you’ll be able to hit your target dead-center at 50-yard distances!

CenterPoint made it a safe crossbow to use by featuring an anti-dry fire and auto engaging safety mechanisms. It’s also a very comfortable crossbow to hold because of the adjustable stock and foregrip.

  • Accurate
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Adjustable stock and grip
  • Beginner friendly
  • Vague assembly instructions
  • The trigger could be a little smoother

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a very cheap crossbow and fully adjustable. While it doesn’t include premium features like the HeliCoil technology on the CenterPoint CP400, it shouldn’t be a problem to take down animals at 50 yards! It’s the best crossbow for beginners.

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8. Quietest Crossbow – Excalibur Assassin 420 TD

Our Score: 4.8/5.0

The Excalibur Assassin 420 TD is the quietest crossbow currently available on the market. We first ranked the CamX A4 as the quietest crossbow, but unfortunately, CamX announced that they’ve decided to discontinue the CamX brand.

The Excalibur Assassin 420 TD has a recurve design and the 10-point sound dampening system by Excalibur which makes this the quietest crossbow! Recurve crossbows tend to be quieter by design and the sound dampening system really lowers the noise and vibrations to an absolute minimum.

Its name already gives it away, but the Excalibur Assassin 420 TD hits speeds of 420 feet per second and has a TACT-100 scope like the Bulldog 440. Once sighted in, you shouldn’t have any problems hitting really tight groups at 50-yard distances.

  • 420 FPS
  • Recurve Crossbows are easy to maintain
  • Take-Down Model
  • Pro-Shot Trigger
  • Bit expensive, but totally worth it!

Overall, the Excalibur Assassin 420 TD is a hard-hitting, durable, accurate, and very quiet crossbow. Excalibur crossbows are very durable and easy to maintain. It’s easy for a beginner to replace a string in the field on a recurve crossbow.

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9. Best Adjustable Crossbow – Killer Instinct Speed 425

Our Score: 4.0/5.0

While looking for the best adjustable crossbow for the money, we ended up rating the Killer Instinct Speed 425 number 1. Not only does it have a 5-position AR buttstock, the Speed 425 also has an interchangeable pistol grip and adjustable forearm grip. To complete the adjustability, it’s also compatible with the Dead Silent Crank.

Killer Instinct Crossbows have become known to release high-speed and high-quality crossbows at an affordable price. The Killer Instinct Speed 425 shoots arrows at an amazing 425 feet per second with the included HYPR bolts. With the included LUMIX Speed Ring Scope, you’ll be able to hit your target dead-center at up to 100 yards!

The stock is adjustable from 32 inches in length to 34.5 inches in length. While the width of the bow is 17.75 inches uncocked and 14.375 inches cocked. To lower the noise and vibrations, the Killer Instinct 425 crossbow is equipped with string suppressors.

  • 425 FPS
  • Wallet Friendly Price
  • Silent
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Great Scope
  • Have to assemble the crossbow yourself or ask for help from your local crossbow dealer

If you’re on the hunt for an adjustable crossbow then we highly recommend the Killer Instinct Speed 425. It’s a fully adjustable crossbow that’s very accurate, shoots arrows at 425 feet per second and comes with string suppressors for a stealthy shot.

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10. Best Crossbow With Built-In Cocking Device – TenPoint Viper S400

Our Score: 4.4/5.0

After a year of testing crossbows, we rate the TenPoint Viper S400 as the best crossbow with a built-in cocking device. This crossbow features TenPoint’s latest ACU crank-cocking device the ACUslide. TenPoint released the ACUslide as the industry’s first smooth, safe, and silent cocking and decocking crank-cocking device.

The TenPoint Viper S400 is a compact crossbow, measuring 32 inches in length, 11 inches wide undocked, and only 7.2 inches wide when cocked. With a draw weight of 250 pounds, this crossbow manages to reach speeds of 400 feet per second.

A safe and silent crank-cocking device isn’t the only high-quality feature of the TenPoint Viper S400. This crossbow also features a Tec-X stock, micro-trac barrel, S1 trigger, and a RangeMaster Pro scope.

The S1 trigger is one of the best triggers featured on crossbows. It’s a 2-stage zero-creep trigger with a smooth break. TenPoint also installed one of its best scopes, the RangeMaster Pro scope. This variable speed scope includes lighted aiming points and is extremely accurate up to 60 yards.

  • 400 FPS
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Very safe
  • Effortless Cocking
  • TenPoint speed-rates their crossbows with different arrow weights

If you’re looking for a high-quality crossbow with a built-in crank cocking device, then definitely get the TenPoint Viper S400. This crossbow also shoots arrows at up to 400 feet per second and is extremely accurate. This package is sold including a RangeMaster Pro Scope, ACUslide cocking and decocking device, 6-arrow tech quiver, and three premium Evo-X CenterPunch carbon arrows.

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11. Best Value Crossbow Under $1000 – TenPoint Titan M1

Our Score: 4.1/5.0

TenPoint crossbows are extremely accurate, easy to cock, and safe to use. The TenPoint Titan M1 is no exception to this rule, and you can get the ACUdraw version for under $1000! This crossbow is the upgraded version of TenPoint’s best-selling Titan model.

By using VX-5 inverted cams, the TenPoint Titan M1 has an elongated power stroke of 14 inches and is 9 inches narrower than their previous Titan model. Because of the elongated power stroke, the TenPoint Titan M1 reaches speeds of 370 feet per second with a draw weight of 180 pounds.

TenPoint mounted a 3x Pro-View 3 scope on a machined aluminum 7/8-inch Fixed Dovetail Mount. This scope is calibrated for 20-50 yards and features 3 crosshairs and four dots. It’s a high-quality scope and you should be able to get extremely tight groups at 50-yard distances.

  • TenPoint crossbow at an affordable price
  • ACUdraw Safe & Silent Cocking Device optional
  • T5 Match-Grade Trigger
  • Narrow & Lightweight
  • TenPoint speed-rates their crossbows with different arrow weights

If you’re looking for the best crossbows under $1000, then definitely get the TenPoint Titan M1. This crossbow comes with everything you’ll need, including a high-quality scope and optional ACUdraw to reduce the draw weight to 5 pounds. Also included are three TenPoint Pro Elite 400 carbon arrows, which we highly recommend in our best crossbow bolts review.

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12. Best Value Crossbow Under $750 – CenterPoint CP400

Our Score: 4.4/5.0

Ranking #1 in the category of best-value crossbow under $750 is the CenterPoint CP400. CenterPoint is Velocity Outdoor, which also owns Ravin Crossbows. The CenterPoint CP400 includes Ravin technologies at a much more affordable price. CenterPoint licenses HeliCoil technology from Ravin crossbows for accurate cocking and shooting.

The CenterPoint CP400 measures 31.75 inches in length and has an adjustable stock of up to 5 inches. This crossbow is also very narrow, measuring just 10.5 inches uncocked and 6 inches cocked. CenterPoint installed a foot stirrup that also serves as a bipod and is compatible with a crank-cocking device.

  • HeliCoil Technology
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Anti-dry fire and auto safety
  • Folding Stirrup
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • Trigger has some creep
  • Trigger breaks at ~7 lbs.

Overall, the CenterPoint CP400 is the best-value crossbow under $750. The only downside to this otherwise perfect crossbow is the trigger that breaks at ~7 pounds on our tests. Included with this package are a 5-year limited warranty, three 20-inch carbon arrows, a quick-detach quiver, a 3×32 mm illuminated scope, and a rope cocking device.

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13. Best Value Crossbow Under $500 – Bear X Constrictor CDX

Our Score: 4.0/5.0

In the category of best value crossbow under $500, we rank the Bear X Constrictor CDX crossbow the highest. This crossbow is insanely accurate and hits speeds of 410 feet per second with a draw weight of 190 pounds!

We had a lot of fun testing and reviewing this crossbow. During the testing process, we were getting extremely tight groups at 40-yard distances and even broke a couple of arrows. The illuminated scope featured on the Bear X Constrictor CDX is very clear and a perfect scope for this crossbow.

To reduce the noise and vibrations, Bear installed a dual-mount string recoil suppressor system. Most crossbows are way too noisy for hunting, but the Bear X Constrictor is very stealthy. Also included is an ambidextrous top mount 4-arrow quiver. This quiver sits on a 360-degree pivot allowing the hunter to position the quiver any way possible.

  • 410 FPS
  • Compact crossbow
  • Adjustable Stock and Cheek-piece
  • Ambidextrous top mount 5-arrow quiver
  • Really Quiet Because of the Pre-Installed String Dampeners
  • Great Value for Your Money
  • Ready to Hunt Package
  • The range of scope could be Better
  • 8 pounds can be a bit heavy for a crossbow
  • Rope Cocking 190 pounds can be quite difficult

Overall, the Bear X Constrictor CDX is a very accurate, fast, and stealthy crossbow for hunters. Included is a ready-to-hunt package that includes 3 Bear X TrueX bolts, illuminated scope, 4-arrow quiver, cocking rope, and rail lube/string wax.

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14. Best Value Crossbow Under $350 – Bear X Intense CD

Our Score: 3.9/5.0

As you can read in our in-depth review of this crossbow, we rate the Bear X Intense CD very high for a cheap crossbow. This is a very cheap, but durable crossbow that’s able to reach speeds of 400 feet per second! Therefore, we rate the Bear X Intense CD as the best-value crossbow under $350.

It’s not only a powerful and cheap crossbow, it’s also a compact crossbow measuring only 14 inches wide uncocked and 10 inches wide when cocked. We rank Bear Archery in our top 5 crossbow brands, so they absolutely build durable crossbows.

The Bear X Intense CD comes with three custom Bear X TrueX arrows that feature TrueX Nock technology. In our testing, we managed to see an average of 400 feet per second and pretty tight groupings at 40-yard distances for such a cheap crossbow.

  • 400 FPS
  • Very Accurate
  • Cheap Entry-level Crossbow
  • Stock Scope is decent
  • Without string/limb dampeners this crossbow is really noisy.
  • Rope-Cocking 185 pounds can be difficult
  • Bit heavy at 8 pounds

Overall, the Bear X intense CD crossbow is a very cheap crossbow that’s also very accurate and powerful. Bear also includes everything you’ll need with a “Ready-To-Hunt” package that includes 3 Bear X TrueX arrows, scope, 4-arrow quiver, cocking rope, and rail lube/string wax. It’s highly recommended to get a string/limb dampening kit to lower the amount of sound and vibrations this crossbow produces.

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Choosing The Best Crossbow Suited For You

Choosing the best crossbow suited for you might seem like a challenging task, but we’ve listed everything you need to know about crossbows so you can buy the best crossbow suited for you!

Reason(S) For Buying A Crossbow

There are a couple of different reasons you might want to buy a crossbow. Maybe you’d like to hunt, but what type of animal will you be hunting? Or maybe you just like to shoot at targets with your crossbow, but at what distance and at what kind of targets will you be shooting? Or maybe you want to have a crossbow for home defense.

The reason(s) for buying a crossbow doesn’t really matter. These days, there are so many crossbows available with different features and usages.


What kind of budget do I have? That’s the first question you want to ask yourself. Determine a budget before you go out and buy a crossbow.

If you’re looking to get into crossbow hunting/shooting with a budget of less than $200, you shouldn’t expect more than a crossbow with a speed rating way below 300 fps and a very basic scope. You’re better off saving a couple of extra bucks.

It’s best if you have at least a starting budget of around $350. You’ll need some accessories like rail lube and string wax and maybe even other accessories later on. With $350, you’ll be able to get a crossbow powerful enough to kill whitetail deer at a maximum of 50-yard distances.

Of course, there are crossbows costing thousands of dollars. These tops-of-the-range crossbows are high-quality, include premium scopes, and even include crank-cocking devices so you can cock your crossbow with the least amount of effort possible.

Different Types Of Crossbows

Our second step in choosing the best crossbow suited for you is determining the type of crossbow you want. Recurve and Compound crossbows are currently the most commonly used types of crossbows. Ultimately, the choice of whether to purchase a recurve or compound bow comes down to personal preference.

Both are effective and thrive in different situations, and you should think about your unique wants and needs before choosing between them. But crossbow construction isn’t the only factor to consider when buying, another key factor is power.

Recurve Crossbows

Recurve crossbows are the “traditional” type of crossbows. Unlike straight-limbed crossbows, the limbs of a recurve crossbow curve away from the shooter. These curved limbs create a longer power stroke which results in more power and kinetic energy.

Because of its basic style, recurve crossbows require very little maintenance. They’re generally also more reliable, durable, lightweight, and accurate.

Another key advantage is the recurve crossbow’s simpler design which allows for easier maintenance. The disadvantages of this design are that the crossbow as a whole is larger and longer, and also requires more strength to cock.

If you’re new to crossbows/archery in general, then it might be best if you start out with a recurve crossbow. You can learn it easily without accidentally damaging your crossbow. It’s also very easy to replace a broken/damaged string during a hunting trip. This can save you trips to your local crossbow specialist.

Compound Crossbows

Compound crossbows are the most modern type of crossbows. As the name suggests, compound crossbows are more complex than recurves, featuring more parts and a second set of strings attached to a pulley system. Compound crossbows are the most accurate and deadly crossbows available on the market. Strings are looped around a “cam system” at the end of the limbs, which results in even more power and kinetic energy than a recurve crossbow.

Because of the two cams at the end of the limbs, compound crossbows have a lower draw weight and a narrower design. This narrow design allows for hunting in tighter spaces like tree stands, hunting blinds or a dense forest. Far more than convenient for storage, this more compact design can be critical when using the crossbow in thick vegetation or dense and close environments.

Unfortunately, compound crossbows are generally heavier than recurve crossbows. They also require more maintenance and once a string breaks, your hunting trip is over. You’ll have to replace the string with special tools or have it replaced by your local specialist.

Compound crossbows are ideal for experienced hunters/archers who are looking for the highest speeds a crossbow can offer. Because of the higher speeds, it also produces more kinetic energy than a recurve crossbow. This results in deeper penetration and can make the difference in getting a clean kill.

Speed Or Power

Feet per second (FPS), speed, power, or kinetic energy is usually the most important factor for when someone new to crossbows wants to buy a crossbow. Even though this is important for what you might want to hunt, an experienced crossbow shooter looks more at the accuracy, scope, and durability of a crossbow.

FPS is important because it determines how fast an arrow will travel over the first 20-30 yards. Remember factors such as gravity and wind will cause arrow velocity to fall after 20 or so yards. With this in mind, the general rule of thumb is to go for a crossbow with a minimum of 250 FPS.

The power of a crossbow is usually defined by the draw weight of a crossbow. This number can be as low as 80lbs and as high as 300 pounds these days. When deciding which crossbow is right for you, the draw weight can mean a great deal.

Take into consideration the physical strength of whoever may be using the crossbow. If you’re buying a crossbow for your younger-age son or daughter, you may want to consider a lower power rating. While these crossbows will have less strength in propelling bolts toward targets, they’ll be more manageable and easier to pull back.

Additionally, you should consider what you’ll be using your crossbow for. If you’re looking simply to shoot targets in your backyard and other causal applications like that, you might not need the most powerful crossbow on the market. It’s another factor to think about when selecting your perfect crossbow.

With a crossbow that generates speeds of 250 feet per second, you’ll be able to take down small game like turkeys and small deer.

A 300 feet per second crossbow is enough for hunting animals like deer, smaller elks and small bears.

If you’re looking to go after big game animals like moose, bigger elks and grizzly bears, then you should definitely get a crossbow in the 375 feet per second or more category.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that arrow weight plays a big role in determining crossbow velocity and efficiency. Lighter arrows will travel further nevertheless, heavier arrows tend to make bows more efficient and vice versa. Most manufacturers calculate FPS value using arrows with a weight similar to that of arrows sold with each particular brand.

Power Stroke Length

In simple words, the power stroke length is the distance a crossbow string is drawn back to fire an arrow. Most of the crossbows on the market today have a power stroke length ranging from 10 to 15 inches, while the power stroke length for compound bows ranges between 18 and 23 inches. Despite this difference, crossbows store up more energy per inch of power stroke largely due to their superior draw weights.

In general, the higher the value of a crossbow stroke length, the more powerful it is in terms of shooting capability. However, this does not mean that purchasing a bow with the highest power stroke length will make you an expert hunter or archer. If your bow draw weight is not properly adjusted, you are unlikely to make much headway while hunting or shooting targets.

Size & Weight

Beginner crossbow hunters usually do not care much about the size and weight of the crossbow. This is something they’ll most often regret later on. The size and weight of a crossbow are very important as to how comfortable the crossbow will be for you.

If you’re just using a crossbow to shoot at targets with either a stand or from a comfortable sitting position, you might not notice the size and weight of the crossbow that much. Once you’re on a hunting trip, size and weight will matter a lot.

Hiking for miles with a heavy crossbow can break you up really quickly. While hunting with a crossbow in a dense forest, hunting blind or tree stand then size will also start to matter a lot. Shooting with a 30-inch wide crossbow can bring some difficulties when shooting from tight spots.

Draw Weight

The draw-weight of a crossbow is determined by how much force you need to apply to fully cock a crossbow into the locked position. Crossbows can be very easily cocked these days because of the use of crank-cocking devices.

The draw weight was often used to calculate the speed of an arrow/bolt. Crossbows have been changing past couple of years and crossbow manufacturers like Ravin and TenPoint build crank-cocking devices into the stock of the crossbow.

This means that the term draw-weight is changing and it gets harder to calculate the speeds of an arrow/bolt with the draw-weight. Ravin’s R29X for example only has a draw weight of 12 pounds. Using this number to calculate the speed of an arrow will give wrong results.


Durability should be an important factor when looking for a new crossbow. Crossbows can be manufactured from different materials. The stock and limbs can be made from fiberglass, aluminum, steel, or a combination of different materials. It’s even possible that the stock or limbs are made from wood.

Of course, each material has different strengths and properties and therefore some crossbows will last you a lot longer than others.


Another question we get asked a lot from new crossbow shooters is what I should look for in a trigger. Just like the size, weight, and speed of the crossbow, this entirely depends on the crossbow’s usage and personal preference.

Even when buying a different crossbow from the same brand will give you different trigger experiences. It depends on the type of crossbow and how the trigger is made. Some brands use their own custom patented trigger designs to keep creep and trigger pull to an absolute minimum.

Most crossbow shooters prefer a trigger with zero creep and a smooth trigger pull. If you have to squeeze the trigger hard you might end up slightly pulling on the crossbow which will reduce the accuracy a lot!


Another key component of any crossbow is its scope. There are three primary types of scopes available for attachment to a crossbow. A crossbow can be equipped with all kinds of different sights or scopes. From a regular red-dot sight to a premium multi-reticle scope with different illumination levels.

Another key component of any crossbow is its scope. There are three primary types of scopes available for attachment to a crossbow.

Optical scopes, sometimes featuring telescopic zoom, provide an image of a pattern or reticle that appears over the target.

Red Dot sights project a red dot onto the target, providing a real-world representation of where your bolt will land.

Single reticle scopes or sights are only used for a single yardage. You’ll have to sight the scope every time you change distances.

Iron sights are the oldest type of sight, with a physical marker manufactured directly onto the crossbow which is then held up to the eye and used to target when firing.

Generally, when you buy a crossbow, the scope hasn’t been sighted in. You have to sight it yourself at specific yardages, and the other reticles will automatically be sighted at their respective distances as well.

If you’re planning on shooting at a variety of distances, then you should buy a crossbow with a multi-reticle scope.

Cocking Mechanism

Cocking a crossbow by hand will give you a lot of problems. Not only is there a chance you’ll put different tensions on the limbs which greatly reduces the accuracy, but there’s also a possibility of badly injuring yourself.

These days there are maybe different cocking mechanisms that help reduce the effort to cock a crossbow by up to 95%. In other words, a cocking mechanism reduces the draw weight of a crossbow.

The most basic cocking mechanism is a rope cocking device. A rope cocking device loops around a part of the stock and then hooks on the string of the crossbow to reduce the draw weight by around 50%!

An upgraded version of the rope cocking device is the rope-cocking sled. The sled latches onto the flight track which greatly increases the accuracy of cocking the crossbow. The draw weight remains the same as with a rope-cocker.

To reduce the draw weight to an absolute minimum there are also crank-cocking devices available for crossbows. A crank-cocking device reduces the draw weight by up to 95%.

Not only is a crank-cocking device the easiest way to cock a crossbow, it’s also more accurate and safer.

Safety Features

Today’s crossbows are very safe to use. Some safety features have become a standard addition, some are brand/crossbow-specific.

One of the safety features that almost all crossbows currently have is finger guards. Finger guards protect your fingers from getting in between the strings after firing the crossbow. Some crossbows have an over-molder foregrip, which does the job just as fine.

Another safety feature that has become a standard in the crossbow industry is the anti-dry fire inhibitor. This will prevent you from accidentally discharging your crossbow or firing without an arrow/bolt loaded.

Sound Or Noise of A Crossbow

If you’re using a crossbow for target shooting then sound or noise might not be important to you. Once you go out and actually hunt with your crossbow, the sound will matter a lot. Having a noisy crossbow will scare away any game in your area.

There are a couple of things that will increase or decrease the amount of sound a crossbow produces. Speed matters a lot, but this also increases the amount of noise a crossbow generates.

Another important factor is the material of the crossbow. Some materials generate a lot more sound or vibrations than other materials.


There are loads of accessories available for crossbows. One of the standard accessories included with a new crossbow package is a quiver and a sight or scope. The quiver is usually mounted on a Picatinny rail at the front end of the stock. A scope also mounts on a separate Picatinny rail above the trigger. A Picatinny rail provides a mounting platform for crossbow accessories.

Cheap quivers usually don’t include a horizontal position and the quiver will take up all of the space on the Picatinny rail. Some hunters don’t even like to hunt with a quiver mounted to the Picatinny rail, which leaves it for other accessories.

There aren’t many accessories available for the Picatinny rail of the scope, besides a dovetail or a different scope.

Some accessories you can mount on the Picatinny rail at the front end of the stock which are often not included with a crossbow package are flashlights, bipods, and other universal Picatinny rail accessories.

These days crossbows can also include ergonomic grips and foregrips to enhance the shooting experience even more. It’s also more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time.


Finally, you’ll need to select a bolt (arrow) type. Crossbow bolts can vary in weight, size, material, and tips. Modern arrows/bolts are made of carbon or aluminum. Each arrow consists of parts such as the head, shaft, insert, and nock.

Bolts can be made up of wood, carbon, aluminum, or composite materials and feature mechanical or fixed (one-part) tips. Arrows or bolts are a very important part of the crossbow. Using the wrong arrow can result in damage to your crossbow or even the possibility of hurting yourself.

Not only do you need to look for the correct length, but you also need to check what nock a crossbow needs to fire and the straightness of the arrow for accuracy.

Your best bet for selecting the right bolt for your crossbow is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Any crossbow you purchase will come with a list of appropriate bolt types and sizes from the manufacturer, and these are an excellent guide in selecting your bolts.

If you’re new to crossbow shooting or hunting, then arrows may not be a big issue. There are loads of aftermarket or alternative arrows available on the market. If you currently already own a crossbow and are looking for a new one, then you might want to consider getting a crossbow that requires the same length/type of arrows you currently have.

If you’re interested in deviating from the listed recommendations, it’s a good idea to do a little research first. As for tips, mechanical tips generally work better with lighter, faster arrows.

This might save you hundreds of dollars in arrows when they’re not compatible with your new crossbow.

These days arrows are either made out of aluminum, carbon fiber, or a combination of both. Crossbows have become so powerful that for them to be able to consistently shoot arrows, the arrows keep weighing more and more. This isn’t a big problem at all as this will increase the penetration of the arrow.

Usually, there’s a warning on the minimum amount of grains an arrow should weigh. The most lightweight arrows for crossbows weigh 350 grains, and there are arrows available that are over 460 grains.

Another factor to keep in mind is, what kind of nocks your crossbow requires. The nock is the rear part of an arrow and it is usually made of aluminum or plastic. This part comes into direct contact with a bow string.

There are some premium and not-so-premium crossbows available on the market that use their own unique design of nocks. This will greatly reduce your options when looking for a set of arrows or bolts for your crossbow.

One question we often get asked is: Can you interchange crossbow bolt nocks? You can. With some arrows/bolts or nocks, it can be difficult to do. You might have to cut off the old nocks which means it can’t be used on a different type of arrow.

One of the most important things to consider when getting certain types of arrows is the straightness of an arrow. This is one of the most important factors in the accuracy of your shooting. If the arrows you use aren’t straight, then it doesn’t matter who you are; the arrows will land all over the target but not where you aim.

As this is a crossbow buyer’s guide, I’ve kept this part short and simple. If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide on crossbow bolts and arrows, then please check out 12 Best Crossbow Bolts to Buy in 2024 – Tested and Reviewed [Introductory & Buyer’s Guide].

Field Points And Broadheads

Included with your arrows are usually just field points. Unless you’ve included a hunting package, which should include some broadheads as well. Field points are great for target practice, but you should not use them for hunting.

Field points are for practice shooting only, and if you actually want to hunt, you’ll need some broadheads for your arrows. Field points and broadheads can have different weights as well.

For optimal accuracy, it’s best to get broadheads that match the weight of the field points. Getting different weights of broadheads can have drastic effects on the accuracy of your shooting. An arrow will have a completely different flight path with a heavier broadhead it might even nose dive during flight.

When you match the weight of the field points, the same accuracy and flight path are almost guaranteed! Of course, this also relies on the quality of the broadheads as well.

During our crossbow hunting and shooting experiences, we’ve tested a lot of broadheads. we’ve compiled a list of in my opinion the best broadheads readily available on the market. Read it here.


Another important factor some might overlook when buying a new crossbow is the warranty that covers a crossbow. Buying second-hand crossbows isn’t a good idea at all and another reason is the fact that most, if not all, crossbow manufacturers only cover the warrant of the first owner.

“This warranty covers the ORIGINAL crossbow owner only and is non-transferable.”

High-quality brands like Ravin and TenPoint offer a limited lifetime warranty of 5 years on the crossbow limbs, stock, scope, or cocking device. Other brands only offer a standard 1-year warranty on their crossbows. If the warranty means a lot to you, then I’d recommend only sticking with the high-quality brands.

Some parts of the crossbow that does not fall under warranty are the bowstring, cables, and cocking ropes. These parts will obviously get worn out the more you use them and replacing bowstrings or cables is something you’ll have to do on your own or with help from a specialized crossbow shop.

Best Crossbow Brands

Combined, the Forgotten Hunter team has over 100 years of crossbow hunting/shooting experience. We’ve seen some of the big brands fall or have been taken over by their competition. Below is a list of our top 5 crossbow brands.

Excalibur Crossbow

Excalibur Crossbow is a Canadian brand that has a highly respected name in the crossbow industry. They have produced high-quality recurve crossbows year after year since 1983. They’re known especially for their insanely powerful and durable recurve crossbows.

Excalibur crossbow is owned by Bowtech Archery. Bowtech is one of the leading brands in the compounds bows and archery industry. No wonder they bought the Excalibur Crossbow.

We rank Excalibur as one of our top-rated brands for the same exact reason. They produce high-quality, powerful, and insanely accurate recurve crossbows. They also release custom crossbows with either noise-dampening systems, crank cocking devices, or both of them.

Some of the best Excalibur crossbows we’ve got to try out this year were the Excalibur Assassin 400TD and the Excalibur Bulldog 440.


TenPoint Crossbows is one of the last crossbow brands to produce and build their crossbows in the USA. TenPoint is one of the leading brands, together with Excalibur, Ravin, and Barnett, in the crossbow industry for a while now.

TenPoint owns a couple of other brands in the crossbow industry as well. Wicked Ridge is their budget brand. They also bought out Horton Crossbows to use them for their patents and technologies.

Paired with Wicked Ridge, TenPoint basically releases a high-quality crossbow for any usage. TenPoint crossbows are one of the safest, most accurate, powerful, and durable crossbows on the market. They’ve become known in the industry for their leading ACU crank cocking devices for safer, easier, and silent cocking.

This year TenPoint released a lot of new crossbows with specific needs for basically any requirement that a crossbow shooter might have. The TenPoint Vapor RS470 is the most powerful crossbow currently available and was a thrill to shoot. A good recommendation for beginner crossbow hunters would be the TenPoint Viper S400 or the Wicked Ridge M370.


Ravin Crossbows produces high-quality compound crossbows that offer insane speeds, accuracy, and the best crossbow technologies currently available. Each year their crossbows are getting more and more powerful and they even released the most compact crossbow with speeds of 400 feet per second!

Ravin’s parent company is Velocity Outdoor. Velocity Outdoor owns a couple of other brands like CenterPoint Archery, Crosman, and Benjamin. CenterPoint Archery releases budget versions with technologies usually only exclusive to Ravin Crossbows.

Ravin has designed some revolutionary new features like the HeliCoil technology, Versa-Draw cocking system, Trac-Trigger firing system, and a frictionless flight system.

This year Ravin introduced the Ravin R29X as their flagship crossbow and CenterPoint released the CenterPoint CP400 back in 2019 as their best budget crossbow, which is still their best-selling crossbow.


Barnett Crossbows was founded by Bernard Barnett’s garage back in 1962. Barnett Crossbows has steadily taken over the crossbow industry with its high-quality crossbows at affordable prices.

Currently, Barnett Crossbows is owned by Plano Synergy Holdings. They own a number of other brands in the hunting and fishing industry like Wildgame Innovations, Plano Molding, Bloodsport Archery, Tenzing Outdoors, Halo Optics, and more.

Barnett Crossbows has become known for its TriggerTech trigger system, adjustable stock, and numerous other features and technologies. TriggerTech triggers are one of the smoother triggers on a crossbow available.

Barnett’s Explorer and Hyper series are some of the nicest crossbows that we’ve reviewed in 2022. The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is a really good crossbow to get or a cheaper Barnett Explorer XP380.

Bear X Archery

Bear Archery was founded back in 1933 and is the oldest company in our best crossbow brands section. They manufacture anything archery related and they’re located in Florida. They sell anything from archery carts and targets to (youth) bows and crossbows.

They’re owned by Escalade Inc. and they specialize in (outdoor) sporting goods and athletic equipment. They own Trophy Ridge, Cajun Bowfishing, and a multitude of other brands in the outdoor and sports industry.

Bear Archery is known to produce high-quality crossbows for a relatively cheap price. They don’t boast any fancy technologies, but their crossbows are extremely well-made! They’ve been around for a long time and they know what they’re doing.

We can recommend any Bear X crossbow as they’re all great options. We had a lot of fun reviewing the Bear X Intense CD 400 and Bear X Constrictor this year.

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