Archery & Outdoors,  Man Cave Blog

Best Compound Bows for any Budget

Compound Bows are a Science

Archery ain’t cheap, son. If you didn’t already know.

But if you’re reading this then you already know how addicting it is to shoot for hours. Just sending endless arrows and watching them arc downrange. Nothing else matters in that moment.

The name of the game with modern compound bows is – speed vs power. Bowhunters want flat shooting arrows with the momentum to penetrate through rib cages.

The best compound bow will be different for everyone. Budget is one of those factors that determines what brand and quality of bow will be in your hand.

Bow Terminology to Know

You will need to know certain bow specifications and what they mean. With this information, you can know what to look for to find a bow that will fit you best.

Some bows are sold as packages labeled “RTH” (Ready to Hunt) or “RTS” (Ready to Shoot). These terms mean that it comes with everything installed and can be shot right out of the box. Most higher end bows will be sold as a bare bow and requires purchasing the extra accessories to be able to shoot. A bow needs a sight, stabilizer, and arrow rest, and other accessories to be complete. 

Axle to Axle length is just that, the length between each axle at the end of the limbs. This is a useful measurement because it indicates the size of the bow. Hunting bows are shorter and more compact for easier maneuvering and carrying in the woods. Target bows are taller to help with stability and indoor shooting.

Speed rating are used in the specs , such as IBO and ATA speeds:

  • International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) Speed Rating – is measured at 80 lbs. draw weight, maximized draw length, with a 400 grain arrow.
  • Archery Trade Association (ATA) Speed Rating – is measured at 70 lbs. draw weight, 30 inch draw length, with a 350 grain arrow. 
  • Actual speed rating – this varies for everyone due to the various combinations of draw weight, draw length, and arrow weight. Most people see lower actual speed than what is advertised.

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Our Picks: Compound Bows for Different Budgets

If you can start with the best of the best compound bow, then good for you. No doubt you will enjoy it and be equipped to take on the most challenging shots. But average Joe’s with a limited budget need to shop around for the best bow available in their spending range. The number of models of bows in market is a lot, and the differences often becomes a game of inches to create a better bow.

We are going to skip all of the youth bows and bows found at summer camps with the color varieties. The bows on our list can be customized as complete setups with sights, stabilizers, arrow rests, quivers, and other accessories. These bows are used by legitimate hunters and can perform well in the field.

Here are our picks for best bows on the market for all skill levels and budget sizes.

When Money is No Limit: The Best Bows for Advanced Archers & Hunters

These three bows dominate the market as the best money can buy. The manufacturers really looked to make these the lightest, most stable, quietest, and fastest shooting bows possible. But having one of these guys on your bow rack will cost you in the $1,000+ range for just the bare bow.

If you’re looking for more less pricey bows that are still formidable at longer distances, keep reading.


MSRP: $1,199

Notable Athlete:
Dan Staton (Elk Shape)

Matthews is constantly an innovator in the bow industry. The V3X is the newest flagship model and stands out as extremely quiet.

Despite it being a short 29 inch bow it can reach out beyond 100 yards very accurately. The 70 lbs. draw with 85% let off is plenty to tackle any animal challenge.

The “bridge lock” feature for mounting sights centers the sight closer to the center line for added stability.

Carbon Levitate

MSRP: $1,899

Notable Athlete:
John Dudley

PSE tapped John Dudley to have a hand in developing a carbon bow that is ultra light. The Levitate can send arrows to 100 yards with precision.

The minimalist design gives the impression that it is light, which it is at only 3.5 lbs. The carbon riser also transfers much less vibration vs an aluminum riser.

With the use of the E2 cams this bow can peak out at 80 lbs. draw weight. Hunters don’t need to worry about cold temperatures or a heavy bow.

Ventum Pro

MSRP: $1,199

Notable Athlete:
Chad Mendes

90 years of experience puts out a bow like the Venom Pro. The design itself just screams speed, and is a top long distance bow with almost no shock. All around well-rounded for a flagship bow.

Hoyt introduced a picatinny rail mount to reduce weight off the side by placing it right on the front of the riser itself. The short stop stabilizer helps bring some more stability at full draw. And the riser loop behind the grip gives it more support and dissipates vibration.

Best Bow for Intermediate Budget

Bear Archery has been around since 1993, and the Cruzer G2 has been one of their best selling bows.

The attractiveness of this bow is the range if can serve, from youths to adult hunters. The Bear Cruzer G2 can adjust from small frame to large frame archers.

The full potential is max poundage of 70 lbs. with high 250+ feet per second. The entire package comes outfitted with Trophy Ridge accessories, which are certainly not junk but also not the high end (sight, arrow rest, stabilizer, sling, peep sight, quiver, and string loop). This is a great option for most bowhunters that is versatile and reasonably priced.

Bear Cruzer G2

MSRP: $400

Great Low-cost Bow for Beginners

This bow is a dark horse. It is branded with the Bone Collector and meant to be an all-purpose bow. The riser stands out because it is ambidextrous mimicking a target bow. But it is compact with only a 30 inch axle-to-axle length.

Drawing back and shooting is very smooth with a let off that feels more like 90%. And the poundage tops out at about 60 lbs draw weight.

It comes as a Ready to Shoot package, but replacing the sight, arrow rest, and stabilizer is recommended. With your own accessories installed, this is one quality bow.

Xpedition Stealth

MSRP: $250

Most Cheap Option (Amazon) Compound Bow

Yes, Amazon. Shopping there for a decent bow can be a hot mess to weed out the junk. Most of them are advertised with higher draw weight than they really are. This one is the maxes out to a draw weight of 40-45lbs. It is a bit heavy to hold, but pretty sturdy and tightly put together. In a way, the design is not bad either.

Mind you, you will likely want to get better sights, stabilizer, and arrow rest. Aside from the quiver most of the accessories included are throw-aways. But once tuned well, it can be an effective bow up to 40-50 yards. That’s plenty to ask for in a beginner compound bow.

AW Pro

MSRP: $200


If you are new to archery, this is a quick guide about what equipment you need and how to start practicing.

You may not be able to afford a high end bow at first, that’s ok. No amount of design and gadgets can replace improper shooting technique. Your form is the foundation of shooting with any bow.

What matters is that you are confident in making a shot with your current set up. You have taken the time to sign in your pins with your arrows, and you know where the arrow is going to stick.

Fancier bows may shoot faster or quieter, but any decent bow that is tuned properly to the individual can make a precise shot within 60 yards. That is enough to hunt or just keep up with others at events like Total Archery Challenge.

As you progress as an archer and upgrade to higher end bows, your precision will be amplified. It’ great to have advanced modern bows so we can enjoy letting arrows fly. Hopefully this overview helps you in your search for your next bow.

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