The Best Crossbows - Ultimate Buying Guide

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Crossbows have been a mainstay of outdoor life for centuries. Yet guns and other projectile weapons have become more popular with time. However, many still prefer to follow the ancient warriors’ path and purchase a crossbow as their weapon of choice.

For such folks, finding the best crossbow is imperative.

Crossbows don’t just provide outdoor adventure opportunities; they also add a vintage flavor to hunting and target shooting. It’s definitely one of the best weapons for a silent and clean shot.

There is a range of crossbows on the market. And picking out the best one with a reasonable price tag can be tricky. And then, you also have to look for features like power, noise cancellation, optics, and comfort to differentiate between the worst and best crossbows.

In this article, we’re going to fill you in on all you need to know for the finest archery experience. Here’s our best crossbow buying guide for 2021.

Table of Contents

Specs:

  • 290-pounds draw weight
  • 405 FPS
  • Lite crossbow package
  • 35 x 6 x 10, 12.3 inch Dimensions
  • 12.3 pounds bow weight

Pros:

  • It’s the fastest recurve crossbow currently available.
  • The durable and sturdy build provides longevity.
  • The finest scope on the crossbow market.
  • The safety firing system protects you against dry firing by effectively catching the string.
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

  • The heavier draw weight is not easy to pull back.
  • Doesn’t come with a bowstring.

The Excalibur is one of the fastest recurve crossbows you can get today. It has received some of the best crossbow reviews, for a good reason. It packs a lot of desirable features and has almost everything you need.

The Excalibur Matrix is fitted with the most premium optic to provide a clear line of sight. A target shooter can smoothly zoom in for a stable and clean shot. The DLX scope provides top-tier accuracy, which is praised by many archers that use recurve crossbows. The scope has easy to maneuver adjustments for quick and clean shooting.

The 290-pound draw weight coupled with professional-grade accuracy provides 405 FPS of force to the user. However, most people prefer a lesser draw weight with recurve models as it consumes a lot of energy when pulling it back.

The absence of a bow stringer coupled with the high draw weight is balanced by the finest tensile strength and durability of the BCY Dynaflight 97 string.

The finest built-in REDS suppressor enables noise suppression. This increases accuracy with target hunting. Since efficiency is increased with these features, hunting a larger game with ease makes it a commendable hunting crossbow.

Another great feature of this Excalibur recurve crossbow is the easy assembly. You’ll get an instructional video with the crossbow package so you can learn to put it together effectively. Many archers have praised the low assembly time this recurve crossbow takes, about 30 minutes.

There’s a learning curve with this recurve crossbow, but once you get used to the configurations, there’s nothing to hold you back!

It comes with four diablo arrows for practice. You’ll be glad to know that these arrows work efficiently with the crossbow as well. There are a lot of consumers who tend to emphasize the color scheme and design of recurve crossbows. The Excalibur 405 comes in the finest mossy Oak Tree stand finish. The color scheme will enable you to camouflage with the environment during hunting trips.

Specs:

  • 315 FPS arrow speed
  • 150 pounds draw weight
  • 95 foot-pounds KE
  • 20 inches arrow length
  • 7.7 pounds weight
  • 35.5 x 26.5 inch dimensions 

Pros:

  • Quad limbs reduce air drag and increase shot speeds as well as accuracy.
  • The military-style design provides a top-tier look.
  • It comes with a 5-year warranty.
  • It’s a relatively lightweight crossbow than most other options on the market.

Cons:

  • A rope cocking system is not included, so you may face difficulties in drawing the weight.
  • Low-quality standards.
  • Narrow shoulder rest is not comfortable for longer sessions.
  • No noise dampeners.

The Jackal is another great crossbow on our list, brought to you by Barnett. It is one of the finest options for beginner-level archers.

If you’re looking for a decent crossbow that’ll provide dependable performance, you’re in luck! The Barnett Jackal has a durable frame that provides the utmost comfort and safety to those learning to shoot arrows.

The design is a work of fine craftsmanship and provides a professional appeal. The military-style stock will please many. These aspects aren’t the only great features in the design. It is fitted with the finest AVI foot stirrup and bolt retainer for the best performance.

The synthetic string provides sturdiness. This, coupled with the synthetic cable system, enables some of the highest arrow speeds. The Picatinny and Weaver rails will enable easy attachment of the scope as well as a firm grip.

The firing system is quite commendable since it has one of the finest ADF MIM trigger systems. It shoots at 315 FPS. To enable such a high shooting speed, the draw weight has been set at 150 pounds. The energy wheels make the draw weight easier to manage and adds to the overall accuracy.

The red dot sight is ideal for use during daylight. It’ll provide you with the best accuracy over short distances. It’s average in comparison to other scopes you can get right now. The scope quality is reasonable for the Jackal since it’s an affordable alternative to several high-precision yet expensive crossbows.

All the aforementioned features make the Jackal one of the more desirable crossbows for hunting. It is also durable, provided that proper maintenance is kept. You need to keep it in a climate-controlled environment. For optimal performance, you’ll need to wax the string after every ten shots. It’s also important to make sure that the fletching faces downwards when you’re loading the crossbow.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 25 x 13 x 12 inches
  • 370 FPS arrow speed
  • Draw weight 185 pounds
  • Camo, black stock
  • Compound system
  • 13.50 Stroke
  • 18 inches (cocked) axle-to-axle

Pros:

  • There is sufficiently high arrow velocity.
  • The compact design makes it easy to carry around.
  • Accessories that are commonly sold separately are included with the package.

Cons:

  • Not the best crossbow for quick shooting.
  • Heavy front.

The CenterPoint Sniper is one of the finest compound crossbows on the market for beginner archers. It’s packed with dependable features and is quite reliable for entry-level hunters as well.

The design aspects are quite commendable. Durability is enhanced due to the CNC machined aluminum riser. The split quad limbs are a great design aspect as well that enhances the versatility.

The CenterPoint compound crossbow is eye-catching due to its appealing non-reflective black finish. There is also a black and jungle combo color scheme to blend in with the surroundings. This feature is helpful in favorable hunting conditions.

There is sufficient noise cancellation due to the integrated string suppressors. These suppressors enable you to make a quiet shot without any vibration. This compound bow provides accuracy up to 40 yards, and there have been reports of skilled archers making accurate shots up to 50 yards. There is trigger creep to prevent early firing.

The power of this crossbow is quite commendable as well. Usually, the kinetic energy of 75 FPKE is required to put a big game down. This crossbow produces 130 FPKE, which makes hunting larger game a breeze.

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 puts great emphasis on the comfort of the user. The additional equipment included with the company’s compound crossbows makes for fine hunting and archery experiences.

These include a shoulder string, three 20-inch carbon bolts, a four-arrow quiver, and a rope cocking device. You don’t have to buy these components separately, which again brings us back to this product’s value.

Specs:

  • 425 FPS arrow velocity
  • 13-inch strike force
  • 160 pounds KE
  • 12-pound draw force
  • 6-inch (cocked) axle-to-axle
  • 8-pound weight
  • 34.5 x 12 x 14 inches dimensions

Pros:

  • High arrow speed
  • Considerably lightweight

Cons:

  • Expensive

Moving on, the R15 predator has managed to stay ahead of competitors for the last two years.

The predator is one the finest hunting crossbows on the market for laser-like precision and quick shooting. If you’re a hunter that wants to hit a target through the thickest brush, then this is the product for you. The illuminated scope will allow you to hit the hardest shots up to 100 yards downrange.

The design is quite impressive since it comes in a sleek appearance that mimics a rifle. With a full draw axle to axle measurement of six inches, it’s a compact crossbow and narrower than most other options.

Ravin’s innovative Helicoil technology makes this crossbow a cut above the rest. This new tech doesn’t just make the axle-axle width a compact size but also increases the downrange accuracy. The cams stay stable and well-balanced due to the cable being coiled into the helical flight groove away from the cams’ ends.

The design provides a desirable balance between speed, power, and accuracy. The fact that you get extras with the package makes it even more popular.

You will get six of the finest arrows by Raven and the nocks to go along. The inclusion of a removable cocking handle and a quiver/ mounting bracket makes it even more attractive. There is also a quiver mounting bracket along with dry fire auto safety in the crossbow package.

The lightweight 12-pound draw that shoots faster than 400 FPS remains the best thing about this crossbow.

Specs:

  • 400 FPS
  • 140 FPKE kinetic energy
  • Reverse-draw system
  • 33.25 length without foot stirrup
  • Axle-axle 15/9 inches (cocked/uncocked)
  • 7.6 pounds without accessories
  • 175 Draw weight

Pros:

  • The self-retracting rope cocker system provides significant ease.
  • It’s centrally balanced, so maneuverability is quite high.
  • It’s compatible with archers of all levels.
  • Safety features include an auto-engaging T4 trigger mechanism and an anti-dry fire system.

Cons:

  • The camo finish may start to peel off after some time.
  • The stock is quite short.

Wicked Ridge is a highly proficient crossbow manufacturer, and the RDX 400 is one of the company’s finest installments.

The innovative and patented reverse-draw build is unique to this crossbow. The ACUdraw technology makes cocking easier and improves performance. Due to these enhancers, you get an arrow speed of 400 FPS and 140 foot-pounds of energy in every shot.

The design features are quite impressive since Wicked Ridge puts great emphasis on making this crossbow stand out. A closer look at the design will tell you a lot about why it has so many positive reviews. Due to the famed reverse draw, the riser is shifted to the middle rather than upfront. This solves the problem of being front-heavy, which is a common issue with a lot of crossbows.

The finest stability and balance in the crossbow world are a trademark for the RDX 400. The width is only 9 inches when fully cocked, making the design quite compact. If you’re wondering how it handles with such a short-width design, then you don’t need to worry. Handling is easy and efficient.

The self-retracting rope makes it even easier to handle, even with the 175 draw weight. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of an unstable aim at a clean shot due to fatigue, you’ll love the RDX 400. The machined lightweight aluminum pockets and riser sufficiently reduce stress on your limbs. These features also add to the durability of the crossbow.

The accuracy is on point as well. This crossbow does a good job of keeping the nock occupied with the string for longer. Thus, precision shooting becomes easier.

It’s compatible with beginner to advanced level archers due to the immaculate safety features, making it impossible for a bolt to be released by accident.

Specs:

  • 150 foot-pounds energy
  • 410 FPS
  • 7.3 pounds weight
  • 185 pounds draw weight
  • 20 inches undocked axle-axle
  • Overall size 36.5 inches

Pros:

  • It’s currently one of the fastest crossbows at 410 FPS.
  • The easy assembly is noteworthy.
  • The accuracy is better than most crossbows, even at 60 yards.
  • It’s compact and lightweight.

Cons:

  • Tends to be noisy in the absence of a suppression system.

With the Ghost 410 CRT crossbow, you get 410 FPS at a cheaper price range than other crossbows.

There is a lot to love about this Barnett Ghost crossbow. Starting with the design, you will be glad to know that it’s quite lightweight. The patented carbon riser technology makes it more than 40 percent lighter than most other high-end crossbows. The custom composite laminated limbs enable the highest durability as well.

This crossbow is well-balanced. The CRT in the model’s name stands for Carbonlite Riser Technology which shifts the balance from the riser closer to your shoulders for higher stability.

The mounted green/red dot scope provides sufficient illumination in darker settings. The illumination feature can be turned on or off with ease.

If you have the g Ghost CRT delivered to your place, you’ll need to assemble it as well. Thankfully the assembly is quite easy. Barnet has added the Allen wrenches with the crossbow case for your convenience, and you can assemble the product within five minutes.

Some other items included in the crossbow package are the quiver and sling. You’ll also get three 22-inch carbon arrows in the package, along with the 1 x 3x 32 scope and a rope cocking device.

The trigger provides up to four pounds of pull with a crisp break. And the crispiness adds to the overall accuracy. The high-quality composition of this crossbow makes it durable, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

Specs:

  • Compound crossbow model
  • 18 inches cocked
  • 13.50-inch stroke
  • 185-pound draw weight
  • 370 feet per second speed
  • Camo/black stock.
  • 8 pounds weight
  • 14 inches axle-axle

Pros:

  • The proficient silencing system provides the quietest shots.
  • Top-notch build along with high-speed shooting is available at a low price point.
  • Accessories like scope, quiver, and bolts are provided, which increases the value.

Cons:

  • Quality can be better

If you want the best cheap crossbow on the market, then the Tormentor Whisper is the right choice. It is quite difficult to find a bow with speed as high as the Tormentor in this price range. It’s one of the best budget crossbows on the market.

Just because it’s an inexpensive crossbow doesn’t mean the quality is low. The Tormentor is made of durable top-grade materials that ensure the crossbow remains durable for the longest time. From an aluminum riser to compressed fiberglass limbs, a compact, flexible, and sturdy build are guaranteed. The composite construction of the stock significantly increases the reliability of the build as well.

The flexibility is especially useful since hunters have to hold their crossbows for a long time. The pliability of the CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper reduces physical strain.

The design is impeccable as well since it’ll make arrows fly at speeds upwards of 370 FPS. And hitting small targets through limited openings will be easier due to the 14-inch width. If you want a clean kill, don’t take a shot past 60 yards. Going past the recommended distance may affect the trajectory as well.

The features packed in this crossbow are quite beneficial as well. You’re going to get extra support in harsh weather due to the padded grips and a cheek piece for extra control. The trigger safety feature prevents injury from dry firing.

If all of these features hadn’t thoroughly gripped your attention, there are a ton of accessories included as well. You’re going to get a 4 by 32 scope along with a quiver, rope cocking mechanism, and two of the finest carbon fiber arrows.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of this crossbow is noise reduction. This model has “whisper” in its name for good reason. With two spider and string dampeners fitted with silencers, you’re going to feel like a ghost in the bushes. The two limb stoppers cut out unwanted vibrations as well.

Specs:

  • 330 feet per second
  • 145-165 pounds
  • 32-inch overall size
  • 15.75-inch width (cocked)
  • 12.75-inch striking force

Pros:

  • No assembly required.
  • The power and performance are great based on the low price point.
  • It’s compact and lightweight.
  • A wide variety of archers will find this crossbow quite comfortable.

Cons:

  • The low-end scope may need to be upgraded.
  • The package includes low-quality bolts that are not optimal for crossbow hunting.
  • It’s not silent as other options on our list.

The PSE Fang LT is another compound crossbow for the money that does not cut back on quality. It provides the user with a balance between performance and affordability.

Archers of a smaller build or female target shooters will enjoy its performance, power, and stability.

The Fang provides kinetic energy of 97 foot-pounds. Usually, a power range of this capacity is not available at such a price tag. However, PSE does a good job of making the game more enjoyable for a wider category of archers. Even at decreased velocities, the same power is guaranteed. It releases bolts at 330 FPS, so it’s the type of crossbow to go all in.

It might not be the most accurate crossbow at long range, but in close range, you’ll be a beast! Hunting small game will become easier, but larger prey like the whitetail deer won’t be able to escape either.

Despite the lightweight build and affordable price of this compound crossbow, you get the highest durability. However, due to the cheaper costs, some features are designed accordingly. For instance, the Fang LT has a molded rail rather than the more durable and commonly found machined ones in other crossbows.

That said, you don’t need to worry since there is a 5-year warranty on the PSE Fang LT crossbow.

The package includes a 4 x 32 MR scope. The sight is suitable for beginner-level archers and makes target practice quite enjoyable. You’re going to see the best results at a shooting range.

This compound model has its fair share of user comfort to make it easier for you. The narrow and compact design measures 15 and a half inches from both axles. These aspects, coupled with the weight, make it considerably easy to maneuver in tight spots.

Most draw weights are tough to handle without additional help. However, you don’t have to worry about that with this crossbow. A cocking rope included in the package will help you handle the 155 pounds draw weight with ease.

Specs:

  • 15.5/10 inch width (uncocked/cocked)
  • 440 feet per second velocity
  • Overall size 35.25 inches
  • 7.8 pounds weight
  • 165 pounds draw weight

Pros:

  • 440 FPS velocity makes this one of the swiftest crossbows currently available.
  • The drawing design makes it more balanced and easier to handle.
  • You will get plenty of add-ons with the package that increases the value.

Cons:

  • Steep price.

Many reviewers agree that the NitroX is the best crossbow for deer hunting. This bow is a prized innovation of TenPoint. There are plenty of features in this crossbow that make it the deer hunters’ favorite.

Gordon Composites are famed as the most durable materials, and they make this crossbow’s limbs sturdy.

The crossbow string functions are impressive as well. The string comes into contact with the mounting rails. As the string comes off the rollers, the cams and limbs are forced to move towards the center. This motion creates a smooth and powerful release.

You can stay undetected with the help of this crossbow. The string stop system makes it seem like the string is melded into the crossbow. This reduces a lot of vibrations cuts back on undesirable noise.

The velocity and power of this crossbow are quite impressive as well. It ensures that the bolts come off the bow at high speeds, enabling high impact force for hunting game of all sizes.

Game hunting will also be easier due to the RangeMaster Pro scope. This scope comes mounted straight out the box so that you can get down to business.

There are two variations of this crossbow: The Nitro RDX shoots at a velocity of 385 FPS, while the NitroX provides arrow speeds upwards of 420 FPS.

There is also a difference between the frictionless flight system in both variations as well. The former comes with a light carbon fiber rail, while the latter has an alloy flight track. The RDX has a 2 cable system, while model X has a quad cable configuration.

Specs:

  • 355 FPS velocity
  • 25/21 inches axle-axle (uncocked/cocked)
  • 31-inches overall length without stirrup
  • 5 pounds w/0 accessories
  • 280 pounds draw weight

Pros:

  • Easy maneuverability is guaranteed due to the compact and narrow design.
  • Safe, accurate, and silent.
  • It’s easy to put together.

Cons:

  • Draw weight isn’t suitable for beginners.

The features packed in the Excalibur Micro Suppressor are no joke. It stands apart from the pack due to its compact design and silent performance. There’s a motive behind this model’s name. The sound canceling system, coupled with the R.E.D.S string suppressors, makes this one of the quietest bows currently available.

The build quality you get with this crossbow is quite immaculate as well. The compact stock was designed to provide easy and efficient maneuverability. This crossbow does a good job of making the build extensively durable. Longevity is also guaranteed since the crossbow comes with the finest scope, noise suppression, Picatinny rail, and ready stock.

This crossbow’s narrow dimensions will enable you to make the cleanest shots from a ground blind, tree stands, and other tight spots. It measures 21 inches axle-axle when cocked while having a 25-inch span uncocked. The size you’ll find is 31 inches.

You’ll also be glad to know that you get the best accuracy for a fine user experience. Excalibur does a good job of using high-quality parts to enhance the overall accuracy of the E95857 greatly. The illuminated tact-zone scope will provide a vivid and crystal clear view. The comfortable feel of the crossbow, coupled with the highly proficient noise suppressors, significantly increases arrow precision.

The safety aspects include a Guardian dry-fire mechanism as well as enlarged finger guards. The safety aspects make it suitable for new shooters as well.

Considering this crossbow’s proficiency and functions, it’s quite easy to use as well. The assembly process can be managed by a beginner-level archer thanks to the included owner’s manual. These instructions will allow you to put it together in the shortest time safely.

Additionally, the ambidextrous cheekpiece will increase comfort when you’re out in the bushes for long periods.

FAQs

There is a wide range of crossbows that can be considered the best in the world. However, getting the best options usually means hefty price tags. Our crossbow reviews above consider both affordability and functionality.

Professionals chose the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 as their top pick time and time again. However, bows like the Tenpoint NitroX are hard to come by since it provides upwards of 430 FPS of arrow speed with a powerful punch.

The ideal trigger system today is three pounds. Some crossbows come close to this desirable trigger pull weight. The Barnett Ghost 410 has a trigger capacity of four pounds. Crossbows like the Barnett Whitetail have the ideal trigger of three pounds.

Many people argue that crossbows provide more beneficial factors than the traditional longbow.

Using a crossbow is easier. You get a better aim through the scope, maneuverability, and safety. However, compared to the accuracy, power, and velocity of a traditional long-bow, these advantages fall short.

The fastest crossbows produce more than 460 FPS speeds with an average power stroke of 14-25 inches. The traditional bows produce much greater speeds and energy with ease.

All in all, a crossbow might match the superiority of a longbow, but it may not exceed ballistics. However, the ease and comfort you get with a crossbow remain unmatched.

Hopefully, you can find the best crossbow for you on our list.