Hunting has become more versatile than ever in the modern-day. However, even with all the new technology surrounding guns or specialist dogs to seek out that big game, there are few tools that can compare with the class and grace of a crossbow.
But how do you decide which is the best crossbow in the market?
Like all things, crossbows have received significant upgrades over the years with improvements in range, mechanism of firing the arrows, and etc. In particular, trail cameras now let you record your hunting experience in good quality.
Nevertheless, to help you find your ideal pick, we will now be reviewing the top ten crossbows out there in the market today.
10 Best Crossbows Comparison:
Bow Weight (lbs)
Draw Weight (lbs)
Matrix GRZ 2
CenterPoint Sniper 370
TenPoint Shadow NXT
SA Sports 647
Whitetail Hunter II
PSE Thrive 400
10 Best Crossbow Reviews:
Without further ado, let us dive straight into it. We have narrowed down to the ten best crossbows you can find today. The rankings were ordered according to several criteria such as string, finish, matrix features, coking support, and others.
1. EXCALIBUR CROSSBOW, Matrix GRZ 2 Package – Best Crossbow for the Money
As for caliber, it can fire 18-inch arrows, which need to be a minimum of 350 grams. The matrix comes with a four-arrow quiver with a bracket, fixed-power scope rings, three 150 grain field points, and the same number of diablo arrows. Cocking effort required is 100 lbs, and kinetic energy transferred being 72.3 KE.
There is no protection against the dry-fire in-built into this bow, which offers the advantage of not having to worry of that part disengaging. As a result, you do not have to keep the crossbow cocked for long periods of time when you are hunting.
2. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow Package – Best Entry Level Crossbow
Its quad limbs give you a precision-machined cams system, while the machined rail comes with a shoot-through riser. If you like to be subtle during your hunts, then the integrated string suppressors will ensure you can fire without making any significant noise.
The aluminum construction keeps it lightweight and easy to maneuver, ensuring you don’t feel burdened when carrying this crossbow around in the field. There is also an anti-dry fire trigger that provides a safety mechanism and prevents unwanted firing.
3. TenPoint Shadow NXT Crossbow Package – Best Lightweight Crossbow
Up next, we have this track driving crossbow sold by TenPoint. It is a powerful bow capable of firing at arrows at a velocity of 380 feet per second. You get a Pro-View 2.0 scope that is calibrated to operate in a 330 FPS range. With three crosshairs and four dots, it can cover ranges of 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards.
Staying with the scope, it is made of high aluminum, which keeps its weight down, making it easier to carry around both during hunts and on the journeys getting there. As for the quiver, it is a three-arrow instant detach quiver. The bracket is an ambidextrous side mounting bracket to fit all users.
You also get three arrows when you purchase this crossbow. These are TenPoint elite carbon arrows, which also come with 100-grain practice points.
The cocking mechanism consists of an ACUDraw integrated self-retracting rope cocking device. It helps brings the draw weight down to half the actual weight. It considers as a good crossbow option for women as it is lightweight.
4. SA Sports 647 Empire Fever Pro – Affordable Crossbow
Elsewhere, there is a quick detach quiver that makes it easier to mount and dismount and a padded shoulder ring, which makes carrying it a lot easier. To make your job even easier, it is fitted with a hand saver palm grip on a Picatinny rail, in addition to an ambidextrous auto-safety mechanism.
There is also an integrated broadhead wrench that has been molded into the stock, along with a storage compartment that can be flipped open. The cocking mechanism relies on a Weaver-style scope mount, making this a crank cocking device and relatively safe.
5. RAVIN R10 Crossbow Package – Best Crossbow for Hunting
Moving on to other things, you get 6 Ravin branded arrows when you buy this while the Ravin nocks consist of one removable cocking handle, one quiver or mounting bracket, and six 100-grain practice field points. The scope offers illumination of up to 100 yards.
Other utilities and features include built-in sling mounts, a built-in vice versa cocking mechanism, and an anti-dry fire safety mechanism based on Helicoid technology. Lastly, this crossbow is made with a shorter guide design, which includes a safety switch option.
Overall, this is a lightweight, compact option. But that doesn’t mean it sacrifices power. The aforementioned Helicoid technology gives you 400 FPS and extremely accurate downrange precision.
6. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow – Best Crossbow for Deer Hunting
As for firing capacity, the arrow speeds this crossbow can generate clocks in at 350 feet per second. Therefore, it’s often termed as the best crossbow for deer hunting as it requires great arrow speed.
The axle-to-axle stretch is 16.125 inches, and it is a lightweight product that is easy to carry about and mobilize in the field during hunts.
Another important aspect of this crossbow is that it comes mostly pre-assembled. The user does not have to put it together. And the power stroke measures at 12.5 and the Trigger Tech Technology it is based on ensures a 3 lb zero creep release.
Its construction is all stainless steel, giving you a durable, robust product that stands up well to the abuse of time and extended use. There are also safety mechanisms in place to eliminate the risk of dry fires. The nock sensors and ADF are put in place for that purpose.
In addition, it comes a 4x32 scope, a rope cocking device, two Headhunter arrows measuring at 20 inches each, a lightweight quiver, and lube wax. It is recommended to wax the strings once every ten shots.
7. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package - Best Value Crossbow
This crossbow utilizes the TenPoint 3X multi-line scope and an ACUdraw cocking mechanism. Other necessities included are three arrow quiver and three Wicked Ridge arrows together with 100-grain practice tips.
The axle-to-axle width is 22.6 inches when cocked and 19 when uncocked, while power stroke registers at 13.5 inches. As for the draw weight, this crossbow can support up to 165 lbs. With a generated arrow speed of 330 feet per second and a KE value of 96 FP.
Lastly, we would like to give another mention to the cocking mechanism. The integrated self-retracting rope cocking device helps to reduce the draw weight exerted on the crossbow by 50%, expanding the options possible with this crossbow.
8. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package – Entry Level Crossbow
Arrow speeds are particularly quick thanks to Barnett’s new ADF MIM trigger that is used in this product.
The package provides a rapidly detachable quiver, bolts, a high-quality red dot sight, and three arrows. In terms of structure and design, it has a stylish military look, cable system, synthetic string, and high energy wheels.
As a good practice, it is advised that the user should wax and clean the string at least once for every ten shots that are fired during use.
Another important precaution is to make sure whenever you are loading the crossbow, the odd colored arrow fetching is oriented downwards. Lastly, to further improve user comfort while handling, you get the Picatinny/Weaver rail divided foregrip.
9. PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander - Best Crossbow under $500
Getting into its structure, this crossbow includes four 22-inch carbon bolts with points and 1 discharge bolts. Furthermore, this is a compound bow that operates with a CNC mechanism, greatly elevating its speed, accuracy, precision, and power.
Additional structural modifications for better performance include a reverse cam system. This gives you a longer power stroke, which in turn increases the kinetic energy delivered to every shot you fire.
And the scope is a 4x32 illuminated variety. There are also measures put in place for eliminating noise and vibrations. This comes in the form of string stops which are built into the bow beforehand, for dampening any unwanted noise when you shoot.
As is common, the total package includes the quiver, cocking rope, and rail lube. Lastly, it includes an anti-dry fire mechanism to ensure your safety and those around you.
10. BOLT Crossbows The Seeker Crossbow - Best Beginner Crossbow
The arrow firing speed is relatively low at 200 feet per second. Although it is worth mentioning, this is capable of securing a small game. The draw weight stands at 80 pounds. Included with the purchase are three aluminum bolts, while the foregrip is also pre-built into the crossbow.
While it lacks power, there certainly is no such issue with its accuracy. The foregrip comes into play here again, providing a good balance, control, and aim. Moreover, there are adjustable sights built into the system, which enables the excellent accuracy we just touted.
It can shoot either plastic or aluminum bolts. The former can be fired at 200 feet per second, as we had already mentioned; the latter owing to its heavier weight are launched slower at 160 feet per second. Three aluminum bolts, along with a paper target, are included with the purchase.
Finally, there is an anti-dry fire measure put into place just in case of any accidents.
How to Choose the Best One – Crossbow Buying Guide
Among all our recommendations, there must be that one crossbow, which is the absolute best fit for you. So how do you go about deciding that best crossbow for the money?
The answer, of course, lies in the features and various aspects of a crossbow. While we may have bombarded you with all kinds of technicalities, now we will try and simply explain to you just which of said features you should be paying more attention to, so as to make the best choice.
Power and Accuracy
The first thing is first; the reason you get a crossbow is for hunting. Hence, its foremost function has to be how effectively and accurately it can shoot arrows. Arrow speed is usually the first key indicator of it. Speeds of 350 feet per second or higher are generally considered desirable for most kinds of hunting.
However, it is not just about how fast the arrow is shot but also how well it can strike a given target, especially since the target can be moving. Accuracy depends on a number of things from the technology on which the crossbow is based on the stability provided by the foregrip.
And the arrow track, something we have not mentioned specifically thus far, plays a key role in determining the accuracy of a given crossbow. It is basically the barrel structure which constitutes the launching mechanism for the arrows. A precise arrow track is a must if the crossbow has to land its targets.
We kept mentioning draw weight, power stroke, and kinetic energy for the various crossbows we reviewed. All of these contribute to the overall efficiency of the bow’s functioning and are important parameters to look at if you are indeed looking to buy one.
The draw weight refers to the amount of force needed to pull back the string before shooting an arrow. It is basically a measure of how much effort it requires to fire the thing. As you can imagine, the best products are those who demand less strenuous effort of the user and hence are more efficient.
Then we have the kinetic energy. For most purposes, this is directly related to the previous point. How much energy a crossbow transfer to the arrow depends almost entirely on how effectively it is able to utilize the energy input from the winding back of the string.
Finally, there is the power stroke. Very simply put, the power stroke is the difference in length of the string in the cocked position compared to its length in the uncocked state. Ideally, a longer power stroke means more energy being transferred to the arrow.
Quality of Structure
Regardless of what product you are buying, if the material with which it is made is not of good quality, then the product itself will most likely be an unwise purchase. Crossbows are certainly no different. Hence, it is important to look at the construction and various parts to ensure it is worth your money.
The products we reviewed were either made of stainless steel or aluminum. Both of these are relatively good indicators of quality. Stainless steel usually means the crossbow will be robust and durable, even after extended periods of usage. On the other hand, an aluminum body ensures it is lightweight and easy to carry.
Then there is the question of the various parts. For something as structurally complex as a crossbow, it is vital that the important components are well made. In particular, the various bolts, the string, the scope, the stirrup, and other such functionally important parts have to be of a good quality build.
This may seem a little too obvious, but nonetheless, the price tag is also a factor that influences the value of a crossbow. Like any other tool, you wouldn’t want to pay an excessive amount for something that is available elsewhere at a lower price. For crossbows, which are costly in general, this is highly important.
The high-end crossbows will cost you in excess of a thousand dollars. And if big hunting is your profession, then you may very well have to invest in those. However, if you are just trying hunting as a hobby or do not have that much cash, then rest assured, a few hundred dollars will also fetch good quality.
While cheaper crossbows may not have some features such as an illuminated scope or advanced technology for improving energy transfer, you will still be able to participate in hunts with satisfactory performance.
A crossbow can be a dangerous weapon, especially the powerful ones shooting potentially lethal arrows at hundreds of feet per second. Thus, it is absolutely vital that proper, robust safety mechanisms are put into place. These anti-dry firelocks and systems are a crucial part of a crossbow.
The simplest anti-dry fire system consists of a catch that can alternate between a closed position that prevents the string from release and an open position that does allow you to fire. You should pay the utmost attention to the quality of this particular part before buying a crossbow.
Nowadays, of course, more advanced systems have been designed that add further layers of safety for the user and those around him. We mentioned the ACUdraw, which is a self-retracting rope cocking device as an example.
A host of other utilities for a crossbow to function properly. Some rather obvious such as arrows and a quiver, others may be less well known, such as scopes that can light up. Normally when you purchase a crossbow, somethings are included in the package such as arrows, quivers, practice points, etc.
The arrows are particularly important, as you can imagine. While a certain type of arrow will come with the crossbow, you would want a crossbow that can make use of a range of arrows so that you have more options.
There are also features designed to improve certain aspects of your experience, such as silent, noiseless strings. It is wise to do some research beforehand to know the full range of options possible for crossbows and then go out shopping for one.
Types of Crossbow
Like most tools and weapons, crossbows come in different varieties of basic types. Each of these will be suitable for a different set of people; hence, you would be well advised to go through them and then choose which type of crossbow is the best fit for you. The following lists these types:
The first functional classification of crossbows is based on their handling. One-handed crossbow, as the name implies, will only require the efforts of one hand for full use. These offer certain advantages in compactness and lightweight nature.
Also, these crossbows are more suitable for small game hunting, target practice, and, if need be, then self-defense. These do lack the power and accuracy of the more devastating crossbows out there.
Most commercially available crossbows are two-handed. The difference between these and one-handed crossbows is rather obvious: their use requires the use of both hands. In general, these are very powerful with arrow speeds and kinetic energy ratings and are also extremely accurate.
We are into structural classifications, and now compound crossbows are defined by the method with which the string is drawn up. For these crossbows, cams perform this function. This allows a more efficient transfer of kinetic energy to the arrow and gives you a reduced draw weight.
These take their name from the fact that the tip of the bow curves in the opposite direction to the user. Compared to compound crossbows, recurve crossbow weigh less and come at a lower price. They are also easier to maintain. Although they do have a drawback of being harder to cock.
How to Maintenance Your Crossbow - Tips
Crossbows are complicated tools that need regular maintenance so that they stay in good shape. Furthermore, these are also dangerous weapons; hence, it becomes very important to make sure all the parts are how they are supposed to be in order to avoid any accidents. The following are some important practices:
Waxing the String
We mentioned this for several of our products. The string is arguably the most important component of a crossbow, and as such, it becomes imperative to ensure it stays in the best possible shape. Waxing or applying lube to the string after every few rounds of shots is extremely advisable.
Lubricating the Rail
Another vital cog in a crossbow machine is the rail. Given its importance in determining how much friction you experience when firing your bolts, it is a very useful practice to keep the rail well-lubricated at all times so as to minimize that friction. It is recommended to not go for Vaseline lubes.
Trouble Shooting before Use
Whether you are getting ready to go on that big game hunt or simply bringing it out for some target practice, it is imperative you check that it's functioning properly before attempting to fire. Check for loosened bolts, any cracks in the limbs, or unnaturally bent arrow shafts.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to crossbows and their would-be answers:
- Are crossbows suitable for children?
For children under ten or so, they are absolutely not safe. However, teenagers should be able to use them, especially the lightweight ones, provided they have the strength for cocking the string. You can check our guide of best youth crossbows to know what types of crossbows are suitable for youth.
- Are crossbows very expensive?
You will find options available at a few hundred dollars. If you are into big game hunting, then it is not a very significant component of your overall spending.
- Do I have to assemble the bow myself?
You will have to put some of the parts together, although it varies from one product to another.
- What determines how powerful a crossbow can be?
Usually, this is a question of the cocking mechanism and how efficiently the potential energy of the string is transferred into the kinetic energy of the arrow.
- Are crossbows powerful enough for big game hunting?
The power crossbows can fire arrows at well over 300 feet per second and hence will certainly be powerful enough to secure your game.
- What to look for when buying a crossbow
The main areas you should be looking at are the accuracy, the speed, the weight, and the safety features included in the crossbow.
- What can you hunt with a crossbow?
Generally speaking, most games can be hunted with a crossbow. If you are hunting deer or other commonly hunted animals, a crossbow will serve all your needs.
- How can I reduce the noise of a crossbow?
Some crossbows come with their noise reduction mechanisms, such as specially-made noise dampening strings. Otherwise, you can add dampeners yourself to the bolt spring, limbs, and barrel of the crossbow.
Even today, hunting remains one of the most popular forms of adventure hobbies. Regardless of the kind of game you are trying to secure, crossbows can be an ideal tool to call upon. We hope crossbow reviews have helped you decide which is the best crossbow for you.