Deep in the jungles of South America and Europe, our ancestors stalked animals slowly with a bow and arrow. By moving quietly, they could get as close as possible, which was needed with such a primitive weapon. Today everything has changed with the compound bow.
The compound bow uses a levering system of cables and pulleys, which help to bend the limbs of the bow further… and provide a more accurate and faster shot.
Not everyone uses compound bows for hunting, but a large percentage do and for good reason. In this article, we will help you to find the best compound bow for your particular needs and educate you on why this personal decision is so important.
Choosing Your Compound Bow: 3 Surprising Steps
The best compound bow is going to be the one that fits your build, skills, and needs. Whatever you are most comfortable with and find easiest to hit the target is what you should choose.
In order to figure this out, there are a few factors we need to find out…
(If you want to skip down to our recommended compound bow, skip to the next section)
#1. What are you using the bow for?
Each bow is not made equally. A compound bow that is well set up for the comfort of target practice on the range is not the same as a rugged piece of equipment you can crawl around with while deer hunting.
When you are compound bowhunting, the experience is very different. Not only will you use broadheads as opposed to field tips, but you’ll want a better release, sight, and just about everything else. Suffice it to say, hunting vs. target practice are very different things.
A skilled hunter can get away using just about any compound bow, but better to have one that will help you respect the animal with a clean kill.
#2. Find your eye dominance
Plenty of archery enthusiasts know their dominant hand and buy compound bows based on that information, but it’s not always right. The dominant eye is important to identify what bow is right for you. To figure out your dominant eye:
- Pick an object in the distance
- Put your hands together and make a small circle between them to view the object
- Look at the object with both eyes open
- Alternate looking at the object with one eye open and then the other
- The one eye that you can still see the object is the dominant eye
#3. Are you willing to hire a coach?
Surprisingly, archery is more than nocking an arrow and pulling it back. There is a lot more that goes into firing an arrow accurately and private coaching can make a big difference in your fundamentals. For some people, having some coaching with their compound bow is probably useful for maximizing the effectiveness.
It probably will not cost much, but it will help you to determine whether a different bow might be better for you. They may also be able to tell you how to customize elements of the bow to make it fit your body type and habits a bit better. For example, a coach once told me to find a thicker grip so I could hold it more firmly while shooting.
After You Buy
Perhaps the most important (and often surprising) aspect of buying a compound bow is getting it sighted and set up by a bow technology specialist. Just because you buy a compound bow that is all the right specs for you does not mean it is set up with your exact draw length, weight, and other factors.
These all need to be customized after you purchase the compound bow, but not by anybody. It needs to be done by something that you know and can trust because this is arguably the most important set up for you and the bow.
We recommend NOT purchasing your bow from Cabela’s and assuming that their bow tech on staff is good enough to set it up. While there are probably well-trained bow techs, it is best to find a local archery range that has dedicated staff for that specific purpose. Bonus points if you can speak with a local archery coach about their favorite bow tech!
Best Compound Bow: Our Recommendation
There are many great compound bow manufacturers and models, but if we had to choose one that is best (and most popular for a reason), we would have to go with Diamond Infinite Edge Pro.
This recommendation came straight from a USA Archery coach that has trained Olympic athletes. Speaking with him 1 on 1, he told me that many locations (like Cabela’s) will try to push a Mathews compound bow on beginners, but the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro is the better bet.
It’s one of the most light weight, has an adjustable draw weight and draw length. Here are some more specs:
- Draw length: 13 – 31 inches
- Arrow speed: 310 fps
- Draw weight: 5 – 70 lbs.
Compound Bow Reviews
Even though we recommend the Diamond model explained above, we realize there is room for variety for anyone who seeks the best compound bow. These additional options have their own advantages, which we will try to make clear. Some of the compound bow reviews are here because they cater to a specific audience, such as the women and children archers.
#1. SAS Rage Compound Bow
Purchase the SAS Rage here
The SAS Rage is an affordable starter bow that is less than half the cost of the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro. It has its flaws and we would never recommend going into the field to hunt with an SAS Rage, but if you are strictly target shooting for fun, it might be a good option.
This is probably one of the best quality budget options that you’ll find. Keep in mind, the difference between this budget option ($120) and the recommended Diamond bow ($350) is only $230. If there is any chance you’ll stick with the hobby, it might be better to get the better model.
#2. Martin Archery Lithium Compound Bow
Reason: High quality
On the other side of the spectrum is the Martin Archery Lithium compound bow, which spares no expense creating the best bow money can buy. You’ll pay a hefty $6 – 700 to get this bow, but if you are someone who only buys the “best of the best”, then this might be a good option for you.
The specs on the Martin Archery Lithium are better than the Diamond Infinite Edge. The speed is greater, the vibration of the bow is less, and it is quiet, which makes it perfect for hunting.
#3. Genesis Original Compound Bow
Reason: For children
Purchase the Genesis Original here
Children go in and out of phases of interest with their hobbies. Even if you’d prefer them get a great bow to start with, a Genesis Original might be more economical. It is easy to set up, easy to shoot, and it is perfect for basics.
#4. Bear Archery Siren Compound Bow
Reason: For women
The Bear Archery company dedicated resources to developing a bow specifically made for women, which is said to accommodate their specific nature. The draw weight and lengths match what most women would be comfortable with so it can be a good option for both hunting and target archers.
Compound Bow Customization
If archery was easy, everyone would be doing it. By now, you’ve probably realized there are some steps you have to take before purchasing a compound bow, but even if you find the best compound bow, there are customizations you might need to make.
Each person is different and that alters how we interact with the bow. There are multiple things we can customize after getting a bow tech to help us set up:
- Sight – the peep sight and the multi-colored pins require some adjusting or even purchasing altogether new models.
- Release – getting a high quality release is useful especially when doing quick adjustments. This doesn’t come with the bow, but it’s something you’ll customize after.
- Arrow rest – some people adjust the default arrow rest to avoid interference with the arrow fletching.
Speak to your bow tech after shooting with him to decide whether any of these customizations are worthwhile.
Practice and Hunting
Compound bow hunting is incredibly rewarding, but also very challenging. If you are researching the best compound bow reviews to get into the field and hunt game, it is a responsibility not to take lightly.
To prepare for a big game hunt (such as whitetail deer), you will probably practice more in a single day than you would need to with a rifle altogether. Many times, bow hunters will practice every day leading up to their hunting trips. This is a major commitment to not only the sport, but also the animal.
A poor shot with a compound bow can lead to a wounded animal that you never find. This is one of the main reasons why hunting with a compound bow is risky. Of course, the challenge is also a rewarding experience for those who wish to hunt game more closely to how our ancestors did.
If you want to learn more about practicing and hunting with a compound bow, join our Conscious Hunter VIP membership, which is free for the first month when you sign up here.