The crossbow is a versatile piece of equipment owned by many hunting enthusiasts. Using a crossbow to hunt offers the individual a unique and challenging experience that hunting with a rifle cannot. You’ve most likely found yourself looking at this guide for one of two reasons.
- Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re steering away from firearms and seeking traditional hunting methods which require more skill
- or possibly you want to experience the excitement of archery hunting but cannot draw a regular bow.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to invest in a crossbow, we’re here to assist you in finding the best crossbow for you. Our detailed guide will explore the different types of crossbows and what sets one apart from the next.
Following our list of top 10 crossbow reviews, you’ll find our crossbow buyer’s guide with considerations you should make before looking to make your purchase.
Best Crossbows 2021 – Breakdown of Core Features
|Model||Length||Width||Weight||Power Stroke||Draw Weight||FPS|
|TenPoint Turbo GT|
(Best Crossbow for the Money)
|35"||17.5" / 13.5"||6.5lbs||12.6"||175lbs||360|
|TenPoint Titan SS||35"||21.5" / 18.5''||6.7lbs||12.5"||175lbs||340|
|Wicked Ridge Invader G3||37.75"||22.6'' / 19''||6.6lbs||13.5"||165lbs||330|
|CenterPoint Sniper 370||36.5"||21" / 18"||7.9lbs||13.5"||185lbs||370|
|Wicked Ridge Invader G3||37.75"||22.6" / 19"||6.6lbs||13.5"||165lbs||330|
|Barnett Ghost 410 CRT||37.4"||20"||7.3lbs||15.38"||185lbs||410|
|Stryker Katana 360||20"||20" / 17.5"||6.5lbs||13"||150lbs||360|
|Ravin R15 Predator|
|34.5"||10.5" / 6"||6.9lbs||13"||195lbs||425|
|Killer Instinct SWAT||29"||14"||6.9lbs||17.5"||165lbs||385+|
So what exactly makes a crossbow differ from a regular bow?
Simply put, a crossbow is basically a version of a rifle without gunpowder. It is a handheld weapon that sends a projectile towards a target. You can also describe it as an archery weapon that has amounted riser attached to a rigid stock.
In contrast, the regular bow, otherwise known as a ‘hand-drawn bow,’ requires the archer to engage their entire body to make an accurate shot. A hand-drawn bow typically has a draw weight that is less than half of a crossbow. It weighs less and is much easier to draw, whereas a crossbow must either be drawn by a mechanical (hand crank) system or an assisted cocking device.
One of the main differences you’ll notice is the accuracy between a hand-drawn bow and a crossbow. This is because the crossbow has a consistent anchor point where the arrow sits in the same spot every time. The traditional bow requires a great deal of training in order to accurately and consistently make a good shot.
Types of Crossbows
The type of crossbow you end up buying should be the one that feels best for you. Ultimately, you will be the one using it; therefore, you’ll need to ask yourself which environment you plan to shoot in as well as which features are vitally important to you.
Also known as a traditional style crossbow, this crossbow has a very basic design and is almost maintenance-free. You can visually tell it apart from other bows by its tips that curve away from the archer.
Known for being more powerful and faster, the compound crossbow has a narrow frame and powerful pulley system, which lends to larger potential energy in the bolt. Many favor this model as it is quieter than a recurve crossbow and has a smaller profile, making them easier to maneuver. The compound crossbow is distinguishable by its risers which face the shooter, and the limbs that point away from the shooter. In this type of crossbow, the cams are more exposed, being placed in front of the crossbow.
What makes a good crossbow?
Over the last 20 years, Crossbows have made huge advancements in design and functionality, and as a result, more people have taken an interest in switching over to this hunting weapon. Simply put, a good crossbow is one that suits your needs best. Stay tuned near the end of our guide to find out what must-haves are essential in a crossbow. The crossbows featured below are the top makes and models, with varying specs and features, meaning there’ll be an option for everyone!
The Top 10 Best Crossbow Reviews 2018!
TenPoint Turbo GT – The Best Crossbow for the Money
If you’re looking for the best crossbow for the money, you’ll find it in this ultra compound crossbow by TenPoint. Shooting faster than most compound crossbows, the Turbo GT has been recognized as the Game & Fish Reader’s Choice Award winner in 2016.
Full of incredible features, extras, and built to last! Its Fusion S stock adjusts to 2 fixed positions for the perfect length of pull while the powerful ACRA-ANGLE™barrel launches arrows at an incredible 360 FPS. It has MRX cams and D97 stings and cables, isotope limbs, and any user can easily operate. For comfort and ease of shooting, the Turbo GT has been designed with holes in the stock where you can wrap your fingers around for extra grip. This skeleton stock design helps to reduce the overall weight of the crossbow and improve balance.
The best part of this crossbow is they’ve got your safety covered 100%. With glass-reinforced safety wings on the stock, situated above the grip, your fingers will be kept clear of danger behind the protective guard.
As with the above model by TenPoint, the Titan SS is equipped with the Fusion S stock system with adjustable comb height and a two-position butt plate. These features make it possible to customize the length of the pull.
The trigger on this model has been placed further down the stock to boost performance. For comfort and confidence while handling, the skeletonize stock design with finger guards provides extra safety to the archer.
Welcome what many call the best of the best, the Invader G3 by Wicked Ridge, designed and built with a solid quality of construction. With all the included essentials, you’ll be set and ready to shoot right after assembly.
Built with a focus on the newest technologies and tested for performance and durability in the U.S.A, the Invader G3 is one of the best crossbows on the market today. As a winner of several awards such as the Outdoor Life Great Buy, the Invader G3 with the ACUdraw cocking device makes their name heard loud and clear.
Finally, a bow is perfect for women, smaller framed individuals, or those with bad backs. This is a great bow for anyone wanting to start out or for those intermediates in the bunch. Able to take down many types of games, the Barnett Recruit is powerfully accurate. Although this crossbow is designed to be compact and lightweight, this crossbow holds 80-foot pounds of energy and shoots at 300 FPS.
With this model, be sure to apply the included lube wax to the strings, cables, and flight track before cocking the crossbow. Also, remember to purchase suitable arrows such as Barnett 20” carbon arrows to ensure you do not damage the other parts of the crossbow while shooting.
As the name suggests, you’ll be right on point like a sniper with this compound crossbow. Takedown big game with confidence thanks to the accuracy and precision CNC-machined aluminum rail and cam system, which delivers high powered speeds of around 370 FPS. Design features make it easy to handle, light, and durable, thus allowing for better maneuverability.
Thanks to integrated string suppressors, you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet and vibration-free shot. Additional features are its anti-dry fire and auto-safety trigger—both act by preventing unintentional shots. So if you’re looking for high quality and the best crossbow for the money you can finally afford, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 will not disappoint.
As you’ll notice, this model is the Multi-line version of #3 in our list, also 100% made in the US. The main difference between the two models is that the Invader G3 uses the ACUdraw cocking system while the Multi-line utilizes the ACU-52.
This compound crossbow is the fastest, most lightweight, narrow, and safe crossbow from the Wicked Ridgeline. In addition, it has a sleek and integrated self-retracting rope cocking system for a bonus, which reduces the draw weight by 50%.
Lighter and faster than the previous model, the Ghost 400, the Barnett Ghost 410 has various impressive features, making it one of the most loved in crossbow reviews. Differentiating themselves from the competition with their Carbonlite Riser Technology (CRT). With their patent-protected technology, the crossbow can shift balance points from the riser back to the shooter’s shoulder, allowing a perfect balance of speed and weight.
Design features include a CNC machined aluminum flight track and Picatinny rail, composite laminated limbs, a Crosswire string, and cable system, and the option to integrate a crank cocking device.
Remember, with this model, it is advisable to wax the strings every 10 shots to maintain longevity.
Many crossbow reviews claim there’s no other substitute. Although the Ravin appears near the end of our top 10 best crossbow reviews, it’s by no means any less superior than our number 1. What makes this bow boldly different is its use of Helicoid technology.
The rifle-like design has several advantages that provide incredible accuracy in every shot. Along with this consistent accuracy, the combination of speed and power to this bow is unmatched in the industry.
As far as ease of use, the design makes it significantly smaller and much narrower than the standard crossbow, and thus the R15 Predator is extremely maneuverable.
Introducing the fastest and shortest crossbow available today and not to mention one of the quietest! The Killer Instinct SWAT uses technology that combines balance, power, and durable design into the next greatest ‘Sub-Compact’ bow. This tactical package produces speeds greater than 385 feet per second with a draw weight of only 165lbs.
The use of concealed string technology allows the compression of the string into the barrel; it also acts as a comfortable place to rest your cheek. Thus, there are two main functions of the CNC double barrel system. One acts as a vibration and noise suppressor, while the other allows the strings to float freely between the two barrels to eliminate possible friction and improve accuracy.
Crossbow Buyers Guide
There are many things you will need to consider regarding performance and design before purchasing your crossbow; however, the most important consideration to make before them all is safety.
Draw Weight / Poundage
The type of game you plan on hunting will determine the amount of draw weight you require. By basic standards, to hunt a whitetail deer, you should look for a crossbow with a draw weight of no less than 150lbs, although 175-200 lbs are preferred. For moose or elk, a draw weight of no less than 225lbs is advised.
More important than speed is the point of impact where you make your shot. Thereof a crossbow that can show consistency inaccuracy should be a consideration high on your list. The accuracy and scope of the shot will depend greatly on the power behind the shot and the draw weight of the crossbow.
Ease of use is vital to being able to effectively use your crossbow, which is why cocking method should be of high consideration.
Remember: If you have problems cocking a crossbow, it’s best to go with a system that assists the process.
The feet per second (FPS) at which the bow travels is vitally important to reaching your target with precision and accuracy. On average, you want to look for a crossbow that shoots roughly 305 FPS. In addition, you’ll want a fast arrow speed if you plan to kill your target with one shot.
This is not a make-or-break feature, but if you are planning to buy a more expensive model, the scope that comes with it should be more than adequate. Since you will most likely only be using the scope for shots between 10-40 yards, a magnification of 4x is usually best to suit all of these situations. The scope light will either be red or green. Some have the option of both with the change of a switch. Look for a scope that performs well in low light.
Last but not least, the materials will ensure durability, which is why you want to make sure your crossbow is from high-quality materials in the limbs, strings, slights, bolts, stock, arrows, and all other components. In addition, all parts of the crossbow will need to function harmoniously together, which is why they all must be of the highest quality.
User Maintenance Tips + Things to Remember
It’s not always easy to find the best crossbow for the money. You are willing to spend on and one that is specific to your needs. The process may seem overwhelming at first when shopping for the best crossbow but remember that if you choose one that feels right, you won’t go wrong. Whether it is a recurve or a compound crossbow, make sure it is built and designed with high-quality materials, has proven consistency in performance, is accurate, and finally, is easy for you to cock. The ideal crossbow for hunting will be one that has a higher draw weight, fast arrow speed, and is lightweight, all of which are characteristics our top 10 crossbow models above share. Choose the right crossbow, take care of it through proper use and maintenance, and we’re confident you’ll have a tool to last you through the years.