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Updated on November 7, 2022 at 11:18
Archery is a growing part of the archery landscape for good reason. The best bows are user-friendly (and shoulder-friendly) pieces of hunting gear that have brought veteran bowhunters back into the woods while also introducing the sport to newcomers. Archery can also be a costly endeavor. With high-end bows costing several thousand dollars, getting into this game can be expensive. But there are real bargains available, and finding the best bow for the money is not an impossible task. Here’s where to start looking.
The best bow for the money is one that offers excellent performance and accuracy while meeting your budget constraints. This may mean looking at an xbow from a top brand that isn’t the company’s “flagship” model. This is a sound strategy, because you’ll benefit from the same technologies and components in those more expensive bows—albeit in a model that’s a little less feature-rich. You can also earn value points by looking for a model that is sold as a ready-to-hunt package that includes a scope, quiver and arrows. Many models are available as an all-inclusive kit, but some charge an extra price for these extras. So be a smart shopper.
One tactic to use in your search for the best bow for the money: Identify the type of bow you most want to own. Some like the feel of a more traditional recurve bow. Others prefer a reverse pull setup. Or maybe you’re looking for something ultra-narrow and compact. First narrow your field of focus and then divide that field for the best value option available. Of course, we’ll help by listing some top budget options.
Best Overall: CenterPoint Wrath 430
Super narrow and compact bows have dominated the archery world for the last few years and this trend was started by Ravin’s super innovative approach to bow camera systems. Ravin’s HeliCoil setup changed the game in a big way. CenterPoint is owned by the same parent company as Ravin and, as a result, shares some of the same technology and systems as the Ravin models. Wrath 430 is a great example of this.
As the best overall bow for the money, the Wrath 430 is a bullpup style bow that spans just nine inches when bent and is less than 29 inches long. It uses HeliCoil style cameras to create the 430 fps speed and nimble package. It’s an accurate performer and a big step up from past CenterPoint models. It’s already a value at less than $700—but that price includes a complete package with a 4×32 lighted scope, three arrows, a quiver, and a rope magazine.
Best Speed: Killer Instinct Ripper 425
If you absolutely must have the best speed bow for the money, look no further. With an amazing 425 fps, Killer Instinct’s Ripper 425 is your bow. This speedster is well balanced and features premium components and overall build quality that belies its low price.
The Ripper 425 includes an illuminated scope, darts and quiver and boasts an adjustable butt. It weighs 7.5 pounds and features a 32-inch frame that balances the load. The trigger is set at 3.5 pounds and the bow is just over 14 inches wide when cocked.
Best Comeback: Excalibur Matrix GRZ2
Those old school throwback style bows are very nice. And if you want the best recurve bow for the money, you want an Excalibur. The company is the king of recurve bows and the Matrix GRZ2 is Excalibur’s most budget model.
Like all recurve bows, it is a model of durability thanks to its simple and strong limbs. It boasts a cool, skeletonized frame and a synthetic frame. It is just over 32 inches in overall length and weighs in at a light six pounds. The 100-pound bow strings arrows at 305 fps. And for less than $600, you get a full accessory package along with the bow that includes the scope, arrows, and bow rig.
Best Ravin: Ravin R10
So you just must you have a Ravin bow. Well, by buying the best Ravin bow for the money, chances are you won’t be disappointed. You will spend more than with any other hunting bow on the list, but you can still choose a budget option. The Ravin R10 is the lowest priced model in the Ravin line and introduces you to the top-tier feature set that dominates the archery world.
The Ravin R10 boasts a HeliCoil system that allows the bow to measure just six inches in width when bent, and the excellent locking system makes bending (and undoing) a breeze. It fires arrows at 400 fps and the accuracy is second to none. It’s a lot of fun to shoot and has proven to be durable. The R10 package includes the grip handle, scope with a 100-yard aiming system, three arrows and a quiver.
Best TenPoint: Wicked Ridge Invader 400
The best Tenpoint bow for the money in the TenPoint lineup comes from its Wicked Ridge brand. TenPoint bows have long been an industry standard in hunting bows, and their bows come with a hefty price tag. The Wicked Ridge line is focused on budget options, and the Invader 400 is an excellent representation.
This xbow features TenPoint quality and, at 400 fps, is the fastest in the popular Invader family from Wicked Ridge. These bows are hard to find in stock, but sell for a song with TenPoint’s proven AccuDraw50 winding system. If you want to upgrade to the full AccuDraw system, you’ll need to spend an additional $100. The package includes a 3X Pro-View Illuminated Scope, three darts and a quiver. The bow is made in America and this makes the Invader an even more attractive budget option.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Is the Ravin Crossbow worth the money?
Yes. If you’re serious about bowhunting and want to carry something that’s completely accurate and reliable, then you could do worse than drop a large chunk of cash into a Ravine. Simply put, Ravin defined today’s modern bow technology and they continue to do so. This kind of innovation and performance comes at a price, and that price is pretty high. But you will get exactly what you pay for.
Q: How long will a bow last?
Generally, a bow will be longer than you want to use it. Unless you’re the type who never, ever wants to upgrade your bow, you’ll never wear out any of today’s bows. Limb failures, with rare exceptions, are a thing of the past. Wires, cables? Yes. You will need to replace them every two years. But the overall arc will last as long as you want.
Q: What should I look for when buying a Crossbo?
This question is most easily answered by not asking. Don’t fall in love with a name brand simply because of social media buzz or slick marketing campaigns. Don’t choose a bow based solely on price or the finish of the camo it comes in.
shoot any model you’re considering and only rate it on how it shoots, how it feels, and whether it “fits”. Price, model, brand name—all are secondary considerations that should come into play only after you’ve settled on a few models you know you’ll be happy with.
Final thoughts on the best bows for the money
Whenever you start talking about the “best” of anything, you are entering into a conversation of a subjective nature. My version of perfect isn’t nearly the same as anyone else’s, and that’s okay. However, there are some commonalities to keep in mind. We want a bow that shoots. We want a bow that will last. We want a bow that fits our style of hunting and shooting. Combine these features with a model that fits your budget well and you’ve just found your best bow for the money.