Top 5 Best Hunting Bows of 2021

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Top 5 Best Hunting Bows of 2021

The best hunting bow varies depending on your budget and expectations. We understand some people want the best hunting bow that's out there, while others want the best hunting bow for the money. Whether you're looking for the best bow money can buy or the best hunting bow on a budget, we've done a deep dive into each scenario and presented who we believe are the top 5 best hunting bows. 

When Comparing Hunting Bows, Keep in Mind:

The best hunting bow for you may be different than the best hunting bow for someone else. It's important to understand the bow specifications and what they mean (scroll down to bow specifications if you don't know what they mean). From here, you can get an idea of what specifications best fit you, and then find a bow that meets those requirements. This will bring a long list of bows down to a short list you can test in person at an archery range to make your final decision. 

The term "RTH" refers to "Ready to Hunt", while "RTS" means "Ready to Shoot". These two terms are used interchangeable and mean the hunting bow package comes with everything you need to be ready to hunt out of the box. If the RTH or RTS term is not used, then plan on receiving a bare bow that will require you to purchase the extra accessories to make it ready to hunt such as stabilizers, sights, quiver, and more. 

Another commonly used term in comparing specs is the IBO and ATA speed ratings, and how they compare to the actual speed rating. Here's a description of where each come from:

  • International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) Speed Rating refers to measuring speed at a draw of 80 lbs, maximized draw length, and a 400 grain arrow.
  • Archery Trade Association (ATA) Speed Rating refers to measuring speed at a draw of 70 lbs, 30 inch draw length, and a 350 grain arrow. 
  • Actual speed rating will vary depending on actual draw length, poundage setting, and grain of arrow. For most people who do not set the draw length to 30+ inches or the poundage to 70+ lbs, the advertised speed will be faster than the actual speed they will see. 

Once you've picked out your hunting bow, match it with a bow stabilizer light for night hunting and you'll be ready to go nocturnal. The brightness adjustability, true-red, true-green, and infrared LEDs are guaranteed to bring more stealth to your nighttime bow hunting trips. The light comes standard with picatinny rail mounts, allowing it to easily swap back and forth from your hunting bow to your rifle. 

Top 5 Best Hunting Bows of 2021

We've made it easy to choose the best bow for you by separating out the top hunting bows into two categories: the Top 5 All-Around Best Hunting Bows and the Top 5 Best Budget Hunting Bows

Top 5 Best Hunting Bows

1. Xpedition X30 Compound Bow
2. Mathews Archery V3 Hunting Bow
3. Hoyt Ventum 33 Hunting Bow
4. Elite Enkore Compound Bow
5. Bowtech Solution Compound Hunting Bow

Top 5 Best Budget Hunting Bows

Top 5 Best Hunting Bows

Here is a list of the 5 best all-around hunting bows. We are purely looking at quality and performance as it relates to hunting, the price of the bow may be mentioned but it was not a determining factor in finding the 5 best hunting bows on this list. 

Xpedition X30 Compound Bow

Xpedition Archery was founded in 2013, and is a relatively young bow company compared to many of their competitors. Although they are young, they are earning their respect in the high-performance bow world as they are dubbed the "king of speed" in hunting bows. If you're looking for a fast shooting hunting bow, look no further than the Xpedition X Series hunting bows. 

The Xpedition X Series bows shoot up to an astounding 350-352 FPS (IBO speed rating for the X30) and only weigh 3.6 lbs. This puts them as not only among the fastest shooting bows, but among the most lightweight bows in the lineup. 

Xpedition X Series X30 Compound Hunting Bow

Xpedition X30 Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Fastest shooting bow in the lineup
  • Most lightweight bow in the lineup
  • Utilizes X-Loy by Magnite (a blend of alloys infused with carbon to make the bow more light weight, yet stronger than aluminum.)
  • LVR (Lever) cam achieves higher levels of efficiency, allowing hunters to push more kinetic energy and momentum.
  • ETS (Energy Transfer System) increases performance and efficiency by pre-loading cables and limiting cable movement. 

CON'S

  • Young company, doesn't have the roots the more developed companies have in terms of long term outlook. 
  • Among the most expensive at MSRP of $1,399

 

XPEDITION XSERIES (X30) SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: 29.625" +/- 0.250"
  • Brace Height: 6.25" +/- 0.125"
  • Draw Weight: available in 50, 60, 65, 70 lbs
  • Draw Length: Lever cam available in 25.5" to 30"
  • Let-Off: 80% Adj.
  • Physical Weight: 3.60 lbs
  • IBO Speed Rating: 350-352 FPS
  • Cam: LVR (Lever) Cam
  • MSRP: $1,399

Mathews Archery V3 Hunting Bow

Mathews Archery was founded in 1992, when founder and CEO Matt McPherson first invented the Solocam technology. Mathews is a well-known manufacturer in the bow space, namely for always staying ahead of the curve in finding the next best thing in terms of hunting bow performance.

Year in and year out, you will see Mathews Archery continue to improve an already industry-leading bow. If you're looking for quality, look no further than a company that puts quality material components first and continually micromanages their production process to ensure consistent greatness.

Their latest hunting bow is the V3 hunting bow. Improvements over prior bows include their longest riser to axle-to-axle ratio, making for a more compact hunting rig that maintains great accuracy. It also comes stock with the new patent-pending Centerguard cable containment and all-new Nano 740 damper for better vibration control. The vibration control, maneuverability, and accuracy of the Mathews V3 hunting bow put it at the top of our list as one of the most well-rounded hunting bows. 

Mathews V3 Hunting Bow

Mathews Archery V3 Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Lightweight, great for agile hunters, great accuracy for precision shooters. 
  • New Nano 740 damper help hunters remain stealthy with added vibration control
  • American made, originator of the Solocam technology

CON'S

  • Bow is brand new for 2021, does not have as much customer feedback as previous bows, albeit they are improving on previous bows. 

MATHEWS V3 SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: available in 31" (V3 31) or 27" (V3 27)
  • Brace Height: 6"
  • Draw Weight: available in 60, 65, 70, 75 lbs
  • Draw Length: V3 31 available in 26" to 30.5", V3 27 available in 25" to 29.5"
  • Let-Off: 80 or 85%
  • Physical Weight: V3 31 weighs 4.50 lbs, V3 27 weights 4.29 lbs
  • International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) Speed Rating
    • V3 31 rated for up to 342 FPS
    • V3 27 rated for up to 336 FPS
  • Cam: Crosscentric with Switch weight Technology
  • MSRP: $1,199

Hoyt Ventum 33 Hunting Bow

Hoyt Archery was founded by Earl Hoyt Sr. in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. They started off producing handmade cedar arrows and wooden bows, and were eventually purchased by Jas. D. Easton, Inc. in 1983. Jas. D. Easton owns Easton technical products who is a manufacturer of arrows, tent tubing, and medical tubing. 

Hoyt Archery is a staple in the bow hunting world, as they are true seasoned veterans. They've been in the business longer than most other companies, and continue to develop and produce great quality bows. 

The Hoyt Ventum 33 is their latest hunting bow where their mantra is redefining smooth.

As a part of their mission to redefine smooth, they have relocated the stabilizer, upgraded to the HBX Cam, redesigned their limb shock pods, added a low friction roller guard with sealed ball bearings, and added numerous other vibration stabilizing features. 

Hoyt Ventum 33 Compound Hunting Bow

Hoyt Ventum 33 Compound Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Focused on minimizing vibration and promoting a smooth draw.
  • Hoyt is a proven brand in the industry, well-known for their high quality bows. 

CON'S

  • Moving stabilizer seems questionable, but we will see how it turns out as more people utilize this new bow. 

HOYT VENTUM 33 SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: available in 30" or 33"
  • Brace Height: Ventum 30 is 6.125", Ventum 33 is 6.375"
  • Draw Weight: available in 30-40 lb, 40-50 lb, 50-60 lb, 55-65 lb, 60-70 lb, or 70-80 lb.
  • Draw Length: Ventum 30 available in 25" to 28" or 28.5" to 30"; Ventum 33 available in 26" to 29" or 29.5" to 31"
  • Let-Off: 80 or 85%
  • Physical Weight: Ventum 30 weighs 4.6 lbs, Ventum 33 weighs 4.7 lbs
  • ATA Speed Rating
    • Ventum 30 rated for up to 342 FPS
    • Ventum 33 rated for up to 334 FPS
  • Cam: HBX Cam System
  • MSRP: $1,249

Elite Enkore Compound Bow

Elite Archery advertises itself as the World's Most Shootable Bow. Elite was founded in 2012, and is a subsidiary to parent company The Outdoor Group LLC. The Outdoor Group LLC owns seven companies, all specialized in archery products: Elite Archery, Scott Archery, Custom Bow Equipment, Duel Game Calls, Solid Broadhead Company, and SlickTrick Broadheads.  

The all new Elite Enkore Compound Bow was designed with usability, comfort, and shoot-ability at top of mind. It features the ASYM Tri-Track Cam System for an easy to adjust 70-90% let off setting. It also comes standard with a designed inner mod to generate more speed for reaching out further and tightening pin gaps. Their latest S.E.T. technology enables easy tuning for without the need of a bow press. 

If you're looking for a user-friendly hunting bow, look no further than the Elite Enkore Compound Bow. 

Elite Enkore Compound Hunting Bow

Elite Enkore Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • American Made
  • User friendly, no bow press required for tuning
  • Comparable specifications to other bows in this category.
  • Priced a little lower than the above two bows. 

CON'S

  • Heavy focus on usability is great for the average hunter, but can be a drawback to the precision shooter looking to get the most out of their hunting bow. 

ELITE ENKORE SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: 33"
  • Brace Height: 6"
  • Draw Weight: available in 40-70 lbs
  • Draw Length: available in 23-30"
  • Let-Off: 70-90%
  • Physical Weight: 4.55 lbs
  • IBO Speed Rating: 340 FPS
  • Cam: ASYM Tri-Track Cam System
  • MSRP: $999.99

Bowtech Solution Compound Hunting Bow

Bowtech was founded in 1999 by John Strasheim and Kevin Strother who wanted to make a quick impact on the bow hunting industry. Their first bow was released in 2000, and they quickly grew to become one of the largest compound bow manufacturers in the world. Their quality control is among the best in the industry, as they claim to manually shoot every single bow they produce and refrain from taking shortcuts during design, manufacturing, and assembly. 

The Bowtech Solution is their latest compound hunting bow, dubbed for having "speed without the kick". It's increased stability makes for great accuracy at any distance. It comes stock with DeadLock Technologies, which helps achieve a better arrow light and repeatable accuracy. In comparison to other bows on this list, it is among the most lightweight hunting bows we've come across. 

Bowtech Solution Hunting Bow

Bowtech Solution Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Great quality control procedures that have earned them a strong reputation in producing consistently great bows.
  • Lightweight, quick shooting bow.
  • Reputable brand in the bow industry
  • Made in America

CON'S

  • Quiet bow, but not as quiet as the Mathews V3.

BOWTECH SOLUTION SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: 32"
  • Brace Height: 6"
  • Draw Weight: available in 50, 60, 70 lbs
  • Draw Length: available in 25-30"
  • Let-Off: 70-90%
  • Physical Weight: 4.30 lbs
  • Speed Rating: 346 FPS (Does not specify if ATA or IBO)
  • Cam: Deadlock Cams
  • MSRP: $1,199

Top 5 Best Budget Hunting Bows

 Here is our list of the 5 best hunting bows for those on a budget. Unlike the previous list, the goal is focused on keeping the price of the hunting bow low while maintaining good quality and performance. The bows on this list are ideal for entry level or even the every-so-often bow hunter. 

Hoyt Torrex and Torrex XT

You may have seen Hoyt's latest Ventum 33 on the list above, earning the 3rd spot on our best all-around hunting bow, but their Torrex and Torrex XT have earned the first spot for best hunting bow on a budget. 

The Hoyt Torrex and Torrex XT don't quite meet the speed of the bows above, but is among the more lightweight bows in the lineup at only 3.8 lbs and costs half the price of many of the bows in the above lineup. Hoyt advertises this bow as having everything you need, and nothing you don't. 

The only difference in the Torrex and Torrex XT is the XT has a shorter brace height at 6" instead of 7", upgraded roller cable containment system, and riser-mounted shock pods come installed. 

Hoyt Torrex XT Compound Hunting Bow

Hoyt Torrex XT Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Great quality bow, comes close to meeting the criteria of bows in the above list at a fraction of the price
  • Ideal for entry level or even well versed bow hunters on a budget. 

CON'S

  • New bow, not as much customer feedback as their older bows. 

HOYT TORREX SPEC'S

  • Axle-to-Axle: 30.75"
  • Brace Height: 7"
  • Draw Weight: available in 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 60-70 lbs
  • Draw Length: available in 26-30"
  • Let-Off: N/A
  • Physical Weight: 3.80 lbs
  • ATA Speed Rating: 327 FPS
  • Cam: Torrex Cams
  • MSRP: $599

Bear Archery Legit

Bear Products Company was founded by Fred Bear and Charles Piper in 1933 in Detroit, Michigan. The original company was focused on silk-screening and advertising support work for automotive companies. In 1938, Fred Bear hired Nels Grumley, a woodworker and bowyer which then expanded their offering to hand-made bows. The advertising side of the company was sold in 1940 and the business was renamed to Bear Archery. The company has undergone many mergers and acquisitions, and is current owned by Escalade Sports in Gainesville, Florida. 

The Bear Archery Legit is advertised as the industries most accommodating and versatile hunting bow. Their Ready to Hunt (RTH) package includes a Trophy Ridge whisker biscuit, peep sight, D-loop, stabilizer, quiver, and sight. The extra kit is available with 3x Rocket Broadheads, a Trophy Ridge release, and Trophy Ridge arrows. 

The Bear Archery Legit is a great all-around entry level bow, albeit is not the fastest bow on the market with a speed rating of 315 FPS. Weighing in at only 3.6 lbs, it is among the more lightweight options available. The draw weight adjustability from 10 to 70 lbs and draw length from 14" to 30" makes this a great beginner hunting bow for hunters of all ages. 

Bear Archery Legit Compound Hunting Bow

Bear Archery Legit Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Wide adjustability on draw length and weight
  • Can be used as beginner bow for hunters of all ages
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Great entry level option

CON'S

  • Slower than average speed rating of 315 FPS

BEAR ARCHERY LEGIT SPEC's

  • Axle-to-Axle: 30"
  • Brace Height: 6"
  • Draw Weight: 10-70 lbs
  • Draw Length: 14"-30"
  • Let-Off: 75%
  • Physical Weight: 3.60 lbs
  • IBO Speed Rating: 315 FPS
  • Cam: Dual Cam System
  • MSRP: $449

Most entry level hunting bows are going to be very similar in terms of quality performance and speed ratings. The reason the Bear Archery Legit landed number 2 on our list is primarily due to its low budget price point and the long-term outlook of an established company that will stand behind the product over the long term.  

Quest Centec, Engineered By Prime

Quest Bowhunting was introduced to the archery world by G5 Outdoors in 2009. Lou Grace, an innovative product designer, along with his sons Matt and Nate were the founders of G5 Outdoors in 2000. Their first product revealed the first all-steel broadhead. The mission of Quest is to make great bows for a great price, with no compromise. 

The Quest Centec Hunting Bow is a collaborative effort from Quest Bowhunting and Prime Archery to design a low budget bow that incorporates premium level technology. 

The Centec's Center grip riser, equipped with Centergy Technology, gives the bow hunter the advantage to get on target quicker and stay on target longer. The collaborative effort with Prime Archery is apparent in using a very similar draw cycle and cam system without split string tracks. 

Quest Centec Compound Hunting Bow

Quest Centec Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Great entry-level hunting bow from two established companies in the bow hunting world. 
  • IBO speed of 325 FPS is similar to the Hoyt Torrex at a lesser price. 

CON'S

  • At 4.4 lbs, this bow is heavier than the above options and is the only reason the hunting bow landed number 3 on our list.  

QUEST CENTEC SPEC's

  • Axle-to-Axle: 32"
  • Brace Height: 6.75"
  • Draw Weight: 40-55 and 55-70 lbs
  • Draw Length: 25.5"-31"
  • Let-Off: 75-80%
  • Physical Weight: 4.40 lbs
  • IBO Speed Rating: 325 FPS
  • Cam: Prime Archery Cam System
  • MSRP: $449

PSE Stinger Max Hunting Bow

PSE Archery was founded in 1970 by Pete Shepley in Mahomet, Illinois. Their focus was originally on hunting bows, but has expanded to bowfishing bows and precision shooting. The acronym "PSE" literally stands for precision shooting equipment. Accuracy is the foremost of their focus in all of their bows. 

The PSE Stinger Max is one of PSE's all-time best-selling bows ever. The shorter limbs and bigger cam in the Stinger Max make it a  great bow for hunting from a tree stand or deer blind. Their new SS cam system delivers a smooth draw with 80% let-off. 

PSE Stinger Max Compound Hunting BowPSE Stinger Max Compound Hunting Bow

Key Features

PRO'S

  • Smooth, efficient bow with high let-off
  • Available in Ready to Shoot or Ready to Shoot Pro packages
  • Established bow that has been around a while. 

CON'S

  • Slowest bow by speed rating, when compared to any of the bows above. 

PSE STINGER MAX SPEC's

  • Axle-to-Axle: 30"
  • Brace Height: 7"
  • Draw Weight: 55, 70 lbs
  • Draw Length: 21.5"-30"
  • Let-Off: 80%
  • Physical Weight: 3.80 lbs
  • Speed Rating: 312 FPS (ATA), 304 FPS (IBO)
  • Cam: SS
  • MSRP: $399

Diamond Archery Prism Compound Bow

Diamond Archery was founded in 1996 by Josh Halbert and Gary Green. The original brand did well on its own, but in 2004 they were bought out by a larger brand, Bowtech. Bowtech is one of the most prominent bow manufacturers in the industry. 

The Diamond Archery Prism is a great entry-level bow that boasts on versatility and adjustability. The do-it-yourself setup allows users to adjust draw weight from 5 to 55 pounds and the rotating modules allow the draw length to adjust from 18 to 30 inches. The Prism is a great first hunting bow that will be able to be used as the young hunter matures. 

In terms of raw performance, it is the slowest bow on the list at 295 FPS, but it is also the lightest bow on the list at 3.2 lbs. These two features make it a great option as a youth hunting bow. 

Diamond Archery Prism Compound Hunting Bow

Diamond Archery Prism Hunting Bow

PRO'S

  • Great entry-level hunting bow that young hunters can continue to grow with
  • Easy to use, tons of flexibility in adjusting the draw weight and length. 
  • Lowest Price on the list at $299

CON'S

  • Slowest speed rating on the list

DIAMOND ARCHERY PRISM SPEC's

  • Axle-to-Axle: 31"
  • Brace Height: 7"
  • Draw Weight: 5-55 lbs
  • Draw Length: 18"-30"
  • Let-Off: 80%
  • Physical Weight: 3.20 lbs
  • Speed Rating: 295 FPS
  • Cam: Dual Cam System
  • MSRP: $399

 

What Do Compound Bow Specifications Mean?

The specifications used to describe a compound hunting bow remain the same, but each bow can be tuned or have accessories added to improve on its weakness.

Ultimately, the best hunting bow for you may be different than the best hunting bow for someone else. It's important to understand what these bow specifications mean, and a good first step in finding the best hunting bow for you is to build your hypothetical best specifications first and then look for a bow that fits those specifications. 

This will give you your own list of bows to choose from, and then you can go test shoot them at an archery store to make your final decision. We know it can be tough to choose from so many bows, but hopefully this process will help you are the right decision. 

Axle to Axle

The length of the bow will vary from one manufacturer to the next, but here are the implications to a shorter or longer axle to axle length on your hunting bow:

  • Longer compound bows tend to have better shooting stability
  • Shorter compound bows tend to be better suite for maneuverability and being concealed in tight spaces. 

Brace Height

The brace height can directly impact the performance of a bow. A longer brace height, commonly 7 inches or longer, can offer more forgiveness on a shot. A shorter brace height, commonly 6 inches or less, can add speed to the hunting bow. 

Draw Weight

The maximum draw weight is used to measure the IBO speed rating. That being said, maximum draw weights are typically less stable. It's best to come down 10 pounds off the maximum draw weight for a more comfortable draw cycle that maximized usable energy. In the end, draw weight is going to vary depending on what you are personally comfortable with. In theory, the higher the draw weight, the faster the bow will shoot. 

Draw Length

The draw length should be adjusted to fit your body size and shape. A longer draw length tends to add speed to a bow, the rule of thumb is 1 inch of extended draw length results in 10 FPS of speed. However, a shorter draw length can be more comfortable for use in the field. It's important to balance the two when finding the most optimal draw length for your bow hunting needs. 

Let-Off

Compound hunting bows use cables and cams to store kinetic and potential energy, and reduce the holding weight at full draw. The draw holding weight is calculated given the let off percentage and draw weight.

Draw Holding Weight, % = 100% - Let Off %

Draw Holding Weight, lbs = (Draw Holding Weight, %) * (Draw Weight, lbs)

Example - 60 lb bow with 80% let off:

Draw Holding Weight, % = 100% - 80% = 20%

Draw Holding Weight, lbs = (20%) * (60 lbs) = 12 lbs

A 60 lb bow with 80% let-off would be the equivalent of holding back 12 lbs when bow is at full draw. 

This little calculation will help you understand if you are strong enough for a particular size bow or bow setting. Generally speaking, the higher the let off percentage listed on compound bows, the better. 

Physical Weight / Mass Weight

Lighter bows are great for hunting mobility, but added dampeners can eliminate vibration. It's important to consider whether a bow is a truly lightweight frame or if is just stripped down from dampeners. If it's stripped down from dampeners, you can expect it to make more noise when you shoot. However, if it's like the Xpedition X30, it may be lightweight due to the frame composition. 

Speed Rating

There are two classes of speed rating; IBO and ATA, and then there's the actual speed rating. The speed rating is measured in feet per second (fps). 

The International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) measures speed at a draw of 80 lbs, maximum available draw length, and a 400 grain arrow. This is the equivalent of maxing out a bow to see how fast it can shoot in the most favorable conditions. 

The Archery Trade Association (ATA) measures speed at a draw of 70 lbs, 30 inch draw length, and a 350 grain arrow. One could argue that these conditions are more favorable to what the setup is more likely to be when used in a field.

The Actual Speed Rating is going to vary depending on draw length, draw weight, and the grain of the arrow. For most people who do not set the draw length to 30+ inches or the poundage to 70+ lbs, the advertised speeds on most bows is going to be faster than what you actually see in the field. 

 

Thank you for reading our full review of the best all-around and budget hunting bows. All hunting bows we discussed were given an independent review, and we are not affiliated with any of the manufacturers. 

Get the most out of your hunting bow with an industry-leading bow stabilizer light that casts a true-red, true-green, or infrared beam over 400 yards and boasts full brightness adjustability. The bow stabilizer light comes standard with a picatinny mount, allowing it to easily be swapped from your bow to your rifle. There isn't a more versatile light that performs better than our bow stabilizer light for night hunting.

To learn more about the hunting sport, we encourage you to visit our hunting outdoor tips or subscribe to our email list at the bottom of this page. 


1 comment

  • Sergio

    Appreciate your info on each bow, it help make buying a bow easier. Thanks!

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