A lot of people interested in archery have asked, “how much does a good bow cost?
But, for a quick answer, here is the most basic cost break down.
How Much Does A Good Bow Cost?
- Entry level compound bows– $200-$400
- Mid-range compound bows– $400-$800
- High-end compound bows– $800 and up
- Entry level recurve bows-$100-$200
- Mid-level recurve bows-$200-$500
- Olympic style recurve bows-$1,000 and up
What Makes A Good Bow?
When it comes to what makes something “good” there can be as many definitions as there are people. Archery is no exception. One of the great things about archery, in general, is that it is specific to you.
In other words, one archer can prefer specific gear which doesn’t work well for another archer. That is one reason there is so many different bows and accessories available.
Still, it can’t be %100 subjective. There must be a few things we can use to classify good bows. There are ways to categorize good bows. I would argue that these are not necessarily synonymous with expensive vs. cheap bows.
Compound Bow Performance
The first important category when it comes to compound bows is performance. Aspects of performance include the bows reliability, accuracy, and adjustability.
Reliability is essential when it comes to compound bows. You won’t enjoy shooting a bow you can’t trust. There is a good chance you won’t shoot it once you discover it’s unreliable. This is a broad category in that it covers everything from material to performance to safety.
Again, reliability is not synonymous with expensive. A high-end bow can also be unreliable. But, overall you are more apt to run into this issue with cheap bows.
What makes a bow unreliable? This is a complex question but usually material, and bow design are the main factors. A compound bow exerts a ton of energy when it is fired and utilizes limbs which are always under high tension.
If the quality of materials used, or if the bow design is poor, the tension and high shot energy will quickly expose this. Everything from the bowstring, bus cables, and cams to the riser and limbs needs to be made of quality material and good design.
Why A Reliable Compound Bow Is So Important.
Reliability is essential in part because of safety. The high tension and energy when shooting means you never want the bow to fail or break when you are shooting. Another reason reliability is important is that it will affect your confidence in shooting.
If one of your cams starts acting weird, you may be able to fix the issue, but your shooting will likely be off for some time. You wonder, “is this thing going to mess up again?”
Accuracy is another big issue of performance. First, don’t misunderstand this category. The most expensive and accurate bow on the market doesn’t mean that you’ll be an accurate archer. But you want to a bow that gives you best opportunity for accuracy when you shoot. This primarily means a bow that shoots the arrow the same every time.
If your bow has issues with the cams, like cam lean, which is where the tension causes the cam to lean to the side. This is going to affect your accuracy. A poor bow can also have timing issue where the cams are not turning correctly. Again, this will affect your accuracy.
Another aspect of performance is the bows adjustability. The importance of this category depends on the archer. This doesn’t mean you need a bow with a large draw length and draw weight range, although you may personally want that. It means, how easy it to make adjustments to your bow.
Thankfully, in the last ten years, compound bows have gotten a lot more adjustable overall. This is an important issue for beginners and for archers who don’t have easy access to an archery shop. You may need to learn how to adjust draw length on your own, and you want a bow that easily adjustable. You also may need to change draw weight or the cams for timing. Adjustability isn’t necessarily good and bad for every archer, but it may be for you.
Bow material is the final category to consider when it comes to good bows. But bow material is a complex issue. For instance, the most expensive bows have machined aluminum or carbon risers. This means that the riser is cut from a single piece of these materials. Mid-range bows are often cast from aluminum or composite material which means that the metal is poured into a mold.
So, does this mean that a bow with a cast poured riser is bad? Not at all. A machined riser may be somewhat lighter and stronger than a cast riser, but this is not a good/bad issue with bows. Even cast aluminum risers are light and apart from manufacturer defects, should never break.
But there is a point at which cheaper bows can sacrifice quality and performance. In particular, you need to look at limbs and cams. The most inexpensive bows will utilize too much plastic. Yes, this cuts the cost way down, but plastic is much more likely to break. Also, because of the extreme tension placed on compound bow limbs, strong material is essential. Utilizing quality components on the bow is also vital to the bows performance.
In general, when it comes to material, the highest quality and lightest material cost the most. When you are trying to cut the cost down, you can use heavier material that is still high quality or utilize polymers to try and keep the lower weight.
If you want a lower priced bow, it’s better to go with a slightly heavier bow that still uses quality metal components. After all, when we are talking about the difference in weight, it is usually only a few pounds.
How Much Does A Good Compound Bow Cost?
So now, with the information we have, we can address the question of how much a good compound bow cost. On the lower price end, you can get a great compound bow for around $300. The compound bow I recommend for beginners is the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge. Diamond Archery is a sister company of Bowtech. Bow tech makes high-end bows but also came out with Diamond bows to lower prices.
Of all the bow manufactures who make lower price bows, Bowtech has done the best job of cutting the price without sacrificing quality. It’s one of the most popular entry-level compound bows, and the reviews speak for themselves. You can also get this bow in a package which comes with a bowsight, arrow rest, and quiver for around $350 which is a great deal.
Best Compound Bow For Hunting
For those of you bowhunters who might be wondering what makes a good compound bow for hunting, here are few things to consider. Most compound bows can be used for hunting provide the draw weight is high enough. This issue is determined by your state hunting regulations which you can check out here.
Some new bowhunters mistakenly believe they have to have a 70 pound plus bow to hunt. This is not the case. Not all states have regulations for draw weight, but the most common regulation I see is 40 pounds.
At a reasonable distance, most animals can be killed with a 40-pound draw weight with correct shot placement. Accuracy is your number one issue when it comes to bowhunting. A lot of bowhunters are shooting too heavy a draw weight which can cause injury. Drawing too much weight can also cause poor form and I would argue it causes you to practice less.
Since most bows today have a fairly high draw weight range, the best thing you can do is to lower your draw weight early in the year and work your way up as you practice.
I mentioned that most compound bows can be used to bow hunt. You may be wondering about target compound bows. Some compound bow manufactures also make target bows. These are usually high priced bows used by competitive target archers.
Target bows can also be used for bowhunting. Target bows tend to be longer axle to axle. This is to give less angle when the bowstring is drawn. Most bowhunters prefer shorter bows because there are easier to use in blinds and tree stands.
How Much Does A Good Recurve Bow Cost?
Recurve bows are available for recreation/hunting or competitive archery. If you have ever watched Olympic archery they are using recurve bows. Recreational bows are much less expensive and the majority are made from wooden risers and fiberglass laminate limbs.
The great thing about recurve bows is that they are a simple construction. It doesn’t have all the moving parts like a compound bow which means there is a lot less that can go wrong. It also means there are many “good” recurve bows at every price range.
When it comes to recreational recurve bows, the main factor for price usually involves the wood that is used. The majority of wooden take-down recurve bows are in the $100-$300 price range. Those that are more expensive use nicer woods. Still, you can get a great bow like Southwest Archery Spyder for less than $150.
Olympic recurve bows are some of the most expensive of any bow type. These recurve bow are made from the lightest, highest performing materials available. Still, even with Olympic style recurve bows, you will have to practice just as much to be an accurate archer.