The Best Compound Bow Arrow Rest.

It might seem like the arrow rest has an easy job to do; just the hold the arrow while you shoot. Right? While that’s true, it’s a much tougher job than that, because the arrow rest has to support your arrow while you draw but not interfere with the arrow when it is released. I can’t imagine how many designs have been tried and failed to accomplish that task. But there are a handful of designs that have made the cut and stood the test of time. So, what is the best compound bow arrow rest?

The best compound bow arrow rest is the Quality Archery Designs Ultra Rest HDX. Check it out here on Amazon.
Here’s Why

When debating the best compound bow arrow rests rests, most archers will tell you that they all have their strengths and weaknesses. While target archers and bowhunters may want slightly different qualities in their arrow rests, there are some big things EVERY archer is looking for in their rest. So, what is the criteria for a good arrow rest?

    • Quality
    • Consistent Performance
    • Securely holds the arrow during draw
    • Minimal to no contact with the arrow during release

The last two point are the ultimate challenge for release manufactures and the dividing line between bowhunters and target archers. Hopefully, the reason this is a challenge is clear; how does a release securely hold the arrow while drawing and allow minimal to no contact when it is released? The answer is the drop away rest which is why it is one of the only rest styles used by both bowhunters and target archers.

But…I really need to be more specific. Not every drop away rest meets the criteria above, but the QAD Ultra Rest HDX does. This is one of the most popular arrow rests on the market, and for good reason.

What makes the QAD Ultra Rest HDX the best arrow rest for a compound bow?

The Ultra Rest HDX is a full capture drop away rest. It has a curved capture bar on the top When you draw, the timing cable attached to your buss cable, pulls up the launcher which almost fully surrounds the arrow. The best part is that you can manually use the thumb wheel to rotate the launcher into the capture position while your arrow is nocked. This is awesome for hunting situations.

Sound is also a concern for bowhunting and this rest is quite. It made with a noise-reducing design, laser-cut felt which you can put on launcher  and capture bar to keep your arrow from clanking around. This rest also has a cam-brake and dampeners.

The HDX has vertical, horizontal, and overdraw adjustments and is easy to fine tune which makes this rest popular with target archers as well. It also has full draw indicator marks and a break away safety feature.

It’s made with precision CNC aluminum, stainless steel, and delrin components and comes in every camo and color there is. And of course it’s available in left or right hand set up.

You Don’t Have to Take My Word For It

Quality Archery Designs’ Ultra Rest HDX is one of the most popular arrow rests on the market today, and for good reason. It’s the best arrow rest for a compound bow, plain and simple.

I had to try it out before I was a believer. I’ve used drop away rest in the past and wasn’t a big fan. In fact, I moved on to other rest types. But the Ultra Rest HDX brought me back. I love the full capture style and the quality and reliability is second to none. To company is also great. The rest comes with tools, spare parts, and a detailed instructional DVD on installing the rest. That should tell you something.

If you are still not convinced the QAD Ultra Rest HDX is the best arrow rest for a compound bow or if your just unsure about what rest style you want, read on for more information about arrow rests.

The Challenge of The Arrow Rest

The challenge is to support the arrow but not interfere with the arrow when it’s in flight. How do you accomplish that? First let’s look at the issues involved with shooting an arrow.

The Issues of the Arrow

When it comes to the arrows being launched from a modern compound bow, you have a few issues to contend with.

Arrow Movement

The arrow rest is appropriately named because the arrow is temporarily supported while it is being shot. The arrow rest must allow for the movement of the arrow as it is released. Arrows shot with your fingers on recurve bow will have a strong left and right flex and right. A center aligned arrow shot with a release on a compound bow will up and down flex. The amount the arrow flexes is related to the spine or stiffness of the arrow shaft. This arrow movement is something to consider when looking into arrow rests.


 Fletching is also an issue to consider in relation to the arrow rest. Either feathers or plastic vanes can be used in archery. Most compound archers today use plastic vanes because they withstand the rain and hold up well. Feathers do not perform as well when they are wet.

But one advantage of feather fletching is that they compress or lay down if they come into contact with part of your bow. This is why feathers are used when shooting off the riser with a traditional recurve or longbow.

Plastic vanes are much firmer compared with feathers and will not lay down when they contact parts of the riser or rest. There are both advantages and disadvantages with firmer plastic vanes, but it is an issue that needs consideration when looking at arrow rest.

Other Issues

The other general issues with arrow rests are size, weight, adjustability, construction.

Modern compound bows are getting smaller a lighter as the years pass. The arrow rest have to keep up with this as well. Some archers prefer to keep everything on their bows light and low profile. You will need to decide if this is an important factor for you.

The adjustability is also important to many archers. This issue also relates to bow sights and is known as micro adjustability. With more adjustability, you are able to fine-tune your equipment.

The quality and construction of the arrow rest is one of the most important factors. It doesn’t matter what type of rest it is if it is not made well it’s not going to work well. This is especially true of rest that has moving components. If any one part of this type of rest fails, then the whole rest will not function.

Types of Arrow Rests

Now that you know the issues involved with arrows, let’s look at main types of arrow rests on the market and see how they handle the challenge of supporting but not interfering with the arrow.

Capture Rest

A capture rest utilizes bristles to hold the arrow in place. A capture rest can be a full or partial, which signifies whether the bristles completely surround the arrow (full) or hold it in place at three points (partial). A well-known example of a full capture rest is the whisker biscuit which is a full circle of long bristles with a small hole in the middle which holds the arrow in place.

Partial capture rests have 3 points of contact with the arrow shaft, on the bottom and top left and right of the arrow. These three points can all be sets of bristles or it may have a small grooved shelf on the bottom and two sets of bristles on the top left and right.

The advantage of this type of rest is that the arrow shaft is held securely in place while you are shooting. Many of these rests are inexpensive, and they are easy to use. They are also very reliable as they have no moving parts and only attach to the riser.

The downside of capture rests is that they contact the arrow shaft more than any other rests, especially the full capture. This causes decreased arrow speed. Additionally, while plastic vanes cut well through the bristles of a full capture rest, this is still a lot of contact happing during the release.

This contact can also change arrow flight which effects accuracy. The effects can also be inconsistent. If the bristles are out of place or clumped together on a full capture rest or if one or more of your arrow vanes are curved or bent, this can affect the arrow flight. The partial capture rests where made to reduce some of the issues of arrow contact, but they do not eliminate the matter.

The Fall Away Rest

The fall away or drop rest is one of the most popular styles of rests used by compound archers. This type of rest has a movable launcher which holds the arrow level when the bow is draw and then drops when the bowstring is released.

The drop rest has the most parts and moving components of all the arrow rest styles. This means that this type of rest also has the most ways to malfunction. There are many different variations and styles of the fall away release, and not all of them work well. The main issue with this type of release is design and quality.

The biggest benefit of this type of release is that there is minimal contact with the arrow while it is released. These are good releases for accuracy and arrow speed. The downside to the drop rest is that it requires some setup. It’s hard to generalize the description of how a drop rest works because there are so many different variations. Typically they have some type of movable launcher.

This launcher is attached to the rest housing which will have a spring or a mechanism which can be cocked. Usually, the mechanism is cocked with a timing cable which attaches to the downward buss cable on your bow. When you draw the bowstring, the buss cable pulls the timing cable which lifts and cocks the rest launcher. Then, when you release the bowstring, the launcher drops.

Fixed Rest

This category of rest covers several different fixed styles such as fixed blades and prongs. They are also called launcher style rests. Fixed rests have the most simple design of all the rest styles. The way these rest works is by providing a minimal contact platform for the arrow to sit on a shooting level.

Whether it is a blade or prong rest, usually the support comes from to points on the left and right bottom of the arrow shaft.The blade rest is a thin piece of spring steel which allow for some movement when the arrow is released. The prong style is usually affixed with spring component in the housing which gives also give some movement.If a fixed rest is setup correctly and the arrow spine is also correct, most of the arrow should clear the rest when it is released.

The benefit of this kind of rest is the simplicity and the lack of contact with the arrow when shot. There are several negatives to using a fixed rest. One is that since your arrow is basically sitting on the rest, it’s easier for it to fall off when drawing. Secondly, these rest can require a lot of work to get set up correctly. If not set up right for your arrow spine, it may not clear the rest. Also, the blade rest can bounce a lot when your arrow is released and can actually bounce up and hit the arrow.

What is the best compound bow arrow rest for hunting?

When looking for the best compound bow arrow rest for hunting, you have to consider additional factors. One is where you will be hunting from. If you are hunting from a tree stand, you will be shooting from an elevated angle which not all arrow releases are good for. Another possibility is bowhunting from a confined space like a blind.

One of the most essential qualities in an arrow rest for bowhunting is a rest that doesn’t allow the arrow to fall off easily. It’s tough not to get buck fever when bowhunting and I like for everything to be set up and simple.

I personally like to have my arrow nocked and ready. This isn’t always easy to do depending on the environment. I’ve had my arrow fall off a fixed prong release and a drop away that didn’t secure the arrow well.

The two types of rest most commonly used for hunting are capture rest and fall away rests that have a good way to hold the arrow like the the QAP Ultra Rest HDX.

What is the best arrow rest for target shooting?

When you are are looking for the best arrow rest for target shooting, accuracy is your main concern. Few target archers use capture style rests. Most opt for a fixed rest or a reliable drop rest. These two styles of rest offer the least amount of contact with the arrow.