Starting out in bowhunting or archery, in general, can be a tough process. There is a lot to learn and very few resources to make things easier. That’s our goal, we want to help get the get a great beginner compound bow in your hands where the real education begins.
Though we can suggest some good starter bows and bow packages, we also want to provide the information necessary for you to choose an appropriate bow. One that will serve you well as a tool for hunting and for learning.
Though there is a lot to understand, the whole deal isn’t as hard as it seems. Bows are simple tools at their core. There may be a few terms to learn and some of the broader concepts. Past that, you just have to pick up a bow and get shooting.
- Beginner Compound Bow Considerations
- Beginner Compound Bow Comparison Table
- Beginner Compound Bow Reviews
Beginner Compound Bow Considerations
There are other articles that will get you into the nitty gritty details of everything related to archery. Those can wait until you get the foundations down. All you need up front are the specifics that will guide you to choosing a usable bow. The simplified list as it were.
Getting a bow in the correct draw length is the single most important consideration when choosing a bow. Draw length is simply the distance from the grip to your anchor point. Everyone is a little different but most people will end up at a measurement that can be rounded to the nearest inch.
Most people overestimate their draw length by a couple of inches. This is a bad mistake that will hurt you for the rest of your archery career. Generally, your draw length for an average height of fewer than 6 feet will be between 26 and 28 inches. If you are over six feet, it may go as high as 31 inches.
The best way to learn your draw length is to have it measured at a pro shop where they specialize in archery equipment. This may not be an option for you but hope is not lost. Check out this video for a good method you can do at home.
Before any of this gets you too stressed out, realize that most bows have adjustable draw lengths that will cover 99% of all shooters. Once you have your bow that is already capable of getting close to your draw length, you can fine tune it to get exactly what you want.
If you can get your new bow to a pro shop or even an experienced bow hunter, most will gladly help you get started in the sport. In general, bow hunters are a friendly and helpful bunch. If they can help you, usually they will. Most will even step up to get you started shooting the right way.
To get the basics out of the way, the average male bow hunter draws a bow around 70 pounds where the average female bow hunter draws a bow around 50 pounds. These are averages and do not reflect all hunters and certainly not beginner hunters.
Drawing a bow takes specific muscles. Getting to 70 pounds may take some time to develop those muscles. If you can start at half that weight and work up as you go, you will get there quicker than you think. Starting too heavy can cause a lot of issues with form and even cause injuries.
Most states have a minimum draw weight of around 40 to 50 pounds. You can work up to this weight in no time. Most people starting can draw this weight with relative ease. No matter how strong you feel you are, start around 40 pounds to get your form down.
Much like with draw length, most modern compound bows can be adjusted for a variety of weights. Some can go from as low as 5 all the way to 70. That is extreme but it gives you everything you need. A good beginner bow will be adjustable to some degree but maybe not that much.
If draw length is the distance from the rest to the string when drawn, brace height is the distance from the rest to the string when relaxed fully. This has a few effects that are notable to a beginner bow hunter.
The first difference is in accuracy. A higher brace height will be more accurate than a lower one if all else is equal. This deals with the physics of how a bow and arrow interact. The specifics are not that important as long as you have the basic concept.
On the opposite end, a lower brace height will shoot an arrow faster than a higher brace height. The string is in contact with the arrow longer and pushes it faster. The difference of an inch can have a noticeable impact on arrow speed.
Most bowhunters are speed-obsessed. There is nothing wrong with a bow that shoots better than 315 fps but it is hardly necessary. You are better off in the beginning to get a bow that is more accurate. You will become a better archer overall this way.
The last consideration of brace height is the inevitable forearm slap from the string. This can be quite painful and is more common and more severe with lower brace height bows. It is a tradeoff for speed and whether it is worth it or not is up to you.
No matter your brace height, you should probably get used to wearing a bow bracer to protect your forearm. I haven’t worn one in years but I probably should. They are very helpful and prevent a whole lot of discomfort, especially when practicing.
Size and Weight
Why would anyone want to carry something larger and heavier than was needed to do the job? There really is no reason to do so if you can help it. Most bows are fairly light but carrying a 10-pound bow can get old fast. Especially through thick brush.
Most budget bows will fall between 6 and 10 pounds but some high-end bows may get as low as 3 pounds. The main difference will be in the cost. Getting lighter gear can get quite expensive. In the beginning, a 6-pound bow will do fine to save some money.
When it comes to length, your main concern will be draw length. The other measurements of the bow aren’t that important in the end. Most bows are designed to be around the same length. This has to deal with proportions and the mechanics of the bow.
You may find some bows that are very short. These will be harder to draw and often less accurate. In a deer stand, they are more maneuverable but the tradeoff is often not worth it. Stick with something in the average lengths and you will do fine.
Beginner Bows and Bow Packages
Many companies market specifically to uninformed buyers. They offer deals on full bow setups that are far cheaper than what you would normally get one of these bows for. That should be a warning sign.
There are companies that offer affordable bows and full setups but caution should be taken when choosing one of these. Make sure that bow and all of the components are worth the price. This is often a great way to get into the sport if you find a good kit.
The same is true with compound bows. Some companies offer very cheap bows that are poorly constructed and can even be dangerous to fire. You are better off to spend more on a good bow than to get a piece of junk.
Compound bows may be simple in principle but are not simple in manufacture. There is a reason that the highest end bows push a thousand dollars or more. You won’t have to spend nearly that much to get a decent one but you aren’t going to get one for under a hundred bucks for sure.
As with anything, get the best you can afford. This isn’t just the bow but the entire kit. You will need a rest, sights, and a quiver at the very least. There are other components but you can worry about them as you progress in the sport. If you have a good starting bow, these are affordable add-ons later.
Beginner Compound Bow Comparison Table
13 - 31"
5 - 70 lbs.
19 - 29"
30 - 55 lbs
24 - 31"
30 - 70 lbs.
19 - 29"
30 - 55 lbs.
Beginner Compound Bow Reviews
1 Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro
While you could start out with a beginner bow that will teach you the ropes and let you get some experience, you will need a new bow eventually. If you are the ‘buy once, cry once’ type, go ahead and get the bow you will eventually need. The Diamond Infinite Edge is made by the same company as Bowtech, one of the best compound bow brands on the planet.
This is a ready to hunt bow with the full kit of everything you will need minus the arrows. It has the rest, sights, quiver, and stabilizer to get you started. Add some arrows and maybe a bow release and you are set up with a professional kit that will do everything you will ever need.
The draw length is adjustable from 13 inches all the way to 31 inches. That range will fit almost anyone unless you are extremely tall. Draw weight is equally adjustable from 5 pounds up to 70. This gives you all of the room you need to practice and get used to shooting. Once you have that down, it has the power to take down an Elk.
Brace height is 7 inches which is perfect for a bow. It allows great accuracy and keeps a good amount of speed. At max draw, this bow can hit a whopping 310 fps and you will only hold about 20% of that total weight while you take aim. These are the specs that most hunters look for.
At only 3 pounds, this bow is a perfect compound bow for hunting. It is light enough for long treks in and easy to manage in a deer stand. The quality is unmatched by any but the most expensive bows on the market. For the beginner who is serious, this is by far the best bow kit on the market.
2 Leader Archery Compound Bow Kit - 30-55lbs
Outside of the professional bows, there are a few companies that make decent budget kits. The costs vary according to the quality. If you are looking for one of the best kits with a perfectly usable bow, Leader does the job!
When I say complete kit, you could order this today and be hunting next week. Just add some broadheads. It has the arrows and all the accessories plus sights, rest, quiver, and stabilizer. This is literally everything you need to shoot in one box.
While some of the kit items may not be the best, the bow is quite good. You can get a draw length up to 29 inches which will work for most people under 6 feet. Draw weight is 30 to 55 pounds which is great for practice but good enough for hunting. Brace height it 7 inches and the let-off is about 70%. All quite good out of a bow that weighs only 3 and a half pounds.
At max draw, you will push very close to 300 fps which is amazing for the price. This is a great little target bow and will easily cover hunting most any game around. Some hunters may find this bow a little low on power but none would argue it is a great compound bow for target shooting.
3 Predator Archery Raptor
Packing more power and more speed, the Raptor makes for a great compound bow for beginners. With the included kit, you have everything shy of arrows to get you started. This is the way most hunters prefer to get their bows. Arrows are an important choice, everything else you can trust to the kit.
Maxing out at a 31-inch draw, this bow is suitable for most people that top a little over 6 foot tall. Add that to the max 70-pound draw weight with an amazing 75% let off and you have a solid bow all around. This is a speed demon with a budget price. This bow will unleash arrows at a blinding 315 feet per second!
As far as accuracy, you lose a little with the speed but make that up with the 7-inch brace height. With the Raptor, you are getting close to what the most expensive bows on the market can do but at a very affordable price. Hundreds less than the competitors.
If you are a first-time hunter, this is a great kit to start with. The brand has some recognition and the bow itself is a steal. Weighing only 4 pounds, it is everything you need for your first hunt. Of course, it works quite well as a target bow as well.
4 Southland Archery Supply Scorpii
Southland archery is an interesting company. They are producing entry-level bows much like those offered by Martin Archer in years past. They lack bells and whistles but as a beginner compound bow, you don’t need those anyway. What you need is a solid, accurate tool and the Scorpii does that!
What is really one of the most attractive bows on this list for a hunter, the Scorpii tops out around 260 feet per second with 55 pounds behind it. At its lowest, 30 pounds, you are looking at a little slower. Recurves can hit these speeds but not with the accuracy of a compound.
Aiming is easy with a standard 70% let off. Combined with a 7-inch brace height and the more reasonable speeds, you have a very accurate bow. This is a tack driver if matched with the appropriate arrows which is all you will need to add to get this bow shooting.
With a draw length that is adjustable from 19 to 29 inches, this bow won’t work for those much over 6 foot tall. They will need a bigger bow with a longer draw. For those of us with more average heights, this bow is a great choice. As a package, for this price, it would be very hard to do better!
5 iGlow Hunting Kit
For those still on the fence about bow hunting and just want to give it a try, the key is to not get too heavily invested. For the best compound bow on a budget, the iGlow does a solid job. I learned to shoot on a bow not much different and mine was the bow only without all of the accessories this comes with.
Sitting at the lower end of the power spectrum, the iGlow is adjustable from 40 to 55 pounds. You could easily hunt deer if you maxed this bow out but a heavier draw is sometimes preferred. That power limits this bow to about 220 fps which is great for accuracy but a little on the slow side.
Draw length is a narrow spectrum band from 27 to 29 inches which will fit most average adults. Brace height is a little over 7 inches. All of that adds up to a very accurate bow. Match this bow with some lightweight arrows and you should be on track to become quite good with a bow.
You get everything you need minus arrows with this bow. You also get some extras that most kits don’t come with that will come in handy if you decide to move up to a better bow in the future. There is nothing wrong with getting a bow to try out the sport. This is a great one but one you are likely to outgrow quickly.
That should hopefully be enough to get you started in archery and even bow hunting. If you need further information, feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to help you get started from general advice to product recommendations.
We can’t make you a better shot, so don’t ask. That takes time, practice, and consistency. Keep it up. Most people can get arrows on target consistently in a couple of months. If you practice for a year, you will be amazed at how accurate you can be!
The most important thing is to not give up. No one became a bow hunter who left the bow under their bed or on their wall. They all started out with a ton of practice. Maybe consider shooting a competition or two. That will introduce you to shooting under stress like you will with a deer in your sights.