In the ever-growing world of hunting technology, engineers and hunters have strived for the next advancement. All their labor has led to some of the best crossbow broadheads for deer and other game animals ever available. If you are looking to bring down that trophy buck this year, a good quality broadhead is the answer you need. We have scoured the internet and rounded up a fine selection of broadheads for crossbowsthat are proven deer slayers.
Not all of them are the latest and greatest, we have some tried and true models as well. You go with what works and sometimes the classics perform just as well as today’s more advanced tools. No matter what you are looking for you will find it here. These are the top rated broadheads anywhere you look!
- What is a Broadhead and Why We Use Them?
- BROADHEAD CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEER
- number of blades
- Cutting diameter
- BEST CROSSBOW BROADHEADS 2018 COMPARISON TABLE
- BEST CROSSBOW BROADHEADS 2018 reviewed
- Crossbow Broadhead Hunting Tips
What is a Broadhead and Why We Use Them?
For experienced bowhunters, this is old news but for those new to the craft, let's get down to the basics.
A broadhead is simply an arrow tip that is in some way larger than the shaft of the arrow. This ensures that when the arrow penetrates the flesh of an animal, it leaves a hole larger than the arrow so blood can flow out freely.
This may sound brutal to some but blood loss is the most humane way to bring down a deer. Leaving an arrow in without bleeding would lead to a slow death. We want as much blood loss as possible to make sure the animal is a clean, humane kill.
We use broadheads to make as large a wound channel as possible. The larger the wound, the less chance the animal will survive long enough to get away. No one likes to follow a blood trail for miles through the woods. Preferably the shock of the wound will cause a deer to drop within feet of where it was hit.
The earliest broadheads were made of stone or bone and date back over 64,000 years. The Greeks used cast bronze broadheads for both hunting and battle. The steel broadhead was invented sometime during the Roman Empire. Many of the designs used today are replications of the same designs that have been used for over 2000 years.
All these broadheads served the same purpose when hunting. To do more damage. Modern crossbows have a draw weight of hundreds of pounds but Native Americans with their stone points took down bison using bows pulling under 40 lbs. That is the power of the broadhead.
Modern broadheads come in several varieties and tip configurations. Until more recently broadheads had fixed blades that work on the same premise as those primitive points used by our ancestors. These can be a great choice despite being overshadowed by more modern broadheads. They have less moving parts for one.
Mechanical broadheads, also called expandable broadheads, have blades that are folded in until impact. Because they shoot more like the field tips that most hunters practice with, they can be a little easier to shoot.
The very tip of the arrow can be a cut-on-contact tip, meaning the blade runs all the way to the tip of the broadhead, or it can be a chisel tip which has a reinforced tip almost like a field point. Cut-on-contact broadheads will begin to open a wound the second they hit but chisel tips will handle bone impacts better.
If you would like to know more about broadhead types and how they work, check out our article here.
BROADHEAD CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEER
Before choosing a broadhead, you need to consider all the factors. Do you want a fixed blade or mechanical broadhead? What weight would be best? What about number of blades and cutting diameter? Luckily, deer aren’t that hard to take down but some broadhead types are better than others. If you are looking fora crossbow broadhead for deer, consider these factors:
Fixed or Mechanical is a frequent debate in deer hunting circles. There are fans and proponents of both and both are capable of taking down a deer. Fixed broadheads are a classic style and have taken thousands of deer, however they do tend to be a little harder to shoot. A mechanical broadhead will shoot more like a field point in most cases.
The weight of a broadhead will determine the amount of kinetic energy transferred to your target. The argument of 100 vs 125 grain broadheads for crossbows is a heated one. Too low will lack penetration but too high will make the arrow awkward to shoot and will cut down your range.
Though you could shoot lighter or heavier broadheads, either a 100 or 125grain broadhead will be the most common. For very powerful bows, 150gr is an option but doesn’t offer much benefit.
number of blades
Blades are both a sales gimmick and a factor in lethality. Sometimes you need nothing more than two solid blades of sufficient size. Having more than three blades is often unnecessary and two blades will work in any case that more would. The only benefit of more blades is creating a larger wound channel but if your cutting diameter is large enough, more than two is overkill.
Two blade broadheads like many Rage broadheads have a large enough cutting diameter that they don’t need any extra blades. Ones like the CarbonXT below use those blades to inflict a more traumatic wound. Despite the difference of almost an inch on their cutting diameter, both are almost equal in their lethality.
Anything less than an inch is useless but those more than an inch will all do a fair job at bringing a deer down quick. You also need to consider how much damage is done inside the wound to really get a feel for how much bleeding the broadhead will cause. Cutting diameter is a good guide but don’t let it be the only reason you choose one broadhead over another.
BEST CROSSBOW BROADHEADS 2018 COMPARISON TABLE
Fixed - Cut-on-Contact
100 - 125gr
Mechanical - Cut-on-Contact
100 - 125gr
Mechanical - Chise
Mechanical - Chise
100 - 125gr
Replaceable - Chisel
BEST CROSSBOW BROADHEADS 2018 reviewed
1 Carbon Express XT
Carbon Express was a long-time contender in the arrow market before making a jump that landed them with one of the finest fixed blade crossbow broadheads on the market today. I will admit to some bias, I love fixed blade broadheads despite some of the flaws they may have.
One such flaw is dealing with bone impacts but the Carbon XT lessens any cause for concern that you may have. The blades are thicker and ride beside 4 smaller bleeder blades. Unless your impact is damage but it will still do the job.
Speaking of those bleeder blades, with a total of 6 cutting edges this broadhead is more like shooting a flying meat grinder than an arrowhead. Not only does it open up a respectable 1 ⅛” wound but the cross cuts are devastating. Score a good solid hit with this and the deer is a goner!
If you hope to use the same broadheads every season, these may be a little too damage prone for you but if you willing to sacrifice one tip for a kill, these are phenomenal. They can also be a little difficult to shoot well if you are only used to field tips. Make sure you take the time to learn to shoot them accurately.
2 Rage CrossbowX
Rage has taken the bowhunting by storm in recent years and is leading the market with their 125gr mechanical broadheads. Their reputation is well deserved, they are easily among the most lethal broadheads ever produced.
They are also known to be among the best flying broadheads on the market with impeccable accuracy and a flight pattern similar to a field point. Combine that with a legendary 2” wound channel and you have the perfect recipe for deer destruction.
The CrossbowX is also one of the very few mechanical broadheads that is also a cut on contact. The leading edge of the broadhead has a small blade to make penetrating flesh easy but is small and narrow enough that the tapered ferrule can still slide past bone impacts for deep penetration, if you are in the market for Rage crossbow broadheads, these are the best we found.
Though they may not be as durable as some Rage broadheads, the CrossbowX is still an outstanding choice and should get a clean kill with a clean hit. This is a broadhead not to be underestimated and very well may be the finest mechanical broadheads for crossbows ever created.
3 Grim Reaper
Much like its namesake, the Grim Reaper will easily usher a deer into its next life. The triangular pattern wound has always been an effective way to ensure a good bleed out and combining that with smaller blades on the tip only improves your chances.
The chisel tip is a bone breaker for sure should get a less than perfect hit. Out of a crossbow, not even the thicker shoulder or spine could stop this broadhead from sinking in deep! It may lack the impressive cutting diameter of the Rage broadheads but it has enough to bring any deer down.
The blades may seem small but they are thick and durable. You may still damage this broadhead from a bone strike but chances are this is a multi-season choice. After all, this broadhead was designed for high-speed, high-strength bows and the craftsmanship shows!
Not among the most accurate options on the market, the Grim Reaper should still do fine in shorter shots. Just make sure you do your due diligence to get these on target before you go. They are a heavier 125 grain broadhead but are still a solid choice for most any crossbow.
4 Rage Hypodermic
It would probably be possible to make a list of the top rated mechanical broadheads on the market today and populate almost all of it with Rage broadheads. They may not be what I prefer but thousands of deer are taken with them every year which is proof of their potential.
Much like the super-popular compound bow variant, the crossbow Hypodermic has a wicked tip that will blow past whatever it hits and a 2” cutting diameter that will open a hole almost big enough to get your hand in. A solid hit is a dead deer, guaranteed!
Like the previous Rage, this tip is accurate! It may not fly quite as well as a field tip or the CrossbowX but it will get to the target just where you want it. It’s still worth taking the time to get these on target for your bow, luckily Rage includes a practice tip so you won’t damage your hunting blades.
With the long blades, these broadheads are prone to damage if that matters to you. A single solid hit may be enough to do in the deer but it will likely do in your broadhead as well. Though these do tend to hold up better than the compound bow variant, they are still a little chintzy.
5 Excalibur Boltcutter
Everyone knows that Excalibur Crossbows are some of the most popular and most powerful bows on the market. This is their answer to the needs of their own crossbows but will function amazingly in any bow that has a need for a 150gr broadhead. Don’t let the classic looks or small cutting diameter full you, this thing is a killer!
At only 1 1/16” the cutting diameter of the Boltcutter is among the smallest of any dedicated crossbow broadhead on the market. If you have one of the high-powered versions, this could be an amazing broadhead for the most powerful bows. This thing slams into a deer and have been known to blow out the other side.
Like the Grim Reaper, the three-blade design has proven effectiveness at taking down game and the chisel tip on the Boltcutter is a shoo-in for bone impacts. The blades are thick and hard to prevent too much damage and can be replaced between seasons if need be. This may not be the very best broadhead on the market but it is surely a solid spot on the top 5.
If you use a stiff arrow, the Boltcutter is also a tack driver. It is impeccably accurate provided your bow is sighted in for the heavier arrow. It will also cut through small weeds without too much trouble. If you have a powerful bow like the Excalibur series, this is the broadhead for you.
Crossbow Broadhead Hunting Tips
Considering where you hunt and how you hunt is important when deciding on what the best broadhead for whitetail in your area would be. The following tips are a short buyer’s guide to help in your selection.
- In heavily wooded areas where you may be required to shoot through brush, a fixed style broadhead will generally be better. Hitting small trees or weeds can cause a mechanical broadhead to deploy early and throw the arrow off target.
- If you hunt from a tree stand, shooting downward at a deer increases the odds of impacting bone. Their ribs are thicker and closer together where they meet the spine. Opting for a chisel tip may be a good idea.
- Though more blades do sound impressive, more is not always better. For deer, it is possible to get by with a two blade broadhead or as many as you would like. Smaller game animals differ in what style, size and shape are best.
- Cutting diameter is not the be-all-end-all of arrow lethality. You also have to consider the depth of penetration as a factor in blood loss. Additionally, the small bleeder blades on some broadheads will cause cross cuts that increase bleeding.
- Large cutting blades can get hung up on an animal bone. It’s not common but it happens. That’s why many hunters opt for smaller cutting diameter broadheads which will penetrate deeper.
- A heavier broadhead doesn’t guarantee a deeper wound. They do hit with more force but slow down more quickly. The ultimate deciding factor of wound depth is the broadhead profile.
- When deciding on weight for a broadhead for your crossbow, consult the manufacturer's recommendations. Selecting what is proper for your bow setup and arrows is a complicated process and best not left to the novice. If no recommendations exist, opt for a lighter broadhead.
- Don’t fall into the crossbow broadheads vs regular broadheads debate. Use one designed to handle the strength and speed of a crossbow, this if both a safety and effectiveness consideration.
- Not all states have the same laws regarding the use of crossbows. Always check your state's laws before making a purchase that may be wasted. Some states only allow crossbow use during part of the season, some only for disabled people, and some ban their use outright. A list of every states law can be found here.
- Similarly, broadhead regulations differ from state to state. Though we have done our best to pick the broadheads that will comply with most states laws, head over to this link to make sure you are good to go!
- Follow any guidance on this year's deer season due to Bluetongue Disease which has been rampant across many areas of the U.S. and decimated some deer populations. There could be many changes this season to protect the long-term hunting potential of deer, be mindful of any changes that may be made. We want to protect and preserve the hunting potential of our wildlands for future generations.
No other hunting season can ever add up to deer hunting. It is practically a religion across much of the U.S. with tens of thousands of avid outdoorsmen taking to the field every year in hopes of a trophy buck. Even the runners up get pounds of the finest meat available in North America.
If it is your intent to take to the field this fall and a crossbow is your tool of the trade, any of the broadheads above should perform very well in bringing home your chosen prey. In the thicker growth of the south, a fixed blade may be your best bet but in the open ranges of the west, opting for a mechanical is a viable choice.
Whatever you pick, the above are some of the finest fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads for crossbows to ever be available on the market. Each one has proven itself time and again in the field by bringing down even the biggest bucks the American woodlands has to offer.
The time to hunt is just around the corner and the time to scout is already here. You need to get your bow out and get it sighted in if you want to be ready when the day comes. There is no more time to waste or procrastinate in choosing what weapon you will arm yourself with.
Make your choice in confidence that it will perform admirably when the time comes. Though there are thousands of broadheads on the market today, no other will stack up to those above, all of them are among the best crossbow broadheads for deer hunting. Each may have strengths and weaknesses but all things do, even deer and your arrows strengths will always overcome their weakness.
As you take to the outdoors this fall, keep safety in mind but keep your arrows sharp and your finger ready. More than once I have taken a deer on the way to my stand. Good luck and good hunting, may the deer be plentiful and large!