Selecting an entry-level compound bow for hunting or target shooting requires a keen eye. With this in mind, there are several features to look for that are perfect for beginners, and we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. In this guide, you’ll find the best compound bow for beginners and some helpful tips along the way. By the end, you’ll be well on your way to getting in the field to hunt your first deer or hit your first bullseye.
Compared to other types of bows, compound bows are more versatile and suitable for all skill levels. The list below gives you an idea of the features we look for when choosing a good beginner compound bow.
How to Choose a Beginner Compound Bow
- Draw Weight – For beginners, it’s best to choose a compound bow with a low minimum draw weight. This way, as you progress, you’re able to add more weight as your skills develop.
- Let-Off – Let-off is important for beginners and veterans alike because it allows the archer to hold the bow for longer at full draw. To clarify, the higher the let-off the longer you’ll be able to hold your bow at full draw. Therefore, let-off is especially useful for bowhunting since it gives you more time to take the most accurate shot.
- Weight – A lightweight bow is good for newcomers and younger archers because it’s easier to handle.
- Draw Length Range – If you still have some growing to do, it’s wise to choose a bow with a higher draw length range. As a result, you’ll grow into your bow without having to purchase a new one.
- Smooth & Quiet – If you landed here today looking for the best compound hunting bow for beginners, then stealth operation is a requirement. Just because you’re a beginner doesn’t mean you should go too deep down the budget hole. Because if your compound is creaky, you’re not going to have a successful hunt with it.
- Warranty – As a newb, you always want to make sure the bow has a warranty from a reputable dealer. Consequently, all the bows in this guide come backed by warranties.
Now, it’s time to get rolling with the reviews.
Best Beginner Compound Bow Reviews
Below, you’ll find our top picks and all the information you need to land on the best starter compound bow for your needs.
#1) Bear Archery Cruzer G2
Bear Archery is a solid mid-range archery brand, and its Cruzer G2 model is the best beginner compound bow for adults. First, it sports a wide draw weight range of 5 to 70 lbs. This is especially nice to see because it gives you the chance to work all the way up from the bottom to veteran-level draw weight. A 70 lb draw weight is enough to take down big game with heavy arrows, including elk. Next, at just 3 lbs, everyone will find this bow to be lightweight and easy to handle right out of the box.
Third, the adjustable draw length of 12″ to 30″ allows you to grow into the bow if need be, and it supports all user heights. Plus, this bow is available in a wide variety of colors and right-hand or left-hand. For this reason, this model is also the best left-handed compound bow in our guide for beginners. In addition to those specs, the max speed of 315 fps is not too shabby, even when compared to advanced bows.
Finally, we like that this bow comes with all the accessories a beginner needs to get rolling right out of the box. You get a whisket biscuit, peep sight, stabilizer, quiver, basic bow sight, and more. The only thing that needs to be done is to get it a proper tuning before you start. Also, one final highlight is the 70% let-off, which makes this bow excellent for the beginner bowhunter.
- 70% let-off allows new bowhunters and archers to easily hold at full draw longer
- Includes all the accessories you need for hunting
- 5 to 70 lb draw weight to suit every skill level
- Powerful 315 fps max arrow speed
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Easy adjustments with an Allen wrench
- Suitable for youth, men, and women
- Left-hand and right-hand models
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Once you gain some skill, you’ll probably want to upgrade some of the accessories
- Requires a professional tuning out of the box
- The peep sight may require adjustments as you go
#2) Diamond Archery Prism
Next up is the best compound bow for youth beginners and adults with small frames. Firstly, Diamond Archery by Bowtech manufactures some of the best compound bows in the world for all skill levels. Secondly, this bow is less likely to need a proper tuning out the box, though, it’s advisable to consider one. Having said that, if you have a veteran bowhunter in your family, it’ll be easier for them to sight in than the Cruzer G2.
Next, the 80% let-off is even higher than the Cruzer G2, making this bow extremely easy to hold at full draw for all skill levels. Third, it’s lightweight at 3.2 lbs with a 5 to 55 lb draw weight. For this reason, this model is better suited for target shooting than hunting. Yet, with a max 295 fps arrow speed and 55 lb draw weight, it’s suitable for deer hunting. For big game hunting, you’ll want a more powerful shot for both ethical and strategic purposes.
A couple of final highlights are the 18″ to 30″ draw length that allows you to grow into the bow and the limited lifetime warranty offered by Diamond. All in all, if you’re on a budget, this is a great beginner compound bow for youth and female archers or hunters.
- 80% let-off is even higher than Cruzer G2
- Our top pick for youth and female beginners
- 5 to 55 lb draw weight is acceptable for target shooting and deer hunting
- Lightweight at 3.2 lbs
- Affordable yet high-quality from a trustworthy company
- Lifetime warranty
- Includes accessories for hunting
- Less likely to need a professional tuning out of the box
- Not powerful enough for big game hunting
- Does not feature Diamond’s Synchronized Binary Cam System
- You might not like the grip
#3) PSE Uprising
Another good archery brand is PSE, and its Uprising model is the most suitable for beginners. Similar to the bows that came before it, the Uprising offers an adjustable draw weight of 15 to 70 lbs. Because of this, the Uprising is a better choice for adult bowhunters than the Prism since you get that extra oomph. Next, the 14″ to 30″ draw length gives youth the chance to grow into the bow plus have enough power as adults to use it for bowhunting and target practice.
Regarding size and weight, the Uprising measures 30″ axle to axle and weighs just 3.2 lbs. You’ll find that this bow is just as easy to hold as the Cruzer G2 and Prism models considering they all weigh about the same. Another reason we like PSE is that most of its bows are made in the USA, including the Uprising.
One drawback to consider is the included accessories aren’t quite as beginner-friendly as our first two picks. There’s a good chance you’ll want to upgrade the included arrow rest. However, it’s nice to see that the base package includes a 3-pin sight, 6″ stabilizer, an arrow rest, and a 5-arrow quiver. Finally, PSE backs its bows with a lifetime warranty, though, there are stipulations to be aware of to keep the warranty intact.
- Made in the USA
- More powerful than Diamond’s Prism for the beginner bowhunter
- One of the most affordable PSE compound bows
- 14″ to 30″ draw length is suitable for youth, adults, and short folks
- Lifetime warranty
- Powerful max 70 lb draw weight and 310 fps max speed
- The included accessories could be better, particularly the arrow rest
#4) Diamond Archery Edge SB-1
Now, if you’re on the hunt for a beginner compound bow with a more premium feel and features, it’s hard to beat the Edge SB-1. Compared to Prism, this bow is more powerful, yet there’s enough adjustability for teens to start with it and grow into it. Additionally, this is the most powerful compound bow in our guide, making it the best choice for bowhunting elk and other big game. Of course, there’s enough power for whitetail hunting as well.
Next, unlike Prism, the Edge SB-1 features Diamond’s trademark synchronized binary cam system. With this system, your cams are forced to rotate in tandem. The main benefits are improved accuracy and less need for tuning. After the cam system, it’s important to note the EZ Adjust Pocket for the easiest draw weight adjustments. Clearly, this is a really nice feature for beginners as they move up the ladder.
Lastly, the Edge SB-1 is moderately lightweight at 3.6 lbs, it features a 7-70lb draw weight, 80% let-off, and a 318 fps IBO Speed. With this amount of speed and power, the Edge SB-1 is the best compound bow for beginner hunters in our guide. Plus, it’s made in the USA and comes backed by Diamond’s lifetime warranty.
- One of the most powerful beginner compound bows
- 7 to 70 lb draw weight with EZ Adjust Pocket
- Lifetime warranty
- Features Diamond’s premium Synchronized Binary Cam System
- Highest max arrow velocity in this guide – good for big game hunting
- Not the most affordable option
#5) Predator Archery Raptor Compound Hunting Bow Kit
Last is our top budget pick by Predator Archery. While not as well-known as PSE, Diamond, or Bear Archery, Predator is currently selling a great beginner compound bow for under 300 bucks. First, the best part about this bow is the kit that includes beginner-friendly accessories. Comparatively, the accessory package with the Raptor certainly outshines what PSE brings to the table with its Uprising bow.
In total, the kit includes a 5-pin fiber optic sight, TRUGLO EZ Arrow Rest, self-aligning peep sight, rubber stabilizer, string silencer, and several more must-have accessories. As for the specs, this compound bow is no slouch. It sports a 315 fps speed and 30 to 70lb draw weight. Plus, the draw length of 24.5″ to 31″ is perfect for big guys or gals who need that extra inch of draw length. Having considered those specs, it’s important to note that this model is not as good for youth or small folks as the preceding models.
All things considered, the Raptor is a great beginner compound bow for adults and new bowhunters. The 5-pin sight is great for new hunters to avoid having to make adjustments on the fly, and there’s enough power for hunting. Several final highlights are the transferrable lifetime warranty, the limbs made in the USA, and the 75% let-off.
- Excellent accessory package for beginners
- Ample power for bowhunting
- 31″ draw length gives tall people that extra inch
- Transferrable lifetime warranty
- Generous 75% let-off
- Not the best choice for youth
- Likely to require professional tuning
- Only the limbs are made in the USA
We’re confident that our guide led you to the best compound bow for beginners. There are plenty of options here for youth, men, and women who want a good beginner bow for target shooting and/or hunting. One thing to consider is that the Prism model is the least suitable for hunting, yet it’s an excellent beginner bow for youth. Also, if you did come here to find a compound bow for youth hunters, the SB-1, Uprising, and Cruzer G2 are your best bets.
For new adult bowhunters, the Raptor is definitely worth a look because of the accessory package and power it delivers for the money. The 5-pin sight and TRUGLO arrow rest ensure you won’t need to upgrade your accessories out of the box. Finally, a lifetime warranty is standard in the compound bow department, and all of the brands in this guide offer one.