Looking for the best crossbow for bow hunting or target shooting? In this guide, we reveal the best crossbows of 2022 available on the market.
"You can't not look cool with a crossbow"
~Norman Reedus, American actor, best known for starring in the popular AMC post-apocalyptic drama series The Walking Dead as Daryl Dixon who uses a crossbow to kill man-eating zombies.
Table of Contents
Best Crossbow 2022 For Bow Hunting And Target Shooting
Fast, accurate, stealthy: a good crossbow is the ultimate bow hunting weapon. As archery gains momentum, crossbows are now popular among target shooters as well.
And should a zombie apocalypse break out in 2022, you need a powerful crossbow to survive!
The amount of models available on today's market is huge, and can fit hunters and archers of all ages, size, and budget.
To help you navigating through the various offers and identifying the best crossbow 2022 for you, we've put together this informative crossbow guide (featuring a kinetic energy calculator to find out if your crossbow packs enough power to take down a bear, a deer or not even a gobbler!).
Important note: crossbows exist in several different variants, each one with its own specific features, construction, and shooting style. Ultimately, you want to invest in a crossbow that will meet your archery/ bow hunting needs.
Whether you need a crossbow for a zombie apocalypse or simply for taking down a white tail deer in the local woodlands, in the table below you'll find the best crossbows for 2022, hands down!
To make it easier, in this table we've only listed the most important specs that you need to choose the best crossbow for you: max speed, draw weight and cocked width. For more detailed specs jump to the comparison table.
Top 10 Best Crossbow 2022
Max Speed (FPS)
Draw weight (lbs)
Cocked width (inches)
Barnett Whitetail Pro STR (Best Fastest Crossbow)
PSE Jolt (Best Crossbow Under $200)
X-Gear (Best Cheapest Crossbow)
If you're new to the world of crossbows, we recommend you to read this guide until the end. You will find a comprehensive buyer's guide and a comparison table with all the crossbow features explained, which will help you choose the best crossbow for your archery needs and skills.
Best Crossbow 2022 Reviews
Let's take a spin through the features of the best crossbows 2022 in more detail. The 10 crossbows featured in this round-up review cover a huge variety of needs, styles and budgets.
These 10 crossbows are not listed in descending order of preference. Each one of these 10 crossbows has its own unique features, pros and cons, that make it suitable for specific archery or hunting needs.
If you're on desktop, you can use the navigation menu on the right to jump straight to the best crossbow 2022, the fastest, the best under $200 or the best cheapest.
1. CenterPoint Sniper 370 - Best Crossbow For The Money
The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is an incredible crossbow, far exceeding the expectations for a crossbow in its price range. Many hunters appreciate its powerful features and reliability, and have rated it better than premium alternatives costing hundreds, if not thousands more. The Centerpoint Sniper 370 is without a doubt one of the best crossbow 2022 for the money.
The Centerpoint Sniper 370 is a compact compound crossbow at 18 inches when cocked, and features a durable CNC-machined rail with shoot-through riser, quad limbs fitted with a precision CNC-machined cam system, and fully adjustable M4-style stock and tactical pass-through AR foregrip to account for any shooting style.
With a blazing 370 fps velocity and 13.5 power stroke the Centerpoint Sniper 370 outperforms many premium competitors for killpower, and you will be amazed at how accurate it can be thanks to its precision cam system.
The trigger pull on this crossbow is a little long, which makes it a bit of a challenge to get used to for some, but this is technically a non-issue, and some hunters even appreciate the "squeeze" feeling before firing.
A big bonus on the Centerpoint Sniper 370 is the high quality 4x32 mm illuminated scope, which has been reviewed better than scopes included with more expensive models.
2. Bear Karnage Apocalypse - Best Crossbow 2022 (and Best Crossbow To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse!)
The new Bear Karnage Apocalypse is the hottest crossbow package at the moment, period. This crossbow is part of the Apocalypse series, born from the partnership between world renowned Bear Archery and Karnage crossbows, featuring edgy-looking and powerful crossbows on unbelievable price tag. This is a deal not to be missed for all the bow hunters out there looking to upgrade their arsenal, and for the beginner and veteran compound archers eager to tear up the fields with a true killer.
The Bear Karnage Apocalypse is very similar to the Centerpoint Sniper 370 for assembly and materials, but the Bear Karnage wins for maneuverability and stability. Weighing in at 7.5lbs, the Bear Karnage Apocalypse is lighter then the Sniper( 7.9lbs), and its cocked width is also narrower at 14″. The Karnage Apocalypse also features a rear stock with 3" of adjustability and five settings, and adjustable cheekpiece.
In terms of performance, the Karnage Apocalypse is one of the fastest crossbows of this lot, throwing bolts at 370fps and generating over 121 foot pounds of kinetic energy. This is more than double the power to take down the largest of game effortlessly (if you know what you're doing).
3. Barnett Whitetail Pro STR - Best Fastest Crossbow: 400 FPS
The Barnett’s Whitetail Pro-STR is one of the fastest crossbows ever made and a 2022 absolute bestseller. The crossbow is manufactured by Barnett, one of the industry-leaders, and it's proven the best choice for the hardcore hunter that wants to impress their peers in woods with a bold display of power and aggressiveness. Perhaps the best Barnett crossbow currently on the market, and more affordable than premium models such as Ravin.
The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR has a slick body measuring a mere 17.6” wide, built for tight maneuvering in the woods when moving between tree stands and the ground line. Thanks to its step-through fiberglass composite riser, It's also lighter than most crossbows on this list, weighing in at just 6.9 pounds, which make it easy to carry around when on an all-day hunting trip.
This crossbow feels very balanced and shoots very accurately, as the weight is mostly shifted towards the stock. It delivers arrows at incredible speeds of up to 400 FPS, generating 140 Ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, which will allow you to virtually take down anything that moves within a 40yards range.
The Barnett’s TriggerTech Frictionless Release technology featured on this crossbow gives you a very responsive trigger that can be released with as little as 3 pounds of pressure.
Some users have reported difficulties when cocking this crossbow. If you are a smaller framed shooter, make sure you shorten the cocking rope to fit your body size as recommended by the manufacturer.
The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Comes with 2 22” arrows, a side mount quiver, a rope cocking device, a 4×32mm illuminated scope of great quality, and lubrication wax.
4. Ravin R10/R110 Predator - Best Premium Crossbow Choice
The Ravin R10 Predator is an absolute revolution in crossbow engineering, and one of the most powerful and stealthy crossbows ever made. It's hard not to expect the absolute best from the indisputable crossbow manufacturing leader Ravin, but the R10 goes above and beyond with its unique features and unbeatable performance. High end quality comes with high-end price which may scare the newer shooters, but when you shot this baby for the first time you'll be sure it was money well spent.
The Ravin R10 is a high-end, rifle-style crossbow that feels (and shoots) like an actual rifle with its ultra compact 6" cocked width and vented design which reduces the crossbow overall final weight down to 6.9lbs, increasing portability and maneuverability.
This crossbow reaches firing speed of up to 390 fps, making it one of the fastest crossbows available on the market right now. It features Helicoil technology for superior downrange accuracy and power, friction-less flight system for quiet operation and high-end accuracy, trac-trigger mechanism for the balanced draw, shock-reduction and comfortable, low vibration firing, and Versa-draw cocking ssytem for effortless cocking.
The package comes with a premium Ravin 100-yards illuminated scope, one of most popular on the market, and that alone makes this package a must-have for the savvy hunter. The package also includes 6x Ravin arrows, 6x Ravin nocks, removable cocking handle, quiver or mounting bracket, 6x 100-grain practice field points, and a hard case for safe storage and transportation of the crossbow and other hunting items when not in use
Legendary TenPoint is Ravin's rival for revolutionary crossbow engineering, design and technology. Winner of the 2016 Game & Fish Reader's Choice Award, the Tenpoint Turbo GT is one of the hottest crossbow on the market right now, and is enjoying 5-star average user rating consistently. The amazing thing about the TenPoint Turbo GT is that literally anyone can shoot it effortlessly, even a little kid, thanks to the innovative cocking mechanism. If it wasn't for the price tag, it would be the best crossbow 2022 for beginners
The TenPoint Turbo GT ACUdraw technology integrated into the buttstock for extreme accuracy
The TenPoint Turbo GT has an extra compact supercharded 175-pound XLT (Extreme Limb Technology) bow assembly. Fully assembled and cocked, the Turbo GT measures only 13.5 inches axle-to-axle, 35 inches by length, and it weighs in at only 6.5 pounds. These dimensions are ideal for carrying and handling the crossbow in those tight treestand or ground blind spots.
The TenPoint Turbo GT honors its name with phenomenale levels of kinetic energy and speed up to 360fps for the most ambitious hunting endeavors. It feels balanced and shoots with superior smoothness and accuracy.
It's one of the safest crossbows out there (another plus for beginners), thanks to the foregrip cutout design and glass reinforced nylon safety wings.
The crossbow is packed with features and it comes with the TenPoint 3x Pro-View 2 scope, and, like all TenPoint crossbows, it comes with our DFI (Dry Fire Inhibitor) and 3.5-pound auto-engaging safety trigger.
6. Excalibur MicroSuppressor -Best Stealthiest Crossbow
This Best Crossbow 2022 round-up review could not be complete without a crossbow by Excalibur, one of the most promising and revolutionary crossbow manufacturers since 1983. We've chosen to feature the Excalibur Microsuppressor because, well, it's unquestionably an outstanding hunting crossbow, featuring unique lightweight design and comprehensive sound-deadening system combined with mesmerizing power. If the price tag doesn't intimidate you it's worth checking it out as this premium crossbow is a true lifelong investment.
As a crossbow shooter used to heavy compound assemblies, the Excalibur Microsuppressor Recurve will feel light as air when you hold it for the first time. Thanks to the straight-to-the-bone and Bullpup buttstock design, it weighs in at only 5.4lbs and iis only 31" long, which is a blessing for all the small-framed hunters and huntresses, and more generally, has increased portability compared to some of the big boys we've seen above.
Despite the small size, this is one of the most powerful crossbows of this bunch, and fires bolts at up to 355fps, generating loads of killer kinetic energy. It's also dead-on accurate, so much that Excalibur guarantees groupings of max three inches at 25 yards with broadheads using this crossbow.
But the most impressive feature on this crossbow is the sound-deadening system, consisting of 5 main elements (Ex-Shox dampening trusses wedges, Strings Stars, Recoil Ant-Vibration System silencers, Hold down spring and Over-moulded stirrup with rubberized coating) which work together to tame the noise down to almost inaudible levels.
The package is also impressive and includes tons of high-quality accessories: Tact-Zone illuminated scope, Guardian anti-dry-fire system, ambidextrous cheek piece, R.E.D.S suppressors, air brakes, x-hanger three arrow quiver with Picatinny bracket, 3 - quill arrows, 150 grain field points, sound deadening accessories and rope cocking aid.
All in all, if you're looking for the most stealthy crossbow, it's either the Ravin Predator R10, or this one. Both are premium crossbows of superb quality, but we give an edge over to the Excalibur for value/money offered and user satisfactions.
Another great Barnett product, the Recruit is a very compact and versatile crossbow, sold at a very affordable price, and it's the ideal choice if you're just jumping out on the crossbows bandwagon for either target shooting or hunting. It comes with a red-dot scope, arrows, and other accessories to get started right away. A great offer to consider as it's an economic product from a reputable brand, with very positive user's ratings, and a great gift idea for novice shooters.
The thing that we like the most about the Barnett Recruit is that its light bow weight (6.5 lbs), and extra-compact design (16" cocked width, 34.25" in length) makes it great for beginners and smaller framed users such as young hunters and huntresses. Some hunters might prefer a heavier crossbow for increased stability and solidity, but the Barnett Recruit feels very balanced and shoots smoothly and accurately.
It features a special AVi anti-vibration system, which helps taming down the noise, which is usually an issue with most of today's powerful crossbows as opposed to compound bows.
With a draw weight of 130lbs and a max speed of 330fps, the Barnett Recruit is not the fastest crossbow by a long shot, and yet it can generate up to 80 foot pounds of kinetic energy, which is more than enough to take down any size game shooting 400-grains bolts, as you can verify for yourself here.
Some users have reported that the string on the Barnett Recruit can break off easily. It is highly recommended that you read and follow the user's manual, watch the safety videos and wax the string every ten shots. This will aid you to understand how the crossbow works and how to keep the string strong and supple to prevent any damage.
This is a crossbow package manufactured by SA Sports, an outdoor gears brand that's becoming an influential presence in the archery and bow hunting world thanks to its focus on quality, innovation and customer service. The Empire Beowulf crossbow is one of their top hunting machines, and it has stood the test of time by virtue of some of the highest user's rating for a crossbow in this price range. Recommended for its for all compound bow hunters wanting to switch to crossbows for some extra thrill without breaking the bank.
This compound crossbow features a lightweight synthetic stock and barrel, combined with an ultra compact riser assembly which reduces the overall weight to just about 6.5lbs, making it very portable and easy to maneuver for women/ smaller-framed users.
Despite its compact frame, the Empire Beowulf shoots at speeds up to 360 FPS and is extremely quiet with a solid trigger pull, and is incredibly accurate for a non-premium crossbow, as testified by multiple user's deer hunting field reports.
Some users have reported difficulties in putting this crossbow together. Make sure you VISIT YOUR LOCAL pRO SHOP TO GET IT FIT PROPERLY IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY ISSUE.
Overall, it's worth giving the SA Sports Empire Beowulf a try, as this is a more than decent crossbow and one of the best options for your money currently available. It come with a 4X32 multirange scope, which however would need replacing.
9. PSE Jolt - Best Crossbow Under $200
Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE) are an internationally acclaimed archery gear manufacturer since 1970, and the makers of some of the best compound bows on the market right now. The cool thing about PSE bows is that they are incredibly affordable, despite the high quality and the brand reputation. The PSE Jolt Recurve style crossbow is no exception, and we firmly believe it could be the best deal on crossbow at the moment for under $200.
The PSE Jolt recurve is quality built in pure PSE style, on a CNC precision-machined barrel and features a recurve style limb for increased stability and accuracy. It also features a retractable shoulder stock which retracts 1.25 inches to fit taller shooters. It's very lightweight at 5.8lbs, but not very compact at over 23" cocked width, which can be a problem in treestands or tight ground spots.
At 250 fps is not as fast as other models featured on here, but that doesn't mean you can't drop a deer or larger game in its track with a well calibrated shot, as the accuracy on this bow is at top levels. It also shoots very quietly, thanks to the pre-installe rubber string groove which reduces limb vibration.
The PSE Jolt Recurve Crossbow package includes: Illuminated Red Dot scope, 4 - 18 inch aluminum bolts with 100 gr. Points, 4-bolt quiver, Rubber String Grooves, Cocking rope device, Rail Wax Lube
Do not expect the extrafast speed of the likes of Ravin or Barnett crossbows. However, the PSE Jolt compensate for the lack of velocity with good accuracy and shooting comfort.
If you're on a tight budget but still looking for quality, or just starting out in the world of crossbows and don't feel like plunking down a pretty penny, look no further than the PSE Jolt recurve.
10. X-Gear (Leader Accessories) 160lbs - Best Cheapest Crossbow
The award for best cheapest crossbow 2022 goes to the X-Gear 160lbs, perhaps unsurprisingly, as this manufacturer has already proven successful, under various names (most notably Leader Accessories), in the archery and outdoors gear world. The X-Gear is an entry-level package with entry level features, no doubt about that. But as much as we don't want to admit it, whatever the fancy (and less fancy) models above have that this one is missing, might not be worth the extra thousands you're going to cash out. Even more so, if you're just wanting to get your hands dirty before embracing crossbows as your main hunting weapon, in which case the XGear is most likely your number 1 choice.
The XGear crossbow features a recurve limb design which looks cheap (a little less cheap on the camo version) but it's durable and functional nonetheless. It's very lightweight at 5.85 lbs and feels solid, although it's not the most compact at 22" cocked width (but narrower than the PSE Jolt).
This crossbows throws arrows at 210fps, which is the lowest velocity you'll find on this list, but then again using the right size broadheads we don't see why you couldn't use it for hunting mid-size game successfully, as this bow also shoots very accurately and, above all, quietly.
There are many things we don't like about this XGear/Leader Accessories recurve crossbow (cheap-looking limb and finish, poor velocity, low-end accessory quality, undetailed instructions...), but don't forget that this is a starter "plug-and-play" of decent overall quality, sold at a bargain price of less than $200
If you want to get into hunting with crossbows, why not grab an XGear/ Leader accessories. Don't expect anything to brag about, but at least your wallet won't be left empty while you enjoy shooting a decent crossbow on your next target session or hunting trip!
11. RAVIN R500
A crossbow that is reliable, uncomplicated to use, and can strike at a speed of 500 fps, all of this and more is delivered by the new Ravin. Which is all deserving of its praise.
A crossbow that is reliable, uncomplicated to use, and can strike at a speed of 500 fps, all of this and more is delivered by the new Ravin. Which is all deserving of its praise
The small profile of the R500 makes it convenient to level over the forward grip for consistent offhand firing. It also includes a clever way to keep misplaced fingers from being cut off by the thread. The string on the R500 is surrounded by a cover that resembles a vented hood.
Its cocking operation is skillfully designed with a trigger that travels along threaded rails. It's a simple design with no cords or cables. It requires effort to pump, but the action is seamless, and most individuals have no trouble stroking this crossbow. Its crank handle is shockingly inexpensive, with its design and construction being an afterthought on a well-designed crossbow. However, one challenge is that the bolt must be snapped onto the string rather than slipped into place as on other crossbows. This implies that the user must grasp the bolt to snap it on, which becomes tougher with a broad-headed bow.
Excalibur is a renowned brand in the crossbow market, recognized for producing long-lasting, dependable goods. Excalibur crossbows use recurve technology, which is older than compound bow technology but delivers exceptional reliability and accuracy.
TwinStrike is the only bow that can fire two bolts without reloading. The Excalibur TwinStrike TAC2 recurve crossbow incorporates Dual Fire TM technology and two triggers, allowing the front trigger to fire the top rail while the rear trigger fires the bottom rail.
CeaseFireTM technology assures that if a bolt is not loaded, this recurve crossbow will not fire. It comes with the Charger EXTTM, a simple, silent, mechanized crank that allows you to safely cock and uncock the TwinStrike without shooting an arrow. To optimize effective range, the shooter can accurately fire two rounds from a single crossbow.
The TwinStrike TAC 2 is the second edition TwinStrike, and has the same trademark features as its forerunner: The latest TAC 2 has two triggers, is three pounds lighter than the original, has a shorter overall length, and is around 20 fps slower.
This crossbow has some drawbacks for shooters with smaller hands, as the front trigger will be challenging to reach for them. The loading method is complex, and testers have expressed safety concerns about loading. The lower crossbow must be cocked with the safety off as the latch will not engage with the safety.
The Wrath 430X combines agility and portability to create CenterPoint's most groundbreaking crossbow. The Wrath 430 drastically boosts speed, power, and efficiency while being CenterPoint's smallest crossbow.
The compact device has a polymer arm, which gives the bow a substandard look but has no effect on performance. Even though the trigger pull is hefty, it is still the most accurate crossbow tested.
The Wrath 430 is stated to have a top speed of 430 fps, although CenterPoint does not supply a bolt weight to accomplish that speed. Therefore, we can't claim that it cannot meet its specifications because a lighter bolt may reach 430 fps.
The front grip keeps your supporting hand low and away from the string. Although the crank is silent, the crank handle inserts into a hole on the rear of the stock and can become stuck. therefore, it is suggested to use a cocking rope for hunting,
The centerfire rifle bow slims your frame while keeping you agile. Whether you've taken up a sniper posture behind a tree or switched routes on the field to prevent a change in airflow, this bow allows you to aim and shoot like the pro you've always aspired to be.
The Barnett Hypertac 420 is a prominent micro crossbow in the marketplace. It's not only elegantly designed but is also a high-quality crossbow with a reasonable price tag. The hypertacc 420 is unlike other high-quality crossbows on the market that thrive on charging a premium price. Barnett avoids this issue by offering a high-quality and sturdy crossbow at an affordable price.
When you take this crossbow out of the box, you will discover that it is pretty simple to use. In addition to the adjustable buttstock, the Hypertac 420 has a pass-through forend and a multi-position pistol grip.
Installation is not a hassle because the riser is held together by a single bolt and the Halo sight is simple to adjust. If you have extra gear, such as a lantern or extra ammunition, you may attach it to one of the crossbow's three Pic rails. This is becoming a standard feature on Barnett crossbows.
Another fantastic feature of this crossbow is the TriggerTech trigger mechanism. The Frictionless Release Technology aid in accuracy by making a decent, lightweight, and smooth draw with zero creep.
When you launch this crossbow, you'll get to know how strong it is. Its 15.5" power stroke propels it to 420 feet per second. Which is quite remarkable for such a modest crossbow! Similarly, cocking the Hypertac 420 with the rope cocker isn't too hard either, as It has an effortlessly smooth feel.
Unbox the Barrett TS380, and you'll instantly fall in love with your purchase since this crossbow looks fantastic! The camo design crossbow is almost ready to depart straight away. The one-bolt installation makes this crossbow extremely simple to construct, and if you're a newbie, you should have no problems.
When you first hold the Barnett TS380, you'll realize how comfortable it is. The stock is rubberized wherever you'd need to place your hands, making it one of the best fore grips on the market. The adjustable butt stock lets you customize it to your liking, which is always a plus in our view.
The Barnett TS380 is small and light, weighing only 6.9 pounds, with an aluminum flight track and magnesium alloy riser. The Barnett TS380 fires at a rate of 380 feet per second, which is more than adequate to take down a variety of wildlife.
The TS380 Crossbow provides a 4x32 Multi-Reticle Scope that gives an excellent view of details at a long distance. The main issue with this scope is that it is not fog-proof, which would be a problem if you were hunting in temperatures below freezing.
Overall, this is an incredible compound crossbow that Barnett has to offer and one of the best in its price bracket on the market. We wish it had a better crank-cocking mechanism, but considering the price and quality, you will not be disappointed.
The Barnett Hyper XP 405 provides excellent value for money to crossbow hunters. It has intriguing features, such as the ability to discharge micro-diameter bolts and a TriggerTech trigger. The retractable stock is ideal for customizing the crossbow and decreasing its size for transporting. The stock is also ergonomically designed, with rubber over molding around the handle for added comfort. For a crossbow in this price range, the trigger is unbelievably good and can shoot at a decent 407 frames per second.
The weight distribution and compact profile of the Hyper XP 405 make it seem more like firing a rifle than a bow, which is what most shooters desire. Its crossbow base allows you to transfer your shooting talents from one form to another without any modifications or compromises.
A nock sensor and an Anti-Dry Fire (ADF) mechanism guarantee that the crossbow cannot launch unless the arrow is loaded correctly. The wide pass-through foregrip keeps fingertips away from the string path, and a customizable buttstock allows for the optimal length-of-pull fit, making the XP 405 suitable for kids, women, and men.
The 4-5x32mm red/green lighted scope from dusk to noon provides precision and target acquisition in various ambient light settings. A quality multi-position holster rounds out the set for the optimum shooting experience.
Lastly, the Hyper XP 405 has a straightforward three-bolt construction, with one bolt connecting the riser to the rail and two screws connecting the foot stirrup.
The SWAT X1 crossbow is easy to cock, wield, and shoot, having a deadly speed of 405 feet per second. The Killer Instinct Swat X1 has a lot to offer. Because of its small size and balance, this crossbow (25 inches long) makes it exceptionally easy to fire offhand and kneel. It boasts one of the best triggers and shoots a decent 382 fps with a 390-grain bolt.
It can be equipped with either a little quiet crank or a rope. The Accutac barrel of SWOT X1 matches accuracy and speed. The Accutac gives the crossbow's bolts more direction and support.
At 50 yards, it possesses a mediocre accuracy, with 3.7-inch groupings. It has a simple crossbow to cock. The cheek rest needs to be lifted out of the way to cock the crossbow and then closed again before shooting. This extra step is a trade-off for the SWAT X1's smaller size.
best Crossbow 2022 Buyer’s Guide
Whether you're new to the archery/crossbows world or you're a veteran hunter just in need of a refresh, this guide will help you navigating through the most important things that you need to know before purchasing a crossbow. Let's get started!
What is a crossbow?
Let's start with the basics...
Crossbows are ranged weapons that can be used for both hunting and target shooting and consist of a bow assembled horizontally onto a stock similar to that of a gun.
Crossbows exist in different variants based on the limbs/cam system and design.
The main variants of crossbow you will come across are: recurve, compound, rifle-style and pistol crossbow. The most common types are compound and recurve, but rifle-style and pistol-style designs are also gaining popularity.
When screening the market for a crossbow, you will need to know how to distinguish the different crossbow types, before choosing the right model for you.
Recurve crossbows are the simplest and most "authentic" type of crossbow. The crossbow string is directly attached on a single limb or a set of limbs that are curved toward the riser. Recurve crossbow are typically lightweight and easy to maintain, but they can be noisy and less energy-efficient than other crossbow types.
Compound crossbows are the modern type of crossbow. Much like compound bows, in compound crossbows the string is attached to a system of pulleys or cams connected via cables to the limb assembly. As the string is drawn, the cables move and the limbs are bent thus storing energy for the shot. Compound crossbows are usually faster and have reduced vibration compared to recurve ones, but they can be more time-consuming to maintain.
Rifle crossbows are the most advanced crossbow type available. They feature a compact and narrow rifle-like design, and they also have approximately the same size and weight of an actual firearm rifle . They usually offer greater power and accuracy compared to recurve or even compound crossbows. Crossbow manufacturers such as Ravin are currently producing uniquely designed, premium rifle-style crossbows.
Pistol crossbows are the simplest crossbow model and the easiest one to use, but they should not be confused with toys, as they can be quite powerful in spite of the compact size. They are usually easy to cock (some of them even feature a self-cocking device) and very affordable. Did you know that pistol crossbows can be used for hunting too? Check out our comprehensive best pistol crossbow guide to choose the best pistol crossbow for your needs.
While commonly addressed as arrows, crossbow projectiles are also called bolts. Bolts are usually shorter than conventional arrows (The average length of a crossbow bolt/arrow is 20") and they can be a lot heavier.
They can be fit two primary types of heads: field points, which are mainly use for target practice and broadheads, that are used for hunting. Broad heads are then further divided into fixed-bladed, removable-blade and expandable-blade. The expandable blades are the most lethal as they're designed to open up only once the arrow hits the animal.
The firing speed or velocity of a crossbow is measured in feet per second (FPS). Unlike compound bows and vertical bows that have a specific speed rating guidelines issued by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO), crossbows do not have an universally recognized speed test standard as of yet. As a results of this, you need to be aware that there might be a difference between the advertised speed and the actual speed of a crossbow, based on the arrow weight you will be using. Make sure you check the speed-test details (if available) for the crossbow you're buying.
Some of the most reputable crossbow manufacturers, such as Tenpoint have their crossbows speed tested using arrows of different weights (usually ranging from lightweight 375-grains arrows to heavyweight 545-grain arrows). The results of these tests are then published and are available to the consumers to compare. Some other manufacturers will only speed-test using 400-grains arrow, in which case the actual speed shooting heavier or lighter arrow will be different.
This is the measurement of the distance from axle to axle, or from limb tip to tip, when the crossbow is at full draw, or in cocked position.
The power stroke is one of the most important measurement in a crossbow, yet is possibly the least understood. The power stroke is defined as the measure of the distance between the crossbow’s string at full draw, when cocked, and its uncocked, resting point. Power stroke can be compared to the brace height on a compound bow. In theory. the longer the power stroke, the faster the bolt will fly. But it's not that simple, as other factors such as limb design and draw weight also play a role in the final firing speed of a crossbow.
The draw weight of a bow is defined as the peak amount of weight the archer will pull while drawing the bow. Draw weights on crossbows are higher than on compound bows, and therefore it will take significantly more effort to draw. A rope cocking device is recommended to cock any crossbow of draw weight higher than 150lbs.
Arrow kinetic energy and momentum
Both the speed and the weight of the crossbow bolt/arrow are key factors in determining the killpower on a crossbow. To better understand how to estimate how lethal a crossbow arrow can be, let's go through the concept of arrow kinetic energy and momentum.
Two important parameters to take into account when choosing a hunting crossbow are the kinetic energy and the momentum of the arrow/bolt fired by the crossbow. These two factors determine what size game your crossbow can take down. Let's find out why.
The kinetic energy (KE) of an arrow is defined as the amount of energy, measured in foot pounds (ft-lb) or foot pounds or kinetic energy (FPKE), that is transferred from your arrow to the target. This is a crucial point especially for hunting, as KE ultimately determines how hard the arrow will hit the animal.
The KE of a crossbow arrow is mainly influenced by the arrow speed and the arrow weight. The higher/lower the arrow speed, the higher/lower the KE. The arrow KE also is higher the heavier the weight of the arrows. However, because heavier arrows are slower than lighter ones, the KE will also be proportionally reduced as the firing speed decreases. Like speed, KE at the moment of impact decreases the further the distance from the target.
The momentum of an arrow is a measurement of the force of the forward movement of an object. Unlike KE, the moment has a direction component, and it's therefore directly linked to the arrow penetration capabilities. It's measured in slug-feet per second.
Kinetic energy and momentum calculator
Use our calculator below to find out the estimate arrow kinetic energy and momentum for your crossbow.
Input your arrow weight in grains and your crossbow estimated speed in FPS.
|Kinetic Energy (foot-pounds per sec)|
Game size and arrow kinetic energy
Do you know your crossbow's estimated arrow kinetic energy? Good! Let's find out which size game you can hunt using the chart below.
Minimum kinetic energy (ft-lb)
small game (turkey, groundhog)
medium game (deer, antelope)
big game (elk, black bear)
largest game (grizzly bear, buffalo)
Obviously, price will be a significant factor to consider when choosing a crossbow. Some premium crossbow can be quite costly, especially those with advanced technology. It might be tempting to opt for cheaper alternatives, but as always, remember that you get what you pay for, and that your crossbow is ultimately an investment (and you can use it to hunt your own food during the season instead of buying your meat at the butcher's!).
Based on your experience and style the prices of a good crossbow can vary wildly. On top of that, price can also fluctuate seasonally.
Choose The Best Crossbow 2022 For You
Now that you are more familiar with the crossbow types, specifications and applications you can be confident in your choice of the best crossbow 2022 for your needs.
Use the useful comparison table below to compare the crossbow features.
By clicking on the little arrows in the column headers you can sort this table by whichever specification you want. Best rated? Fastest or cheapest bow? Lightest crossbow? Just click the arrow corresponding to each specification to find out which bow meets your criteria.
This table is scrollable, also on mobile devices. Just use the scrollbar at the bottom to reveal the columns hidden on the right.
Hint: click on the rating value under "Our RATING" to read the full detailed review (if available) for each one of the featured crossbows.
|Crossbow||Our RATING||Price||System||Speed (FPS)||Cocked width (inches)||Length (inches)||Power stroke (inches)||Draw weight (lbs)||Weight (lbs)|
|CenterPoint Sniper 370||9.4||$$||Compound||370||14||36.5||13.5||185||7.9|
|Excalibur Micro Suppressor||9.6||$$$$||Recurve||355||21||31||10.2||280||5.4|
|Ravin R10 Predator||9.4||$$$$$||Rifle||390||6||34.5||13||195||6.9|
|TenPoint Turbo GT||9.5||$$$$||Compound||360||13.5||35||12.6||175||6.5|
|Barnett Whitetail Pro STR||9.4||$$||Compound||400||16.75||36.5||16.375||165||6.9|
|Bear Karnage Apocalypse||9.4||$$||Compound||370||14||36.5||13||175||7.5|
What’s the best crossbow for me?
Make sure you consider the reason why you're getting a crossbow. Are you just starting out into archery or are you a veteran looking to upgrade your gear? Do you want to use it mainly for target shooting or hunting?
Be sure to look for models that are user-friendly and manageable based on your size and desired application. Price will be a big factor in terms of which model you choose, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If you're going to use your crossbow mainly for hunting, features such as power (both speed and draw weight), bow mass weight, and cocked width should be at the top of your list.
We are constantly screening the market to keep you updated on the best crossbows offers for beginners and pro archers and hunters. Make sure you opt in to receive our newsletter, so that you can be notified if we spot a great offer. If you haven't yet, make sure you head over to this page and fill out the form. You will also get access to a FREE special guide to improve your shooting that we’ve put together with the help of professional archers and bow hunters.
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