If you are new to the compound bow market, navigating all the options can be pretty confusing.There are hundreds of models available, and lots of different brands making them. If you’re not an expert, it can be hard to tell the difference between clever marketing and really clever design.
When you first start shopping, technology is probably not the first thing to come to mind when we think about the features on a hunting weapon. However, manufacturers inundate their marketing materials and product descriptions with technical terms, and scientific-sounding features. As you shop, your search will be thwarted with many marketing ploys pertaining to the companies’ supposed technological advancements in archery.
We’re here to help you wade through all the technical jiggery-pokery!
Shoppers also run into a lot of brand loyalty. In forums, shops, and the archers you meet, you will run into a very strong “Mine is better than yours” mentality. In reality, many models are essentially the same product, except marketed to a different audience.
One person may be loyal to Bowtech because they favor the edgy designs. The same person will dislike Bear models because of their understated and simple aesthetics. This will even hold true when each one is made from the same materials, with the same specifications. We’re here to help you understand the real, concrete differences.
The brand you choose depends on your personal preferences and requirements. No matter what the manufacturer says, there is no perfect option. Each design will have it’s own pros and cons. It is up to you to decide which are more important based on your past experience, skill level, and aesthetics. That’s where we come in.
We’ll help you understand all the specs and features for each model in terms we can all understand. We’ll help you figure out what exactly you’re looking for in your new weapon, and give you a sense of which brands and which models specifically will be your best allies for the hunt.
Let’s take a look at some of the key players:
Best Compound Bow Brands Reviews
Bear Compound Bows
Bear Archery has been a top brand on the market for a very long time. Every year they launch new models that hit high scores and feature in the best-of roundups in lots of hunting periodicals. Last year they put nearly twenty new ones on the market, and just released five new models recently! Here are three of our current favorites:
1. Bear Cruzer
The Bear Cruzer is a top contender for the beginner spot. This one also competes with the Diamond Infinite Edge when it comes to its adaptability. With an adjustable draw length of 12 to 30 inches, and draw weight of 5 to 70 pounds, this one is perfect for a growing archer, and even the professional hunter! The company have also begun to stray from their more classic aesthetic with this one. The shape and color options appeal to children, and have a little more individual flair. Bear certainly hears the requests for more options for customization, and higher quality products designed for female archers.
2. Bear Arena 30
Another new release from Bear is the Arena 30. This one is a powerhouse! Shooting at an incredible 343 fps, and with little shock, this features nearly every innovation Bear has in their belt. The draw length is only adjustable between 25.5 and 30 inches, and the draw weights between 50 to 70 pounds, making this one better for adult archers. This one is supreme for treetop hunting, and long distance shooting. The Arena 30 gives a hunter confidence in their shot, and its ability to exact a clean kill.
Overall, Bear is a well-regarded name in archery manufacturing. The founder, Fred Bear, began making high-quality archery equipment for his friends. These inspired the creation of Bear Archery, which has left a long-lasting impression on the archery community as a whole. They offer long-term warranties that are straightforward. They have an “A+” rating with the BBB, and all of their complaints have been closed with happy customers. If you are looking for a brand to buy from, Bear is a reliable choice!
Hoyt is making compound adaptability their top priority! Their innovative designs have a more technical, tactical feel than Bear’s.
1. Podium X Elite
The Podium X Elite has some of the most user-friendly features on the market today. Not only is the draw length easily adjusted, but the company offers several different options for your back wall when making your purchase. Hoyt also added modular adjustment to their spiral cam, which boasts a solid back wall to keep archers from overdrawing. It is also offered with the GTX 1.5 cam.
This option gives the user a more flexible wall, with the new inner module adjustment feature. This is great for people who share it, because it is easy to adjust each time you hand it off. The most interesting new feature Hoyt is offering is their adjustable grip.
Owners can choose between the standard grip angle, or another one of the included grips that add two, four, or six degrees. This offers archers more options that may improve their shooting.
Though Hoyt has innovated many personal adjustment features with their 2016 line, they still do not offer one that compares to the draw length and weight adjustment options as Diamond or Bear.
Hoyt’s women/young adult model, the Ruckus, has a length that can be set between 15 and 26 inches, and weight adjustment between 15 and 45, for the regular, or 9 and 29, for the Ruckus Jr. The Ruckus has the most out-of-the-box custom options compared to the rest of Hoyt’s collection. These models are very high quality, and a good choice for an experienced archer, who knows what they want from their product.
You can also read: The Best Compound Bows for Women
Note: Hoyt products are sold only in Pro Shops (where dealers are professional archers). Buying online voids the warranty of any Hoyt product.
Bowtech 2016 Compound Bows
Bowtech is a brand that’s famous for serious innovations in the overall style of compound bows. They championed the binary cam system, which made cam synchronization troubles history! They also recently launched “Powershift technology,” which has been a very popular feature among serious hunters.
1. Bowtech Prodigy
We love the new PowerShift disc in the cam system of the 2016 Bowtech Prodigy. This disk allows the archer to quickly and easily change the power setting of the weapon to achieve shots that require different levels of power or comfort. The performance setting gives the most power and speed, though it makes it draw less smoothly. The classic setting offers a blend of comfort and power, making the Prodigy shoot like a classic Bowtech compound bow. Finally, the comfort setting allows for an effortless draw, and is a great option for archers in cold climates. This versatility makes the Prodigy one of our favorite new offerings!
2. Bowtech Fanatic
Bowtech also just released the Fanatic this year, which is designed with target archers in mind. They created this one with an intent to keep absolutely every detail in mind. This model features their first shoot-through riser. This keeps it steady until you are ready to launch it into the bulls-eye! They also added adjustable let-off options. There are three settings, low, medium, and high, that offer up to 75% reduction of the draw weight.
3. Bowtech Boss
Their final addition to the 2016 line is the Boss. This is designed for archers with long draws. It also features the power disc, and is outfitted with OverDrive Binary Cams allowing for finer tuning, and near-perfect shooting consistency.
Overall, Bowtech is one of our favorite brands. They also gained ownership over Diamond in 2004, so you can expect to find a lot of the same technological advances in both brands’ ranges!
4. Diamond Infinite Edge
The Diamond Infinite Edge is quite possibly our favorite model here. It is completely adjustable, allowing it to be shot by everyone in the family! This is a great choice for children because even if they choose to not use it, it can be sold to nearly anyone! This is truly one of the most adjustable bows on the market, and holds its ground when it comes to construction quality.
The Diamond Infinite Edge came out in 2014, and has continued to be a top choice for female archers and youth because of the range of adjustments. When you own this one, you really own many different weapons! Everyone in the family can enjoy the customization of this high-quality compound bow.
Note: Bowtech products are sold only in Pro Shops (where dealers are professional archers). Buying online voids the warranty of any Bowtech product. While Diamond Infinite Edge has been acquired by Bowtech, Diamond Archery still sells them and the Diamond range can be bought online.
New PSE Compound Bows
PSE claims to be the best of the best, and they are certainly producing high-quality compound bows. They don’t have as many features advertised on the label, but they’re underratedly sophisticated and built for the long haul. What they lack in flashy technology, PSE makes up for with the quality of their materials!
1. PSE Stinger X
The PSE Stinger X is one that has many people very excited. This has a single cam system, designed for ultimate durability! The draw length is easily adjusted between 19 and 30 inches. You can also adjust the back wall accordingly; a helpful feature not found on many other models. The dual compression limbs limit vibration in the bow strings. That saves noise, and gives you more precise targeting.
This model also features a “Grow with me” setting. This enables the archer to lower its draw weight, until they develop their skills–perfect for archers who are starting out. Its low weight of 3.5 pounds makes the Stinger X perfect for beginners and long-distance hikers. This is a great quality product. With PSE, you can feel confident in the quality of your purchase, without paying a high price!
Which Bow Should You Choose?
Manufacturers understand that an archer’s bow is an individual and personal tool. Each and every brand is innovating designs to be easily adjustable for individual settings tailored to how the archer uses their tool. Compound bows are especially good for adaptability.
No matter your skill level, shape, size or strength, there is a professional-quality option for you out there waiting. These manufacturers are the best in their market, and have proven their worth to generations of archers.
If you’re new to compounds, learn more about the best overall compound bows with our reviews.
What innovation would you like to see next? Which is your favorite compound bow? Drop us a line!