Best Crossbow Reviews – 2016 Buying & Comparison Guide

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what is the best crossbow for the money, there is a lot of hubbub and general noise on the safety of these bows. Let’s start with being clear on one point… its not the weapon that is dangerous but the person wielding it. So choose whatever weapon you like, and go hunting with it.

Top Rated Crossbows Comparison

ModelRatingDraw Weight (lbs)Velocity (fps)Item Weight (lbs)
Barnett Jackalbadge-best-seller-mini4.41503157.7
Arrow Precision Inferno Fury4.21752354.84
Barnett Quad 4004.11503459
SA Sports Feverbadge-best-seller-mini
4.71752404.85
Barnett Wildcat C54.51503208.5
Excalibur Axiom SMF4.91753055.8
Barnett Ghost 350 CRT4.61753507.5
Barnett Ghost 410 CRTbadge-best-seller-mini4.31854107.9
Barnett Zombie 350 CRT4.71753507.8
Carbon Express Intercept Axon4.91753608.3

Note: The above tabled is a list of our top rated crossbows for 2016. Each one has its plus and minuses, but you won’t be disappointed with whichever one you choose for your next adventure.

Unfortunately, not too many people know much about these bows nor what to look for when getting on. For the uninitiated, lets go over a quick definition so we are on the same page.

Perfected in the medieval times, the crossbow is a powerful weapon that is horizontally mounted on stocks to shoot quarrels or bolts.
crossbow parts diagram
These bolts serve as the arrow launched by strings on the crossbow since the latter is designed to keep the bow drawn instead of the shooter keeping the string drawn. A trigger is used to release the string.

The total strength of the bow depends on how far the string is pulled to draw it. It is ranked by the weight of the pull, which ranges from 80 to 200 pounds.

Our Crossbow Reviews

Firs let’s go over the different types before we dig into our hunting crossbow reviews and break down which would work better for your type of hunting. According to Wikipedia, these weapons have been used since the 15th century, and boy have they come a long way.

#1 Pick: Barnett Ghost 350 CRT w/ Illuminated 3x32mm Scope

Modern versions are easier to use, with greater accuracy and performance when used for various activities. They are used by hobbyists or serious hunters alike.  Different types of crossbows are available, with different sets of features. It pays to do your homework and research before deciding to buy your own.

Types of Crossbows

The two main types of crossbow are recurves and compound bows. They have their own advantages and a few disadvantages worth knowing to guide you in picking up the right one for your need.

Recurve Crossbows

Recurve CrossbowThe recurve bow is the older type that has a more basic design. It is called recurve because the limbs are faced away from the user. It is advantageous in the sense that it involves less maintenance because it has few breakable parts. The string is easy to fix in case it breaks, and the bow itself is quieter to shoot. This type is also cheaper and simpler to use, which makes it ideal for beginners. However, in terms of accuracy, a recurve bow is weaker than the compound bow since it is wide which could be harder to manage. This makes getting the best recurve crossbow even more important.

Compound Crossbows

Compound CrossbowThis one features shorter strings and limbs attached to pulleys. It has a cam system that allows easy drawing of the bow. It also allows it to store energy needed to make the weapon more powerful. This type has a cocking mechanism that also makes it easy to draw. The shorter limbs are advantageous since they make the bow easier to maneuver in tight areas. However, it is heavier with those extra parts that tend to be breakable as well. As are all compound bows, it is also more expensive compared to the recurve type.

Buying Considerations for the Best Crossbow

#2 Pick: Barnett Outdoors Brotherhood

Different manufacturers produce certain types, to a varying degree. Before purchasing, remember to check your state’s regulations regarding the weapon and review important qualities you would be glad to find on your own crossbow.

Purpose

Why do you want to buy one? Is it for target practice or  for deer hunting? Is it for simple fun with your friends? If you ought to buy it for fun and target practice, some features are not as important, like the weight and size since it might be stationary. If it is going to be used for serious hunting, you might need a high quality bow that perfectly suits your needs. Just make sure you get the appropriate broadheads as well.
best crossbow reviews

Weight

Weight is a major consideration in choosing a crossbow. Heavy ones keep the weapon steady because the weight prevents from it moving easily. Some hunters prefer lighter crossbows for convenience while tracking their prey.

Noise

Noise is a consideration especially among expert hunters who want their bows as silent as possible. A unit equipped with parallel limbs offer quieter shots. Cam mechanisms make compound bows noisier. Decide if noise or speed is important to you, but keep in mind you can always upgrade your hunting gear afterwards so don’t fret too much.

Speed

If you want a fast shot, choose the compound type of bow because it stores energy. Bolts also determine speed, so choose the right size and strength. If you buy a bow, the type of bolt required would be listed.

Manufacturer

These weapons are produced by various manufacturers with different specialties. Check the most reputable ones by reading reviews of their products online. Choose the ones that match your needs and preferences. You can also find products that are highly rated by users themselves.

Additional Features

Modern crossbows are equipped with additional features for better accuracy, reliability and safety. Some are packaged with features, while others can be equipped with accessories to be purchased separately. Assess if you truly need these additional features.

Scopes

Hunters find scopes highly advantageous. They are needed for accuracy of shots and they come in four variations, namely the optical, single red dot, multi-reticle and multi-red dot.

Noise-Dampening Accessories

These are used to lessen the noise that comes after a shot. They are attached on the limbs of the bow.

Cocking Aids

These are used to correctly cock the crossbow, which is important for its accuracy. They are available as elastic straps or cranks. The rope or straps are more commonly used, but the crank offers the easier way to cock it.

Bow Selection Tips For Hunting

#3 Pick: Barnett Jackal w/ Premium Red Dot Sight
camouflaged hunter on a tree

Perfectly camouflaged… waiting for deer.

  • Choose crossbows with just the right weight. A user who is not very much aware of all the crossbow options may want to start using the lightest crossbows, but this is not such a smart idea. Lighter bows tend to be difficult to keep steady, so a little bit of weight is helpful when aiming. Additionally, those with more weight are sturdier and more likely to endure extensive use, while the others that are too heavy could be physically restraining, so an average-weighted unit is ideal.
  • Refrain from buying poor-quality plastic parts. Usually, the ones that are made of plastic parts are low in quality. Those made with metal are sturdier. It is still best to invest in a unit that is not easy to break off especially if you expect to use it often.
  • Go for one that has built-in cocking aid. There are products that feature attachable cocking device, but it is still best to choose one that has built-in cocking for ease of use.
  • Don’t fall prey to cheap products. Price should not be your only consideration in buying a crossbow. Cheaper ones may lack quality, which does not offer good value for money. It pays to read reviews to know which are affordable and worth the purchase and not just shoot for the sale rack.
  • Keep it simple, if you are a beginner. It is highly recommended that a simplistic design be chosen if you are still a beginner. Choose ones with the basic design and less the gimmicks.
  • Know your purchase, if you want to shop online. If you are attracted to buying one online, be sure to read the details carefully. Be sure to take a look at all the photos available and ask all your questions before deciding to buy. You can read reliable reviews to know the best manufacturers and products.

Top Crossbows on the Market: Editor’s Picks 2016

We consider the following 2015 and 2016 models to be amongst the best crossbows on the market:

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review

This is the Barnett Jackal.

As these bows are becoming more popular in recreational activities (and more regulated because of it), expect more of these products to come out in the market. Manufacturers will always come up with something new, offering more features, gears, and accessories.

Avoid being confused about the bunch of items right before your eyes. Narrow down your choices by determining your needs, learning about your options and choosing which ones suit your needs and style. Furthermore, never forget your skills. Of course, you do not want to be a beginner forever, but it is rather practical to buy one you think could best match your skills.

Buying online could be a good option if you already know what you want. Take advantage of the various crossbow comparison websites found on the web to know the differences between them, since not all of them are the same. Aside from convenience, you can also compare prices on the web. Choose trusted websites, especially if you do not want to have any problems with your first attempt to buy a crossbow.

Here is a quick video primer by my main man, Babe Winkleman from Cabela, on choosing a bow: