Give your Arrow the Best Arrow Rest this Year!

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The right arrow rest for your bow depends on what you’re doing. Hunters want different things to target shooters and rests have different characteristics.

What’s the difference between a drop away rest and a whisker biscuit? What types of fall away rest are there?

We’ve compiled this article to introduce you to all the different styles, their benefits and drawbacks. We’ve also listed our top picks in each category to help you select the best arrow rest.

The Best Arrow Rests

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

Looking for a recurve bow arrow rest? This isn’t the right article for you, check out our roundup of the best arrow rests for a recurve bow!

Whisker Biscuit Style Rest Reviews

Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit

The Trophy Ridge whisker biscuit is the original, and still the best whisker biscuit style arrow rest around. You can get the whiskers on this in seven different colors which means you can stand out from the crowd if you want to, unfortunately however there is no camo option. Construction is very durable and feels like a quality product should. The outer of the ring and the attachments are cast aluminium and protect the whisker contained within is made from plastic. Bristles are quality and even after lots of use you can be sure they won’t lose their shape like some cheaper alternatives may.

The whisker biscuit also comes in 3 different sizes for different styles of arrow. We found the following information on the Trophy Ridge website about the sizes of the inner bristle rings:
Small – 0.3″ inner diameter
Medium – 0.32″ inner diameter
Large – 0.385″ inner diameter
Also it should be noted that there should be a very small gap between the arrow and the rest so go for a size that would give you about 0.03″ space at the top when the arrow was resting.

What we liked:

  • Whisker color choices
  • Left and right hand bow compatible
  • Different sizes available for different arrows
  • Elevation and windage adjustment
  • Quality bristles
  • 5 year warranty

What we didn’t:

  • Price

Truglo EZ-Rest

Truglo are a leading manufacturer of shooting accessories. You may have heard of them in relation to optics or handguns but they also made accessories for bows and crossbows. Whilst they aren’t specifically a budget manufacturer their EZ-Rest is a great value whisker biscuit arrow rest option.

This has a 0.325″ center hole that should hold all popular hunting arrow sizes, It’s adjustable for windage (left and right) and also forward and backwards with hex bolts used to secure it in place once you’re happy.

This only comes in one black finish, so isn’t ideal for a camo hunting bow. The whisker bristles are thick and designed to hold an arrow securely however the thickness and number of bristles will have a slight if not noticeable effect on arrow speeds.​ The bristles can also be replaced in the future if you need to, The trade-off you get for those small failings is in the price which is very reasonable.

What we liked:

  • Left and right hand bow compatible
  • Very Affordable Whisker Rest

What we didn’t:

  • Hex bolt adjustment
  • One size
  • Hex wrench not included

Brush Capture Arrow Rest

The brush capture style of arrow rest is designed to work in a similar way to the full whisker biscuit style however the containment is provided by 3 equally spaced sets of brushes rather than a full circle. This has the effect of reducing the contact points between the rest and the arrow and reducing friction on the arrow and therefore making it fly faster. It also has the advantage that on a 3 fletch arrow the fletches will pass through the arrow rest without contacting the whiskers making them last much longer.

What we liked:

  • Price
  • Left or right hand bow compatible
  • Elevation and windage adjustment
  • No fletch contact

What we didn’t:

  • Plastic construction
  • No tools supplied
  • One size

Drop Away Rest Reviews

Quality Archery Designs Quad Hunter

Patriots will be happy to know that Quality Archery Designs products are made in the USA. This specific model of drop away arrow rest is targeted to hunters looking for a quality rest that won’t break the bank. 

Once loaded the arrow is offered 100% total containment within this rest and won’t fall out. It’s worth noting that containment bar at the top can be removed if you want to use this for field, target or 3 shooting.

The rest can be primed to 80 degrees using the thumb-wheel offering you a loaded and primed position for your arrow that won’t accidentally trigger. At full draw the cordage attached to your bus cables brings the arrow rest to 90 degrees ready to fire. There’s a handy little lever to prime the rest that you an operate with your thumb so you can be loaded and 80% ready to shoot with a fully contained arrow. If you can’t get a shot and chose not to release after your draw and instead perform a slow let down, the arrow rest will not drop away either!

As you’d expect there are 3 axis of adjustment available, up/down, left/right and fore/aft for perfect tuning of your setup. This is a well built drop away arrow rest with all the necessary rubber bumpers and felt to ensure a quiet operaton.

What we liked:

  • Total containment
  • Removable containment bar
  • Thumbwheel priming
  • 3 axis of adjustment

What we didn’t:

  • Left or right hand specific (get the correct one)
  • Cable driven

TruGlo Downdraft

Truglo make a range of shooting gear for bows, crossbows to firearms. The down-draft is their most popular full-containment drop-away arrow rest. The containment ring doesn’t more and you load the arrow through the gap. Construction is good with all the necessary felt and rubberized parts to make this quiet to use. There’s also a clever design feature on this that means you can configure it for use on either left or right handed bows. Handy if you have both and aren’t sure where it’s going to end up.

This is another fall-away arrow rest that is attached to the downward moving bus cable on your bow and the release of tension from that cable is what triggers the arrow rest to drop away.

What we liked:

  • Works with either left or right hand bows
  • Elevation and windage adjustments
  • Camo or black

What we didn’t:

  • Cable driven

Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro

The Smackdown arrow rest offers full containment through the use of a containment ring. There’s a one way gate on that ring to allow you to load an arrow. Once it’s in there the arrow won’t fall out. This is a quality construction with all the necessary rubberized and felt covered pieces to make the operation as silent as possible. One of the benefits of this arrow rest is that you can attach the cord to either the top or bottom limb or up and down cable on your bow.

This is a limb-driven rest, the type of arrow rest that requires tension on the cable to fall away. When the bow is at full draw there is no tension and rest is raised, upon release the limb tension forces the rest to fall. Limb driven rests will support an arrow for longer before they fall away allowing for a more stable flight.

If you want to make sure you’re quiet when hunting, this might be for you. We noticed no spring or click noise when drawing and firing with the smackdown.​

What we liked:

  • Elevation and windage adjustments
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Limb driven
  • Silent

What we didn’t:

  • Left or right hand specific (get the correct one)

A Guide To Arrow Rests

Different disciplines and uses of bows require different arrow rests. Compound archers who shoot with sights and mechanical releases will usually use either a fall-away arrow rest, a whisker biscuit or a prong arrow rest. This will depend on personal preference and what they are doing (hunting or target shooting).

recurve or traditional archer will normally either shoot from the shelf with a stick on rest more for the purpose of protecting the bow than anything else. Serious recurve target archers will use an elevated rest with a plunger to assist with stabilizing arrow flight.

Drop or Fall Away Rests

Drop away arrow rests are designed to hold the arrow shaft and then drop or fall away just after release. This means that there is no contact between the fletching on the arrow and rest at all. By the time the arrow fletching has reached where the rest was holding the shaft. It has fallen out of the way.

You may wonder how this is possible. How does the rest know that the arrow has been released?

Well fall-away arrow rests can accomplish this in several ways. There are systems that attach to the bus cables on compound bows (cable driven) and determine when to drop the rest by sensing the released tension in those cables.

Other designs have trigger cords attached to the limbs of the bow that trigger the arrow rest to fall as the limb pulls away from the rest. These are called limb driven. There are also rests simply triggered by sensitivity to the jump that you get upon releasing the draw string. Each system has it’s benefits, some are easier to setup and maintain and others more durable and provide less parts to fail in the field.

A limb driven drop away arrow rest will support the arrow for longer through the shot cycle than a cable driven rest and is generally thought to be a better rest.

Whisker Biscuit

These aren’t something your dog would eat. Although it sounds like it… 

Nope… A whisker biscuit is a circular aperture filled with strands (whiskers) that are designed to support an arrow in all directions and not allow it to fall. This is called total containment. The whiskers however are flexible enough to allow an arrow and fletching to pass through when released. 

Recurve Rests

Normally traditional recurve bows come with a shelf cut into the riser. That shelf it usually cut-to or cut-on center which means that when you rest an arrow on the shelf it is in-line with the bowstring. You can shoot this type of bow without any protection on the riser. However some people prefer to add stick-on on rug style rests to their bow along with side plates to protect the riser from the path of many arrows more than anything else.

If your bow supports it you can also add a simple raised arrow rest to the riser that will allow you to adjust the exact center position in which the arrow is held and also provide less surface area to contact the fletchings as the arrow passes by. These can be stuck, magnetic or screw in depending on the type of riser you have.

Want to know more? Checkout this article we put together on recurve arrow rests.

How do you set an arrow rest and adjust center shot?

Most arrow rests allow you to adjust exactly where they hold an arrow in relation to the riser. You need your arrow rest to hold the arrow in correct alignment with the power-stroke of your string, the line your string will take when pushing the arrow forward. This is called center-shot

If the specific arrow rest you have doesn’t have instructions the best way to set center shot is simply through visual inspection and tuning. Install the rest, nock an arrow and then take a look from the back of the bow at the alignment of the arrow with the string. You want it as straight as possible.

Once you’ve adjusted the rest to your visual best you can take a bow to the range and do some walk back tuning to make sure everything is just perfect. Here’s a video from AgonyOutdoors that takes you through the tuning center shot process.

Which is the most accurate style of rest?

The guys from Field and Stream did a little experiment comparing the whisker biscuit vs fall away arrow rest shooting over different ranges. They measured and compared speed differences and the accuracy of the grouping of 2 shooters each trying the different styles of rest.

The results were interesting.

To cut a long story short…. a fall away rest was found to give you a little extra speed (anywhere from 3 – 6 fps) over a whisker biscuit. As expected! The fall-away rest was also only marginally more accurate but the difference (at least for these 2 shooters) was minimal when the results were averaged over 3 distances and 2 shooters.

You’re never going to know what’s exactly best for you until you try them both. You may find (as common thinking dictates) that you shoot better at distance with a fall-away than a whisker biscuit. But you may be surprised.

Which rest is best for hunting?

A hunter needs a durable arrow rest that will stand up to taking a few knocks whilst out and about in the field hunting. You don’t want your rest to fail on you after a 3 mile hike through rough terrain to track some prey. Some types of complex rest such as a fall away rest have more moving parts and more chances chances of failing on you in the field than a solid whisker biscuit.

You might be  hunting from a tree-stand or on uneven ground. You may have to shoot with a high degree of down-angle or up-angle. You may need to move quickly with the arrow on the rest before you take your shot. A good hunting rest needs to keep an arrow held in place through all these scenarios.

Another major factor that comes into play when hunting is stealth. You do what you can to silence your bow with string silencers and limb dampeners. So you don’t want the moving parts of any arrow rest to make un-necessary noise, not during the release, and certainly not during the draw.

Rests for Target Archers

If you’re a target shooter (3D, field included) your needs will differ. You aren’t going to be tilting your bow to extremes to shoot from a tree-stand, but you do want accuracy and adjustability. A target archer wants a rest that interferes as little as possible with the arrow and provides consistency. You’ll also want something that can be easily fine tuned to give you the most accurate center shot.

Anything to share?

I hope this roundup was useful and led you in the direction of a quality component for your setup. Please let us know if we’re missing your favorite and need to add it to this review, or if there​ are any aspects of any of the above we’ve not covered correctly! Either leave a comment or send us some feedback!

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