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 fall away 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

A Guide To Arrow Rests

Different disciplines and uses of bows require different rests. Compound archers who shoot with sights and mechanical releases will usually use either a fall-away rest, a whisker biscuit or a prong 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

drop away rest is 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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.

What’s best for a recurve?

Recurve target shooters tend to use finger releases such as gloves or tabs. This type of release can introduce more fishtailing into the arrow (side to side movement) upon release. Any sort of rest that captures the arrow shaft such as a whisker biscuit will interfere with that movement.

A rest that covers the space around the arrow shaft attached to a recurve bow can also hinder aiming as you won’t be able to sight down to the arrow tip easily. In those cases you’d find the need to also attach a sight to the bow. That isn’t to say that you can’t use full capture rest with a recurve bow, it just isn’t what you’ll commonly find people doing.

Recurve hunters who use a finger release can also apply pressure to the arrow nock and force an arrow against the riser with their fingers. A well drawn finger arrow won’t move because it’s held in place by the archer.

Target recurve archers who release with their fingers will use a device called a plunger in combination with the arrow rest. A plunger sits against the shaft of an arrow and is like a shock-absorber for a bow designed to to adjustable and  absorb the side-to-side flexing of the arrow as it leaves the bow.

Whisker Biscuit Style Rest Reviews

Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit

Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit Kill Shot Arrow Rest, Medium, Red
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The original, and still the best whisker biscuit from from Trophy Ridge. 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

Check the price on Amazon »

Tabiger Arrow Rest

No products found.
Click the picture to see No products found. on Amazon

Tabiger are a budget supplier of all sorts of products from technology to archery gear. This isn’t a brand name you’ll know and trust if you’re an experienced archer. However their whisker biscuit rest is extremely good value and comes with allen key adjustable brackets that allow you to fine tune exactly where the rest sits. From your perspective as the archer you adjust this backward and forwards, left and right, but there are no adjustments upwards or downwards.

You can get this in black or camo finishes. 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 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
  • Elevation and windage adjustment
  • Camo or black
  • Affordable

What we didn’t:

  • Allen key adjustment
  • Thick bristles
  • One size

Brush Capture Arrow Rest

SAS Brush Capture Arrow Rest for Archery Compound Recurve Bow Bowfishing - Right & Left Hand - Total Arrow Containment - Little to No Damage to Arrows
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

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 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

Check the price on Amazon »

Drop Away Rest Reviews

TruGlo Downdraft

TRUGLO Downdraft Drop-Away Arrow Rest Reatree XTRA
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

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 that is attached to the downward moving bus cable on your bow and the release of tension from that cable is what triggers the 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

Check the price on Amazon »

Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro

Trophy Taker RH Smackdown Pro Rest, Black
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Smackdown 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 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 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)

Check the price on Amazon »

Recurve / Traditional Rests

Bear Arrow Rest

Bear Archery unisex-adult Bear Arrow Rest/Silent Plate Multi, One Size
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

One of the most popular rests for a recurve bow from Bear archery is simple stick on rug and side plate. The rug is made from a carpet type material, and the side plate is plastic. It’s designed for people who want to shoot ‘off the shelf’. This will fit on either a right or left handed bow and gives a traditional look and some protection to your riser and the arrow fletchings as they pass by. It’s the same rest that they supply the famous Bear recurve bows with out of the factory.

Check the price on Amazon »

Hoyt/Easton Arrow Rest

Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

If you want a raised arrow rest to take your arrow away from the shelf and make your recurve more friendly to shooting with vanes instead of feathers, one of the most popular and recommended comes from Easton/Hoyt. It’s a simple stick on arrow rest that you attach to the riser with the provided adhesive. There’s both and left and right handed variant of this available so make sure you get the correct one for your bow.

Check the price on Amazon »

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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