What’s the Best Compound Bow in 2020? – Our Reviews

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You might be a hunter or a target archer. You might want speed or you might favor something light and versatile. The best compound bow for you is going to be the one that meets your budget and your needs.

In this article we’ve scoured the market and found a selection of bows that we think deserve some recognition. There’s something for everyone.

From the budget Leader Accessories up-to the mid to high Bear Species, and topping them all the extremely versatile and well priced Edge Pro, one of the best sellers of all time.

We’ve a specific guide if you’re looking for a youth compound bow or maybe you have an older child or adult who’s just getting started and need something that works well for a new starter because we’ve got you covered there too.

Take a look through our roundup of the best compound bows, we’ve reviewed each of these in more detail further down this article after a general buyers guide that introduces you to the facts and features of the compound.

The Best Compound Bows – Our Take

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

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Compound Bow Comparison Tables

If you want a good overview of all the bows we’ve reviewed (and some we haven’t), take a look at our compound bow comparison table.

We list them all alongside their price range, IBO speed, draw weights, lengths, handedness and other factors. It’s a great way to quickly narrow down what you’re looking for if we’ve not covered it here!

What are the fastest compound bows?

Speed might not be everything when it comes to compound bows, but it’s definitely one of the most important things to pay attention to. If you’re the kind of hunter who likes a fast bow, consider the following models that top out the speedometer.

ModelMax Speed (feet per second)
Bear Archery Escape350
Bowtech BT-X350
Bowtech Prodigy (see below)343
Elite Archery Impulse 34340
PSE Evolve 31338
Diamond Archery Deploy (see below)330 

As you can see, the Bear Archery Escape and Bowtech BT-X both tie for the fastest bows we can find at a blazing 350 FPS.

What’s the best brand?

There are an overwhelming number of compound bows available on the market today. The compound is popular because of its adaptability and has really streaked ahead of the more traditional recurve bow because of what it can offer.

A compound is suitable for all levels of shooters whether youth or beginner right through to the more experienced.

Finding the right bow for you will depend up your skill level, your end game and to some extent, your pocket. Don’t assume that a cheaper price necessarily means an inferior product.

Hardcore archers will always have their favorite brands but household names are not necessarily the ones to go for. There are lots of other lesser known makes which offer really decent alternatives.

If you are new to the market and really struggling to discern between all the different bows on offer then this article will introduce you to some of what we think of as the best compound brands of today.

Our Top Picks In Detail

Best Overall Compound – Diamond Infinite Edge Pro

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The second generation of the Infinite Edge is something most people will never outshoot. This has been an incredibly popular bow for Diamond and with the level of versatility and performance it shows for a reasonable price point it isn’t hard to see why.

You can adjust the draw weight from 5-70 lbs, the length from 13-31”. This has what some might say is the ‘ideal’ brace height of 7” and sets out the stall at 310 fps on the IBO speed rating front coupled with an 80% let-off.

With that level of weight adjustment this is a bow suitable for all types of archers, target shooters, Elk hunters and even youth archers who need something they can grow with.

The second iteration of this bows improves on the first by adding a solid back wall to the draw cycle.

People rave about the Diamond and they have been doing so for years, it’s been their best selling bow of all time. More here in our full review.

What we liked:

  • Extreme Adjustability and Versatility
  • 3 Color Choices
  • Solid Back Wall
  • Lifetime Warranty

What we didn’t:

  • If anything you could say the grip was a little ‘square’, but aftermarket grips are available if this bothers you.

Check the price on Amazon »

Our Fastest Pick – Diamond Archery Deploy

This bow can really fly an arrow. It has a max firing speed of 330 FPS, one of the fastest we’ve found. As you might expect, the draw weight is high. You can buy this in one of two options: 60 or 70 lbs.

As you can tell, this is a bow for a veteran hunter who knows what draw weight they need and can handle a high-powered bow. This isn’t a learning bow. It’s the bow you’ll take to the stand year after year. The deploy has a solid back wall the draw cycle is smooth.

If you’re not convinced, consider the lightweight but tough carbon-fiber riser and carbon string stop that make for the smooth, accurate draw you need to take down your prize buck. Made in the USA with a binary cam system, this is truly the quality compound bow you’ve been working toward all these years at the range.

What we liked:

  • Fast
  • Powerful
  • Carbon-fiber riser
  • Carbon string stop
  • High quality
  • Made in USA
Sean’s Outdoor Adventures reviews the Diamond Archery Deploy and gives you some tips on maintenance

Check the price on Cabelas »

Predator Archery Raptor

RAPTOR Compound Hunting Bow Kit: LIMBS MADE IN USA | Fully adjustable 24.5-31 Draw 30-70LB pull | Up to 315 FPS | WARRANTY & 100% 30 day GUARANTEE | 5 Pin Lighted Sight, Biscuit Rest | W STRING STOP
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Raptor comes as a ready-to-shoot kit that includes a five-pin lighted bow sight, whisker biscuit arrow rest, stabilizer and d-loop. Considering that it also comes in black or camo finish, it is an ideal hunting bow.

Still, don’t think this is a starter bow. The draw length is adjustable, from 30 lbs up to 70 lbs, and the bow can hit a solid 315 FPS. That’s not the fastest on the market, but it’s still formidable. We recommend this bow for someone who at least has some experience with bows and archery but is just starting out hunting with one. It’s fast and powerful but still basic enough to learn on. Plus, the price isn’t too high, so you can move up to a more advanced bow in the future without breaking the bank.

The construction is top quality, the kind you’d expect in a much more expensive bow. The cams are aluminum with no plastic, another thing that makes this hunting-grade. Now, Predator Archery has even added an Allen wrench set and a paper target so you can start preparing for hunting season right out of the box.

What we liked:

  • Ready-to-shoot
  • Accessories included
  • 30-70-lb adjustable draw weight
  • All-aluminum cams
  • Low price range

What we didn’t:

  • New brand
  • Only right hand available
Predator Archery opens on of their Raptor compound bow kits and shows you how to set up all the accessories

Check the price on Amazon »

Best for New Hunters – Bear Archery Cruzer G2

Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Compound Bow with RealTree Edge Finish
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The first thing you notice about the Bear Archery Cruzer is its versatility and adjustability. It’s really easy to customize this bow so it fits the hunter. You can quickly get comfortable with the bow and increase the draw weight. You’ll see fast improvement in your accuracy and control.

Another bow with a smooth draw cycle. You can adjust the draw weight as low as 5 lbs and as high as 70, and you can also adjust draw from 12-30 inches. It comes in both right- and left-handed as well.

If you’ve been a hunter for a while but never made the leap to a compound bow, this the perfect model to do it with. You can familiarize yourself with the mechanics quickly and get out to the stand.

Once you’re on the hunt, it gets the job done. It weighs only three pounds and can fire at 315 FPS. Plus, it comes with six high-quality Trophy Ridge accessories (sign, whisker biscuit, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, sling and peep sight) and a tough construction that’ll last. If you do decide to move up to a more expensive model, you can pass the Bear Cruzer on to a friend or family member.

What we liked:

  • Versatility
  • 5-70-lb adjustable draw weight
  • Draw cycle = smooth
  • Light weight
  • Trophy Ridge accessories included
  • Durable construction

What we didn’t:

  • Needs tweaking before shooting
BowHunterPlanet explains why the Bear Cruzer G2 is great for someone get back into bowhunting

Check the price on Amazon »

Best Midrange Compound – Bear Archery Species RTH

Bear Archery AV82A11076R Species RTH True Timber Kinati RH 60
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

Bear uses a few unique technologies that you can only find on their bows, including endurafiber limbs and lock-down pocket systems. Surprisingly, you can get these features even on mid-range bows like the Species, which gives it the quality you’d expect from a much more expensive model.

On top of the proprietary technology, the Species comes with the same six Trophy Ridge accessories and is ready right out of the box. Still, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this bow for beginners. With a draw-weight range of 55-70 lbs, it’s designed more for durability than versatility. In other words, this bow is for someone who plans to use it for a while. The lethal 320 FPS firing speed also makes it ideal for an experienced hunter.

This compound bow gives you smoothness through the draw cycle and a solid back wall.

Finally, the price range is also in that Goldilocks zone. Not too expensive, but you still know you’re getting a top-quality product that’ll last you as long as you need it.

What we liked:

  • Endurafiber limbs
  • Accessories included
  • Comes ready-to-shoot
  • Durable
  • Fast

What we didn’t:

Small draw-weight range

BowHunterPlanet goes over what they like about the Bear Archery Species

Check the price on Amazon »

Bowtech Prodigy

A true flagship bow in terms of performancetechnology, and style. Few bows will out shoot the 343 fps. arrow speeds, and few bows will match this bow for quietness, and a dead in the hand shot

The Prodigy comes with Overdrive cams and Powershift technlogy. Overdrive are the standard dual cam system for Bowtechs flagship bows and have been for a few years.

Powershift is a module on the cam that makes a huge difference in the shooter’s experience. Each module has three different settings; one for speed, one for comfort, and one is a happy medium.

Although the Bowtech Prodigy has many features worth noting, its best feature may be in the shootability department. This bow is touted as being dead in the hand, vibration free, and having zero torque and we agree. More details in our full review here.

What we liked:

  • Accurate and dead in the hand
  • Powershift technology
  • Fast

What we didn’t:

  • Pricey!

Check for prices on Ebay »

PSE Brute Force

PSE Brute Force Black 70# 25-31' Right hand
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

With a silky draw and dead-on accuracy the PSE Brute offers a good range of adjustability and is usually a steal for the price.

Whilst not quite as adjustable as something like the Diamond Edge Pro the Brute still offers a good range of adjustment and a higher IBO speed at 332 fps.

You get the same dual cams on this bow that you get with the BowMadness bows (a serious hunting bow). Those cams give it a silky draw, solid back wall and almost no creep, vibration or noise.

A pleasure to shoot. Read more in the full review.

What we liked:

  • Silky draw
  • Good arrow speed
  • Solid back wall
  • Adjustability

What we didn’t:

  • Short A2A

Check the price on Amazon »

Best Value Compound Bow – Leader Accessories

Leader Accessories Compound Bow 30-55lbs Archery Hunting Equipment with Max Speed 296fps (Autumn Camo.)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

This bow stands out because it’s designed with beginners in mind, but still has the quality and power they’ll need to learn to hunt with. For example, the draw weight has a small adjustable range of 30-55 lbs. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to go higher than that, but it’s still enough to effectively hunt white-tailed deer and potentially even bigger game.

Similarly, the max firing speed is 296 FPS. That’s certainly fast enough for lethal bowhunting, but it’s not so much that you won’t be able to practice your accuracy at the range.

The best thing about this bow, though, might be the price. As a beginner, you don’t want something too expensive since you’ll probably move up to a more powerful bow in the future. Nevertheless, you get a durable aluminum riser and one-year warranty. With that quality, even when you do decide it’s time for a more powerful bow, this model will still make a great backup.

What we liked:

  • Good mid-range draw weight
  • Good mid-range firing speed
  • Good value
  • Durable
  • One-year warranty

What we didn’t:

  • Not very adjustable
  • Right hand only
Jeffrey Rhoades and Dustin Kellogg join Sheri Ann Richerson to discuss the Leader Accessories Compound Bow

Check the price on Amazon »

SAS Rage

Southland Archery Supply SAS Outrage 70 Lbs 30'' Compound Bow
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

​If the high and mid range bows we’ve listed above are a little out of your price range you may want to take a look at this rugged performer from SAS.

The Rage is a great bow for introducing yourself to bowhunting or archery in general. It has good adjustability (55-70 lbs weight and 26-30 in length) and a reasonable 270 fps speed rating.

It won’t be as quiet, or as smooth to draw as some of the others in this roundup but the price makes up for it.

One other downside to mention is that you can only get it for right handed shooters! Get the lowdown in our review.

What we liked:

  • Smooth draw cycle
  • Good arrow speed
  • Solid back wall
  • Adjustability

What we didn’t:

  • Short A2A

Check the price on Amazon »

Compound Bow Buyers Guide

Let’s take a spin through the features and specifications you’ll see listed for compound bows and why they matter to you.

Handedness

Unfortunately, unless you’re shooting a survival bow or a traditional longbow without a shelf, modern bows such as the compound are limited by design to use either by a left or a right hander. To just clarify which is which, the hand you use to draw the string on a bow is the handedness of the bow. For example a right handed bow is held in the left hand and the bowstring drawn back with the right hand. Vice versa for a left handed bow.

To determine which way you should shoot you need to know which of your eyes is the dominant one, and then your handedness before you can  make a decision. Fortunately we’ve written a useful guide on the subject which will help you figure out which way you should shoot.

Bows have specific models for either right or left handers and some bows don’t have both variants and are only made for one hand or the other. We usually list this information alongside all the bows we review. Be sure to make sure the bow you’re interested in comes made for your handedness.

Eccentric Systems (Cams)

The compound bow is designed based on a mechanical system called the Eccentric System. This system always has a string and one or two cables and harnesses. As you draw the bowstring, you wrap the harness around the cam and pull the arms towards each other.

Cams
Binary Cams on the Diamond Infinite Edge

Cams comes in several different styles and it’s the style of cam that can determine the speed of the arrow, the let-off of the bow and the feel of the draw

Two cam systems were​ standard for decades but inherent problems meant the design is not as popular today. A two cam system without perfectly matched harness lengths can kick an arrow tail high or low. This is because one end of the bow string will retract faster than the other.  This type of system required continually checks of a bow on a press which is a maintenance nightmare you really don’t need, and also the reason for the development of the single cam system.

Single cam​ bows have a cam on the bottom arm and an idler wheel on the top. The advantage of this system comes from the fact that the the length of the cable does not affect accuracy. If the cable is stretched you can still fire accurately. The downside with the single cam is that single cam bows are not designed to work well with all draw lengths.

Hybrid bows have two cams directly connected to each other. This system also prevents any change in bowstring length from affecting arrow flight.

Binary bows have identical cams on the top and bottom, this maximises efficiency, but the harness from each cam is attached to the other cam instead of the bow arm. By linking cams together you get the best of both worlds. A huge amount of energy can be stored and the bow adjusts to length changes in bowstring automatically.

Let Off (%)

Let-off is possible because of the cams in compound bows. To explain let off quickly all you need to understand is this:

Fore and Draw Curve for a Compound Bow
Force and Draw Curve for a Compound Bow

A bow with a 70 lbs draw weight and an 80% let off will only require the archer to hold 14 lbs at full draw.

The amount of draw weight that you actually have to hold back at full draw in the bow is the draw weight of the bow minus the let-off percentage. You still have to pull through the peak draw of the bow so don’t think that let-off means you can draw a bow well above your draw weight category.

If you want to see that principle graphically, then take a look at the picture, this shows force vs draw for a typical compound bow. At certain points in the draw you need to pull through the full draw weight of the bow, but at the peak (end) of the draw the majority of force is let off.

The benefits of a high let-off percentage are mainly for hunters. A hunter can hold an arrow which will shoot with a high draw weight at full draw for long periods whilst he readies a shot. A compound target archer may use a lower let-off as there is less need to hold the aim for extended periods and they may feel more comfortable aiming with more weight through their arms.

IBO Speed (fps)

When comparing bows, we use a standard measurement called IBO speed. IBO Speed is the speed of a 350- grain arrow released from a 70-pound bow with a 30-inch draw length through a certified chronograph, measured in feet per second (fps).

These specifications do not necessarily represent the arrow weight, draw weight, and draw length you will actually use. It does, however, give a standard measurement by which to compare bows. For hunting bows we’d suggest an IBO speed of at least 300 feet per second. Over 320 feet per second is considered a fast bow.

ATA, A2A or Axle to Axle Length

ATA Length and Brace Height
(A) ATA Legnth, (B) Brace Height

Axle to axle length is defined as the distance between axles when the bow is at rest. This measurement should be taken with the draw weight bottomed out for the most accurate measurement. Conventional wisdom has stated that a longer A2A length is more accurate than a shorter one. However, this means carrying a heavier bow. At normal hunting and target distances, the difference in accuracy is barely noticeable. Unless you are trying out for the Olympics, it will not make a huge difference.

Brace Height

Brace height is defined as the distance between the bowstring and the back of the handle. The shorter your brace height, the faster your arrow will travel. Most hunters consider a brace height of 7 inches to be the perfect distance.

Min/Max Draw Lengths (inches)

Before you look at this specification you really need to know your preferred draw length. Fortunately if you don’t know there are several easy ways to figure this out. Once you’ve done that you need to understand that compound bows can be adjusted to work with differing draw lengths, so long as your preferred draw length is within the acceptable range for the bow you’ll be fine.

You should note however that compound bow speed ratings (IBO speeds) are measured with a 30 inch draw length. If your actual draw length is higher than 30 inches you can expect an increase in your actual shot fps over the specification (allowing for arrow weight of course). If you draw lower than 30 inches, again you can expect your actual arrow speed to be less . Exactly what the difference will be entirely depends on the bow.

Min/Max Draw Weights (lbs)

Just as a compound bow will allow for you to adjust for draw length it will also allow you to adjust the draw weight. Even though let-off will mean you don’t have to hold all that weight, you still need to draw through it. Take a look here for a good guide to estimating a good draw weight based on your size.

Compound draw weights can range from 10 pounds for a child upto to 70 pounds for a strong adult. Hunting bows typically need at least 40 lbs for big game such as whitetail deer). 

Riser Styles

On a compound bow, the riser is the middle portion of the bow upon which the handle is mounted. Modern bows typically have several cutouts that are used to make the bow lighter while still maintaining structural integrity. Most risers are made of aluminum to keep the bow light and prevent rust. However, some modern bows now have risers made of fiberglass or carbon fibre for an even lighter finished product. Most of the bows accessories are attached to the riser such as sights, quivers, stabilizers, arrow rest, and wrist slings.

Limb Styles

The limbs on a bow are the arms that attach to the riser and are typically made of fiberglass. Some limbs are solid while others have a split design. Solid limbs may be more likely to break. Some people feel that a split limb design will be more prone to imbalances that can affect the flight of the arrow. Either way, most modern bows have parallel limbs (meaning that that top limb is parallel to the bottom limb). This creates less noise from vibration as the limbs are moving in opposite directions.

Price

A roll of dollar bills
Price matters….

Higher let-off, higher bow speed, lighter construction, durability, adjustability. These are all desirable things. However as all these numbers go up so, usually will the price tag. The amount you want to pay is obviously going to be determined by your budget. There are some great bargains out there as manufacturers start to target different sectors of the user base.

As retailers can have sales, prices can seasonally fluctuate, so we’ve decided it best to not list them on our site at all rather than list them inaccurately. We’ve provided links for you to check the prices of all the bows we review. As always, buy the best you can afford that fits your criteria. If you’re a beginner, get a bargain entry level bow first, make sure you enjoy the sport before you move on up the scale to something a little more expert!

1 thought on “What’s the Best Compound Bow in 2020? – Our Reviews”

  1. I was a little disapointed not to see Obsession bows on your list. Been on the market for a new bow for about a month. Been to 5 or 6 different archery shops and have shot a dozen or more bows. So far i am leaning toward a Obsession turmoil or their new sniper. Some of the quietest, fastest and smoothest drawing bows i have ever shot and in a price range many of us can actually afford.

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