Archery as a sport is fairly unique in that it requires a very sophisticated piece of gear – that is, a bow – in order to participate. Bows vary in terms of how complex they are, but high-performance compound models are increasingly becoming the norm, especially in bowhunting.
Part of getting the most out of these highly technical bows is using different attachments to enhance their performance, and one fairly important piece of gear for most archers is the bow rest. Drop-away rests in particular are preferred by bowhunters because they impact the overall shot less.
But, with so many kinds of rests out there, it can be difficult to know which model or make is right for you. If you’re on the hunt for a new drop-away rest, read on! In this guide, we cover some of our favorite models on the market today, as well as the differences between cable-driven and limb-driven rests.
Our Picks for the Best Drop Away Arrow Rests
- QAD Ultra-Rest Pro HDX Drop Away Rest – An excellent all-rounder which boasts great build quality and clever features for a better shot
- Trophy Taker Smackdown LockUp – Our pick for a high-end model with top-of-the-line performance
- LightningU Drop Away Arrow Rest – This low-maintenance and very sturdy rest offers a near-silent shot, making it a great choice for hunters in particular
- Trophy Ridge Sync Drop Away Arrow Rest – Excellent features and performance at a budget-friendly price point
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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Cable vs Limb-driven Arrow Rests
When shopping around for arrow rests, it’s helpful to understand that there are essentially two types of drop away rest; cable and limb-driven.
There is some fairly heated debate surrounding drop-away rests, and whether cable or limb-driven rests are superior. Ultimately, we think the average archer is unlikely to find that the type of rest they use makes a significant difference to their overall shot. Having said that, there are some technical differences between the two types of rests, which will likely have some impact on which kind of rest would make for a more practical investment for you.
For example, proponents of cable-driven rests tend to prefer them due to the fact that they drop out of the way of the arrow more quickly, having less of an overall impact on your shot. Also, cable-driven rests tend to bounce less and be stabler than limb-driven ones, which leads some archers to argue that they are the better option for a more precise shot overall.
On the other hand, some archers find limb-driven rests to be a more practical option because they are much simpler in terms of their design and construction. This makes them far easier to repair in the field, which is especially helpful during hunting expeditions. Limb-driven rests also drop away towards the end of the shot, meaning that they guide the arrow to an extent, and some archers feel this helps with the overall accuracy of their shooting.
For many archers, finding the right arrow rest is a crucial part of perfecting one’s shot and truly getting the most out of a compound bow. We hope that this guide has helped to somewhat demystify drop-away rests, as well as potentially help you to find the best rest for your needs.
Drop Away Arrow Rest Reviews
QAD Ultra-Rest Pro HDX Drop Away Rest
We’d argue that it’s hard to top the QAD Ultra-Rest Pro HDX in terms of build quality, versatility, and overall performance, which is why it’s our favorite drop away arrow rest on the market currently. The Ultra-Rest HDX is a cable-driven rest made by QAD, a leading manufacturer of archery products. Even compared to the range of excellent rests that QAD produces, the HDX is the company’s most elite and sought-after rest, and it’s not hard to see why.
Combining quality materials with a clever design, the HDX is a versatile, high-performance rest that you really can’t go wrong with. The Velocity Drop-away Technology (VDT) and Arrow Containment system ensures a lightning-fast drop, and you can fine-tune the timing chords on the HDX with ease thanks to its Chord Lock and Clamp features.
Several of QAD’s rests feature what the company has named ‘lock-down technology,’ a mechanism which keeps the launcher blade locked down after your shot so that it is guaranteed not to bounce back and hit your arrow as it leaves the bow. The HDX is also fitted out with this anti-bounce back feature, which is very helpful if you’re really trying to dial in your shot’s accuracy.
Another feature that makes the QAD HDX so competitive is how easy the rest is to tune. You can adjust the rest both vertically and horizontally, allowing you to fine tune your shot to your heart’s desire. We also found it to be very straightforward to mount with QAD’s signature EZ-clamp, which isn’t always the case with other cable-driven rests.
What we liked:
- Vertical and horizontal adjustment allows for very precise fine-tuning
- Anti-bounce back feature keeps shot more stable
- Effortless to mount thanks to EZ-clamp
What we didn’t:
Trophy Taker Smackdown LockUp
If you’re on the hunt for a high-performance drop-away arrow rest, then the Smackdown LockUp by Trophy Taker is well worth your consideration. The Trophy Taker is a limb-driven arrow rest that has been designed to provide you with the greatest possible precision and sound reduction while also offering elite durability and ease of adjustment.
Build quality is just one area where the Trophy Taker shines. This rest is manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminium, and the result is a top-notch, precise, hard-wearing, and high-performance piece of gear. The containment ring, with its sound-dampening features, ensures that the Trophy Taker offers maximum sound reduction throughout the entirety of your shot.
Another feature that we loved about the Trophy Taker was its 3-point mounting system, which made fixing the rest to the mounting bracket incredibly straightforward, as well as providing a precise, dialed-in mount. Trophy Taker rests are renowned for their adjustability, and the Smackdown LockUp is no exception; the rest’s roller bearings and mechanics mean you can make even the tiniest of adjustments with total ease.
What we liked:
- Excellent sound suppression
- Sleek design and rest mechanics allow for smooth operation and easy mounting
- Great build quality; this rest is durable and long-lasting
What we didn’t:
- On the pricier side
LightningU Drop Away Arrow Rest
Perhaps our top pick for no-fuss, hunter-friendly drop-away rests, the LightningU is a reliable, sturdy, and dead silent model that won’t break the bank. The rest was very straightforward to mount and is easy to adjust, requiring no tools to do so. This makes it a great choice for any bow hunter looking for a no-frills rest that they can adjust quickly and easily on the go.
Despite its more budget-friendly price tag, the LightningU doesn’t skimp on build quality. This is a very sturdy and well-made, all-metal rest that holds up well in all kinds of weather conditions. The rest also features an interface-free design, making it very simple and straightforward to use. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone who wants an accessible rest that gets the job done without the frills of many higher-end models.Something else that we appreciated about the LightningU was just how quiet it was when shot. Take the time to really fine-tune the rest before using it, and it’s almost completely silent. Even most high-performance rests make some amount of noise when shot, so to see what is ostensibly a budget model more than holding its own in this domain was nothing short of impressive. For this reason alone, the LightningU would be one of our top picks for bow hunters on the market for a new drop away arrow rest.
What we liked:
- Great hunter-friendly features, like its remarkably quiet shot
- Offers very precise fine-tuning without tools and easy installation
- Highly competitive option for bow hunters on a budget
What we didn’t:
- Somewhat spartan in terms of features compared to higher-end rests (though some may prefer this)
Trophy Ridge Sync Drop Away Arrow Rest
While some of the rests on this list sport a range of bells in whistles for a high-end shooting experience, not everyone is in the market for such a product. Some archers need a dependable, quality drop-away rest that won’t break the bank, and this is where the Sync by Trophy Ridge comes in.
The Trophy Ridge is a lightweight, simple, drop-away black rest that we found to be quiet, sturdy, and fairly easy to fine tune. With an Allen wrench, you can really dial in your windage and elevation on the Trophy Ridge, which is great if you’re looking for the most precise shot that you can attain.
Something else that we liked about the Trophy Ridge was that the rest comes with all the hardware you need to mount the rest to your bow. Mounting the rest is also simple and straightforward, and the launcher arms make fine-tuning your shot almost effortless. Combine all these features with the Trophy Ridge’s very competitive price tag, and it’s hard not to recommend this rest to any bow hunters looking for a decent, affordable drop-away rest.
What we liked:
- Very budget-friendly
- Comes with mounting hardware for ease of installation
- Fine tuning windage and elevation with an Allen wrench is straightforward
What we didn’t:
- While dependable, build quality not comparable to more high-performance rests
- Can be a bit difficult to un-cock manually if you don’t complete your shot