Outdoors Magazine

The 6 Best Beginner Compound Bows in 2020

By Chris Noal

Last updated on November 9 by Briley Hearrin

Premium Pick PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Compound-Bow Package

PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Compound Bow Package

CHECK ON CABELA'S Best Choice Diamond By Bowtech Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Package

Diamond Archery by Bowtech Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Package

CHECK ON CABELA'S Best Value Bear Archery Limitless RTH Compound Bow Package

Bear Archery Limitless RTH Compound Bow Package

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Purchasing a compound bow can be a daunting task for a new archer. How do you know which bows will fit your frame and be comfortable for you to shoot? What are all of those complicated looking parts on a compound bow? Which compound bows can you legally hunt with?

We’re here to answer all of those questions. Our goal is to provide you with all the information you need to buy the best beginner compound bow for you.

Before we dig into our top picks, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. This is a guide for the best beginner compound bows, so there won’t be any mention of a recurve bow or a traditional bow.

Also, we’ve tried to select high adjustable bows that will work well for growing archers or those who might share their bow with someone else.

If you’re looking for more specific best compound bow recommendations, check out some of our similar articles:

   The Best Compound Bows for Kids

   The Best Compound Bows for Women

   The Best Budget Compound Bows

Beginner Compound Bows Comparison

PRODUCT OUR RATING PRICE BUY ONLINE

Diamond Archery by Bowtech Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Package $$ check on cabela's

Bear Archery Limitless RTH Compound Bow Package $$$ check on cabela's

PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Compound Bow Package $ check on cabela's

Diamond Archery by Bowtech Atomic Compound Bow Package $$ check on amazon

Genesis Original Kit $ check on amazon

CenterPoint Sniper XT390 Crossbow Package $$ check on cabela's

Best Overall
Diamond By Bowtech Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Package
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1. Best Beginner Compound Bow Overall: Diamond Archery by Bowtech Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Package

Our overall favorite pick for the best beginner compound bow is the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro — a redesigned upgrade of their top-notch Infinite Edge.

It combines all the adjustability and features you could want with a price that’s hard to beat.

You’ll notice that it has a wider range of adjustments for draw weight and length than any other bow on our list, with a 13 to 31-inch adjustable draw length range and an amazing 5 to 70-pound adjustable draw weight.

The wide range of adjustment means anyone can shoot this bow, and it’ll adjust to any length or weight you need as you grow or need more poundage.

The 31.5-inch axle-to-axle bow length makes it an excellent choice for maneuvering through the woods while bowhunting, but still long enough that it will be comfortable to shoot as a target bow.

The Infinite Edge Pro features a lightweight aluminum riser and a very comfortable let-off, so you’ll be able to shoot it all day.

The accessories included in the Infinite Edge package are a three-pin bow sight, a Hostage XL Arrow Rest, an Octane Deadlock lightweight bow-mounted quiver, an Octane 5-inch stabilizer, and a comfortable bow sling.

Installed on the bow string is a BCY D-loop, a peep sight with a peep tube, and Dura-FLX String Dampeners.

The included accessories make this one of the most complete bow packages available; you just need a release and some arrows to start shooting.

Overall, the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro is an excellent beginner compound bow that will fit any archer, and it’s incredibly comfortable to shoot. For a more in-depth review, check out our full Diamond Infinite Edge Pro review.

Benefits
  • Speed: 310 FPS
  • Axle-to-Axle: 31.5 inches
  • Draw Length: 13 to 31 inches
  • Draw Weight: 5 to 70 pounds
Value Pick
Bear Archery Limitless RTH Compound Bow Package
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2. Value Pick: Bear Archery Limitless RTH Compound Bow Package

Our top compound bow pick for beginning archers on a budget is the Bear Archery Limitless.

Like other bows on our list, it features a huge adjustment range, with a draw weight range of 25 to 50 pounds and a draw length adjustment range of 19 to 29 inches.

Despite being a budget bow, the Limitless is very comfortable and smooth to draw back and shoot, and the grip’s design helps promote a correct bow hand position.

The Limitless comes with an RTH (Ready To Hunt) accessory package. It includes a three-pin Trophy Ridge bow sight, a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, a bow-mounted quiver that holds three arrows, and a peep sight and D-loop installed on the bow string.

The Whisker Biscuit arrow rest is a full containment arrow rest — ideal for beginners because they won’t need to worry about their arrow falling off the rest.

The included accessories are of decent quality, but you will probably want to upgrade them as you gain more shooting experience.

The Bear Limitless is a great beginner bow, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Before you can shoot it, you’ll need to buy a release and a set of arrows.

It has a short 28-inch axle-to-axle length, which makes it a good compact bow for hunting, but such a short bow may be uncomfortable for taller archers or those on the longer side of the draw length range.

Overall, the Bear Limitless is a great budget compound bow, especially for smaller archers.

Benefits

● Speed: 265 FPS
● Axle-to-Axle: 28 inches
● Draw Length: 19 to 29 inches
● Draw Weight: 25 to 50 pounds

Premium Pick
PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Compound-Bow Package
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3. Premium Pick: PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Compound Bow Package

If you’re looking to spend a bit more money and get a bow that will serve you for years to come, the PSE Brute NXT is an excellent choice.

New for 2020, the Brute NXT is an upgraded version of PSE’s best-selling Brute. It is by far the fastest bow on our list, coming in at a lightning-fast 328 FPS.

The axle-to-axle length is 30.75 inches, making it easy to carry through the woods while still being comfortable to aim and shoot.

The Brute NXT also features a wide range of adjustments not usually seen in premium bows.

The draw weight adjusts from 22.5 to 30 inches, so it will fit virtually any adult archer. There are two different draw weight adjustment ranges: 22 to 50 pounds or 35 to 70 pounds.

The heavier draw weights and smaller size make the Brute NXT a perfect hunting bow for just about any hunting situation.

The accessories in the RTS (Ready to Shoot) Package include a three-pin hunting sight, a 6-inch stabilizer, an arrow rest, a bow sling, a five arrow bow-mounted quiver, and three carbon arrows.

Installed on the bow string are a peep sight and a D loop. Unlike other bow packages we’ve reviewed, the Brute NTX comes with arrows, so you’ll only need a release to start shooting.

As you’d expect from a premium bow, the accessories are better quality than what you’d get from a cheaper compound bow package.

Overall, the PSE Brute NXT is a quality choice for those that don’t mind spending a little more money on their beginner compound bow.

Benefit

  • Speed: 328 FPS
  • Axle-to-Axle: 30.75 inches
  • Draw Length: 22.5 to 30 inches
  • Draw Weight: 22 to 55 pounds or 35 to 70 pounds
Diamond Archery Youth Atomic
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4. Best Beginner Youth Compound Bow: Diamond Archery by Bowtech Atomic Compound Bow Package

The Diamond Atomic is the perfect compound bow for young archers. Sure, Diamond Archery designed the Atomic for youth archers, but it’s no toy.

It’s essentially a smaller version of the Diamond Archery’s Infinite Edge Pro, our overall top pick from earlier in this article.

Like the Infinite Edge Pro, the Atomic is a high-quality, super adjustable compound bow in an affordable and beginner-friendly package.

The Diamond Archery Atomic’s draw length and weight adjustment ranges are perfect for a youth archer who’s still growing.

The draw length adjusts from 12 to 24 inches, and the draw weight adjusts from 6 to 29 pounds.

As an added benefit, it’s super easy to change the weight and draw length, saving you from finding a bow press.

The lower draw weight means you won’t be able to use this bow for hunting, and most archers will start to outgrow the draw length when they are middle or high school age.

However, the Diamond Atomic is perfect for small youth archers who would otherwise only be able to shoot a toy bow.

The accessories included are a single-pin bow sight, a full capture arrow rest, three arrows, and a hip quiver.

You may want to have a bow shop install a peep sight and D-loop onto the bow string, but younger archers can often get away with shooting without a peep or release.

Overall, the Diamond Atomic is perfect for youth archers who want something better than a toy bow, but it will be too small to fit larger archers and has too light of a draw weight to hunt with.

Key Specs

● Speed: 191 FPS
● Axle-to-Axle: 24 inches
● Draw Length: 12 to 24 inches
● Draw Weight: 6 to 29 pounds

Genesis Original Kit
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5. Best Beginner Compound Bow for Target Shooting: Genesis Original Kit 

If you want a compound bow to shoot in your backyard that your friends and family can also try out, look no further than the Genesis Bow.

Genesis designed the Original Bow for the National Archery in the Schools Program, but it’s a perfect choice for any beginner jumping into archery.

There are a few differences that make the Genesis different from other compound bows.

There is no let-off, meaning you don’t need to set a draw length on a Genesis. Anyone can pick it up and draw it back without making any adjustments.

It also has a low draw weight range of 10 to 20 pounds, so archers of all strength levels can shoot it without worrying about getting tired from a high draw weight. It also has a very light mass weight, so even smaller archers will be able to hold it up and shoot without getting tired.

You can buy the Genesis bow as a bare bow or in the Genesis Kit. The Genesis Kit comes with a tube quiver, five aluminum arrows, an arm guard, and a 3/16-inch hex wrench used to adjust the draw weight.

This bow is easy to shoot without a release or sight, so you’re ready to shoot with no additional purchases. You can adjust the draw weight and even change the bow string without a bow press.

Key Specs

● Speed: N/A
● Axle-to-Axle: 35.5 inches
● Draw Length: 15 to 30 inches
● Draw Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

CenterPoint Sniper XT390 Crossbow Package
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6. Best Compound Crossbow for Beginners: CenterPoint Sniper XT390 Crossbow Package

Compound crossbows are exploding in popularity, and they’re an excellent choice for bowhunting. They’re also ideal for anyone who can’t shoot a traditional bow due to health or age.

Picking out a crossbow as a beginner can be a daunting task. They’re often much more expensive than compound bows, and some people think they are unsafe. The CenterPoint Sniper XT390 is a perfect beginner crossbow that comes with a ton of premium features in a budget package.

The Sniper XT390 has a short 14-inch axle-to-axle length and a fast 390 FPS arrow speed that make it a perfect hunting crossbow. Additionally, it has several safety features that will help you stay safe and injury-free. The Sniper safety features include extra-wide finger guards, a pass-through foregrip, and an anti-dry fire/auto-safety trigger. All of these features combine to make the perfect crossbow for any bowhunting situation.

The Sniper XT390 includes an accessory package to help get you ready to shoot. It includes a quick-detach quiver, rope crossbow cocker, rail lube, a 4×32 magnified scope, and a Whisper Silencing System. With these accessories, you only need to purchase a set of crossbow bolts to be ready to hunt.

Overall, the Sniper XT390 is an excellent hunting crossbow that performs exceptionally well. And, it comes at a price that you can’t beat, since it includes nearly everything you need to start bowhunting.

Benefits

● Speed: 390 FPS
● Axle-to-Axle: 14 inches
● Draw Length: N/A
● Draw Weight: 185 pound

Boy Learning To Shoot a Compound Bow

Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Beginner Compound Bow

There are a few different things to keep in mind when buying a compound bow, especially as a beginner. It’s very easy to make a mistake and buy a compound bow that might not fit you, making it uncomfortable to shoot. Keep the following in mind.

Draw Length

You’ve seen draw length listed on all of our bows. But what does it mean? And how do you know what yours is? You can define draw length as the distance from the nocking point on your bow string to the throat of your bow grip, plus 1.75 inches. However, it’s easier to think about draw length as the distance you draw your bow back to your anchor point. Compound bows have a specific draw length determined by their “back wall,” a point where you can’t draw the bow back any further.

When your draw length is correct, your bow’s back wall will line up with your anchor point, which gives you a very accurate platform to shoot from. If your draw length is incorrect, you might shoot poorly because you won’t have an ideal, repeatable anchor point.

Besides that, an incorrect draw length can also cause you to hit your bow string to strike your forearm, leaving a whopper of a bruise behind.

If you don’t know your draw length yet, check out our How to Measure Your Draw Length article.

Draw Weight

After draw length, draw weight is the most important measurement to consider when buying a compound bow. It’s hard to prescribe a definite draw weight for someone as it depends on a number of factors.

If you’re just starting in archery — especially if you’re a young archer — the lower the draw weight, the better. Learning to shoot with proper form is critical for beginning archers, and you can’t learn proper form if your bow is too heavy for you to pull back. You’ll tire out after shooting for five minutes.

If you want to try your hand at target archery or shooting around for fun, your draw weight is not that critical. Anything you can shoot properly at the distances you want to shoot from is perfect.

However, things get a little more complicated if you want to go bowhunting. Laws vary by county and state, but most will require a minimum draw weight for a bow to be legal to hunt with, usually around 40 or 45 pounds. You’ll want to be at or above your local law’s minimum draw weight, or you could get in trouble.

If you’re hunting larger animals, you’ll probably want an even higher draw weight to make sure you have enough power to take down bigger game.

Adjustability

Looking at the listed specs on the bows we reviewed, you can see that they have different ranges of adjustability on things like draw weight and draw length. Some bows have wider ranges of adjustment than others, and some bows have little to no adjustment, especially with draw length.

There are several reasons you might want a bow with a lot of draw length or weight adjustment. If you or the archer you’re shopping for is still growing, a wide range of adjustment is a good idea. It’ll save you from buying a new bow after every growth spurt.

Beginners will change things like anchor point and shooting form quite often, which can require a draw weight or length change to make the bow fit the new technique. If you didn’t have room to adjust your draw length and weight, you might be stuck shooting a bow that doesn’t fit anymore.

Despite that, many archers prefer a bow that doesn’t have as much room for adjustment. If you’ve been shooting for a while and know your ideal draw length and weight, the extra adjustments are just something to worry about causing your bow to go out of tune. You also won’t have to make many adjustments when you first buy your bow; it’ll come out of the box set to your preferred specifications.

The 6 Best Beginner Compound Bows in 2020

Beginner Compound Bow FAQS

Should I buy a compound bow or crossbow?

This is all personal preference. Crossbows are invaluable to people who have health issues that prevent them from shooting a regular compound bow. Conversely, many archers enjoy the challenge of learning to shoot a compound bow accurately, and many archery ranges don’t allow crossbows.

For more information, check out Crossbow vs. Compound Bow

What accessories do I need for my compound bow?

Generally, you’ll want a bow sight, arrow rest, peep sight, D-loop, and release to be able to shoot your compound bow. Other accessories that most archers will use include a stabilizer, bow sling, and vibration dampeners. The options for accessories are endless, and more are released all the time.

What arrows do I need for my compound bow?

If you’re a beginner, your best bet is to let a local bow shop set up your arrows based on your bow. It can be dangerous and frustrating to shoot arrows that aren’t matched well with your bow. Be sure to let the bow shop know if you’re planning on hunting, so they can get you set up with some broadheads for your arrows as well.

For more info about arrows, check out our Compound Archery Arrow Guide.

Beginner Compound Bow Glossary

Arrow Rest: The bow accessory that holds your arrow while you draw and release the shot.

Arrow Speed: How fast your arrow travels out of your bow, measured in feet per second (FPS)

Brace Height: The distance between the deepest part of your bow grip and your bow string.

Draw Length: How far you draw your bow back to your ideal anchor point.

Draw Weight: A measure of the force (in pounds) required to draw back a bow.


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