January 12, 2023
By Alan Clemons
Affordable compound bows in years past were no-frills versions of their more expensive siblings. Today’s models are anything but, with the best affordable compound bows sporting top features found on some higher-priced models and excellent value.
If you’re looking for a great, affordable compound bow for hunting, consider one of these models. They’re loaded with rib-smashing power along with noise- and vibration-reducing technology, but with a friendly price. You may not get all the bells and whistles as the models with a dollar sign in front of four digits. But you’ll have more than enough to get in the woods this autumn, with money to spare for arrows, broadheads and other gear.
APA Black Mamba Air
Scorching speeds up to 340 fps and a compact package at 28 inches long, the Black Mamba Air gets high marks for price and features. It has a 7.5-inch brace height on its short frame, weighs just 3.2 pounds and sizzles with its twin-cam system. Draw weights are adjustable from 35-50, 45-60 or 55-70 pounds, and draw lengths range from 25-30 inches. Let-off tops out at 80 percent. The Air is part of the Black Mamba series of six bows, but this one grabs the attention for its friendly price. $768 | apaarchery.com
Bear Legend XR
Bear’s legendary name and history backs up the Legend XR, which has the company’s hybrid cam system, forgiving design and options for new or veteran shooters. The bow hits 320 fps in testing conditions, has a 32-inch axle-to-axle length and a 6.25-inch brace height. It weighs 4.3 pounds. Draw length is adjustable from 18-31 inches, and draw weight is adjustable from a low of 14 pounds to a high of 70. Let-off tops out at 85 percent. This is a solid bow for new shooters to get going and then advance as their strength and confidence grow. $459 | beararchery.com
Bear Resurgence RTH
For shooters with more experience ready to get into the woods, the Resurgence RTH offers just that. The RTH stands for “ready to hunt,” and the bow is loaded for whitetail or other game. It has Bear’s hybrid cam system, 80-percent let-off and its KillerWave limb dampers help reduce vibration and noise. It hits speeds of 335 fps and offers draw lengths of 25.5-31 inches and draw weights of 55-70 or 45-60 pounds. The Resurgence RTH comes with a 4-pin Trophy Ridge sight, 5-Spot quiver, 6-inch stabilizer, Whisker Biscuit V rest, peep and D-loop. $629 | beararchery.com
Diamond Archery is known for solid bows at great prices, and the Alter slides deftly into that discussion. The bow’s Synchronized Binary Cam System helps arrows hit speeds of 330 fps. A caged riser and quad-limb design help with stability at full draw for consistency and accuracy. The Alter is available as a bare bow or equipped with Octane accessories. It weighs 4.1 pounds, has a draw weight to 70 pounds and an adjustable draw length of 21-31 inches. $649 | diamondarchery.com
Diamond Edge XT
If you’re looking for a better bargain from Diamond, check out the Edge XT. It has many of the same features of the higher-priced bows in the family but with a quite friendly price. The Edge XT comes with a binary cam system and engineered caged riser design, both of which help with stability during the shot and accuracy. No separate cams or modules are needed. It has 50 pounds of draw weight and 12.5 inches of draw length adjustments; versatility for youth, new or veteran shooters could be the Edge XT’s middle name. The bow is fully outfitted with Octane accessories and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. $499 | diamondarchery.com
You’ll get a lot in the Elite Basin, starting with the all-aluminum cams, mods and pockets along with stainless-steel cam bearings. It’s 32.75-inches axle-to-axle, should you prefer a longer bow. The Basin’s VersaMod adjustment system allows for draw lengths of 16-30 inches. Let-off maxes at 80 percent. It hits speeds of 315 fps in testing and weighs less than 4 pounds. $599 (bow), $699 (package) | elitearchery.com
Loaded with Hoyt’s legendary technology yet built for young hunters, the Kobalt is versatile enough to allow shooters to grow with the bow. The draw length adjusts from 18-28 inches and draw weight ranges from 7-45 pounds. Multiple options for colors and packages, including the FUSE, Bone Collector and Cam Hanes “Keep Hammering” models, are available with the 2.8-pound Kobalt. The FUSE package includes a FUSE ProFire 3-pin sight, Maxxis 4-arrow quiver and Whisker Biscuit rest. $449 | hoyt.com
Obsession Kaoz is the newest bow in the lineup revered by many for the last decade. Like other Obsession bows, the 3.8-pound Kaoz sizzles with speeds to 348 fps. Draw weight is adjustable from 50-70 pounds, and draw length from 24.5-30 inches. Kaoz is available with 11 string, riser and cam color options for easy customization. $697 | obsessionbowsrefueled.com