Budget Gear Review: Five Best Compound Bows for Hunting (2016)

Hunting with a bow is something man has done for thousands of years. Arrowheads dating back tens of thousands of years have been unearthed. Now, we’re not suggesting that humans have bow hunting built into their DNA, but suffice it to say we—as a human race—have an awful lot of bow hunting in our ancestry.

Bows being used in ancient times were used for defense as much as they were for hunting, whereas today you’ll find most bows on the market are highly sophisticated weapons that have been fine tuned for hunters. Accessories to help the archer release their arrows with deadly accuracy further improve on the impressive designs, and it’s to every bow hunter’s advantage to stay on top of the latest and greatest bow technology.

The compound bows you need to consider when buying:

Today we’ll cover five of our favorite compound bow packages that are as close to ready-to-hunt purchases as possible. The goal of bow hunting is to bag that trophy animal, not to spend money as fast as possible; keeping that in mind, we’ve custom tailored this list of great options for you.

​What to look for in a compound bow


Bow hunting can quickly become an expensive hobby. Like…very quickly. Choose yourself a new bow, then add in your quiver, grip, arrows, practice points, broadheads, stabilizers, and noise reduction. The list goes on for days, but you get the point, it’s expensive. With that in mind, set yourself a budget, and stick to it. It’s easy to add or remove accessories once you have a bow, but getting a quality compound bow to begin with is the key.

Overall Quality

It’s easy to get caught up in choosing a bow that has the accessories you like, or comes in your favorite camo pattern, but don’t forget to start by finding a quality bow. You don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a bow to get a great product, although you certainly could if you wanted. There are a lot of compound bow packages out there that will get you out of the store and into the woods.


One factor that you’ll see over and over again, especially in advertisements for new bows, is speed. Every bow hunter asks the question: how fast is it? Getting that arrow from your bow and into your target before it has time to flinch, or otherwise escape, can literally be the difference between a trophy animal and going home empty handed. Those precious FPS (feet per second) really can make a difference.


You want a bow that fits you. The axle-to-axle length of the bow, the draw length, and the draw weight are all factors to consider.

Right vs. Left Hand

Yes, compound bows come in right or left handed configurations. Generally speaking, it’s best to select a right handed bow if you’re right handed—and a left handed bow if you’re left handed. There are exceptions, of course, and for folks who are left eye dominant a left handed bow may suit them even if they are right handed; naturally, it comes down to feel. It may be worth a trip to your local bow hunting outfitter to get the feel of a few different bows if you’re unsure if you’d perform best with a right handed or left handed bow.


As we mentioned before, the accessories can pile up fast. To be more accurate, we should warn you: the accessories will pile up fast. You may find that you like a certain type of release better than another, or maybe you want to swap your pin sights. Hey, maybe you even want to swap your arrow shafts or broad heads. The point is, the options are nearly unlimited—don’t worry—there will always be something you can add or remove.

Outdoorhill Top Five Recommendations

The SAS is a great option for an archery or hunting bow. This smaller bow has an axle-to-axle distance of 28”, which is definitely smaller than the newest trend in compound hunting bows; however, smaller shooters will likely find that the smaller bow is much easier to use. The adjustable draw length, and draw weight, will make this a top contender for beginners or smaller framed shooters alike.

A max speed of 235 FPS may not place the SAS adjustable compound bow in the top tier for speed, but the total package comes with everything you need to get out and shoot—including arrows. This is definitely a package worth considering.


Editor Rating:

Things We Liked

  • Excellent price point
  • Adjustable low draw weight is great for smaller hunters
  • Available in a few colors
  • Suited for archery or hunting
  • Ready-to-shoot package

Things We Didn't Like

  • 235 FPS may be low for some hunters
  • May need assembly

If you’re going to have a badass name like Infinite Edge Black Ops, you’re really going to have to deliver great performance and killer looks. Don’t worry, Diamond Archery has delivered on both fronts.

The Excellent accessories with this package will set you up to shoot as quietly and as deadly as you would expect in a product dubbed Black Ops. The dark theme may look like something that would fit nicely in the trunk of the Batmobile, but this is a hunter’s bow right down to the core.

Editor Rating:

The Infinite Edge Black Ops is a very adjustable bow—making it an outstanding option for beginners, novices, or seasoned bow hunters. Topping off at 310 FPS, this bow is fast. If you’re looking for a sleek, accurate, deadly bow package…look no further.

Things We Liked

  • Draw is adjustable from 13-30”
  • Draw weight 5-70lbs
  • Can be adjusted without a bow press
  • 310 FPS
  • Ready-to-shoot package

Things We Didn't Like

  • Factory string may need replacing after some use
  • May require professional initial setup

New for 2015, Bear Archery released this beast, named the Cruzer. Designed to be a bow that anyone in the family can use, it’s a lightweight bow that brings all the rugged features hunters expect from Bear Archery.

The bow can be setup for youth, or adult shooting, and with a top speed of 310 FPS there’s no need to ask if it’s fast. This bow package would really make for the perfect gift for anyone in the family, and the excellent Trophy Ridge accessories are the icing on the cake.

Editor Rating:

Things We Liked

  • Fully loaded package
  • Draw length 12-30”
  • Offset string suppressors
  • 310 FPS
  • Lightweight

Things We Didn't Like

  • Only one color option
  • You may want to swap some accessories

Everyone wants a fast bow, but some bows sacrifice other areas just to make sure they are selling something that looks sexy on the chronograph.

Combine a bow that zips arrows 310 FPS, feels smooth while shooting, doesn’t make much noise, and still weighs under 4lbs, and you’ve got the Bear Archery Attitude. This package comes with everything you need to not only get out in the woods, but to do it effectively.

Realistically you could spend close to $800 to find a bow with all of the features and accessories of the Attitude, which makes this package quite the value.

Editor Rating:

Things We Liked

  • 60lb draw good for smaller shooters
  • Lightweight design
  • 310 FPS
  • Comes with lots of accessories
  • Efficient single-cam system
  • Backed by great warranty

Things We Didn't Like

  • String dampeners may need tweaking
  • Cheap quiver

For hunters looking to upgrade their bow, something with a draw weight that adjusts down to 5lbs isn’t always necessary. You’re a serious hunter, and you want a serious compound bow—we get it. Check out the Bowtech Diamond Core.

The package itself is great, and includes some quality Octane accessories, and even if you already have some accessories you trust, it’s nice to have a few extras on hand.

If you’re ready to upgrade, and want a great bow to bring into the field, this is the one.

Editor Rating:

Things We Liked

  • Smooth release
  • Lightweight
  • Fast and quiet
  • Great for beginners or experienced hunters
  • Shoots great right out of the box

Things We Didn't Like

  • String may need replacing after some use
  • The sight is only average

Final thoughts

When it comes to finding the right quiver, sights, stabilizer, and other accessories—a huge amount of personal preference comes into play. On top of that, you may find that a certain accessory works like a charm with one model of a bow—but when you pair it with a different bow—the results aren’t quite as mind-blowing.

Finding a package that nets the buyer a great bow and a handful of quality accessories to get the started can be tricky, and you can end up missing some great gear if you go too cheap—while you can overpay for cheap accessories if you spend a lot. We’ve found that the sweet spot, especially for beginners, is somewhere in the $350 range.

The Infinite Edge Black Ops bow, made by Diamond Archery, is our top choice for 2015’s best budget compound bow package. The blacked out design is what you’d expect from a product bearing the name of Black Ops, but the performance is anything but stark. Coming in at $365 as of this article, the package comes with everything you’ll need to become a great archer and hunter.

We do recommend when buying any compound bow, that you bring it first to a professional. Once the pros have given it a good once-over, and tuned everything up for you, the odds of you having a successful season with your new bow are much higher. Get out there and take that trophy buck you’ve been catching on your trail camera.

See Also:

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