The Best Beginner Crossbows (2021)

How to pick the best crossbow for beginner and youth hunters.

best beginner crossbows for new hunters

The best beginner crossbows aren’t going to be the fastest shooting and most accurate but they will be solid shooters that are loaded with safety features.

If you are a beginner looking to purchase a starter crossbow for yourself, a friend or a family member, you need to make sure that you do your homework first.

While there are a lot of low cost “beginner crossbows” on the market, many of them are poorly constructed and will not prove to be your best choice as they are not very accurate or dependable.

The Best Beginner Crossbows Will Have

  • Solid safety features like automatic safety and finger guards
  • An all-metal riser
  • A decent scope with multiple reticles for aiming at different distances
  • A rope cock or crank to draw device for easy loading.

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It’s important to remember that when fully drawn there is tremendous pressure on the cables, limbs, pulleys and trigger mechanism of a crossbow.

Low-quality components cannot only break easily but in doing so can cause injury to the shooter and any bystanders.

Because there are several different factors to consider when you are making this kind of purchase, there are specific questions that you need the answers to before you make your investment.

Here are 3 key questions that you should provide a response to as you begin to shop around.

The Best Beginner Crossbows: How Much To Spend?

best beginner crossbows for sale

Unless you’re a high roller with tons of cash and credit cards to burn through, you’re going to want to set a budget before you start the xbow shopping process.

In addition to setting a budget to work from, you need to know how much these types of crossbows will cost you. Normally, you can find a range that you can go by, particularly when your goal is to purchase a starter crossbow as they tend to be less expensive from the get go.

Therefore, to answer this question and snag the best starter crossbow online or in retail stores, you may want to start by looking at what you can afford to spend.

Traditionally, beginners in this sport, or any hobby or past-time, may or may not pursue these activities as a long-term venture. When this is the case, you need to make sure that you will be conservative in your spending until you know it’s something you really enjoy and are going to stick with for the long run.

We recommend paying in the neighborhood of $300 – $500 for a decent starter crossbow setup. This price range isn’t going to have you setting any FPS records or sticking poker chips with arrows at 80 yards, but it will get you started with a decent quality rig.

2) Do You Need An Auto Draw Or Rope Draw Beginners Crossbow?

best crossbow for beginner

Ripping a crossbow string back to full draw is no easy feat. There is a ton of pressure being fought against as the limbs compress and the string is seated in the trigger catch.

If you have arms and abs like Conan The Barbarian you needn’t worry much, but the rest of us have to consider how difficult drawing the crossbow is going to be.

And don’t forget if you’re going to be hunting, you will probably be wearing bulky clothes that make drawing an xbow even more difficult. Factor in being in a tree stand and you have a real chore on your hands.

Many modern crossbows feature a crank-style “auto-draw” system allowing the user to simply turn a crank handle to slowly pull the string back to the firing position.

While rather slow, these crank-to-draw devices can be a real gift, especially if you are hunting from a treestand where space is limited.

Rope draw devices are a standard issue for all crossbows. While rope draw makes things a lot easier, there is still a lot of force involved in getting the string all the way back. A rope draw device almost always requires the shooter to stand in order to pull the rope back. Lot’s of movement and noise if you are hunting, and a dangerous feat when up in a tree.

Best Beginner Crossbows: Recurve Or Compound?

best beginner crossbows

Another key factor in making the best decision when you are shopping around is to find the crossbows that have been classed as either recurve crossbow or compound style.

Recurve crossbows have standard recurve style limbs with just the bowstring attached. Compound crossbows feature a string, pulleys,  and cables working together to create an increased power stroke and more draw let-off.

The decisions made in these circumstances will determine if you want to make an investment in a crossbow that is super fast or one that is much more simple in its construction.

So, it is important to do your research to see which one is best for the individual. As you make your decision, you need to think about what each type offers you, especially when you think about buying the one that will be the most user-friendly to navigate easily with through the woods while you are hunting.

Crossbow Power

If you purchase a compound crossbow you will have the capability of firing your arrows at a higher velocity than a recurve model. Compounds are also easier to draw with the pulleys and cables working together to provide what’s called “let-off” at partial draw. When you are pulling the string back it will actually get easier with less force at around the mid-draw point due to the let-off.

Beginner Crossbow Dependability & Maintenance

Murphy’s law plays an important part here. With fewer moving parts and less to oil, lube, grease, and wax, the recurve xbow is going to be more dependable in the long run. While a properly maintained compound xbow can last a long-long time, it will wear out faster in the long run.

Some Of The Best Beginner Crossbows

With so many different makes and models to choose from, finding the best beginner crossbow to fit your needs can be a bit of a pain. Just remember to stick to the basics:

Don’t spend a ton of money on a beginner xbow without knowing full well it’s a sport you are going to enjoy. You can always upgrade if you dig it and decide you want to pursue the sport down the road.

Written by Mark Metzlov

A certified "Crossbow Guru," with over 35 years of bowhunting experience Mark loves to test new crossbow models at the range, and in the woods during hunting season. Mark is also a top-notch wild game chef who can cook up a wicked venison burger on a moment's notice!

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