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Updated Nov 7, 2022 11:18 AM
Crossbow hunting is a growing part of the bow hunting landscape for a good reason. The best crossbows are user-friendly (and shoulder-friendly) pieces of hunting equipment that have brought aging bowhunters back into the woods, while also introducing the sport to newcomers. Crossbow hunting can also be a pricey endeavor. With top-end crossbows costing several thousand dollars, entering this game can be expensive. But there are real bargains available, and finding the best crossbow for the money is not an impossible affair. Here’s where to start looking.
The best crossbow for the money is one that delivers excellent performance and accuracy while meeting the constraints of your budget. That might mean looking at an xbow from a top brand that isn’t the company’s “flagship” model. This is a sound strategy because you’ll benefit from the same technologies and components on those more expensive crossbows—albeit in a model that’s a bit less feature-rich. You can also gain value points by looking for a model that sells as a ready-to-hunt package that includes the scope, quiver, and arrows. Many models are available as a comprehensive kit, but some charge an additional premium for these extras. So be a savvy shopper.
One tactic to employ on your search for the best crossbow for the money: Identify the type of bow you’d most like to own. Some love the feel of a more traditional recurve crossbow. Others prefer a reverse-draw setup. Or maybe you’re looking for something ultra-narrow and compact. Narrow your field of focus first, and then dissect that field for the best value option available. Of course, we’ll help out by listing some top budget options.
Best Overall: CenterPoint Wrath 430
Super-narrow, uber-compact crossbows have dominated the crossbow world over the past few years and that trend was started by Ravin’s super-innovative approach to crossbow cam systems. Ravin’s HeliCoil setup changed the game in a big way. CenterPoint is owned by the same parent company as Ravin and, as a result, shares some of the same technology and systems as Ravin models. The Wrath 430 is an excellent example of this.
As the overall best crossbow for the money, the Wrath 430 is a bullpup-style bow that spans just nine inches when cocked and measures less than 29 inches in length. It uses HeliCoil style cams to create the 430 fps speeds and nimble package. It’s an accurate performer and a big step up from the CenterPoint models of the past. It’s already a value at less than $700—but that price includes a complete package with a 4×32 illuminated scope, three arrows, a quiver, and a rope cocker.
Best Speed: Killer Instinct Ripper 425
If you absolutely must have the best speed crossbow for the money, look no further. At a blazing 425 fps, Killer Instinct’s Ripper 425 is your crossbow. This speedster is well-balanced and features premium-type components and overall build quality that defies its low price point.
The Ripper 425 includes an illuminated scope, arrows, and quiver and boasts an adjustable butt stock. It weighs 7.5 pounds and features a load-balancing 32-inch frame. The trigger comes set at 3.5 pounds and the bow measures a width of just more than 14 inches when cocked.
Best Recurve: Excalibur Matrix GRZ2
Those old-school, recurve-style crossbows are pretty cool. And if you want the best recurve crossbow for the money, you want an Excalibur. The company is the king of recurve crossbows and the Matrix GRZ2 is Excalibur’s most budget-friendly model.
Like all recurve crossbows, it’s a model of endurance thanks to the simple, beefy limbs. It boasts a cool, skeletonized stock and synthetic frame. It measure a bit more than 32 inches in total length and weighs in at a light six pounds. The 100-pound-draw bow zips arrows at 305 fps. And for less than $600, you get a full accessory package along with the bow that includes scope, arrows and cocking device.
Best Ravin: Ravin R10
So, you simply must have a Ravin crossbow. Well, by buying the best Ravin crossbow for the money odds are you won’t be disappointed. You will spend more than with any other hunting crossbow on the list, but you can still choose a budget-friendly option. The Ravin R10 is the lowest-priced model in the Ravin line and gets you into the top-end feature set that’s dominating the crossbow world.
The Ravin R10 boasts the HeliCoil system that allows the bow to measure just six inches in width when cocked, and the excellent crank system makes cocking (and uncocking) a simple chore. It delivers arrows at speeds of 400 fps, and the accuracy is second-to-none. It’s a ton of fun to shoot and has proven to be durable. The R10 package includes the crank handle, scope with a 100-yard aiming system, three arrows, and a quiver.
Best TenPoint: Wicked Ridge Invader 400
The best Tenpoint crossbow for the money in the TenPoint lineup comes from its Wicked Ridge brand. TenPoint crossbows has long been an industry-standard in hunting crossbows and their bows come with a hefty price. The Wicked Ridge line is focused on budget-friendly options and the Invader 400 is an excellent representation.
This xbow features TenPoint quality, and, at 400 fps, is the fastest in the popular Invader family from Wicked Ridge. These bows are tough to locate in stock but sell for a song with TenPoint’s proven AccuDraw50 cocking system. If you want to step up to the full-fledged AccuDraw system, you’ll need to spend an additional $100. The package includes a 3X Pro-View illuminated scope, three arrows and a quiver. The bow is American-made and that makes the Invader an even more attractive budget-friendly option.
Q: Is the Ravin Crossbow Worth the Money?
Yes. If you’re serious about crossbow hunting and want to carry something that is dead-on accurate and reliable, then you can do worse than dropping a big chunk of cash on a Ravin. Simply put, Ravin has defined today’s modern crossbow technology and they continue to do so. That type of innovation and performance comes with a price and that price is pretty high. But you will get exactly what you pay for.
Q: How Long Will a Crossbow Last?
Generally speaking, a crossbow will outlast your desire to use it. Unless you’re the type that never, ever wants to upgrade your bow, you’ll never wear out any of today’s crossbows. Limb failures, with rare exceptions, are a thing of the past. Strings, cables? Yes. You’ll need to replace those every couple of years. But the overall bow will last as long as you could want it to.
Q: What Should I Look For When Buying a Crossbo
This question is easier answered by what you shouldn’t look for. Don’t fall in love with a name brand simply because of social-media hype or slick marketing campaigns. Don’t choose a bow based solely on price or the camo finish it comes in.
Shoot every model you’re considering and evaluate it only on how it shoots, how it feels and whether it “fits.” Price, camo, brand name—all are secondary considerations that should come into play only after you’ve settled on a couple of models that you know you’d be happy with.
Final Thoughts on the Best Crossbows for the Money
Any time you start talking about the “best” of anything, you’re entering a conversation of a subjective nature. My version of perfect is hardly the same as anyone else’s, and that’s perfectly fine. There are, however, some commonalities we should keep in mind. We want a bow that shoots. We want a bow that will last. We want a bow that fits our style of hunting and shooting. Tackle those characteristics with a model that fits comfortably into your budget and you’ve just found your best crossbow for the money.