Crossbow use has risen exponentially over the past decade or so, and crossbow technology has rocketed forward as well. Know what else has skyrocketed? Crossbow prices. It’s standard to see prices pushing $2,000 (or more) for top-end flagship models with all the bells, whistles, and mechanical cocking devices. This can leave hunters looking for the best crossbow for their money.
So I’ve chosen to accept my mission today to identify the best value-laden models in the crossbow world. Fortunately, there is no shortage of the best budget crossbows available. But how do you whittle down a list to the “best of the best?” Well, you start by shooting a lot of crossbows. Fortunately, that’s a task I’ve been able to tackle over the years during Outdoor Life tests and when visiting the annual Archery Trade Association show. Over time, you begin to feel what makes for a great budget crossbow and learn about the companies that build them.
Every model featured here comes from a manufacturer that either currently offers or has previously produced bows that are “top end” models. This is important because their budget models often share technologies or production processes with those top models. This creates a bow that, while lower in price, shares some measure of performance and research time. The result is a better bow at a bargain price.
Each model here also includes “extras” in the price, which saves you money by not purchasing additional accessories to get hunting.
What is the best crossbow for under $400?
The Killer Instinct Fierce 405 is an excellent option for hunters with a budget of $400. The Fierce 405 is $300, and it shoots 400 fps. It comes in a kit that includes an illuminated scope, arrows, quiver, and cocking rope. Everything you need to hit the woods. The bow has a 3.5-pound trigger and is 14.5 inches wide when cocked, making it easy to handle and not the sort of bulky, unwieldy bow you might expect at this price point.
How much should I spend on the best crossbow for the money?
It’s not easy to find a quality crossbow for under $400. When you spend $600 or more on a crossbow, you’ll get features like a better scope, faster speeds, and improved accuracy.
What is the best crossbow for the money as a beginner?
New crossbow users should focus on safety features like anti-dry fire and finger guards, as well as cocking and decocking mechanisms. It’s hard to beat Ravin crossbows for safety features and ease-of-use.
Best budget crossbow: CENTERPOINT WRATH 430
A Budget Crossbow with Ravin Technology
You’d be hard-pressed to find a crossbow hunter who hasn’t spent at least a moment ogling one of the top-of-the-line models from Ravin. Raven set the crossbow world on its ear by introducing its super-unique models featuring HeliCoil cam systems, crazy performance, and game-changing diminutive stature. Then they take a look at the four-digit price tag and…yeah. CenterPoint’s Wrath line features some of the technology featured in Ravin’s models, including the coil technology. The Wrath 430 is a bullpup-style bow that spans just nine inches when cocked and measures less than 29 inches in length. The crossbow comes in a package that includes a 4×32 illuminated scope, three arrows, a quiver, and a rope cocker for $650. If you can afford to spend a little more on a crossbow, then take a look at the CenterPoint CP400, which costs around $1,000.
Best American-made crossbow: WICKED RIDGE INVADER 400
An American-made budget crossbowCheck Price
TenPoint has stood near the top of the crossbow world for a long time. They’ve also long been near the top of the price scale. However, the Invader line comes from TenPoint’s Wicked Ridge brand and has proven to be an all-time best-selling bow because it features TenPoint quality at a more palatable price. The Invader 400 (named for its 400 fps speed) is the fastest of the lineup. It sells (if you can find one in stock) for $569 with an AccuDraw 50. Add $100 for the full-fledged AccuDraw setup. The package includes a 3X Pro-View illuminated scope, three arrows, and a quiver. The bow is American-made and, since time is money, the fact that the model comes pre-sighted at 20 yards makes the Invader an even greater bargain.
Best entry-level crossbow: KILLER INSTINCT LETHAL 405
An entry-level crossbow that shoots 400 fpsCheck Price
One of two Killer Instinct models to make the list, the Lethal 405 is one of the lowest-priced crossbows to hit the market. At just $299.99, it offers plenty of performance and included options that make it a real bargain. It tops the 400-fps mark, and the kit includes an illuminated scope, arrows, quiver, and cocking rope. Everything you need to hit the woods. The bow has a 3.5-pound trigger and is 14.75 inches wide when cocked, making it easy to handle and not the sort of bulky, unwieldy bow you might expect at this price point. It’s also fairly light at just over seven pounds.
Best crossbow under $500: KILLER INSTINCT RIPPER 425
Ready to hunt crossbow for under $500Check Price
Killer Instinct’s Ripper series has proven to be a top seller, and it’s pretty easy to see why. For $450, the Ripper 425 includes an illuminated scope, arrows, and quiver and boasts an adjustable buttstock. The bow’s are fast, well-balanced, and feature premium features at a very attractive price. It weighs in at 7.5 pounds, but that weight balances well with the 32-inch frame. The trigger comes set at 3.5 pounds, and it’s a maneuverable package thanks to its cocked width of just more than 14 inches.
Best recurve crossbow for the money: EXCALIBUR MATRIX GRZ2
The best budget recurve crossbowCheck Price
If you’re a fan of old-school, recurve-style crossbows, then you’re a fan of Excalibur. The Matrix GRZ2 is Excalibur’s most budget-friendly model, and it’s a good one. Thanks to its simple recurve-style limbs, skeletonized stock, and synthetic mainframe, it’s rugged as hell. The bow measures just over 32 inches in length and weighs in at six pounds without accessories. The draw weight is 100 pounds, and that delivers arrows at 305 fps. For $550, you get the bow along with a standard kit that includes scope, arrows and cocking device.
Best compact crossbow: BEAR X CONSTRICTOR CDX
A compact budget crossbowCheck Price
Bear Archery has been a bowhunting staple for as long as bowhunting has been a thing. It only makes sense that the pioneer of compound bows would build a pretty solid crossbow for the money. The Constrictor CDX is a value-packed offering that delivers speeds over 400 fps and is one of the more compact bows in the lineup, measuring just 10 inches across when cocked. It features dual string suppressors, which make the bow quiet and reduces vibration at the shot. It comes in two camo options – Veil Stoke and TrueTimber Strata. This is a “ready-to-hunt” package as well that includes three arrows, an illuminated scope, cocking rope, and rail lube. It sells for about $550.
Best trigger: BARNETT WHITETAIL HUNTER STR
The best trigger on a budget crossbowCheck Price
Barnett has carved out a solid niche in the crossbow market with a lineup of dependable bows at attractive prices. The Whitetail Hunter is one of the top sellers, and it’s not a mystery as to why. Delivering speeds of 375 fps and weighing in under seven pounds, the step-through riser (hence the STR designation) model does many things right. This riser design allows for the traditional foot stirrup for cocking with a reduced overall length. The bow uses a TriggerTech trigger for crisp performance, and it’s also a ready-to-hunt package with scope, quiver, arrows, and cocking device. It sells for $450.
Best mid-priced crossbow: RAVIN R10
The best mid-priced crossbowCheck Price
The Ravin R10 is easily the most expensive bow on this list. However, it still earns “budget-friendly” status given that it is the lowest-priced model in the Ravin line and is the most affordable entry into the superbow category. The R10 features Ravin’s HeliCoil system that allows the bow to measure just six inches in width when cocked. It takes just 12 pounds of effort to cock, thanks to Ravin’s efficient crank system. It rockets arrows at speeds of 400 fps, and the accuracy is legendary. This is a true long-range weapon that’s a ton of fun to shoot. The package runs $1325 and includes the crank handle, scope with a 100-yard aiming system, three arrows, and a quiver.
Final Thoughts on the Best Crossbow for the Money
Each year crossbows improve, and with that crossbow buyers get more performance for their money. You’ve read about bows under $400 that shoot 400 fps and bows around $1,000 with similar features to bows costing twice as much. If you want to start hunting with the best crossbow this fall, any of the above models will serve you well. Choose one that best fits your budget and then spend plenty of time shooting it before the season starts.