What’s the Best Crossbow for 2021? [Reviews]

Anthony Cote
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The Best Crossbows – Our Picks

In our list of the best crossbows, we will start with the bargain-priced Barnett Buck Commander Extreme, a bow that's designed for light-framed shooters.

A bow with some heftier specifications is the Rock Ridge Realtree Xtra, which is great for anyone looking for a higher-quality animal-dropping weapon.

The TenPoint Turbo GT is our top pick here. It is the smallest bow on our list, but still one of the best, according to fans and owners: (1) Kelby Allen, (2) Jennings (2) John Barry, (3) Steven Rigby, and (4) Thayree K.

In third place is the TenPoint Vapor Crossbow, one of the most popular benchmarks in the crossbow industry. This crossbow offers the newbie a smooth first-time experience, thanks to its lightweight build and low draw-weight of 175 pounds.

Topping our list of crossbows is the Parker Jackalope. It weighs 6.75 pounds, and is guaranteed to drop every animal in your path. It is specifically designed for users with little experience in the hunting field.

Crossbow Comparison Table

Our Top Picks in Detail – Crossbows Reviewed

Here is the list of top 5 best hunting crossbows for 2021.

{1}. Barnett Outdoors Swhacker CRT Crossbow Package
{2}. TenPoint Vapor CRT Hunting Crossbow
{3}. Excalibur Micro Suppressor
{4}. PSE Fang PRO Crossbow
{5}. Barnett Outdoors Kindred

Best Crossbow for the Money 1. Barnett Outdoors Swhacker CRT Crossbow Package

The Barnett Outdoors Swhacker CRT Crossbow Package is equipped with Barnett's breakthrough, new Cam and Axle Technology for improved accuracy, speed and power at an unbeatable price. Combining superior features with an unmatched value that includes the best accessories, the Swhacker CRT is a remarkable value that will never be out-classed. The Swhacker CRT is loaded with premium features including a tough, lightweight composite stock, a rail system that keeps your optics exactly where you need, and Barnett's Hostage XLR Red Dot Sight. The Swhacker CRT Crossbow Package includes a premium multi-reticle scope, Quiver, 3 arrows with field points, rope cocker, practice target, assembly/disassembly tool, arm guard, padded sling, expandable bipod, Owner's Manual and quick-detach quiver mount.

Best Overall 2. TenPoint Vapor CRT Hunting Crossbow

The Vapor has cutting edge technology that only TenPoint can deliver.

Best Overall – Wicked Ridge Invader 400

Best Budget Crossbow – CenterPoint Sniper Elite Whisper

The CenterPoint Sniper Elite Whisper will give an accurate shot of 160 feet per second, and the chances of it letting you down are very slim. It is also perfect for those people that have never shot a crossbow before, it is lightweight at only 6.9 pounds, and the cocking mechanism is easy to use.

The only thing that matters here is that is has a high rating, is reliable, and is easy to use.

Find out more about the CenterPoint Sniper Elite Whisper Crossbow here.

Best for Hunters – Ten Point Nitro

The Ten Point RDX doesn’t sit in an open class (even though they did consider it) but they are strong enough to make a difference in the crossbow world. They are a little bigger and heavier than other models, giving the RDX a max speed of 360 feet per seconds. Other specs are pretty above average compared to similar weapons.

They are made with a Quad Limb System and it really shines at longer distances. Even though Ten Point may not want to consider it, this crossbow is built for hunting.

There is a crank feature that is there to adjust the draw weight in the easiest way possible. The safety mechanism is a catch feature that doesn’t let the draw weight lever go further than halfway. The limbs are removable as on all other crossbows, but there is also a finger pinch guard. The RDX comes with the Whisper Quiet package, which assures you easy stalking and hunting.

We recommend you taking a closer look on the Ten Point Nitro RDX crossbow.

Best Mid Range Crossbow – Ten Point Shadow

The Ten Point Shadow Helios RDX is the best middle of the road Crossbow. It is not too expensive and not too cheap. It is a crossbow for seasoned archers and beginners. It uses 350 tons of kinetic energy and shoots up to 240 feet per second. It is simple to assemble and easy to maintain. It is easier to maintain and it is more dependable than some of the more expensive crossbows on the market. It is quiet and is the perfect deer hunting crossbow.

Best Entry Level Crossbow – Barnett Whitetail Hunter II

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is the best of the entry-level crossbows. It is most suitable for hunting small to medium-sized game without making a large dent in the wallet. The Barnett model is a great choice for the beginner in all situations.

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is the first crossbow in the lineup of Barnett crossbow lineup that offers greater holding weight. Although it is designed for beginners, it doesn’t sacrifice proper features that will give you an equal experience with other crossbows that are more expensive and at the higher end of the spectrum. Sometimes the more expensive models are not the best choice for the beginner.

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II packs a ton of value into the price. It is loaded with features that are commonly found in crossbows twice its price.

The Barnett Crossbow comes with a thumb rail and dual safety mechanisms. It has a short and long power stroke as well as 165 lb draw weight, instant detach arrow rest, and torch bracket. It comes with two prong illuminated RST sights which helps with tracking.

This crossbow is highly recommended for bow stalking and for young hunters. The only thing you may need to add is a quiver.

What are the Best Crossbow Brands?

Crossbows have exploded in popularity in recent years and the brands that lead the way for up and coming crossbow brands are Barnett, Excalibur, TenPoint, Horton, Carbon Express, Wicked Ridge, and Parker. These brands offer products ranging in price and are split up into two categories: crossbow guns and crossbow bolts.

The crossbow guns are used with sights (some come automatically equipped with optics) that are attached to the barrel of the weapon. Crossbow bolts, on the other hand, are projectile points that hold the string in place until ready to shoot.

The main goal of Barnett is to provide expert crossbow shooting by paying close attention to detail, researched and tested features, and purposefully created crossbow shooting accessories. They are the top choice for many hunters and target shooters and are known for quality, performance, and a high level of satisfaction when it comes to customer service.

Perfection and a Broad Price

Range. The brand has been

Producing the Same Reliable

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High Quality and Built To

Last.

Excalibur

The Excalibur vs the Practice SB-1 cross bows are similar yet different. The Excalibur has a higher speed and a higher weight, giving it more power than the Practice SB-1.

Excalibur is 208 pound draw weight and the SB-1 is only a 160 pound draw weight, making it a bit more difficult to pull against. While the Excalibur has a higher speed, the SB-1 has a shorter amount of time to draw it.

The Charge vs the Scope on the Excalibur are easier to use, meaning that they are easier to adjust so that you don't have to worry about the crossbow moving while you are aiming.

When taking into account the parts that are included with the crossbow the Excalibur is often more expensive than the Practice SB-1. The only piece you will have to buy for the SB-1 is the scope and the quiver whereas the Excalibur has many pieces included that you will have to buy extra ones with the SB-1.

The Excalibur has 150 ft pounds of kinetic energy whereas the SB-1 only has 125 ft pounds of kinetic energy. Lastly, both crossbows have a rear stock cocking mechanism. Both crossbows are great and there are not many disadvantages.

The differences in these crossbows are minor and neither would be a bad purchase.

Ten Point and Wicked Ridge

I have to be honest with you in the beginning: I was never a crossbow guy. Then, I had the opportunity to use them on two different kinds of hunts. Hunting with a crossbow was so much easier than I ever thought it would be. Because of this I wanted to show you some of the best crossbows of 2021, and give you more information about them.

These are my 2 favorite model crossbows:

  • Ten Point Crossbow, RX-Series
  • Wicked Ridge Solo Crossbow (My favorite one!)

The Ten Point RX-Series Crossbow are considered by many to be the new industry crossbow standard for most crossbow hunters. The RX-Series Crossbows are built on all-new carbon technology that leads the pack in another ground breaking advancement.

All RX-Series Crossbows come complete with Ten-Point's Lightning Cable Cam System; all four crossbows in the RX Series are Maximized for Speed and Comfort, include Ten-Point's Quad Limbs Package, .308 Bow String Technology, the Coda Axion 3-Pin Sight, and more.

Barnett

Crossbows are fun to shoot, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow is one of the crossbows that are most important for children.

If your child wants to use a crossbow and you are worried about their safety, this could be a great choice for them. While Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow is not made for adults, it could be a great choice for a younger person. It would make a great gift idea and a great way for a child to get started at shooting crossbows.

Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow is available in youth sizes only and it’s a great choice for beginners. This crossbow may not shoot very fast, but Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow could be a great crossbow for children to learn with.

Even when Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow shoots at the bolt, it has enough power to do significant damage. It has enough power to shoot a bolt at high velocity, but it is not powerful enough to hurt a child when used properly.

Barnett Recruit Youth Crossbow is easy to load and use. A child who is older than 10 years-old should have no trouble loading the crossbow and shooting it.

CenterPoint

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is an incredible crossbow.

It has a very respectable draw weight of 235 lbs at a 29 inch draw. You will get a maximum arrow velocity of 370 FPS at 10 yards.

You’ll be able to shoot both alloy and carbon arrows with this crossbow and it’s rail is fully integrated. It’s a closed loop rail design so you can shoot your accessories quickly. The polymer forearm has rubber grip panels which allows you to maintain good control despite the high velocity.

The trigger is adjustable from 3.5-4.5LBS and the crossbow includes 3X32 scope.

It’s easy to cock with the rear cocking mechanism and the string can also be replaced quickly and easily.

The rail has multiple mounting holes which gives you more flexibility to install your accessories.

There is a safety mechanism included on the back of the stock which will keep you and others safe.

Overall, this is a reasonably priced high-quality crossbow that can easily be used by experienced hunters and beginners.

Crossbow Buyers Guide

Forget what you think you know about crossbows. A bow is a good weapon for hunting, but a crossbow is even better. They pack a lethal punch and let you get an accurate shot.

Unlike a traditional bow they won’t give you any forearm workout, nor will they be as hard on your hands as the standard bowstring.

With the best crossbow, you can easily take out game up to 15 yards away.

Escaping the thorns, brush and tall grasses within a shooting range of 15 yards, is extremely hard. You can easily kill an animal within that range.

The crossbow has been on the market for quite some time. They used to be the most popular hunting weapon, but then they were replaced by smooth bows. However, after a few years, they are back in the game with style and they intend to stay around.

If you've been using a bow for your hunts, the transition to crossbows will be like magic. They are just slightly different from a normal bow, so they will prove to be a breeze to use. You won’t have to worry about spending a few hours learning how to use it because you are going to use it just like a bow.

Recurve vs Compound vs Pistol Crossbows

Crossbows have been gaining popularity amongst archers in recent years. From hunters (who use crossbows to take down game during hunting season) to target shooters (who use crossbows to practice on ranges and competitions) and even recreational archers (who use crossbows for hunting and to target shoot on game-animal-less properties), crossbows have really taken over.

In fact, a recent survey indicated that crossbows were poised to even take over the market for compound bows, which have long been the mainstay of archery. And for good reason: crossbows have many distinct advantages over other types of bows, especially for hunting.

Crossbows are faster, both in terms of draw speed and bolt speed. More speed means more opportunity for the hunter to make a successful shot. They are also safer to use since you can load them without the fear of a.

Crossbows are also more accurate, allowing for much more precise shooting. An added advantage is crossbows are also much easier to shoot accurately from a longer distance, which is a huge advantage for game hunting.

They are also generally more durable. While some compound bows are made from highly expensive and high-quality materials, they also boast a much shorter lifespan. Crossbows are made from much tougher materials and boast a longer lifespan than most compound bows.

But with so many different crossbows on the market, how can you really know which one to choose?

Axle to Axle / Width

This is the measurement of pivoting axle to the main string and is one of the longest possible distances.

Limbs – The limbs are the draw weight and the main items that determine whether the bow is a recurve or a compound.

Draw weight – The draw weight is how much force it will take to pull back the string. This measurement is in pounds and includes all of the safety features. If you want a bow that can shoot all day without getting too tired, stay above 5 lbs draw weight.

Velocity – The velocity is the speed that the arrows will travel once they leave the bow. The speed or power ratings are measured in feet per second. This measurement is determined by a chronograph, which is the actual instrument used to measure the speed.

Draw length – This is the measurement of the string from the bow grip to the archer's fingertip. Most bows have adjustable draw lengths from 15-30 inches. The correct draw length is important because it affects accuracy and how long the arrow remains ""open"". If you draw your bow too long, it will cause the arrow to hang open while in flight. If you draw the bow too short, a great amount of power is lost.

Arrow speed – Most of the arrows that come with bows will be very far below the recommended speed. This speed will be based off of the most standard weight arrow that the bow can shoot accurately.

Power Stroke

This is one of the top crossbows of the year and for many reasons. The bow has been designed with an unbelievable power stroke which will enable you to hit an arrow very fast and still maintain a high degree of accuracy.

The speed is actually very quiet for a crossbow in its category. On the Amazon website, it has a rating of 4.5 stars with dozens of reviews. It’s also one of the most popular crossbows of the year according to the Outdoor Life, and it’s no surprise why.

The reason for the popularity is the brilliant design of the bow which is comfortable and easy to handle.

The bow has an adjusted trigger which is easy to operate and will give you an accurate shot every time. There are no mechanical failures with this crossbow, and it’s very durable. The bow needs no maintenance and its also very easy to operate. You will be able to quickly and easily cock the bow.

It’s easy to remove the arrow from the quiver as well. An added benefit of this crossbow is that it comes with a lifetime warranty against manufactures defects.

Limbs

One of the most important considerations when choosing a crossbow is the limb. The limbs are part of what makes your bow pull back and deliver power and distance.

Limbs come in different styles and weights too. While limb power is important, the weight of the limb matters too.

Some crossbows can come with a carrying strap or string, after all, if it’s too heavy or bulky you’re not likely to carry it.

An extremely heavy crossbow can cause you to lose energy. Without good limb power, you could miss your target.

With the weight and power in mind, you’ll also want to look into what makes up the rest of the limbs too.

The limbs can be made from many different materials. They may be wood or fiberglass. As you look at limbs, see what the materials are. You may like the look of wood, but you should also notice that some models are lighter because they’re made of carbon.

Draw Weight

The draw weight is the amount of pounds of force needed to pull your string back. A draw weight of 200-250 pounds is suitable for beginners.

The arrow should fit comfortably in your hand.

The bow should be stable and have good thumbhole/grip position relative to your hand.

The frame should be sturdy and flex evenly.

The limb should fit the string smoothly at rest.

The fletching should be correctly sized and balanced.

The cast on your bow should be even or slightly backwards.

You should have a comfortable ground blind.

A good set of points, quick twitcher, sight, and a stabilizer will be the icing on the cake.

FPS and FPKE

A lot of people see these numbers in the price of a crossbow package and notice that there is a considerable difference. What do they mean?

FPS stands for foot-per-second and it refers to the speed of the crossbow bolt at point-blank range. This is a standard number that is used to determine the speed of arrows.

FPKEdge refers to the kinetic energy that the arrow holds at point-blank range. This number is usually greater than the same bow’s FPS number.

The projectiles that draw the most power and create the most kinetic energy are usually the ones that have the greatest amount of FPS.

When you shoot at objects further than 20 yards, the higher FPS doesn’t usually make a difference.

When you consider using your crossbow on targets at 75 yards and beyond, choose one with the higher number of FPS.

Unfortunately, not all companies are honest about the FPS rating of their crossbow. Many would list the FPS rating of their crossbow kit when in reality, it’s actually lower.

Some companies would make their crossbows seem to have a higher FPS than reality, which making them feel more powerful.

Even though the higher number of FPS can be listed, it does not mean that the arrow will be faster at point-blank range.

Weight / Mass

When choosing a crossbow, it is important to consider how much it weighs. Smaller crossbows that weigh less than 5 pounds are usually more portable. They are also usually easier to shoot because the crossbow itself doesn’t weigh as much as a heavier crossbow.

For beginner crossbow shooters, I recommend choosing a crossbow that weighs less than 5 pounds. To me, anything more is just too heavy to shoot. You can always upgrade to a larger package if you’re an experienced crossbow shooter.

Stocks and Cheek Pieces

The stock of the crossbow makes a big difference and you have to start somewhere. If you were to place a crossbow with a cheap stock next to a good one, you will see a world of difference in how comfortable they are to use.

A poor stock will often leave you with blisters. They can also cause you to get fatigued more easily. Many new manufacturers have taken this into account and will include either a textured stock or a contoured stock.

Cheek pieces are also worth considering as some of the latest brands on the market, have adjustment screws.

In the olden days you would have to apply blisters and pain in order to adjust the stock. Now you can simply adjust as needed and have comfort in your cheek piece as well as on your face.

You should also consider how adjustable the cheek piece is.

The crossbow needs to be comfortable as well as flat to the shoulder. Too much of a rise and you could end up with a case of the shoulder or arm.

Optimally the crossbow should not have any more than one inch of rise, and no less than one half inch.

The length of the stock is commonly measured in inches.

For hunters, you also will want a model that is taken out of the box and set up for shooting at that length.

Noise

Every crossbow shoots differently. These differences can be attributed to a variety of factors and a user’s skill and comfort level usually correlates to the performance of the crossbow. This introduces one of the most important aspects consumers should look at when purchasing a crossbow.

The noise level, or the amount of noise a crossbow produces when firing is an important consideration to make as this can be a major turn off for some hunters.

Some of the most effective, but loudest crossbows on the market are the TenPoint Invader G3 and the Barnett Jackal Recurve Crossbow. Both of these are very effective and are ideal for serious hunters, however, they are loud! Any hunter considering purchasing a crossbow for a hunting trip in bear country should be sure to avoid these two.

The Barnett Jackal is also louder than the TenPoint Invader G3. The two that are on the quieter side are the Barnett Ghost 410 CRT and the TenPoint Turbo 2001. They are still relatively quiet when firing but are still louder than the average crossbow.

Cocking Mechanisms

Winners: Most crossbows have a safety, so when you first pull the trigger, the bow string is released, and you don't have to draw it.

This is a feature I really appreciate when I am taking aim. I don't have to worry about it stringing back because of the pull of gravity.

But this safety feature might malfunction if the crossbow is dropped or abused.

The biggest differences between crossbows with this feature are their draw and cocking weights. Most of the crossbows that have a cocking safety have a draw weight of 175 lbs.

The Jackson Safety F-150, one of the few without a cocking safety, has a fantastic draw and cock weight. Reviewers rave how quick and easy it is to pull back and use.

The Wicked Ridge Warrior has a safety, and it has a lightweight of about 125 lbs. Reviewers say they like that it is quick, compact, and easy to use.

Other great crossbows in this category are:

The Excalibur Matrix Mega 405: 11.3 lbs

The Barnett Ghost 265: 11.8 lbs

The Barnett Wildcat C5: 11.8 lbs

The Barnett Jackal: 11.8 lbs

The TenPoint Invader Z: 12.85 lbs

Triggers

Once you get out of the basics of crossbows and their triggers, then things really start to get interesting.

Fortunately, before you go overboard on the types of triggers on the market, you need to fully understand how they work.

The good news is that most of them work in a similar way. That being the case, you simply need to decide on the level of cocking effort and reliability that you are comfortable with.

In most cases, you can do that by weighing up the price and the ease of use. As long as you know some of the basic features, you’ll be able to make an informed decision as you head down this path.

If you’re not sure that you’re comfortable with the choices that you have, it may be a good idea to get input from someone you trust. They may have some useful insight that will speed up the process. In some cases, they may even have certain preferences, which can really be helpful in this instance.

Remember, your aim is to narrow down your options until you’re left with a couple of products that fit the bill. It won’t take all that much time to do that, especially if you know what you’re looking for.

Sights/Scopes

The sights or scopes that you are going to be choosing for your bow will truly help you to determine what kind of penetration you are going to be getting through the animal you decide to shoot with. The good news is that you don’t have to buy one made just for crossbows.

You can get any and all of the sights that you are going to need for your crossbow. All you need to do is find the one that is going to work best for your needs. Don’t forget to remember that the one that will work best will be the one that is going to be either on your gun or on your shot.

The good news is that you won’t have to worry about having to pay a ton of money for a sight when you can simply check one out and put it on your weapon.

Crossbow Prices

You can find crossbows in numerous price ranges. In general, you’ll find that the best materials go into the highest priced crossbows. For example, carbon fiber limbs are worth their weight in gold compared to aluminum or resin. However, because of how crossbows are constructed, it’s going to cost you a premium to have the best materials.

Having said that, crossbows don’t vary too much in weight because they must support the weight of the string, limbs, and riser, as well as the included accessories. In general, you won’t find many inexpensive crossbows that weigh over 7 pounds.

How much you want to pay for your crossbow will ultimately be determined by the features that you want. For example, giving you crossbow consistent tracking and ballistics will cost extra. However, with a higher price point also comes higher quality and the best crossbows are far superior to their cheaper counterparts.

For example, the Bear Archery Solo XT might be just what you’re looking for with its premium parts and upgraded materials. It might not be the best crossbow for someone on a strict budget, but if you want the best, it might be for you.

On the other hand, with the Barnett Jackal Extreme, you’ll have a high quality crossbow without paying extra for some of its premium features.

Accessories

The nice thing about the Trophy Ridge React H20 Camouflage Single-Cam Pin Sight and 3-arrow case is that you can use the case along with the sight for stand hunting.

When using this bow, It might be helpful to purchase a crossbow case to make transporting the bow less stressful. You can choose from half or full cases depending on how muchgear you want to fit in the case.

The other thing you may find helpful is a safety device to keep your crossbow from firing without you pressing the trigger. This Prittany Bow Sling is well rated and inexpensive.

Crossbow Maintenance

If you hunt with crossbow, a crossbow cleaning kit is a must. Because scopes are mounted on bows, they can quickly get dirty or foggy or even cracked or… you get the point. Cleaning crossbow is a must. A cleaning kit like the TenPoint Crossbow Maintenance Kit is good way to process your crossbow. The kit includes the items you need to maintain, inspect, and clean your crossbow. This includes tools that will apply oils or maintenance to various parts of your crossbow. This kit also features items to zero your scope, field point, and broadhead. The complete kit includes a diagonal plier, lubricant, scope accessories, broadhead wrench, spinner knob, and drops. All you have to do is unscrew the included tools and check the kit for you crossbow. It contains all of the good stuff that you need. But you must know that this kit may not contain everything you need for the specific model of your crossbow. That is why you must check your owner’s manual for what you need to service your crossbow. You can also ask us here in this article to know what do you need. Maintenance is important for a crossbow so make sure that you have a crossbow cleaning kit for your crossbow.

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