Are you thinking about taking up archery, but don’t want to invest a lot of money before you’re sure you like it? Are you already involved in archery and looking for a high-quality bow that doesn’t cost a small fortune?
As we all know, there are loads of great recurve bows available if you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars a pop. We’re here to reassure you that there are also some high-quality affordable options out there! The trick is knowing where to look.
While many budget options look and feel like toys, we’ve gone on a hunt for cheap options that perform like the heavy hitters without the big price tag. We looked for power, durability, accuracy, and of course price! We’ve compared features, specs, and reviews from professional and amateur archers alike to narrow down our search.
After looking carefully at many different options, we’re confident we’ve found the best, most affordable options available! In this guide, we’ll show you three of our favorites, and talk you through why we think they’re so great. Then, we’ll help you figure out which one is your best bet for shooting success!
Best Affordable Recurve Bows
The Wildcat is our all-time favorite starter set. It’s a bargain-priced bundle with a bow that far outclasses other beginner models. We love it for developing technique and getting target practice down. It’s especially good for getting younger archers started, with the lower draw weight options.
It’s a full-fledged bow. While a lot of sets like this are more toy models than actual weapons, the Wildcat is a real bow in every sense of the word. It’s full-size, made out of the same materials as the big boys, and shoots hard and fast.
It’s available in a few different draw weights, between 24 and 34 pounds, so you can cater to your own size and strength. The extra-low weights are ideal for younger archers, who need something to help develop technique before switching to a hunting bow for the field.
It’s made of quality woods. Both the riser block and the limbs are made from solid wood, and we didn’t find any reports of breakages or splinters from previous buyers.
It’s easy to assemble. This one comes with instructions, and even people who had never picked one up in their lives had no issues getting up and running.
It’s a complete archery set. In addition to the bow, you get some practice arrows, targets, a belt quiver, a finger tab, and a stringing tool. That’s some pretty unbeatable value for money! We really like the Wildcat’s arrows, which are fiberglass and The most impressive feature is the included sight, which is a rarity under the $250 mark! It’s perfect for helping new archers develop their aim.
It also comes with an instruction book, with tips and advice for new archers. That makes the Wildcat an ideal choice for beginners, as well as buyers on a budget.
It’s not for hunting. This one has too low a draw weight to hunt animals properly. It would only wound, which can leave an animal cruelly maimed and your freezer empty at the same time.
It’s the most expensive bow here.
PSE has been known for manufacturing some of the best models on the market since the 1970s, and is currently the largest bow manufacturer in the world! Their Razorback series is geared toward archers that have some experience, but can’t afford to spend much money on their hobby. It stands out from other budget models with a powerful 62” bow length, and is available in an array of draw weights ranging from 20 lbs. to 55 lbs.
It’s available for under $100. This is the most affordable option on the market that’s made from real bow materials, with laminated wood and fiberglass parts. Previous buyers said it feels just like a larger recurve, if not as premium. They complimented the ergonomic size and draw weight, which are comfortable for new shooters as well as experienced hunters.
PSE is currently the largest bow manufacturer in the world. Since they make budget bows right through high end models, you can be assured of a higher level of quality than companies that just make novice models.
It’s a takedown design. That means you can swap out the limbs as you improve your form and strength. It also makes it easier to choose the right weight for your skills and strength when you’re first making your purchase.
The limbs have a double-layered design, with wood front to back with fiberglass, just like the high-end recurves.
It comes in an even wider range of draw weights than the Wildcat, with a setting starting at 20 pounds. We love having the 20-pound option, because it allows you to start kids off with something easier to pull without sacrificing the look and feel of a real wood recurve.
The 62” length provides excellent power, especially at the higher draw weight. While it doesn’t pack quite enough power for hunting, the Razorback’s power factor allows you to target shoot at slightly longer ranges than the Wildcat.
It looks great. The layered wood riser looks pretty similar to the Wildcat, at a much lower price.
It doesn’t come with many accessories. This one’s just the bow and the string, so you’ll have to have targets and a finger tab already, or buy them separately.
This one has had some reliability issues. We found a couple reports of splintery limbs after a while. However, it doesn’t seem to be a widespread complaint.
Just like the Wildcat, it’s only for target shooting, and can’t be used for game hunting.
This ambidextrous intro model has all the basic features you need to learn how to shoot, without making much of any dent in your wallet. It’s our favorite choice for people who haven’t touched a bow before, and mainly want to try their hand at archery without committing fully. The light weight and low draw settings make it perfect for kids, as well. The cheap price tag and simple construction also make it an ideal model for instructors of novice classes.
It’s extremely inexpensive. This one’s available for less than $50–a third the price of the Wildcat, and only half the price of the Razorback. That makes it a very reasonable buy for parents who want their kids to be able to try out archery without making a big commitment.
The extra-light draw weights make it a good choice for smaller, younger archers. It’s a perfect first bow for a child. There are 20-29 pound options available.
It’s rated for all archers above 12. This one’s equipped with an ambidextrous grip and arrow rest, so it’ll work with either hand. That’s good for kids who might not know yet which hand works best for them. Parents loved having options for their child. It’s also a big advantage for families with several children. You can pass the bow along and nobody will be excluded because they’re left or right handed!
The composite limbs provide excellent repeatability at a much lower cost than wood and fiberglass laminates. It’s very durable, and provides snappy and dependable performance.
It’s extremely lightweight. The Titan weighs only about 1.5 pounds all told! That’s super important for helping young archers get a few hours’ shooting in without getting sore quickly.
It doesn’t come with any arrows or additional extras. You just get the bow and the string.
Some previous buyers found that the string was pretty cheap. They recommended replacing it.
It’s very light in terms of draw weight. That means it’s not so good over long distances, and won’t be very satisfying for people with more upper body strength already developed.
Which of these affordable recurve bows should you buy?
The Bear Titan is the cheapest out of the three, and is the best choice for kids and brand new adult archers. We also found that it was a very popular choice for archery instructors at schools, or at Scout camps. It’s extremely simple, and requires no assembly. It’s ideal for people who don’t have a great deal of upper body strength, and need to develop their form on a lighter weapon before moving up to a heavier option. The low price makes it a perfect option for people who want to dip their toes into archery without spending any serious money. However, the thin design and handle grip make it feel a bit less like a traditional recurve bow.
The PSE Razorback is a good compromise between the price point of the Bear and the performance of the Wildcat. It has the feeling of a real recurve bow, with a laminated wood riser and limbs. We also like the wider range of draw weights, as well as the takedown design. That means the Razorback can get you slightly further in developing your strength and form than the Titan. It has more power, and can shoot further. However, it’s not quite as accurate as the Wildcat, and doesn’t come with any extras or accessories.
The Wildcat is the best choice for archers who want to work their way up to shooting a full-power bow, either for hunting or for competitions. It starts at a slightly higher draw weight than the other two models, and it’s built to look, feel, and shoot like the real deal. While this one is more expensive by a fair amount, it gives you a lot more value for money. The Titan and Razorback don’t come with any accessories, which means you’ll have to spend more money eventually for add-ons. The Wildcat costs a bit more, but it has everything you need to get shooting right out of the box. If you’re only interested in target shooting, you might even be happy with a Wildcat for good!
How to Choose the Best Bow for You
Now that you’ve looked carefully at our choices for the best affordable recurve bows on the market, how do you choose the one that is best for you? Let’s look at the most important features you consider during the decision making process, in addition to our reasoning as to why you should stay away from some of the cheapest recurve bows on the market. Get our in-depth explanation of what you should consider when buying a recurve bow.
What Features Should You Consider Before Making Your Purchase?
•You must know whether you are going to use your right or left hand to pull back the string to determine if you will need a right or left hand bow. If you are unsure, and are making your purchase online, it is a good idea to opt for the Bear Archery Titan, because it can be shot with both hands.
•Decide what distances you’re planning to shoot at. That’ll help you figure out what kind of draw weight and power you need.
Are you planning on hunting? Make sure you get a takedown bow that can grow with you as you move up to a full-power hunting bow! Otherwise, you’ll face a pretty big learning curve when you make the jump to the big leagues!
•Make certain you have a manageable draw weight that allows you to comfortably draw the bow and maintain control of it. This is largely based on size and gender. We always recommend rounding down, since pulling at the max of your abilities doesn’t do much good for developing proper form.
Recommended Draw Weight Based on Age, Gender, & Weight
Very Small Child (55-70 lbs.) 10-15 lbs. Small Child (70-100 lbs.) 15-25 lbs. Larger Child (100-130 lbs.) 25-35 lbs. Small Frame Women (100-130 lbs.) 25-35 lbs. Medium Frame Women (130-160 lbs.) 30-40 lbs. Athletic Older Child (Boys 130-150 lbs.) 40-50 lbs. Small Frame Men (120-150 lbs.) 45-55 lbs. Large Frame Women (160+ lbs.) 45-55 lbs. Medium Frame Men (150-180 lbs.) 55-65 lbs. Large Frame Men (180+ lbs.) 65-75 lbs.
Chart source: Hunter’s Friend
•Having the appropriate draw length is super important. If you choose the wrong length, it will be almost impossible to achieve and maintain the proper form. If you’re not sure how to measure your draw length correctly, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdV8suofTsM
•While choosing your recurve bow, you may see options that are cheaper than the bows listed above. You can be certain that they were considered while making this list. However, they simply could not compete with our top 3 in regards to quality, ease of use, and durability. You may save money on your initial purchase by selecting one of these cheaper models, but there is also a greater chance that the bow will need to be replaced much sooner than the bows that made our list.
Want to see the rest of the most popular cheap recurve bows on the market? Check out the best sellers on Amazon!