Disclosure: We may earn commissions if you purchase products after clicking on a link from our site.

Do you use a hunting crossbow? Are you looking for the best hunting crossbows? Are you finding it difficult to choose the right crossbow? In this review, we discuss all of the characteristics of some of the best hunting crossbows on the market today. We also discuss the factors you need to consider when you decide on which crossbow to buy, as well as the types of hunting crossbows, and accessories for a crossbow.

1.  Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow is a high-performance compound crossbow. It weighs 6.6 pounds, speed of 375 ft. per second, has an axle-to-axle width of 18.125 inches, and has dimensions of 34.875 x 20.125 inches. It is one of the best hunting crossbows available today.

This hunting crossbow is lightweight. It features a fiberglass composite step-through riser (STR) with a single bolt assembly and an anti-dry fire trigger-tech trigger. Its pattern is mossy oak bottomland.

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow comes with a multi-reticle scope, two 22 inches headhunter arrows, a lightweight quiver, a rope cocking device, and lube wax. It is compatible with Barnett 17455 crank cocking device. Additionally, it has 118.6 kinetic energy.

       What We Like:

  • TriggerTech
  • Single Bolt Assembly
  • Lightweight
  • Multi-Reticle Scope
  • Initial Velocity 375 ft. per second

2.  Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

As one of the best hunting crossbows, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow features Trigger tech technology with the 3-pound zero-creep release. All of its components are stainless steel. This crossbow features the ADF (anti-dry fire) trigger system. The knock sensor and the ADF trigger system work to keep a spring-loaded safety bar in place until the arrow is properly seated, thereby protecting the user and the bow, hence eliminating dry fries.

Additionally, it features the MIM (metal injected molded) trigger, a bristle brush retainer, 7/8 inch Picatinny rails, finger safety reminders, and a pass-through foregrip. It also features an anti-vibration foot stirrup. This crossbow also features heavy-duty, dual-stage lockable latches which have a pressure release valve that protects the gun cases during airline travel.

Its speed is 350 feet per second and has a draw weight of 150 pounds with a kinetic energy of 103 ft. lbs. Its axle-to-axle width is 16.125 inches with an overall weight of 6.4 pounds. The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow comes with a 4x32mm scope, a rope cocking device, a lightweight quiver, two 20-inch headhunter arrows, and lube wax. Its pattern is real tree extra camo.

3.  Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow

The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow features an innovative design that improves its balance and enhances stability and accuracy. This crossbow also features string dampeners to eliminate vibration and sound, Barnett’s self-adjusting Soft-Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer, three Picatinny rails, 4x32mm multi-reticle scope, and crank-cocking capability. This hunting crossbow from Barnett is also one of the best hunting crossbows and is popular with bow hunters.

Additionally, it features the TriggerTech trigger system. It also utilizes a nock sensor and ADF (anti-dry fire) to prevent accidental dry fire. The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow features Frictionless Release Technology to enhance accuracy and instill more confidence. Its TRUBark HD camo covers almost the entire crossbow.

Its speed is 400 ft. per second and has a kinetic energy of 140 ft. lbs. The power stroke is 16.375 inches and the overall weight is 6.9 pounds. Additionally, the axle-to-axle width is 17.625 inches and this crossbow comes with a 4×32 scope a rope cocking device, a side mount quiver, two 22-inch headhunter arrows, and lube wax.

      What We Like:

  • Soft-Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer
  • TriggerTech Trigger System
  • Anti-dry Fire (ADF)
  • Frictionless Release Technology
  • TRUBark HD camo

4.  XtremepowerUS Hybrid Crossbow

The XtremepowerUS Hybrid Crossbow features a built-in red pointer sight for rapid and precise target acquisition. Its initial velocity is 160 ft. per second with a draw weight of 80 lbs, stroke distance of 10 inches, and effective range of 75 m.

Its fully adjustable stock and foregrip are able to adjust up to 2-2.5 inches. This crossbow comes with a featherless fishing fork, a featherless hunting arrow, a set of gloves, one inner hexagonal spanner, and a crossbow bag.

      What We Like:

  • Initial Velocity 160 ft. per second
  • Built-in Red Pointer Sight
  • Fully Adjustable Stock

5.  CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow has a fully adjustable stock and foregrip to support your shooting style. It also features quad limbs built with a precision CNC-machined cam and rail system rendering speeds up to 370 fps, a shoot-through-riser, and a narrow 18-inch axle-to-axle width when it is cocked.

This crossbow, with a 185-pound draw weight, is very maneuverable. Additionally, it keeps the shots quiet and vibration-free with string suppressors. It comes with a 4x32mm scope, two 20-inch carbon arrows, a quiver, a rope cocker, and an anti-dry fire/auto mechanism.

      What We Like:

  • Fully Adjustable Stock
  • Precision CNC-Machined Cam
  • ADF (Anti-dry Fire)

6.  Barnett Archery Raptor Pro STR Crossbow

The Barnett Archery Raptor Pro STR Crossbow features a fiberglass composite step-through riser (STR). Its speed is 400 ft. per second due to the integrated foot stirrup trims the weight and lengthens the power stroke.

Additionally, the axle-to-axle width is 17.55 inches, weight is 6.9 pounds and kinetic energy is 135 ft pounds. It comes with a 4x32mm scope, two 22 inches headhunter arrows, a lightweight quiver, a rope cocking device, and lube wax. Its pattern is Realtree Xtra.

What We Like:

  • Fiberglass Composite Step-Thru Riser
  • TriggerTech Trigger
  • Finger Safety Reminders

7.  Killer Instinct Hunting Crossbow

The Killer Instinct Hunting Crossbow features a tough and agile mechanism that allows you to target small as well as larger animals. It also features a 6-position adjustable buttstock that fits a variety of users and an aluminum barrel stock that prevents wear and tear.

Its speed is 405 ft. per second and it generated up to 134 foot-pounds on a hit thereby benefitting from a combination of accuracy and striking power. Additionally, this crossbow features built-in silent limb and string suppressors to reduce noise and keep you undetected. It comes with 3 premium hyper carbon cross bolts and a 5 bolt quiver.

8.  Manticore SAS 150lbs Crossbow

The Manticore SAS 150lbs Crossbow is light and compact, safe and reliable. It features 150 lbs of draw weight and its initial velocity is 210 ft. per second. This crossbow is ideal for large game hunting. It comes with a 4x32mm scope and arrows/bolts.

9.  Tenpoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow

The Tenpoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow features a micro-trac barrel that reduces string-to-rail contact by 50% resulting in enhanced accuracy and long string life for crossbows.

This crossbow also has an s1 trigger feature. It is a 2-stage, zero-creep design that delivers high-performance accuracy and delivers lightning speeds up to 400 ft. per second.

It also features an acuslide cocking and de-cocking system which guarantees quiet cocking and safe de-cocking. The Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow also features multi-coated glass for optimal light gathering. Additionally, its tec-x stock feature minimizes stock size thereby reducing the weight of the crossbow by 1/2 pound.

      What We Like:

  • Micro-Trac Barrel
  • S1 Trigger
  • Acuslide Cocking & De-Cocking System
  • Rangemaster Pro Scope
  • Tec-X Stock

10.  PSE ARCHERY Coalition Crossbow

The PSE ARCHERY Coalition Crossbow is a fast and compact crossbow with an adjustable stock and a pass-thru foregrip. Its speed is 380 fps, kinetic energy 127 ft. lbs., axle-to-axle 21.5 inches, and draw weight of 185 pounds.

This crossbow comes with a 4x32mm scope, dual string stops, 4-bolt quiver, anti-dry fire, an auto-safety trigger, 3-20 carbon bolts with field points, foot stirrup, limb dampeners, a cocking rope, and rail lube.

      What We Like:

  • Anti-Dry Fire
  • Auto Safety Trigger

What To Look For In The Best Hunting Crossbows?

1.  Speed

Speed is one of the factors to consider when choosing your crossbow. Crossbows’ speeds are usually found in the range of 265 to 400 fps. Many think that the faster the crossbow the better. That may not necessarily be true. When you increase the speed, you decrease the crossbow’s tolerance for an error.

A fast arrow will react more to an imperfect draw than a perfect draw. An example is a car going at 85 mph reaction to bypassing a vehicle that strays into its lane will be less forgiving than a car that is going at 60 mph.

2.  Safety

Safety is another important factor. There are many things to learn concerning safety and a crossbow and a beginner should take safety very seriously and learn all aspects of it.  How to hunt deer with a crossbow is a skill that you have to develop and we discussed it in this article. The best hunting crossbows are designed with safety features to minimize the risk of injury.

3.  Anti-Dry Fire

An anti-dry fire feature is another important factor to consider when deciding on which crossbow to acquire. Today many of the best hunting crossbows come with an anti-fire feature. An anti-dry fire prevents the string from being released unless an arrow is in place.

4.  Auto-Engaging Safety

An auto-engaging safety keeps the trigger from releasing the string when it is set. It is set automatically during the action of drawing the bowstring. Most beginners will not always remember to set this and this feature will keep the crossbow safe until you are ready to pull the trigger. Make sure the crossbow you choose has the auto-engaging feature. Most of the best hunting crossbows have safety features to ensure the safety of the shooter.

5.  Forward Grip Design

Forward grip is another important factor to consider and especially for safety. When choosing your crossbow, verify that the crossbow you choose has a forward grip design with “wings” which stick out to the side and run the length of the grip. The wings ensure your finger is below the string path, thereby protecting your fingers from accidental injury.

6.  Noise Level

Noise and hunting don’t go together. Just as you want your gear to generate little to no noise to alert your target, you also don’t want any noise from the crossbow. There are three types of crossbows. One is recurved which is quieter than another – the compound crossbow.

When deciding which crossbow to buy, consider which type of crossbow to purchase and the level of noise each generates. Choose a compound crossbow if you want less work for more accurate shots. The best hunting crossbows are designed to produce very little to no noise.

7.  Flight Groove

Flight groove refers to the grooved portion of the crossbow where the bolt rides. How accurate your shooting is, will have a direct relation to how precise the flight groove is.

Flight grooves are made of aluminum, composite, and carbon. Composites are very affordable but have the lowest accuracy rate. Aluminum grooves are expensive but still cheaper than carbon fiber. Carbon fiber gives better accuracy. research and decide which type of flight groove you want for your crossbow.

8.  Weight & Draw Weight

With regards to crossbows, weight refers to the crossbow’s weight and the draw weight. You get better stability and speed when the crossbow weight is more. Consider the type of activity you will be engaging in as well as your physique when deciding on the weight for the crossbow. For draw weight, 90 to 260 pounds of draw weight is recommended with an average of 175 pounds.

9.  Archer Size

Your height plays a crucial role in the type of crossbow you choose. Most of the best hunting crossbows are designed for an average height of 5.6 to 5.8 feet. Height is important because putting the string into a cocked position can be hard for shorter individuals. The right crossbow size to match your height and strength level can determine if your shots will be accurate.

Types of Hunting Crossbows

1.  Recurve Crossbows

Recurve crossbows are quieter and lighter. They have simple recurve limbs just like those on a vertical recurve bow, only that they are shorter. Its advantage is its simplicity of design. We researched and reviewed the best recurve bows and you can read that article through this link if you are interested in a recurve crossbow.

2.  Compound Crossbows

Compound crossbows are more complicated than recurve crossbows. They have a variety of systems of cables and pulleys in their function. The plus for compound crossbows is that their designs are narrower which gives them better arrow speed. They can be built narrower and longer thereby providing a longer power stroke which increases both speed and kinetic energy. They are heavier and louder due to the hardware in the design.

3.  The Reverse-Draw Crossbows

The Reverse-Draw crossbows are as quiet as the recurve crossbow but just as heavy and complicated as the compound crossbow. You can generate an initial speed of over 300 fps with just about a 100 lb draw weight. The reverse-draw crossbows are more forgiving on shooter errors depending on the given draw weight.

The Best Hunting Crossbows Accessories

1.  Crossbow Scope

Crossbow scopes are very important for precision shots. Your crossbow may already come with a scope, red dot sight, laser sight, or fiber-optic sight, but some crossbows don’t come with a scope. Most scopes are optical scopes or red dot scopes. Always practice adjusting your scope for different magnifications to get more experience using it.

2.  Crossbow Bolts

Crossbow bolts are the arrow shaft used to shoot at the target. They are made from aluminum alloys and carbon fiber. Crossbow bolts are similar in design to arrows but are shorter than arrows.

3.  Crossbow Broadheads

Crossbow broadheads are the tips that are attached to the crossbow bolts and they penetrate the flesh of your game to take it down. They are two different types: fixed and mechanical crossbow broadheads.

Fixed blades are razor-sharp blades that remain the same size while mechanical blades open during flight, resulting in faster speed and perfect penetration.

4.  Cocking Device

A cocking device is a hand-operated winch that is mounted on the crossbow. Many hunters prefer to use a cocking device even though you can manually cock a crossbow.

5.  Crossbow Quiver

You need a quiver for your crossbow bolts. It can be carried on your crossbow or on your belt. Get a quiver that is strong enough to carry broadheads.

6.  Crossbow Sling

You will definitely need a sling for your crossbow. If you will do any amount of walking, you will need a sling. It’s a necessity as it frees your hands to do other things.

7.  Crossbow Stand/Holder

Crossbow stands or holders keep your crossbow pointed safely while it is still ready to use. They are made of metal, plastic, or wood.

8.  Crossbow Case

A crossbow case comes in handy if you intend to travel with it. A crossbow case protects it from damage and from getting the optics misaligned. The case can also carry your accessories. Crossbow cases that offer soft-sided protection are a good choice. Zippered cases are great, especially the ones with 360 degrees of the zipper which will allow you to quickly get your crossbow and accessories. A review of the best crossbow cases can be found at this link.

9.  Field Points

You will need field points to practice with your crossbow. The broadheads will eventually get damaged and get dull quickly if you use them in practice.

10.  Crossbow Target

Always get a crossbow target for your crossbow, not a standard archery target. Crossbow targets are denser than standard archery targets and will withstand higher speeds and the kinetic energy generated by crossbows.

11.  Lighted Nocks

Lighted nocks help you find your bolt after a shot. They light up when shot allowing you to track and find them. They are not legal in some states.

12.  Noise Dampening Kit

Noise dampening kits reduce noise and avoid spooking your target. It can be applied to your crossbow’s limbs, string, and foot stirrup.

13.  String Wax & Conditioner

Using string wax and conditioner will keep your crossbow’s string in good condition. Only use string wax made for crossbows as other types of wax may gum up your crossbow.

14.  Rail and Trigger Lube

Rail and trigger lube also keep the crossbow in good condition. Only use lube specified for crossbows as the other types actually gum up your crossbow string or damage it. It’s always good to lube your crossbow when the rail looks dry or somewhere after 50 or 60 shots.

15.  Crossbow Monopod/Bipod

Shooting sticks help improve your aim. Choose a crossbow monopod or bipod shooting sticks that will help improve your accuracy.

16.  Discharge Target

Discharge targets are very important for your crossbow. There’s no safe way to discharge your crossbow without a discharge target. You can replace the broadhead with a field point and then discharge it by firing into the discharge target.

17.  Arrow Puller

Arrow pullers allow you to safely remove your crossbow bolts from the target or the ground without damage to the shaft. You can safely grip the bolt with the arrow puller and it allows you to pull it out with minimal tugging and less chance of damaging the bolt.

18.  Stock Extension (Butt Plate)

Sometimes the stock on your crossbow may not be long enough for your reach. In such a scenario, a stock extension can be used to have your crossbow fit you properly.

The stock extension goes on the back of the crossbow’s stock thereby giving you some length for your crossbow to fit you resulting in your aim being more accurate and using it more comfortably.

What is the best crossbow for 2020?
The best hunting crossbow is the one that works best for you. There are many good crossbows but you should choose the one which aligns with your activities.
How many FPS is a good crossbow?
The speed of a good crossbow ranges from 200 to 400 fps. For whitetail deer, a crossbow speed of 250 fps and up will be good but for elks, a speed of 300 fps and up should be ok.

Best Hunting Crossbows

The Bottom Line

The best hunting crossbows make bow hunting easier and increase your chances of success. The best hunting crossbow for you will have to take into consideration the factors that are important to you. We have delved into this topic to give you the information you need to fill in the gaps so you make an informed decision.

Our recommendation for a crossbow is the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow. Climbing treestands are very helpful in hunting and many hunters use them. We reviewed the best climbing treestands that you can read at this link. If you want broadheads, then read the best broadheads for deer.