Truth be told, crossbows are more fun and less strenuous than compound bows. But, are also more expensive with some costing upwards of $1000. Nonetheless, there is no need for you to spend thousands of dollars on a crossbow.
For less than $500 there are some pretty decent crossbows out there. Finding the best crossbow under 500 isn’t easy though. There are literally hundreds of crossbow options to choose from and not all of them are worth your money.
In this article we will be looking at the top-notch crossbow under $500. That is the crossbows that will give you the most bang for your buck. We have scoured the internet and engaged with hunters and archers to come up with a list of over twenty crossbows.
And while we could have easily reviewed all twenty plus crossbows we decided to narrow the list down to five. That being said, here are out top five picks of the best crossbow under 500.
These five have been selected based on performance, accuracy and ease of use. In a nutshell, they can be used by both pros and beginners.
How To Identify The Quality Crossbow Under 500 Dollars
While they lack some of the sophisticated features found on pricier models, crossbows under $500 can still be used for target practice, deer, and turkey hunting. So what should you look at when shopping for one?
Speed & Kinetic Energy
The arrow’s speed and how much kinetic energy it packs will influence what kind of animal you can hunt. For the most part, crossbows under $500 offer speeds of 400FPs and below. On our list, the Barnett Whitetail Pro STR is the only one with a 400 FPS arrow speed.
All the others clock in at 350FPS and below. The question is, is this enough? For the most part, this is enough to take down deer, turkey, and small bear at close range.
The same goes for kinetic energy. Ideally, pricier models pack quite a punch and hence why they have hefty price tags attached to them. But for less than $500, an arrow speed of 350 FPS is more than sufficient.
How much draw weight is needed for a crossbow depends on what you are hunting. For the average hunter, a draw weight of 150 pounds is sufficient. This will be enough for taking down rabbits, antelope, and small deer.
For larger animals such as elk, you will need a draw weight of at least 175 pounds. A 175 pounder crossbow will pack more punch than a 150 pound one. However, a 175 pound or 200-pound draw weight may be a bit tougher to cock.
Nonetheless, you can utilize a cocking aid if you use a crossbow with a draw weight of more than 175pounds.
The power stroke is an aspect that is often overlooked in favor of more common aspects such as draw weight and velocity. So what is it? The power stroke is the length between a crossbow’s strings when cocked and when uncocked.
A longer power stroke translates to more kinetic energy and velocity. However, some crossbows have shorter power strokes but still achieve high speed and power. To do this, such crossbows will often feature a higher draw weight.
Crossbows with longer power strokes do not require more draw weight to be faster and powerful.
Crossbow manufacturers use different materials to make the limbs of their crossbows. These include carbon fiber composites, ceramic, and glass fiber composites.
Glass fiber composites are more common as they are cheaper. However, all these three materials are ideal for crossbow limbs.
Compound vs. recurve bow.
Recurve bows are similar to traditional bows. As such, more physical effort is required to pull the string to fire the arrow. Compound bows, use a system of cams and pulleys to pull the string back.
The result is that compound crossbows offer more power and arrow speed. However, recurve bows are easier to maintain since they have fewer moving parts.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your preference.
Manufacturers will often recommend specific bolts to be used with their crossbows. This is because the bolt you use on a crossbow will affect its performance.
Ideally, you want a bolt that is at least 20 inches in length. Anything shorter and it may get caught up in the rails of the crossbow. As for weight, a heavier crossbow will travel slower but have more penetration power.
A lighter crossbow will be faster but offer less penetration power. Thus it comes down to what you are hunting and the range.
Crossbows with a draw weight of 150 pounds and below can be cocked by hand. Where you require the aid of a cocking mechanism is where the draw weight is more than 175 pounds.
There are several types of cocking devices available. There is the rope cocking mechanism that is the most basic. Most people of average strength can use this.
The stock integrated cocking mechanism is however, the easiest. This is the best choice for most people of average build.
When it comes to the trigger, you want a trigger that is both light and sturdy. The trigger is an essential component as they hold the draw weight. For the best performance, you want a trigger with a weight of 2.5 pounds.
Safety features are essential, especially for beginners. These features can include anti-dry fire systems and auto-safety engaging systems. These features help keep your crossbow damage-free and also protect you from injuries.
Crossbows come with several different accessories from quivers, scopes, rope cocking devices, etc. These accessories make work easier and help reduce additional expenses.
However, some accessories, especially at this price point, may not be of high quality. It is essential to note this when shopping for a crossbow.
We all want products that come with an extended warranty, and crossbows are no exception. You want a crossbow that has several years of warranty on manufacturer defects.
Reviews Of The 5 Best Crossbow Under 500 Dollars
Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow
- 150 pounds draw weight
- 350 FPS
- 4x32 scope included
Choosing which crossbow would occupy our number one spot was not easy. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II slightly edged out the other nominees. So what does it offer?
The quality of the build
This is an entry-level budget crossbow, but Barnett still put in the same care in its construction they would in a premium crossbow. The result is a high-quality aluminum rail and a bow that weighs 6.4 pounds.
When cocked it measured 16.125 inches in width, making it compact and easy to maneuver in tight spots. It offers the right balance of power, weight and builds quality, which is why it edges out the other nominees to our number one spot.
The shooting speed
Speaking of power, this compact crossbow is capable of sending arrows flying towards your target at 350 feet per second with 103 ft. lbs of kinetic energy. Thus it is no slouch. Its combination of power and compactness makes it the best hunting crossbow under 500.
What about the draw weight?
What really surprised me about this crossbow is the draw weight. It has a manageable draw weight of 150 pounds. It has one of the lightest draw weights of any crossbow I have ever used. Meaning it appeals to beginners as well as pros
- It is lightweight weighing only 6.4 pounds
- It is narrow across the limbs making it easy to use in a tree stand
- It has a fantastic speed of up to 350 FPS
- Comes with a Realtree Xtra camo for year-round hunting
- Was a bit louder than what I expected
- Due to its anti Dry fire feature, the only way to de-cock a cocked arrow is by firing it, which can be an inconvenience when on a hunt
As mentioned this Barnett entry level crossbow offers the perfect balance of power, compactness, and weight. And thanks to its draw weight can be used by beginners as well as by professionals. This makes it the best crossbow for hunting under $500.
CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow Package
- 18-inch axle to axle cocked width
- Quad limbs
- STRING SUPRESSORS
CenterPoint managed to put together a premium crossbow and offer it at an affordable price. Priced slightly under $500, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 has the quality of a bow priced $200 more than its price?
The construction and design
Assembling the CenterPoint Sniper 370 took me a few minutes. The finished product looked really well made. When cocked it measured 18 inches axle to axle, which was impressive for a bow within its price point.
One of the things that robbed this bow of the top spot is its weight. It weighs 7.9 pounds, which is considerably more than the Barnett. All the same, this Centerpoint masterpiece does keep up with its competitor in other areas.
How powerful is it?
For instance, compared to the Barnett and other similar priced bows, this is quite powerful. It is capable of shooting 400-grain arrows at 370 feet per second. This is backed by a 112 ft lbs of kinetic energy with 13.50 inch power stroke.
How is the draw weight?
At 185 pounds it is more than the average draw weight of most crossbows. However, it is not something that cannot be managed easily by most male shooters.
First-time crossbow shooters will struggle a bit with this crossbow due to its beyond average weight and draw weight.
- Has an impressive shooting speed of 370 FPS for 400-grain arrows
- Very narrow axle to axle width of 18 inches makes it maneuverable
- It is very quiet compared to some of the other bows on the list
- Has some excellent safety mechanisms
- Weighing 7.9 pounds and 9.2 pounds with accessories it is not the lightest crossbow out there
- The arrows included in the package aren’t of the best quality.
This is not the kind of crossbow you get if you are a first-time crossbow hunter. It is more suited to experienced male hunters and shooters. All the same, it offers up some exciting features such as the shooting speed and compact design. It can be used to hunt in tight positions such as in a tree stand or ground blind.
Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow
- 400FPS shooting speed
- 4x32 illuminated scope included
- 165lbs draw weight
Barnett’s STR platform was previously reserved for the company’s high-performance premium crossbows. So you can bet I was eager to try out the affordable Whitetail Pro STR crossbow. The STR platform is designed to shift weight from the riser to the stock for improved stability.
My first impression of the Whitetail Pro STR was of the bow’s construction. As with any other Barnett product, this bow looks very well made. It’s also easy on the eyes thanks to its dark Tru Bark camo.
The axle to axle width of the bow when cocked was slightly less than 18 inches. Not as impressive as that of the Centerpoint but it is still ideal for shooting in tight spots. As for the draw weight, it is a manageable 165 pounds.
Included with the crossbow is Barnett’s crank cocking device. This adds up to make this crossbow ideal for all types of shooters and hunters.
It comes with amazing kinetic energy of 140 ft lbs with power stroke of 16.38 inch. And for safety purpose it has the advanced anti dry fire trigger system which can prevents accidental injuries.
The shooting speed
Where this crossbow really excels is in the shooting department. This baby pumps out some serious kinetic energy capable of taking down most big game animals. As for the speed, it sends arrows flying at a sizzling 400 feet per second.
At this price range, you will be hard pressed to find another crossbow that can match the power and speed of the Whitetail STR. When it comes to power and speed, for these reason we can tag this as one of the best crossbows under 500 dollars.
Overall package performance
For hunting this crossbow is amazing. Thanks to the cocking mechanism, even a ten-year-old can cock it. Also, it weighs less than 7 pounds meaning you will have no problems hauling it about on a hunt.
- Has a fantastic shooting speed of up to 400 FPS
- It is a very accurate crossbow thanks to the STR platform
- There is a string dampener that greatly reduces the sound
- It weighs 6.9 pounds making it one of the more lighter crossbows out there
- It comes with an illuminated 4x32 scope
- The accuracy of the crossbow reduces beyond 40 yards
- The package does not come with a carrying sling.
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow
- Tenpoint 3X multi-line scope included
- 19-inch axle to axle width when cocked
- 165lbs draw weight
Tenpoint is known for producing high-end crossbows. So I was curious to know how its more budget-friendly line of crossbows compare to the company’s other offerings. The Wicked Ridge Invade G3 is one of the budget crossbows from Tenpoint.
The draw weight and overall weight
This Tenpoint crossbow is your average beginner friendly crossbow. Its 165lbs draw weight is well within the accepted standard for such a crossbow. Also, it is a compact bow that does not weight a lot. It comes with 97 FP Kinetic Energy and the power stroke is 13.5 inch.
Overall the crossbow weighs 6.6 pounds. It is thus one of the lightest crossbows within this price point. In terms, of length, it measures 37.75 inches which is also within the accepted range for such a crossbow.
As with its draw weight and overall weight, the performance of this crossbow is not extraordinary. Nonetheless, given its price tag, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The 330 FPS speed is acceptable.
On the other hand, the 19-inch axle to axle width is ideal for shooting in tight positions. The powerful limbs, raiser, and energy wheel combine to offer a smooth performance.
Safety features and trigger
I was impressed with a 3.5-pound trigger on this crossbow. It is easy to pull and does not feel too soft. An anti dry fire inhibitor is also included that prevents too much damage to the crossbow. This inhibitor helps ensure consistent accuracy.
- Comes with a scope included
- There is also a three-arrow instant-detach quiver included in the package
- Weighing 6.6 pounds, it is lightweight
- It is also compact for shooting in tight positions
- Comes with a locking mechanism
- The speed is not as impressive as that of other similarly priced models
- The axle to axle width is wider than that of other similarly priced models
The Tenpoint Invader G3 is a basic beginner crossbow made by one of the best crossbow manufacturers out there. This means its quality and performance are at par with other similarly priced and even pricier models.
Excalibur Crossbow, Matrix GRZ 2 Package Realtree Xtra
- 18 inches long
- 200 lbs draw weight
- 5.5 lbs overall weight
The last entrant on our list is the Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2 package. This crossbow is the lightest on the list. So why is it last? Well, while it has a lot to offer it also falls behind in some aspects. Nonetheless, it is a great crossbow for its price.
Power and speed
While it is the lightest on the list, it is also the slowest. However, this is not a bad thing. Capable of sending arrows flying at speeds of 305 FPS it is no slouch. This speed is enough for hunting most animals.
The power stroke of this crossbow is 11.2 inch while the overall length is 33.25 inch.
Construction and design
What it lacks in speed it more than makes up for in the design. Weighing 5.5 pounds, it is one of the lightest crossbows. The Realtree Xtra camo that is applied all over the crossbow is another plus in regards to its design.
Excalibur invested a lot in this crossbow’s safety features. The feather lite skeletonized stock has finger guards. There is also a rope cocking device included that helps in cocking. And with 200-pound draw weight, this cocking aid is necessary.
- Is one of the most lightweight crossbows at this price point
- Comes with a four-arrow quiver included
- There is a rope cocking device included
- 11.2 inch of good power stroke
- A fixed power scope with 1-inch rings is also included in the package
- The black tactical Realtree Xtra camo is great for all year round hunting
- It has a pretty heavy draw weight of 200 pounds
- The shooting speed is not all that exciting
This crossbow is no doubt without its fair share of drawbacks. But it is still a decent crossbow for its price tag. Also, there aren’t many crossbows that are as light as this one. Of course, the draw weight is a bit of a turn-off, but there is a cocking device included.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average weight of the quality crossbow?
Most crossbows weigh between 5 pounds and 7 pounds. However, there are some that weigh more than 7 pounds. Essentially, the ideal crossbow, especially for beginners, is one that weighs less than 7 pounds.
Do the crossbows have a scope attached?
Most crossbows under the 500 dollars come with a scope attached. However, these scopes are usually mediocre given the overall price tag of the bow. Therefore, while some do come with scopes, it is always a nice idea to buy a better one. If you are a night crossbow hunter try one of these from the best night crossbow scope.
What is the average draw weight of the crossbows?
Draw weight is an important factor to consider when shopping for any type of crossbow irrespective of your budget. On average crossbows under the 500 price tag have a draw weight of between 150 lbs and 200 lbs? A draw weight of 200lbs is on the higher side. Most shooters both beginners and pros are better served by a draw weight of fewer than 200 lbs.
What is the target for the best crossbows?
The target you select for your crossbow should match its performance. For a crossbow with a 370FPS and below, you want something without a pass-through. RedHead’s Crossbow field-point target is the right choice for such crossbows. For faster crossbows, the Black Field Logic Block will be the right choice.
What essential crossbow accessories should I have?
A shooting stick for stabilizing your crossbow either when standing or kneeling. Another essential accessory is a rope cocking mechanism. This is especially if you do not want to cock your crossbow by hand.
Crossbows are amazing for hunting. As such, to get the whole crossbow hunting experience, you will need a quality crossbow. And due to how costly they can be to manufacture crossbows cost considerably more than standard bows.
Nonetheless, there are a lot of decent crossbows in the under 500 price tag. When looking for the crossbows under 500, it is important to consider the quality. Some offer additional features, while others are best for hunting specific types of game.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.