So you are confused whether you should buy a crossbow or compound bow and are worried which is the best one for your hunting needs?

Well, both the crossbow and compound bow have the same purpose – to hunt. 

But at times, it becomes difficult to choose one of them as both the crossbows and compound bows have advantages as well as disadvantages.

While on the other hand if you ask someone to help you choose between crossbow or compound bow then those who use crossbows will always recommend you to buy crossbows and will prefer them over the compound bow and vice versa.

Since there are many top rated compound bows as well as crossbows in the market that make it harder for beginners to choose the one that suits them the most.

In short, crossbow vs compound bow is a long discussion and can’t be ended without having proper knowledge about both the equipment.

10 Difference Between Compound bow and Crossbow

There are certain things that are different in both types of equipment that can make one choose between one of them.


Crossbows are relatively more expensive than compound bows due to a number of reasons like, they are latest in terms of technology, and they are easy to use and are also powerful. But different models of both hunting equipment can have different prices.

Optimal Use

Crossbows require no prior experience to use it, you can buy it and use it right away – it’s that simple. There are many crossbow models out there which can be used by beginners. 

While compound bows are a bit difficult to use for the first time as they are not as simple to use so you have to get some hands on experience on them and also need to do target practicing before going for a hunt.

Shooting Experience

In case of compound bows, you have to manually nock the arrow and pull the string until you aim and release the arrow. The time you keep the string stretched creates tension in your hand, the more time you take to aim the more tension in your hand is produced. 

While for crossbows you don’t need to pull the string back, instead you can keep your bolt in nocked position for hours and can be released in the press of a single button.


Accuracy of aim is completely dependent on the archer’s practice. But there is no doubt a good bow can assist you to shoot even more precisely on the target.

In case of Crossbows, you get equipment like scopes which can help you to target far away objects very precisely and accurately while on the other hand compound bows can only use bow sights which lack the power of magnification that a scope can provide.

So, in terms of aiming to far away targets a crossbow is the best option when compared with compound bow.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the amount of power required to pull the string backward where an arrow can be shot with its full power. It is measured in pounds. 

Because of shorter limbs of crossbows they have much more draw weight then compound bows. Typically crossbows have an average draw weight of 150 to 200 pounds while compound bows normally have 50 to 70 pounds.

Since crossbows have higher draw weight, so hunters often need to use a cocking device to cock the crossbow.


In terms of velocity of shooting arrows/bolts everyone wants the fastest bow. As the speed at which your arrow will travel depends on multiple factors such as the draw weight of your bow, weight of your arrow so it is hard to say whether compound bows are fast or crossbows. 

But there are standards for the compound bows called IBO standards. Which can help you determine whether compound bow is up to the mark or not but for crossbows there are no standards which means manufacturers are on their own.

Frequency of Shooting

If you need to make multiple shots very quickly then a crossbow is a big no. The reason is simple, they take a lot of time to load the bolt in them as you have to go through the whole process of cranking and then nocking the bolt again, while compound bows are simple, just pick the arrow from your quiver and shoot it.


If you have ever been on a hunting field then you would be aware of the importance of silence while chasing your prey. 

Animals like deer can be afraid of any sort of noise made by you or your bow. Since crossbows have more draw weight that means they have more energy stored in them, so they can make much more noise as compared to compound bows on releasing the string.

However, there are certain accessories like limb dampers and string silencers which can be attached to both crossbows and compound bows for lowering the noise.


Since you are going to purchase a potential weapon so there are a set of rules out there that allows you to keep any specific sort of weapon.

Since, crossbows are easier to use and can be fatal so there are many states where crossbows are not allowed at all, while compound bows have freedom when compared to crossbow.

So, before making any decision make sure that your state laws allow you to use crossbows on public or private properties.


In terms of safety, the first thing that any hunters need to know anything related to hunting can be harmful if not used the right way. But as far as the safety of crossbows and compound bows is concerned both are safe, they can’t do any damage to you or anyone if used the right way with the right accessories.

So What to Choose?

Well, compound bows have always been my favorite. The number one reason is they are traditional bows although crossbows offer a few things like scope, more kinetic energy and faster speed but still compound bows are the best equipment for me that I will choose 100 times if I need to.

But as far as you are concerned you shouldn’t make a decision very quickly, go out find a friend or family member and test both the crossbow and compound bow.

Take your time, give a try to both, and look at which one suits you the most and go and buy one that you liked.