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Recurve Vs Compound Crossbows — Find the Difference

Recurve Vs Compound Crossbows — Find the Difference

There might be several reasons for which you may look for the comparison of recurve vs compound crossbow. It may be because you are struggling to hold the bowstring while hunting your favourite grizzly bear. Or is the loud noise of the traditional bow disturbing you or due to injury? Whatever the problem is, crossbows take the rough with the smooth.

With the increasing craze for bowhunting, many manufacturing companies have introduced crossbows. When you search online or visit a nearby archery store, you find two types of crossbows there: recurve crossbows and compound crossbows

Recurve crossbows are perfect for distance shooting, while crossbows are best for target shooting. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages and serve different functions. So which one is right for you depends on several factors. 

In this article, we deeply compare recurve vs compound crossbows while considering key factors like speed, draw weight, size, noise, and power stroke. This helps you to choose the right crossbow for your next hunting season. 

Recurve vs Compound Crossbow- A Quick Review

Whether you are a hunter or a target shooter, compounding for the best crossbow, this quick review helps you choose the best.  We highlight the positive and negative points of each crossbow. That also clears your doubt regarding whether to recurve or compound crossbows. 

What is a Recurve Crossbow?

A simpler crossbow with a higher draw weight and no cables and cams is preferred for bowhunting. They have a single stinger, large limbs, and a barrel. However, they are more extensive but lighter and quieter than compound crossbows. 

Recurve crossbows have the following advantages.

  • Simple design
  • Lightweight
  • Quieter 
  • Reliable

Recurve crossbows have the following disadvantages.

  • Difficult to use
  • Less accurate
  • Need the practice to master
  • Not able to hunt large game

What is Compound Crossbow? 

Target shooters like a complex crossbow with pulleys or cables and a cams system as they produce more power and speed. They have smaller limbs and barrels. They are compact and heavier. They are noisy as compared to recurve crossbows. 

Compound crossbows have the following advantages.

  • Compact design
  • Powerful
  • Great speed
  • Easier to cock

Compound crossbows have the following disadvantages.

  • Heavier
  • Complex
  • Difficult to assemble
  • Require more energy to operate

Key Differences Between Recurve Vs Compound Crossbow

Comparing the recurve vs compound crossbow is an emerging trend these days. However, choosing the right bow is daunting, as several options are available in the market. 


The first and most crucial factor for a beginner is the size of the crossbow. Small crossbows are easy to carry and easily manoeuvre-handled. Recurve crossbows have a compact design and size. At the same time, the compound crossbows are larger because of their cams and cables. 


If you are a beginner, then we always recommend recurve crossbow. They are lightweight and so easy to travel in tight spaces. However, the compound crossbows are heavier and bulky because of extra cams and cables. 

Draw weight

The other most important consideration is the draw weight of a crossbow. Recurve crossbow has a larger draw weight and requires less force to draw back. The compound bow has less draw weight, and you can use a cocking rope or crank device to minimize this weight to 5%, only the actual weight. 

Draw length

Compound crossbows have larger draw lengths as compared to the recurve crossbow. The greater the draw length, the greater power a crossbow has. A crossbow with considerable draw length requires greater force to pull the bowstrings, which means more energy is stored in the arrow, and the arrow moves faster. 


The most apparent difference between these two crossbows is Power. Recurve crossbow has a short draw length, so they store less energy. While the compound crossbows have large draw lengths, they have greater power. They store more kinetic energy and transfer it to the arrows with great power and accuracy. 


Due to greater power, compound crossbows are considered more accurate than recurve crossbows. They undoubtedly have more accuracy, but many technical issues degrade their accuracy. The recurve crossbow has no cables and cams; therefore, you do not face any issues affecting your hunting. 

Arrow Speed

While purchasing a crossbow for hunting, the first question that comes into your mind is how fast the arrow hits the target. Well, compound crossbows have more incredible speed. But with technological advancement, the recurve can now shoot at 420 fps. 

Noise Level

If you don’t want to miss your prey because of loud noise, recurve crossbows are best for hunting small game. They are quieter as compared to compound crossbows. However, they also make noise within 30-40 yards. 

Ease of Use

As recurve crossbows have a simple design without any complex technology, they are easy to use, operate and handle. However, compound crossbows have a pulley system that makes them quite tricky to use. 


Due to their simple design, recurve hunters always prefer crossbows. They are more reliable and easy to operate. However, compound bows’ cams and cable systems cause more technical issues and require more repair and maintenance. 


Do you want to play the big game? Compound crossbows with premium quality accessories help to bring your dream come true. You can purchase additional accessories, such as a peep light and sound damper, to make your hunting easy and fun. 


If you are a budget-conscious bowhunter who wants quality within an affordable range, recurve crossbows are the best option. They are less expensive as compared to compound crossbows. However, if you want something premium, you must pay an extra cost to purchase each moving part of a compound crossbow. 

Recurve Vs Compound Crossbow: Which One Is Best

Do you still need clarification about whether to choose recurve crossbow or a compound crossbow? If yes, it’s time to ponder your demands, preferences, skills, and budget. Both types of crossbows are used nowadays because of their ease of use. 

Recurve crossbows have a high draw weight and single stinger and are best for distance shooting. At the same time, compound crossbows have a pulley system with zero noise and are perfect for target shooting. 

But handling and assembling the crossbows are more challenging because of their heavier weight and large draw length. So, from our side, recurve crossbows are best as they are designed according to the preferences of all ages while considering an individual’s skill level. 


If you are a beginner looking for a simple, easy-to-lightweight crossbow, recurve crossbow is the best option. But if you consider a more robust and highly accurate crossbow, go with compound crossbows, as they come with additional accessories to make your hunting fun.

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