It’s thought that crossbows have been used for hunting since the fourth century BC in China and the fifth century BC in Greece.
Still, advancements in engineering and recent market innovation meant they’ve changed more in the last few decades than they have in the previous 2,500 years.
If you’re looking to buy a crossbow soon, then you may be asking, how much does a crossbow cost?
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect to pay and how the features and performance affect a crossbow's overall price.
How Much Does a Crossbow Cost?
Unfortunately, asking how much is a crossbow is kind of like asking how long is a piece of string.
When buying a new crossbow, like anything in life, you generally get what you pay for.
The price of any given crossbow will largely depend on the build quality and features offered, ultimately affecting the overall performance.
Flagship manufacturers who are investing more in materials, design, and innovation obviously expect to be rewarded for their remarkable feats of engineering.
Yet, how much you spend on a crossbow is a personal choice. It may be affected by your budget as well as what you want the crossbow for.
The price of crossbows can vary quite a lot, but to give you a very rough idea of what kind of values to expect when shopping, here is a quick guideline.
- Budget crossbows - $150 to $200
- Lower-end crossbows - $200 to $500
- Mid-range crossbows - $500 to $1,000
- High-end crossbows - $1,000 to $2,000
Crossbow Buying Guide
We all want to get a good deal, even if we have a big budget to spend.
Before you can competently assess the prices advertised, you need to be able to understand how much is a crossbow worth.
What makes one crossbow so much more expensive than another?
In this buying guide, we explain what factors will influence the price of crossbows to help you make a well-informed buying decision.
Crossbows come in three types of configurations. The two most popular are recurve and compound crossbows, with reverse draw crossbows being newer to the market.
Recurve crossbows are generally the most affordable type of crossbow.
Just like its vertical counterpart, the recurve crossbow has simple recurve limbs, but the limbs are obviously a lot shorter.
Its simple design lends many advantages to this type of bow. This includes the fact that it is the most lightweight, and that it’s quieter than the compound crossbow.
Having fewer moving parts means that it is also much easier to maintain and repair yourself.
If you’ve had the foresight to pack spare string, then you can replace the string while you’re out in the field, if and when needed.
The downside to owning a recurve crossbow is that it is wider than the other two bow types, making it more challenging to maneuver in dense cover.
Having said that, newer models have shorter limbs with higher draw weights and shorter power strokes.
Compound crossbows can often be double the recurve crossbow prices.
Like its vertical counterpart, it features a more complicated design, consisting of cables and pulleys, hence the extra cost.
The advantages of the compound crossbow include a slimmer design and a longer power stroke, which increases the arrow speed.
However, the extra hardware makes them heavier to carry and louder when shot.
They’re also a lot more complicated and difficult to fix, so you’ll likely have to take it back or send it off to the shop for repairs.
As the newest kid on the block, reverse draw crossbows are the most expensive.
They’re more energy-efficient, though, producing much faster arrow speed with a lower draw weight.
They produce less vibration, which means they’re as quiet as a recurve. Still, they’re heavy like a compound bow and also feature a more complicated design.
Reverse draw bows are arguably the best on the market right now, but their higher upfront cost is also combined with significantly higher maintenance costs.
Ultimately, this type of bow is only suitable for those with more money to spend.
The draw weight should be a pullback weight that you’re comfortable with and can handle easily and often.
Crossbows that require a higher draw weight will usually be more affordable but are usually less forgiving on the aim.
Higher draw weights will also eventually result in more significant wear and tear on the crossbow’s components, so you may need to fix it more often.
Speed and Energy
You’re likely to encounter crossbows that can generate arrow speeds anywhere from 265 to well over 400 fps (feet per second).
A compound crossbow can achieve greater speeds with lower draw weights.
However, with speed comes noise, which can cause your arrow to miss, or worse still, simply injure instead of kill.
If you prioritize energy, on the other hand, the arrow is far more likely to sink deeply into its target, but it will be slower to reach it.
Greater energy and speeds, when combined with differences in draw weight, usually come at a higher price.
Skilled hunters are generally less concerned with speed and more concerned with the energy produced.
Ethical hunters will always stick to shooting shorter distances and make sure they take the animal down.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much should I spend on a crossbow?
This is a tough question to answer, as it really depends on your budget and your needs.
The best advice we can give is to choose what kind of crossbow you want, as well as the features, weight, arrow speed, and so forth.
Then, when you’ve narrowed down your options, go to the store and try a few on for size.
Ultimately, the crossbow that offers you the best performance will be the one you feel most comfortable with and enjoy shooting the most.
2. How long will a crossbow last?
Generally speaking, the cams and strings of your crossbow will last for around 500 shots, but they’re affordable and have quick fixes.
When the limbs of the crossbow break, then it’s slightly more serious (although they can still be fixed).
Assuming that you look after and maintain your crossbow correctly, you can expect the limbs to last somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 shots.
A crossbow warranty should cover you for any breaks that aren’t your fault or due to wear and tear in the first year or two.
However, if you have a well-made crossbow that you maintain properly and get fixed intermittently as needed, then it could last you a lifetime.
3. How far can you shoot a crossbow?
Distance-wise, if you’re not trying to hit a target of any kind, modern crossbows will generally shoot an arrow around 500 yards.
When it comes to hunting, however, you need to make sure that you not only hit a target but also, hopefully, kill it.
In which case, depending on your bow and skill level, a crossbow will shoot between 30 and 80 yards.
- Beginners - stick to targets around 30 to 35 yards away
- Average - the majority should be aiming no further than the 60-yard mark
- Skilled hunters - can aim for targets up to 80 yards away
Many hunters agree that it’s unethical to aim for a target more than 40 yards away due to the increased likelihood of a wounding or crippling shot.
Weighing Up the Cost of a Crossbow
So, how much does a crossbow cost? In summary, it could be anywhere between $150 and $2,000 and up.
When buying a crossbow, the best thing to do is shoot a couple of different models to find out which configuration you like best.
Work out what your maximum draw weight is, your potential budget, and then go from there.
Choosing the best crossbow to suit you is the most important factor. From there, you can see what’s available within your price range.
In the end, know that a more powerful crossbow will not automatically make you a more successful hunter.
You’re much better off developing and honing your shooting skills.