Top rated recurve bows -- 2015 buyers guide

I know it can be hard to find the right recurve bow. With dozens of models on the market, probably hundreds if you go beyond the larger manufacturers, and several factors come into play when deciding which bow is perfect for you.

In this buyers guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and well-renowned models, and make sure that you can make a qualified decision when you’re picking a recurve bow.

I have personally tried all the models here (and many more which didn’t make the list) — and over the years I have followed a lot of beginners from rookies to now very capable archers.

Also note that buying niche sports gear online, like recurve and compound bows are, will save you a lot of money compared to buying in a regular store — so I highly recommend that.

By using our interactive chart below (simply drag and drop the models you wish to compare), it’s easy to gauge the various models against each other. Continue reading below the chart if you need more help or explanations.


Top rated recurve bows

Name / Image Learn MoreBrandRatingLengthDraw weightWeightHand
Martin Jaguar Takedown Bow

Martin Jaguar Takedown Bow

view pricefull review Martin4.5 Star Average Rating 58"29 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 lbs2.6 lbsRight
Martin Saber Takedown

Martin Saber Takedown

view pricefull review Martin4.5 Star Average Rating 64"30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 lbs3.4 lbsRight
PSE Coyote Recurve Bow

PSE Coyote Recurve Bow

view pricefull review PSE5 Star Average Rating 60"45 / 50 / 55 lbsRight
Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

view pricefull review Samick4 Star Average Rating 6225 - 60 (increments of 5) lbsRight/Left

Information on the table above — How to compare bows?

In the comparison table above, I’ve included a few key pieces of data per item. Those are:

  • The name and manufacturer
  • Length: Total length of the bow, from tip to tip (inches)
  • Weight: The weight of the bow, in pounds
  • Draw weight: This is the force (in “pounds”) needed to pull the bow back the draw length. This is the distance from the nock point to the throat of the grip, plus 1 3/4″
  • Hand: If the bow is made for left-handed, right-handed or both

You can’t go wrong with any of the above bows, but it’s worth spending some time looking into the product specific reviews and data. The best way to find reviews is to click on the button in the table — this will give you a in-depth review of that specific model, along with reviews from verified buyers gathered from other sites.

By clicking the check price button, our system will find the best price on that particular bow. Recurve and compound bows are those kinds of items where there is a lot of money to save by buying online. If you compare these prices to specialized “off-line stores”, you can often get a discount of 50% or more.

Our recommendations

Here’s a bit more in-depth information no our recommended bows.

The best recurve bows for adults

Martin Jaguar – The best bow under 150$

For people on a budget, and for beginners who would like to try archery without breaking the bank, the Martin Jaguar is probably the best bow for you. This bow works for target practice as well as hunting. It has a good build quality and a comfortable grip. We have a few of these in my club, and even though they are used heavily by many people — they last.

This bow is a 3-part bow, so it can be disassembled into the three main parts and easily transported or stowed away.

Key features
  • Very good build quality for the price. Durable and strong construction.
  • Good stability
  • If you look at price vs. quality, you won’t find a better recurve bow — period!
  • There is a wide range of draw weights offered, which means that you can always find a weight that fits you (see chart further down the page)

Martin Saber – The best bow under 250$

This is the next step up from Martin Jaguar. This bow has a length of 64″ and you can get it with draw weights up to 55 pounds. It’s a great bow for target practice and for hunting. Thanks to it’s protective V grip, it’s also very comfortable to use.

The build quality, with laminated wood and glass limbs, is superb. Vibrations and sounds are dampened with Vibration Vortex V.E.M. — making it comparable to much more expensive recurve bows.

Key features
  • Laminated wood and glass limbs gives a smooth draw.
  • Metal riser Take Downs.
  • Including the more advanced Saber handle with two integrated Vibration Vortex V.E.M.’s mounted in the riser and the Thermal V protective dampening grip for a vibration free shot.
  • A smooth draw, a powerful shot, a durable riser, and a comfortable grip.
  • You can easily remove limbs from the riser for convenient transport and storage.

PSE Blackhawk – The best choice under 350$

This one is a beauty!

The PSE Blackhawk is an excellent bow, which can easily compete with other much more expensive ones. It’s built out of laminated hardwood, and if you treat it well, a true quality bow like this will last you for many years, not to say a lifetime.

It comes in a wide spectrum of draw weights, ranging from 35 pounds and up to 50 pounds — all of which are of 60″ length.

It’s a perfect bow especially for hunting, with an immense force. I’ve used both the 40 pound and 50 pound models for that — and I’m truly impressed! The lower weight models are also great for target practice. Check my review of the PSE Blackhawk

Bear Grizzly – The best bow under 500$

You can’t go wrong with a Bear Grizzly — which is why, after 50 years, they’ve chosen to keep the design.It works great, so why change it?

Although it may be a bit pricey for the beginners, if you buy it you will have a great all-around recurve bow that’s perfect for hunting, indoor and outdoor practice training and practically anything else you can use a bow for. It’s has a length of 58″ and comes in  several different draw weights, from 30 to 60 pounds.

I’ll let the reviews speak for itself, if you look around online, you will find nothing but 5 star reviews for this one. Check out more on the full specs review.

What will you be using the bow for?

Choosing a recurve bow for target practice

For target practice, most bows will do just fine. For instance, any of the bows from the table above will work very well for this. They are all from well known manufacturers known for quality — so you can’t go wrong.

Choosing a bow for hunting

For hunting, it’s a bit more complex to find a good bow. The main thing you need to look at here is draw weight (more draw weight often correlates with a higher force). A short bow is often better as it’s more mobile, but a longer bow is more accurate — so these are things you need to consider.

How to find the correct draw-weight for me?

Draw weight

If you’re new to recurve bows or archery in general, you may want to buy a bow with a lower draw weight. In the beginning, your simply body isn’t used to the workout of constantly pulling the bow. If you’re practicing a lot at the range, a too high pull weight will quickly wear out your arms and back muscles. A good number to start with is 40 pounds or less, but it greatly depends on your physique.

However, a new archer will quickly adapt, and with training you can expect to pull 10 pounds more in a few weeks then when you first started.

If you’re an experienced archer, you can go higher — i.e. 45-50 pounds or more. The chart below will help you out:

Small child 50-70 lbs10-15 lbs
Child 70-100 lbs15-25 lbs
Most women, boys from 100 - 130 lbs30-40 lbs
Women above average strength; youth boys 130 - 150 lbs40-50 lbs
Most men 150-180 lbs Target40-55 lbs
Most men 150-180 lbs Bowhunting or 3D50-65 lbs
Muscular young men and larger men 180 lbs and up60-70 lbs

As you pull the bow back, the draw weight will gradually increase (unlike a compound bow, where it will increase to peak weight, and then go down to holding weight).

There is no shame in picking a lower draw weight. Resist the temptation to start too high, as a too high draw weight can cause injuries in your back and shoulders. Remember that arching should be enjoyable — and injuries aren’t! Also, a too high draw weight will greatly impact your accuracy.

What you should really ask yourself is, how much can I pull back and still be accurate? Another good rule of thumb (we have a lot of those in arching), is that if you can shoot 20 arrows, and not feeling fatigued — either bump it up (if you want) or stay there. If you’re tired after 10 arrows … crank it down.

Basically, pull weight is a compromise between accuracy, having fun, avoiding injuries and your physique. A higher pull weight will increase the force and the distance the arrow will travel. So for hunting — a higher draw weight is beneficial!

Draw length

is 28″ for recurve bows (it will be different for compound bows).

Shooting a recurve bow