10 of the Best Recurve Bows for 2024

Video what is the best recurve bow

It’s difficult to say definitively which is the best recurve bow for 2024 or for any year for that matter! Different people want different things.

Hunters want different things to those target shooting. Like the challenge of more traditional archery? Or do you need sights, stabilisers, upgradeable limbs?

Do you want a takedown recurve bow or a one piece? How much do you want to pay? All these things have an impact on your decision.

If you’re just starting out you might be interested in our feature on the best beginner recurve bow or you’re looking for a bow for your child, then our roundup of the best youth recurve bows will suit you. The best bow overall is a tough call, and we’ve by no means tested all the bows available in the market today, only a small cross-section but you can’t go wrong with our ‘all-rounder’ pick from Southwest.

Find your draw weight, your ideal bow length, your handedness and then… take a look through our reviews below.

The Best Recurve Bows

Southwest Archery Spyder – Best All Rounder

Warden (Cabelas)

Samick Sage – Best for Beginners

Bear Archery Grizzly – Best Recurve Bow for Hunting

PSE Razorback

Southwest Tigershark

Keshes Hunting Bow

TopArchery Traditional Recurve Bow – Best Budget

SAS Explorer – Best for Taller People

SAS Spirit

SinoArt 68″ Recurve

Recurve Bows Comparison Chart

What size of recurve do I need?

The length of your recurve bow should be your draw length plus 40 inches. Your draw length is the point where your draw of the bowstring hits the draw weight of the bow. That’s where it maximizes both accuracy and force. You can estimate it quickly by measuring your arm span and dividing it by 2.5.

For example, I’m 6’3″ with a 80-in arm span. Therefore, my estimated draw length is 36 in, and I need an inconveniently massive bow of 72 in. Don’t worry, I’m used to it. I can’t find shoes that fit either.

Many bows come in youth sizes as well, which just means they have a shorter length. The same rules apply to children as adults, so get out the measuring tape. Most youth sizes come in under 54 in.

You can find more detailed guides on bow sizing and draw length, along with just about everything else recurve related, on our resources page. Make sure you read up before making your first purchase. A well-sized bow makes a big difference.

How far can a recurve shoot?

The farthest recorded distance a modern recurve bow has shot an arrow is 1,336 yards, but that isn’t accounting for accuracy. The effective range depends on the bow, but it’s usually somewhere around 40 yards. Most recurve hunters wouldn’t take a shot at more than 30 yards. Target shooting in Olympic recurve competitions is at a length of about 76 yards (70 meters).

To find your specific bow’s effective range, you’ll have to do some trial and error. Set up some target practice and keep moving farther from the target by one yard each shot. When the drop of the arrow becomes too much to shoot accurately, you’ve hit your effective range.

If you use your recurve bow for hunting, make sure you figure out your effective range specifically in regards to the kill zone of your game. For example, a white-tail deer has a kill zone eight inches in diameter, so you have to test your effective range with a target that size.

What poundage or draw weight should I get?

Simply put, smaller people need lower draw weights, and larger people need higher draw weights. Match your frame, weight and gender up with this chart to find your suggested poundage.

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Gender/FrameBody WeightSuggested Draw Weight

Of course, these are rough estimates. Someone may be stronger or weaker than their size suggests. It’s best to take as many factors into account as possible to find the best draw weight. Remember that if you’re just starting out, you should err on the side of lower poundage.

Are recurves better than compound bows?

In most categories, compound bows beat out recurves. They’re more powerful, more accurate and more compact. They’re technologically more advanced. However, people still love to use recurves because they’re challenging and stylish. They carry the mystique of the master archer, and you will generally see elite world-class archers using recurves.

In the end it depends on your preferences and what you plan to do with the bow. Recurves do have practical advantages like easier maintenance and lower cost. Take everything into consideration when you pick. Of course, no one said you can’t use both.

What are the best brands?

In the recurve world, Samick probably gets the most lip service. Their Sage recurve bow model has long been one of the best-selling on the market. The company is based in Korea and sells popular models all over the world.

Lately, Southwest Archery has been making a splash thanks to engineers who previously worked to design the Samick Sage. They take that same expertise but manufacture and support their products in the USA making them a bit more accessible for American archers.

Despite Southwest Archery’s success, Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE) Archery remains the largest archery supply manufacturer in the United States. Their story began in 1970 with Pete Shepley. He was a product engineer for Magnavox but decided to use his talents to make bows, his true passion. They currently operate out of Tucson, AZ.

Bear Archery is another American manufacturer with a long history. They began manufacturing quality bows in 1964 but are best-known for the technique they developed in 1970 to make “futurewood.”

Southland Archery Supply (SAS) is a name you’ll hear a lot on the archery scene. They make tons of different products, not just bows, and those products frequently reach best-seller status. They bring that same quality to their recurves.

How much should I pay?

It’s a sad fact of life that for most of us price is a factor in most everything we do, we can’t all afford the best of everything. Price has to be a factor in your choice of bow. How much you spend isn’t something we can advise on. Different retailers have different prices at different times and for this reason you’ll be unlikely to find any actual prices listed on our site but we do try to list the price point or range of prices of various bows so you can make a comparison.

What draw weight should I choose?

We’ve a guide to finding your draw weight, that depends on your sex, build and general strength so take a look at that, but in general you don’t want to go heavy unless you’re experienced. A draw weight that’s too high will result in you being ‘Over Bowed’ (the bow is overpowering you). This will affect your technique. You need a weight that you can comfortably draw with good form. One you find yourself familiar at a weight only then you may want to consider moving up to something more powerful. A bow with interchangeable limbs that can be upgraded with differing draw weights is always a good choice.

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If you’re a hunter then you’re probably going to want to look for a higher draw weight. The higher the weight the more powerful the bow and the more potential you have to produce a lethal shot at further distance. There are more factors involved in a well penetrating shot than just the bows draw weight. The weight of your arrow and your draw length with also affect the amount of kinetic energy you impart onto an arrow. The tip of your arrow also has a bearing. Lots to think about, however a good rule of thumb is that a hunter should be looking for a draw of 40 lbs or greater.

You can start target shooting at 70 m (Olympic distance) with anything from a 25 lbs draw weight up-to the maximum available. Male Olympic archers can draw anywhere from 45-55 lbs and females 40-50 lbs. A final thought however on draw weight is that you need to be sure that you can draw the weight comfortably. You need to control the bow, not the other way around!

Every bow draw weight is measured at a specified draw length, i.e. 50 lbs @ 30″ draw. The further you draw past this length the more force you will impart but it will stack. As a general rule of thumb each inch you overdraw a bow would add somewhere in the region of 2 lb to the draw weight you will end up pulling.

What is AMO length?

Bows are nomally sized in AMO length. AMO (the Archery Manufacturers Association), is a standard that defines the length of the string a bow takes. If you have a 60″ AMO bow, you can buy a 60″ AMO string and be sure that it will fit. The actual size of a 60″ AMO string is probably around 56″-57″. This length as well as being a way of ensuring you order the correct replacement string for your bow is an indication of the size of the bow.

A larger bow will give you a longer maximum draw length and some say a more forgiving shot. You don’t know your draw length, use our guide.

Does bow weight matter?

How physically heavy the bow is in your hand will only have a bearing on your choice if you are yourself of a slight build OR your intention is to use and carry the bow for extended periods of time. You’re raising the weight of the bow in one outstretched arm so they are generally built to be as light as possible.

What materials are good?

A wooden riser will be cheaper than a metal one unless you are purchasing a quality traditional bow. Wooden risers are usually a lot nicer to look at than metal ones. Well at least that’s my preference!

The riser of the bow can also come pre-drilled for a variety of accessories such as a stabiliser, arrow rest and sight. Wooden risers that aren’t pre-drilled can by DIY drilled, but this may void your warranty. Knowing what types of accessory you want to use on your bow is a good idea. Are you a bowfisher? A hunter who needs a quiver attachment? A target archer who wants stabilizers? Do you want to shoot barebow or use a sight?

Which handedness should I pick?

Some bows only come in right hand variations, and some one piece bows available in both handedness will restrict draw weights on one hand or the other. Ensure your bow comes in the right handedness for you. See our left or right handed bow guide to find which you need.

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What about styling?

How your bow looks is going to be down to personal choice, unless you’re a hunter who doesn’t want white limbs covered with lettering and a bright blue riser you’ll find the overall aesthetics is a personal choice thing. So go there with something you like and something you’ll be happy seeing in your house.

Do I need a takedown bow?

Bows are pretty large things and they need to be unstrung to be stored, you shouldn’t store your bow with the string under tension. When a bow is unstrung it gets even bigger! With that in mind you’ll find that unless you have a lot of room, or a wall to hang your bow on a takedown recurve will be a good choice. Then you’ll be able to purchase a carry case and store your bow somewhere. Some takedown bows can be assembled without tools, whether you prefer this option or not is really down to personal preference, will you always remember to take the necessary tools everywhere you take your bow?

Takedown bows (bows that can be assembled and disassembled into parts) can normally have their limbs replaced. Replacing the limbs of a bow is cheaper than buying a whole new bow and this is also a way of increasing or decreasing the draw weight. Buying a bow with readily available limb replacements that lets you progress from a lower to a higher draw weight is a good idea if you are a beginner, or if other people will use the bow. Or maybe if you just aren’t sure exactly which weight is right for you.

What’s a good warranty?

There are many ways you can damage a bow, stringing it incorrectly or without a stringer (don’t do this)… This will most likely void any warranty you may get. Dry-firing or shooting it without an arrow (don’t do this either), and just general misuse and abuse.

Different manufacturers give different warranty periods with their bows and will generally only ever cover the riser and limbs and not things like strings or arrow rests. Bows can have quality issues, limbs may break earlier than expected due to a manufacturing defect so a warranty is a good idea. Manufacturer warranties can be full for a period and limited for a period after that. A limited warranty will usually cover part of the cost of replacing the defective component after a certain period. 50% limb cost after 12 months for example. Manufacturers warranties will also usually come with caveats which will void them such as dry-firing and misuse and abuse.

We’d always suggest purchasing your bow from a large online retailer with a good track record in customer service. That way, no matter what the manufacturer warranty, you can always return to the retailer if you have any concerns.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>