6 Best Youth Crossbows for the Money

Last Updated October 30, 2023
Top 3 Best Youth Crossbows
Barnett Recruit Terrain Youth Crossbow
Barnett Recruit Terrain Youth Crossbow
  • Price under $300, making it an affordable choice for beginners.
  • Comes mostly assembled with accessories like a 4Ă—32 scope, rope cocking device, lightweight quiver, and two arrows, facilitating a quick start to practicing.
  • Manageable weight of 6.4 lbs and a 140 lb draw weight, suitable for a range of ages including youth.
Leader Accessories Youth Crossbow with Quiver
Leader Accessories Youth Crossbow
  • Weighs 5.85 lbs with a 160 lb draw weight, targeting slightly older youths.
  • Comes with a red dot sight, four aluminum arrows, a padded sling, a quiver, and a cocking rope, providing a ready-to-shoot setup.
  • Features both an anti dry fire mechanism and a standard safety, ensuring a safe experience.
Daisy Youth Crossbow
Daisy Youth Crossbow
  • Specifically designed for young beginners with a 29 lb draw weight.
  • Features an automatic safety which engages when the crossbow is cocked, promoting safe habits.
  • Uses a recurve design and includes an adjustable rear sight, aiding in practicing the fundamentals of crossbow shooting.
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Crossbow hunting and target shooting has long since entered the mainstream of the outdoor world. What used to be a small niche has rapidly become one of the most popular ways to hunt. As any serious hunter will tell you, fostering the next generation is an important part of sharing your love for the hunt. Youth crossbows are smaller and less powerful versions of full up hunting crossbows designed for young hunters to use. Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best youth crossbows on the market to help you pick out the perfect one for your child.

Best Youth Crossbow

Picking out a youth crossbow requires a bit of work. There’s a huge range of types, power levels, and weights to consider before you make a purchase.

The most important thing is to properly size a youth crossbow for your child. We’ve put together a list of great youth crossbows across the range of draw weight and power. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Barnett Recruit Terrain Youth Crossbow

Barnett Recruit Terrain Youth Crossbow
The Barnett Recruit youth crossbow product picture

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Having spent a significant part of my life reveling in the serenity of nature through hiking and camping, the transition to crossbow hunting was a thrilling addition to my outdoor adventures. The Barnett Recruit Terrain Youth Crossbow caught my eye, not just for its price point of under $300 but for its potential as an intermediate crossbow for a budding arbelist like myself.

Upon unboxing, the first thing that impressed me was how the crossbow came mostly assembled, making the setup a breeze. The inclusion of a 4×32 scope, a rope cocking device, lightweight quiver, two Headhunter arrows, and lube wax was a welcoming sight. They’ve essentially provided a one-stop-shop for anyone keen on delving right into practice.

Lifting the crossbow, its weight of 6.4 lbs was manageable and the 140 lb draw weight felt just about right. The adjustable butt pad didn’t extend as far as I’d like, but it was adequate. The crossbow’s design seemed to fit well with my physique as well as my 9-year old nephew who found it quite engaging. He was hitting half-dollar targets at 20 yards in no time, which was a proud moment for the both of us.

The first trial at the range was a mixed bag. From a bench rest at 30-yards, the accuracy left a bit to be desired. My arrows seemed to have a mind of their own, landing a few inches off from where I aimed. The string was showing wear after about 50 shots, which was concerning. The trigger pull felt more towards the 6-8 lb range rather than the advertised 3 lb, but it didn’t deter my experience much.

Now, the scope. The eye relief at 5″ was a tad inconvenient as it required me to adjust my stance and head position to get a full view. This made me consider investing in a new scope with less eye relief requirement.

Despite these quirks, the crossbow’s performance during my daughter’s first turkey hunting trip was notable. The ease with which she could line up a shot, thanks to the crossbow’s user-friendly design, made the day enjoyable and successful.

After a serene morning hike, we decided to set up a small camp. It was the perfect time to try out my new crossbow. As we were setting up the targets, I realized I needed to make a few tweaks to the crossbow for optimal performance. That’s when my trusty multi-tool came to play. It’s always on my belt, ready to assist in moments like these. With a quick flip, I had the Phillips head screwdriver out and was making adjustments to the crossbow’s stirrup. The multi-tool’s pliers were handy in tightening a loose bolt on the quiver too. As I fine-tuned my new companion, the crossbow, with the aid of my old companion, the multi-tool, I felt a comforting assurance. The blend of old reliable with the new venture was a satisfying experience. The day unfolded with a series of successful shots, each thud of an arrow meeting the target echoed the seamless blend of nature, tradition, and modernity in my outdoor journey. The Barnett Recruit Terrain seamlessly found its place in my outdoor gear ensemble, each tool and equipment telling tales of many adventures, with promises of many more to come.

The Barnett Recruit Terrain is a reliable piece of equipment for someone like me who is exploring crossbow hunting without wanting to break the bank. Although it had its fair share of minor drawbacks, its benefits in terms of ease of use, assembly, and the joy it brought to my young apprentice, made it a worthy investment. I look forward to many more outdoor escapades with this crossbow as a companion.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point of under $300.
  • Mostly assembled on arrival, facilitating easy setup.
  • Comes with a variety of useful accessories such as a 4×32 scope, rope cocking device, lightweight quiver, two Headhunter arrows, and lube wax.
  • Manageable weight (6.4 lbs) and medium draw weight (140 lbs), suitable for intermediate arbelists, including youth.
  • Standard trigger safety, an anti-dry fire mechanism, and a nock sensor for effective firing.
  • Adjustable butt pad for varied user comfort.
  • Encourages precise shooting for beginners, as evidenced by successful targeting by a young shooter.
  • Great for small game hunting, with a notable performance in a turkey hunting scenario.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent accuracy at 30-yards and potentially beyond.
  • String showed wear after approximately 50 shots.
  • Trigger pull heavier than advertised, feeling more like a 6-8 lb pull instead of the advertised 3 lb.
  • The scope’s 5″ eye relief requirement can be uncomfortable, requiring an adjustment of stance and possibly a scope replacement for better eye comfort.
  • The adjustable butt pad doesn’t extend very far, which might not be comfortable for all users.
  • Some found the crossbow to feel heavier than the advertised weight.

Leader Accessories Youth Crossbow with Quiver

Leader Accessories Youth Crossbow
The Leader Accessories youth crossbow product picture

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The Leader Accessories Crossbow is a recurve style bow made for the entry level market. It weighs just 5.85 lbs and has a 160 lb draw weight.

That makes it suitable for slightly older youths who can handle the stronger draw. It’s designed to give you everything you need to get out there and shoot.

It comes standard with a red dot sight, four aluminum arrows, string, wax, a padded sling for easier carrying, a quiver, and a cocking rope. It’s easy to set up and intuitive to use once ready.

It includes both an anti dry fire mechanism and a standard safety. You can choose from either black or green camo patterns.

If you’re interested in buying your child a crossbow but don’t want to break the bank, the Leader Accessories Crossbow is a great choice.

Daisy Youth Crossbow

Daisy Youth Crossbow
The Daisy youth crossbow product picture

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Daisy is well known for their bb guns, slingshots, and other projectile tools for the youth market. The Daisy Youth Crossbow is specifically designed for young arbelists to practice the fundamentals of crossbow shooting without having to work with a high-powered weapon.

It has just a 29 lb draw weight and an automatic safety. It engages whenever the crossbow is cocked, helping youths develop good habits safely. The Youth Crossbow uses a recurve design and has an adjustable rear sight.

If you want to introduce your child to crossbow target shootings the Daisy Youth Crossbow is an excellent way to do it. It’s lighter, easier to work with, and a lot less expensive than many similar crossbows on this list.

Last Punch Wood Youth Crossbow

Last Punch Wood Youth Crossbow
The Last Punch youth crossbow product picture

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The Last Punch Wood Crossbow is a heritage style crossbow designed to evoke the designs of the past. It’s a recurve crossbow with a handsome wood stock and a 150 lb draw weight.

It comes standard with a 4×20 scope and a pack of practice arrows. 150 lbs is just about right for an older youth beginning to develop their strength. It gives them the feel of a full powered crossbow without straining their muscles too much.

Overall the Last Punch Wood Crossbow is an inexpensive and attractive youth crossbow. It’s a good way to introduce a youth to the sport and help them develop an interest in it.

Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Youth Crossbows

Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Youth Crossbows
The Wicked Ridge youth crossbow product picture

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The Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Crossbows is the crossbow you purchase when your child is ready to move up to the real deal. It’s a compound crossbow with a 150 lb draw weight.

It weighs just 5.9 lbs and comes in a woodland style camouflage pattern. Out of the box it includes a 3x multi-line scope, integrated self-retracting rope cocking mechanism, three arrow quiver, and three carbon arrows with practice stubs.

It’s designed to function exactly like a full-sized hunting crossbow, but in miniature. It’s slightly smaller in every respect and has a draw weight light enough for a young hunter to handle with ease.

If you’re looking to transition your young hunter from practice crossbows up to something that can actually hunt, the TenPoint Crossbows Wicked ridge bears a second look.

CenterPoint Sniper 370 Youth Crossbow

CenterPoint Sniper 370 Youth Crossbow
The CenterPoint youth crossbow product picture

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The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a crossbow package designed for younger hunters. It’s a compound style crossbow with a 185 lb draw weight.

It has a fully adjustable stock and fore grips to better fit your shooting style. The 185 lb draw is definitely on the high side, but within the possible range for a teenage hunter.

The Sniper 370 has integrated string suppressors to help reduce noise and comes with everything you need to get started. It includes a 4×32 scope, a quiver, three 20 in carbon arrows, and a rope cocker.

It has a built in anti dry fire mechanism and an integral safety. This helps prevent any accidental discharges.

If you’re looking for something affordable that can be used for hunting the CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a great choice.

Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Youth Crossbow

Picking out the best youth crossbow comes down to several different factors. You need to find a crossbow that your child is capable of operating safely while still challenging them to learn and grow.

Price

Price is a sticky subject when it comes to youth crossbows. This is especially true if you’re buying your child their very first crossbow.

Kids go through hobbies faster than a hot knife through warm butter, so unless your child has already participated in crossbow activities it’s probably best to start with something inexpensive.

If they’re on their second or third crossbow you can move up to more expensive competition grade/hunting style crossbows.

Safety Features

There are two main safety features you should make sure are present on your child’s crossbow. The first is a traditional safety, the same type found on the majority of firearms.

This prevents and accidental pull of the trigger from releasing the latch. Like the safety on a firearm this isn’t a foolproof system.

Thankfully it’s a lot easier to visibly tell if a crossbow is ready to fire than it is with a firearm. Even so, a good rule of thumb is that every crossbow is loaded and every loaded crossbow should always be pointed in a safe direction.

The second safety feature is an anti-dry fire mechanism. There are various types on the market, each of which prevents your child’s crossbow from releasing the string when there is no arrow notched.

A layman might think a dry fire is no big deal, but they would be very, very wrong. Crossbows aren’t designed to be dry fired. Any time it happens there’s the risk of a catastrophic failure of the crossbow.

If your child’s crossbow dry fires it must be thoroughly inspected for damage before being used again.

Size & Weight

The size and weight of a youth crossbow really depends on the size and weight of your child. You want to get them a crossbow that they can easily handle and aim.

The last thing you want is for them to struggle to hold up a too heavy crossbow while trying to hit a target. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Types of Crossbow

There are several different types of crossbows available for you to choose from. Some of the most common types include:

  • Recurve Crossbows
  • Compound Crossbows
  • Reverse Draw Technology (RDT) Crossbows
  • Reverse Limb Crossbows

There are definitely more but these are the ones you’ll see the most. They’re widely available in a variety of different styles, colors, and sizes.

Draw Weight and Power

Draw weight and power are used to measure the strength of a crossbow. For a youth crossbow draw weight is the most important number to consider.

A 100 lb draw weight is a good starting point, with 200 lbs about as high as you should go. This gives them plenty of power but is still light enough for them to cock without straining themselves.

String

The best type of string for a youth crossbow is heavily dependent on what type of crossbow it is. For recurve bows you need to know the material used for the limbs.

Unreinforced wood limbs require the use of dacron string. If you try to use something like dyneema the increased strength of the string can damage the limbs.

You need to balance the draw weight of the crossbow with the rated weight of the string.

Brace Height

Brace height is the distance between the string and the deepest part of the limbs. Depending on the type of crossbow you choose you may need to adjust your brace height periodically.

Compound bows come from the manufacturer with a set brace height. You shouldn’t change this as it can cause damage to the various components.

For a recurve bow the manufacturer will provide you with a recommended brace height, but you have the option to adjust it. A shorter brace height provides more power to the arrow and gives you a faster shot.

Unfortunately it will also be noticeably louder. You need to balance performance and noise.

Extra equipment

Picking out the best youth crossbow is just the first step. You’ll also need bolts, a quiver to hold them, scopes/sights, and things like targets.

There are basically endless accessories and add ons you can purchase to improve your child’s crossbow experience.

Top Youth Crossbow Video

FAQ – Best Youth Crossbow

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions section of our comprehensive guide on “Best Youth Crossbow.” As avid camping, hiking, and hunting enthusiasts, we understand the importance of introducing young individuals to the world of archery and hunting in a safe and enjoyable manner. Youth crossbows provide the perfect gateway for budding marksmen, offering reduced draw weights, lighter frames, and essential safety features tailored to young users.

In this section, we aim to address some of the most common queries you may have about youth crossbows. Whether you’re a concerned parent, a beginner looking to take up archery, or an experienced hunter searching for the ideal crossbow for a young companion, we’ve got you covered. Let’s delve into the frequently asked questions to help you make informed decisions and ensure a memorable and secure crossbow experience for the young adventurers in your life.

What is a youth crossbow?

A youth crossbow is a smaller and lighter version of a standard crossbow, designed specifically for young hunters or beginners. These crossbows are easier to handle, have reduced draw weights, and often come with safety features to ensure a safe and enjoyable shooting experience for young enthusiasts.

What age group is a youth crossbow suitable for?

Youth crossbows are generally recommended for children and teenagers aged 10 to 16 years old, although the appropriate age range may vary depending on the individual’s physical strength, coordination, and maturity level. Always supervise young users and ensure they are capable of handling a crossbow responsibly.

Are youth crossbows safe to use?

Yes, youth crossbows are designed with safety as a top priority. They typically come equipped with features such as anti-dry fire mechanisms, finger guards, and easy-to-use safety switches. However, parental supervision and proper training are essential to ensure safe handling and shooting practices.

What should I look for when choosing a youth crossbow?

When selecting a youth crossbow, consider factors such as draw weight (which should be lower for young users), overall weight and size (to ensure manageability), built-in safety features, and ease of cocking. It’s also crucial to choose a crossbow from reputable brands known for their quality and safety standards.

Can youth crossbows be used for hunting?

Yes, youth crossbows can be used for hunting small to medium-sized game, depending on local hunting regulations. However, it is essential to check the specific laws and guidelines in your area regarding minimum age requirements, permitted game species, and necessary licenses or permits.

How do I properly maintain a youth crossbow?

Regular maintenance is vital to keep your youth crossbow in excellent working condition. This includes waxing the strings, lubricating the rail, and inspecting all components for signs of wear. Additionally, store the crossbow in a cool, dry place, and never leave it cocked for an extended period.

Are there any accessories that can enhance the youth crossbow experience?

Yes, there are various accessories available to enhance the youth crossbow experience. Some popular options include red dot sights or scopes for improved accuracy, quivers to hold arrows, and cocking aids to make the drawing process easier for young users.

Can adults use youth crossbows?

While youth crossbows are specifically designed for younger individuals, adults with a smaller frame or those who prefer a lighter crossbow may find them suitable for their needs. However, it’s generally recommended for adults to use standard-sized crossbows for the best performance and accuracy.

Is it necessary to take crossbow shooting lessons?

Taking crossbow shooting lessons, especially for beginners, can be highly beneficial. Proper instruction helps users develop safe shooting techniques, improve accuracy, and understand essential hunting and outdoor ethics. Many local shooting ranges or hunting clubs offer lessons for both youth and adults.

Where can I purchase a youth crossbow?

Youth crossbows can be found at various outdoor sporting goods stores, archery shops, and online retailers. When purchasing online, make sure to buy from reputable websites or trusted manufacturers to ensure product quality and authenticity. Always verify the age requirements and comply with local laws before making a purchase.

Best Youth Crossbow Recap

Final Thoughts

Before you consider brands, features or extras, make sure you have the sizing down.

One of the best ways to encourage a child to lose interest in crossbow hunting is to give them a crossbow that’s too powerful and just not fun to shoot.

If you get sizing and power levels right the rest of the stuff really becomes a matter of preference.

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