The Hottest New Budget Compound Bows for 2023
The latest crop of affordable compounds offers both a ton of adjustability for new shooters and impressive performance for seasoned archers
Follow our full coverage of the latest and most talked-about new hunting equipment for 2023, including rifles, shotguns, trail cameras, knives, flagship compound bows, crossbows, broadheads, and more.
When it comes to hunting equipment in general, new budget bows—let’s say those costing between $400 and $700—represent one of the best deals you can find period. Why? Because they cost about half as much (or less) than the very top-end bows, and they they deliver way more than half the performance.
What’s more, the bows below offer something that the best flagship bows don’t, which is a level of adjustability that allows these compounds to grow with a new shooter. No, we are not saying that they are just good as the best, because they are not. But they are not that far off. They are plenty capable in the field, and they may be just right for what you’re looking for.
This year’s crop of affordable compounds is relatively small compared to most years, but, hey, that should just make it easier for you to pick one. Here is our first look at the hottest new budget bows for 2023.
Bear Legend XR
The Bear brand has long been a staple for those looking to dip a toe in the stick-and-string ocean without shelling out $1K, and this year’s Bear’s Legend XR offers a lot of performance for the price. A 32-inch axle-to-axle compound capable of fitting draw lengths between 18 and 31 inches and adjustable from 14 to 70 pounds of draw weight, this 320 fps rig should work for just about any archer. At 6.25 inches, the brace height is neither super short nor overly long but hits a middle-of-the-road sweet spot, and the new DCH-XR cam system brings more comfort and performance with 85 percent let-off. The offset string suppressor and KILLERwave in-limb dampeners are features typically found on bows with a higher price tag. Both work in concert to reduce vibration and noise each time the release is triggered and the XR jumps into action. The Legend XR comes in several finish options and is available with Bear’s Ready to Hunt system or as a bare bow.
Diamond can take a lot of credit for today’s huge popularity of high-adjustability bows, and there latest models have been also pushing the envelope for budget-bow performance. Case in point: the new Alter has an IBO rating of 330 fps, which is as high as some flagship models. Another nice, plus is that Diamond’s lesser-priced compounds often feature cutting-edge innovations from sister company, Bowtech. Weighing in a 4.1 pound, the Alter is adjustable for draw weights from 8 to 70 pounds, and draw lengths from 21 to 31 inches, which is remarkable. The Alter promises maneuverability and consistent accuracy, measuring 31.5 inches between the axles and built with a forgiving 7-inch brace height. The Synchronized Binary Cam System ensures good tunability, and the caged riser provides a balanced, controlled feel at full draw. The Alter is available as a bare bow or outfitted with all the Octane accessories one needs to hit the woods.
Diamond’s other new offering for 2023, the 31-inch axle-to-axle EdgeMax has a 7.125-inch brace height and pushes the scale to a mere 3.7 pounds. Draw weight is adjustable from 20 to 70 pounds, and the EdgeMax fits draw lengths from 16 to 31 inches. This light, maneuverable rig is primarily aimed at youth and other smaller-framed new shooter. The EdgeMax is available in Black, Mossy Oak DNA, and Veil Verdant (Sheels Exclusive). It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and is fully accessorized and ready to go the second it comes out of its box.
It’s not often that flagship Hoyt drops a new-for-the-year kids rig, but they have for 2023, and it looks like a good one. The Kobalt has 29 1/4 inches of space between its axles, is fitted with a 6 7/8-inch brace height, and weighs a feather-like 2.8 pounds. Loaded with purposeful Hoyt technology, the Kobalt adjusts from 18 inches of draw length to 28 inches, and young shooters can drop draw weight down to 7 pounds. As a youngster grows, you can turn the limb bolts to add poundage up to a max weight of 45 pounds. The Kobalt can be purchased as a bare bow or with an accessory package that includes Fuse’s ProFire 3-Pin Sight, Maxxis 4-Arrow Quiver, and Whisker Biscuit Rest. Young shooters can also get the Kobalt in a Cameron Hanes or Bone Collector edition.