A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
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Last updated: August 26, 2021
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You might be a lover of archery yourself or want to show your kid a gun-free way of hunting. Investing in the best youth crossbow can help be that starting point for you and your kid to not only start a new sport but also a bonding experience—especially one safe for them at a young age. Shooting practice with the crossbow can also provide a ton of different development benefits for accuracy and kinetic motion in your child’s body. They will learn about control, as well as so many other tactical and technical skills.
In our review, we’ve highlighted the various features we consider important in our review and why they are important to be able to pick out the best ones. Some more crucial features include the overall weight, draw weight, speed and kinetic energy, and warranty information.
Our article is developed in a way to help you best read on about a guide to crossbows—especially for beginners. We’ve spent hours on not only researching crossbows but also making this guide to help you pick out the best crossbow. With an in-comparison review table with the products side-by-side and rated, in-detail reviews of each product to help break down each feature the products have, and a buying guide to help you choose the best youth crossbow for your child so they can not only develop the skills they need to practice and engage in the sport but also have a piece of equipment sturdy enough and high-quality that it can grow as your child grows in the sport.
Whether your child is just getting started, wants to get their first crossbow or in all-around good athlete in general, the Barnett HyperGhost is a great youth crossbow for the money.
Especially since this crossbow is high-quality, you can feel ensured that you’ll be getting the most out of your money. Who says that the kid’s first crossbow should be an extremely cheap one?
The Barnett HyperGhost is a great first step that can help make those first shots very good ones. Especially since his or her first time out will be a memorable one that can leave a lasting impression, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you will be able to shoot out accurate shots that are well-defined.
When it comes to quality, the Barnett HyperGhost 100 has an adjustable butt pad, finger reminders and pass-through foregrip, composite flight track, and measured out to be 17” limb tip to limb tip. All of these features make for the best all-around crossbow on the market.
Why did it make our list?
Bow was packaged in a safe way
Assembly was easy to do
Shot well out to 30 yards
What is not ideal about it?
The hardware used to put bow together was very cheap—especially the Allen wrenches
Second, on this crossbow recommendations list is the CenterPoint Sniper. The manufacturer uses composite and aluminum in the bow’s construction, which helps keep the weight down.
When hunting and in the field, the weight is, of course, going to be invaluable since your kid won’t need to carry a heavy bow around. That said, it is on the heavier side in comparison to the rest of the list. Also, the aluminum makes it relatively durable.
This crossbow’s CAMS system is specifically made to deliver power and accuracy to your arrows when you shoot them. When combined with the machined rail, it is part of the reason why you’re able to shoot arrows at 370 feet per second. The other reason for this is the 185-pound draw weight.
Also, most youths will have different body compositions depending on their age and genes, and the manufacturer caters to that by adding an adjustable stock and foregrip. The result is a customized fit for their shoulders that makes the crossbow more comfortable to shoot.
Additionally, there is the safety and anti-dry fire trigger that makes the bow less hazardous to use. Add that to the integrated string suppressors, and you have an effective shooting system that won’t startle your target before it’s too late.
Finally, you get a few accessories, including a scope, quiver, rope cocker, and arrows. Even a five-year warranty is added to the mix.
What stands out?
Multiple accessories included
What cons did we manage to find?
The bolts that come with the bow are problematic for most new users and need replacing
Barnett is well regarded for producing high quality crossbows at a competitive price point. The Whitetail Hunter is a particularly successful Barnett line. The Whitetail Hunter STR is one of the most popular options.
STR or Step Through Riser technology offers improved performance with a shorter crossbow. This crossbow design reduces the length while enhancing power stroke due to the integrated foot stirrup in the riser. This has created a lightweight bow with an overall length of under 35 inches. So, this crossbow is highly maneuverable even in tight quarters with a manageable profile for users of all sizes.
The bow assembly consists of high performance cams and a lightweight fiberglass composite riser. There are custom composite laminated limbs that can launch arrows with a velocity of up to 375 feet per second and 118.6 ft lbs of energy.
The crossbow itself feels comfortable to hold and the STR design helps to shift the center of gravity back to make it feel more stable when shooting. Like all Barnett crossbows, the design also includes a Picatinny rail that allows you to attach additional hardware such as a flashlight or extra quiver.
There is also a host of safety features. The TriggerTech system has Frictionless Release Technology to create a smoother, creep free pull. There are also nock sensors that detect if a nock properly touches the string. There is also an anti dry fire mechanism and Soft Lok floating retainer to prevent accidental dry fires.
The crossbow is easy to put together due to a single bolt assembly design. The scope is almost perfectly sighted out of the box, so you can get shooting almost straight away.
What are its best features?
Lightweight design with custom composite materials for launch velocity of up to 375 feet per second.
The Daisy Youth Archery YA4003 is not an expensive option and will allow you to introduce a child to the sport, all while saving money. At 3.75 lbs, it is one of the lighter bows on the market, which means it will be easy for smaller kids to use.
The lightweight design of the bow is no mistake. After all, it features a fiberglass limb alongside a composite frame. An adjustable rear sight is also added to the mix to help improve your child’s aim.
As for the draw weight and velocity, they are nowhere near the best in class. That said, your kid is likely not going to be using this during hunting season. However, they can get lots of harmless target practice out of the bow before you upgrade them to a better model if they take to archery in general.
This bow also comes with a cocking stirrup that is essential for all bows that are cocked by hand. This provides a little bit of extra accident prevention for the individual using the crossbow.
Lastly, you get two 16” aluminum bolts that might come in handy for target practice.
One of the stand out features of the CenterPoint Tyro 4x recurve crossbow is the ease of assembly. Even as a beginner, you should find it simple and easy to assemble the unit, with the help of a user-friendly gear supplied with the crossbow.
Another great feature of this crossbow is the auto safety cocking mechanism. This is an automatic safety feature that is engaged every time you pull towards a fully cocked position. You can also manually change the safety to a shoot mode simply. This allows you the crossbow to accept the string to be shot. When you’re ready to shoot an arrow, simply slide the switch to the FIRE position. There is also an anti-dry fire trigger mechanism, which provides an additional layer of safety, so you don’t mess up the crossbow with no bolt cocked.
The Tyro has a velocity of 245 feet per second and a draw weight of 175 pounds. This means that it is easier for beginners to handle. However, with the right set up, an experienced shooter can get sufficient firepower for the task.
The crossbow is lightweight and compact with a weight of just 5.75 pounds. The limbs are tough and made out of compression molded fiberglass for reliability. This construction also ensures this crossbow can withstand the elements and offer years of use, particularly with the support of a five-year warranty.
Why are we impressed?
Easy set up for beginners or experienced shooters
Lightweight and compact design weighing just 5.75 pound
Compression molded fiberglass for durability, toughness and reliability
What negatives must you be aware of?
Does lack the power of many other crossbow models, so you may outgrow it.
Whether you are buying a new crossbow for your kid or he or she needs a new one because of how often they are playing, here is a buying guide to help you choose the right one.
Is it safe to give your child a crossbow?
Since you’re already here on this article, you should probably know that giving your child a crossbow comes with various precautions.
For a child, an upper limit of 200 lbs is standard. You should also realize that you can set the crank to make it easier for the kid to hold and carry. Normally, the actual weight of the crossbow will be from 8 to 13 lbs. However, some crossbows, like our budget pick—the Daisy Youth Archery YA4003—is four lbs. So if you have a smaller kid looking to start out, that one is probably your best option.
Types of crossbows explained
Before you buy, you should familiarize yourself with the various crossbows available with all the different types. There are different styles of modern crossbows, each coming with its own unique characteristics.
Here are some of the more common styles:
One- and two-handed crossbows
Reverse limb crossbows
Reverse draw technology (RDT) crossbows
Tips on shooting the crossbow for beginners
Bottom line: you’re searching for a child’s crossbow. What can we assume? He or she most likely won’t be at the professional level just yet.
Knowing a few tips and tricks for shooting the crossbow for beginners can definitely help the learning curve go a bit smoother:
There are four steps you should follow.
Cock the bow. You can do this step manually or crank-operated. A crossbow crank will much easier to use.
Load the bow. This is the easy part—simply load an arrow in the barrel of the bow. Make sure it is securely in place.
Aim the bow. When aiming, make sure your thumb is NOT wrapped around the crossbow forearm. You can aim through the optical scope or the mount scope.
Take your shot. Just like a gun or rifle, squeeze the trigger and keep your target aligned.
Especially since your child will probably outgrow the crossbow in a few years (unless they have a huge growth spurt) or they may even change their interests at the drop of the hat, you’ll definitely not want to go spending a huge chunk of change on your crossbow.
Investing in a quality crossbow that is targeted at the youth level will not only be good for your kid to grow quality-wise, it will also be beneficial for your budget.
Consider the following features to choose the ideal youth crossbow
Before you choose and buy, consider the following features that each youth crossbow may have:
Size and weight
Especially since your child is probably not a professionally-rated bodybuilder, they might not be able to hold the crossbow, which is over twice the weight of a conventional bow.
A great tip would be to have your child hold random household objects and see how heavy the various objects are and how comfortable they feel. Your local bow shop that also stocks youth crossbows can be of assistance, as well. See if they will let your child hold one on a target without an arrow. Your child should be able to hold the bow steady for at least eight seconds.
Especially since your children are involved, you will want to invest in the safety of the product more than the quality. Safety is generally pretty high on the priority list with crossbows—but it is especially for those which are more for children than anybody else.
These crossbows will have a built-in firing mechanism which makes it so that the crossbow has to be physically disengaged before firing.
When it comes to safety, however, you’ll definitely want to educate your children on the proper protocol and safety precautions before letting them use a crossbow.
Draw weight and power
On a child’s crossbow, the most important thing on it is the weight. You have to make sure that the bow fits the child and he or she is able to draw the weight (normally around 150 lbs).
String and speed
The string of the crossbow has a direct correlation of the speed. You can either choose your strings to be customized, stock bowstrings, cables, and so much more.
The speed is normally measured in FPS, which stands for feet-per-second.
When you want to get a crossbow to hunt, this will help your child reach certain arrow speed and power that you just can’t get with a regular bow.
With the mechanical advantages available in the crossbow, your child will be able to use his or her strength and draw a ton of power in the crossbow.
Most of the crossbows on this guide are backed by a warranty of 5 years. It’s great to have a few years warranty guaranteed in the crossbow because of a few reasons.
For one—it’s for your kid. With children, you can never be too careful (because they usually are not). Another great reason to have a quality warranty is the fact that the crossbow should grow with your kid—and with his or her evolving skill level.
Crossbow maintenance tips
Since you already made an investment, you might want to make sure that you know how to properly maintain your crossbow.
Here are some tips that you should follow:
Make sure the string and cables are waxed. With the package, you’ll normally have access to a tube of wax. Waxing the string and cables should be done on a regular basis—however, if you have questions about how often, check the instruction manual.
The wax should be applied length-wise to the string.
Make sure the rail is lubricated. You’ll be able to have smoother traction of your bolt, which will help in the accuracy of your shot.
Always give your crossbow and arrows a thorough inspection before shooting. Look for cracks, twisting, splintering or bending in the arrows, shafts, and limbs. You can also clean the scope lens from time to time.
For your most frequently asked questions, here are a few answers:
If you are just shooting to shoot and actually want to see distance rather than accuracy, most of these crossbows can reach up to 500 yards. However, 30 (for beginners) to 80 (for expert shooters) is a viable range when working on target.
Yes! It can definitely be very helpful. The Barnett Crossbow Case not only comes with a removable padded shoulder strap for comfort but also additional compartments for room, protection, and easy access to your hunting accessories.
Before you make the decision and purchase your crossbow, you should know that hunters should still be at least 14 and have a hunting license. While you’re hunting, you should be carrying your “Crossbow Certificate of Qualification” at all times.
You should also know you cannot shoot within 250 feet of “any home, school building or playground, public structure, farm structure in use, or occupied factory or church.”
If you’ve decided to skip out on all the detailed product reviews and comparison we’ve mentioned above, here is a quick look:
The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is our Editor’s Choice for the best all-around crossbow. As a composite-style crossbow, it is extremely lightweight, measured only at 6.4 lbs. It has a draw weight of 100 lbs and reaches a speed of 256 fps. Backed by a 5-year limited warranty, it also contains features like a 12.5’’ power stroke, arrows, an arrow holder, and a rope cocking device.
The CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow is our Runner-Up best youth crossbow. As a compound-style crossbow, it has a draw weight of 185 lbs and is even faster than the Barnett, with a speed of 370 fps! It is also backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
The Daisy Youth Archery YA4003 is our Budget Pick for a quality crossbow at an affordable price. Weighing only 4 lbs, it is one of the lighter bows on the market, which is perfect for smaller kids to use. This crossbow also features an adjustable rear sight and a fiberglass limb.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best youth crossbow for your child or for a young hunter you know!