With the popularity of bowhunting, crossbows are getting pricier every day. Finding the best crossbow under $500 could be challenging since most of the models under this price range are not more than a piece of junk. However, many reliable brands like Barnett and CenterPoint have introduced some reliable yet inexpensive crossbows.
We have enlisted the five best options to help you choose the best crossbow under $500. After testing multiple inexpensive crossbows available on the market, we have shortlisted the five best models you should buy. Plus, a buying guide, in the end, will help you make a well-informed decision.
A Brief Comparison of Our Top Picks
|Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow
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|CenterPoint Sniper 370
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|Killer Instinct Ripper 425
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|BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II
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|Wicked Ridge Rampage 360
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Best Crossbows Under 500$ | Detailed Reviews
1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow – Best For Whitetail Game
The top one on our list of best crossbows under $500 is the Barnett Hunter STR bottomland crossbow. The crossbow feels professional and unobtrusive in your hands, giving you an unmatched hunting experience. The crossbow feels pretty lightweight when fully cocked and comes with a fiberglass composite step-thru riser.
Its lightweight structure feels balanced, making it the best youth-hunting crossbow. Moreover, it has camo and helps you approach your prey without being spotted. Since it is made for whitetail games, it doesn’t offer the highest speed and velocity. With a speed of 375 fps, this crossbow lets you cover a distance between 50-60 yards without being detected.
Safety is another concern, especially for novices. It has plenty of safety features and offers a safe experience in the woods. The anti-dry fire lock mechanism prevents accidental firing. The bolt automatically slides into place, and there is no need to put yourself at risk while positioning the bolt in the right place.
Moreover, it has a TriggerTech feature that locks the trigger allowing you to make all the necessary adjustments and eliminating the risk of accidental firing. Single boat assembly coupled with step-thru rises makes the crossbow pretty balanced, taking its accuracy to a new level. The package includes a patented Soft-Lok floating bristle arrow retainer and enhances the hunting experience even with the maximum gear.
The package includes various hunting accessories for a ready-to-go experience. You will get a 4×32 mm multi-reticle scope, headhunter arrows, lube wax, lightweight quiver, and rope coking device. Also, it is fully compatible with aftermarket coking devices and is a versatile cocking device.
The biggest downside of this crossbow is the noise and vibration. Since it is an entry-level model, it doesn’t feature any noise or vibration dampener. It sometimes gets extremely loud as you release the bolt. The crossbow was delivered partially assembled, and it took us less than 15 minutes to get everything in place.
- Packed with safety features
- Lightweight and well-balanced structure
- Delivered partially assembled
- Lacks noise dampener
Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR is among the best youth crossbows that offer a smooth operation and well-balanced profile for maximum ease of use. Although it is a bit noisy, it offers a very productive and safe experience around the woods with a little practice.
2. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow
Sniper 370 is an award-winning budget crossbow that surprisingly offers high-level performance and comes packed with exciting features making it one the best crossbow under $500. This is a compound crossbow that includes everything you need for ready to go experience right out of the box. Its limb design coupled with an aluminum stock riser makes it an excellent crossbow for both novices and experts.
With outstanding kinetic energy of around 128 ft-lbs and an actual velocity of 370 fps, it is capable enough to deal with powerful games like Grizzly Bears and Cape Dress. Moreover, with a 2×32 mm scope and the ability to maintain 1-inch and 1.5-inch patterns within 30-40 yards, accuracy is guaranteed with this crossbow.
Moreover, this powerful machine is pretty lightweight and compact. It weighs only 7.9 lbs and measures 21-inches when fully cocked, and you can easily carry it to cross-country expeditions even with the maximum load, unlike other cheap crossbows that include a throwaway piece of junk in the name of scopes. It includes a reliable multi-reticle scope. The scope is not very powerful but is reliable, and we found it easy to sight within a limited range.
The crossbow’s draw weight is around 185 lbs, making it pretty hard to cock. But the good news is that it comes with a rope cocking device and is also compatible with aftermarket cocking devices. With an efficient rope coking device, you can reduce the draw weight to a significant level for effortless cocking. The noise and vibration levels are reduced with integrated spring suppressors and CNC-machined aluminum rails.
With all these features testing, it is among the quietest crossbows in the class. The crossbow is equipped with a comprehensive anti-dry fire mechanism for safe and risk-free handling. You cannot pull the strings back until you turn the safety lock off and engage the cocking lever. This is helpful in preventing accidental firing and offers a flawless experience in the woods.
- Lightweight and compact structure
- Quietest in-class crossbow
- Well-balanced profile for maximum accuracy
- Impressive kinetic energy
- Back-breaker with a high draw weight
Centerpoint AXCS185BK stands among the best budget crossbows for its impressive kinetic energy, noise-free operation, and well-balanced profile. Moreover, it offers impressive accuracy and comes packed with all the required accessories making it a perfect hunting weapon.
3. Killer Instinct Ripper 425 – Best For Hunting In Low Light Conditions
Killer Instinct Ripper 425 Crossbow is among the top crossbows under $500, as it comes with a Lumix Speed Rig scope and an impressive firing velocity of 425 fps. It is a powerful crossbow with a power stroke of 15-inch and kinetic energy of 156 foot-pounds that is designed with the needs of big game lovers in mind.
The standout part of the scope is its impressive durability. The enhanced aluminum barrel guarantees accuracy and reliability without adding extra weight. Also, it is crafted with the industry’s best materials, which is why it has achieved the highest level of power and speed in this class.
Its buttstocks and suppressors feature top-notch construction making the scope a sound investment. The design of this scope is aggressive, which perfectly complements its power and high firing velocity. With its ER-style Buttstock, fully adjustable positions, and customizable forearm, this crossbow feels pretty functional in hands, enhancing your experience in the woods.
Its firing velocity and Lumix scope makes it the best crossbow under $500. The scope comes with a Lumix Rng Scope 1.5-5×32 that enhances your field of view, making it easier to take down the prey within an extensive range. Its reticle range is 20-100 yards, and accuracy and precision are guaranteed with a penetrating kinetic energy of 156-foot pounds. Plus, with an impressive firing velocity of 425 fps, it can tackle even the strongest games within your range.
The draw-weight of the crossbow is 220-pound, and not everyone can go with this scope. The crossbow operates with the Rope Cockig device; still, you need to be tall and strong enough to handle the draw weight of 220 pounds. The crossbow comes packed with a dead silent kit that ensures the whisper-quiet operation. Since the scope is made for experts, it lacks any particular safety feature. The well-abled design ensures safety, but it is not a safe option if you are a beginner.
- The incredible velocity of 435-fps
- Superior illuminated scope
- Adjustable forearm and Buttstock
- Lacks safety features
With an impressive firing velocity and fully customizable design, this is the best cheap crossbow for deer hunting. The crossbow comes with a premium-grade illuminated reticle scope that broadens your field of view and lets you hunt at dawn and dusk like a pro.
4. BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II – Best Compound Crossbow Under 500
BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II crossbow, with the best brand name value and high functionality, is among the best crossbows under $500. The crossbow is not one of the most compact options; it is lightweight, making it equally suitable for beginners. The crossbow measures 18.25 inches axle-to-axle when fully cocked and stands among the bigger models. However, it weighs only 6.4 pounds along with accessories, making handling a quick breeze.
The crossbow is made with medium-sized games in mind and offers a firing velocity of 350 FPS. It performs well within a range of 40 yards. With a 12.5-inch power stroke, 103 ft-lbs kinetic energy, and a draw weight of 160 lbs, this crossbow is powerful enough to take down any big game within a range of 40 yards.
Moreover, it comes with a rope cocking device that enhances your experience by further reducing its draw weight. Since the crossbow stands among budget options, it doesn’t have a high-end scope. You will get a standard 4×32 mm multi-reticle scope that comes mounted with the crossbow.
The range of the scope is not very impressive, and we found it pretty hard to see. However, you can pair it up with any high-quality aftermarket reticle scope for an enhanced experience. Unlike other cheap crossbows, it comes packed with safety features. The knock sensors in the crossbow ensure you have loaded the arrows properly.
These sensors prevent the trigger from engaging when the arrow is loaded inaccurately. Also, it is equipped with an anti-dry fire mechanism and the industry’s best TriggerTech trigger. The single bolt assembly is another exciting feature of this crossbow. It doesn’t come pre-assembled; it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to get everything fixed.
- Premium quality TriggerTech Trigger
- Nock sensors and anti-dry fire
- Single-bolt assembly
- Low draw weight for effortless coking
- Incompetent scope
- Lack shoulder sling
Barnett Whitetail Hunter II crossbow stands among the best inexpensive crossbows for its lightweight design and ability to handle big games within an extensive range of 40 yards. Moreover, its advanced safety features and highly functional design help it stand among the best crossbows under $500.
5. TenPoint Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 Crossbow – Best For Novices
Rampage 360 by Wicked Range is the best budget hunting crossbow with a lightweight structure, single bolt assembly, and a built-in cocking device. The crossbow is light, making it an excellent hunting weapon for beginners. Unlike its predecessors, it comes with a built-in cocking device.
The patented ACUdarw mechanism, coupled with a meager draw weight of 175 pounds, makes the cocking an absolute breeze. Since it is not a back-breaker, beginners would love to use this scope to improve their firing accuracy. The crossbow measures 15-inch axle to axle when fully cocked and is, therefore, the best compact crossbow you can find. Moreover, it comes packed with premium hunting accessories making it a ready-to-go package.
The best part is that it is crafted in America, and like China-made crossbows in this price range, it doesn’t compromise quality and durability. Accuracy and precision with this crossbow are guaranteed with the built-in multi-line scope. The scope uses premium quality 3x reticles offering a clear field of view within 20-50 yards.
Since it is an entry-level crossbow, it doesn’t feature advanced safety features like anti-dry fire mechanisms and trigger locks. Also, it lacks the noise and vibration-damping mechanism and is pretty loud around the woods. Since the crossbow is crafted in the USA, it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Bow limbs, reticle scope, and cocking device are backed by a 5-year warranty making it the best crossbow for the money.
- Lightweight and compact
- Built-in Cocking device
- Premium quality 3x reticle scope
- Affordable & 5-year warranty
- Lacks safety features
- A bit loud
TenPoint Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 combines quality construction with best-in-class ergonomics making it one of the best crossbows under $500. This beginner-friendly crossbow comes with a built-in cocking device and guarantees accuracy and precision with a 3X reticle scope up to 50 yards.
What To Look For While Buying A Crossbow Under 500$?
Speed is undoubtedly the most critical feature of any crossbow. The high-end crossbows have 400+ FPS firing velocities and are capable enough to take down any big game. However, for under $500, you will only have a few options offering such impressive speed.
In this price range, you will get models offering a firing velocity within the range of 300-350 fps. If you are skilled enough, you can take down any big game, like a deer, with this firing velocity.
Draw weight refers to the force you require to pull back the strings. A higher draw weight makes the cocking hard and can break your experience. As a beginner, you should avoid crossbows with 180+ lbs draw weight since these models will prove backbreakers for you.
However, if you are strong and skilled enough to pull the complex strings, you can go with high-end crossbows offering high-end functionality and highly penetrating kinetic energy.
Power And Kinetic Energy
You don’t need the most potent crossbow all the time. Instead, you need a powerful crossbow to perform all your tasks. The kinetic energy of the crossbow showcases its penetrating ability.
The crossbows under $500 offer kinetic energies between 50-200 ft-lbs. For small to medium games, the minimum K.E requirement is 50-100 lbs. Also, for fast crossbow targets and big games like whitetail deer, you should consider models offering 150+ ft. lb kinetic energy.
Noise And Vibration
Crossbows can be loud and scare away your game before you hunt. Therefore you should look for a crossbow with noise and vibration-damping mechanism. Many advanced crossbows use suppressors and silencing kits for whisper-quiet operations.
Safety should be among your top concerns if you are new to bow hunting. It would be best if you looked for features like trigger locks and anti-dry fire mechanisms. Some of the best crossbows under $500 use an advanced sensor that ensures arrows’ proper loading, offering a risk and damage-free experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are hopeful that our list of best crossbows under $500 will help you choose the best option available. The speed and penetrating ability of the crossbow should be your top concerns when buying a crossbow under $500. All the crossbow models tested & reviewed above are powerful enough to handle medium to large games within a limited range.
Our two favorites on the list are:
- Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Mossy Oak Bottomland Crossbow for its impressive 375 fps velocity, well-balanced profile, Lightweight structure, premium-grade accessories, and best brand name value.
- Killer Instinct Ripper 425 FPS Crossbow for its neck-breaking speed, Lumix Ring Multi-reticle scope, full customizable Buttstock, adjustable from an impressive accuracy.