Youth Compound Bow Selection Guide

This article is aimed at adults who want to choose the right compound bow for their kids. To keep your child interested and happy, you need to consider a number of crucial aspects before making your decision on which bow to go for. To help you make the right choice, we have carefully examined and analyzed a lot of feedback and recommendations from many archery experts. We hope that the below recommendations will help you get the right bow for your child.

1   Setting the right mindset: it's all about your child

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of choosing the most suitable youth compound bow let's set the right mindset first. You are not buying a bow for yourself - you are getting it for a small kid who is just getting into archery. Kids don't care about brands - what they care about is how comfortable they feel shooting a particular bow. Particularly, the ease of drawing and holding a bow is much more important to them than the brand name.

Some adults make a mistake by choosing "the best" youth bow for their kids based on their own preferences instead of carefully analyzing important factors and asking their small ones what they like. In such situations kids end up with bows they can't shoot comfortably and they immediately lose interest in the sport. To prevent this from happening and make your kid happy, familiarize yourself with the below considerations, shortlist the most suitable bows, and ensure your kid shoots as many of them as possible.


2   What to consider when choosing a youth compound bow

There are a number of crucial factors to consider when choosing a youth compound bow: your kid's age, bow mass weight and let-off, bow adjustability, usage scenarios, and so on. So, let's get started.

2.1  Child's age

Although bow manufacturers design youth bows to be as accommodating as possible (to ensure they don't need to be upgraded often), not all bows are suitable for all kids. While some rigs suit little kids perfectly well, others are advisable for older boys and girls only. In other words, there is no universal/best youth bow suitable for all ages. While bow manufacturers design youth compound bows so that they grow with a young archer, there is no bow that can be used by someone from 4 to 18 years old. Therefore, when you here a phrase like "this bow is all your child ever needs and it will grow with your kid" understand that this only applies to a certain age range. So, if your child is still very young, the best way to start is to choose one of the smallest youth compound bows, stick with it for a few years, and then upgrade to something more substantial when appropriate. On the other hand, if your kid is older, you may only need 1 youth bow before he or she is ready for an adult rig.

The best way to understand which bows are suitable for your kid is to explore this guide first and then use our unique compound bow selector to find the most suitable rig (see our youth compound bow reviews selector or youth compound bows for sale selector).


2.2  Bow mass weight

Bow mass weight is a very important factor to consider when choosing a compound bow for smaller kids. While most older children can easily hold any youth bow, smaller youngsters are not strong enough and should only shoot lightweight bows. Therefore, care needs to be taken when choosing a youth compound bow for smaller kids.

While not all youngsters are the same, generally, boys and girls under 5 years old shouldn't shoot bows heavier than 3 lbs. So, if your child is small and petite, choose a lighter bow.

It is important to mention, that some bow manufacturers don't manufacture lightweight youth compound bows. So, be very careful and always check bow specifications before making your decision. Most importantly, ask your child how he or she feels about holding a particular bow. If the child complaints about the bow being to heavy, don't buy it - either choose a lighter rig or wait until your child is comfortable to shoot this bow.

Here is a detailed example on some suitable and not suitable bows for smaller kids. Have a look at the below table to understand why some youth bows are more suitable for small kids. (click on the bow name to find out more about a particular rig).

Youth compound bows for smaller kids - bow mass weight is important

Bow Mass weight Draw length Draw weight Comment
Martin Tiger 1.375 lbs
version: 2011
14" - 24" 10 - 20 lbs Suitable for ages from 4 to 8 years old
Mathews Genesis Mini 2.0 lbs
version: 2011
14" - 25" 6 - 12 lbs Suitable for ages from 3 to 8 years old
Fuse Freestyle 2.3 lbs
version: 2011
14" - 24" 10 - 25 lbs Suitable for ages from 4 to 9 years old
Diamond Nuclear Ice 2.8 lbs
version: 2010
14" - 24" 10 - 29 lbs Suitable for ages from 4 to 10 years old
Darton Ranger III 2.9 lbs
version: 2011
17" - 28" 15 - 50 lbs Higher draw weight and mass weight - shouldn't be used by the smallest kids
Bear Apprentice 2.9 lbs
version: 2010
15" - 27" 20 - 50 lbs
Mission Menace 2.95 lbs
version: 2011
17" - 30" 16 - 52 lbs
PSE Chaos 3.1 lbs
version: 2010
17" - 27" 19 - 50 lbs

Remember that every ounce counts in the hands of a small child, so ensure your kid is comfortabe with the bow and it's not too heavy for him or her.


2.3  Draw weight

Stressing a growing body can cause some serious health problems. Pulling too much weight can lead to over-developing some muscles while under-developing others. Experts and doctors say young shooters should not try pulling too much draw weight because their joints and muscles are still growing. So, care needs to be taken to avoid permanent damage. You should ensure a child only pulls as much weight as they can comfortably handle without straining. That is why, not only it is vitally important to select the right bow with the proper draw weight range, but also to set up the right amount of draw weight for your kid. To illustrate, an average 4 years old child should never attempt to pull more than 10 lbs or so. So, any bow that doesn't go that low in draw weight is simply not suitable. The following table shows average draw weights for different types of body frames.

Average draw weights for different types of shooters
Shooter type Average draw weight, lbs
Very small child
55-70 lbs
10-15
Small child
70-100 lbs
15-25
Larger child
100-130 lbs
25-35
Small frame woman
100-130 lbs
25-35
Medium frame woman
130-160 lbs
30-40
Athletic older child
130-150 lbs
40-50
Small frame man
120-150 lbs
45-55
Large frame woman
160+ lbs
45-55
Medium frame men
150-180 lbs
55-65
Large frame man
180+ lbs
65+

It is important to understand and explain to your child that a good archer is not the one who can pull a lot of weight, but the one who is more accurate and consistent. Again, only set up as much weight as your child can comfortably handle without putting any stress on their body.