Recurve or Compound Bow | Which and Why?

Recurve or Compound bow

Getting recurve or compound bow in any sense is the first alarm that buzzes in many tyros’ minds when starting their journey in the wild archery life. There is no doubt that both of the gears have their own appeals to help you hit the bull’s eye. But it is also a need to figure out which bow is the best cup tie for you.

A recurve bow is closer to a traditional style of archery. As the name suggests, this particular bow is bent towards the aim. Therefore, when you are pulling back the arrow, you feel more powerful than usual. If you have a good draw, you can fire the arrow at a long distance quickly with a recurve bow. Nonetheless, the recurve bow comes at a comparably reasonable price.

On the other hand, compound bow got an enormous appraisal for its easy to use trait and more adjustability. In brief, it delivers a user-friendly experience than a recurve bow. Besides, there are maximum picking options in case of the compound bow. Let’s get in the ground and find out which bow style is the best match for you.

Recurve Bow – The Old-School Beast!

Recurve bow

As mentioned, recurve is similar to wild and old-fashioned bow style. Usually, this style is found as a solid one-piece edition. Though nowadays you can find many upgraded styles of recurve bow.

For example, Takedowns can be customized by adding attachments. It’s a great plus when you are planning to participate in the Olympics or other tournaments. When it comes to traveling with your bow, you can take apart the bow into pieces.

The basics of recurve bow are the limbs, riser, and the string. It works by storing energy when you pull back the bow. In the meantime, the limb is going to flex so that when you let it go, it pushes the arrow forward. You will find stabilizers on the recurve bow, which helps you to hold it still.

There is also an adjustable sight. You can adjust it according to the archer’s height and your preference. You can also equip clicker, arrow rest, and plunger button in a recurve bow.

Compound Bow – The Feature-rich Hipster!

compoun bow

After discovering in late 1960, the compound bow became a favorite gear for several bow hunters. And why won’t it be actually?! Since it’s the most versatile bow when measuring functionality.

Unlike recurve bow, compound bows have a Let-off trait. It becomes helpful when you want to diminish the draw weight. So, you can shoot at a long distance with less chance of missing the target. The trait makes it more effortless.

If talking about the attachments, the compound bow is equipped with a riser, cams, and string. Instead of one string like recurve bows, there are more cables packed with it.

Recurve or Compound Bow – Head-to-Head Comparison!

Let’s get a quick overview of the critical features of the recurve and compound bow. We are going to discuss more about them well along.


Recurve Bow

Compound Bow

Design Standard

Traditional style except the ones used for the Olympics    

Modern style

Flat Limbs



Archer Paradox



Variable Draw Weight



Release System




No scope

Eligible to scope


30 to 32 inches

60 to 64 inches

Riser Finish

Wood mainly, metal, Aluminum

Aluminum mainly and carbon finish

Average Bow Weight

1.9 lbs. to 3.6 lbs.

3 lbs. to 4.4 lbs.




Draw Weight

15 lbs. to 60 lbs.

5 lbs. to 80 lbs.

Strain at Maximum Draw



Eyesight Through


Usually the peep sight

1 Year Scores on Average

More than 7 per arrow

More than 9 per arrow

Recurve Bow vs Compound Bow – Which is Better and Why

Now we will dig deeper into both of them; it will reveal some of the significant aspects to reconsider. It will assist you in identifying the best bow style for every possible situation and specification. Then you may compare and find which bow type makes more sense.

  • Power Structure

Usually, recurve and compound bow both come with 70 pounds of draw weight. It is because that much weight is adequate to reach your arrow the maximum distance you might need at a range.

Maybe you are thinking – the same draw weight would result in the same force. With the particular draw weight, the compound bow tends to perform better than the others if the wind is on your side. It doesn’t change even if you are using an arrow of the same dimension and mass.

Winner – Compound Bow

  • Aim Mechanism

When using the same draw weight in the compound bow, it requires 80% less effort. It’s because of the built-in set-up and design. That means you only need to pull backward 14 pounds-force at the time of targeting. Undoubtedly, it makes sense to a newbie or pro.

And, the recurve bow requires holding back a similar amount of force during aiming. So, you have to put more effort.

Winner – Compound Bow

  • Noise Cancellation

Since you can use string silencer in both of the bows, it is possible to reduce noise. Besides, you can also try limb dampeners in either recurve or compound styles, thus:

Result – Draw

  • Size

Recurve bow sizes are anywhere from 30 to 32 inches. Conversely, the compound bows are measured between 60 to 64 inches from the limp tip to the tip. Well, as the size, comfort is entirely depending on you, the voting right goes to you as well. So, what would you choose?

Result – Your Vote!

  • Weight Issues

Yes, the recurve bow is unquestionably bigger than a compound bow. Though still, you would observe the compound ones are equipped with more attachments. Although when customizing your recurve bow with cams, strings, or experimenting with riser, the result might differ. But because we are comparing a stock design, recurve bow style proves to be lighter than compound bows.

Winner – Recurve Bow

  • Compactness

If we are not digging too back the previous design measures, nowadays, you will encounter maximum recurve bow as a Takedown. So, you get the chance to disassemble the complete unit whenever it requires. For instance, ejecting the limb or the riser is easier when dealing with a recurve bow. By far, disassembling parts is not possible in the case of compound bows.

Winner – Recurve Bow

  • Customization

You can change the draw length by playing with the cam’s position when using a compound bow. It also works for adjusting weight and power significantly. For example, you can switch from 5-70 pounds of draw weight in some cases. You can minimize or maximize the length between 13-inch to 31-inch, which gives you more control over the gear.

Unfortunately, only a few of the recurve bows are eligible to adjust the length, weight, and all. Then again, you have to pay more to get them. Most conventional recurve bows come assembled as a single set. Hence, you can’t get the opportunity to modify or upgrade that much.

Winner – Compound Bow

  • Budget-friendly

In general, the recurve bows are mid-range compared to the compound bows. For instance, when you are going to compare the performance of the Samick Sage recurve bow with the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro compound bow. Here, the mentioned compound bow is considered better overall by many sharp hunters. But the recurve one comes at a half price of it.

Winner – Recurve Bow

  • Maintenance

The string of your bowstring often rips apart. No doubt, it is a nightmare for any archer. But things become worse when you can’t fix it. Indeed, the solution is changing the string.

Since setting up a new string in a recurve bow is quite easy, you don’t have to bother that much. You can do it yourself. Even if you find any issue where you need to change the broken limb, you can simply bolt a new one.

The repairing process is not easy on the flip side since the compound bows are crafted in a routine that does not let you change attachments. However, you can do so if there is a hand of professional service providers, which might cost you more.

Winner – Recurve Bow

Recurve vs Compound Bow for Beginners

Maybe, you are going to start your journey in hunting, target shooting, or bow fishing. Whatever it is, depending on your situation, both of those have benefits and drawbacks.

For instance, if you are going for the bow hunting, compound bows give you more control and flexibility. During hunting, you often need to hold the draw for a more extended period. Because of the Let-off feature, it becomes easier for you to continue your mission. Due to the small shape, you can bring it inside your hiking backpack without any trouble.

Well, when it comes to bow fishing, both styles seem to be useful. It is unnecessary to mention that recurve bows are the best choice for faster fire, which is essential in bow fishing. Similarly, as you have to wait a while before the shot, it becomes more comfortable to hold compound bows.

If comparing compound vs recurve bow for targeting, you will find tournaments and competitions in both genres. Nevertheless, the dimensions and the distance of the target are also similar to each other. It is entirely upon you where you want to start your exploring.

Although you should remember that only the recurve bow shooting is practiced in the Olympics. You can go with the compound bow shooting if there is no affection for big play-offs.

For all the first-timers, picking the compound bow can be a wise choice. Remember, a moment will come when you want to level up your skillset and strength to reach the next stage. As the compound bow is more adjustable than recurve ones, you can easily upgrade the attachments to do so. Thus, there won’t be any necessity to reinvest in a new bow.

Recurve Bow – Key Factors to Consider


  • Starting price points are more reasonable than compound bows
  • If you have a Takedown, it is possible to upgrade your gear over time
  • Easy to disassemble whenever it’s needed, such as while traveling
  • Delivers faster shooting experience for bow fishers
  • Comes with a more stable design and size


  • Less potent than compound bows
  • Not the best choice for improving proficiency at the intermediate level

Compound Bow – Key Factors to Consider


  • More user-friendly than recurve bows
  • Comfortable to hold back the force for a longer period
  • Adaptable craftsmanship allows stress-free customization of the gears
  • Best match for bow hunting enthusiasts
  • The lighter design makes it effortless to work


  • Pricier for newbies
  • Maintenance requires professional support

Final Thoughts

We hope this complete guide will help to figure out your best match. Whether you pick recurve or compound bow, these facts will attest your choice and clear all confusions. It’s our responsibility not only to guide you towards the best products but also to lead you to a complete understanding of those products.

If you want to have a more featured, comfortable, and beginner-friendly bow, go for the compound. If you prefer a more stable, old-school, and cheaper bow, try the recurve. Our best regards are always with you. Make sure to write us back about your experience. So, which one is your thing? Recurve bow or compound bow?

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