Best Crossbow Under $500 In 2022 With Reviews 

These days crossbow prices can be intimidating, but don't worry, you can still get powerful, well-crafted models for under $500. In fact, we reviewed and rated 10 models in that price range with the features and quality to fit a number of specific hunting situations. Below you'll find our full reviews along with pros and cons and a buyer's guide so you can find the right crossbow for you.

List Of The Best Crossbows Under $500

Reviews Of The 10 Best Crossbows Under $500

Below you will find our in-depth reviews of the top crossbows under $500. Keep in mind that these crossbows fluctuate in price and they were all under $500 at the time this was written. We will take the time to update this article as needed.

Best Overall

Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 With AcuDraw Crank Cocking Device

Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 With AcuDraw Crank Cocking Device

The Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 is right in the sweet spot for beginners. Not only is it lightweight at just six pounds, but it's rated for 360 FPS, which is definitely powerful enough for serious hunting but not so much that a beginner can't handle it. Plus, it's ready for hunting right out of the box, making it one of the best entry-level crossbows on the market.

Another thing that makes it good for beginners and also increases its value is the built-in cocking device, something you usually find on more advanced, more expensive models. This Acudraw cocking device decreases draw weight by a whopping 50 percent, and it makes hunting more convenient because you don't have to carry around a cocking rope or other device that would take up room in your pack.

However, the main reason the Rampage made the top spot is its value. Aside from being a top-quality model with impressive specs, it comes with accessories you rarely find on crossbows under $500. For example, the package includes a multi-line scope, three arrows and a quiver. Additionally, the crossbow has important safety mechanisms like a built-in safety and dry-fire inhibitor.

It is also one of our top picks for best crossbow for women.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 360 FPS
  • Ready to hunt
  • Acudraw cocking device
  • Included accessories
  • Dry-fire inhibitor

Cons:

  • Was under $500 when this was written, but is usually just under $600

Here is a video showing all of the features of the Wicked Ridge Rampage 360.

We love the Wicked Ridge Rampage 360. While it might just be the best beginner crossbow on the market, we also recommend it for experienced hunters who want a value crossbow that has all the necessary accessories to hunt out of the box without costing an arm and a leg. On top of a scope, arrows and a quiver, it even comes with an advanced built-in cocking device that makes it accessible and easy to use for most types of hunters.


Best Hunting Crossbow Under 500

BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow 

Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow

The Barnett Whitetail is one of the most popular series of hunting crossbows out there, and the STR is a great way to get that quality at a low price. In fact, we were surprised it fell in the under-500 price range when we were reviewing it. Most impressively, we loved the skeleton stock that reduces weight in addition to the step-through riser that makes cocking the crossbow a lot easier. This is good because it doesn't come with any cocking device besides a cocking rope, though it's not particularly hard to cock anyway since it only has 180 lbs of draw weight.

One of the reasons for this low draw weight is the advanced cam system. Despite the low draw weight, it still gets pretty good arrow speed: 375 FPS. That's plenty for hunting and also a bit more manageable if you're a beginner.

If you're wondering where Barnett cut corners to keep the price down, it's mostly the scope, which isn't the best. Plus, it only comes with two arrows whereas other ready-to-hunt packages come with three. That said, we definitely think it's more important to get a quality, well-crafted crossbow since you can always upgrade your accessories. With a sleek camo finish, this is an inexpensive crossbow that can still see you through numerous seasons.

Pros:

  • Skeleton stock
  • Step-through riser
  • Easy draw weight for beginners
  • 375 FPS
  • Ready to hunt
  • Camo finish

Cons:

  • No crank device
  • Low-quality scope

If you know you love hunting and want a crossbow that's inexpensive but still well crafted and tough enough to hunt frequently, we definitely suggest this Whitetail Hunter model from Barnett. Despite the low price, it has an advanced design that includes a powerful cam system, step-through riser and skeleton stock. Plus, it comes with the accessories you need to start hunting right out of the box.  


Best Crossbow Package Under 500

Killer Instinct Boss 405 FPS Deluxe Crossbow Package -
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Killer Instinct Boss 405 Crossbow

The main draw of the Boss 405 is that it's a full ready-to-hunt package. In fact, it really goes above and beyond to provide you with everything you need including a lot of accessories and features you won't find even in other packages. For example, it comes with a storage and transportation case as well as a sling that makes it a lot easier to carry out to your tree stand. 

Additionally, it comes with six bolts and nine broadheads. That's great for a beginner who might lose their bolts or damage their broadheads, but it's also good for anyone who hunts a lot and increases the overall value of the crossbow. You can even hold some of those bolts while hunting thanks to the included quiver.

Some of the accessories you might want to upgrade. For instance, the scope is a bit lacking, so in the long run, you might want a better one. However, overall, the Boss 405 is suited to big game and serious hunting situations. The 3.5-lb trigger and adjustable butt stock allow for great accuracy and consistency, even with the powerful cam system that propels bolts at 405 FPS.

Pros:

  • Extensive hunting package
  • Case and sling included
  • 9 broadheads included
  • 3.5-lb trigger
  • Adjustable butt stock
  • 405 FPS

Cons:

  • Low-quality scope
  • No crank cocking device

It's hard to find a more complete hunting package for under $500, and if you tried to buy all the equipment included with the Killer Instinct Boss 405 separately, you'd probably end up paying double. With accessories like a case and sling, not to mention nine broadheads and a quiver, this package has just about everything you need, not just for hunting, but off-season storage and maintenance as well, all for a low price.


Best 400 FPS crossbow Under $500

CenterPoint Amped 425 FPS Compound Crossbow Package with Silent Crank

CenterPoint Amped 425 FPS Compound Crossbow

When considering price per FPS, the Amped 425 is one of the best crossbows on the market. At 425 FPS, it's an advanced model good for experienced hunters doing serious hunting who still have a budget to follow.

In addition to the super fast bolt speed, we were really impressed by two unique features of this model: the silent cranking device and folding stirrup. While the folding stirrup isn't as stable as a step-through riser, it does have the advantage of allowing you to fold it out of the way to prevent it catching on anything while you're carrying your crossbow. Similarly, the silent cranking device helps cut down on noise if you need to load another bolt during the hunt.

Where we were less than impressed with this model was the bowstring. You definitely need to make sure you keep it and the rail adequately oiled to increase its life. Luckily, it does have machined aluminum rails that help preserve the string as well as a ball bearing retention spring design that's great at keeping bolts in place.

Pros:

  • 425 FPS
  • Cranking device
  • Folding stirrup
  • Machined aluminum rails
  • Ball bearing retention spring

Cons:

  • Unstable stirrup
  • Weak bowstring

We recommend the CenterPoint Amped 425 for anyone who plans to do some serious hunting this season but doesn't want to drain their bank account. With 425 FPS, this crossbow is certainly enough to hunt big bucks or big game like elk and moose. Plus, it's a full package that comes with a scope, bolts and a quiver in addition to special features like a silent crank device.


Best Reverse Draw Crossbow Under 500

BearX Intense Ready to Shoot Crossbow -
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BearX Intense crossbow

We were actually surprised to find a reverse-draw crossbow for under $500. This type of crossbow has been becoming increasingly popular, but as an advanced design, they tend to be more expensive. However, the BearX Intense is affordable but still has all the features that have put reverse-draw crossbows in such high demand.

Specifically, the long 12.7-in powerstroke gives you much more power for the draw weight with a bolt speed of 400 FPS. Plus, it's much narrower than a standard compound crossbow at just 10 inches when cocked, which makes it a lot easier to carry through thick brush. The weight is also front-loaded, and while it is a bit heavier and takes some adjusting to if you're used to standard crossbows, it can ultimately help your accuracy.

On top of the reverse-draw advantages, the Intense also has a lot of great general features. All for under $400, you get a ready-to-hunt package that includes three bolts, an illuminated scope and a quiver. You can even choose between two different camo patterns to better blend in with your local environment.

Pros:

  • Reverse draw
  • 400 FPS
  • Long powerstroke
  • Narrow ATA
  • Ready to hunt
  • 2 camo options

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Strange balance
  • No cranking device

Reverse-draw crossbows are all the rage these days. If you've wanted to see why but don't want to spend too much on an advanced model, you can still get the full experience with the BearX Intense. Without hurting your wallet, you can get a ready-to-hunt package that takes full advantage of the reverse-draw design including a long power stroke, narrow ATA and 400 FPS bolt speed with high accuracy.


Best Crossbow For Deer Hunting Under $500

Barnett TS 380 Crossbow with Crank Cocking Device

Barnett TS380 Crossbow

The first thing we noticed about the Barnett TS 380 was its adjustability. The length-of-pull butt stock is adjustable, so you can set it based on what's comfortable for you when shooting, thereby increasing your accuracy. Similarly, the integrated cranking device makes it easy for just about anyone to cock the crossbow, regardless of upper body strength or size.

Another reason this model is such a good universal choice for most hunters is its bolt speed of 380 FPS. While you may want something more for the biggest game, it's certainly still enough to hunt deer, and it's more manageable for beginners or youth.

This Barnett crossbow is also good for beginners because it's a ready-to-hunt package. Unfortunately, it does require some assembly, but it's not too difficult. Plus, you get a scope, two bolts and a side-mounted quiver as well as safety features like an anti-dry fire mechanism and finger safety reminder.

Pros:

  • Adjustable butt stock
  • Integrated cocking device
  • 380 FPS
  • Ready to hunt
  • Numerous safety features

Cons:

  • Some assembly required
  • Only 2 bolts

We definitely recommend the Barnett TS 380 for someone who plans on regularly hunting deer with their crossbow. It has a powerful but fast FPS of 380 and features like an adjustable stock that helps you tune the weapon to your shooting style for consistent accuracy. This way you can head out to the tree stand weekend after weekend and take full advantage of the long archery hunting season. You can see why the TS 380 tops of our list of best Barnett crossbows.


Best Recurve Crossbow Under 500

Excalibur Matrix G340 Crossbow

Excalibur Matrix G340 Recurve Crossbow

We found that the Excalibur Matrix G340 has the advantages of a recurve crossbow while minimizing the downsides. Specifically, it's easy to use and maintain with a more manageable bolt speed of 340 FPS without losing too much power. 

At the same time, it's not overly bulky or heavy. In fact, it only weighs 5.5 lbs, less than some compound crossbows. This is due to the skeleton frame that still provides strength, stability and durability for regular hunting. 

Of course, as a recurve bow, you do have to deal with the large size and ATA. It also has a high draw weight of 230 lbs that can be difficult for new archers. It does come with a cocking rope, but we wish it had a crank or some kind or similar device.

Otherwise, the Matrix G340 is a convenient choice even for beginners because it's a ready-to-hunt package that comes with several important accessories. Namely, it includes a scope, three bolts and a quiver with space for four bolts.

Pros:

  • Reliable and easy to maintain
  • 340 FPS
  • Lightweight
  • Skeleton frame
  • Ready to hunt

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • High draw weight

Many hunters prefer recurve crossbows because they're easy to use and their simple design is more reliable and less likely to break down. The Excalibur Matrix G340 has all this while limiting the usual problems with recurve crossbows like weight. Thanks to innovative design features like a skeleton frame, the G340 is super lightweight and a manageable model for beginners and experts alike.


Best Rated Crossbow Under 500

BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow 

BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

We weren't surprised to find that the best rated crossbow under $500 was a Barnett. They always seem to combine quality with value. In the case of the Whitetail Hunter II, you're getting one of the archery community's favorite crossbows along with extensive hunting accessories for a low price.

First of all, this model is a great value because it's lightweight while still being durable thanks to an advanced skeleton stock and cam system. Despite shooting at a solid 350 FPS, plenty for medium-sized game like deer, it weighs just 6.4 lbs. For one thing, this makes it easier to carry around, but more importantly, it means you can hold it steady for longer, which improves your accuracy.

We did think that the Whitetail Hunter II is a bit wide for a compound crossbow with an ATA of 16.125 inches, but it's not so much that it becomes a problem. Since this is the best rated crossbow on our list, most people apparently didn't mind.

Finally, we were impressed by the number of accessories Barnett included without raising the price. On top of a side-mounted quiver with two bolts, you get a scope, rope cocking device and rail lube. Just keep in mind that there is some assembly required, and you may want to upgrade the scope in the long run.

Pros:

  • Skeleton stock
  • Lightweight
  • 350 FPS
  • Ready to hunt
  • Many included accessories

Cons:

  • Wide ATA
  • Some assembly required
  • Low-quality scope

It's not always a good idea to go with the crowd, but in this case, we have to agree with the majority opinion. The Barnett Whitetail II won our spot for the best rated crossbow under $500 because it has a sturdy but lightweight frame and powerful cam system that's enough for hunting without being too much to handle. Plus, you get great value for the money with tons of included accessories.  


Best Youth Crossbow Under 500

Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 Crossbow

Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 Crossbow

When considering our recommendation for youth, the first thing we did was look at safety. That's why the Blackhawk 360 from Wicked Ridge immediately caught our eye. With built-in safety wings in addition to a fully enclosed trigger guard, the shooter's fingers are better protected from the bowstring. Plus, there's a dry-fire inhibitor and stable 3.5-lb trigger that help make sure the shooter shoots at the appropriate time.

The Blackhawk 360 is still a good hunting crossbow overall, too. Its bolt speed of 360 FPS is ideal for youth who want enough power for hunting but aren't used to the 400+ bolt speeds of the fastest crossbows. Similarly, the lightweight six-pound frame is easier for a young person to hold steadily while they aim.

On the whole, we'd say this crossbow is designed for a beginner who is learning and will likely move up. It's an affordable price, but it has a weak bowstring and scope with reticles only up to 50 yards. With some experience, you may want to update these parts. Aside from that, though, we really liked the included accessories such as the cocking rope, three arrows and quiver.

Pros:

  • Extensive safety features
  • 3.5-lb trigger
  • 360 FPS
  • Lightweight
  • Included accessories

Cons:

Youth have unique needs when shopping for a crossbow. One of the primary ones is safety, which is why we recommend the Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 and its extensive safety features specifically for youth. Of course, its manageable FPS, light weight and included accessories also make it great for hunting in general, especially deer.


Staff Favorite

PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow

PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow

We certainly couldn't write a list of our top crossbows without including the Fang HD. Our staff agree that it's our overall favorite, and not just because of how cool it looks. For instance, we love that it shoots at a blistering 405 FPS, but that's not all.

The fast bolt speed means the Fang is a lot more accurate than other models, but on top of that, the reverse cam technology improves accuracy as well. If that weren't enough, the ready-to-hunt package comes with a good scope with variable zoom, something you rarely find on models under $500.

The package includes some other great features and accessories as well. For example, you get three carbon bolts to match the lightweight carbon frame. Carbon cuts down on weight while increasing rigidity, once again improving accuracy as well as durability.

Lastly, we love the adjustable butt stock that makes it easier to get a comfortable grip and aim correctly. There are also safety features like an anti-dry-fire mechanism and an auto safety trigger. It even comes with limb dampeners and silencers.

Pros:

  • 405 FPS
  • Highly accurate
  • Reverse cam design
  • Variable zoom scope
  • Carbon frame and bolts
  • Adjustable butt stock
  • Numerous included accessories

Cons:

The PSE Fang HD is our overall staff recommendation. Just about any hunter can benefit from the pinpoint accuracy of the model that comes from the 405 FPS bolt speed, reverse cam design and included variable zoom scope. It also has impressive features for the money including a carbon frame and adjustable butt stock as well as quality accessories like carbon bolts and safety mechanisms.


Best Crossbow Under $500 Comparison Chart


Model

Weight

Speed

PRICE

Wicked Ridge Rampage 360 With AcuDraw Crank Cocking Device

Best Overall - Wicked Ridge Rampage 360

6lbs

360 FPS

Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow

Best For Hunting  - BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR

6.6lbs

375 FPS

Killer Instinct Boss 405 Crossbow

Best Crossbow Package Under $500 - Killer Instinct Boss 405

6.7lbs

405 FPS

CenterPoint Amped 425 FPS Compound Crossbow

Best 400 FPS crossbow Under $500

- CenterPoint Amped 425

7.8lbs

425 FPS

Bear X Intense crossbow

Best Reverse Draw - Bear X Intense Crossbow

8lbs

400 FPS

Barnett TS380 Crossbow

Best For Deer Hunting - Barnett TS380

6.9lbs

380 FPS

Excalibur Matrix G340 Recurve Crossbow

Best Recurve - Excalibur Matrix G340

5.5lbs

340 FPS

BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

Best Rated Under $500 - Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

6.4lbs

350 FPS

Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 Crossbow

Best Youth Crossbow Under $500 - Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360

6lbs

360 FPS

PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow

Staff Favorite - PSE ARCHERY Fang HD

7.3lbs

405 FPS

What To Look For When Choosing A Crossbow Under $500

You might think that when looking for a budget crossbow under $500 that you have to sacrifice certain features or preferences. That isn't the case, though. You can still be picky. Here are some specific things to look at.

Brand Name

It's not always necessary to get a brand name, but in the case of crossbows, certain brands do give you the confidence that they'll be well crafted. When looking for a budget crossbow, specifically, several name brands help assure you that the low price doesn't necessarily mean lower quality. These include:

  • Barnett
  • PSE Archery
  • TenPoint (who also make Wicked Ridge models)
  • Bowtech/Excalibur
  • Bear Archery
  • Centerpoint
  • Killer Instinct

Compound, Recurve or Reverse Draw

Among the three main types of crossbows, compound models are by far the most common. They provide power and speed without being too bulky. Plus, they minimize draw weight without sacrificing power.

As opposed to compound crossbows, recurve models are much simpler. As a result, they rarely break down, require minimal maintenance and are easier to use. This makes them good for beginners. Their main downside is size, specifically ATA width. They also usually have a bit less power, but this can also be good for beginners.

Reverse-draw crossbows are a newer type of crossbow with a more innovative design that involves, well, drawing the crossbow the opposite way. The advantage is that you get a longer power stroke, which means the bowstring accelerates the bolt for more time, giving you more speed and power with a narrower ATA. They also tend to shoot more quietly.

Unfortunately, reverse-draw models are a bit more complicated to use and are usually more expensive. They're a better choice for experienced archers looking for something new.

Speed

Crossbow bolt speed, measured in feet per second, or FPS, usually ranges between 300 and 500 FPS and is one of the most important features to look at. While just about any crossbow is fast enough to hunt medium-sized game like deer, you may want a more powerful model for big game like elk, moose or bear.

Additionally, while faster bolt speeds give you more range and improve accuracy, they can be hard to handle for beginners, and the effective range of the crossbow does not really change that much. We usually recommend you stay under 400 FPS for your first crossbow, but over 400 is fine if you have some experience.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is less of an issue for crossbows compared to vertical bows because pretty much any crossbow is going to be impossible for someone to cock without some kind of device. However, a lower draw weight may be easier to cock just using a foot stirrup rather than a cocking rope or crank. This is important for archers who don't have a lot of upper body strength.

Cocking Method

Unless you're a record-holding powerlifter, you'll almost certainly need some kind of cocking device to cock your crossbow. The simplest way is with a foot stirrup. By putting your foot through the stirrup, you get leverage that allows you to pull up the bowstring.

However, other methods can make things a lot easier. For example, a cocking rope better distributes the draw weight so it takes less effort to pull up the bowstring.

The easiest way, though, is with a crank. By rotating the crank, you slowly draw back the bowstring with little effort at all. Some crossbow models come with a crank that's integrated into the frame, a great feature to look for. 

A crank also works to decock a crossbow, which makes them that much more valuable.

Safety

Crossbows are dangerous weapons, so safety should always be a priority, doubly so if you're shopping for a youth or beginner crossbow shooter. Standard safety features include trigger safeties and anti-dry-fire mechanisms that keep the crossbow from releasing the bowstring if there isn't a bolt loaded. Dry firing can damage a crossbow and even cause it to splinter and injure the shooter.

More advanced safety features include finger wings, trigger guards and even rail sensors. These do their best to prevent your fingers from crossing the plane of the crossbow bowstring which moves so fast that it could potentially cut off your finger.

Accessories

It's always nice when a crossbow comes with accessories so you don't have to buy them separately. Essential accessories you should look for so you can start hunting right off the bat include:

  • Crossbow bolts
  • Scope
  • Some kind of cocking method (stirrup, cocking rope or crank)

Of course, some crossbows also come with other accessories that can increase your chances of hunting success. These add a lot of value to the package and include:

  • Quiver
  • Carrying case
  • Sling
  • Limb dampeners
  • String silencers
  • Rail lube

We also want to mention crossbow broadheads. You need hunting broadheads to go hunting, but these are rarely included in hunting packages, even if they come with bolts. If the package does, that's a great feature.

Warranty

With proper maintenance and care, your crossbow should last for years, but it's always worth checking the warranty a given crossbow comes with. For one thing, a long warranty lets you buy with the reassurance that you can return or repair it if there is some kind of defect. More importantly, long warranties signal that the manufacturer is confident in their product and has crafted it with care.

Final Thoughts

Even if you're on a budget, you can still get a crossbow with the features and accessories you need. Our best overall crossbow under $500 is the Wicked Ridge Rampage 360, but the staff here at DeerHuntingGuide.net really love the PSE Archery Fang HD as well.

Make sure you've considered all the reviews and how each crossbow might fit your personal hunting needs and situation.

Now it's time to go buy your favorite crossbow on the list, take it out in your yard and get it sighted in, just in time for the hunting season!

Photo of author

Ron Parker

Ron is an archery instructor and expert bow hunter that lives with his wife and kids in central Ohio. When he is not teaching archery or in the woods bow hunting deer, he is writing informative articles for DeerHuntingGuide.net.

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