Our team of expert hunters and archery instructors have spent countless hours installing, adjusting and shooting arrows through more than 20 drop away rests.
Below they share their top picks for best drop away arrow rest complete with in depth reviews so that you can decide which rest is right for you.
Quality Archery Designs HDX
Hamskea Hybrid Hunter Pro
Best FOR the money
Quality Archery Designs UltraRest LD
Best Drop Away Arrow Rests At A Glance
Best Drop Away Arrow Rests: Reviews And Recommendations
Best Overall: Quality Archery Designs HDX Arrow Rest
The HDX Arrow Rest is QAD’s flagship model, and it comes with all the quality features that make a rest stand out—and reach the top of our list of favorites. As a drop-away rest, it allows for fine-tuned accuracy with hardly any interference in the arrow’s trajectory, but it also eliminates the main problem of drop-away rests: difficult installation and adjustment.
Installation takes just a few steps. After attaching it to the riser, just clamp the timing cord on your bow buss cable. You can then adjust the timing with the simple timing cord that can be moved while staying attached to the buss cable.
Plus, you can center it in with the graduated vertical and horizontal adjusters that have easy-to-see measurement markers. There’s even a full-draw indicator so there’s no guesswork when installing it.
The HDX has a top-shelf construction as well. Made of stainless steel and painted with a black finish that helps prevent corrosion, it can stand up to seasons of use, making it a better value than it already is. Additionally, the HDX is constructed in such a way that it can be secured against the front of your riser, which makes it easier to align vertically.
Finally, as a top-shelf model, the HDX has some extra features you’re unlikely to find in lower-end models. The coolest is arguably the included DVD which shows you how to install the rest and then use the various indicators and markers to zero it in.
Other extra features that give the HDX an edge are the advanced vibration system, which uses molded rubber to absorb vibration from the arrow and bow to increase accuracy and stealth, and the included felt covers.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
As our overall favorite cable driven rest, the HDX is a rest that will benefit any compound bow user, hunter or hobbyist. It may be a particularly good choice for you if you hunt a lot and know you’re going to need a rest for seasons to come. Plus, with the numerous features that improve accuracy, you can take advantage of your powerful bow to take down trophy bucks from longer distances.
Here's a great video showing how QAD arrow rests are made right here in the USA.
Best For Hunting: Hamskea Trinity Hunter Micro Tune Arrow Rest
The Hamskea Trinity Hunter is one of the best drop-away rests for hunting for exactly what the name says: it can be micro-tuned for pinpoint accuracy. This involves graduated horizontal adjustment with easy-to-read measurement marks along with micro vertical adjustments for windage and a spring knob for internal torsion positions. This means that it’s not just easy to zero in on the range, but you can adjust it in the tree stand to adapt to environmental factors and get as accurate a shot as possible.
You can also shoot confidently because the rest’s Zero Stop technology means that the rest resets the same after each use. Unless you need to tune the rest for environmental factors like wind, it should shoot consistently each time for maximum accuracy.
We also really like the rest design as well. The drop-away rubber V and rubber containment also contribute to consistency since the arrow doesn’t slip from the bottom of the V. It’s easy to set the arrow as well thanks to the insertion break in the containment ring.
In general, we usually like felt more than rubber since it minimizes the amount of velocity the rest robs from the arrow, but we were definitely surprised by this rubber design. The drop away works so consistently thanks to the dampening coil that the arrow stays true and fast.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Being able to micro tune the Trinity Hunter RH makes it a no-brainer for serious hunters who want the accuracy of a drop-away rest. This is especially true if you hunt in an area with constantly changing weather and a lot of wind during the hunting season, such as the Midwest.
Editor's Choice For Hunting: Hamskea Archery Solutions Hybrid Hunter Pro
The Hybrid Hunter Pro, just like its cousin the Trinity Hunter, is a great drop-away rest for hunting, and a slightly less expensive one too. One thing in particular that makes it great for taking down trophy bucks even at close range is that it’s quiet. This is thanks to a Hamskea proprietary coating that cuts down on vibration and therefore noise.
Even with a powerful bow, the noise of a shot can cause your quarry to startle and jump, and your arrow could miss the killzone. Most drop-away rests either use rubber to create consistency and stability or felt to minimize friction and vibration. This rest makes the most of both. In fact, loading the arrow is even quiet because of the insertion break in the containment ring, not to mention easy.
The main selling point of this rest model is the hybrid design. While it’s not as easy to install or adjust as Trinity Hunter, the multiple configurations do provide a lot of versatility. Specifically, you can attach the timing cable to the top or bottom limb or the compound bow’s buss cable, as with most cable driven rests. This allows you to get the best possible setup for your bow and the accuracy to match.
Also important for hunting, the Hybrid Hunter Pro has reliable consistency with stainless steel ball bearings and a spring knob that maintains your adjustments. You can tune it in at the range and count on it to shoot accurately in the tree stand as well.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Of course, the Hybrid Hunter Pro is one of our favorite hunting rests, but it’s especially ideal for trophy hunting. Mature bucks are smart and they know what sounds to listen for, sounds as seemingly trivial as loading an arrow onto your rest. With the maximum silence of this model, that’s not a problem.
Best For target Shooting: Vapor Trail Archery Arrow Rest Pro V
We like this Vapor Trail model for target shooting specifically because it has arguably the best spring retention system on the market. This lets you adjust how long the rest supports the arrow during the shot cycle. For target shooters, this means you can set it to support the arrow with its V rest almost until the fletching reaches it, and then drop away. This creates an incredibly straight and accurate trajectory.
One interesting feature of the Pro V is its red and black finish. The red isn’t just for style. It actually guides your eye to the rest which makes it easier to load.
Unfortunately, this rest is a bit difficult to install and adjust with a stiff elevation bolt used to control its vertical orientation. This can actually be a good thing for target shooting since it lets you tune in the rest how you like it and then keep it securely in that position. However, for hunting it can be frustrating because you can’t really adjust it based on environmental factors, different locations, etc.
The Pro V is also a limb driven rest, which actually makes for better timing in the shot cycle. limb driven rests can be harder to install on some bows, especially due to this rest’s bolt-heavy design.
As for the V arm specifically, it’s covered with moleskin that provides for smooth movement and minimal vibration. The only problem is that it’s only on the arm, not the containment ring, but again, that’s only an issue for hunting, not target shooting.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
As you can see, the Pro V is a drop-away arrow rest with features ideal for target shooting. You can certainly use it for hunting if you want, especially if you hunt in the same situation repeatedly, the same tree stand, same weather, etc.
However, this model really shines on the range. You can get arrows that fly straight and give you excellent groupings. Most importantly, you can count on it to do so shot after shot.
Best Under $100: New Archery Products NAP Apache Drop Away Arrow Rest
Looking for value? We highly recommend the NAP Apache. It has all the features you’d find on a top-shelf rest at half the price.
For instance, it’s extra quiet thanks to the padding on the drop-away shelf and entire arrow containment ring. This not only allows for a release and minimal interference with the arrow’s trajectory, but it also absorbs extra vibration from the shot to cut down on excess noise.
Where the lower price comes in is adjustability. The Apache can be tuned, of course, but not quite as easily as more expensive models. For example, there are no graduated adjustments, rather you have to orient the rest vertically with a knob that’s not quite as precise.
Additionally, there’s no clamp for easily changing the placement on your bowstring or buss cable. Instead, you just have to tie it. This can be a problem if you need to retune it for weather, new arrows, or whatever else.
Still, the Apache is a great choice for hunting specifically, in part because you can get it in a camo finish. Plus, despite the difficulties with tuning, once you do get it zeroed in, it’s consistent and accurate so you don’t have to worry about missing the trophy buck you’ve been tracking all year.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
We recommend the Apache primarily for beginner bow hunters or hobbyists who only hunt a few times a season. That’s because it’s accurate once it’s set but harder to adjust on the fly. In other words, you can rely on it while you’re learning or trying to take down a doe or two for venison hamburgers. Once you learn the ropes—or move up to mature bucks—you can spring for a more expensive model.
Best For The Money: Quality Archery Designs QAD UltraRest LD
The UltraRest LD is one of the best values when it comes to drop-away arrow rests. In many ways, it’s even better than top-shelf models that cost twice as much.
What we really like is the easy adjustability of every aspect of the rest. It has graduated adjustment on both the vertical and horizontal axes, including clear, easy-to-see measurement markings so you can see and remember exactly which position works best.
On top of that, the timing cord comes with a clamp. This way you can put it in a precise position on your compound bow buss cable and adjust it easily to get the perfect shot.
The primary downside of this rest is the minimal arrow containment, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem if you have some shooting experience and install it correctly. Plus, with less material in addition to a partly aluminum construction, this means it’s lightweight. That’s great for hunting since you can hold the bow steady for longer.
Finally, we want to mention the camo felt. While this might not be as stable as rubber containment, it’s definitely quiet and absorbs excess vibration. There are rubber dampeners as well. And the camo is always a big plus.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
With Lock-Down technology that lets it function with powerful bows shooting over 400 FPS, the UltraRest LD is your choice for serious archery without draining your wallet. It’s lightweight, quiet and easy to tune for precise accuracy, both at the range and in the tree stand.
Since it has minimal containment and is designed for faster bows, we recommend it for archers with at least some experience. It makes a great upgrade if you have a season or two of experience under your belt and want to take it to the next level.
Best Budget Drop Away Arrow Rest: New Archery Products NAP Quiktune 800
As a budget model and one of the least expensive drop-away arrow rests we’ve found, the Quiktune 800 is certainly a barebones option that doesn’t have many features. If you want something simple that gets the job done, though, this could be your best bet.
Surprisingly, there is a decent amount of adjustability, though it’s with bolts and not graduated. Once set, the Quiktune shoots consistently with a machined groove for arrow containment.
Now, that machined-metal design is fairly smooth, but it doesn’t have felt or any other finish to help the arrow fly more smoothly. In fact, you may find that it even catches the fletching sometimes.
However, the Quiktune does have one big advantage, even over top-shelf models. It’s extremely lightweight, just .05 pounds, not even 25 grams, around a third of a grain. This helps you aim better, especially if you’re new to archery.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Obviously with its low price point, the Quiktune 800 is a good option for the bowhunter on a budget. Additionally, it’s good for beginners who don’t need something with a lot of features because they’re just going to move up to a more expensive model the next season. Just be aware that if you use a left-handed bow, this model only comes in a right-hand version.
Drop Away Arrow Rests Compared
Quality Archery Designs HDX Arrow Rest
Hamskea Trinity Hunter Micro Tune Arrow Rest
Best For Hunting
Hamskea Archery Solutions Hybrid Hunter Pro
Vapor Trail Archery Arrow Rest Pro V
Best For Target Shooting
New Archery Products NAP Apache
Best Under $100
Quality Archery Designs QAD UltraRest LD
Best For The Money
New Archery Products NAP Quiktune 800
Types Of Arrow Rests
Advanced arrow rests try to solve a persistent problem that plagues conventional shelf rests: the arrow touches the bow as it leaves it, and this affects its trajectory, especially at the fletching. Drop-away arrow rests and containment rests are two of the main types of advanced rests, each using different mechanisms to prevent interference in the arrow’s flight path and thereby increase accuracy.
Drop Away Rests
A drop-away arrow rest is just that: a rest that drops away. Though there are a few different designs, the most common uses a timing cord to connect the rest to the buss cable of your compound bow. When you draw the bow, it activates the rest, lifting it and the arrow up away from the arrow shelf. Then, when you release the arrow, the rest falls away so that the arrow travels forward without touching anything.
The most advanced drop-away rests even have adjustable springs that let you set exactly when you want the rest to drop away and how long you want it to guide the arrow. While they tend to be more expensive, drop-away rests certainly interfere the least with the arrow's path, so they’re more forgiving to torquing the bow and errors in shooting.
Containment Arrow Rests
Containment arrow rests hold the arrow in one specific place and control its path as it leaves the bow. You may think this means more friction and interference with the fletching, and that’s true to some extent. However, most containment rests use brush-like devices to guide the arrow, so they create minimal friction and part out of the way for the fletching.
Containment rests are generally inexpensive. Plus, they guide the arrow for a longer period of time, meaning pinpoint accuracy.
Whisker Biscuit vs Drop Away Arrow Rest: Which Is Right For Me?
A whisker Biscuit arrow rest is a specific type of containment rest that holds the arrow steady with a complete circle of synthetic bristles that look like little brush hairs. This prevents the arrow from moving off course in any direction while still allowing the fletching to pass between the bristles with minimal interference.
Whisker Biscuits have a few main advantages over drop-away rests. First, they have the potential for greater accuracy since they can guide an arrow along its entire length. They’re also a lot cheaper and simpler to set up.
However, they also have their own downsides. For starters, they decrease arrow speed because there is at least some amount of friction on the arrow through the whole shot cycle. This decreases your range for hunting. Additionally, they’re not forgiving rests at all. To maximize their accuracy, you have to practice a lot. Otherwise, small errors in aim will be magnified since the rest guides the arrow so much longer.
As a result, serious and experienced hunters usually go for drop-away rests. This way you can spend more time hunting and less time practicing on the range. Plus, you can shoot accurately at game animals farther away.
That said, a Whisker Biscuit is a great choice if you’re a target shooter. The lower price can also make it a good option for beginner compound bows and new archers on a budget who are just learning how to shoot. You’ll be spending a lot of time on the range shooting at archery targets anyway, and the Whisker Biscuit will teach you good form.
What To Look For In The Best Drop Away Arrow Rests
New archers and bowhunters are often surprised by the variety they find when looking for a drop-away arrow rest. There’s a range of prices not to mention different designs and a host of features.
Many of these features work best for specific situations, so it’s important to know how they affect the function of the rest. This way you can choose the rest that will benefit you the most.
Easy To Install?
Installing a drop-away arrow rest is intimidating for even experienced hunters. This is doubly true if you have a lot of other accessories, like a bow sight on your bow since the rest usually involves a time cord you have to place accurately.
Luckily, some manufacturers make their drop-away arrow rests easy to install. Usually this involves simple bolts with knobs that can be tightened by hand rather than needing specific tools.
That’s not all, though. Arguably the most significant factor for easy installation is easy-to-follow instructions. Some rests don’t come with any instructions at all while others have video tutorials.
Since you’re most likely going with the drop-away rest so that you can focus more on hunting and less on your bow and its accessories, look for a rest that’s easy to install.
Easy To Adjust?
In our opinion, easy adjustability is even more important than easy installation when looking for a drop-away arrow rest. Not only is it essential for zeroing in the rest when you first get it, but also when you are tuning your bow to shoot broadheads. You’ll find adjustability in two main aspects of the rest: position and timing.
As for position, most rests can be adjusted along both the vertical and horizontal axis so that they shoot straight based on the dimensions of your bow. Some rests require you to fully loosen bolts with tools and then move the rest into place and tighten them again. That isn’t just a hassle. It’s hard to get a precise adjustment.
Other rests, however, use adjustment knobs that you can turn much more precisely. They may also have graduated measurements with easy-to-read tick marks that let you adjust the orientation to exact spots. Plus, these let you easily remember the ideal orientation for future tuning.
When it comes to timing, the first thing to look at is the timing cord. This attaches to your bow buss cable or another cable, bowstring, or limb, depending on the rest’s particular design. Ideally, this should come with a clamp at the end because then you can easily change where you’ve attached it, which you may want to do on the fly. Otherwise you’ll have to tie it.
The other aspect of timing you want to be able to adjust is the spring retention system. This is what determines how easily and how quickly the rest drops away when you release the arrow. A knob for easy adjustment of the system lets you determine exactly how much you want the rest to guide the arrow based on your own skills and how steadily you can hold the bow.
How Does It Work In Low Light Conditions?
Since deer are mostly active at dawn or dusk, you’re likely to be hunting in low light. You want an arrow rest that’s conducive to that.
Of course, one way to make a rest easier to use in low light is to give a colorful finish. This way it catches the eye, and you can quickly load an arrow. However, this isn’t really the ideal solution since bright colors could also give your position away to game.
For low light use, we prefer drop-away rests with a design that lets you easily load the arrow. Usually this means an easy break in the containment and an arm or arrow shelf that catches the arrow and glides it into place. That way you don’t necessarily have to see the rest that well to load the arrow.
You could also consider using one of our top picks for best bow quiver, which are illuminated just enough with LED lights to be able to see your arrow and rest.
Is The Arrow Rest Quiet?
Noise dampening is one of the most important features you should look for in an arrow rest. A deers hearing is incredibly acute and it will hear you drawing an arrow across an arrow rest if it is not completely silent.
So what makes an arrow rest quiet? The main thing is some kind of dampening material like felt or rubber that absorbs vibrations from the shot. On high-quality rests, you may even find extra material placed in strategic places as dampeners to cut down on excess noise even more.
Drop-away rests often contain varying amounts of containment, from rings that all but fully enclose the arrow shelf and therefore the arrow to rests with no containment at all. Containment isn’t a necessary feature for a drop-away rest, but it can benefit you in certain situations.
Specifically, it helps you load the arrow more easily and silently and keeps it from coming out while you’re moving the bow into position, aiming and drawing. As a result, containment is a good feature for those who are more focused on hunting and haven’t practiced a lot with their bows.
Quality construction, usually made of stainless steel, is something you should always look for in archery accessories. A rest that costs $200 but lasts five years is still a better value than a rest that costs $60 but only lasts one year. The first is $40 a year but the second $60.
However, this is less important if you’re a beginner. If you just want a rest to learn how to use it and plan to trade up to a more expensive model in a season or two, you don’t need it to last as long. Instead, price is a bigger concern.
What is the best kind of arrow rest for a compound bow?
At Deer Hunting Guide, we’re primarily concerned with, well, deer hunting, so we usually prefer drop-away rests. We find that this type of rest gives us more consistent accuracy with the least amount of practice. This way we can spend more time in the stand and less on the range.
That said, there isn’t necessarily one best type of rest for compound bows. Rather, different types of rests work better for different situations. For instance, containment rests like Whisker Biscuits are great for target shooting, beginners and bowhunters who don’t mind perfecting their aim in the offseason.
Arrow rest are very different for a compound bow vs recurve. A recurve will only use a conventional arrow rest, or plunger type arrow rest. Serious traditional archers will even shoot a recurve bow using their hand as an arrow rest.
Are drop away rests more accurate?
Drop-away rests are more accurate if you haven’t practiced much perfecting your shooting form. This is because they minimize the amount of time the arrow touches the bow as it flies, so they’re more forgiving to improper form or small errors when shooting. As a result, they’re ideal for bowhunters.
However, if you’re willing to put in the practice to perfect your shooting form, containment rests can actually be more accurate. They guide the arrow along its entire length, giving it a straighter trajectory.
Do I need a drop away rest?
If you’re a passionate hunter but not particularly interested in archery in and of itself, you need a drop-away rest. This is the best way to take advantage of the bowhunting season and your compound bow’s speed and power without having to learn how to shoot a bow perfectly. Otherwise, a conventional arrow rest or even a containment rest will require a lot of practice before you can shoot accurately enough to hunt with it.
Do I need an arrow rest on a compound bow?
Yes, you need an arrow rest on a compound bow. The arrow rest insures that your arrow starts on target when you release the bowstring. Without a rest, there would be no way to start your arrow at your target. Compound bows are the only type of bow that use drop away rests.
As a bowhunter, a drop-away arrow rest can increase both your shooting distance and accuracy with your hunting arrows, and that means more successful hunts and more time in the tree stand instead of at the range practicing.
For overall quality and value, we suggest the Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest, but all the rests on our list are great choices for different reasons. Hopefully you’ve read through our reviews and been able to find one that suits your needs and situation.