Best Recurve Bow For Beginners In 2024 With Reviews

Written By Ron Parker 

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It's impossible to deny the allure of the recurve bow. Sleek and elegant yet powerful, many people go searching for their first recurve without realizing what a challenging—and rewarding—hobby it is. If you're a beginner, you want to get a recurve bow that will best teach you the ancient art of archery. These are our recommendations. 

Our Top Picks

Best For overall

Samick Sage Recurve Bow

Samick Sage

Best for hunting

Keshes Takedown Hunting Recurve Bow

keshes Hunting Recurve

Best budget

Tidewe Recurve Bow And Arrow Set

tidewe recurve

Best Beginner Recurve Bow At A Glance

How I Chose The Best Beginner Recurve Bows

I have been an archery instructor for more than 20 years and taught numerous beginner archers how to shoot a bow and perfect their form.

These are the exact bows that I recommend and that my students have thrived with when learning archery.

Alot of my students are younger archers looking for their first bow. All of the beginner bows that I recommend here would make a perfect first bow.

Things To Consider When Buying A Beginner Recurve Bow

Best Recurve Bow For Beginners

RELATED: How To Choose A Recurve Bow

Draw Weight

The draw weight refers to how hard it is to pull back the bow's bowstring. If a recurve bow has 25 pounds of draw weight, it's as hard to draw the bowstring as it is to lift 25 pounds.

This, then, reflects the bow's power. Higher draw weights are harder to draw, but they transfer more energy into the arrow, meaning higher arrow speeds and more kinetic energy.

Recurve bows generally have draw weights between 15 and 70 pounds, and beginners should usually stick to the lower end of that range so they can learn proper shooting form. This requires being able to hold the bowstring steady at draw, which is easier with lower draw weight.

Just keep in mind that you need at least 40 pounds to hunt game like whitetail deer. If you want to hunt but still think this is too much for you, consider getting a takedown model. This way you can start with a low draw weight and then upgrade to more powerful limbs when you're ready. 

Draw Length

To put it in simple terms, the draw length is how far the archer pulls back the bowstring in order to draw it to full draw. If your arms are too short for a given draw length, you won't be able to fully draw the bow. If your arms are too long, you won't be able to take full advantage of the bow's power, and it will likely feel a bit uncomfortable.

You can get your draw length measured at an archery shop or sporting goods store, but it's easy to get a good estimate. Just measure your wingspan, the length from the tip of one middle finger to the other with your arms outstretched. (You might need someone to help you.) Then divide the measurement by 2.5. That's your draw length.

In other words, if your wingspan is 70 inches, your draw length is 28 inches. If you want to make it even easier, most people's wingspans are pretty close to their height, so if you're 70 inches tall (5'10"), then your draw length is probably close to 28 inches.  

Bow Size (Length)

Draw Length (inches)Draw Length (centimeters)Recommended ATA Bow Length (inches)
Under 17Under 4348
17 – 1943 – 4854
19 – 2148 – 5358
21 – 2353 – 5860 – 62
23 – 2558 – 6462 – 64
25 – 2764 – 6964 – 66
27 – 2969 – 7466 – 68
29 – 3174 – 7968 – 70
Over 31Over 7970 – 72

Bow size is primarily important because it reflects draw length. Longer bows usually have longer draw lengths, with 62-inch bows usually having draw lengths around 28 or 29 inches, ideal for the average archer. Still, if you're shorter or taller than the average, you might need a smaller or larger bow. Just pay attention to the stated draw length as this can vary even between two bows of the same size.

Bow Weight

Lightweight bows are pretty much always better, but this is doubly true for beginners. A lightweight bow is easier to hold in front of you as you draw the bowstring and aim. Plus, if you're hunting, it's easier to hold drawn while you wait for your quarry to come into range.

Left Hand Or Right Hand?

Recurve bows can be right or left handed referring to the hand you draw the bowstring with. If you're right-handed, you hold the riser with your left hand and draw the bowstring with your right. Therefore, you should get a right-handed bow.

It's important to get the right bow for your handedness, especially if you're a beginner. This will allow you to grip it correctly and learn proper form. It's also safer.

Takedown Or One Piece?

A takedown bow is one in which the limbs are attached to the riser with some kind of mechanism, usually knobs, that allow you to take the limbs off. One-piece bows, though, are just that, a single piece. You can't remove the limbs.

Takedown bows are better for beginners because you can upgrade the limbs, so let's get into that.

Can You Upgrade Limbs?

Yes, you can upgrade the limbs on a recurve bow if it's a takedown model. You can get limbs with more tension that give you a higher draw weight and therefore more power.

Just be aware that many companies have proprietary takedown designs. This means you can only upgrade the limbs with new limbs made by the same manufacturer.

Wood Riser Or Metal?

At Deer Hunting Guide, we're partial to wooden risers. That's partly because they just look better and fit with the recurve design, but it's also because they're usually lighter weight, though this isn't always true. We also like wooden risers for hunting because they blend in better with the forest and don't get as cold as metal risers, important when you're hunting on a frosty December morning.

Are Accessories Included?

You can get a recurve bow by itself, or you can get an archery package that also includes some accessories, sometimes even all the accessories you need to get started. Other than the bow, the most essential accessories you'll need to start shooting are:

If these accessories are included, it greatly increases the value of the package. It doesn't just save you money but time as well since as a beginner you'd probably have to do some research to decide on which accessories to buy.

String Quality

Regardless of the quality, any recurve bowstring will start to fray eventually and need to be replaced. However, quality bowstrings such as those made with dacron thread tend to last longer, saving you time and money. Plus, they usually vibrate less and transfer energy more precisely, leading to better accuracy.

RELATED: When To Replace Bow String

Budget

Of course, you probably have some kind of budget in mind if you're looking for a recurve bow. While it's great to save money, keep in mind that you do often get what you pay for. That said, you can really get more value out of a given bow if it comes with accessories.

Warranty

Many manufacturers offer varying warranties with their recurve bows with one year seeming to be the industry standard. Higher-quality models may come with three-year or even lifetime warranties.

A warranty suggests that the manufacturer stands by their product and is confident in their design and craftsmanship. It also means you're protected if you get a defective model. 

Reviews Of The Best Recurve Bows For Beginners

Best Overall: Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow and Arrow set

It's probably obvious if you've browsed our site, but at Deer Hunting Guide, we love the Samick Sage. It's definitely one of the industry's most popular models for a reason—or reasons, rather.

For one thing, it's one of the most powerful production recurve models with draw weight available up to 60 pounds. That's enough to hunt with and provides high arrow speeds even for just target shooting. Of course, if you're a beginner and intimidated by such high draw weights, you can go as low as 25 pounds. 

The intuitive and easy takedown design means you can always upgrade the limbs for more draw weight and power later but still keep the Sage riser. We particularly like the riser, not just because the maple design is sleek and fun for those just getting into archery, but because it's lightweight and easy to hold.

Honestly, the Sage is one of our favorite bows for just about anyone, even on its own, but in this case, you get a lot of great accessories with it, too. The set includes an arrow rest, arm guard, finger tab, nocks, and, best of all, six arrows. There are also brass bushings if you want to go even farther with accessories like stabilizers and sights.  

Features:

  • Draw weights from 25 to 60 pounds available
  • Takedown design
  • Ergonomic lightweight riser
  • Starter accessories included
  • 6 arrows
  • Brass bushings

What We Like

  • The takedown design means you can start with a draw weight and work your way up.
  • The lightweight riser is easy for beginners to hold steady and shoot accurately.
  • With protective accessories included, beginners can get started right away without having to buy extra gear.
  • Since beginners may not know what arrows to get, Samick helps you get started with six arrows.
  • The numerous accessories and brass bushings mean the bow can continue with you as your skill grows.

What We Don’t Like

We recommend the Samick Sage for, well, everybody. In particular, we recommend this full hunting package for beginners because it has just about everything they need to get started, learn proper archery form and shooting, and then work their way up to more advanced techniques.

Click here to see our full Samick Sage Review.


Best Takedown Recurve Bow For Beginners: Southwest Archery Spyder  
 

Southwest Archery Spyder XL Recurve Bow

The main thing we noticed about the Spyder from SAS is its takedown design. It's very easy to remove the limbs and replace them correctly, even if you're a newbie. 

As a result, you can start with one of the lower draw weights, available as low as 20 pounds, and then work your way up to one of the higher draw weights, available as high as 60 pounds. In fact, the limbs are even available in five pound increments, so you can really calibrate them to your skill level and what you want to do with the bow, be it hunting or target shooting.

One thing we really liked is that you can include a bow stringing tool if you don't have one. This is great for replacing the bow string and makes it even easier to disassemble the bow and upgrade the limbs if you choose. Unfortunately, the Spyder doesn't come with many other accessories, though, so as a beginner, you'll need to also find an arm guard and finger tab.

Features:

  • Draw weights from 20 to 60 pounds available

  • Takedown design

  • Bow stringer optionally included

  • 14-strand dacron string

  • Threaded bushings

What We Like

  • The takedown design and optional bow stringer make it easy for beginners to change out the limbs.

  • You can slowly work your way up with draw weight and use the Spyder for multiple purposes.

  • The bushings let you add accessories later.

What We Don’t Like

  • We're not big fans of the riser finish.

  • There aren't any accessories included, things beginners probably need.

If you're just getting into archery, it's a good idea to get an accessible takedown model like the Spyder. This way you can start with a lower draw weight and then work your way up while still taking advantage of advanced features and adding on accessories.

Click here for our full Southwest Archery Spyder Review.


Best Hunting Recurve Bow For Beginners: Keshes Takedown Hunting Recurve Bow and Arrow

Keshes Takedown Hunting Recurve Bow

Whether you're an experienced hunter new to recurve bows or new to hunting altogether, it can be hard to figure out the balance between power and manageability. If it's too powerful, you might not be able to shoot it accurately, but if it's not powerful enough, it might not be able to kill game. In fact, it might not even be legal to hunt with.

This is why we like the Keshes model for beginner recurve hunters. You can get it with a draw weight as low as 15 pounds, though this isn't enough for hunting game like whitetail deer. But you can definitely get it in 40 pounds, the minimum for deer, and work your way up to limbs as powerful as 60 pounds. Of course, if you're not comfortable with that, try starting with a really low weight, hitting the range, and then getting limbs powerful enough for hunting.

All that said, one of our favorite things about this model for hunters, though, is the lightweight design. The wooden riser combined with the fiberglass limbs weigh just 2.7 pounds. While hunting, you have to hold the bow steady while aiming much longer as you wait for your quarry to come into range, so the light weight makes this easier.

Features:

  • Draw weights from 15 to 60 pounds available

  • Takedown design

  • Bow stringer included

  • Sight included

  • 14-strand dacron string

  • Threaded bushings

What We Like

  • Manufactured by the same factory as the Samick Sage, the Keshes bow has a durable, quality design.

  • You can get it with more than enough draw weight for hunting.

  • The sight makes aiming from the tree stand a lot easier.

  • The bushings let you add accessories later.

What We Don’t Like

  • The takedown design can be difficult to operate.

We highly recommend the Keshes recurve model if you're interested in getting into traditional bowhunting. Even if you've hunted with a rifle, crossbow or compound bow, hunting with a recurve is a whole other ballgame that the versatility of the Keshes recurve can help you navigate. Oh yeah, and it has a sight, something you rarely find on recurves.

Click here for our full Keshes Recurve Bow Review.


Another Hunting Option For Beginners: SAS Courage
 

SAS Courage Takedown Recurve Bow

If you weren't convinced by the Keshes recurve, take a look at the SAS Courage. It also has draw weights available that are powerful enough for hunting whitetail deer or even bigger game. The highest draw weight you can get is 60 pounds.

You can also upgrade the Courage if you need to start light. We found the takedown design to be a bit more complex than other models, requiring more precise placement of the limbs, but it still lets you store the bow in between hunts or transport it to the range for practice.

As for weight, the Courage even beats out the Keshes recurve at just 2.2 pounds. That makes it easy to hold steady even if you're hunting elk or moose over long distances and need to wait for them to come into range. Part of this, though, is that the bow is only 60 inches long, which makes it a better youth recurve bow or for shorter archers closer to 5'7" in height. It is definitely the best beginner recurve bow for women.

Features:

  • Draw weights from 29 to 60 pounds available
  • Takedown design
  • 2.2 pounds
  • 60 inches
  • Laminated hardwood riser

What We Like

  • The power is enough for mid-size and even large game like whitetail deer and elk.
  • The light weight of just 2.2 pounds is easy to hold and aim.
  • The smaller size is more manageable for smaller archers and bowhunters.

What We Don’t Like

  • It's too small for a lot of men.
  • There are no accessories included like those necessary for hunting.
  • The takedown design is a bit more difficult than other models.

We suggest the SAS Courage primarily for young people or women looking to get into bowhunting. They can benefit from the smaller size and lighter weight while still using the high power to hunt game like deer and elk. Plus, the takedown design allows for upgrading and easy transportation and storage. 

Click here for our full SAS Courage Review.

RELATED: SAS Spirit Recurve Bow Review


Best Budget Recurve Bow For Beginners: Tidewe Recurve Bow And Arrow Set  

Tidewe Recurve Bow And Arrow Set

The first thing we noticed about the Tidewe recurve is how easy it is to hold. It's lightweight at just 2.45 pounds, but more importantly, the riser's grip is especially ergonomic. For a beginner, this means you can better work on correct form since you can grip the bow precisely and steadily. 

Draw weight is available from 20 to 50 pounds. 20 is a more manageable amount of draw weight for a beginner, but you can still get it powerful enough for hunting if you want. We particularly like the takedown design on this model, so you can upgrade the limbs easily.

What's crazy about the model, though, is that despite the low price, it still comes with a wide range of accessories like a sight and finger tab. The package even includes six arrows. For some reason, though, Tidewe didn't include an arm guard, so make sure you get one of those to avoid wrist slap.

Features:

  • Draw weights from 20 to 50 pounds available
  • Takedown design
  • 2.45 pounds
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Accessories included
  • Arrows included

What We Like

  • All the included accessories make the set a great value for someone getting into archery.
  • The ergonomic grip makes it easy for beginners to learn how to shoot.
  • You can get an entry-level draw weight and upgrade thanks to the takedown design.
  • Brass bushings allow you to attach accessories like stabilizers later on.

What We Don’t Like

  • There's no arm guard included.

It's hard to get as much bang for buck as with the Tidewe recurve package. That's because it is a package. Save an arm guard, you get pretty much everything you need to start practicing archery and improving your skills. You even get six arrows for target shooting—and losing one or two as you're bound to do. 

Click here for our full TideWe Recurve Bow Review


Best Recurve Bow For Beginners Archery: PSE Archery Razorback Recurve Bow

PSE Razorback Takedown Recurve Bow

The PSE Razorback is well-known in the archery world, especially as a bow that's good for learning to shoot on, particularly if you'd like to go on to competitive target shooting with a traditional bow. The main reason is that it's very lightweight, with certain versions available as low as 1.8 pounds. 

Another reason it's so good for learning archery is that the draw weight is ideal for improving your skill. There aren't as many options as with other models, but we specifically recommend the 30-pound version, which weighs 2.53 pounds. For most adults, you'll be able to draw correctly while still getting enough speed and power to learn accuracy.

Features:

  • 30-pound draw weight

  • 2.53 pounds

  • Hardwood riser

  • Fiberglass limbs

  • Takedown design

What We Like

  • The lightweight design makes it easier for beginners to learn shooting.

  • The 30 pounds of draw weight is in the sweet spot for accessibility and power.

  • The hardwood riser is easy to hold and looks good.

What We Don’t Like

  • You can't get any other draw weights.

  • There's only a right-handed option.

If you have dreams of hitting bullseyes on the range, we think that the PSE Razorback is a good way to get there. It's lightweight and accurate, so you can practice and improve your form. It's made of quality wood and fiberglass, too, so hopefully you can get a lot of shots out of it.

Click here for our full PSE Razorback Review


FAQs

What recurve bow should I buy for a beginner?

The Samick Sage is our top recommendation for beginners and one of our all-around favorite bows. It has various draw weight options, so you can start light and then work your way up to more power by upgrading the limbs using the easy takedown design.

RELATED: Southwest Archery Tigershark Takedown Recurve Bow Review

How much should I spend on my first recurve bow?

For an entry-level recurve bow, you should expect to spend between $100 and $200, depending on how much power and additional accessories you want. 

RELATED: DeerSeeker Recurve Bow Review

What size recurve bow is right for me?

The most common size for recurve bows is 62 inches with a draw length of 28 or 29 inches. This is good for the average-size archer, about 5'10". If you're much shorter or taller than this, you may need a different size of bow, so check our section above on how to measure your draw length.

RELATED: SAS Explorer Recurve Bow Review

What are the main disadvantages of the recurve bow?

Recurve bows have much lower power than compound bows and therefore can't shoot as far or penetrate as deeply. 

Additionally, unlike compound bows, recurve bows do not have something called the wall where drawing the bowstring suddenly becomes nearly impossible, giving you a more consistent draw length. As a result, it's much harder to shoot a recurve bow accurately and consistently.

RELATED: Bear Super Kodiak Review

Should I start with a recurve or compound?

If you are genuinely interested in archery as a hobby, you should get either a recurve or compound bow depending on your personal tastes. If you just want to take advantage of the longer bowhunting season, though, get a compound bow, since they're easier to shoot.

RELATED: Compound vs Recurve Bow

Final Thoughts

There's a lot to keep in mind when you're getting your first recurve bow. Luckily, we've done a lot of the research and testing for you to determine that the Samick Sage is the best recurve bow for learning traditional archery. Try starting with a low draw weight and then upgrading as you get stronger by replacing the takedown limbs.

Here is the list of the top beginner recurve bows that I recommend to my archery students:

All that's left to do is pick up an archery target and start immersing yourself in the sport of traditional archery.

RELATED: Bear Grizzly Recurve Review

RELATED: Best Longbow

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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