8 Top Budget Crossbows for 2018

8 Top Budget Crossbows for 2018

Folks often associate certain stereotypes with different regions of the country. Texans are sometimes considered to be proud. West coasters are laid back. Southerners are easy going. Up in New England, Yankees have a reputation for being exceedingly pragmatic, particularly when it comes to money. Being one, I can attest it's a fairly accurate representation.

And when folks in my part of the country ask about recommendations for new crossbows, they always qualify it with some mention of trying to keep the cost down. I suspect they're not the only ones who feel that way. Fortunately, there's some real value out there in so-called price point bows. So for their benefit as well as anyone else out there of the same ilk, here are some suggestions on how to scrimp on expenses, but not on quality.

Carbon Express PileDriver 390

If you really want to save money, find a bow that fits multiple family members, like the 185-pound $399.99 PileDriver 390, which features a multi-position adjustable foregrip and adjustable buttstock on its lightweight, compact slim-line stock. Then there's the quick-detach 3-arrow quiver, three PileDriver 20-inch arrows, rail lube and 4x32mm scope included in the ready-to-hunt package that includes a free Quiet Crank Cocker ($100 value).


Carbon Express PileDriver 390


CenterPoint Mercenary Whisper 390


When you see a number in the name of a bow, it typically describes the speed rating. This one, however, also hints at price. At the top of Crosman's CenterPoint line, yet still a bargain at $399.99, the 185-pound Mercenary Whisper 390 features a lightweight aluminum barrel and a shoot-through riser tricked out with high performance quad limbs and a machined cam system. Its adjustable, tactical stock with cheek pad and comfort grips affords a custom fit and a non-slip grip, while the narrow axle-to-axle width offers compact mobility.

CenterPoint Mercenary Whisper 390

Karnage Apocalypse


The 175-pound Apocalypse is a real "Bear" of a bow, boasting a blazing 370 fps and 111 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. But at a bargain basement $299.99, its bristling with features like a stock with 3 inches of length adjustability, an adjustable cheek piece and an adjustable fore end grip mounted on a picatanny-style rail system. Also, you'll find a dual mount string recoil suppressor system, as well as three K20 carbon arrows, a quiver, a detachable sling, rail lube/string wax, a cocking rope and a 4x32 scope with a multi-cross reticle and a focusing eye piece.

Karnage Apocalypse

Killer Instinct SWAT 408


For this year's $599 SWAT 408, Killer Instinct kept its patented Concealed String Technology (CST), which compresses the string into the barrel and doubles as an ultra-comfortable cheek rest. Also back is the Enclosed Double Barrel System (DBS) wherein the string floats free in between the barrels to eliminate friction, improve accuracy and suppress noise and vibration — not to mention providing total in-barrel concealment of the bolt and broadhead for improved safety. But this version's 17.5-inch powerstroke and 165-pound draw weight help it achieve its nominate 408 fps.

Killer Instinct SWAT 408

Parker ThunderHawk Pro

Parker put proprietary Advanced Split Limb Technology with an integrated Fulcrum Pocket System and aluminum Synergy Cams into a relatively compact 20.25-inch axle-to-axle assembly to accomplish a blistering 330 fps speed rating. Then they added a factory installed and tuned Anti-Vibration and Shock (AVS) System to subtract noise and vibration, and a bull-pup trigger and ergonomic textured pistol grip to improve handling and maneuverability. And you get it all on the ThunderHawk Pro for just $599.95.

Parker ThunderHawk Pro

PSE Thrive 400

It should come as no surprise to anyone that PSE crossbows have the same proven limb, string and cable technology used in their compounds. Combining that with reverse cam technology allows the Thrive 400 to achieve its nominate 400 FPS speed rating. Meanwhile, a Soft Touch grip and cheek rest enhance comfort and control, and a new rubber-coated folding foot stirrup doubles as a stand and shortens the overall length for storage. That and an upgraded accessory package with a five-arrow quiver, four 22-inch Carbon Thunder arrows with 100-grain bullet points, a 22-inch discharge bolt, string stops, a 4x32 illuminated multi-reticle scope, limb bands, a cocking rope and rail lube are all included for $599.99.

PSE Thrive 400

Scorpyd DeathStalker

The $849.96 DeathStalker is crossbow wiz Jim Kempf's response to customer requests for an affordable Scorpyd. He made it possible largely through a patented carbon composite frame that combines a riser, limb pockets, a barrel and a finger guard into one sleek, lightweight yet powerful unit. He also added a new glass-smooth, multi-patented Kempf-TEC SEER-LOC 2.5-pound trigger with an adjustable two-position trigger arm that allows precise control of trigger travel.

Scorpyd DeathStalker

Wicked Ridge Invader X4

Acknowledging the growing trend toward lighter, shorter bows, this latest generation of Wicked Ridge's best-selling Invader line is a full 1 1/4-inch shorter, a half pound lighter and four inches narrower than its predecessor. But at 360, its a full 30 fps faster than the G3. Much of that is accomplished through an all-new, lighter yet stronger glass-filled polypropylene stock and newly designed riser with 11-inch WRX laminated limbs powered by heavy-duty machined 4S Cams and DynaFLIGHT 97 string and cables. And it comes with your choice of the pre-installed ACUdraw ($659.99) or the ACUdraw 50 ($559.99) cocking mechanism that reduces its draw weight to roughly five pounds.

Wicked Ridge Invader X4

Recommended for You

Follow Bill Winke's tips to ensure you have the most accurate bowhunting setup possible. How-To

Goof-Proof Tips For Sighting-In Your Bow

Bill Winke

Follow Bill Winke's tips to ensure you have the most accurate bowhunting setup possible.

Create your own fluffy, Chinese-style bao buns at home with this recipe! Fill them with tender, braised venison shoulder or any other wild game meat you'd like. Recipes

Venison Bao Buns Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Create your own fluffy, Chinese-style bao buns at home with this recipe! Fill them with...

Is your bow setup a bit noisy? Try these tips to silence it. Bow Accessories

6 Ways to Make Your Bow Quieter

Darron McDougal

Is your bow setup a bit noisy? Try these tips to silence it.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Field editor Bill Winke goes over steps you can take to improve the tuning on your bow.

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Designed exclusively for their crossbows, Ravin has announced three new mechanical broadheads to maximize penetration and overall performance.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for the year! ATA Show

Best New Bows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for...

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Top New Arrows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show!

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm! How-To

Summer Scouting Spectacular

Bill Winke - July 17, 2019

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!

See More Stories

More Bows

Folks often associate certain stereotypes with different regions of the country. Texans are Bows

8 Top Budget Crossbows for 2018

Bob Humphrey - March 13, 2018

Folks often associate certain stereotypes with different regions of the country. Texans are

Bowtech returns for 2020 with two more flagship rigs. Bows

Bowtech Unveils Its 2020 Revolt & Revolt X

Taylor Pardue - November 12, 2019

Bowtech returns for 2020 with two more flagship rigs.

Editor Christian Berg gives you a first look at the brand new 2019 Mathews Vertix Bows

First Look: 2019 Mathews Vertix

Christian Berg - November 13, 2018

Editor Christian Berg gives you a first look at the brand new 2019 Mathews Vertix

See More Bows

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.