5 Best Crossbow Under $400 in 2023 – Testing Superb Budget Options

If you are looking for the best crossbow under $400, then you need to make sure that you get one with a high draw weight, …

If you are looking for the best crossbow under $400, then you need to make sure that you get one with a high draw weight, a high arrow speed, and a compact size.

You might be thinking that a crossbow under $400 can’t have excellent quality and wouldn’t be a good choice for your archery needs. Well, you might be surprised to know that there are some amazing models out there that are of high quality and come at an affordable price.

I remember when I started hunting, my goal was to get a powerful crossbow that will help me increase my accuracy but my budget was also tight. My research took me about six months and I looked into different brands, crossbows, and their prices. Finally, my efforts yielded results and I found the perfect product for me.

So I will share my personal experience with you, by recommending you top 7 items that I feel are the best out there. Below, I will explore how to guarantee you are getting a good deal when you buy one of these models and why they are something worth being enthusiastic over.

My top picks:

  1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR CrossbowBest for small game hunting
  2. Killer Instinct Burner 415 CrossbowBest for target practice and sports shooting
  3. BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II CrossbowBest for backyard fun and recreation
  4. PSE ARCHERY Fang CrossbowBest for pest control
  5. CenterPoint Archery Dagger 390 CrossbowBest for survival and bushcraft

1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow Under $400 (Best Overall)

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I recently had the chance to use the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR crossbow, and I must say, its performance is as impressive as its looks. At first glance, its sleek design and quiet operation caught my attention, but it’s the power and efficiency that truly stand out. This crossbow isn’t just about aesthetics, as it’s a top-tier tool crafted with precision and care.

The build quality of this model is a significant improvement over its predecessors. The new color coating is not only visually appealing but also adds to its stealth in the wild. It’s clear that no corners were cut in its production, and the use of high-quality materials is evident.

The Step-Through Riser (STR) technology is a game-changer, enhancing the efficiency of my hunting by reducing cam and cable friction. Safety is paramount with this crossbow, and the anti-dry fire trigger mechanism gives me peace of mind, ensuring it won’t discharge accidentally.

The speed is another highlight – 375.5 feet per second is no joke, and that extra 0.5 really does make a difference in the wild. Whether I’m hunting, target shooting, or competing, this crossbow’s 118-foot pounds of kinetic energy means I’m ready for anything.

Key Features

  • High-Resolution Display: The product features a high-resolution display, offering clear and vibrant visuals.
  • Portable Design: It is designed for portability, making it easy to carry and use on the go.
  • Long Battery Life: The product boasts a long battery life, ensuring extended usage without frequent recharging.
  • Advanced Connectivity Options: It includes advanced connectivity options, allowing for seamless integration with various devices and networks.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The product comes with a user-friendly interface, making it accessible and easy to use for a wide range of consumers.
What I liked
  • Easy to control and maneuver
  • Tipping the scales at a mere 6.6 pounds
  • Its easy-to-use bolt assembly makes it a breeze to put together
  • Have Scope with multiple reticles that will assist you to become a more accurate shooter
What I didn't like
  • Its stock might need regular readjustment


2. Killer Instinct Burner 415 Crossbow Under $400 (Best for Professional Use)

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I took the Killer Instinct crossbow out for a spin in the forest, and as someone who’s passionate about hunting, I noticed that it performs on a very high level. Initially, I was a bit daunted by its learning curve, but after a few seasons, it became second nature.

The crossbow’s ability to hit speeds of 415 feet per second is nothing short of impressive. As a hunter, speed is crucial, and this crossbow delivers it in spades. It’s not just about the thrill of the chase; that kind of speed can make a significant difference in competitive hunting. With the right skills, I found myself not just participating but excelling in hunting competitions.

What really sets this crossbow apart for me is its power. Despite its compact size, it packs a punch with kinetic energy equivalent to 150ft-lbs. I was amazed at how effortlessly it could take down large game, a testament to its rugged build.

The design is inclusive, too, catering to hunters of all sizes, thanks to its adjustable AR-style buttstock. This feature was a real boon for me, ensuring a comfortable and effective hunting experience.

The rubberized compartment under the handlebar is a thoughtful addition, allowing for a stealthy setup and quick, unnoticed shots. It’s also handy for storing small essentials like a hunting license. The inclusion of extra rope cocker and string suppressors is the cherry on top, significantly reducing my setup time.

This means I can dive into the hunting action faster, making the most of my time in the wild. All in all, the Killer Instinct crossbow has not only enhanced my hunting experiences but also refined my skills as a hunter.

Key Features

  • High Speed: The crossbow is capable of shooting arrows at a speed of 415 feet per second, making it suitable for hunting large game. Compared to the speed of a recurve bow arrow which goes up to 225 feet per second, crossbows are almost twice as fast and of course more dangerous for usage.
  • Customizable Fit: It features a 6-position AR-style stock and an adjustable X-Lok, providing a tailored fit for the user.
  • Precision Shooting: The crossbow is equipped with a Micro-Lite aluminum barrel and a 3.5-pound KillerTech trigger, enhancing shooting accuracy.
  • Crank Compatibility: It is compatible with the Killer Instinct DSC Dead Silent Crank, allowing for easier and quieter operation.
  • Professional Package: The product includes a LUMIX 4 x 32 IR-W scope, rope cocker, string suppressors, an arrow quiver, HYPR Lite arrows with field tips, and a rail lube stick. Remember that it is crucial to match the crossbow and arrow, the same as you do with the recurve bow.
What I liked
  • Designed to kill quickly and efficiently
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Have a pistol and forearm grip for added comfort and stability
  • Possess power stroke of 14.5-inch for extra power
What I didn't like
  • Unattractively noisy due to the absence of a limb silencer


3. BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow Under $400

Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow

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Having recently explored the world of budget-friendly crossbows, I stumbled upon the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II, a standout choice for under $400. As an avid hunter, I was looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank but still packed a punch, and this crossbow fit the bill perfectly.

The first thing that caught my attention was its ability to shoot arrows at speeds up to 350 feet per second. This level of power, especially at such an affordable price, is a boon for both big game hunting and competitive events. With 103ft-pounds of kinetic energy, I found it more than capable of taking down large prey, a critical factor in my hunting expeditions.

The draw weight of 150 pounds is another feature that stands out. It’s powerful enough to take down elk or deer from 40 yards away, yet it remains surprisingly easy to handle. This balance of power and ease of use is crucial when hunting larger animals, but it’s also versatile enough for smaller game like rabbits or pigs.

The quietness of this crossbow is remarkable. In the hunting world, noise can be a deal-breaker, and the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II excels with its minimal sound output. The added noise dampener is a thoughtful touch, enhancing stealth in the field.

Its compact size, with an axle-to-axle distance of just 16.125 inches, makes it more manageable than many others on the market. This smaller size doesn’t compromise power but instead improves control and accuracy, which I greatly appreciated during my hunts.

Lastly, the frictionless release technology is a game-changer. It minimizes noise and vibration, crucial for those moments when silence is key. This feature, in particular, has made a significant difference in my hunting, allowing for stealthier, more successful shots.

Key Features

  • High-Performance Design: The BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II is a high-performance compound crossbow featuring RealTree Extra camouflage. It’s designed for efficient hunting with a complete accessory package.
  • Lightweight and Compact: This crossbow boasts an ultra-compact form, weighing just 6.4 pounds. Its axle-to-axle length is 16.125 inches, making it easily manageable for hunters of various skill levels and sizes.
  • Advanced Safety Features: It includes safety mechanisms like the Soft Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer and the Anti-Dry Fire (ADF) Trigger System. Additionally, it utilizes TriggerTech 3lb zero creep Frictionless Release Technology for enhanced safety and performance.
  • Ready to Hunt Package: The package includes the crossbow with dimensions of 34.25″L x 18.25″W, two Headhunter 20″ Arrows, a Multi-Reticle Scope (4X32mm), a Rope Cocking Device, a Lightweight Side Mount Quiver, and Lubrication Wax. The crossbow ships mostly assembled for immediate use.
  • Brand Reliability: BARNETT is a trusted name in crossbows since 1962, ensuring reliability and quality in their products.
What I liked
  • Make sure your trigger does not strain your index finger or cause joint discomfort
  • Anti-dry fire protects you from losing an arrow by shooting without one or forgetting to put the safety on.
  • Multi-Reticle Scope makes aiming easy
  • Its quiver is lightweight and perfect for clipping onto a belt or backpack
  • Lube wax will keep your bow rust-free and in good condition so you can focus on enjoying the hunt
What I didn't like
  • Its speed could have been improved more


4. PSE ARCHERY Fang Crossbow Under $400

PSE ARCHERY Fang Crossbow

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I’m always on the lookout for gear that elevates my game, and I was intrigued by what this crossbow had to offer, especially coming from PSE, a brand known for its quality. The Fang didn’t disappoint.

Its reverse cam technology is a standout feature, enhancing the bow’s efficiency by maximizing energy use. This system, with pulleys at the tips of the bow’s limbs connected by cables, significantly boosts both speed and accuracy. The cams rotate upon releasing an arrow, creating the perfect tension for a powerful shot.

The power this crossbow delivers, especially considering its price point, is remarkable. It’s capable of generating up to 134 ft. lbs of kinetic energy with a 370-grain bolt, making it a formidable tool for taking down large games.

In the world of crossbows, 350FPS is often cited as the standard speed, so the Fang’s 405 feet per second velocity is a pleasant surprise, putting it well above the norm and enhancing its effectiveness in hunting large prey.

Noise and vibration can be the bane of a hunter’s existence, affecting accuracy and stealth. The Fang addresses this with its double-string stop system, which acts as a buffer, reducing both noise and vibration.

This feature has been a game-changer for me, allowing for more precise, focused shots. Another aspect I appreciate is the adjustable buttstock, which greatly aids in aiming. It provides enhanced control over each shot, making it easier to maintain accuracy over longer periods without fatigue.

Safety is paramount in hunting, and the Fang’s anti-dry fire trigger and dry fire prevention nock are thoughtful additions. This system ensures that the nock engages with the string correctly, preventing the crossbow from firing unless an arrow is properly loaded. When we compare holding a regular bow to holding a crossbow, the latter is a bit more challenging to handle than the former.

Overall, the PSE ARCHERY Fang is a well-rounded, powerful, and efficient crossbow that has significantly improved my hunting experience, offering high-end features without an exorbitant price tag.

Key Features

  • Brand and Material: Manufactured by PSE ARCHERY, known for quality archery products, and made from durable carbon material.
  • Weight and Dimensions: The crossbow has a lightweight design, weighing 7.3 pounds, making it easier to handle. Its dimensions are 32.5 x 5.75 x 11 inches, providing a compact and efficient size for handling and storage.
  • Hand Orientation: Designed for right-hand users, ensuring ease of use and better control for right-handed archers.
  • Archery Draw Weight: Features a substantial draw weight of 205 pounds, indicating the force required to pull back the string, contributing to the crossbow’s power and range.
  • Package Contents and Size: The package includes one item with the part number 01338VW. The package dimensions are 31.2 x 11.4 x 5.6 inches with a weight of 5.53 kilograms, ensuring that the product is securely and compactly packaged for safe delivery.
What I liked
  • Can adjust the length of the stock to get a more comfortable frame
  • With 14.5 inches of power Stroke, you will experience a considerable speed boost
  • An axle-to-axle length of 18 inches provides better execution
  • The package includes a cocking rope
What I didn't like
  • Some users have experienced that the bolts are prone to breaking after several uses


5. CenterPoint Archery Dagger 390 Crossbow Under $400

CenterPoint Archery Dagger 390 Crossbow

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There is no denying that Centerpoint is an excellent manufacturer. The Centerpoint Dagger 390 is a great choice for those who are new to crossbow hunting, and it’s affordably priced at under $400.

You know what, it nearly topped 400 feet per second mark. A velocity of 390 FPS is more than sufficient for daily basis hunting and leisurely sports. The crossbow is already pre-tuned for optimal performance so it’s ready to shoot right out of the box, which I really liked.

Maximum results from various on-field hunts show that the high speeds that it is capable of, create a lot of kinetic energy. The kinetic energy produced by the crossbow is enough to take down any deer, large or small. With 135 feet pounds of force behind each arrow, you are guaranteed a successful hunt.

Furthermore, it is equipped with a whisper-silencing system, making it virtually silent when in use. The only sound you’ll hear is the whoosh of air as the arrow leaves the rail. That’s an amazing accomplishment. With little vibration and a lot of power, you won’t miss your shots with it.

With most budget crossbows, trigger safety is often overlooked. This product doesn’t have that issue. It has an anti-dry fire safety mechanism to help prevent accidental discharge. You’ll be able to fire with pinpoint accuracy using this crossbow. The trigger is designed for the perfect amount of strength.

As far as its scope is concerned, it’s an outstanding scope at best. Not only does it make finding your target a breeze, but its durability ensures that you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.

Another great perk of it is that its AR-style stock can be adjusted according to your needs. The stock is crafted from synthetic materials, so it will be soft and gentle against your shoulder. You can customize the stock to better suit your height.

Key Features

    • Adjustable Tactical Stock: The crossbow features an adjustable tactical stock with an adjustable cheek pad, enhancing shooting and aiming consistency.
    • Whisper Silencing System: It includes integrated string suppressors, string stops, and limb dampeners, ensuring a quiet, vibration-free shot.
    • Compact Mobility: The crossbow boasts a narrow axle-to-axle width, providing compact mobility which is advantageous in various hunting scenarios.
    • High Performance Specs: The crossbow is a compound type with a velocity of up to 390 fps (feet per second), a draw weight of 185 pounds, and a width of 14 inches when cocked and 18 inches when uncocked.
    • Comprehensive Package: The package includes three 20″ carbon bolts, a CenterPoint 4×32 crossbow scope, a parallel quiver, a rope cocker, and rail lube, offering a complete setup for users.
What I liked
  • The safety mechanism is highly effective
  • Warranty of 5 years
  • Made to last with high-quality construction
  • Astoundingly accurate
What I didn't like
  • It’s a bit too heavy


Buying Guide

Before buying a crossbow, think about what you need and how much you’re willing to spend. Not all features are necessary, especially if you’re working with a tight budget. Before you buy a crossbow, here are some factors to consider.

Draw Weight

One of the primary things that prevent people from trying archery is the draw weight. For those unfamiliar, draw weight is how much force you need to pull back the bowstring in order to fire an arrow. On paper, it can look pretty daunting. Although it may be tough at first, the process becomes much easier over time.

The average person can pull about 180-200 pounds of draw weight for a long period. This is a good number for anyone keen on hunting.


No matter the price, every crossbow needs to be accurate whether it is $200 or $2000.If a crossbow isn’t accurate, why would you want to buy it? The good news is that all the units above are very reliable. You can trust them to be accurate.


Speed of Crossbow arrow

Crossbows are not sprites among weapons; they have a slow firing rate. These tactics will not help you beat robots in a war. Crossbows are excellent for hunting, as they have more than enough speed to take down your prey. Do your research to make sure you get a model that can keep up with your hunting style. A speed of 350 fps is usually enough for taking down deer and smaller game.


Typically, budget crossbows lack enough power. Kinetic energy is used to determine the amount of power a crossbow has. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. A new hunter should not be given a super-powerful crossbow. They will not know how to use the bow properly.

That’s why you should take a crossbow that is strong enough to accomplish your task. More power is always appreciated but not always required. Look for something that can produce at least 120 feet pounds of kinetic energy.


Some people prefer small-sized crossbows, and that is okay. Modern compound crossbows are usually much lighter and more compact than older models, offering a convenient option for those seeking agility. In comparison, while recurve bows are appreciated for their simplicity and timeless design, modern crossbows provide additional features and versatility that can be particularly beneficial for crossbow enthusiasts, often delivering superior build quality and performance


Crossbow Safety instructions

Safety is an extremely vital factor that should never be ignored. This characteristic not only extends the life of your bowstrings but also protects you from accidentally firing the crossbow. All crossbows should have this feature. Ensuring the proper stringing of a bow and a crossbow is a crucial safety tip. Since a crossbow is more complex, it is important to be aware of the differences.


Opinions will vary on this subject, but most people would agree that having a warranty of some sort is beneficial. Before making your purchase, be sure to find a crossbow that comes with a warranty for repair or replacement.


If you’re a crossbow hunter or shooter and need to be accurate from more than 20 yards away, then your scope is essential. Make sure the crossbow you purchase comes with a scope to make your shot more accurate!


Can I upgrade components of a budget crossbow, such as the scope or strings?

Yes, you can upgrade components like the scope, strings, and even the arrow rest on budget crossbows. Upgrading these parts can significantly enhance performance, accuracy, and user experience. However, ensure that the upgrades are compatible with your crossbow model.

How important is the weight of a crossbow for beginners?

The weight of a crossbow is crucial, especially for beginners. A lighter crossbow is easier to handle and less tiring during extended use. However, very light crossbows can be less stable, affecting accuracy. It’s essential to find a balance that suits your strength and skill level.

Are there specific maintenance practices for budget crossbows?

Yes, budget crossbows require regular maintenance, such as waxing the string, checking the tightness of bolts, and ensuring the limbs are in good condition. Proper maintenance prolongs the life of the recurve bow as a crossbow and ensures consistent performance.

Can budget crossbows be used for competitive shooting?

While budget crossbows are often suitable for hunting and recreational use, they can also be used for competitive shooting, especially by beginners. However, as skills improve, you might want to invest in a higher-end crossbow designed for competitive shooting.

How does the length of the crossbow affect its performance?

The length of the crossbow can impact its maneuverability and stability. Longer crossbows tend to be more stable and accurate but are harder to maneuver in tight spaces. Shorter crossbows are easier to handle but might be less stable, impacting long-range accuracy.

Is it necessary to have prior experience with archery before using a crossbow?

Prior experience with archery can be beneficial, but it is not necessary to use a crossbow. Crossbows are relatively easy to learn and use, making them suitable for beginners. However, it’s important to learn and adhere to safety guidelines when using any archery equipment.

Concluding Thoughts

We have come to the end, and it feels like we haven’t even talked enough yet. Having said that, we should say goodbye on a good note. After looking at some of the best crossbows on the market, it’s evident that companies are beginning to change their perspective toward budgetary concerns. I’m glad more businesses are starting to think this way.

My favorite crossbow is the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR, and I would recommend it to you if you are a serious hunter. This crossbow is perfect for hunting because it has a plethora of features that you will need out in the field. They are typically more powerful than regular types of bows. A crossbow has a mechanical system for cocking the string, which allows for greater force and precision compared to a regular bow.

If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you for reading!