Overall I think we all would like our kids to be as far away from TV, consoles, tablets and smartphones as possible. To achieve that, gifting them a bow is a great idea. Use that momentum after watching Katniss in Hunger Games, Hawkeye in The Avengers or Merida and get’em a compound bow. But choose the right one that will fit your youngsters so their motivation will stay high. You can’t go too wrong when choosing a beginner model, but there are a few things that can make or break the deal – which means for your kids – going back to the TV. I also recommend you read my beginner’s guide if you don’t know much about compound bows so far => Beginner’s Guide To Compound Bows.
When it comes to choosing the right compound bow for your children there are only a few factors that you should keep in mind. Some of the more important ones are choosing one with the right draw weight (poundage) and draw length for your kid.
As these factors can determine if your kid’s interest in archery will go south after some time or not you should read a lot of reviews about certain available youth models before actually buying one, as the poundage ranges – for example – tend to vary a lot between bows that are recommended for the same age groups.
Which Draw Weight For Youth Bows
This can be a tough question to answer. As we all are different, so are our kids. The draw weight for bows for young children (9 to 13 years old) is usually between 14 to 24 pounds.
Sometimes an 8 year old can pull a bow that has 20 lbs and, on the other hand, there are tweens that are not able to pull that weight back. As you can see, choosing the right poundage depends a lot on the individual’s strength.
As some of the youth bows are not adjustable concerning draw weight or draw length (they tend to be in ranges like ‘fits a draw length up to 26″ or ‘has a poundage between 17 to 21 lbs’) you need to choose the right range for your kid’s age and abilities.
Some of the more expensive models are, of course, adjustable (like compounds for adults), but if you want to test out if your kiddos may like shooting bows without risking a lot of money, I would definitely go for a budget friendly option.
Adjustable compounds have the advantage of growing with your kids. But I would go for that kind only for teens (14 years +) if I were you, because if you know for sure that your offspring likes shooting compounds you can invest in a higher quality model that will last for years. The Infinite Edge Pro (Diamond Archery) for example is adjustable from 5 to 70 pounds which is just unbelievable. But I would not dare to buy it for my 10 year old son, to be honest.
All in all, I would recommend the following poundages for youth bows:
|14 +||25 +|
As a general recommendation: Don’t let your kid start out with a poundage that is too high for him or her. They need to concentrate on proper form and target practice. With a poundage that is too much for them, that is just not possible. They will develop an awkward form to be able to pull the string back – if they are able to do it at all – which usually results in decreasing motivation and fun and maybe even injury. And that’s not what you want, dear parents. Because it would mean going back to the Playstation or TV.
Which Draw Length For Youth Bows
The draw length for youth bows is not that important as most kids and tweens fit into a range of up to 26″ which means their arms are simply not long enough at that age to be able to pull beyond that limit.
When they get older (think 14 years +) this may change, so their bow needs to be adjusted to their individual draw length (which also affects the poundage that they have on their fingers for real, as it is measured with a standard draw length of 28″. If your boy draws with a length of 29″, the pulled weight goes up). To measure the draw length read this => How To Determine Your Draw Length.
But like I wrote above, for kids up to 13 years a compound does not need to be that adjustable. What counts most at this age is the fun they get out of it.
Which Compound For Youth Beginners
If you ask yourself which compound for youth archers you should buy I have to answer that there are a lot of models out there to choose from and that there is not a one best answer that fits everyone.
Concerning the compound: It should be meant for children / tweens. It should not be too heavy or too big and the poundage must not be too much or your kid will lose motivation and fun pretty soon. It makes no sense to get tired after 10 shots.
You can read our review about the Crosman Elkhorn, which is recommended for kids that are 9 years or older. I would recommend it up to 13 or maybe even 14 years depending on the strength of the young archer who is shooting it.
Another option is the Barnett Banshee. This one is a bit tougher to pull as it has a higher poundage than the Elkhorn, so I would recommend it to 12 year old kids and up.
What Size Arrows For Youth Compound Bow
Most compound bows that are recommended for our youngsters are suited for being shot well with arrows that have a length of 28″-30″. That is because kids at an age up to 13 usually won’t have a draw length that is way longer than 26″.
Arrows that are longer are not a problem. Arrows that are too short definitely are one, as your kid could shoot his own hand with it. So keep that in mind!
For teens that are 14 years and up I would recommend that arrows are chosen individually because it is often-times more important to get the right arrow for an individual than getting the best bow (which does not exist, by the way). As soon as they are developing into young adults their features may differ from the standards the bow industry has set up, so it probably will be a good idea to get arrows that suit them individually. Learn more about choosing proper arrows here => Choosing The Right Arrows For A Compound Bow.
Which Compound For Youth Hunters
To be honest: none!
Children at such a young age should not think about hunting anything with bows recommended for their age range as those are way too weak (poundagewise) and not accurate enough for hunting anything. Instead they should be having fun shooting targets and being outside. They should learn proper form, how to handle a bow and that – even if it is meant for children – it is a weapon, after all, that can hurt humans, pets and even themselves, if handled in a wrong way.
So for kids that are up to 12 years old I wouldn’t consider hunting a good option. Even older ones would need bows with a draw weight of 45 lbs and up to meet the legal guidelines for most states concerning bowhunting and for learning how to shoot that is just too much.
So you shouldn’t ask yourself which compound to get for youth hunters, instead you should ask yourself which bow you can get so that your kids will fall in love with archery. So get one that is appropriate for their age, strength and skill level. If the groundwork is done right, the love for bowhunting will fall into place later on automatically.