Best Cheap/Inexpensive Crossbows in 2020

Welcome to our best cheap crossbows guide. With the surging popularity of crossbows in recent times, we are being asked more and more which crossbow is the best. That is a difficult question as there is no one right answer to fit every shooter’s needs.

We have articles that discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of extreme speed, articles that talk about recurve crossbows versus compound crossbows and even articles that teach you the basics of crossbow shooting and advanced crossbow ballistics calculations.

To aid in your search for a good inexpensive crossbow, we’ve put together the following list of the best cheap crossbow packages which can be bought without breaking even the smallest bank. Under each crossbow heading below you can click the link to read our full review to further help in your decision process.

You can also check out our best crossbow recommendations for some mid-priced products.

Top 3 Budget Crossbows

Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR

Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR

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Killer Instinct Ripper 415

Killer Instinct Ripper 415

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Velocity375 FPS415 FPS
Draw Weight150 lbs.200 lbs.
Deer / Elk Hunting?yes2yes2
Width (un-cocked)20.125"17.75"
Weight6.6 lbs.6.9 lbs.

One aspect of crossbows that is sometimes overlooked when evaluating each is their price. This is especially important for someone who is just getting in to crossbow shooting as there is no need to spend big bucks just to find out you don’t really care for crossbows. There are many shooters we have spoken with that love rifles, but just don’t really get into slinging arrows, even though there are many similarities in modern crossbows and modern rifles.

Knowing the possibility exists that some shooters won’t care for a crossbow once they experience one, we often tell newbies to the sport to keep their initial expenditure low. By doing so, there is less at stake if they don’t like it, and if they do, they can always upgrade and keep the inexpensive first purchase as a backup or for practice.

Other cheap crossbows

The following are some other recommendations, however, most of them are difficult to buy nowadays.

Arrow Precision Inferno Fury

Arrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow KitThe Inferno Fury by Arrow Precision is by far the most affordable crossbow on our list of recommendations, coming in at the same price as a three course meal at a good restaurant (see price on Being a recurve crossbow, the draw weight is higher at 175 lbs. but with a lower arrow speed of 235 fps. Also, being the only recurve on the list, the Inferno Fury uses shorter 16” arrows than its compound counterparts. With the lower speed and lighter arrow, the Inferno Fury hits with a marginal 49 FPKE. We use the word ‘marginal’ only in terms of hunting deer-sized prey at 30 yards. For any practice purposes, this is more than enough power, and this lower speed can actually be better for beginning shooters as lower speeds are often more forgiving. Read our full review of the Arrow Precision Inferno Fury here.

CenterPoint Sniper 370

CenterPoint Sniper 370The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a crossbow that offers some serious speed as well as pinpoint accuracy at a price point that might just leave you smiling (see price on With a fully adjustable tactical stock and forearm, the Sniper can be set up to fit a shooter of just about any stature. The 185 lb. draw couples with a 13.5” power stroke to deliver some blistering speeds up to 370 fps. Arriving as a full package with an illuminated scope, 3 carbon arrows, a sling, quiver and rope cocker, this combo will have you ready to shoot in no time. The Sniper can be a bit front heavy and might not feel as solid as other more expensive crossbows, but given the speed, accuracy and value, it is certainly worth a hard look. Read our full review of the CenterPoint Sniper 370 here.

Barnett Wildcat C6

wildcat_c6_main_frameThe Barnett Wildcat C6 is a great crossbow for someone who is looking for serious power without having to break the bank to get it. (see price on The Wildcat C6 combines a modest 125 lb. draw eight with a long 13.5” power stroke to send arrows at your target at speeds up to 320 FPS. At 7 lbs., it isn’t the lightest of crossbows, but it certainly isn’t the heaviest either. The Wildcat C6 arrives as a complete package including the crossbow, a 4 x 32 multi reticle scope, a 3-arrow quiver and three 20” Headhunter Arrows. Even with the modest draw weight, you would be wise to also order a rope cocking aid to ensure the string is properly centered for each draw. The Wildcat C6 is a fairly straightforward crossbow without a lot of frills, but it has a very cool look and design that will give you feel of a much more expensive crossbow. All in all, the Wildcat C6 is a great choice for someone who is budget minded, but doesn’t want anyone to know that when they look at the crossbow. Read our full review of the Barnett Wildcat C6 here.

What other factors should you look for in a good cheap crossbow?

As you look at our above recommendations, there are a few features that stand out that each crossbow has in common. All are something we consider to be very important in an entry-level crossbow and are something that made our recommendations stand out in the field of inexpensive crossbows. Each of the below pertains specifically to safety for the beginning shooter.

Anti Dry Fire.

This is a mechanism that essentially locks out the trigger when the crossbow is loaded and when an arrow is not in the proper position for firing. This is critical as firing a crossbow without an arrow in place can do significant damage to the limbs, and even injure the shooter. This is good to have on any crossbow, but is especially important for the novice shooter who might easily forget to place an arrow, especially in a time of excitement.

Automatic Safety.

Just about all crossbows have some type of safety to prevent the accidental firing of the weapon. For a beginning shooter, experience has taught us that a safety that automatically engages upon the cocking of the weapon is best. Many first-time shooters have not developed the habit of always ensuring the safety is engaged until it is time to shoot, so this takes that need to remember out of the equation.

Protective Flanges.

There are a great number of beginning crossbow shooters who do not realize the dangers the string poses to them when the crossbow is fired. Due to the high draw weights of crossbows, any finger or thumb that comes in contact with the bowstring as it is released bears a high risk of significant injury. Having a protective flange that extends along and above the front grip helps to minimize the risk of an errant finger sticking up too high.

Final Thoughts

Entering in to any new outdoor sport always involves spending money to get the right equipment to get started. The balance is always trying to get the best equipment possible while spending the least money to do so. This ensures that, if you find you really don’t care for that new sport, you haven’t hurt your bank account too bad, and you might even be able to sell that equipment to get some of those funds back.

Crossbow shooting is no different, except there is the added potential danger of learning to use a powerful weapon. Any crossbow should be treated with extreme respect by any shooter, but especially a novice shooter. The above list of safety features are ones that should really be strongly considered and are the biggest reasons, other than price, that each is on the list.

As always, we love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments, please email us.

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