If you are looking for more detailed information about compound bows in general, take a look at our selecting a best compound bow guide.
One of the greatest traditions in bow hunting is passing it on. This means introducing the next generation to the joys of chasing animals with archery tackle, and using woodsmanship and keen skill to take the game.
The downside is that many hunters must wait for the right time until they’re able to use a full-sized bow that is strong enough to kill the game at a distance.
The answer here is to look towards the new breed of youth bow models that offer several advantages such as reduced overall weight, reduced pull weight, and other features that can help new hunters enjoy archery sooner and a lot more.
The 4 Top Kid’s Compound Bows of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for youth and kid compound bows:
- Best overall: Get the PSE Mini Burner
- Get the Bear Archery Brave
- Best package #1: Get the Barnett Vortex Hunter
- Best package #2: Get the Genesis Original Kit
*Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Axle-to-Axle||26 in||26 in||27.5 in|
|Draw Weight||4-40 lbs||15 - 25 lbs||45 - 60 lbs|
|Brace Height||6 and 5/8 in||5.5 in||6.8 in|
|Let Off||70%||65%||60 - 70%|
|Draw Length||16-26.5 in||13.5 - 19 in||25 - 30 in|
|Weight||2.5 lbs||2 lbs||2.3 lbs|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best Overall: PSE Mini Burner
Too often there’s this idea that you should get a cheap and flimsy copy of an adult tool to give to your child. But that’s no way to get them into an engaging hobby for the rest of their life!
You won’t fall into that trap with the PSE Mini Burner. It’s a miniature version of PSE’s legendary hunting bows and is fully capable of everything a “proper” compound can do while being lighter and smaller.
The Mini Burner takes standard accessories. This means that you’re not stuck with the arrow rest or pin sight that comes with the bow. You can replace them with better versions as you see fit.
- Comes with a three-pin sight, arrow quiver, arrow rest, stabilizer, and three carbon arrows
- Can be upgraded
- Meets the minimum draw weight for hunting deer in many states when set to the maximum
- Draw Weight: 4-40 pounds
- Draw Length: 16-26.5 inches
- Brace Height: 6 and 5/8 inches
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
You can set the PSE Mini Burner to draw 4 pounds and 16 inches and teach a 6-year-old to shoot this bow. It’ll grow with them until they can pull 40 pounds at a draw length of 26.5 inches, so your child can practice with the same bow for a very long time.
PSE Mini Burner is also available at:
2. Bear Archery Brave
A starter bow for a youth hunter needs to have several qualities.
This is a great option from Brave that is perfect for starting a hunter off just before they’re able to hunt until they begin to chase game more seriously and at extended ranges.
- Great bare bones kit for getting a youngster ready to hunt.
- The kit includes a basic pin sight, a whisker biscuit arrow rest, and a basic clip on the quiver.
- It is very much a basic, quality kit for little money.
- Draw weight: 15 – 25 lbs
- Draw length: 13.5 – 19 in
- Brace height: 5.5 in
- Weight: 2 lbs
A little on the longer side for a kid’s bow, this is still great for a 5 or 6-year-old ready to respect the safety rules and begin to learn how to hunt with archery tackle responsibly. It is ideal for hunting small, thin skinned game.
3. Best Youth Compound Bow Package #1: Barnett Vortex Hunter
Barnett, a name normally known for their crossbows and accessories, brings this excellent small-framed bow to the market that comes with everything that a youth needs to get started in the woods.
- Four arrows, a fixed pin sight, quiver, and an arrow release are included in the package.
- If you need an affordable yet effective bow for your youngster and you want a one stop shop for arrows, sight, and a bow ready to go, this is the best route.
- Draw weight: 45 – 60 lbs
- Draw length: 25 – 30 in
- Brace height: 6.8 in
- Weight: 2.3 lbs
This is one of the strongest compound bows for youth hunters. It is effective for hunting thin skinned game like whitetail deer and small hogs. It is something that can be used for season after season until the kid hunter is strong enough to move on to a full-sized bow.
4. Best Youth Compound Bow Package #2: Genesis Original Kit
If you’re looking for a good starter compound bow kit for your child, why not use the official bow of the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP)?
NASP’s official bow is the Genesis Original. It can be used to teach anybody the basics of both compound and recurve bows thanks to its light weight, light draw, wide draw length, and single-cam design.
The kit comes with Easton #1820 aluminum arrows, which are the same ones required by NASP for their competitions. Honestly, though, you may want to get higher-quality carbon arrows, since these are not known for durability.
- Comes with a bow, quiver, five arrows, 3/16-inch hex wrench, and an adjustable arm guard
- Long draw length for a youth compound bow
- Single cam for shooting with less noise and vibration, though this means it has no let-off
- Drilled and tapped for standard accessories such as arrow rests and pin sights
- Available in many different color options
- Draw Weight: 10-20 pounds
- Draw Length: 15-30 inches
- Brace Height: 7 and 5/8 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
The Genesis Original is a great youth bow that can be used to teach anybody, even adults, how to shoot. However, it has a maximum draw weight of 20 pounds, so it’s only good for teaching, practice, and NASP competitions.
Genesis Original Kit is also available at:
How Youth Bow Differs From Regular?
A compound bow made specifically for the youth hunter is smaller than an adult bow. Smaller meaning shorter draw length, less weight, and shorter axle to axle length.
A long, heavy bow is easier to shoot for adults but is difficult for a young hunter to hold it up and balance. Especially for a shooter hunter, they may have trouble banging their bottom axle on the tree stand steps while trying to shoot at an animal.
Packages for youth hunters are often just leftover pieces of gear from adult setups that don’t fit the bill, as well as purpose-made equipment does. Smaller sized arrow rests, releases, sights, and quivers all make for a light bow and easier to use setup.
Another important part of a bow setup is a larger peep and more silencing materials.
- A larger peep helps a younger shooter settle on a sight alignment and make a good shot.
- More silencing material is important because youth bows tend to shoot slower and string jump is a real threat.
Arrows & Broadheads
Youth sized arrows must be shorter because the draw lengths are shorter. The good news is, the quality of bolts that both adults and kids use have the same standards.
Just because a hunter is younger or inexperienced doesn’t mean you should have to use subpar equipment. For marksmanship training, use cheaper arrows until they stop losing them, and then get a good set for hunting.
Stay away from expandable broadheads. They sap energy and can limit penetration. Plus, youth bows already lack power and speed. Use a high-quality fixed broadhead until they step up to a standard draw weight.
Accessories for archery tackle can be just as important as the bow. A high-quality release aid and comfortable sling both make using a bow joyful. Even little things like an arrow puller, a fun target, and realistic shooting gear makes hunting and training a blast.
Tip: If you’re stuck between two items, pick the one that the youth hunter wants if safety or ethics is not a concern (as of the moment) while hunting.
9 Aspects to Consider For Kids Bow
When you are shopping for a new bow for a youth hunter, remember a few things. Buying one is much like getting an adult’s compound bow with a few key differences because of who they are designed for.
Most youth hunters chase whitetail deer. For the lucky little guys who get to go out on a western elk or a black bear hunt, each game needs a different kind of compound bow. The bigger and tougher the game, the stronger bow is needed.
No one needs a 90-pound draw weight, including the youth. The rule of thumb is 45 lbs minimum for even the largest game. Use your good judgment when choosing.
As ranges move out, speed needs to increase so that you can ensure a flat trajectory to make a reliable hit. This can mean ratcheting up the draw weight to get a faster arrow speed or using a slightly lighter arrow.
Most youth hunters should hunt at closer ranges where the target distance is more forgiving, around a maximum of 25 yards. That way, there’s room for error if they get nervous. Unlike a 40-yard shot that most adults can make, but with much practice.
Axle to Axle Length
As a rule, longer is better. But with a youth bow, you must reach a happy medium.
Many bows have gone with a fad of short and light weight but they are hard to shoot. Youth bows should be smaller but avoid the tiny novelty bows and awful recurve bows that do not shoot effectively.
Every state has a minimum draw weight for both compound and recurve bows; they also impose recommendations that a hunter should look for.
A good rule of thumb:
- For the medium thin skinned game like deer, 35 lbs is a decent weight that’ll kill it down reliably every time.
- For a big boned game like elk, bear or large hogs, 45 lbs is a battle.
- For any game, including state minimum, 25 lbs is usually the norm.
The overall weight of a bow should be as light as possible.
Hand shock isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be in old school lightweight bows, so go as light as possible. Use a lightweight bow to begin with and use lightweight sights, slings, quivers, and arrow weight.
It doesn’t matter as much during hunting, but your kid will certainly feel it during long practice sessions leading up to the opening day.
Let-off is the weight reduction due to the shape of the cam on a compound bow when held at full draw.
Most have 60-85% let-off. This isn’t a big deal as many people make it out to be, especially with a youth bow. Youth hunters rarely hold their shot for very long so it has little use in the field.
It can be a bad idea if the shooter gets complacent with the shot and lets the bow string creep forward. This sudden yank of the bow while attached to the string at the wrist can scar a kid for life.
Youth bows will often be put together with much looser tolerances than others. This isn’t inherently a problem because these are only used for a few years anyway.
Some of the novelty camouflage patterns that has come out in the past few years featuring pink, lime green or blue are fine for the youth hunter. Camouflage is icing on the cake anyway. So if your kid happens to like the novelty camo, go for it.
Hunting should be first and foremost FUN!
High-end youth bows exist. But the more expensive the bow is, the harder it is to justify. Unless of course, you have an unlimited budget. Most likely, this youth bow will only be used for a few years and will ultimately become a keepsake.
It just needs to be capable of serving for a couple of years and doesn’t need any luxury features of levels of quality. A final price should be around $300 total for a package and arrow setup.
Before You Start
Introducing a new hunter to the outdoors is a fragile time.
You must walk a tight rope of providing a fun, easy-going hunt but you also want to show them the tough side of hunting. This is applicable to every youth hunter, especially to those into archery hunting.
Intentionally limiting your range and lethality by using archery tackle is a big deal for youth and dialing in their bow is important. Equipment goes a long way to make sure you get to see the game and be successful on your hunt.
A good youth bow is smaller with higher let-off and a lighter draw weight. Bells and whistles are hindrances, and so is trying to get a bow to do it all. Search around for a plain-Jane gear, train up for the opening day, and get the little ones to the woods!
You also might be interested in: 20-Step Guide on How To Shoot A Compound Bow ( First Shot Set-Up to Common Mistakes )