As is the case with many components and accessories associated with bows like release aids and strings, there are many options available for arrow rests and the choice of which to use can be complex.
This article will discuss some of the best options available on the market, an explanation of why choosing the right rest is important and some instructions on how to select the arrow rest that is right for you.
To narrow down the discussion, the focus will be on rests for compound bows being used in hunting situations, shot by an archer using a release.
The 6 Top Arrow Rests of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for arrow rests of 2021:
- Best whisker biscuit: Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit Sure Shot Pro
- Best drop-away: Vapor Trail LimbDriver Pro-V Rest
- Best for hunting: Quality Archery Design Ultra Rest HDX
Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Product|| || || || || ||
|Biscuit Size (inner)||- 0.320 in (Medium) ||- 0.300 in (Small)|
- 0.320 in (Medium)
- 0.395 in (Large)
|not specified by manufacturer||not specified by manufacturer||- 0.300 in (Small)|
- 0.320in (Medium)
- 0.385 in (Large)
|not specified by manufacturer|
|Weight||not specified by manufacturer||8 oz||10 oz||4.8 oz||4 oz||8 oz|
|Dimensions||not specified by manufacturer||10 x 10 x 2 in||6 x 5 x 2.5 in||7.8 x 5 x 2.2 in||6 x 4 x 2 in||2.5 x 5.3 x 7.3 in|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price
Best Whisker Biscuit Arrow Rests
Whisker Biscuit rests are still the market favorite. When it comes to which brand to buy, you can choose between Trophy Ridge or Trophy Ridge. Carolina Archery originally patented the Whisker Biscuit design before eventually selling the product to Trophy Ridge.
While many brands have attempted to mimic the success of the full-containment Whisker Biscuit concept, none have succeeded. Trophy Ridge now makes four models of the Whisker Biscuit, which fall on a good, better, best spectrum.
1. Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit Sure Shot Pro
The Sure Shot Pro is the best of the best. Its aluminum construction makes it both rugged and lightweight. It is easily adjustable for windage and elevation, with laser engraved reference marks. This means your bow will be much simpler to tune.
The full-containment of the Whisker Biscuit makes it ideal for hunters who want the peace of mind that their arrow will be in the right spot when the time comes to take a shot.
While fletching contact with the rest has a negative impact on accuracy, Trophy Ridge has engineered the rest over time to minimize the downside.
Rest contact with the arrow shaft improves accuracy, so the Whisker Biscuit helps itself by remaining in contact with the arrow until it leaves the bow.
The Sure Shot Pro has rubber boots protecting the loading area for the arrow. This reduces arrow-loading noise that could be harmful in hunting scenarios.
Compare prices at: Amazon
2. Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit Quick Shot
The Whisker Biscuit Quick Shot gives you the basic functional benefits of the more expensive Whisker Biscuit products at a budget price. It is everything you need in an arrow rest and nothing you do not.
If you subscribe to the “you get what you pay for” school of thought (as you should), you are asking yourself what you are not getting because of the budget price.
The Quick Shot has a composite construction as opposed to aluminum, it also has windage adjustments only. The lack of elevation adjustment means you must rely on moving your d-loop for tuning of the bow.
However, once setup and tuned, you would not notice much difference between this “good” option compared to the “best.”
Best Drop-Away Rests
While your choice of Whisker Biscuit brands is straightforward, the drop-away rest market is full of brands and designs to choose from.
Options are nice, but the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming especially if you do not have prioritized needs when it comes to features.
Here are two great choices for drop-away rests if you want to simplify your search.
3. Vapor Trail Limbdriver Pro-V Rest
When considering the downsides of a drop-away rest versus a Whisker Biscuit, the biggest concerns are ease of use and risk of failure. The central factor with both of those concerns is the timing cord.
While a failure could come from another source, a broken cord is probably the most likely scenario. Because the Vapor Trail Limbdriver Pro V is limb-driven, it eliminates the issues associated with a timing cord and takes the top spot among drop-away rests.
The limb-driven operation makes timing simple, and Vapor Trail’s full-capture system put it above other limb-driven designs.
As was discussed about the Whisker Biscuit, rest contact with the arrow shaft increases accuracy. In the case of the LimbDriver Pro V, Vapor Trail boasts that the rest is in contact with the shaft for 70% of the shot cycle.
This helps the arrow track straight until it reaches the velocity needed to stabilize itself. Once the rest falls away, the fletchings pass through with zero contact.
Other features and specifications of the Limbdriver Pro V are:
- Adjustable spring tension
- Free-floating launcher arm
- Easy to setup
- Available in left and right-handed models
- Many colors available
Compare prices at: Walmart
4. Ripcord Technologies Code Red
Some fall-away arrow rests have a disadvantage compared with whisker biscuits: they don’t completely contain the arrow.
Not so the Code Red by Ripcord Technologies. The arrow rest completely encloses the arrow shaft from draw to release, which is when the rest falls away. This keeps the arrow from falling off the rest as you draw on that deer!
An added bonus is an internal brake system that eats the inertia from the rest falling. This means that the rest won’t bounce back up and knock your arrow off of its trajectory.
The base material is lightweight aluminum so the Code Red won’t pull your bow off balance. However, Ripcord Technologies knows that aluminum can be noisy, so every part of the rest an arrow might touch has been covered in quiet overmolding.
Setup is easy, and you can adjust the rest’s windage, so this rest fits your bow no matter how wide the riser.
- Falls away so your arrow’s vanes don’t touch any part of the bow, ensuring accuracy
- Internal brakes stop inertia, preventing the rest from bouncing back and from causing noise
- Can be set to cock as you start drawing the arrow or for manual cocking
- The arrow is fully contained within the rest
Best Hunting Arrow Rests
5. Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit Power Shot
When it comes to functionality, price and hunter preference, the Whisker Biscuit is still king. While this article has already given the nod to the Sure Shot Pro as the best Trophy Ridge has to offer, for hunting purposes many may prefer the Power Shot.
The Power Shot’s composite construction and Ballistix CoPolymer System reduce vibration and noise at the time of the shot.
The Power Shot has elevation and windage adjustments, and is also reversible for left and right-handed bows. Finally, it can be adjusted for bows that have high or low anchor points.
Like the other high-end Trophy Ridge products, it is available in black or camo.
Compare prices at: Bass Pro Shops
6. Quality Archery Design UltraRest HDX
For those hunters that want to gain a little arrow speed and accuracy, the Quality Archery Design (QAD) HDX is a great choice. The tradeoffs to those benefits are cost and a slight reliability factor.
However, the HDX boasts a long list of features that offset those concerns for many hunters.
With a combination of aluminum and stainless steel components, the HDX is rugged and durable. Built to be used in hunting scenarios where it will be exposed to some amount of abuse, the full-containment system keeps your arrow in place during those situations.
The HDX is customizable and adjustable, which makes it the perfect rest to use on a wide variety of compound bows.
QAD has been a leader in the arrow rest market for a long time, and their rests are made in the USA and come with a limited lifetime warranty.
The HDX is available in stock black and camo options, as well as custom colors.
The Importance of Choosing a Good Rest
Imagine yourself at full-draw on a bull elk of a lifetime. He is 20 yards in front of you, covered in mud, fired-up from a half hour where you have antagonized him with a cacophony of bugles, chuckles and tree-raking.
He takes that final step and you prepare to let your arrow fly. It is a moment you have visualized a thousand times; but imagine now that instead of watching the arrow hit its mark, you watch it sluff off the side of your arrow rest and clank harmlessly to the ground.
There are far too many hunters out there that do not have to imagine how this or a similar failure would feel because they have actually lived out this moment.
The frustration, let down and disappointment is immense. The tragedy of it is so much broader than just that moment.Consider what it takes to get to that point:
- the days and days of scouting
- placing trail cameras
- practicing with your bow
Then think how silly you would feel if, after all that time, money and energy spent, your opportunity was spoiled because you skimped on one of the most crucial components of your bow- your arrow rest.
Similarly, purchasing and becoming comfortable with a quality arrow rest can give you peace of mind that one factor in the moment will be a constant and not a variable.
Your rest is the last thing your arrow contacts before it is officially sent on its way towards your prey or target. Give yourself confidence and not heartache by choosing your arrow rest wisely.
Choosing Your Rest
Choosing between types and brands of arrow rests will be a little about your shooting scenarios and a lot about personal preferences.
For hunting applications, it is going to come down to either a whisker-biscuit or drop-away style. There are a lot of quality options to choose from in each category and some of the great choices are reviewed above.
You may have heard people discussing the “K.I.S.S.” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) method in various contexts and a whisker biscuit is the quintessence of that concept.
Whisker biscuits are simple and foolproof which has led them to be a favorite choice among hunters. Not only is there very little that can go wrong with them, but they are also very quiet as the arrow is released.
Of course, even the whisker biscuit comes with some tradeoffs.
1. While the odds of something catastrophic happening are almost non-existent, you give up a little performance on a smaller scale.
2. You can figure on losing a little arrow speed compared to a drop-away rest (think two to three feet per second).
3. The whisker biscuit has more contact with the arrow and fletchings than a drop-away rest which will cause slight irregularities in arrow flight.
For hunting purposes, the inaccuracies caused by the differing arrow flights are considered by most to be negligible.
Still, if optimum arrow speeds and accuracy are your top priority, a drop-away rest is the best choice.
As opposed to the whisker-biscuit style rest where the fletchings contact the rest as it passes through, a drop-away rest falls away from the shaft of the arrow before the fletchings or vanes can make contact.
This is what gives you the increases accuracy and arrow speed.
1. The downside of a drop-away rest is its complexity. Most people understand that the more complex something is, the greater the chance for failure; and drop-away rests are no exception.
2. Setup, tuning and timing of the drop-away rest are important, and those tasks can be a little overwhelming for new archers. Keeping the arrow on the rest as the bow is drawn and the arrow is raised into position can be tricky for new users as well.
These factors combine to make a whisker-biscuit style the smart choice for anyone new to archery.
If you scour sporting good stores and the internet, you can probably still find standard rests. However, the whisker biscuit has been greatly improved over its time on the market and since drop-away rests joined them as an option, standard rests have become obsolete.
Considering how much money goes into a hunting experience, deciding on a rest based on cost is not advised. If you find one that is right for you, an extra $50 is minor when you consider the importance of your rest.
If possible, try shooting some bows with a variety of rest options to determine your favorite before buying. Fortunately, most modern rests are easy to install and remove, so you are not stuck with your initial choice if you decide to go another direction.