There has been a decade long discussion about bow stabilizers and whether they are worth your money. Still, the science and general hunting experience stand behind this little rod put in front of your bow. The reason for that is that nobody can deny the dampening and stabilizing effects it provides. Stabilizers can offset any vibrations in the after shot of your bow and create an evener weight distribution across your setup.
Now, whether a good compound bow needs one is a different discussion but not everyone can afford a premium bow. So, why not do a small investment to greatly improve your shooting feeling and accuracy? This is why I decided to show you which is the best bow stabilizer for hunting and further explain what exactly these things do when you’re out in the open.
I’ve compiled a small list of my favorite 5 models for this year that are also the most common ones. They are all safe bets if you are looking for your first stabilizer. Still, each has its own unique characteristics and features. This is why I am going to briefly compare them with one another and then individually review them.
Top Bow Stabilizers Comparison Chart
Best For Bow Hunting – Trophy Ridge Static Stabilizer
First on my list is the well-known Trophy Ridge Static bow stabilizer. It features a unique construction that is now being copied by a lot of lesser known companies. The design has an interesting story behind it. It is a good way of combining rigidity with a construction that requires fewer materials to be built. In other words, less weight on the bar of the static stabilizer and more at the end while keeping the sturdiness (or even slightly increasing it). This construction also helps with aerodynamics as it lets air pass through it and improves aiming in windy conditions.
It comes in four different sizes:
- 3 inches
- 6 inches
- 9 inches
- 12 inches
I’ve decided to review the 9 inch model as it is the golden middle ground for me. Not too long to cause inconvenience when you carry your compound bow into the woods and not too short to limit its performance. Of course, if you want maximum accuracy while you are aiming, get the 12 inch version, as it will do the best job against these little scope oscillations when you are targeting an animal. The shorter 3 and 6 inch models are more useful for people looking to reduce the after shot vibrations of the bow.
In terms of colors, you can get it in full black or camo. There are two 1 ounce weights that you will be getting with your Trophy Ridge static stabilizer which can be used to adjust the weight at the end of the bar. It also comes with a braided wrist sling which is a great addition for this price.
- Good size range
- Very sturdy construction
- Ideal for windy conditions
- The bar isn’t too heavy
- Comes with a wrist sling
- While it has some weight adjustability, it could use a few more weight options
Most Adjustable Model – Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer
The second place is occupied by a well-known classic in the bow hunting world – the Bee Stinger. This stabilizer features a very recognizable design with its solid rod and weight options at its end.
It comes in quite the variety of sizes, ranging from 6 inches to a little over 10 inches. There are 5 weights coming with this item and each of them is exactly 1 ounce, basically giving you 6 weight options to choose from.
The Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme stabilizer is perhaps one of the best best bow stabilizers out there if you want to reduce your shot-induced vibrations and noise. It isn’t my favorite when it comes to aiming but I cannot deny its potential when it comes to less post shot oscillations.
It comes in 5 different color schemes for people interested in matching their bow to their accessories for a more stealthy approach.
Paired with a Gold Tip Bee Singer quick disconnect accessory, the bee stinger stabilizer is a great options for archers. A slight drawback might be its price, but considering the adjustability it doesn’t seem so much higher than its competition.
- Ideal adjustability
- Comes with 5 weights (1 oz each)
- Very sturdy construction
- Has 5 sizes and 6 colors to choose from
- Water resistant
- Can seem a little pricey
- Doesn’t have shorter than 6 inches versions
Best For Accuracy – Southland Archery Supply Aluminum Bow Stabilizer
Southland Archery Supply has adapted the more simplistic approach to their new stabilizer. It doesn’t have too many sizes and colors you can choose from, nor does it come with additional weights that you can add. Still, it has one of the most solid constructions I’ve ever seen on such an accessory and is fairly aerodynamic thanks to the overall design.
It comes in three sizes, which are:
- 5 inches (5.3 oz)
- 8 inches (6.5 oz)
- 11 inches (10 oz)
Those are, in my opinion, the three universal sizes for all stabilizers. What this means is that this particular model is very beginner friendly. If you want to emphasize on dampening your bow’s post-shot vibrations and reducing your bow’s shooting noise, then go for the 5 inch version. If precision is what you are after, then the 11 inch version is the one for you.
The aluminum construction will not only add to its rigidity and fairly lightweight but it will also increase its longevity and, unless you lose it, it will be by your side for quite some time.
All these things apart, this hunting bow stabilizer is cheaper than the Bee Stinger and the Trophy Ridge Static stabilizers further adding to its tempting character.
- Cheap alternative to higher-end brands
- Very durable
- Good for windy conditions
- Ideal for both beginners and advanced archers
- Only comes in three sizes and two colors
- Doesn’t have detachable weights
Most Innovative – New Archery Products Black Apache Stabilizer
The NAP Black Apache Stabilizer is a very peculiar model and it has its fair share of critics as well as a decent fan-based. It comes in two sizes – 5 and 8 inches. The 8 inch version has a detachable 3 inch carbon fiber bar which weighs 2 ounces. This gives it a little more adjustability than a no-weights stabilizer but it still is low, especially considering the price tag here.
One of the things that might make up for the lack of serious weight adjustments are the materials which the NAP Apache is made of. The proprietary dampening materials here (mostly carbon fiber and rubber) are excellent at their job. The 5 inch version is one of the best dampening stabilizers out there but it lacks in terms of accuracy aid.
Taking into consideration that it only comes in two sizes and two colors you get the impression that New Archery Products didn’t want to overcomplicate their bow accessory too much and focus on the important things. Even though the NAP Apache isn’t great for aiming it does wonders for your post-shot bow vibrations.
- Superb dampening effect
- Quality materials
- Good for beginners
- Adequately priced
- Won’t help much with accuracy and aiming
- Sizes and colors are very limited
Best Budget Option – LimbSaver S-Coil Bow Stabilizer
Last on my list is a stabilizer for the more budget oriented folk. It also is a great thing for any beginner as it costs little to nothing and does an okay job at dampening and silencing. Helping you aim isn’t the goal of the “Limb Saver” but rather to soften you bow’s after shot vibrations and make the shot itself more silent.
It features a rubberized spiral design that is very lightweight. The idea behind the spiral construction is to maximize surface area without making the stabilizer too long. That greatly reduces the bow jump. Think of it as a harmonic dampener that stretches back and forth when you shoot.
It is weather resistant, as are in fact all of the previously mentioned models. The Lib Saver is easy to install and is 4-1/2 inches. The weight is 4.5 ounces which is an okay weight but as I already said – don’t expect it to provide any significant counterweight functions to your compound bow.
As the great beginner’s stabilizer it is, it comes with a literal rainbow of color choices. As of this month, there are 9 different colors you can choose your model to come with. As a conclusion all I can say is that this is perhaps one of the best bow stabilizers when it comes to sheer price-to-value ratios and its worth having it just to experiment with your compound bow.
- Uses proprietary NAVCOM materials
- Comes in an array of colors
- Features a simple but effective vibration dampening technology
- Does a poor job at improving accuracy and aiming
- Comes in one size
Bow Stabilizers Buyer’s Guide
Choosing a stabilizer for your hunting bow can be a tricky process but with a little bit of knowledge you can correct that. There are a few major points that I will hit on when diving deeper into the world of box stabilizers. They are:
- What exactly is a stabilizer and what does it do
- What length do you need
- Choosing the proper weight
- Creating a good center of mass for your bow
Let’s take a look at all those aspects individually now…
What Is A Bow Stabilizer?
A stabilizer essentially performs two vital functions for your bow. First, it acts as a vibration and noise dampener. Every time you draw your string and release it, you are unleashing a lot of energy that basically slams into your bow. Having a stabilizer in front of the bow will help absorb some (or most) of this energy and therefore will effectively reduce the following vibrations, shock, and noise from your shot.
This also helps your hand as it usually acts as a stabilizer when you shoot. All the kinetic energy transfers onto your wrist and from there – to your whole hand.
The second thing your stabilizer will do is actually stabilize the compound bow when you’re aiming. By having this extra weight below your hand in front of your bow will slow down the oscillations of the pin when you are in full-draw. This will greatly improve your aiming abilities and accuracy.
It is important to understand that not all stabilizers are meant to do both tasks. Some are very short and flexible and are meant to dampen your bow’s vibrations and reduce the noise it makes when shooting. Others are more oriented towards creating a counterweight further in front of your bow making your movements a lot smoother and thus improving aiming.
Bow Stabilizer Lengths
When you are shopping for your first model, you will immediately notice that there are sizes from 3 inches all the way to 15, 20, or more inches. For a hunting bow stabilizer, the maximum length is around 12 inches. Anything beyond that is just impractical out in the open and is solely meant for target shooting.
As I pointed out, shorter stabilizers emphasize on vibration dampening and silencing, while longer models greatly improve aiming and accuracy.
If you are looking for a good dampening stabilizer, go for a model which is 4-6 inches long. If you want something that is a mix of both worlds, I’d suggest an 8 or 9 inch rod, and if you want accuracy, go for an 11 or 12 inch model.
The next logical question would be – how much weight do you want on your stabilizer? What the weight does is improve the torquing power required to twist and turn the bow. The further out it is and the more it is the harder it will be to do sudden movements and changes with your bow.
A good way to imagine this is to visualize yourself holding a selfie stick. Fairly easy to move around with a phone on it, right? Now, imagine that your selfie stick has a full-sized DSLR camera attached to it. Will be a lot harder to turn, right? That is what the weight at the end of the stabilizer rod does to your bow.
Typically, more expensive models come with adjustable weights of 1 ounce each. The more adjustability the better, because that will allow you not only to match the stabilizer to your liking but will also allow it to be used across different compound bows.
Keeping Proper Weight Distribution
It is a very easy thing to miscalculate the balance of your compound bow once you start adding things like bow sights, quivers, arm rests, whiskers, etc. If you don’t manage to distribute the weight properly, the extra weight from the stabilizer might make your bow want to tilt down a bit. This is why side rods exist and this is why most hunters love them.
What a side rod does is put some weight behind the bow, below your hand. it will help with counterbalancing the front stabilizer and will bring your bow back up.
Additional Features To Look For
Keeping an eye open for some additional goodies might prove beneficial for your shopping. If you want to avoid looking for a wrist sling separately you can choose a model such as the Trophy Ridge which comes with a braided wrist sling. Not all bow hunters enjoy them as they can sometimes get in the way but no one denies that they are a good addition to any set up if you have the nerves to put up with it danging from your bow.
One thing that you will experience rather soon is losing a few stabilizer weights. They are very small and weight close to nothing in your hand and are therefore super easy to lose. Try finding a model that has some extra weights just in case.
One last feature that I think to be more of a gimmick is the color of your stabilizer. If you are going for a stealthy approach, choose one that matches your bow’s camo pattern. Many companies offer a variety of colors that you can choose from but pure black is still the most common one.
Are Bow Stabilizers Essential For Bow Hunting?
Experienced bow hunters feel the biggest difference when using stabilizers. For them, a little bit of extra help means a steadier shot at a greater distance. Novice bow hunters shouldn’t really look for all the possible ways of making their live easy, as that will in a way spoil their progress. Try hunting or shooting at a target for a while with just your compound bow and learn all of its quirks and features before you start modifying it and trying to get the best out of it.
Still, if you are too eager for that, I suggest picking a fairly low-priced stabilizer that you can play around with and see what exactly those tools do for your aiming and shooting mechanics. That way you will have a better insight for when you are ready to get a high-end model.
Do I really need a bow stabilizer?
Having a bow stabilizer attached to your bow is a matter of personal preference. If you are a beginner archer you can postpone that investment a bit and focus on your skill set. Once you’ve improved you will start noticing small difference across different bows and different compound bow setups. This is where things like stabilizers start making a difference.
Is it worth having two different bow stabilizers?
In my opinion, if you are using your bow for both hunting and target practice it is a good idea to have two stabilizers – one for each purpose. On top of that, if your budget allows it, you can experiment with different kinds to see which one suits your shooting style the most and feels the most comfortable on your bow.
A good alternative to that is a highly adjustable stabilizer that can vary in weight and length but those are usually quite expensive.
What other components can I get to improve my compound bow?
You can get a bow mounted quiver, biscuit whisker, bow sight, a bow scope, rests, and many more other accessories that will improve your hunting or target practice experience. Still, keep in mind that all those things will really bulk up the final price of your compound bow.
Looking for the best bow stabilizer for hunting really depends just on a few simple factors. Find out what is the ideal length and weight for you and look for a model with similar characteristics. What most people do (me included) is go to the local shop and ask to try out different models, different lengths, weights, and designs. That is a bulletproof method of being happy from your choice. If you don’t have a store nearby, then stick to the well-established models that have been tried and tested thousands of times out in the woods with all sorts of hunting bow models.