There has been a decade-long discussion about bow stabilizers and whether they are worth your money. Still, the science and most hunters (including me) stand behind them. The reason for that is that nobody can deny the dampening and stabilizing effects this piece of equipment provides. Stabilizers can offset any vibrations in the after shot of your bow and create a more even weight distribution across your whole setup.
Now, whether a good compound bow needs one is a different discussion. However, not everyone can afford a premium bow, so why invest a bit to improve your accuracy and bow properties? That’s exactly the reason why I want to show you which are the best bow stabilizers for hunting for this year. I also want to further explain what exactly these are and how they perform when you’re out hunting.
Choosing your bow stabilizer should be based on a few aspects – its weight, length, the materials used in it, and its adjustability. Additionally, you can look for side rods that will counteract having a long stabilizer and/or other accessories on your bow that put it off balance such as a scope, hand rest, quiver, etc. If you are new to all this, the best thing is to go to a local archery or gun shop and try out different stabilizers on your bow to see which fits your needs and feels the best.
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 the 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.
- Very sturdy construction
- Ideal for windy conditions
- The bar isn’t too heavy
- Comes with a wrist sling
- Comes in 4 size options
- 2 camo patterns
- While it has some weight adjustability, it could use a few more weight options
- A bit on the expensive side
Most Adjustable Model – Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer
The second place is occupied by a well-known classic in the bowhunting 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 a 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 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 fewer 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(Amazon) quick disconnect accessory, the bee stinger stabilizer is a great option 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
- Superb build quality
- Used by hunters all over the globe
- Can seem a little pricey
- Doesn’t have shorter than 6 inches versions
Best High-end Option – Trophy Ridge Hitman Stabilizer
Unlike the Static model, the Trophy Ridge Hitman stabilizer is using the company’s newest technologies in it. It is even more balanced and helps reduce noise even further. On top of that, it doesn’t really come as much more expensive than the rest of the models from the company. However, it packs a few more features and a ton more adjustability, making it perfect for archers that pay attention to the little details.
Weight-wise, this particular model is super lightweight for its size. The 10-inch version weighs only 6.5 oz thanks to its carbon construction. Additionally, that same carbon-fiber construction makes it one of the toughest stabilizers on this list. In other words, you can take this out in the forest with you without worrying about damaging it. If you want to adjust the weight, you have two removable weights at the front. Both of those weights weigh 1 ounce which means you can get the total weight down to 4.5 ounces.
Just like other models from the brand, you can choose 4 different lengths. Those are 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches. And as with all other hunting stabilizers, I’d suggest you opt for the shorter models if haven’t used a stabilizer before. For more experienced hunters, 10 inches works very well, although that length may get in the way if you’re shooting from a climbing stand. The Hitman also comes with a mounting bar, a wrist strap, and differently colored rings for a personalized touch.
All in all, with this stabilizer you get what you pay for and that is a premium product that does everything superbly. It is very well-balanced, absorbs vibrations very well, and is extremely easy to use and set up. If your budget allows it, I say go for it!
- Great noise reduction properties
- Carbon fiber body
- Comes with a wrist strap
- Mounts very easily
- Comes in 4 different sizes
- Two removable 1 oz weights upfront
- One of the more expensive stabilizers out there
- No camo options
- The quick-detach system can loosen over time
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
- Helps with aiming and stability
- Can be equipped in a few seconds
- 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 is the materials that 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 wonder for your post-shot bow vibrations.
- Superb dampening effect
- Quality materials
- Good for beginners
- Adequately priced
- Designed for hunting
- Good value for your money
- 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 your 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. In 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 it’s worth having it just to experiment with your compound bow.
- Very cheap
- Super easy to setup
- 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
- No weight options
Best Lightweight Option – LimbSaver LS Hunter Lite Bow Stabilizer
LimbSaver has proven to be one of the best brands to make compound bow accessories these past few years. Their stabilizers are absolutely great for the money and the LS Hunter Lite is here to prove that. In short, it is one of my favorite models in this price bracket mainly due to its lightweight nature and easy setup. Don’t be fooled, though, there is more to it since the LS Hunter is packed to its gills with advanced features!
For starters, the whole body is made out of carbon fiber. This is how they’ve managed to keep the weight of a 7-inch stabilizer down to 3.5 ounces. Additionally, the inside of the tube is packed with LimbSaver’s NAVCOM material. It is superb at dampening sounds and vibrations coming from your bow. At the front, there is additional dampening in the form of a removable broadband dampener. Its difference isn’t as apparent but you can experiment with putting it on and off.
What I absolutely love about this particular stabilizer is that it comes with all the camo patterns you can imagine. In short, if you like matching your gear, this one will make you fall in love. You can choose from solid black, Realtree APG, Realtree Xtra, Lost Camo, Mossy Oak break-up country, and more!
In summary, if you want to get something from this brand but want all the good features, I say skip the famous S-coil and go straight for the Hunter series. They have the removable front node and are super lightweight. The AWS Modular and Windjammer models have further customization options but are more expensive.
- Great price
- Carbon fiber body
- NAVCOM-filled tube
- Super lightweight at 3.5 ounces
- Removable node
- Plenty of camo options
- Easy to put on
- Doesn’t have LimbSaver’s customizable system
- No size options
- Lacks the brand’s balancing system
Most Compact – Silfrae Rubber Compound Bow Stabilizer
This stabilizer is one of the cheaper ones out there, especially since it comes in 4 different variations. The one I like the most is the top trim one which is the only one in Realtree camouflage. It is also made out of aluminum, while the other options are rubberized.
Thanks to its materials, it is slightly heavier than the rest, weighing 106g. In terms of length, it is slightly longer than 4 inches which is a good addition to any hunter’s compound bow. It won’t a lot for accuracy but will greatly reduce post-shop vibrations. The spiraled construction adds to the rigidity and absorbs the power from the bow quite nicely.
The rubber versions are one of the best budget options since they are half the price of the aluminum ones and do a fairly comparable job at noise and vibration reduction. Honestly, if you aren’t hunting in long ranges, this might be all you need. Longer stabilizers do a great job if your target is further away but these short ones won’t add too much weight to your bow and make it easier to move around, while still eliminating most of the residual noise and vibrations after you shoot.
- Aluminum spiral design
- Very easy to put on
- Sturdy construction
- Decently priced
- Absorbs noise and vibrations well
- Realtree camo pattern
- Doesn’t improve accuracy by much
- Has only one size
- Weight isn’t adjustable
Best for Target Practice – CBE TX11 Torx Stabilizer
CBE Hunting is a brand that isn’t as well-known as the others on this list. However, they are, without a doubt, one of the best out there. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask anyone that has ever used their products on their bow. Their Torx series is becoming more and more popular simply because the quality is second to none here. Unfortunately, for that higher quality, you should expect a slightly higher price tag. That might very well be one of this stabilizer’s only disadvantages.
There are two Torx options out there – an 11-inch and a 7-inch one. They can be both used at the front of your bow or in a combined setup with both of them facing opposite directions. Both stabilizers are made out of carbon fiber which makes them extremely lightweight. The 11-inch option is superb for target practicing if you want to get tighter groupings. It also works on heavier bows and dampens them superbly. At the front, you have a detachable counterweight which proves very useful for added stability and is easily taken on or off if you want to test things up.
The thing that I don’t particularly like about this stabilizer apart from its price is that there are not a ton of size options. Also, there are no color options available at all. All that makes it feel less premium than it actually is. Either way, there are hardly a lot of stabilizers that could claim they are better than this. So if you aren’t on a tight budget, this is a killer part to add to your bow!
- Superb build quality
- Carbon fiber construction
- The ideal length for most hunters
- Could be paired with a side stabilizer
- Attaches easily
- Very durable
- Almost no size options
- No camo pattern options
Easy to Use Option – Sharrow Archery Aluminum Bow Stabilizer
The Sharrow Archery Aluminum Bow Stabilizer is one of the simplest models on this list. It also closely resembles the Silfrae and the SAS stabilizers. However, it uses CNC machined aluminum just like the SAS model but for less money. That’s why it is popular among hunters that are looking for a similar stabilizer on a budget.
Size-wise, you can get this one in four sizes – 3, 5, 8, and 11-inches. Personally, I think the 8-inch model works better for hunting, although a lot of my friends have been using 10-12 inch stabilizers as of late. The 3 and 5-inch options are good for side stabilizers. Additionally, you can choose between 5 camo patterns. These are black, carbon, red, white, or traditional woodland camo patterns here.
Unlike the Silfrae stabilizer, this one isn’t made out of rubber so it weighs a bit more. It also dampens the bow slightly better or at least the larger models do. The aluminum frame allows it to be extremely durable and tough no matter the weather. Noise-wise, you also get plenty of reduction from the bigger models. The smaller ones mainly focus on reducing vibrations. All of the variations are super easy to equip on your bow and won’t break the bank either, making them a suitable choice for almost anyone!
- Good price
- Great for beginners
- 4 size options
- 5 color options
- Durable aluminum frame
- Fairly lightweight
- Very easy to use
- Cannot be adjusted
- The smaller options won’t help with aiming
- The 3-inch variants only dampen vibrations
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. 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 that 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. 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, armrests, 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 bowhunters enjoy them as they can sometimes get in the way but no one denies that they are a good addition to any setup 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 weigh 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 bowhunters 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 life 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 try 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 better insight into when you are ready to get a high-end model.
If you want to get a brand new compound bow I suggest checking out my guide on some of the best compound bows for beginners for both hunting and field archery!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you 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 differences 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.
What stabilizer size is the best for hunting?
As I mentioned earlier in the article, you should opt for shorter stabilizers. Longer models (10+ inches) will be tough to deal with when you’re out in the woods. With that in mind, avoid anything above 10-12 inches and start with something around 6 inches. After that, work your way up to your sweet spot. For me, personally, it is 8 inches.
Looking for the best bow stabilizers 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 to 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 with 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.