Determining The Best Arrow Length

How Length of Your Arrows Impacts Your Shots

Choosing the proper arrow length is crucial for any aspiring archer. To safeguard against misconceptions and missteps, this article will teach you exactly how to select the right length for your needs.

More often than not, beginners tend to disregard this detail. This can end up being detrimental to their hunt or target practice. We bet that even veteran archers spend their entire careers hunting without this valuable knowledge.

You may be surprised to hear that arrow length plays a significant role in your success as an archer. Not only will the correct length put you in a position to be more accurate with your shots, but excellent results will come much easier.

How Length of Your Arrows Impacts Your Shots

Conversely, using the wrong sized arrows for shooting can be detrimental to your efforts, and perhaps even dangerous to you, those around you, and your weapon. Measuring the length of your arrow is paramount for a high-quality experience.

When I had just started archery, I familiarized myself with the importance of the right bow size for my training. However, I would pick my arrows at random; a gross misjudgment.

You might do the same, choosing to pick a handful of arrows at your local store and be done with it. Alternatively, you may be cutting your bolts too short or going for the wrong arrow shaft size altogether.

Sadly, one arrow size will not fit everyone, and we’ve undertaken a ton of research to save you time. Fear not, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and put together this comprehensive and informative guide to help you get familiar with the basic equipment.

So, let’s take an extensive look into arrows, how they work, and how to pick the best one for yourself. By the time you’re finished reading, you should be well equipped to make the right decision for you! Archery Edge has you covered.

Parts of an Arrow

If you are at the very beginning of your archery journey, you should understand arrow anatomy before determining your ideal arrow length.

Familiarizing yourself with the terminology will make you feel more confident about your next trip to the shop as well. So let’s take a look at the essential parts – nock, fletching, shaft, and point.

Archer aiming at targets


The nock is the part of the arrow closest to you when you shoot. It enables the bolt to sit back into the bow instead of slipping off.

Nowadays, nocks come in plastics, and you can repair and replace them quickly. On traditional wooden arrows, though, they come carved into the material.


Fletching is the name used for the feathers on the backside of your arrow. They allow for proper arrow flight, and also serve to indicate that you have nocked your arrow correctly.


The shaft is the component that you measure to determine the length of the arrow. It is a long piece of material from the tip to the nock.

It is the base of your arrow, and you connect your point and the nock to it.

Shafts come in traditional wood, durable aluminum, and some are even manufactured from top-shelf carbon, although these come at a premium price. Most arrows you encounter will be made from aluminum, as it offers the best balance between quality and affordability.

One thing to pay attention to is arrow spine, or the stiffness of the arrow.  Basically, will the arrow shaft bend or flex as it’s on its way to the target?  Depending on the type of bow, draw weight, and amount of force you are pulling, spine can be a very important variable others don’t pay attention to.


The arrowhead comes to the end of your shaft. It is the part that pierces into your target or game you’re hunting.

It’s basically the tip of the arrow, and there are three basic arrowhead types: field tips for normal range sports, blunt end for small-scale hunting and broadhead for traditional bowhunting.  The point weight can have a big impact on your shot accuracy, particularly if you are shooting at a longer distance.

Choosing Your Bow and Arrows

You may think that selecting the proper length will be as easy as accessing an arrow length chart. Although these are a useful point of reference, there is a bit more to this choice.

First, you need to determine your draw length. This step is critical for your future success, and every successive part leans directly on this one.

Knowing your draw size enables you to pick a bow of the correct size. Only then can you start thinking about your arrow length and comprehend how these factors relate.

Draw Length

The draw length depends solely on your anatomy and physical build. There are several methods to determine it, but the simplest one is the ‘Measure and Divide,’ which most archers use.

For beginners, this method is sufficient. What you need to do is measure your arm span, and then divide it by 2.5 – that’s it!  It also depends on where you prefer your arrow position on the riser.  Want your point to end at the front of the riser?  Be an inch less than your draw length (and don’t forget spine matters here as well.)

Bonus tip: if you get a result of, say 20.5 inches, round it up to 21 inches for extra safety and convenience.

Bow Size

This very straightforward step could make or break your performance. Having determined your draw length, you can check a bow size chart to see which bow size will work for you.

Especially if you’re a beginner, this is crucial for developing proper form and a high level of skill. Be sure to test the feel of the bow.

Draw Weight

If you go for a set that is too heavy, this will more likely than not lead to poor form and back issues, lessening your enjoyment of loosing the bow string.

Your hand strength and endurance will keep increasing as you practice, but if you start with too heavy a bow (some call this being ‘overbowed’), things can be pretty painful in the short term.  Choosing a great riser is a great step towards reducing injury in your shoulders, hands and fingers.  Particularly with your bow hand and arms, the right equipment and position make a huge difference.

Again, you can access charts for a straightforward calculation, and these are based on your age and type of bow you’re using. Remember, a lighter bow is a much safer option.  The next time you are standing in front of a number of targets on the range, you can remember these measurement tips and use them as your personal range assistant.

Frequently Asked Questions


Does arrow length matter?

The answer is yes! Choosing the right arrow length is vital if you want to improve your accuracy and performance. The following are some reasons why:

1) Your aim should always be on point. If you’re aiming downrange, then you need longer arrows. Conversely, when you shoot from close range, shorter arrows work best.

2) You’ll have better control over your shot. Longer arrows allow you to hold them steady while drawing back the string. Short arrows require less effort because they don’t weigh nearly as much.

3) It’s safer. When you use long arrows, you won’t risk hitting bystanders or yourself by accident. On the other hand, short arrows could cause serious injury if used improperly.

4) You’ll enjoy greater comfort during competition. Longer arrows provide more stability and balance, which makes it easier to maintain focus.

5) You’ll feel more confident about your ability. Shooting with confidence comes naturally when you know what works best for you.

6) You’ll find it easier to draw faster. Shorter arrows make it harder to pull back the string quickly. In contrast, longer arrows give you more leverage so you can easily release the tension.

 Can an arrow be too long?

Yes, there are times when an arrow can become too long. For example, if you’re trying to hit something far away, such as a deer, you’d probably prefer a slightly longer arrow than normal. This allows you to compensate for wind drift and keep your sights on your prey.

However, if you’re practicing at home, you shouldn’t worry about having an extra inch or two. Just remember to measure before buying any new arrows.

How long should my arrow be for a 29″ draw?

Based on our experience, if you are using a 29″ draw with compound bows, the arrow length would be 27.5″ (29″ – 1.5″).  This allows the arrow to comfortably fit on the arrow rest, but make sure your riser measurement matches up before buying a bulk amount of arrow.

How long should my arrow be for a 26″ draw?

If you are using a bow with a 26″ draw, the correct arrow length would be 25″.  This assumes a 25″ arrow will fit on your particular bow model from string to sitting on the rest. Always double-check this distance before ordering (and make sure your anchor position is where you would normally loose the arrow from when measuring).