Often stabilizers are dismissed as a crutch, with suggestions that if you are struggling, you should reduce your bows draw weight. I have heard this sentiment repeated many times, typically by older bowmen set in their ways, or elitists.
While it is correct that lowering the poundage of your bow will help improve accuracy, they are completely dismissive of the other benefits a stabilizer can provide. For bowmen hunting game, the best bow stabilizer is the one that reduces the vibration of the bow the most, effectively silencing the bow.
Choosing the Best Stabilizer
Choosing the correct stabilizer needn’t be complicated, so at Archery Edge we have decided to review what we consider the top 5 best stabilizers available on the market today. Newer archers may also be interested in our in-depth buyer’s guide found towards the end of this article, detailing how a bow stabilizer works, what it’s for and what to consider when buying.
Product Quick Comparison
Probably the most unique design to be featured, the Trophy Ridge Static is available in two colorways, but more importantly comes in lengths ranging from 3’’ to 12’’. Weight is also adjustable, shipping with two 1oz weights as standard.
If vibration is an issue, this may not be the stabilizer for you, as there are no internal vibration dampeners. Instead, a skeleton rod design is used to reduce wind drag when taking aim.
Worth considering if you are using your bow for extended periods, as the frame is 25% lighter than those of similar length. Reduced aim tilt from wind is also an advantage for hunters who consistently operate in adverse weather conditions.
- Reduced wind drag
- Many options for length
- Adjustable weight
- No internal vibration dampener
Designed with the bowhunter in mind, the Bee Stinger Xtreme comes with three 1oz weights to allow users to customize the balance they require. It is worth keeping in mind however that each weight added is extra length on the end of the stabilizer.
Available in 6”, 8” and 10” and several colorways, including camo the Bee Stinger has the most extensive range of options available in this list. The construction is solid, with the entire rod being made of carbon.
Inside the rod is an internal Sims vibration dampener, coupled with the de-resonator found at the far end of the stabilizer, vibration is significantly reduced. Perfect for hunting game, where a reduced level of noise is critical.
- Highly adjustable
- Great vibration control
- Not for budget conscious archers
Made from machined aluminum and available in several lengths this SAS stabilizer has the hunter in mind. 11’’ seems to strike the best balance for compound bows, but if you are regularly maneuvering through dense thickets, you may find the 8’’ or 5’’ more appropriate.
Unlike the other models available on this list, this stabilizer doesn’t come with any interchangeable weight adjustment. Similar to the Trophy Ridge Static this model is designed to reduce wind drag during aiming.
Unlike the Trophy Ridge, however, the SAS Archery Aluminum Stabilizer features an internal dampener, reducing vibrations and noise on shot.
- Reduced wind drag
- Internal vibration dampener
- Available in different lengths
- Weight is unadjustable
Easily the most budget-friendly option on the market, the S-Coil comes in a single size and weight. At 4.5’’ long and weighing 4.7oz is one of the smallest and lightest stabilizers featured on this list.
Although small, when used in practice the performance is admirable — definitely the option to consider for youth bowmen or inexperienced archers.
The design is compact, with a single ‘coil’ of dampening material running down the rod. Bow jump is reduced, but will most likely not suffice for experienced archers.
- Budget friendly
- Great for youths and beginners
- Not suitable for experienced archers
Available in 5” and 8” versions, the NAP Apache should be near the top of any archers list of potential stabilizers. We recommend getting the 8’’ model because it is exactly the same as the 5’’, with an additional 3’’ removable extension rod.
Weighing 5.5oz for the 5’’ version and 7.5oz in the 8’’ variant (when adjusted to 5’’, it will also weigh 5.5oz). One problem users have experienced, however, is the more extended version may not fit in your bow case unless first removed; a minor inconvenience but worth pointing out.
Only available in two colorways, both with the hunter in mind the NAP Apache can be bought in black or camo. Both look great, combined with the unique aesthetic of NAP’s proprietary vibration dampening disks make for a real eye-catching bow accessory.
Vibrations are significantly reduced with the Apache, and I have to say I consider this the most bang for your buck in its price range.
- Unique aesthetic
- 8'' extended version provides adjustability
- May have to remove before placing bow in bag
Bow stabilizers can be a great addition to any archer’s accessory list, whether you’re just starting or you’re the next Mike Schloesser. Now that you’ve seen our pick of the best compound bow stabilizers. We have provided a comprehensive buyers guide to help you make the best decision for you.
What does a bow stabilizer do?
Bow stabilizers perform two main functions, to help balance the bow and to absorb excess vibration. Many other bow accessories are designed with these tasks in mind, as an unmodified bow can be reasonably unstable, especially in the hands of young or inexperienced archers.
When an arrow is loosed from the bow, the bow will begin to rattle and shake and possibly also twist in hand. Low quality or poorly maintained bows are more prone to this over better-quality, modern pieces of equipment.
This has led to the introduction of stabilizers, now seeing common use with archers around the world. Let’s take a closer look at the two functions a stabilizer should be performing:
If you have never used a stabilizer before, it can be quite an interesting experience. The extra weight will feel almost alien at first, and you will find the bow challenging to operate.
Contrary to what you might think, this is a good thing. Difficulty rocking the bow side to side is a good sign that the stabilizer is doing its job.
After the stabilizer has been attached, the bow will pull downward requiring extra effort to be exerted when balancing the bow. Muscles will become fatigued at first, with most archers really feeling the burn in the lower half of their forearm.
With use, you will develop the required strength to compensate for the added weight. This is where things become interesting; as your aim should see a considerable improvement.
The potential energy that is released from the bowstring when loosing an arrow, not only transfers into the arrow’s flight, but causes the bow to vibrate. Far more noticeable on smaller bows, as the energy can’t displace as effectively.
Once a stabilizer has been attached, the surface area of the bow increases, providing somewhere for excess energy to go. Lower levels of vibration increases the stability of the bow, leading to improved accuracy.
Fewer vibrations also reduce the level of noise produced by the bow, effectively acting as a bow silencer. While this attribute may not be necessary for target archery, anyone who hunts with a bow will find this invaluable.
Choosing the right bow stabilizer
There is no shortage of options when it comes to bow stabilizers, and it can be easy for even experienced bowmen to come down with a case of choice-blindness. At Archery Edge we like to keep things simple when looking for a new bow stabilizer you want to keep just three things in mind:
Compound Bow setup
Firstly, if your bow doesn’t have an insert port to receive a stabilizer, you won’t be able to attach one. If you check your bow, you can find the insert port (a small threaded hole to screw a stabilizer in) on the back of the bow (the part of the bow facing the target).
Most modern compound and recurve bows have the ability to add a stabilizer, but some custom-made recurve bows may not. Longbows and older bows are also unlikely to be able to accept a stabilizer.
Bow Stabilizer Weight
Weight can be a personal preference, depending on the age and build of the archer. But as a rule, the more a stabilizer weighs, the more vibration it will absorb.
If you primarily shoot target archery, a little excess weight can be an advantage, but for bowmen hunting game, too much weight can become a problem. Essentially, higher weight is good for target shooting, and lower weight is good for hunting game.
Bow Stabilizer Length
Bowmen using compound bows, particularly for hunting, will want to use a shorter stabilizer. Shorter stabilizers reduce vibration and therefore noise, a significant advantage for game hunting.
Longer stabilizers (10” and up) will improve the consistency of your shots and are popular with target archers.
Today’s market is filled with many quality brands offering stabilizers to fit all applications, but for me, the real standout is the Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer. While it is pricier than other models, the quality of the product is reflected in this.
A close second would have to be the 8’’ version of NAP’s Apache Stabilizer, primarily due to not only how well it functions but for the level of customization on offer.
Do you agree with our picks for the best compound bow stabilizers available? Let us know in the comments below. At Archery Edge we are always looking to deliver the most up to date relevant content, if you have any suggestions or articles you would like to see, please contact us.
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