Racine, WI

How to pick the perfect bow

A Beginners Guide to Buying the Right Bow in 3 Simple Steps

Buying a compound bow online can be a gamble if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. The outfitters of Root River Archery don’t want you to walk away with any regular bow. We want to find the perfect bow for you to invest in.

Our outfitters will walk you through the selection process and find the best bow for your needs.

  1. Find your Draw Length
  2. Find your Draw Weight
  3. Find the Right Bow

If you've already taken these 3 steps, check out our definitive list of the Top 10 Compound Bows of 2021 and find some excellent bows that might work for you! 

Finding your Draw Length

Before you head to target practice, before you get excited about stalking a deer, before you do anything, you need to learn your proper draw length. This is relatively easy, but does require a friend to help. You can find your proper draw length at home, or have one of our outfitters help you in the store.

The simple equation for finding your draw length is: Your Arm Span Divided by Two and a Half

/ 2.5 = 0

Stretch your arms out normally and measure from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Don’t stretch too far, and don’t slouch.

This measurement will determine your full draw length. Remember, compound bows are not designed to draw past this point. With most modern compound bows, you can easily adjust your draw length in a few minutes, so don’t stress over getting your draw length perfect. Once you determine your draw length you can find the right size bow.

Our outfitters will want to measure you again when we help you select your bow, but this way you’ll have an idea of what you need.

2. Finding the Right Draw Weight

Draw weight isn’t everything, but it can ruin your archery experience. Simply put, draw weight determines how hard drawing your bow will be. Remember, compound bows have a higher draw weight than recurve bows, but after a certain point in the draw, require much less force to hold.

Follow this guide to determine the approximate draw weight you should select:

Archer Weight

Approx. Draw Weight
(Compound Bow)

Approx. Draw Weight
(Recurve Bow)

Very Small Children
(55-70 lbs.)

10-15 lbs.

10-15 lbs.

Small Children
(70-100 lbs.)

15-25 lbs.

10-15 lbs.

Larger-Frame Children
(100-130 lbs.)

25-35 lbs.

15-25 lbs.

Small-Frame Women
(100-130 lbs.)

25-35 lbs.

25-35 lbs.

Medium-Frame Women
(130-160 lbs.)

30-40 lbs.

25-25 lbs.

Larger-Frame Women
(160+ lbs.)

45-55 lbs.

30-45 lbs.

Small-Frame Men
(120-150 lbs.)

45-55 lbs.

30-45 lbs.

Medium-Frame Men
(150-180 lbs.)

55-65 lbs.

40-55 lbs.

Larger-Frame Men
(180+ lbs.)

65-75 lbs.

45-60 lbs.

Traditionally, modern compound bows can be adjusted within a range of ten pounds. If you’re just starting out, we recommend starting at the low end of the draw weight; this will make drawing the bow easier, and will allow you to work on proper form.

3. Finding the Right Bow

We helped you find your measurements and we helped you find your draw weight, now it’s up to you. There’s no accounting for personal preference. Your new bow should feel natural in your hands, like a part of your body. Some archers prefer a firm draw for a more forceful delivery, while others prefer a lighter draw which allows for a touch of finesse. At the end of the day, it’s up to how the bow feels to you.

Often times, women and younger archers prefer more lightweight bows with a low draw, while men and other larger framed archers prefer a higher weight.

View our definitive list of the Top 10 Compound Bows of the Year and see if one of these amazing bows might work for you... we bet they will. 

Our outfitters will help you find the right bow, and offer you suggestions about what might be good for you. The archery outfitters of Root River Archery aren’t here to make you buy a bow, we’re here to help you find a bow you love. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to invest in a more advanced bow, we’ll help you find the right one. The choice is yours, we’ll help you make it.  

The Store

We offer a comprehensive archery experience superior to any other archery shop in Wisconsin. Root River Archery has the largest selection of compound bows, target bows, and crossbows this side of the state line.

Mon-Fri 9am-7pm
Sat 11am-5pm
Sun 11am-5pm


The Range

Our indoor and outdoor ranges provide the perfect environment for any archer of any skill level. The indoor range is 25 yards long and can accommodate crossbows as well. The outdoor range goes out to 60 yards, and has a multitude of large square bales and 3D targets as well. There is a crossbow-specific bale that is rated for the higher arrow speeds crossbows produce.