Crossbow use has risen exponentially over the past decade or so, and crossbow technology has rocketed forward as well. Know what else has skyrocketed? Crossbow prices. It’s standard to see prices pushing $2,000 (or more) for top-end flagship models with all the bells, whistles, and mechanical cocking devices. This can leave hunters looking for the best crossbow for their money.

So I’ve chosen to accept my mission today to identify the best value-laden models in the crossbow world. Fortunately, there is no shortage of the best budget crossbows available. But how do you whittle down a list to the “best of the best?” Well, you start by shooting a lot of crossbows. Fortunately, that’s a task I’ve been able to tackle over the years during Outdoor Life tests and when visiting the annual Archery Trade Association show. Over time, you begin to feel what makes for a great budget crossbow and learn about the companies that build them.