Your stabilizer setup can greatly impact your shooting, but which one is right for you?
Bow stabilizers can be an integral part of your archery game. They’re a functional piece of kit with real and proven results. The best bow stabilizers can give a strong archer the edge they need to compete with stiff competition or bag big game.
First of all, what exactly is a stabilizer? Stabilizers are the rods mounted under a bow grip, most commonly on the front of the bow. They come in all shapes and sizes, from just a couple of inches long to around three feet long.
What do the best bow stabilizers do?
Stabilizers serve two main purposes; vibration reduction and balance. Most commonly, they are made to reduce vibration. This will help your bow feel and sound better when you shoot it. Most stabilizers can also be used to balance the weight of your bow, so you can aim better and shoot more consistently. If set up correctly, they can even help reduce bow torque and significantly improve your accuracy.
The style of archery that you shoot can help you decide what kind of stabilizer you want to use. If you’re bowhunting, you’ll likely want to get a shorter stabilizer. You’ll be able to carry it easily through tight spaces in the woods and maneuver it in your treestand or blind. You’ll also want one that will quiet your bow so that animal you’re hunting won’t hear you make your shot.
Target archers will want almost the exact opposite. Since you won’t have to worry about tight spaces, you can pick the length of stabilizer that will balance your bow the best. This is often 30 inches or longer.
Noise and vibration also aren’t an issue for target archers. Most target archers still prefer some vibration dampening on their stabilizers to make their bow feel better to shoot.
With all that in mind, how do you choose the best stabilizer for your bow? To make the decision easier, we’ve compiled our favorites and listed all the pros and cons so you can get the best stabilizer for your bow.
What You Need To Know About the Best Stabilizers
Unless you’re a pro archery shop tech, you might not know all the ins and outs of bow stabilizers. Let’s dive in and provide some balance on the topic.
Type and Length
One of the most significant considerations when buying a stabilizer is the length. Bowhunters, in general, use shorter stabilizers so they have no trouble navigating through the woods and in tree stands or blinds.
Target archers generally use longer stabilizers. They can often have several stabilizers in a back bar or V-bar setup. They can have complete control over how their bow balances and feels to shoot.
If you plan on shooting bigger tournaments, it is a good idea to check the equipment rules and see what is allowed. Some organizations and tournaments have restrictions on the length of stabilizers you can use.
If you’re a youth archer (or even a smaller adult), lighter and shorter stabilizers are the way to go, at least at first. Bows can be heavy on their own, and adding pounds of extra weight can be dangerous for your shoulders.
A good plan is to start out with one stabilizer on the front of your bow. When you feel confident shooting, you can think about adding more stabilizers or adding more weight.
Cost vs Value—How much to spend
Probably the most important consideration when making any archery equipment purchase is your budget. If you’re a beginner, less is more. When you’re just starting archery, you won’t know what kinds of equipment you prefer, so there’s no need to drop hundreds of dollars on the latest and greatest gear.
You should consider upgrading when you become more experienced and start to figure out what kind of equipment works best for you. Premium stabilizers will give you a lot of customization options so you can try out endless setups with only one set. You’ll also benefit from buying some extra weights and dampeners so you can really customize how your bow feels and performs.
The best materials for bow stabilizers
The most common materials stabilizers are made out of are rubber and carbon fiber. Rubber is used to dampen vibrations, making it useful on every kind of stabilizer. Some hunting stabilizers are made entirely out of rubber. Carbon fiber is used in stabilizers because it is light but also strong, so you can balance your bow without making it extremely heavy.
Some stabilizers also incorporate aluminum and plastic into their construction, usually on smaller pieces that don’t have as big of an impact on the functionality.
Vibration and Sound Dampening
An important feature of most stabilizers is their ability to quiet your bow, reducing the sound and vibration from shooting an arrow. This is going to be most important for hunting bows—you don’t want an animal to hear your shot and react before your arrow can hit them. This could result in you hitting an animal somewhere that will merely wound it. You could miss the shot altogether.
Almost every hunting stabilizer will include something to dampen vibration. You can always add more if you find that your bow is still too loud.
Vibration dampening is less important for target archers (you aren’t going to scare away your targets with a loud bow). However, most target bows will still include some kind of dampening. Shooting a bow that vibrates less is more pleasant to shoot through a long day of competition or training. You never want to be the person on the line with the bow that sounds like a small cannon going off. In recent years, advanced dampening systems have been released that allow you to change your bow’s feel.
Our Picks for the 5 Best Stabilizers
1. Best Overall Stabilizer: Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer
Bee Stinger is known for producing premium stabilizers for both target archers and hunters. They use innovative technology to help reduce vibration and balance your bow perfectly. They have a wide range of stabilizers, so you can find what you need for any bow setup.
Out of all the stabilizers we reviewed, the Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtremes were the best overall for most situations. It is a perfect hunting stabilizer, and for target archers needing a smaller setup for tournaments that restrict stabilizer length. It comes in several different length options and kits. These include front and back stabilizers, and the mount to secure them to your bow. It comes with adjustable weights and a dampener and features internal harmonic dampeners. You can get a very quiet bow without having to buy anything extra.
It does cost more than similar products, but we thought the build quality and extra features will justify it to most archers. Each stabilizer comes with three ounces of weight, though you may want to purchase additional weights to get the ideal balance for your bow. Lastly, the longest these stabilizers go is 10 inches, so target archers needing a longer setup will want to check out the target-focused options.
- An exceptionally well-made stabilizer that will work well for hunting bows and target archers that are looking for a shorter setup.
- It comes in several length options, and in a kit that includes a front stabilizer, back stabilizer, weights and dampeners for both, and all the hardware to mount them on your bow.
- It features internal dampeners and de-resonators, which will make your bow extremely quiet, and take out nearly all of the residual vibration. Overall, it will make your bow shoot better than you thought possible.
- It is more expensive than other options, especially if you choose the full kit with both stabilizers.
- The included 3 ounces of weight will probably not be enough for most people to balance their bows properly, so you’ll probably want to buy additional weights.
- The Sport Hunter Xtreme only comes in lengths up to 10 inches, so if you want a longer stabilizer, you’ll have to consider different models.
2. Best Value Stabilizer for Bowhunters: LimbSaver S-Coil Bow Stabilizer
LimbSaver produces quality archery accessories built to reduce vibration and make shooting your bow a more enjoyable experience. Their products are used by archers of every kind, from backyard bowhunters to Olympians.
Bowhunters building a bow on a budget can’t go wrong with the LimbSaver S-Coil. It will take more vibration out of your bow than anything else, thanks to the unique spiral design and the rubber NAVCOM construction. We liked that it features so many different color options, so you can get something to match any bow setup. It is also extremely durable. You won’t have to worry about it breaking down on you during hunting trips or in bad weather.
Our chief complaint is that the complete rubber construction means it won’t do much to help you balance your bow like a weighted stabilizer would. Also, there’s no way to add additional stabilizers or dampeners to help customize the feel. Another problem is that the color you receive will sometimes not match the product photos exactly. This is just a common side effect of the way they produce rubber products like the S-Coil.
- The unique spiral design and proprietary NAVCOM rubber construction dampen a tremendous amount of vibration and give your bow a smooth and controlled feeling after the shot.
- The NAVCOM material is very durable and will last for years, even in harsh weather conditions without breaking down or coming apart.
- It features more color options than any other stabilizer, so you will be able to find one that perfectly matches your setup.
- The rubber construction and small size mean it won’t help you balance your bow. The S-Coil won’t be useful to target archers unless you’re looking for an add-on stabilizer exclusively for removing vibration.
- The color of stabilizer you receive won’t always match the color in the product photo.
- You can’t customize how the stabilizer feels by adding weights or extra dampeners.
3. Best Premium Stabilizer for Bowhunters: Trophy Ridge Hitman Stabilizer
Trophy Ridge is a bowhunting accessory company that designs and manufactures quality sights, stabilizers, arrow rests, and quivers for bowhunters from beginners to experts. They are part of Bear Archery, an American manufacturer of compound and recurve bows.
The Trophy Ridge Hitman stabilizer is perfect for bowhunters looking for features not seen in other stabilizers. It comes in lengths from six to 12 inches, includes a braided wrist sling, a quick disconnect mount, and rubber rings in six different colors. Those features make this the most customizable stabilizer we reviewed. You can get your bow looking and shooting exactly how you want without extra purchases.
There wasn’t much we didn’t like about the Hitman. We did wish it came in a kit with both stabilizers and a mount, so you didn’t have to order all the parts separately. It would also be nice if there were more color options for the stabilizer bars themselves beside the black carbon fiber pattern.
- It comes in lengths from six to 12 inches. It’s easy to order the exact length you need to create the perfect front/back bar combination for your hunting bow.
- It includes a wrist sling that mounts onto the stabilizer, an included quick disconnect mount, and rubber rings in six colors.
- We think it has the perfect combination of target and bowhunting features.
- We really wish it came in a kit that included the front and back stabilizers, and a mount for them.
- The only available color is the black/carbon pattern. With the customizable colored rings, you can’t get it in a camouflage pattern or other colors.
4. Best Value Stabilizer for Target Archers: Cartel Maxion Carbon Stabilizers
Cartel is an archery company based in Korea that makes a variety of archery products, including recurve bows, sights, finger tabs, bow cases, and of course, stabilizers. Their products are typically geared towards beginner archers, but are still high quality and often have the same features as products that cost much more.
If you’re looking for quality target stabilizers that won’t break the bank, the Cartel Maxion stabilizers are a great option. They’ll last you for years, and come in every length a target archer could need. They even offer a matching V-bar mount. They are a perfect choice for starting out with a single stabilizer, and being able to add matching bars as you advance.
We didn’t have many complaints about these. Every stabilizer comes with a couple of ounces in weights and dampeners included, but you’ll want some more to properly balance your bow. The V-bar you can purchase with them is non-adjustable, meaning you can’t experiment with different angles for your stabilizers. Some people prefer this, as adjustable V-bars have more moving parts that can be prone to coming loose or breaking at the worst times.
- The Maxion stabilizers feature quality carbon construction at a budget price, perfect for beginning target archers who want to get something that will last them for years.
- The bars come in all of the standard stabilizer lengths from 10 to 30 inches, so you can set your bow up with a matching set of stabilizers in whatever lengths you prefer. They also have a matching V-bar bracket to securely mount it all to your bow.
- Weights and dampeners are included with every stabilizer and can be configured to balance your bow exactly to your liking.
- Only an ounce of weight is included with each stabilizer. You’ll need more to balance your bow correctly, especially if you use multiple stabilizers.
- The V-bar bracket they offer is non-adjustable, meaning you won’t be able to change the angle of the stabilizers. Some people prefer this because there are fewer moving parts to potentially break. Still, if you want to try out different stabilizer angles, you’ll need a different V-bar bracket.
5. Best Premium Stabilizer for Target Archery: Doinker Avancee Supreme Stabilizer and Doinker Avancee 12 Inch V-Bars
Doinker is a US-based company that has been manufacturing stabilizers for nearly 30 years. They’re best known for the weighted rubber “doinkers” on their stabilizers that drastically reduce residual vibration. Their stabilizers incorporate the latest technology and are built to last, making them an excellent choice for any archer that wants the absolute best.
If you’re a target archer that’s ready to invest in elite gear, the Doinker Avancee stabilizers are a fantastic choice. They are lighter, thinner, and stiffer than cheaper stabilizers, meaning you can stack more weight on them and perform better in the wind. They include aluminum DAWG weights and a Doinker Supreme Dampener, which give you more customization than cheaper options.
Like some of the other stabilizers we reviewed, you’ll want to purchase additional weight so that you can weigh the bars down enough to balance your bow. Our only other complaint was that there’s no option to purchase a V-bar or side bar mount with the bars. Overall, the Avancees are a perfect choice for advanced target archers.
- The Avancee features carbon construction and a light, stiff, thin design, helping it perform better in the wind than larger diameter stabilizers.
- The rigid design allows you to stack as much weight as you want on the ends of the bars without worrying about the durability of the stabilizers.
- A Doinker DAWG (Doinker Adjustable Weight Group) weight is included, which is a useful adjustable weight. It allows you to customize the feel of your stabilizers more than conventional stabilizer weights.
- The 30-inch rod includes a Doinker Supreme Dampener. It can either be placed either between the individual weights or between the stabilizer and weights to dampen vibration. This allows you to fine-tune how your bow reacts after the shot.
- The Avancee stabilizers are priced higher than other options. While we think the benefits are worth it for advanced archers, the lower-priced stabilizers are still an excellent option for any archer on a budget.
- Similarly to the other stabilizers, we have covered, you’ll likely want more weight than what comes included with the stabilizers. The Avancee long rod only comes with around 2 ounces of weight, and the sidebars come with about 1 ounce each.
- V-bar or side rod mounts are sold separately. There are no matching options listed like other stabilizers we reviewed.
Now that you’ve seen our picks, you have all the info you need to pick the perfect stabilizer for your bow. If you’re still undecided, you can’t go wrong with the Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtremes. The quality and features will serve anyone well for years to come. For archers on a budget, the LimbSaver S-Coil or the Cartel Maxions will get you quality performance at a price you can’t beat.
No matter which stabilizer you choose for your bow, we hope our reviews were helpful, and you get something that makes you enjoy archery even more!