The traditional crossbow has come a long way. Innovative designs and state-of-the-art materials have advanced crossbow technology so far that our ancient ancestors probably wouldn’t even recognize them.
The latest crossbows are capable of launching arrows at sizzling velocities. However, even the latest and greatest crossbow is only as good as the broadhead on the end of your bolts.
We assembled this informative guide to introduce you to some of the best crossbow broadheads available. We’ll also explain the key factors to consider when you’re shopping for new broadheads.
Table of Contents
- Regular Broadheads Versus Crossbow Broadheads
- Mechanical Versus Fixed Blades
- Fixed Blade Broadheads
- Best Crossbow Broadheads on the Market Reviews
- Best Mechanical Broadheads
- Best Fixed Blade Broadheads
- Final Thoughts
Regular Broadheads Versus Crossbow Broadheads
One of the most common questions new crossbow hunters ask is, “Can’t I just use the same broadheads I use for my compound bow?” Even some seasoned hunters think crossbow broadheads are simply a slick marketing move manufacturers use to move more product.
It’s definitely tempting to use a regular broadhead on your crossbow bolts. After all, there are far more options for compound and recurve bows than there are for crossbows. However, there are some serious advantages to using a crossbow specific broadhead.
- Modern crossbows sling arrows at mind-blowing velocities. Every year, some manufacturer seems to release a new model capable of faster arrow speeds than the year before. With speed also comes power, which means broadheads are smacking into targets with incredible force. Crossbow specific broadheads are designed to hold up to the extra stress.
- Crossbow broadheads are offered in heavier grain weights than most standard broadheads. There is definitely some overlap, but most crossbow broadheads are at least 100 grains, with some tipping the scales at 150 grains. A heavier broadhead creates a weight-forward balance that helps stabilize faster arrows for more reliable accuracy.
- Fixed blade crossbow broadheads typically have shorter blades than their compound bow counterparts. The shorter length works better aerodynamically on shorter crossbow bolts. This stabilizes the arrow in flight and helps it resist wind and drag.
- If you prefer mechanical broadheads, the air resistance created by faster crossbow speeds can be enough to trigger the blades on regular mechanical broadheads before target impact. Models for crossbows are better designed to prevent the blades from expanding in the air.
- Crossbow broadheads are less likely to damage your crossbow than conventional broadheads. Some regular mechanical broadheads can snag on the stirrup of your crossbow, which can trigger blade expansion. Crossbow broadheads typically have lower profiles to prevent the broadhead from coming in contact with any part of the crossbow.
Mechanical Versus Fixed Blades
The mechanical versus fixed blade broadhead debate has been raging since expanding broadheads first hit the market. It’s a subject that has been argued around campfires, tailgates, and skinning sheds for decades, and the topic doesn’t seem to be losing any steam.
We certainly won’t be settling the argument here. However, here are a few of the pros and cons of each broadhead type, so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
The mechanical broadhead is pretty technical , and definitely more complex than a fixed blade. This type of broadhead flies through the air with aerodynamics similar to field points. When the broadhead makes contact with the target. Several blades are deployed upon impact. The design allows for a wider cutting diameter than a fixed blade, with some models slicing up to 3 ½ inches wide. The wider cutting diameter causes more tissue damage and blood loss, which is a major advantage for big game hunters.
With the extra moving parts, there is a lot that can go wrong. It isn’t uncommon for blades to deploy while the arrow is still in the air, which can cause it to veer wildly off target. Sometimes the blades don’t deploy at all, making your broadhead perform more like a field point when it hits the animal.
Some kinetic energy is also expended as the broadhead opens, which can cause penetration issues. Sharpening the blades and keeping the moving parts clean can also be a challenge.
Some states restrict the use of mechanical broadheads for certain types of game. Be sure to check local hunting laws before you head out into the field.
Fixed Blade Broadheads
Fixed blade broadheads have been around for centuries. Hunters who pursue large or dangerous game, like bear or moose, usually rely on fixed blades because they are durable and reliable.
The wide blades on these broadheads can have a detrimental impact on speed and ballistics. However, since there are no moving parts, you never have to worry about a mechanical malfunction.
Fixed blade broadheads are easy to keep clean. They often dull when you carry them in a quiver, but sharpening the blades is usually a simple process.
Best Crossbow Broadheads on the Market Reviews
We’ve divided our list of top picks into two categories – mechanical and fixed blade broadheads.
Best Mechanical Broadheads
These high-quality, expandable crossbow broadheads from Rage fly like field tips but have massive cutting surfaces that deploy on target impact. Featuring a rear-deploying SlipCam design that releases two surgically sharp blades, these broadheads create a devastating two-inch wound.
Rage also incorporated their patented Improved Shock Collar Technology into these broadheads. This feature promotes blade retention in flight and instantaneous blade release on impact. This design alleviates the early blade deployment common with other mechanical blade designs.
Rage Crossbow X points are also made with Ferrule Alignment Technology (FAT), which increases aerodynamics for faster arrow speeds.
These three-bladed mechanical broadheads from New Archery Products (better known as NAP) are some of the best rated broadheads on the market. NAP has a reputation for reliability, which can be a concern when hunting with expandable blades.
NAP uses their dependable spring clip technology to ensure the blades stay closed in your quiver and in the air.
Spitfire blades are made using NAP’s patented Diamize sharpening process. These blades hold an edge like there’s no tomorrow and rarely require resharpening. When deployed, the blades carve a 1 ½-inch wound.
The blades are preceded by a Hardened Trophy Tip specifically designed to bust through bone.
Spitfire broadheads also feature a special micro groove ferrule that increases accuracy and improves in-flight stability.
Grim Reaper mechanical broadheads are designed specifically for high-speed crossbows. These points have proven to be as accurate as field points at speeds above 400 fps and distances beyond 100 yards.
The triple-blade Grim Reaper broadheads have a cutting diameter of 1 ½ inches and create over two inches of total cut.
Made of durable stainless steel, these broadheads are tough, reliable, and razor sharp. They are available in grain weights of 100 and 125.
These tough mechanical broadheads feature Swhacker’s legendary double wing design. The broadheads have one set of small blades that cut through hide, bone, and fat without dumping a ton of kinetic energy.
When the smaller blades hit the target, they initiate the internal deployment of a second set of larger arced blades. These blades wreak massive damage on internal organs. This slice-twice design preserves forward momentum for deeper penetration, increased chance of pass through shots, and a substantial blood trail
The Blade-Lock Technology is a handy feature that allows you to secure the blades in a closed position for practice shooting. When you’re ready to hunt, you simply remove the set screw and you’re ready to go.
Swhacker Crossbow broadheads weigh 125 grains and open to produce a massive 2 ¼-inch cutting diameter.
Hypodermic Crossbow broadheads are one of the most popular options Rage produces. They have a simple, proven design that is accurate, reliable, and perfect for deer hunting.
Rage uses what they call Ferrule Alignment Technology (FAT) in their design. This feature utilizes a steep ferrule and a massive leading blade to ensure proper alignment with the arrow shaft. The tip also has a surgically-sharp cutting edge that acts as a safety net in case the blades fail to deploy on contact.
The system also uses a dependable high-energy shock collar that keeps the blades back while the arrow is in the air. Once the broadhead strikes the target, two .035” wide blades extend to produce a respectable two-inch cutting diameter.
Rage offers their Hypodermic Crossbow Mechanical broadheads in 100 and 125 grains. At around $10 a piece, Rage Hypodermic broadheads provide a ton of performance for the money.
Best Fixed Blade Broadheads
These 1 1/16-inch broadheads from Excalibur have proven to be a highly accurate option for modern crossbows, even when shooting at extreme ranges. Boltcutter broadheads weigh a hefty 150 grains, which moves the center balance point of your arrows forward, improving accuracy at higher velocities.
Excalibur Boltcutters are crafted from high-strength steel, allowing them to withstand high-power target impact. These broadheads hold their integrity even after punching through thick hide or striking hard bone. If you’re looking for a broadhead with enough strength to take on tough hogs, elk, or bear, this is it.
The Trocar broadhead from industry leader Muzzy appropriately gets its name from a surgical instrument. These broadheads punch through hide and slice through tissue like a surgeon’s scalpel.
The broadheads feature a unique tri-cornered stainless steel tip that punches through anything in its way. Following the trocar tip are three razor-sharp, replaceable blades. The blades are only .035 inches thick. The blades are positioned in a helix design that improves overall aerodynamics. Although thin, they are definitely deadly, cutting through the air as easily as they cut through targets.
Trocar broadheads are also made with a large, solid steel ferrule that makes them insanely sturdy and also increases penetration.
The Striker from G5 Outdoors is considered a “cut on contact” broadhead. This means it starts slicing as soon as it touches the target. The entire broadhead is made of 100 percent steel, including the ferrule.
The Striker features ultra-sharp Lutz blades that come out of the package ready to go. The blades are removable for easy sharpening or replacement, and are metal injection molded for increased flexibility. To improve ballistic performance, the blades also have a unique tapered design.
The Striker’s blades are held in place by G5’s patented ANIX blade locking system. The ANIX system consists of a three-sided steel tip with a honed edge that locks over the blades. The tip absorbs most of the impact energy to protect the more delicate blades during penetration.
The Wasp Boss SST broadheads feature a sleek, low-profile design that increases in-flight ballistics for better accuracy. The blades still manage to carve a 1 ⅛-inch wound channel despite their com[act design.
These broadheads have a stainless steel, three-sided trocar tip. The tip is precision machined and has a Rockwell 46C hardness rating, which is tough enough to blow through bone. It is also ground to a razor edge and begins to slice immediately upon target impact.
Wasp Boss SST broadheads also feature three .027-inch blades that are honed until surgically sharp and then perfectly aligned with the edges of the trocar tip. This increases penetration and ensures effective aerodynamics.
Don’t be fooled by the Montec’s simple design. This is one seriously effective crossbow broadhead. Crafted from a single piece of metal-injected steel, the Montec is as tough as they come. This solid construction means there are no moving parts or weakened joints that could come apart under stress.
The broadhead has a pleasing geometric format and tapered blades that offer plenty of ballistic advantages. The tapered angle of the blades also makes them easy to sharpen, although they come stingingly sharp straight out of the package. Their cut on contact design also ensures smooth penetration and a disastrous wound channel.
The world of crossbow broadheads has come a long way in recent years. Never before have hunters had access to a larger variety or better quality broadheads.
We’ve included some of the best crossbow broadheads we could find, but this is definitely not an exhaustive list. If we left off your favorite, we’d love for you to tell us all about it in the comments. You might just convince us to try something new.