Image by: Florida Fish and Wildlife
Arrow rests may not be new per se, and while they have been around for a long time, there have been many advancements and innovations made. There are many types of arrow rests, and it can make choosing the right one a nightmare. Here, we want to take a look at what makes the best arrow rest for hunting.
- The best bow for young deer hunters
- Why warm hunting boots is vital for hunters
- Good hunting arrows for archery hunters
- Why more and more hunters choose carbon arrows
What is an Arrow Rest?
Simply put, an arrow rest is an accessory which allows archers to rest their arrows on a specific platform or mechanism to stabilize the arrow during the drawing and shooting phases, to allow the arrow to rest easily, with the end goal being to increase overall accuracy.
Considerations When Purchasing an Arrow Rest
You definitely don’t want to just go out and buy the first arrow rest that you see. There are quite a few considerations to keep in mind before you come to a final choice.
Type of Arrow Rest
One of the main considerations when selecting the best arrow rest for hunting is the type you want. As you will see further below, there are a multitude of arrow rest types, and each comes with specific benefits, drawbacks, and intended purposes.
The type of arrow rest you get will depend on what your skill level is, what your needs are, and what type of archery you plan on doing. Please refer to the below section on types of arrow rests for more information, as this is extremely important.
Ease of Use
The next consideration is how easy to use and how user-friendly the arrow rest is. A lot of fancy features and high-tech components are nice, but remember that they can also make things harder. Once again, you should refer to our section on the types of arrow rests available to figure out which one is easiest to use.
A recommendation here, if you are a beginner, is to use a containment arrow rest, something like a Whisker Biscuit, which is probably the most beginner friendly arrow rest out there.
Yet another factor has to do with stability. Some arrow rests, such as containment rests hold an arrow in place and don’t allow for much movement. There are others which are a little looser and allow the arrow to move around, some quite freely.
Just be aware that a very stable arrow rest is great for aiming and accuracy, but some features which allow for stability may also slow down arrow speeds and may also damage fletching.
We just discussed the fletching of an arrow. The fact here is that some types of arrow rests such as containment rests, especially those with whiskers, although they are stable and accurate, often end up bending and shredding the fletching on an arrow. Arrows can be expensive, so you really don’t want this to happen.
Some arrow rests are just going to cause this no matter what, so it’s up to you to decide if you can sacrifice some fletching for the other benefits you get. There’s usually always a trade-off to consider.
Next, you also want to pay attention to how accurate the rest in question is. This is related to some other points we have covered, such as the type of arrow rest and stability. You should do some research to find out which types are most accurate and which features allow for the most accuracy. Prong and containment rests are often quite accurate.
Something else to pay attention to is how easy the arrow rest is to mount. Does it have different mounting positions so you can adjust it to your needs? Is the model designed for left- or right-handed use, or is it an ambidextrous model?
Durability is always something to look for. What we can say here is that you always want to look for high-quality metal components. The less plastic there is, the better off you will be. Often the price is going to make a difference. It is highly recommended that you check out specific models closely and see what people have to say about longevity and durability.
If you plan on hunting, you absolutely need a bow rest that is quiet, preferably somet5rhing with noise and vibration dampening capabilities. As a hunter, anything you can do to prevent your cover from being blown should be done.
Brand and Price
Finally, it is also recommended that you go with a quality and reputable brand name. The fact of the matter is that with archery gear, you do get what you pay for, and it’s never worth it to go with the cheapest accessories.
Types of Arrow Rests
When you shop for a specific bow rest for hunting, one of the most important things to know is that there are different types of bow rests — five main types to be precise — and they each offer their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the five main types of arrow rests and what they can do for your hunting experience.
Prong-Style and Shoot-Through Arrow Rests
The first type of arrow rest to be familiar with is the prong-style or shoot-through arrow rest. This type of arrow rest consists of two prongs and a bottom which hold an arrow in place.
A great part about this type is that it is extremely easy to mount, to set up, and to use, perhaps the easiest of all arrow rest types. Prong-style and shoot-through style arrow rests are generally considered good options for beginners and for general use.
What is also worth noting is that prong-style arrow rests tend to be some of the most affordable on the market, making them a good choice for beginners and people working on a budget. Another advantage that comes with this style of arrow rest is that for the most part, the prongs are highly adjustable and can be moved around to work with most or even all arrow diameters.
On the other hand, arrow containment can be a bit of an issue, as the top of this style of arrow rest is open, and this can make it a bit difficult to keep the arrow on the prongs.
Capture or Containment Arrow Rests
Another popular arrow rest is the containment arrow rest, also known as the capture arrow rest. The distinguishing feature here is that the arrow is enclosed on 3 sides, thus allowing the arrow to stay in place at all times, which makes firing off a shot much quicker because you can have your arrow loaded in place.
In terms of usage, many bow hunters use a containment arrow rest specifically due to the fact that it can allows for fairly quick drawing and firing, with another main advantage being that having the arrow fall off this kind of rest is nearly impossible. This can also help increase accuracy when hunting.
What is also beneficial about containment arrow rests is that they work very well with mechanical release aids, they are great for accommodating mostly all arrow widths and sizes, and they may reduce shooting errors.
On the other hand, this type of arrow rest also comes with some issues, especially ones like Whisker Biscuits, which use small bristles or whiskers to stabilize the arrow while in the rest. These whiskers often reduce arrow speeds. Now, this type of arrow rest is known for its ease of use and its high level of accuracy, but it can also wear fletching down quickly and slow arrow speeds.
Drop Away Arrow Rests
The next type of arrow rest you should be familiar with is the drop away arrow rest. This type of arrow rest, while quite popular, is mostly only used for target practice. Most bow hunters would never use a drop away arrow rest, especially because it can be fairly noisy. The rest or mechanism, as it drops away, makes quite a noise, which is not ideal for hunting, where preserving your cover makes a difference.
As for drawbacks, which we may as well get out of the way, the drop-away mechanism is automated, and as is the case with anything automated, it may fail at any time, whether it be when dropping away or raising up. The other drawback is that drop away arrow rests really are not ideal for beginners, as the setup process can be fairly difficult.
All of that said, drop-away arrow rests do have some pretty big advantages worth noting as well. The biggest advantage is that because the rest itself drops down as soon as the arrow is released, there is minimal contact between the arrow and the rest. This allows for a greater take off and flight speed, a good deal of accuracy, and it helps protect the fletching from damage. If you are looking for a high-speed arrow, the drop-away rest is a good one to consider.
Pressure Arrow Rests
Yet another type is the pressure arrow rest, sometimes also known as the plunger rest. Now, what is important to note here is that these are specially designed for archers using their fingers to shoot, or in other words, for anyone not using any kind of mechanical release aid.
The main quality of the pressure arrow rest is that it pushed on the arrow from one side or the other. The point of this type of arrow rest is to compensate for horizontal pressure or oscillation cause when shooters use one hand or another. In other words, it helps to keep an arrow straight. If you are right handed, the pressure rest would apply pressure to the front of the arrow from the left-hand side, and vice versa.
This beneficial for anybody shooting with their bare hands, especially in terms of accuracy. Moreover, this type of arrow rest is quite durable and easy to use. On the other hand, it’s not the ideal choice for people using mechanical release aids, plus this type tends to reduce arrow speeds.
Specialty and 3D Arrow Rests
While not exactly a type of arrow rest per se, there are a variety of specialized arrow rests that get grouped into a single category. These arrow rests come in all shapes and sizes, and each one is designed for a specific purpose. Therefore, only experienced archers with a very specific purpose should consider getting any kind of specialty arrow rest.
Here are two arrow rests which we have reviewed in some detail, each of which comes with specific benefits. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest
This is a fairly affordable, yet high-quality arrow rest, the Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest. This model kind of looks like it might be a prong arrow rest, but is in fact a drop-down arrow rest.
There are two side prongs which hold the arrow in place as you draw and aim. This goes a long way in helping to stabilize the arrow, and it helps make aiming much easier as well. The fact that the arrow is somewhat contained during the draw phase can be very beneficial.
The Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest is a fairly durable model overall, and it is made with high-quality components, which in part is thanks to the steel and machined aluminum used in the construction.
Moreover, although it is one of the more reliable drop-down models, be aware that things can go wrong with the drop down mechanism. However, this particular rest uses velocity drop-away tech, so it should be reliable and user-friendly overall.
What is nice here is that the Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest comes with an easily adjustable timing cord, and speaking of adjustability, it also allows for vertical, horizontal, and overdraw adjustments.
This model also comes with AVT or advanced vibration technology, which helps to reduce vibrations and allows for a very quiet shot, something which bow hunters should appreciate. The fact that the Quality Archery Products HDX Arrow Rest is so reliable and high quality is surprising considering that it comes at a fairly low price, and it even has a limited lifetime warranty too.
Trophy Ridge Original Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit
Here we have a more basic and affordable arrow rest, the Trophy Ridge Original Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit, which as we discussed up above, is a high-quality containment arrow rest which comes at a decent price. One thing worth noting right off the bat is that this arrow rest is designed to be exceedingly beginner friendly, as mounting is about as easy as it gets, and using it is no harder.
Of course, one of the main benefits that you get with the Trophy Ridge Original Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit, is that the arrow is mostly contained. This means that there is no chance of the arrow falling off or out of the rest, so you can actually keep it nocked while in the rest. Moreover, the fact that the arrow is contained also means that aiming is made much easier, a big bonus for beginners.
In terms of overall durability, the Trophy Ridge Original Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit is up there with the best of them when compared to previous models. It’s made of durable metal, so it should last for some time, as it is advertised as being about 150% stronger than the previous model.
What’s also worth noting about this version is that it comes with custom rubber boots for silent arrow loading. Now on a side note, the whiskers will slightly decrease arrow speeds, and they may also damage fletchings over time.
At this point, you should know virtually everything there is to know about arrow rests, the differences between types, what they are good for, and more. At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest deciding factor in terms of the best arrow rest for hunting for you is going to be your own personal preference. Just make sure to choose wisely.