If you’re big on archery, you will probably have considered purchasing a bow press. Having your own bow press means that you won’t need to keep running to the archery shop every time your bow needs a little maintenance.
Having a portable bow press is even more convenient as you won’t need to worry about ever being without it, especially if you need to do some emergency bow work in the field.
But if you have never purchased a bow press before, it can be challenging to know what to look for and know whether a bow press is any good.
In this guide, we are going to be looking at some of the best portable bow press products on the market right now as well as giving you all the information you need on this important piece of archery equipment.
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What Is A Bow Press?
A bow press is a piece of archery equipment that is used in the maintenance of a bow. Bows are extremely complex tools and when you are fixing them or adjusting them, you must be extremely careful.
A bow press is used to take the tension out of the bowstring allowing you to change it as well as perform several other tasks relating to the maintenance of your bow.
Portable bow presses are merely smaller versions of their more hefty counterparts and this is the main difference. However, it is important to note that on some portable bow presses, there may be features missing.
Furthermore, you should consider that a portable bow press is not considered to be quite as safe as using a full-sized bow press. This is because these larger pieces of equipment are designed to be used in an environment that is conducive with bow repair.
Conversely, portable bow presses are used in the field where the conditions may not always be ideal for fixing a bow. But it is down to you to use your better judgement in these situations.
That being said, having a portable bow press is great, you can pop it in your backpack and it is always there if you need to do a little emergency bow work.
Why Should You Buy Your Own Bow Press?
Owning a bow press is certainly not a requirement for any archer. Archery shops all over the world will have bow presses and will be more than happy to service your bow as and when you need.
However, there is no denying that having a bow press at home means that you won’t need to down tools and head into town every time something goes wrong with your bow. If you do a lot of shooting, it would stand to reason that you might need to work on your bow more often and owning your own press is much more convenient.
But there are so many other reasons that you should consider buying a bow press, so let’s take a look at these now before moving on to looking at our top picks.
One of the main reasons that you might benefit from having a bow press is that you will be quickly able to change your bowstring. This is something that should be done every two to three years but may need to be done more often if the string breaks or is damaged in some way.
A lot of archers will pay to have their strings fitted and at times this can cost up to $200. Purchasing a string and doing the work yourself can save you a lot of money.
If you use a peep sight, it can be incredibly frustrating when this is out of alignment and even the smallest movement can make it almost impossible to use. However, when you have a bow press, you can adjust your peep sight quickly and easily without having to leave your home.
String silencers are known not to last for very long so the last thing you want is to have to be paying a visit to the bow shop every few months to replace something so small.
But the truth is that these components can fly off unexpectedly and if they are not replaced, the performance of your bow could be affected.
Cam lean is a common problem on compound bows and while it may sound complicated, this is a tuning issue that can be easily managed with a bow press. You will also have the advantage of being able to sync your cams whenever it is needed.
The Best Portable Bow Press
Without knowing the ins and outs of what to look for in a bow press, it can feel a little intimidating when choosing your equipment. But we have got you covered and have picked out two of our favourite portable bow presses.
Ratchet-Loc Portable Bow Press – Best Overall
One of the most notable things about this bow press is its diversity. It can be used on any type of bow and what’s more, it is incredibly easy to use. When you first start out with a bow press, it can feel daunting but with this once, operation is a breeze, making it ideal for beginners.
Additionally, the versatility of this bow press means that you will be able to perform various types of bow maintenance including changing the bowstrings and switching up the cables. It has been tested with a wealth of different bows, all with excellent results.
But one of the things that really impressed us is the simple design of this bow press. It doesn’t pull any punches but is perfectly practical in every way. This straightforward design also adds to how easy it is to use.
Furthermore, the Ratchet-Loc bow press is extremely well crafted and is made from durable materials that will stand the test of time. Aluminium is not only robust but also extremely lightweight which is essential in a bow press that you may be carrying around with you for hours at a time. This material will also resist corrosion and rust meaning that the bow press will serve you for many years to come.
When you are out and about, the last thing you want is to have to carry a large piece of equipment but this incredible bow press folds down to a compact size for easy transportation.
Transporting the bow press is made even more easy thanks to the handy carry bag that comes with it which will also keep the bow press safe in between uses.
IVEKE Portable Handheld Bow Press – Best Value
If you don’t want to break the bank then this budget-friendly bow press gives you everything you will need at an affordable price. But just because it is less expensive, that certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t an excellent product.
The bow press is incredibly well constructed and made from a solid, robust material that demonstrates ultimate durability. It will not rust or corrode so is great for taking out in the field.
If you like to be flexible when working on your bow then this is a great choice since you will hold the bow press with one hand and have the other hand free for the maintenance, it is very easy to use and quick.
The bow press also features a mechanism that allows you to adjust the size meaning that it can be used with a variety of different bows with no issue. It comes with two handy brackets which make using it even easier.
It boasts a lightweight and compact design which is great news for when you are out and about. Unlike some larger portable bow presses, this one is so small that it will fit into your bag or belt without weighing you down.
How To Use A Portable Bow Press
Not knowing how to use a portable bow press is something that puts a lot of archers off the idea of owning one. However, much like any aspect of this sport, once you wrap your head around it and practice, it will become second nature.
It is vital that you are extremely careful when working on your bow using a bow press. One of the best ways to stay safe is to complete the work with the limbs facing away from you. In the event that they were to snap back, you would not be in the way.
With that in mind, we will provide you with an easy step by step instructions to get started.
- You will need to begin by taking the cable and inserting it through each of the bow’s limbs.
- Using the jackscrew, you must now pull the cable through until it is tight and no slack can be felt.
- Next, you will need to slide your cable stop over the cable end. When you do this, ensure that it is situated correctly, it should be past the indents.
- When using a bow press, you must make sure that the cable is fully functional. If you ever notice any signs of damage, you should discard the cable and replace it with a new one. Not doing so could be dangerous.
- You will have two leather pads with your bow press, these must now be folded in half and put onto each of the limbs.
- Next, turn the jackscrew so that the tension is removed from both the string and the cable. Keep turning until you feel that all tension is gone.
- You may now complete your maintenance and repairs.
- When you have finished repairing the bow, you should double-check that everything is correctly positioned before putting the tension back into the cable and string.
How Often Should You Tune Your Bow?
Tuning your bow is essential for keeping its performance as good as possible. However, many archers are unsure as to how often their bow needs to be tuned.
As a general rule, it is a good idea to retune your bow at least once a year. This will help to make sure that the bow remains accurate and maintains a good speed.
If you prefer, you can take your bow to an archery shop where this service will be provided for you. However, since we are looking at owning a bow press in this article, we must point out that owning one is the most convenient way to tune your bow.
You should also consider how often to change your bowstring. If you get moderate use out of your bow then changing it every two to three years would be acceptable.
However, if you notice any signs of wear such as fraying or if the bowstring snaps entirely, you may need to replace it sooner.
What To Look For In A Portable Bow Press
When you are shopping for your bow press, you will need to think about several things to make sure that you are getting a piece of equipment that is suitable for your needs and will be of good quality.
Type Of Bow Press
In the main, there are two types of bow press; a ratchet-loc and a cable press. How you intend to use the bow press will determine the type that is better for you.
However, if you are looking for one that is ideal for taking out and about then a cable bow press will be more compact and easier to carry.
Conversely, a ratchet-loc bow press will be much more durable and these are generally made from much tougher materials. So, if you want something that is going to stand the test of time and endure everything you put it through, this may be a more suitable option.
We have touched on the fact that a ratchet-loc bow press may be more durable but whatever type you go for, you will need to make sure that it is made from robust materials that will not break easily.
If you have ever used an inferior bow press, you will know how easily they can break under the pressure. Not only will this mean you having to fork out for another bow press but it can also be dangerous.
The best material for constructing a bow press is metal and the best ones are made entirely from this, including the cable. In some cases, the bow press will feature a fabric cable and these can be strong enough but it is something that you should check before you commit to purchasing.
Finally, you will need to check whether the metal has been treated to make it rust and corrosion-resistant. If you are planning on using the bow press in the field, there is a good chance that the weather will turn. If the heavens open, you need to feel confident that your bow press will not become damaged.
Ratchet bow presses tend to be a lot easier to use and do not require immense amounts of power to pull the two ends to one another. However, it is worth considering that this method of pulling is a little more time-consuming.
In contrast, a cable bow press will be a lot quicker but it is also more complicated to use. These bow presses make use of a hex head and T handles which you can turn by hand but sometimes a wrench is needed to make it easier.
The brackets are the part of the bow press that will come into contact with your bow. The last thing you want is for any damage to occur so it is important to check the brackets before you buy.
The best options will have some sort of protective layer such as rubber and this will prevent the bracket from scratching the bow or leaving marks on it. At worst, poorly made brackets could cause structural damage to the bow and should be avoided at all costs.
The brackets also need to be robust and heavy as this is a good sign that they will stand up to the challenge and won’t move throughout the repair session.
Not all archers feel that they need a bow press and are happy to go to the archery shop when they need repairs on their bow. However, having a bow press can take a lot of the stress out of maintenance and will allow you to tend to your bow from the comfort of your own home.
Full-size bow presses are a good option to keep in one location but if you want a bow press that you can take with you on your adventures then a portable bow press is a must.
These compact and lightweight pieces of equipment allow you to perform essential bow maintenance and repairs no matter where you are.
There are many bow presses on the market but you must look at the various features to make sure that the product will be sufficient. Our top picks give you some great examples of the quality that is available.