How Do I Select The Right Bowstring?

Young woman practicing archery outdoors

So you’ve picked up archery as a new hobby and you’re ready to take aim, but there’s one crucial component you need to consider – the bowstring. Choosing the right bowstring can make all the difference in your shooting accuracy and overall performance. But with so many options available, how do you navigate the world of bowstrings? In this article, we’ll guide you through the factors you should consider when selecting the perfect bowstring for your archery setup. From materials to strand count, we’ll help you make an informed decision that will enhance your archery experience and ultimately lead to hitting that bullseye.

Factors to Consider

When it comes to selecting the right bowstring, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration. Understanding your bow and your shooting style, as well as considering factors such as arrow speed, arrow weight, draw weight, string material, string length, string type, and budget are all vital in making the best choice. Testing and trying out different options can also help you find the perfect bowstring for your needs.

Understanding Your Bow

Before selecting a bowstring, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the type of bow you are using. Here are a few common types of bows:

Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are popular among both beginners and experienced archers. They feature curved limbs and can be easily recognized by their distinctive shape. When selecting a bowstring for a recurve bow, it is important to consider the manufacturer’s recommendations for string length and material.

Compound Bow

Compound bows are known for their mechanical components and pulley system, which provide a higher amount of energy to the arrow upon release. These bows often require specific types of bowstrings that are designed to withstand the high loads and forces generated by the bow’s cam system.


Longbows are traditional bows that have a simple design and do not feature any mechanical components. They are typically made from a single piece of wood and offer a classic shooting experience. Choosing the right bowstring for a longbow is essential for achieving optimal performance and accuracy.

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Crossbows differ from other types of bows as they are mechanically operated and shoot bolts or quarrels instead of arrows. Selecting the right bowstring for a crossbow involves considering the specific requirements of the crossbow model, such as string length and material compatibility.

How Do I Select The Right Bowstring?

Understanding Your Shooting Style

Another crucial factor in selecting the right bowstring is understanding your shooting style. Here are two common shooting styles to consider:

Target Archery

If you primarily engage in target archery, you will likely benefit from a bowstring that emphasizes consistent arrow flight and precision. Bowstrings with a faster speed may be preferred for target archery as they can help reduce the effects of wind and improve accuracy.


For bowhunters, factors such as stealth, durability, and kinetic energy play a significant role in selecting the right bowstring. A quieter bowstring can help you remain undetected by game, while a string that offers superior strength and performance can ensure an effective and ethical harvest.

Considered Arrow Speed

Arrow speed is an essential consideration when selecting a bowstring. The speed at which your arrows are launched can impact both accuracy and the kinetic energy delivered to the target. Here are three categories to consider:

Faster Speed

If you prioritize speed and long-range accuracy, a bowstring that is designed to maximize arrow velocity may be the best option for you. These bowstrings are often made from high-performance materials and can help deliver flatter arrow trajectory and reduced arrow drop at longer distances.

Moderate Speed

Bowstrings that offer moderate arrow speed are versatile and suitable for a wide range of shooting styles and purposes. They provide a balance between speed and forgiveness, making them a popular choice among archers who engage in both target archery and bowhunting.

Slower Speed

While slower arrow speed may not be ideal for long-range shots, it can offer advantages in certain situations. Slower bowstrings can provide increased forgiveness, making it easier to maintain consistent form and accuracy, especially for beginners or those who prioritize shorter-range shooting.


Considered Arrow Weight

The weight of your arrows can significantly impact their trajectory, penetration, and overall performance. Here are three categories to consider when selecting a bowstring based on arrow weight:


If you prefer shooting lightweight arrows, a bowstring that is designed to maximize speed and minimize drag could be a suitable choice. Lightweight bowstrings can help you achieve flatter arrow trajectory and reduce the effects of wind.

Moderate Weight

Bowstrings that are suitable for moderate-weight arrows can provide versatility and performance across various shooting styles. They offer a balance between speed and penetration, making them a popular choice for both target archery and bowhunting.

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Heavier arrows require more kinetic energy to achieve optimal performance. Bowstrings designed for heavyweight arrows focus on delivering increased power and penetration. These bowstrings are often made from materials that can withstand the additional forces generated by heavier arrows.

Considered Draw Weight

The draw weight of your bow refers to the amount of force required to draw the bowstring back to its fully drawn position. The draw weight plays a significant role in arrow velocity and penetration. Here are three categories to consider when selecting a bowstring based on draw weight:

Lower Draw Weight

If you are just starting out or have limited physical strength, a bowstring that is suitable for lower draw weights can help you comfortably and consistently shoot your bow. These bowstrings are often designed to minimize hand shock and provide a smoother shooting experience.

Moderate Draw Weight

Bowstrings suitable for moderate draw weights are versatile and can accommodate a wide range of shooting styles and experience levels. They offer a good balance between shooting comfort and overall performance.

Higher Draw Weight

For experienced archers who shoot bows with higher draw weights, selecting a bowstring that can handle the increased forces is crucial. These bowstrings are typically designed to offer enhanced durability and performance to meet the demands of higher draw weights.

How Do I Select The Right Bowstring?

Considered String Material

The material used in the construction of a bowstring can have a significant impact on its performance, durability, and maintenance requirements. Here are several common string materials to consider:


Dacron bowstrings are known for their reliability and affordability. They are suitable for traditional bows and recurve bows with lower poundage. Dacron strings are relatively low-stretch and easy to maintain.

Fast Flight

Fast Flight strings are made from a high-performance material that offers excellent speed and minimal stretch. They are commonly used with modern recurve bows, compound bows, and some crossbows. It is important to note that Fast Flight strings should not be used on traditional bows designed for Dacron strings.


Dynema, also known as Dyneema, is a popular material used in high-performance bowstrings. It offers superior strength, minimal stretch, and excellent stability. Dynema strings are commonly used in compound bows and recurve bows designed for high-performance strings.


B-50 bowstrings are made from a blend of materials, including Dacron, and are known for their durability and affordability. They are commonly used in traditional bows and are suitable for lower poundages.


Carbon bowstrings are known for their strength and minimal stretch. They are commonly used in high-performance compound bows and crossbows. Carbon strings can offer exceptional speed and energy transfer, but they may require additional maintenance compared to other materials.

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Spectra bowstrings are made from a synthetic material that offers excellent strength and minimal stretch. They are commonly used in compound bows and modern recurve bows. Spectra strings are known for their durability and resistance to moisture, which makes them ideal for outdoor shooting.

Considered String Length

Selecting the appropriate string length is essential for optimal bow performance and safety. Different bow types and personal preferences may require specific string lengths. Here are two factors to consider when determining the appropriate string length:

Recommended Length

Manufacturers often provide recommendations for string length based on the specific bow model. It is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you select a string that is compatible with your bow.

String Measurement

Measuring the current string length or the bow’s length can also help determine the appropriate string length. It is recommended to consult with a professional or refer to reliable resources on how to measure the correct string length for your bow.


Considered String Type

In addition to material and length, selecting the right string type is another crucial factor. Two common string types to consider are:

Endless Loop

Endless loop strings are made from a continuous loop of bowstring material that is served and secured at both ends. These strings are popular due to their simplicity and ease of installation. Endless loop strings are suitable for most bows and offer reliable performance.

Flemish Twist

Flemish twist strings are made by twisting several strands of bowstring material together to create a single bowstring. They are known for their traditional aesthetics and are commonly used in traditional bows. Flemish twist strings require proper installation and ongoing maintenance.

Testing and Trying Out

While considering all the factors mentioned above is crucial, ultimately, the best way to find the perfect bowstring for you is through testing and trying out different options. Here are a few suggestions on how to approach this process:

Professional Advice

Seeking advice from experienced archers or consulting with archery professionals can provide valuable insights and recommendations. They can help analyze your shooting style, bow setup, and specific requirements, and guide you towards appropriate bowstring options.

Equipment Testing

Many archery shops or clubs offer equipment testing sessions, where you can try out different bowstrings before making a purchase. This hands-on experience allows you to feel the differences in performance, speed, and comfort, helping you make an informed decision.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role in selecting the right bowstring. Consider factors such as the feel, noise level, and overall shooting experience when testing different options.

Seeking Recommendations

Reach out to fellow archers or participate in archery forums to seek recommendations and advice from a broader community. Hearing about others’ experiences and preferences can provide valuable insights and help narrow down your options.

By taking into account factors such as understanding your bow, your shooting style, arrow speed and weight, draw weight, string material, length, type, and budget, as well as testing and trying out options, you can confidently select the right bowstring that suits your needs and enhances your archery experience. Happy shooting!

How Do I Select The Right Bowstring?

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