Although modern compound bows offer a number of benefitscompared to traditional recurve bows, they also tend to be a bit more difficult to set-up, repair and maintain. Sure, a high-quality compound bow may provide you with a faster, more accurate and more powerful shot, but these benefits only apply to compound bows that have been properly set up and maintained. This is why many bow hunters prefer to take their compound bow into an archery shop or abowyerto ensure it is properly set up.
Still, there will come a time in every bow hunter’s life when they’re forced to perform some repair or maintenance tasks on their own, which is why every serious bow hunter needs to invest in at least some basic compound bow tuning tools, including thebest bow pressthey can afford. After all, nothing can ruin a bow hunting trip quicker than a broken/cut string or finding out that your bow is out of alignment and won’t shoot straight.
We’ve previously covered a range of important compound bow tuning tools every hunter should own, but this guide will be focused on the most important of all—the compound bow press.
The 4 Best Bow Presses
|Bowmaster Bow Press||Portable||View on Amazon|
|Last Chance Archery EZ Green Press|
|Home||View on Amazon|
|Ratchet-Loc Portable Bow Press||Portable||View on Amazon|
|X-Press Pro Bow Press||Home||View on Amazon|
For those who are unaware, a bow press is a tool that draws in the limbs of the bow in order to take the tension off of the string and cables. With a quality bow press, you can easily perform a wide range of maintenance and repair tasks that would otherwise be impossible due to the tension on the arms of the bow. Still, not all bow presses are made equal, which is why we’ll also present you with some bow press reviews to help you decide which model fits your specific needs and your budget.
Things to Consider When Buying a Bow Press
Replacing the bow string or cables, adjusting draw length or changing the cams, wheels or limbs—most general bow maintenance tasks require the use of a bow press, no matter whether you’re performing them at home or out in the field. However, home maintenance and field maintenance require a different type of press.
Full Sized (Home) Bow Press Vs Portable Bow Press
While a full-size bow press is generally easier to use, it won’t do you much good should you break a string out in the field unless you happen to be near your truck. This type of press is far too big and bulky for you to pack into yourtree stand. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a portable bow press on hand in case you need to make repairs on the fly.
However, if you’re doing the work at home or even on your tailgate, a home bow press will make the task much easier. Both home bow presses and portable bow presses function in the same way by drawing in the bow limbs to relieve tension. However, a home bow press provides the added advantage of holding the bow in place as well, which ensures that you have both hands free for the task at hand.
On the other hand, a portable bow press uses a basic cable or strap that is tightened around the bow to take off the tension. So, you’ll either need to put the bow on the ground or another hard surface to do the work. Otherwise, you’ll need to hold the bow in one hand while attempting to work with the other.
While a home bow press definitely makes things quicker and easier, they also cost quite a bit more than a portable bow press. In fact, the best bow press for home use will easily set you back anywhere from $400 to over $1,000. Whereas you can get a quality portable bow press for less than $50.
If you can afford it, a home bow press will definitely make your life easier. Still, there’s no reason to worry if you can’t, as a portable bow press will still allow you to do everything you need. As well, a portable bow press is absolutely necessary should you need to make any repairs while out on a hunt, whereas a home bow press is more of a luxury item—not entirely necessary, but still well worth it for those who have the money to spend.
Make Sure to Check Compatibility:
Of course, you can also find a wide range of used home bow presses online. However, it’s important to make sure that any home bow press you purchase will actually fit your bow. This is because many modern compound bows use parallel limbs. These bows require a newer style of press, as most older bow presses will not work on many modern bows.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that whatever press you buy is compatible with your bow. Still, this isn’t a problem with a portable bow press, as virtually any portable press will work on any compound bow.
Bow Press Reviews
Now that you understand the difference between home and portable presses lets take a look at the reviews of the top products.
Bowmaster Bow Press
Weighing only 13 ounces, the Bowmaster is one of the lightest, most portable bow presses you can find. The entire thing folds up to easily fit in your pocket, ensuring you can always have it on hand should you need to make any repairs out in the field. This all-metal press uses a cable and simple hand crank that allows you to easily work on virtually any solid limb bow.
As well, the 3/4-inch cable ends perfectly fit most any V split limb bows. Still, there’s no need to worry if you have a full split limb bow, as all you need to do is purchase the Bowmaster Quad Limb Brackets to allow this press to work on almost any full split limb bow. Considering its small size, low price and overall quality and versatility, this might just be the best portable bow press on the market.
Last Chance Archery EZ Green Bow Press
Probably the simplest and easiest to use home bow press, Last Chance Archery’s EZ Green Bow Press is an outstanding choice for anyone looking for a quality bow press for home use that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. While it still costs quite a bit more than a portable bow press, the price is less than half of most top-end home bow presses.
As a standard bench-mount bow press, this vise holds the bow in a horizontal position and allows you to relieve tension simply by turning the hand crank at the end of the press. However, the fact that it only holds the bow in a horizontal position means that some tasks will be a bit more difficult than they are on the top-dollar home bow presses, which allow the bow to be positioned either horizontally or vertically. Nonetheless, as it’s among the most affordable home bow presses, it’s an excellent choice that won’t break the bank.
Ratchet-Loc Portable Bow Press
While the Bowmaster uses a basic cable system, the Ratchet-Loc Portable Bow Press instead uses a ratchet strap system that operates in the same way as standard ratchet strap tie-downs. The two metal ends of the strap slide down directly onto the bow limbs to allow you to take off the tension by using the ratchet to shorten the strap, thus drawing the limbs inwards. The metal ends have special rubber coated pins that are used to secure each end to the limb without scratching the paint or otherwise damaging the bow.
Compared to the hand screw used on the Bowmaster, the Ratchet-Loc system is definitely quicker and easier to use. However, at 2.5 pounds, this press is also a bit heavier and bulkier, meaning it takes up more space in yourpack.
Still, you aren’t likely to find a bow press that’s any easier to use, which means that the Ratchet-Loc fully deserves its place as one of the best bow presses on the market. In fact, since this press works on virtually any type of compound bow, it might also be the best bow press for the money.
X-Press Pro Bow Press
If you’re looking for a higher-end home bow press, the X-Press Pro is without a doubt one of the best choices you can make. This press is designed to fit a huge range of different bow styles, making it easy to work on virtually any style of compound bow out there, and transitioning between the various bow styles is as easy as can be.
Unlike many cheaper presses, the X-Press Pro is designed to press the bow limbs in a more natural position, which helps to eliminate unnecessary stress on the riser that could otherwise end up damaging your bow over time.
Although it is far from the cheapest bow press on the market, the overall quality and versatility of this press means its well worth the price. In fact, this is the same press used by many expert bow makers. Therefore, if you’re in the market for a truly professional quality bow press, you can’t go wrong with this outstanding model.
By now you should understand just why a bow press is such an important tool for any bow hunter. Still, no matter whether you’re in the market for a home or portable unit, it’s important that you get the best bow press you can. Not only will it help make all of your repair and maintenance tasks easier, but a high-quality bow press will also ensure you can take care of these tasks without having to worry about damaging your high-dollar compound bow.