- Function of a Broadhead
- Regular Broadhead vs. Crossbow Broadhead
- Types of Broadheads
- Best Fixed Blades Broadheads
- Best Mechanical Broadheads
- Best Expandable / Hybrid Broadheads
- Best Broadheads for Deer
- Best Broadheads for Elk
- Best Broadheads for Hogs
- Best Broadheads for Turkeys
- Best Broadhead Buying Guide
Broadheads are the probably the next thing you should take time deciding on after you choose the best compound bow to use.
Since the broadhead of an arrow is one of the deciding tools on how efficient you are as a hunter, it is a must for you to be meticulous about what works for you and to the prey and what would not. Read this article to know more about the best broadheads.
Broadheads are continuously developed and innovated by manufacturers to suit to the hunter’s tastes.
Let’s face it: aside from the accuracy the hunter has, if he hits the prey with a half-hearted arrow without intending for an ethical kill, the prey will inevitably suffer a slow death once he manages to escape.
Overall, broadheads could affect your performance as a hunter who uses a bow for hunting.
Function of a Broadhead
First and foremost, we define a broadhead as a sharp metal at the tip of an arrow, opposite to the cock fletch. It is simply called arrowhead.
A broadhead is the first part that penetrates the target and in the business of hunting, one shot should be enough to take the animal down.
Depending on the shape of the broadhead, factors like the cutting efficiency, impact, penetration, and flight travel varies.
Choices are widely available, and most hunters opt for what’s best from their colleagues and what would be the best for him.
The broadheads are distributed into two main types namely: fixed and mechanical blades which will be discussed later on.
Regular Broadhead vs. Crossbow Broadhead
There isn’t much difference between a broadhead for a crossbow and a broadhead for a compound bow. They have the same features like the same type and same function.
However, the best way to discern between the two is the weight.
For best crossbow broadheads, they are technically heavier than the regular ones starting at more than 120 grains.
It is necessary to be heavy because if it’s otherwise, like lighter than the officially recommended weight for a crossbow broadhead, one could suffer from injuries. It may even damage the crossbow to a point that it would be irreparable.
If you’re wondering what broadhead an archer should use for his shots, check the manufacturer’s manual on what arrow weight is ideal to use.
If not available, contact them via email or just weigh an arrowhead yourself. What result you get in lbs. or grams, convert it to be compatible with grains.
Types of Broadheads
Broadheads found on the market are classified into three, and they are the following:
1. Fixed Blade Broadhead
This type of arrowhead is the simplest and most commonly used.
Its blades are razor-sharp and settled in one position next to arrow shaft, hence the name fixed blade.
All broadheads of this type have cut-on-contact sharp tips that are better in penetration than the other two arrowhead types.
The blades range from the two traditional side by side forming a triangle or more than that number (three to four configuration).
Key advantages to using an arrowhead that is fixed with glue or screw to the shaft are the following:
- Superior durability
- Cheaper than other broadheads
- check Less to risk of early damaging
- Better penetration because of smaller diameter
As a fixed blade broadhead, the tip is what comes first in contact with an animal hide. With the small cutting diameter most at 1.5 inches, the penetration is deeper, and the fixed blade can even punch through the bone of an animal.
Considering that the bones are the hardest anatomical part of any animal, it’s a feat that this type of broadhead can achieve this.
This subtype is recently popular among the archers as they don’t to sharpen the blades often, making replaceable blades more convenient. When the blades become dull, simply replace them with detachable new ones.
The broadhead you should find must have a lock down mechanism for the blade inserts to make it more durable and so that the blade won’t fall when they fly.
The disadvantages of this type are that it’s more expensive than fixed blades and less durable when it comes to the lifespan and penetration level.
2. Mechanical Broadheads
Also called as expandable and retractable broadheads, mechanical broadheads are more modern than their fixed blade counterpart. Why is it so?
The simple mechanism for this kind of broadhead is that when the chiseled tip makes contact with the animal hide, the blades open at the impact thus the entrance and the exit holes are larger (as large as three inches).
They may be lesser in penetration compared with fixed blade broadheads, but they are relatively easier to shoot aerodynamically.
The arrow flies faster and with more accuracy when using mechanical broadhead because the unexpanded blades that stay close to the tip help little to no wind resistance.
In this way, arrows fly like field points and then open by rubber o-ring or steel clip systems.
The mechanical broadhead is strategically divided into two categories: the front deploying and rear deploying broadheads.
The first one is also known as over-the-top broadhead, and they are known to open at the front at contact. The broadhead cuts through the vitals as it usually expands inside the flesh of the animal.
The entrance hole is then smaller than the exit hole, but this is not the case with the rear deploying broadheads. The latter type both have large entrance and exit holes as they punch through the skin because blades open outward from the rear.
Mechanical broadheads aren’t always applicable to all games. It’s preferable to shot at thin-skinned animals due to lesser penetration.
Also, hunters experience problems when using these broadheads when the moving parts are jammed or damaged.
There are instances that the blades won’t even open, leaving only the chiseled tip to do the penetrating which isn’t much without the blades. Some models of this type are made of weaker metals and tend to bend or break easily.
3. Hybrid Broadheads
This type is the combination of fixed blade and mechanical blade broadheads.
Simply put, the tip is cut-on-contact like fixed blade while the rear part is the expandable blade.
The cutting power and penetration are more enhanced with this broadhead leaving the prey with severe blood trail.
There are disadvantages with using the broadhead as it the flight pattern is inconsistent. And also it would need constant maintenance to ensure that the two types of blades are functioning.
Best Fixed Blades Broadheads
Wasp is a trusted brand when it comes to broadheads, and you can’t go wrong with their Drone.
The reduced surface area promises supreme accuracy, penetration, and durability.
This broadhead is made of stainless steel and stays sharp longer than other metals. The tip can puncture through the bone of the animal leaving it helpless allowing for a fast kill.
The cutting diameter is at 1-1/8 inches and weighs only 100 grains.
After the tip makes contact, the blades that are on the rear side begins to cut through flesh and leave a blood trail. Blades can be replaced.
Best Mechanical Broadheads
This broadhead for crossbow has field point accuracy that is devastating when it hits the target.
The material used is steel, and the durability of this one is sealed.
It has three blades that expand with the help of spider clips. These clips allow for pre-tune blade development.
Also, its cutting diameter is large at 1-1/2”, the hole is surely going to be large.
The difference of this crossbow broadhead between a compound bow broadhead of the same model is that the latter has silver clips. Crossbow broadhead instead has red clips and kind of stiffer.
Best Expandable / Hybrid Broadheads
This product is proud to claim that their broadhead is 100 percent made of stainless steel.
The blades expand upon contact with skin with the help of spider clips.
So the cutting diameter is as big as 1-1/2 inches while weighing 100 grains.
It is said that this broadhead is 320% stronger than its competitor made of aluminum.
The impact strength and speed kill depend on what broadhead is used. Animals for hunting are of different sizes so they would employ specific types of broadheads.
Best Broadheads for Deer
Whitetail deer is, in fact, the most hunted game in the United States. They are widely prevalent, and there is a need to control their population at times so they won’t disrupt the balance of the ecosystem.
Aside from population control, they are also hunted for sport. Bucks are hunted more than any other animal because of their meat volume and also for their antlers as game trophies.
Choosing best broadheads for deer can be determined by how well and deep the arrowhead can cut into the flesh of the deer to cause massive blood flow.
Broadheads are largely categorized as fixed blades and mechanical blades. There’s also the minority of hybrid broadheads that are a combination of both fixed blade and mechanical blade.
There are also factors to consider before buying them by set. We have made an article about the different factors to consider in buying best broadheads recently; you can check it out here.
For deer alone, hunters had many arguments on what type of broadhead to use. Some agree with fixed blade and others on mechanical blades. What comes, in the end, is that it’s a matter of preference and experience.
Mechanical blades are only made in recent human history while fixed blades have been around since our ancestors’ time. It’s only natural that there are hunters that will side with fixed blades for historical reasons and their incredible penetration.
Depending on how durable is the broadhead, some fixed blade models can puncture through bone, and they can immediately render the deer unable to run away.
This saves the hunter the time in tracking the blood trail of a wounded animal. Mechanical blades can’t easily achieve that feat, but it can cut wider into the hide of the animal to procure intense blood loss.
For fixed blade broadheads, we recommend you to use G5 Outdoors Montec.
When you buy this product, you get three broadheads in a set. It’s made of hard stainless steel so rusting won’t be an obvious problem.
At 100 grains, the cut on contact tip has a cutting diameter of 1 1/16”.
The razor sharp edges are claimed to be as durable as diamonds. Its accuracy is on point, and no prey shall ever live after being hit with this.
For mechanical blade broadheads, Wasp Jak-Hammer 100 SST is one of the best to take down the buck, maybe for flesh or trophy. It travels fast and is accurate.
The sharp tip is made of stainless steel and can even smash through a bone.
The blades open at the rear by neoprene so the cutting diameter is already large at 1 3/4” when the broadhead hits the animal hide.
Best Broadheads for Elk
Elk is known to be large animals so taking them down is on another level than with hunting whitetail deer.
They are not only tall, but their weight is exceptionally large as the largest species belonging to the deer family.
An average elk cow’s weight ranges at 225 to 240 kilograms while its male counterpart or the bull is 40% heavier ranging from 320 to 330 kg.
Hunting elk is not easy; they are known to have tough hides, and you can only have one shot to take it down. Comparing deer and elk, the latter are better runners even if wounded.
The deer can’t run very far when shot on a vital spot. But the elk can run for a few more miles before dropping dead. Nothing is more terrible for a hunter than successfully placing an arrow on a prey but failing to harvest it.
This is where the right broadheads act their role. Ordinary broadheads won’t cut it as you need something that can penetrate deep into the tough hide and muscle.
This characteristic exclusively belongs to fixed blade broadhead. It is known to be very sturdy, and if you choose the correct model, you can punch through the bone of the elk and halt its ultimate escape.
Using mechanical or expandable broadheads could be against right judgment as those broadheads aren’t sturdy or durable enough unlike fixed blades.
The firing of the arrow with a mechanical broadhead on an elk would be a wrong move as there are chances that the blades will deploy midway because of malfunction.
This, in turn, would only mark a light wound on the elk, not even enough to make it lose lots of blood. If you track it, the trail would be so far that you won’t have the energy to go on further.
Fixed blade broadheads like Wasp Hammer SST is a prime example of a heavy duty broadhead that can take on an elk.
Its weight is 100 grains, and a cutting diameter of 1 3/16” – quite large for this broadhead.
In fact, penetration is the primary focus of this one because the tip is not cut on contact. Instead, it is a chiseled tip made of stainless steel.
Wasp Boss SST 4-Blade is also similar with the previous broadhead as they are both fixed blades.
Not only fixed blades but they are both chiseled tips that take deeper penetration to the next level.
The four blades aren’t directly connected to the tip, so there’s little surface area when the broadhead pounds on an animal hide giving leeway to dig deeper and even to reach elk’s bone. At 100 grains, it has a cutting diameter of 1 1/16”.
Best Broadheads for Hogs
Whitetails are popular hunting game because there are so many distributed across all of America, but you also shouldn’t forget that you can hunt other animals like hogs or wild boars.
These hogs are backyard wreckers, so you don’t want their population to blow up.
Feral hogs are different than hunting deer or any thin-skinned animal. They have ridiculously thick hides, and older ones have “shields” that are all found on the shoulders and backs. These shields are stored fat that can be hard to penetrate.
They are naturally developed to protect them during fights with other feral hogs. Blood gushing out of the animal could be quite little as their hides can also absorb the liquid. On another case, the fat would gather up and close the wound.
Since hogs or boars have a limited field of view due to how their heads are dipped close to the ground, don’t underestimate the animal.
If they sense danger, they will dart off or could be very aggressive and attack you. Maintain your good distance with the boar and only use a bow and a high-quality broadhead.
Shooting a feral hog’s vital areas isn’t the same as hunting whitetails. If you apply on a boar about how you killed a deer, it might just as well be a gut shot.
You must aim at their lungs for a good shot. They are found from the front leg up to the midpoint of the boar’s chest. The target will run away, and you should have a good sense of tracking as the blood trail can be quite difficult because they don’t drip as much as a deer’s.
For broadheads, most hunters can agree that fixed blade broadheads are the best choice in shooting down a feral hog. They will recommend that you use a fixed blade broadhead that is of high-quality and can be utilized again and again.
This means cheap broadheads won’t cut it as their sharpness degrades shot after shot. Sure, you can take down a hog, but that’s the first and final one.
When it comes to hunting them, fixed blade broadheads are the very best choice because of penetration.
Mechanical broadheads aren’t a good choice because of the blades prematurely opening up before hitting the animal.
And also, some mechanical broadheads don’t have much penetration so the part that was hit of the animal may just as well close up because of the fat.
For high-quality broadheads that can assure you good penetration, you can try Rage X-treme broadheads.
They have two blades and aren’t like the regular ones that have three or four blades for a multi-dimension shot.
But Rage X-treme’s wound channels are very impressive with maximized precision. This 100-grain broadhead not only assures penetration but its cutting diameter is all the more imposing at 2.3”.
Other than that, it’s for big animals because it’s designed for bow draw weights more than 60 lbs.
Best Broadheads for Turkeys
You know that there is a turkey in an area if you hear them gobble or cluck. These large birds are vocal and easy to find in flocks.
If they’re alone, then all the better. However, they can be hard to hunt as they can see you from a distance.
Turkeys have enhanced eyesight and hearing, and they can sense danger. If they notice you, they will quickly run away as they are fast runners.
Turkeys are considered by most hunters as one of the toughest animals to take down. This is because when a turkey is shot that doesn’t cause instant kill, it takes off at a fast speed and then tracking it would be very hard to impossible.
The vital areas of turkeys are small and targeting them for an instant drop dead act would be difficult. Remember that turkeys are smaller game than those you have hunted; which would mean that at a distance, the bird would appear to be quite small.
You can target the head or the neck of a turkey for an instant kill. You can also target the legs so it won’t take you a far distance to track the animal. If it’s facing on the opposite side, you can hit another vital part – its anus.
You can use fixed blade broadheads or mechanical broadheads. Turkeys aren’t thick-skinned, so there’s little need to smash through their fur deeply.
However, the target being small at a distance and it goes for the same of its vitals, you will need a broadhead that cuts large. This is the perfect stance for the mechanical broadheads.
Mechanical broadheads like Bullhead 3-Blade are plenty good enough to stop a turkey’s escape. Looking at this broadhead, you can tell at first sight that it would be a turkey’s worst nightmare.
At 125 grains, this broadhead has a cutting diameter of 3 3/4″. Its large cutting surface is perfect for head and neck shots. The vital parts being small already, using this broadhead could only mean an instant kill or not.
Best Broadhead Buying Guide
In this section, we will present how to choose the perfect broadhead to use with your arrows.
1. Weight of Prey
The type of broadhead to use depend on what prey will you hunt on. As for fixed blade broadheads, they perform best when used to fire at prey under 50 lbs. The mechanical broadhead, on the other hand, is for prey above 50 lbs.
When hunting big game, penetration is the key but what ends the hunt is the accuracy of your arrows.
Such that in this case, mechanical broadheads are OK as they can cut largely through leaving the game with a big hole where the blood flows out.
With larger holes mean larger volume of blood in a short time so, the prey can’t be that far when it dies.
2. Blade Count
It’s already established that the more the blades, the greater is the cutting diameter. With a blade count of three or four, the chances of hitting tissue are greater and the blood volume gushing out will be several times larger.
Blood trail is important after you fire your arrow and hits the animal.
As the prey’s instinct is to run away, having an endless flow of blood trail is great to track the animal down. And of course, because of this, the animal won’t be suffering longer, leading to a fast and ethical kill.
3. Weight of Broadhead
Once you’ve chosen the broadhead type you find suitable; next is to check out if the combined broadhead and arrow shaft weight is suitable for your compound bow or crossbow.
Most manufacturers include the recommended arrow weights with the purchased bows and it’s best to follow so as not to risk damage to your equipment.
For broadheads made of carbon, they are either coated or stainless steel. Carbon steel has always been known for their sharpness and durability though they are also infamous to be often sharpened to retain their razor blades.
Aluminum metal is lightweight and would make a great broadhead because it travels fast.
For every tool, the price of it is always the final factor to decide to push through in purchasing it or not. It’s a fact that the higher the price, the better the quality it possesses.
But there are medium-priced broadheads that can guarantee the desired user experience it can give. Be more aware of your preferences and follow what it tells you to buy.
As learned by reading this article, best broadheads are necessary to achieve a fast and ethical kill with those who we hunt.
Hunting is a sport and the best broadhead among with a best compound bow or crossbow are a great combination.