Some hunting guides will even turn you away if you come to them with low-quality arrows. A hurt animal running miles away because of a malfunctioning or weak tip isn’t good for anybody. Many cheap manufacturers will lure in hunters like us with false promises, and poor quality. We’re here to cut through the confusion and give you the best tried and tested broadheads, hands down.
So that being said, the results are in, and we've gone through the effort to put together the ultimate Broadhead Buyers Guide so you can start your hunting year off with a bang (Or should we say a *snap).
Below you will find our picks for first place, runner-up, and some great alternatives as well. Hope you enjoy!
The Best Broadheads
The Best Broadheads
Winner - Rage Hypodermic
We are proud to announce that our winner for the best broadhead goes to the Rage Hypodermic. They have performed flawlessly through our various ballistic tests. Rage has addressed every concern from blade retention to ferrule materials, and when the Hypodermic is paired with a properly spined arrow, the result is one of the best flying heads on the market.
These heads have very little surface area and fly just like a field point. Equipped with the proprietary Shock Collar, the Rage Hypodermic 125 grain broadhead offers optimum blade retention and consistently reliable deployment at all times.
They create mean entry and exit holes. They're engineered to be strong and durable, and we didn't have a single blade break during testing. This means that you can reuse the same broadhead through multiple hunts.
If you want to make sure your target has no chance of escape, definitely add a pack of these to your arsenal.
Runner-Up Grim Reaper Whitetail Special
The Grim Reaper Whitetail special is a mechanical broadhead with astonishing power. They've proven themselves to be incredibly reliable and will open up time to time.
Grim Reaper is credited with inventing the Razortip technology, which employs patented small-sized blades that enhance contact penetration. The Grim Reaper Whitetail Special will make your whitetail hunting expeditions far more profitable.
It has a 2-inch cutting diameter and a retention system that prevents the blades from opening in flight. This broadhead, like the Rage Hypodermic, also features a chisel tip.
Given its larger size, it is coupled with .035" inch thick blades to guarantee sturdiness and cut back on potential shock damage when shot through rocky or wooded obstacles. As every archer knows, practice makes perfect.
This Grim Reaper package even comes with a practice head so that you can perfect your shot off the grounds.
Maybe you’re not looking for the cutting edge technology and are more inclined to stick with what’s simple. If our two winners don’t quite suit your needs, we have a few other great options for you to consider!
Alternative - Muzzy Fixed Blade Trocar Tip
It has a bigger than average diameter at ⅝'', meaning that is made for stabilized distance and greater penetrating power.
If you’re looking for the right mix of both durable and affordable, the Muzzy broadheads provide the best bang for the buck for those with a lower budget. They fly straight and group well. For a fixed blade broadhead, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more simple and straight to the point arrowhead like this.
Like the Grim Reapers we talked about above, this package also comes with additional practice head for you to touch up your skills with.
Alternative - Rage Hypodermic Crossbow
We loved the original Rage Hypodermic broadheads so much we had to include their Crossbow edition into our guide. This is a mechanical broadhead which penetrates with a surgical grade tip and opens up to an X shaped blade alignment after entry.
Alternative - Slick Trick Magnum
The Slick Trick's four-blade design makes them great for leaving huge holes and great blood trails to follow.
All of Slick Trick’s fixed blade broadheads feature their patented Alcatraz blade-locking system which they claim offers greater durability and impact resistance.
If you want durability, this is the way to go! Slick Trick boasts of having "The deadliest broadhead. Period," and their products have a reputation for living up to that. In fact last year in 2017 they even won Bowhunting World Reader's Choice Silver Award for Best Fixed Blade Broadhead.
They also have a relatively low profile when compared to other fixed blade brands, which greatly aids in a straight flight and tight grouping when on the target range.
They're incredibly sharp, accurate, and offer a great bang for buck price for those looking for mid-range affordability.
What Broadheads Are Best For Different Prey?
Now that we've given you some good broadheads to look at let's go over another essential part of making your decision. Now you may remember that earlier I mentioned that different types of broadheads are more or less suitable for certain environments. The same principle applies to what you are hunting.
You would not use the same weight or size of broadhead for smaller game, that you would use for larger game. It's the principle of overkill. You wouldn't shoot a duck with an armor-piercing sniper rifle, so why would you obliterate other small game with a broadhead meant for far larger and heavier prey?
One of the greatest things about bowhunting is that the season for bows usually far extends the season for firearm hunting. So after you've checked your local laws to find out what is and isn't in season, you should bring your quiver up to speed with appropriate sized arrows and broadheads.
Deer And Elk
Deer are some of the most commonly hunted animals in any warm climate. Venison is some of the tastiest fresh game meat you will ever taste, and I can personally attest that it makes a wonderful stew.
Elk is technically in the deer family and is usually considered to be the deer's close cousin in the North. Their skin is a bit thicker than the average deer due to the intense cold they are accustomed to. Their meat is equally good, and can sometimes even be a bit fattier
If you were to ask any hunter what they consider to be broadheads for deer hunting are and they’ll probably give you a 20-minute rant about how the arrow they're using is far better than any other on the market.
However what works for one hunter, may not necessarily be the best setup for another hunter. Choosing the best broadhead for deer comes down to several factors. Two holes (entry and exit points) are always the end goal, but what robs many shots of a clean pass-through, are variables like friction, distance, and wind.
For Big Game Like These:
I recommend both a heavier arrow and broadhead.
For those of you who possess exceptional draw strength and a heavier bow, I would say to go ahead and use a 400-grain arrow topped with a 125-grain broadhead.
With a setup like this, your arrow is guaranteed to fully penetrate and fly through the whole deer most of the time.
If you're hunting thick-skinned elk, this point holds even truer. The heavier the projectile, the more lethal the penetration you will get.
If you are just hunting smaller doe or whitetails, you can get away with a 300 or 350-grain arrow topped with a 100-grain broadhead, as their skin isn't quite as thick as their heavier elk cousins.
Hogs And Boar
If you've never been on a hog hunt, I would highly recommend it. Whereas deer require more of a sit and wait for approach, hogs require active chasing and tracking skills. For experienced trackers, this can be quite an exciting challenge.
The most experienced hog trackers will tell you that you should go out before sunrise, track activities from the previous night, and follow them to their hideout. If you don’t consider yourself an experienced tracker, consider bringing a trusty canine companion along with you.
Hogs can be a tough prey to catch.
If you miss your shot or don't damage them enough in your first shot, you can be confronted by an angry mob of swine armed with dangerous fangs that can crush and slice through pure bone.
Because of this danger, it is essential that you follow the principle of one shot, one kill when it comes to wild hogs.
Small game, while not bow hunted as often as larger game, is still some fun to hunt and worthy of mention. Maybe you're trying to get yourself a turkey, or maybe you're trying to rid yourself of pesky squirrels ruining your farm.
Whatever the case is, you're going to want to go for both a lighter arrow and a lighter broadhead. You can even consider bringing out your recreational recurve bow instead of your high draw-weight compound bow.
Large turkey is the only thing that I would recommend using a broadhead on, in which case I would personally use a 175 or 200-grain arrow topped with an 85-grain maximum broadhead. I would most definitely use a low profile fixed blade, as a wider mechanical spread could risk doing too much damage to my meat and make it unusable.
If you are hunting anything smaller than turkey, however, I would recommend using a blunt tip or a judo tip and aiming for headshots. These style of arrowheads will shatter bone, and quickly disable your prey.
Factors To Consider
It's an old debate that's been hashed out by many hunters over the years; mechanical broadheads vs. fixed blade broadheads. But there are a few other variables to consider when choosing to pick the broadhead that's best for you.
Many greenhorn hunters want the most prominent and nastiest fixed blades, but over time begin to find the merit of using mechanical heads.
Every year, mechanical technology becomes simpler and easier to use, but there is still the inescapable risk while using a broadhead which relies on an automatic opening system to strike through at the moment of truth.
As broadheads make strides in new development each year, it seems the gap between modern mechanical and traditionally fixed blade broadheads has widened. It's important to keep in mind which features matter most to you when planning out your hunting expedition.
The modern composite bow has broken records, and it's not at all uncommon for speeds of up to 350 fps and greater to be recorded.
These increased speeds mean an increased chance of picking up wind and have thus driven the development of lower profile heads. Fixed blade broadheads and mechanicals alike strive to produce field point like groups, but few succeed in this task.
Usually, the best rule of thumb is that the smaller, and simpler the broadhead is, the better it flies. The margin of error is far less with a sleek and aerodynamic mechanical broadhead. That being said, at average hunting distances and fair wind conditions, the difference between fixed and mechanical is not that different.
In my opinion, pin-point accuracy isn't the most important argument in the great debate between mechanicals and fixed blades, and I would say that many arrow flight problems can be solved through the tuning process.
If your bow is tuned, and your archery skills are up to par, your arrows should fly straight the majority of the time.
When looking at a shelf full of broadheads, the arrow heads that stick out to you the most will often be the ones with the deadliest, nasty-looking cutting blades. While this seems like a good idea at first, it is sometimes nothing more than a marketing ploy.
Having awesome cutting blades won’t matter if they aren’t fully functional and designed with purpose.
That being said, if you've decided on a broadhead with a well-designed cutting blade, expect to be blown away by the results. When it comes to blood trails, the widest, sharpest cutting diameter is king.
Modern-day blades cut with near surgical precision, and the wider that cut is, the more intense your blood trails will be.
However, it's important not to let advanced cutting blades serve as a crutch to your actual shooting ability. The principle remains that a well-placed shot with a field point can still bring down most deer.
Because of this, an actual hunters skill with a bow and their shot placement will always trump the latest technology offered by manufacturers. You can't manufacture skill. There are no shortcuts to becoming a great hunter and archer.
Penetrating power all comes down to physics, and precisely to kinetic energy. This is the principle stating that the energy that a body possesses by being in motion, and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
When it comes down to the moment of impact, I don't want my broadhead to lose any of its kinetic energy while snapping open its blades, when it could be used to further penetrate through flesh and bone, or make a clean pass-through.
Cutting diameter aside, the surface area and friction are greater with bigger blades, this goes for mechanicals and fixed blades alike, and unfortunately, this surface area can waste valuable kinetic energy upon striking its target.
This is one area where mechanical heads have the propensity to fall short. Pass-through shots are often far less likely with mechanicals. Alternatively, pass-through shots with a low profile fixed blade apparatus are far more likely.
A blade that has no physical work to do besides cut and penetrate conserves its kinetic energy and allows it to penetrate even deeper. Kinetic energy is a big deal, and you should consider exactly how your broadhead will make use of it when choosing whether a mechanical or fixed broadhead is best for the task at hand.
Reliability And Dependability
This is the combination of many factors, but you should choose the broadhead that you can depend on every day.
If a broadhead has to do extensive deployment work upon impact, there's always the slight chance that the spring mechanism doesn't release and your expensive, extra wide cutting blade is rendered completely useless.
We have all heard the depressing stories of local hunters with a mechanical broadhead that veered off course before hitting its mark. Shooting from an angle can amplify this risk. That’s why many hunters have chosen fixed blades.
After you factor in accuracy, penetrating power and cutting diameter. What is the most critical variable when choosing a reliable and dependable broadhead? Choose a bow setup that blends accuracy, cutting diameter, and penetrating power to create a reliable and lethal combination.
Dependability lies within the consistency of the performance. The best way to achieve consistency is through practice. If you notice, every single broadhead that we’ve shown to you all have one major thing in common- they come with a free practice head. Use this!
If you are constantly changing the heads you use to suit different purposes or simply to try something new; you will experience flight variation with each new head. The best way to fix this is at the archery range.
Get to the point where you can have a close grouping of shots with all of your arrows, and you will be cutting down flight variation by ten fold.
Personal skill, a strong bow, and a reliable quiver will be the final variables when it comes to having a memorable hunt, a fridge full of meat, and maybe even a trophy to hang on your wall.
The broadheads that you can rely on are the ones you should stuff your quiver with. If you're an experienced bow hunter, then you are very familiar with this.
How many times have you tried out some heavily touted new broadhead for the first time only to have it malfunction, put your arrow off track, or completely miss its mark?
If you’re trying to decide which broadhead is best for your arsenal and the game you intend to hunt, the best advice any professional will give you is to test new heads repeatedly.
Try different models on the range and in the woods until you find a few that work the best.
When you reach that point, the next game animal standing downrange will find itself in a world of trouble. In this guide, we've done our best to do some of this tedious testing work for you. We put hundreds of arrows to the test for you, to save you time and money of having to do it yourself. We hope that you enjoyed our broadhead buyers guide and wish you the best.