Bowtech and Hoyt are two of the most popular bow brands on the market today. If you’re looking for a new bow, it can be difficult to decide which to get. Their customers tend to be loyal ones, so asking a Bowtech or Hoyt owner which is best will likely result in a highly biased answer.
In the spirit of objectivity, this article examines each brand based on a series of pros and cons designed to present you with the hard facts and help you come to an educated decision.
The Origin of Bowtech and Hoyt
Buying a bow is an investment. And when you purchase a bow from a certain company, you’re forming a relationship with the people behind it.
Before you commit to Bowtech or Hoyt, it may help to hear some of their backstories.
Between the two companies, Hoyt has been around the longest.
Formed by Earl Hoyt Jr. and his father in 1942, Hoyt Archery Company came onto the scene early and has been dominating the market ever since.
They took their experience making wooden bows and arrows by hand and transferred that dedication into their new company.
Earl Jr. was a well-respected and well-rounded individual, so much so that he won the Thompson Medal of Honor in 1977. He died in 2001.
When Hoyt Archery Company first debuted, they specialized in recurve bows.
Soon after forming an official company, they began making waves in the archery community.
The first wave came in 1947 when Hoyt Archery Company came out with some new designs for the recurve bow. These included dynamic balance limbs and limbs of equal length.
Their innovative spirit continued to push them to reach new heights. In the 1950s, Earl pioneered the semi-pistol grip for bow handles, the full pistol grip, and the stabilizer.
His creative thinking landed him a seat on the Standards Committee for the Archery Manufacturers Organization, which he became president of in 1964.
Hoyt was purchased by Jas D. Easton Inc. in 1983 and is now based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They have approximately 300 employees.
Breaking onto the scene in 1999, Bowtech is the younger of the two companies in question.
Whether this means they are less experienced at the craft or if the fresh perspective brings them success is debated.
Following in the steps of Hoyt, Bowtech was the brainchild of two devoted archers. John Strasheim and Kevin Strother worked together to build an archery company that produces quality bows.
They didn’t produce their first bow model until 2000, but their business has been building exponentially since then.
Hoyt isn’t the only one to have made great strides in the bow manufacturing industry.
Lovers of compound bows have Bowtech to thank for the Binary Cam System, which was patented by the company’s research and development director, Craig Yehle, in 2007.
This is the only well-known innovation from Bowtech, but the binary cam’s perfect synchronization was so revolutionary as to earn it a permanent spot on the list of most important bow evolutions in history.
It’s likely that we’ll be seeing more innovations coming from Bowtech soon, as they were bought by Savage Sports Corporation in 2007, providing them with the support they need to continue making iconic bows.
They are based in Eugene, Oregon, and their sister company, Excalibur Crossbow, is located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. They have approximately 250 employees.
Both Bowtech and Hoyt are titans in the industry. Whether you want your bow made by a company that’s been around for decades or a newer one may not matter to you, but it’s something to keep in mind when considering who you want to work with.
Hoyt: Most Versatile
Not all categories will have a clear winner. In the case of versatility, however, there can only be one company to claim the best variety of bows, and that’s Hoyt.
Hoyt’s history is in recurve bows, and they haven’t forgotten it. Though they embraced the compound bow when it became popular and now offer a myriad of high-end compound bows, they’re one of the few luxury bow manufacturers that also sell recurves.
And they didn’t sacrifice anything to branch into both families. Hoyt’s recurve bows are the choice of many target-shooting legends.
Bowtech’s website currently offers 14 compound bows to choose from. Some are specifically marketed for hunting and some for target shooting, and some are described as being adequate for both.
This is all well and good, but a quick look at the Hoyt website shows that they are putting slightly more thought into the purpose of their bows.
Rather than displaying all the variations of bows in one place as Bowtech has done, Hoyt categorizes their bows into sections based on purpose from the start.
Visitors to the webstite don’t even see a single image of a bow until they’ve selected the type they’re looking for: compound hunting bows, compound target bows, recurve hunting bows, or recurve target bows.
Offering a wider variety of bows is already an advantage, but the care and specificity that Hoyt puts into the presentation of their bows is a good indicator that you’re going to be able to choose from a variety of specialized bows instead of a small conglomerate of relatively similar bows.
The Price Ranges of Bowtech and Hoyt
Hoyt bows actually have a broad price range, coming in anywhere between $200 and $2,000 dollars. However, people often tend to forget about the lower end of that spectrum when the higher end is so, well, high.
Since it is so often the choice of professionals and avid archers, you don’t often hear customers complaining about the price of these flagship bows.
Some retailers even encourage newbies and hobby archers to go with the more expensive Hoyt models because they’re so well made and are likely to last longer than the cheaper alternatives.
If you’re not looking to drop an entire paycheck on your archery equipment, however, Hoyt does have the disadvantage of being out of reach because of their steep price tags.
Bowtech’s line of compounds is still mostly considered luxury, though their top end doesn’t quite reach Hoyt’s. If you’re splurging for Bowtech’s top-of-the-line equipment, you’re likely to be coughing up about $1,700.
Bowtech made a smart move in 2004 by buying Diamond Archery, which gives Bowtech a much larger variety of low-end, affordable bow models.
Many praise Bowtech for their less expensive options, but the more accessible price tag often raises questions about the quality of bows from Diamond Archery.
On the other hand, many loyal Bowtech customers defend Diamond Archery’s competitive prices, questioning the wisdom of archers who spend so much more money for a bow that is, in their eyes, no more quality than the Diamond equivalent.
Therefore, the winner for the price category will depend on whether you’re comfortable with dropping thousands of dollars for a stellar piece of equipment or if you’re hunting for a bargain and don’t mind rolling the dice a little bit on quality.
Hoyt: Hollywood’s Pick (Best Design)
Though some may prefer archery because of its rough-and-tumble, salt-of-the-earth participants, it cannot be said that there are no aesthetics involved in the manufacture of the equipment involved.
Even if you have extensive knowledge on bow anatomy and function, design and style are still the first thing to be noticed about a bow.
The shape, the color, and the overall look of a bow are going to factor into any prospective archer’s choice, and it seems that Hoyt must have the best designers in the industry because their bows that are consistently picked to appear in Hollywood blockbusters.
In fact, it was Hoyt’s Buffalo Bow that appeared in the 2012 screen adaptation of Susan Collins’s book, The Hunger Games.
Viewers saw Jennifer Lawrence wielding the Hoyt recurve bow for much of the movie, and her performance with it inspired a 46% rise in female archers in the following years.
Producers of the film said that they chose the bow because it was lightweight and because it had the right look.
The Buffalo model fulfilled the requirements of being a bow that “looked good on camera and had classic lines.”
Producers of Captain America: Civil War had a similar wish list, and chose the same Hoyt model to be Hawkeye’s famous weapon after switching from a Mathews compound.
Hoyt was chosen as Hawkeye’s sponsor once again in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he was saving the day with a Hoyt Game Master II recurve bow.
Aesthetic may not be a major concern for everyone, but it’s pretty difficult to ignore the success of Hoyt’s stylish bows on the big screen. And who doesn’t want to look like a hero?
Hoyt: Star of the Olympics
Even before they started appearing in movies, Hoyt bows have been a familiar sight for cameras.
Viewers of the Olympics have seen Hoyt bows almost exclusively whenever they tuned in to watch the world’s greatest archers compete individually and as part of teams.
Unlike the movie producers, however, those who put on the Olympics aren’t limiting archers to certain bows based on aesthetics.
Recurve bows have been the only type of bow allowed in the Olympic Games since they were introduced to the line-up in 1900.
There’s been a lot of push to allow compound bows in the Olympics since they were introduced in the 1960’s, but the officials in charge are still not close to budging on the subject.
The main reason for this is that the distribution of professional compound archers is not equal among the countries that typically compete in the archery part of the Olympics.
The compound bow is incredibly popular in the western part of the world, and there are a lot of archers from Europe and North and Central America who would dominate with compound bows.
Asia, Africa, and Oceania, however, have not taken to the newest technology in archery as quickly, and so do not have enough compound archers who could compete at the same level as those from western countries.
Simply put, it’s not fun for spectators to watch a clearly uneven competition, and the producers of the Olympics are not going to go for an idea that will undoubtedly bring their ratings down.
As a result, Hoyt’s recurve bows have been at the sides of the majority of Olympic archers, and in fact, every one of the gold medalists in the 2012 London Summer Olympics won with a Hoyt.
For non-Olympic archers, this may not hold very much weight, but target shooters who hope to become the best would be wise to train with a Hoyt recurve.
Bowtech: Best Availability
The prestigious reputation and price of Hoyt bows make them legendary, but legends, as we know, are difficult to trace.
Tracking down a Hoyt bow can sometimes be as difficult as tracking down a unicorn or a hidden chest of treasure. Their high value directly correlates to the decreased availability of these bows on the market.
If you’re looking to join the ranks of Hoyt archers, your search can pretty much only end in one place: a pro archery shop.
Even some pro shops, however, won’t be able to sell you a Hoyt bow. Only shops that have been designated as dealers by Hoyt Archery itself can dispense these valuable pieces of equipment.
And no, you can’t get them anywhere online, except maybe a few used ones on eBay.
Even Hoyt’s online shop doesn’t include their signature, flagship bows. Customers can order clothing, bow accessories, and other Hoyt paraphernalia, but not their bows.
This scarcity isn’t because Hoyt is a snobby company that wants to limit their stock so that the people who do get their hands on Hoyt’s bows can feel superior to other archers.
Hoyt bows require a special set-up process, which can only be done by professionals after they’ve been purchased.
This level of attention adds to the luxurious experience, but for some, the requirement may seem a nuisance.
If you’re on a hunt (pun intended) for the perfect bow and aren’t daunted by the prospect of having to search and possibly drive far distances, then Hoyt is a great choice.
If you’re not willing to expend that much time and effort, you’ll find that Bowtech bows are far easier to track down and acquire.
A quick internet search for Bowtech bows shows that they are available for pick up in big box stores like Cabela’s and for online order on their websites.
The employees in a big box store should be able to set up your new Bowtech bow for you, and whether that’s because they’re simply easier to set up or because Bowtech doesn’t have the same dedication to luxury is unclear.
Regardless, outdoor enthusiasts that are looking for a quick and convenient experience will be pleased to find that Bowtech bows are widely available.
Awards Given to Bowtech and Hoyt Bows
Dedicated bow aficionados have created countless lists attempted to rank the best bows, and both Hoyt and Bowtech have appeared in these lists consistently.
So, looking across several lists, how do the two companies compare?
For the purposes of this comparison, we’re going to look only at compound bows, though Hoyt’s recurves have certainly gained renown as well.
One list comparing the year’s top compound bows appeared in February 2019 on americanhunter.org.
Its author, Jeff Johnston, wastes no time in putting the Hoyt REDWRX Carbon RX-3 at the very top of the list.
According to Johnston, the hunting bow is one of the quietest on the market, as well as having the best cam technology that results in an easy and enjoyable hunting experience.
In fact, Johnston claims that the RX-1 was his favorite bow of 2018, and the RX-3 has only improved since then, offering a lighter carbon riser and a more compact frame.
Bowtech made Johnston’s list as well, but it appears further down the list, following the Hoyt bow, the Mathews Vertix, and the PSE Carbon Air Stealth EC.
Unsurprisingly, Johnston’s pick was the Bowtech Realm SS. The SS is part of the popular Realm line, and in Johnston’s opinion, it has the smoothest draw of the bunch.
Not only is the draw smooth, but the shot is both quiet and accurate.
Much of the Realm line is designed to suit any archer who picks them up, but the quietness of the SS’s release is what compelled Johnston to choose it over its other, faster Bowtech brethren.
In past years, the lists have looked similar. Outdoorempire.com included both Bowtech and Hoyt in its list of the best hunting bows, but once again, Hoyt took the leading position.
Outdoor Empire named the Hoyt Carbon Defiant the best of the best when it comes to hunting bows and insists that the big price tag is worth the investment.
Coming in a close second is the Bowtech Reign 7, which Outdoor Empire praises for its powerful shot and 340 fps speed.
One category in which Hoyt does not appear at all is the “Best Bow for the Money” category, which also appeared in Outdoor Empire’s list of best compound bows.
Here, the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge bow took second place after the SAS Rage.
However, the only reason it did not place first is that the Infinite Edge bow is part of a package, which includes accessories.
If you’re using rankings to compare Hoyt and Bowtech, just know that Hoyt has been consistently producing award-winning bows that often appear at the top of the list.
Hoyt: Best Quality
It shouldn’t be hard by now to discern which company produces the bows with the best quality.
Though Hoyt does tend to get comments about higher-than-average weight and sometimes uncomfortable size, most archers agree that these minor inconveniences are worth the superior shooting experience of a Hoyt bow.
Since the beginning, Hoyt has been focused on improving the design of bows and introducing innovations that can enhance their performance.
Therefore, it is only logical that their bows would have the highest rated quality on the market. The word “investment” often appears in Hoyt reviews, partly because of the price but also because of the caliber of equipment you’re acquiring.
It’s comparable to buying a car or a house. The amount of money you spend is typically directly related to the quality of the product you’re buying.
A cheaper car might perform just as well as an expensive one right now, but in the long run, the more expensive car is going to serve you better for longer.
A cheaper house that doesn’t have luxurious amenities like a pool or a movie room is fine for a young family, but most people make it a goal to live in a luxurious house one day.
This isn’t to say that Bowtech bows are not quality.
Even with the success they’ve attained, Bowtech still makes it a policy to test every bow before it leaves the production line for good.
This is an impressive step toward top-notch quality, but historically, Bowtech has been more concerned with increasing potential speed.
While they still have a cult following and often receive reviews praising their ability to make great bows at a reasonable price, Bowtech’s preoccupation with speed has opened the door for more flaws in their core bow design.
Most issues concerning compound bows are a matter of preference, but it is widely agreed upon in the archery community that you typically get what you pay for.
Based on that rule, it’s easy to conclude that Hoyt bows are going to be able to satisfy the need for quality equipment best.
Bowtech: Fastest Bow
If you’re excited by the idea of breaking speed records, you’re going to want to be looking at Bowtech bows.
As was just discussed, you’ll most likely be sacrificing a certain degree of quality when you spring for the fast bows. But as we know form the Fast and Furious franchise, it’s difficult to ignore the allure of speed.
There is a lot of math involved in making a bow capable of flinging arrows at top speed, and bow technicians have been working hard to make the math work in their favor.
Though experts have claimed that propelling an arrow at 400 fps is mathmatically possible, no bow manufacturers have yet produced a bow that can make that theory a reality.
But Bowtech has gotten very close.
The Bowtech Prodigy compound bow has been reported to have reached up to 343 fps, coming in very close behind the Bear Archery Escape compound bow, which has a top speed of 350 fps.
The rumored maximum speed of some modern compound bows has been 360 fps, which means that Bowtech is close behind the fastest bows on the market.
Much like young people and sports cars, new archers and Bowtech speed bows seem to go together well.
Hoyt: Best Customer Service and Warranty
According to customer reviews, it appears that shelling out a few extra hundred dollars not only buys you better quality equipment but better quality customer service.
Although Bowtech has an extensive customer service page with a lot of answered FAQs on their website, customers on third-party websites have denounced its effectiveness.
While it may be simple to acquire a Bowtech bow in the first place, some have jumped from Bowtech’s ship because of their poor response when defects appear in the bow’s manufacture after purchase.
Bowtech offers a one-year warranty on all bows not bought online, but in today’s digitally-saturated market, many bows are bought online.
Customers who weren’t aware of the warranty stipulation have taken to online forums to share their frustrating stories of trying to get a Bowtech representative to help them with their broken or deficient bows.
The warranty for Hoyt bows carries the same stipulation about applying only to in-person purchases, but because you can’t really purchase a new Hoyt bow online, it negates the issue.
Additionally, Hoyt’s warranty is unlimited in terms of the coverage period, only terminating once you sell or give away the bow.
As with any warranty, there are exceptions and regulations that exclude things like normal wear and tear from coverage.
However, the warranty includes coverage of stolen bows that have been registered through the Hoyt website.
If you’re planning on having this bow for a long time, Hoyt will be able to offer the most protection and will likely reduce the number of headaches over fixing and replacing broken parts.
Bowtech: Lightest Bows
Weight is an incredibly important consideration for archers, especially bowhunters.
Tramping through the forest with a bow that weighs as much as a small child is not feasible, both for noise reasons and for endurance.
Keeping with its innovative brand, Hoyt made history when it introduced the Carbon Element compound bow in 2011, which weighed a super light 3.6 pounds without accessories.
At the time, this low weight was revolutionary, and hunters jumped at the chance to lighten their loads as they stalked game in the forest.
Since then, other bow manufacturers have followed Hoyt’s footsteps in prioritizing weight in their bow designs, and Bowtech has now surpassed Hoyt in producing the lightest bows.
Soon after the introduction of the Carbon Element, Bowtech put out the Carbon Overdrive and the Carbon Knight, which weigh a light 3.3 and 3.2 pounds.
Hoyt has introduced a new light compound bow since then, the Carbon Spyder, but have declined to go lower than their original record-breaking 3.6 pounds.
Some would note the disadvantages that come with an overly light bow such as increased vibration, but for some hard-core bowhunters, the decreased poundage is too valuable to pass up.
You will hear it said that bow choice has much to do with preference, and that is very true, of course. But there is still something to be said for reputations, which are often based in truth and can indicate overall quality.