Choosing a bow is no less important than choosing a life partner. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but the relationship between an archer and their bow does need to be strong and long-lasting like a marriage.
Before you commit to a bow brand, you need to get to know it better. This article will provide you with the information you need to get to know Hoyt and Mathews better before you jump into anything serious.
1. Most History: Hoyt
Both Hoyt and Mathews have been household names in the archery community for decades.
But typically, consumers in any market are going to be privy to the company that’s been around longer because years translate into experience, and experience is the best teacher.
This may not be true of you, but understanding where a company comes from can be essential to choosing the right brand for you.
Do you value wisdom that comes from years of trial and error? Or does a fresh perspective matter more than sticking to tradition?
Picking a bow brand that aligns with your values is the best way to ensure that you are satisfied not only with the bow you purchase but the relationship you’ve struck up with the people behind it.
The Origin of Hoyt
If you’re the kind of person that prefers a company that’s had time to grow its roots, Hoyt is the brand for you.
Hoyt is easily one of the oldest companies in the game, having been officially established in 1942 by its founder, Earl Hoyt Jr.
Even before it was known as Hoyt Archery Company, however, the business was turning out bows made by the hands of Earl and his father, Earl Hoyt Sr.
When Earl Jr. finally convinced his father to go into real business with him, the company immediately took off.
Though they quickly took on more and more employees to keep up with the high demand for their bows, the company always relied on Earl Jr.’s archery expertise to design the products.
Both Earl Jr. and his wife, Ann Hoyt, were highly respected in the archery community and were both inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame.
The Origin of Mathews
Though younger by a handful of decades, Mathews Archery, Inc. was founded on the same passion for the sport that Hoyt was.
Like Earl Hoyt Jr., Matt McPherson began by building humble archery equipment for himself and his loved ones.
It didn’t take long for that hobby to turn into a calling soon Matt was founding his first archery company, McPherson Archery in the 1970s.
In 1989, Matt sold the McPherson brand. A few years later in 1992, he started what has become the largest bow manufacturer in the world: Mathews Archery, Inc.
Even now that they employ over 400 people across multiple facilities, Matt attributes their massive success to their dedication to the existing customer:
“Most companies focus on getting new customers to buy their product and put existing customers second. However, we believe in putting those who have already made an investment in our product first. They’re part of the family, and once someone becomes a part of the Mathews family we do everything we can to make sure they are happy.”Matt McPherson
Though their history is short, it seems that Mathews Archery is certainly doing something right.
2. Best Innovations: Tie
No one wants to align themselves with a company that simply rides on the coattails of more creative groups.
Fortunately, neither Hoyt nor Mathews could ever be said to be lacking in terms of innovation.
With so many years in the business, it’s not surprising that Hoyt Archery has contributed some major game-changers to the sport of archery.
Most of them came from the mind of Earl Hoyt Jr. himself, and the company continues to make strides in the industry in his wake.
A mere five years after starting the business with his father, Earl Jr. pioneered the designs for dynamic balanced limbs and limbs of equal length for recurve bows.
After this major discovery came the deflex-reflex bow design, the semi-pistol grip, the full-pistol grip, and later, stabilizers.
Anyone who’s used a recurve bow in their life has Hoyt Archery to thank for so many of the modern recurve bow’s bells and whistles.
Dedicated compound bow archers will feel more indebted to Mathews Archery for their contributions to the archery community, which are many.
Even before it was Mathews, Matt used the McPherson brand to introduce some of his inventions in cam technology, namely the Inner Cam.
Soon after, McPherson also made leaps in the let-off technology of compound bows, increasing it from the standard 50% to approximately 75%.
To launch his new company, Matt used another innovation in cam technology to get the ball rolling.
That innovation was the single cam or Solocam, which improved on all other cam systems by locking in synchronization, aiding accuracy, and decreasing shock, vibration, and noise in the bow’s frame upon firing.
3. Best Price Range: Hoyt
Everyone has a budget that they have to work with. Bows are not free; in fact, they’re far from it.
For this category, the winner was chosen based on the range of their prices because no one wants to go to one dealer who specializes in bargain deals, another who specializes in middle-of-the-road prices, and so on.
If you’re like me, you want to be able to go to one brand and be able to browse through a large selection of bows at a variety of prices.
In this case, Hoyt was best able to cater to customers with high, medium, and low budgets.
Now, in reality, neither Hoyt nor Mathews are really best for those looking for a super cheap bow.
For cheaper bows, you’d be better off looking at Diamond or Bowtech.
Because they are known for producing luxury bows, Hoyt and Mathews tend to have higher price tags.
And by “higher,” I mean over $1,000.
Hoyt has quite a few compound bows that go for close to $2,000, but they also have a few that price at less than $500.
As for Mathews, their lowest-priced bow for 2019 is still above $800.
For those willing to spend some serious cash on a quality bow, $800 isn’t a huge sacrifice.
But for many of us, that’s roughly a month of rent and a definite a no-go.
4. Best Variety: Hoyt
It’s no surprise that the company with the best price range is also the one with the best overall variety.
Maybe it has something to do with how long they’ve been manufacturing bows, but they just seem to have a larger selection of every kind of bow.
Once again, it comes down to being able to one-stop-shop. This is especially important for families of archers, who may not all be into the same type of archery, as well as being different sizes.
To be fair to Mathews, they do provide recurve bows both for hunting and for target shooting, which is more than a lot of archery companies can say.
However, when you shop somewhere with a wider variety of bows, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to find something that’s better suited for you.
The combinations of cam styles, brace heights, bow lengths, draw weights, and so on are seemingly endless.
If you were to pick a bow from Mathews, it’s more likely that you’ll be settling for something that isn’t 100% right for you.
5. Best Design: Hoyt
Unless you’re working with bows every day, it can be difficult to tell when a bow’s design is particularly sleek or cutting edge.
Some companies don’t even really concern themselves with the aesthetics of their bows because many of their customers don’t care about the look of the bow, frankly.
Stepping out from the crowd, it seems that Hoyt has been able to marry functionality with aesthetics to create some of the best shooting and the best looking bows on the market.
And you don’t even have to be an archery expert to recognize that.
Hoyt’s bows have been chosen time and again by big-name movie producers to serve as the weapon-of-choice for many popular film characters such as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and Hawkeye (Clint Barton) in The Avengers franchise.
In fact, there’s one particular bow that producers were drawn to out of Hoyt’s selection, and that was the Buffalo Bow, a takedown recurve.
Perhaps it was the seven and a half-inch brace height that gave the bow a powerful profile, or maybe it was the wide range of draw weights that allowed actors to adjust it to their level of ability.
It could have been that the bow’s versatility that drew movie-makers to it, being able to be used in either the left or right hand for hunting or target shooting.
Even if it was just because they liked the way it looked, Hoyt really hit the nail on the head with the Buffalo Bow, scoring some serious free advertising that undoubtedly attracted hundreds of new customers to their brand.
But the Buffalo Bow wasn’t the only model to bring them fame.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye switches to a different Hoyt bow: the Game Master II, also a well-built recurve bow.
Although other bow brands seem to be making their way to the big screen, Hoyt was really the first one to dominate that important market with some thoughtful design methods.
6. Best Hunting Bow: Mathews
It’s most likely that you’re either a bowhunter or a target shooter.
Typically, there isn’t a ton of overlap between the two groups of archers, though some may dabble in one or the other in off-seasons.
If you identify as mainly a bowhunter, then you’re going to want the best hunting bow on the market.
Hunting bows and target bows are made slightly differently, which is why most manufacturers label the bows they produce as one or the other.
Now, there are recurve bows designed specifically for hunting, but the majority of bowhunters prefer compound bows for their purposes.
Many bow brands are competing to have the flagship bow in the compound hunting bow market, but few can beat out Mathews for that spot.
This year, the Mathews Archery Vertix model has been highly popular among bowhunters.
Outdoor Life, a well-respected online publication specializing in outdoor recreation, rated the Vertix very highly on its list of best new compound bows.
According to their archery expert, Will Brantley, the Vertix scored good, very good, or excellent in all of the following categories:
- Accuracy and Forgiveness
- Draw Cycle
- Fit and Finish
According to almost everyone who shot the new Mathews bow model, it combines the best part of a variety of quality hunting bows, resulting in one of the best all-around shooting experiences.
Mathews seemingly nailed the perfect length and weight for a bowhunter’s needs, as well as maximizing power and efficiency with Crosscentric Cam Technology.
The Vertix has also been praised for its lack of noise and vibration, a product of the effective 3D Dampening Technology.
7. Best Target Bow: Hoyt
It seems that Hoyt has always been the first choice of competition archers.
Much of that probably has to do with the fact that recurves are still largely popular in the target shooting scene, and Hoyt has been making recurve bows longer than almost anyone.
In fact, Earl Hoyt Jr. himself made one of the most popular recurve bows, used by Olympians Doreen Wilbur and John Williams (who both won gold medals) in 1972.
That bow was the Pro Medalist recurve bow, and ever since then, Hoyt has continued to turn out Olympic-caliber target bows like the Pro Olympian and the All-Purpose Pro.
Today, Hoyt risers and limbs (used to put together takedown recurve bows) make up a huge percentage of the brands used by award-winning Olympians.
For the majority of every-day target shooters, Hoyt still seems to be the top choice, probably because they’re one of the few manufacturers who even still produce new recurve bows and have a large selection at that.
The most popular Hoyt risers are the Prodigy RX and the GMX. The most popular limbs are, by far, the Quattro.
8. Fastest Bow: Tie
Speed bows are currently in huge demand, and the race to make the fastest bow has been raging in recent history.
Everyone wants to say they have the fastest bow on the market, and bow manufacturers have been clamoring to provide that for their customers.
According to experts, modern compound bows have the potential to reach about 360 feet per second.
The major archery brands have yet to produce a bow that can reach that top speed, but both Mathews and Hoyt have gotten close.
Bow speeds are rated based on a standardized test, the rules of which are set by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO).
The IBO determines the exact settings that compound bows must be put to when they are being tested for speed, including:
- 70 pounds of draw weight
- A 30-inch draw length
- Use of a 350-grain arrow
This makes buying a compound bow based on its advertised speed a little tricky because most bows come with a range of draw weights and draw lengths.
It’s also unlikely that you’ll always be using a 350-grain arrow when you’re shooting.
These factors, which are highly controlled in the testing facility but not necessarily in the real world, can affect the exact feet per second you’re getting out of your prized speed bow.
Additionally, we have to consider that the IBO speed listed in the specs of all compound bows refers to the speed the arrow was traveling directly after being released from the string.
This means that by the time the arrow actually makes contact with the target, it’s likely to be going at a much slower rate of speed than what you bargained for.
With these facts in mind, let’s look at Hoyt’s and Mathews’ fastest bows, which are some of the fastest compound bows on the market.
Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Turbo
Hoyt’s fastest bow comes as part of their Carbon RX-3 series and shoots at an astounding rate of 350 feet per second.
That bow is the Carbon RX-3 Turbo, a unique piece of equipment that can function as either a luxury hunting or competition bow.
The Turbo is arguably the best bow of the Carbon RX-3 series, and its specs speak for itself:
- 31 inches axle-to-axle
- 6-inch brace height
- 4.0 pounds
- ZT Turbo Pro cams
- 26 to 30-inch draw length
- 30 to 70-pound draw weight
- MSRP: $1,749.00
Anyone looking for a speed bow that doesn’t sacrifice quality from other aspects would be well-satisfied with the Turbo.
Mathews Monster Safari
Mathews fastest bow is very similar to the Carbon RX-3 Turbo in more ways than one.
Though the Monster Safari is made specifically for hunting, it also shoots at a lightning-fast 350 feet per second.
If you’re trying to choose between these two quality speed bows, it’ll have to come down to one of the other specs like weight, axle-to-axle length, or perhaps price.
The Monster Safari boasts some more high-profile measurements than the Turbo such as:
- 33 inches axle-to-axle
- 6-inch brace height
- 4.8 pounds
- 25.5 to 31-inch draw length
- 70 to 85-pound draw weight
- MSRP: $2,100.00
If you’re still unsure which you would prefer, the best thing you could do is test them both and choose the one that feels more comfortable to you.
9. Lightest Bow: Hoyt
Any archer knows that one of the most important specs for a compound bow is weight.
After all, what good is a speed bow if you can barely lift it?
Having an extremely light bow is almost as brag-worthy as having an extremely fast bow, so if you’re looking for something to be proud of, you might find it at Hoyt.
Hoyt seems to know how to produce the best hybrid target shooting/hunting compound bows.
Along with having a really cool name, the Fireshot is optimized for either archery situation and is the lightest bow they have in their 2019 lineup.
Hoyt’s Fireshot weighs a minuscule three pounds, which isn’t the lightest compound bow on the market but is a weight that lots of bowhunters can appreciate.
The Fireshot’s other specs include:
- 281 feet per second
- 29 inches axle-to-axle
- 6.625-inch brace height
- MSRP: $399.00
It’s pretty difficult to make a bow that’s less than 3.0 pounds and at this price point, the Fireshot is a top-notch bow for people who enjoy light equipment.
Mathews does not seem to hold as much value in weight as it does in speed.
Mathews lightest bow is compound hunting bow called the Stoke, which is actually a youth bow from 2017.
The Stoke weighs 3.78 pounds, almost a whole pound heavier than the Hoyt Fireshot.
Still, it’s a good deal lighter than many of Mathews’ other bows, which all seem to tip the scales at close to five pounds.
If you’re not particularly concerned about weight, however, you may find that some of the Stoke’s other specs appeal to you:
- 314 feet per second
- 27.25 inches axle-to-axle
- 5.625-inch brace height
- MSRP: $999.00
What you’ll really have to decide is whether the one grand is worth the extra speed for you or your young one.
10. Best Availability: Tie
Because both Hoyt and Mathews are quality, well-respected brands at the top of the market, they’re going to be equally as difficult to get ahold of.
This isn’t to say that they’re going to be unnaturally hard to find, but you will have to make a trip to an authorized dealer.
Brands like Hoyt and Mathews don’t just let anyone sell their bows. They partner with specific pro shops that have the proper equipment and qualified staff to set up their bows for customers.
This means that you won’t be able to just stop by your local Cabelas and pick one up. In fact, most big-box stores will not carry these high-end bows on their shelves.
This can be difficult because the smaller pro shops don’t always carry the largest selection of equipment, so you may have to try a few before you find the exact model you’re looking for.
The abundance of authorized dealers for either Hoyt or Mathews will depend on your location.
For example, if you live in a large, central city like New York City, you can find 41 Hoyt dealers and 25 Mathews dealers within 100 miles.
However, if you live somewhere secluded like, say, Rexburg, Idaho, you may only find five for Hoyt and four for Mathews within 100 miles.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have much luck finding one on eBay or any other second-hand store, so pro shops are really your best bet to get one of these top-quality bows for yourself.
11. Best Accessories: Mathews
Unless you like to mix-and-match gear from different brands, it can be helpful to buy a bow from a brand that also sells a lot of archery accessories.
In this case, I think Mathews takes the cake for best accessory selection.
Hoyt does offer some nice gear, but they only carry two bow quivers, two stabilizers, four rests, and four miscellaneous bow add-ons.
Although many archers would probably appreciate the quality of these four categories, Mathews goes a little more out of the box by offering fewer amounts of the same thing but many more categories.
If you’re really set on getting a Hoyt bow, however, you shouldn’t rule them out just because they have a slightly more sparse accessory section.
Best Community: Tie
I always consider the community surrounding a particular brand to be like a bonus accessory to the bow.
Going back to our relationship analogy, you’re really striking up a relationship with a whole group of people when you buy a bow, and that group includes both the company and the other customers.
You want to be sure that the community you’re joining is supportive and (if you’re into socializing) fun.
Some companies create a better environment than others, but between Hoyt and Mathews, you’re likely to be joining a good group of people either way.
12. Best Warranty: Tie
One of the last things you have to consider when buying a new bow is the company’s warranty policy.
There are fewer feelings worse than purchasing a product only to realize it doesn’t have a good warranty when you most need it.
Fortunately, both Hoyt and Mathews offer lifetime warranties on their bows.
Of course, these warranties are limited by stipulations such as buying the bow from an authorized dealer, handling the bow properly, and normal wear and tear.
They can’t just be giving away free parts to people all the time, or else they wouldn’t be two of the largest bow manufacturers in the world.
Given that you’re a reasonable, level-headed person, you shouldn’t have any issues with either Hoyt’s or Mathews’ warranty policies.
In fact, many customers have been surprised by the kindness of both companies’ representatives, and there are more than a few stories of Hoyt and Mathews customers receiving better benefits than they thought possible.
“If someone has a problem with our product, we do our best to resolve the issue within 24 hours, if possible.”Matt McPherson