Difference Between Arrows

Arrows have gone quite a ways since Robin Hood. With modern materials and more customization options, getting the right arrow isn’t as easy as it looks.

Buying arrows is often the first thing a prospective archer will try to do. While we’re  in no position to judge the quality of arrows on offer, buying arrows is more complicated than looking up the best price, and it’s often the last thing an archer will buy.

Arrows come in more variety than any other piece of archery equipment. The range of arrows is dazzling and can be highly confusing to the untrained eye. Seriously! What is the difference?

In this article we’ll be explaining the differences between a low price Aluminium arrow and a higher-end Carbon arrow, as well as variations in arrow parts.

Firstly, a few important things to know about selecting arrows,there is no “one size fits all” arrow. An arrow that works well in one bow will flop out of another. Arrows simply will not fly straight if they’re not properly matched. Each arrow has a spine value which describes how stiff the arrow is.

For aluminium arrows, the numbers correspond to the thickness of the shaft and the diameter of the walls. For example, this is a 550. This affects the stiffness of the arrow as well as the weight. The numbering system is slightly different for carbon arrows, and different manufacturers use different systems. So it’s a bit complex to explain. Each brand of arrow will come in a range of spines, so you don’t have to stick to a particular kind. Finding the right arrow for your bow is based on your actual draw weight. This isn’t just the poundage of the bow, but also your draw length. There are charts for this kind of thing, but if in doubt the guys at your local archery shop, or your coach, will offer good advice.

Short of that, archers will have a wide experience with different types of arrows, so it’s worth asking around at your club or on online forums.

Let’s move on to our arrows. Unlike accessories, arrow selection is based more on purpose, rather than preference. Some arrows are designed for field, target, or clout archery. Others are more suitable for hunting.

Cheaper arrows are expendable and suitable for beginning archers who are likely to lose or break them. While more expensive arrows are geared towards competition level performance. On the bottom end of the price range are Mixed-carbon and fiberglass arrows. This is probably what you’ll be using if you’re a backyard hobbyist.

Dirt cheap, they’re dispensible, and somewhat limited in use. They’re generally preferred by traditional archers rather than those pursuing archery as a sport.

Going up the price range, you’ll find aluminium arrows. The price difference usually reflects the quality of the manufacturing process, with higher price arrows boasting less variation and straightness. This is an Huntingdoor aluminium arrow, on the lower end of the range, costing around $2.6 fully fletched. The end of an arrow is machined so that a nock inserts right onto it, and the tips screw-in without inserts, making it simple to assemble.

More expensive arrows allow for greater customization. Aluminium arrows are heavy compared to carbon arrows so they don’t fly as far or as fast. However, their weight actually makes them more forgiving when it comes to minute inconsistencies, making them good for beginning archers and first-timers.

The lower end carbon arrows can cost around $2.4 fully fletched. They’re lighter and stronger than aluminium arrows, but don’t perform too differently, making them an easy transition if upgrading.

Unlike higher-end carbon arrows, mid-range carbon arrows are made wholly of carbon.

They can make good general purpose arrows for practice and competition. At the top end, we have arrows like shaft  Straightnes  0.001. Fully fletched, these arrows can cost around $4.1 each. These kinds of arrows are made from carbon fiber laid over an alloy core, making them ultra light and significantly faster in the air than regular carbon arrows, the low weight also makes the shaft more sensitive to errors and inconsistencies during the shot. It will punish a new archer who has not yet developed proper technique, and, given their cost, it might be worth holding off on those until you feel more confident. This is literally Olympic-level equipment.

On a side note, because these arrows use inserts, it is possible to replace the screw-in heads in the event of lost tips, or if you want to swap out for heavier ones. I’ve also used spin wings on these arrows. Unlike regular vanes, these spiral shaped wings are stuck on helically, generating more spin, and therefore more stabilization.

However they are more difficult to put on and can be quite fragile, especially if your bow isn’t perfectly in tune. Some people believe they’re more trouble than they’re worth. While competitive arches almost always use them, you’re not missing out too much if you use regular vanes. With all that in mind, arrows generally do the same thing.

Certain brands and models won’t give you exclusive abilities. More expensive arrows are more geared towards performance, whereas, there’s nothing specifically flawed about cheaper arrows. The biggest factor is how much money you’re willing to spend on arrows.

Given that you’ll likely buy around a dozen, and you’ll be replacing them as you go along.