Cheap vs Expensive Arrows: a visual comparison on accuracy

In bow hunting by hooversoutdoors1 Comment

Let me start by saying the reason I am doing this comparison. A friend from work recently became interested in bow hunting with me. Being new to archery he wanted advice on what equipment to start off with. I sold him a Mathews at a great price all set up ready to hunt so the only thing he would need to buy was arrows. After searching online he came to the determination that everyone on the internet’s opinion was to not skimp on arrows and to buy the best on the market. Here is what I told my friend.

Gold tip velocity pro 340 vs carbon express speed freak 55/70

Everyone who reads this will have a differing opinion on what is cheap and what is considered expensive. The two arrows I am comparing are the Speed Freak by carbon express and the Gold Tip Velocity Pro 340. The Speed freaks can be found at $60 per dozen. From now on I will refer to them in this review as the $5 arrow. The “expensive” arrows are the Velocity Pros. These will set you back around $160 per dozen if you buy them with the 2 inch raptor vanes already set up. I will refer to them as the $13 arrow from now on.

A little background before you see my results

I also want to point out that the $13 arrow is what I currently hunt with. I bought them as bare shafts and had them cut to fit, squared the ends, fletched them, and tuned my bow to shoot them. So you can see that $13 is actually a low estimate on the time and energy put in to making this arrow as accurate as possible. I did all this because the internet said to. The $5 arrow I bought from my local Wal-Mart. I left them completely stock at 30 inches and did absolutely nothing to them.

How do they compare at 25 yards

I shot these two groups this morning the first at 25 yards, the second at 42 yards. These were my first 8 shots from my hunting bow (a 2016 Prime Rize). I did not warm up before testing and I alternated shots between arrows starting with the $13 arrow then $5 and so on so that I would be as neutral as possible. I wanted to do 3 shot groups but ended up shooting 4 of each because I thought I pulled one to the left. My aiming point for the $13 arrow was center and bottom left for $5.

Cheap vs expensive arrows

These were my results at 25 yards. The $5 arrow is on the left (I’m pointing to them) and the $13 arrow on the right. I was very surprised by the results as I think you probably are too. The $13 has more penetration but I believed this was due to my bag target being more worn in the center.

Cheap vs Expensive arrows at 42 yards

This time I wanted to step it back a little more just to see what would happen. Unfortunately I can only get a 42 yard shot in my back yard before running into my privacy fence. This time I used the bottom right target so I could compare penetration as well and have the same target consistency. Below are my results, again same premise, one shot alternating between arrows. As you can see I had two arrows inside the circle and one outside for each one. The pink vanes are $13 arrows and the yellow and white are the $5.

Cheap vs expensive arrow test

The truth about cheap vs expensive arrows

For a beginning bow hunter like my work buddy I highly suggest you start out with the $5 arrow. Starting out you will make some bad shots and lose a few arrows most likely. $5 lost is much easier to swallow that almost 3 times the price for a poor shot. I also think that for someone who strictly bow hunts the Carbon Express Speed freak is a great choice. I have taken deer with these personally. Most were pass-through shots except 1 and that was a big buck I hit the opposite shoulder on.

I will continue to shoot the $13 arrow because my bow is tuned to them and I get a little more penetration. For me every little bit of speed counts when judging distance on animals and getting pass-through shots in the woods.

My suggestion when hunting with cheaper arrows

One year I bought 6 of several different budget arrows. I cannot remember all the brands. I spent the next few days testing them to see which ones worked best. If you haven’t already guessed the Carbon Express Speed freak 55/70 was the best option. That was my hunting arrow until two years ago when I switched to the Gold Tip because all my $5 arrows were busted up from practicing daily. If you decide to go the $5 route to start I suggest numbering each arrow with a sharpie marker. Just write on a vane. Shoot groups and note which number arrow it is when you have a stray shot. This will help you find your most consistent arrows. Pick out the best shooting 3 or 5 and put those in your quiver for hunting and practice with the rest.

Where to buy either one of these arrows

Hopefully you came across this article researching new arrows. If you are looking for great arrows that are perfect for beginners the carbon express arrows found HERE are the ones from my test. The $13 arrows (Gold Tip Velocity Pro 340) are available HERE if you want a little more penetration and don’t mind spending more. Now that you’ve seen the results of the two you can make an informed decision.

Please Read

Be aware that there are hundreds of arrows on the market today. These are not the cheapest or most expensive options available. The best way to find the right one for you is to buy a few you’re interested in and test them through YOUR bow. I did this comparison just for my own information and to help my friend from work decide on an arrow to buy. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think, especially if you would like to see more comparisons like this done.


  1. This was very informative and well thought out plan, thanks for doing it.

Leave a Reply