The riser is one of the most essential parts of the bow. Together with the string it’s the only thing you hold when you shoot your bow. Also, since everything connects to your riser, it’s like the motherboard of your bow.
If you buy a good riser, it can last a lifetime. The limbs and string wear out, but a riser won’t. So, investing in a good riser does make a lot of sense!
But choosing from all the different options available can be rather difficult. There are so many brands, sizes, and form factors that it is extremely difficult to make this choice.
If you don’t have any limbs yet, I highly recommend buying a complete package. Buying the limbs, riser, and accessories separately is much more expensive than buying a complete package. In this article, I list the 5 best recurve bow packages.
Best budget target riser
If you are on a tight budget, but want a good target riser, I recommend this riser from Milaem. This 25-inch riser is perfectly suitable for target archery as it has all the common features you need, such as:
- Adjustable tiller
- Adjustable limb pockets
- Replaceable grip
- Clicker plate
- Plunger and arrow rest bushing
- Stabilizer bushings
This means that you can add all the accessories you need to shoot the Olympic style.
The only drawback of this riser is the materials and the finish. Since it’s a cheaper riser it feels less premium because it is made of magnesium alloy. This makes the bow lighter but also less durable.
That will not have a big impact on your shots though. But if you have more money to spend and you would like to have a more premium shooting experience, you might want to consider the next riser on the list.
2. Best premium target riser
The Sanlida Archery Myth 10 has the same features as the previous riser but has a more premium fit and finish. Instead of magnesium alloy, this riser is made of aluminum. This material is more durable but also heavier than magnesium.
You might think that the additional weight is a disadvantage, but a lot of archers prefer to shoot with a heavy riser. A heavier riser vibrates less and shoots more stable which makes for a more pleasant shooting experience. The difference will not be very big, but it is notable if you shoot a lot.
The last benefit of this riser is the clicker plate. This riser works with a flat clicker plate, instead of a cylinder. When the clicker strikes a flat clicker plate it creates a more audible click. This riser doesn’t come with a clicker plate, however. But you can easily buy this separately online.
If you buy this riser, make sure to choose the block alignment system. The bolt alignment system is more difficult to tune, so I do not recommend it!
3. Best budget hunting riser
The previous two risers I recommend are great for target archers, but for hunters a 25-inch riser is just too long. When you are standing in a tree stand or walking through the woods, it’s much more convenient to have a shorter bow.
If you are looking for a budget hunting riser, I can highly recommend the GPP Recurve riser. Even though the riser is a lot smaller, it still features a replaceable grip. In addition, it has bushings to add an upper stabilizer, lower stabilizer, and a plunger. Also, this bow is highly adjustable and accepts ILF limbs, which offer you a lot of flexibility.
Since this is a budget riser, this riser is made of Magnesium. So, if you want a more premium riser, you might want to consider the next riser in the list.
4. Best premium hunting riser
If you are looking for a more premium shooting experience, I can recommend the Toppoint Slithered. Just like the previous premium riser discussed in the list, this riser is also made of aluminum. Which is more durable and makes the bow shoot more forgiving.
Another benefit of this riser is that it has bushings to attach a sight and a stabilizer bushing under the grip. The previous riser had an upper and lower stabilizer bushing. That is fine as well, but I prefer to have only one stabilizer bushing right under the grip, because that will make it easier to wield the bow.
The bow is available in multiple sizes (17, 19, and 21 inches). I would select the size as follows:
|Draw length||Riser length|
|26 inches or less||17 inches|
|27 or 28 inches||19 inches|
|29 inches or more||21 inches|
If you are not sure how to measure your draw length, make sure to read this article for more information.
5. Best budget wooden riser
Most risers with an ILF fitting are made of metal. This is because most archers that are buying takedown recurve bows are using them for target archery or hunting. For these archers, a metal riser makes more sense as they allow you to add a stabilizer, sight, screw on arrow rest, or plunger.
But some traditional archers also like to shoot with a takedown recure bow, because it’s easier to store your bow when you can remove the limbs. Luckily, now traditional archers can also enjoy the flexibility of the ILF fittings with the Sharrows American Hunting riser.
This riser is great if you want a simple riser that accepts ILF limbs! If you are looking for a wooden riser with limb adjustment and tillers, you might want to look at the next suggestion.
6. Best premium wooden riser
The Deerace Wooden ILF Riser is a great option if you want a clean-looking wooden riser. The major benefit of this riser compared to the previous one is that this riser has adjustable tiller and limb alignment. This makes sure that you can completely tune the bow to your liking.
Deerace integrated the adjustable limb pocket very well in the overall design. The only thing that gives the system away are the screw holes on the side of the riser.
Overall, the fit and finish of this riser are also better than the previous riser. So, if you have a bit more money to spend, I can highly recommend this riser!
Since the riser is one of the most important parts of your bow, it’s critical that you select a riser that fits your needs, shooting style and body. Below, I discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about choosing a riser.
How to choose the right riser size?
Risers for target archery come in two different sizes: 23 inches for children and 25 inches for adults. But outside target archery, there is a lot more variation. To summarize, the longer your draw length the bigger your riser should be. This means that tall people generally need a bigger bow.
The exact length your riser should be also depends on the length of your limbs. If you have longer limbs, you can use a shorter riser. But if you already have short limbs, you might need a longer riser.
If you are in doubt, play it safe and choose the longer riser, especially if you are taller than 6 feet (180 cm). If you are 6 feet 3 (190 cm) or more, I recommend buying a 25-inch riser, even if you want to use it for hunting. Choosing a too-small riser can put your limbs under a lot of strain, which can cause breakages
What is the best riser for children/teens?
For young serious archers, I recommend buying this recurve riser from Topoint. The 23-inch riser is recommended for teens from 10 to 16 years old. The 21-inch riser is recommended for children 9 years old or younger.
I would only recommend that riser for children/teens that are serious about archery. You will have to tune the riser, so it’s as advanced as a bow for adults. If you want something simpler and cheaper, you might want to check out my article below:
What is the difference between a target and a hunting riser?
The main difference between a target and a hunting riser is the size. Target archers shoot with a large riser (25 inches) because it makes the bow more forgiving. But for hunters, the larger bow size makes it more difficult to maneuver in the woods.
Another difference is the design. Target risers tend to be in bright colors with shiny varnish. This is not suitable for hunting as this can scare the prey.
Apart from that there are no big differences. You can use both types of risers for target practice and hunting. They are just both designed with a different use in mind.
How important is the materials/durability of the riser?
One of the major differences between a cheap and an expensive riser is the materials and the durability of the riser. Overall, the difference in material and the weight of the riser do not have a big impact on the accuracy of the archer. The bow might vibrate a bit less with a heavier riser, but that is the only noticeable difference.
Whether or not that is worth the additional price depends on your budget. A riser is an investment for the long term, if you buy a good riser, you will never have to replace it. So, it is worth investing in a solid riser, if you intend to shoot a lot!
Do you need an ILF riser?
There are three limb fitting types: ILF, Formula, and proprietary limb fittings. The last category works only within one brand. For example, the Samic Sage has a limb fitting that only works with limbs from Samic. Formula is like ILF but only works with a few select limbs and risers. Especially expensive risers and limbs from Hoyt feature this system.
It is more economical to buy an ILF riser because you have a plethora of different limbs to choose from. All competitive archery brands are now producing ILF limbs, which means that you pay less for high quality limbs.
If you want to know more about the difference between ILF and Formula, you can read my detailed article below:
With this article I tried to make it as easy as possible to choose a riser. Of course, there are many good alternatives on the market, but if I covered them all, this article would be way too long. Instead of listing the pros and cons of all risers, I have written a detailed guide on choosing a riser. So, if you want to buy another riser (not in this list) I highly recommend reading it:
It is a very detailed guide. I explain the different parts of the riser, what you should consider and how risers are tuned. So, it’s worth a read.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section down below. I will reply to your comment as soon as possible!