Best Broadheads 2018-2019

Best Broadheads for Deer (Fixed Blade & Mechanical)

A broadhead is a simple tool in its most basic form, think back to the ancient Native Americans with the stones sharpened into a blade. Today there are far more many choices out there when it comes to the best broadheads.

Broadheads can be broken into two main categories; fixed blade and mechanical. Within those categories are tons of options. For example, two types of mechanical heads are the rear deployed or front deployed. The difference between the two is the direction from which the blades deploy.  Here is a chart of our top-rated broadheads in both categories.

Given all of those differences and styles, there is much more to consider when it comes to choosing a broadhead style. Questions to ask when considering fixed blade vs mechanical broadheads include:

  • What type of bow do you intend to shoot with? There is a difference to what you should shoot because of the draw poundage.
  • How much weight or grain do you need? Different bows require different grain ratings, as do crossbows.
  • How long will your shots be? Your range and accuracy affect the arrow set up and varies with different grain and broadhead types.
  • Are mechanical broadheads allowed in your state? Every state’s regulations are different, so please consult your local DNR guidelines.

Best Fixed Blade Broadheads

Broadhead:
Thunderhead 100 (5 Pack)
Muzzy 209 Bowhunting 100 Grain, 4 Blade Broadhead, 1" Cutting Diameter, 6 Pack
G5 Broadhead Striker 100gr 3pk 180
Stinger Buzzcut 4 Blade Arrow Broadhead (Pack of 3), 100-Grain
Stinger 2 Blade Arrow Broadhead (Pack of 3), 100-Grain
Model:
1. NAP Thunderhead
2. Muzzy 4 Blade
3. G5 Striker
4. Magnus Stinger Buzzcut
5. Magnus Stinger
Blades:
3
4
3
4
2
Grains:
100/125
90/100
100/125
100/125
100
Cut Diameter:
1-3/16"
1"
1-1/8"
1-1/16"
1-1/16"
Broadhead:
Thunderhead 100 (5 Pack)
Model:
1. NAP Thunderhead
Blades:
3
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-3/16"
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Broadhead:
Muzzy 209 Bowhunting 100 Grain, 4 Blade Broadhead, 1" Cutting Diameter, 6 Pack
Model:
2. Muzzy 4 Blade
Blades:
4
Grains:
90/100
Cut Diameter:
1"
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Broadhead:
G5 Broadhead Striker 100gr 3pk 180
Model:
3. G5 Striker
Blades:
3
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-1/8"
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Broadhead:
Stinger Buzzcut 4 Blade Arrow Broadhead (Pack of 3), 100-Grain
Model:
4. Magnus Stinger Buzzcut
Blades:
4
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-1/16"
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Broadhead:
Stinger 2 Blade Arrow Broadhead (Pack of 3), 100-Grain
Model:
5. Magnus Stinger
Blades:
2
Grains:
100
Cut Diameter:
1-1/16"
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*Last updated 2018-12-19 at 16:08 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fixed Blade Pros & Cons

Fixed blade broadheads typically come in two, three, and four blade options, with a wide range of grain, shapes, and cutting diameters. Let’s explore the pros and cons of fixed blade broadheads.

Fixed-blade broadheads offer durability and reliability, ease of maintenance, arrow tuning, while still being able to deliver strong penetration for quick, accurate kills. Fixed broadheads also take more work to fly true and may require a special set of arrows for each bow you use.

  • Durability — There is not much that can go wrong with a fixed blade broadhead once you shoot it. If there is an issue, it will be present before you shoot and that is something to correct through arrow testing, balancing, and maintenance.
  • Strong Penetration — Big game requires deep penetration to reach vital organs and arteries. This comes down to a combination of shot placement, bow strength, distance, and broadhead performance. The cut-on-contact fixed blade broadheads offer exceptional penetration. Larger broadheads are more easily affected by wind, so the choice of cutting diameter depends on the size of the animal, and the power of your bow.
  • Easy to Maintain — With fixed blade broadheads, you have the option of choosing a replaceable-blade technology which allows you to keep your arrows in the best shape, tuned for accuracy, and capable of delivering lethal damage at a variety of distances. Many fixed blades can be sharpened, extending the life of the blades, and saving you a big of money.
  • Flight — Wide broadheads have more surface area, and that introduces flight issues from wind when shot from modern compound bows. Experienced hunters will notice that the size and width of broadheads tend to be smaller these days than they were in the past. As technology improves the speed and power of bows, fixed blade broadheads can decrease in size.
  • Tuning — With increased arrow speed, comes the need for better tuning. Your arrow setup must be tuned to the bow with the fixed blade heads. One point to remember is that heavier fixed blades require longer and wider fletching. This helps balance the arrow at higher speeds and longer distances. Tuning bows for broadheads is an art in itself, which we cover in more detail here.
  • Design Limitations— The width of cutting diameter affects the accuracy or tuning capability of fixed blade broadheads. Wider diameter blades are less stable when flying. The more surface area on the head the more friction there is. This causes arrows to slow faster and lose accuracy at greater distances. All of which means more detailed tuning, frequent maintenance, and specific arrows for specific bows.

1. NAP Thunderhead – Best 3 Blade Broadhead

The NAP Thunderhead is a tried and true, proven fixed blade broadhead. They have been around for many years, which is a strong testament to their effectiveness. Thunderheads are known to be scary sharp right out of the box, fly true, and be easy to tune.

The foundation of the design is the tapered and grooved, three-sided aluminum ferrule. The chisel tip then flows seamlessly into the .027” stainless steel blades. If you’re looking for a proven fixed blade design for this season, the NAP Thunderhead is a fantastic starting point.


2. Muzzy 4 Blade – Best 4 Blade Broadhead

The Muzzy 4 Blade broadhead is another one of those heads that have gained a solid reputation over the years. They are known to fly true and pair great with carbon arrow shafts. The Muzzy 4 Blade typically comes in packs of 6 at a cost similar to that of other brands 3 packs. The bottom line is this is a broadhead many archers have come to trust and rely on for success.

The design is similar to other proven broadheads on the market. You have an aircraft grade aluminum alloy ferrule, with slots for stainless steel blades. The blades are .020” with cutout “vents” for less in-flight air friction. The ferrule is then capped off with a hardened steel tip, with a trocar cut. The trocar tip allows the head to cut on contact and deliver a takedown blow to the animal.


3. G5 Striker Broadhead

The G5 Striker heads are an excellent choice for a 3 blade broadhead with replaceable blades. When comparing the G5 Striker vs Montec broadheads, they have similar cut on contact tips aligned with the blades. The biggest difference is the blade angle and construction.

The Montec is one solid piece of steel, blades and all, that require sharpening for continued use. The Striker, on the other hand, has replaceable blades. If you have trouble sharpening a one piece 3 blade, then I recommend the Striker over the Montec. The G5 Striker is known to fly straight with minimal sound, and reliable to inflict a takedown wound. It’s no surprise that the Strikers are loved by bow hunters of all skill levels.


4. Magnus Stinger Buzzcut

I’d imagine the Buzzcut is one frightening looking broadhead to a deer. From the aggressive leading edge to the serrated, knife-like leading edges, the Buzzcut is made to kill. Then you have the short 3/4″ “bleeder blades” perpendicular to the main blades for more cutting and blood trails.

The cutting diameters are 1-1/16″ plus the 3/4″ bleeder blades, more than enough to put down a deer. The blades themselves are precision ground stainless steel with Diamond Tip treatment for the best possible strength. Every Buzzcut is spin tested and shaving sharp out of the box.


5. Magnus Stinger – Best 2 Blade Broadhead

The Stinger is a traditional style fixed blade broadhead that just simply gets the job done. There are no fancy marketing gimmicks with this 2 blade head, just high-quality components. The blade is formed from .042” stainless steel, the same kind used in the best knives made today.

The Stinger also carries a hardened diamond tip for penetrating strength. The steel blades are mounted on an aircraft grade aluminum ferrule, which can be removed for easy sharpening or replacement. This would be a good broadhead for bows with low to medium poundage, or even traditional bows.


Best Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical Broadhead:
Wasp Jak-Hammer 100 SST 1 3/4" Cutting Diameter Broadhead
NAP Spitfire Crossbow Mechanical Broadhead 3 Blade  1 1/2" Cutting Diameter 100 Grain Three Pack
Ramcat Hydroshock Pivoting Broadheads – 100 Grain, Silver/Stainless Steel, Front & Rear Sharpened...
Grim Reaper Razorcut SS  Whitetail Spec 2" Cut 3 Bld 100gr
Swhacker Set of 3-100 Grain 2 Inch Cut Broadheads
Model:
1. WASP Jak-Hammer SST
2. NAP Spitfire
3. Ramcat Mechanical
4. Grim Reaper Razorcut SS
5. Swhacker 2 Blade
Blades:
3
3
3
3
2
Grains:
100/125
100/125
100/125
100
100
Cut Diameter:
1-3/4"
1-1/2"
1-3/8", 1-1/2"
1-3/4"
2"
Mechanical Broadhead:
Wasp Jak-Hammer 100 SST 1 3/4" Cutting Diameter Broadhead
Model:
1. WASP Jak-Hammer SST
Blades:
3
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-3/4"
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Mechanical Broadhead:
NAP Spitfire Crossbow Mechanical Broadhead 3 Blade  1 1/2" Cutting Diameter 100 Grain Three Pack
Model:
2. NAP Spitfire
Blades:
3
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-1/2"
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Mechanical Broadhead:
Ramcat Hydroshock Pivoting Broadheads – 100 Grain, Silver/Stainless Steel, Front & Rear Sharpened...
Model:
3. Ramcat Mechanical
Blades:
3
Grains:
100/125
Cut Diameter:
1-3/8", 1-1/2"
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Mechanical Broadhead:
Grim Reaper Razorcut SS  Whitetail Spec 2" Cut 3 Bld 100gr
Model:
4. Grim Reaper Razorcut SS
Blades:
3
Grains:
100
Cut Diameter:
1-3/4"
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Mechanical Broadhead:
Swhacker Set of 3-100 Grain 2 Inch Cut Broadheads
Model:
5. Swhacker 2 Blade
Blades:
2
Grains:
100
Cut Diameter:
2"
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*Last updated 2018-12-19 at 16:08 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mechanical Broadhead Pros & Cons

Mechanical broadheads come in rear deployed or front deployed designs. They offer a conical head design that allows them to behave more like a field point rather than a broad head, but they have negative aspects too. Let’s explore the pros and cons of mechanical broadheads.

  • Accuracy — The narrow launch geometry of a mechanical arrow allows it to fly in a similar fashion to that of a field point. It faces less wind and flight plane issues than the fixed blade broadheads do. This allows them to fly farther with greater accuracy, especially outside of the 60-yard mark.
  • Inflicts more Damage — Mechanical broadheads have a wider cutting angle. When they penetrate the blades deploy and create devastating tissue damage. While fixed blade broadheads may penetrate deeper, a mechanical broadhead is going to take out veins and arteries as it penetrates. If it hits an organ you can count on maximum damage. All that damage means that shooter error is marginalized as the damaged caused helps overcome shot accuracy. That does not mean you should not practice because no mechanical broadhead is going to overcome a poor shot.
  • Wider Cutting Path — Mechanical broadheads work especially well on smaller game whereas fixed blade broadheads are used to kill bigger animals (Elk, Caribou, Bear). With the mechanical broadheads, you gain more immediate tissue damage which is a benefit when you have smaller game such as turkeys which have a very small kill zone.
  • Decreased Penetration — Mechanical blades often have a wide blade angle when deployed. The wider the blade angle, the more resistance it creates when it strikes a softer target. If you want deep penetration you need a narrow blade design or you need a bow that is uber powerful. Grain in mechanical broadheads tends to be on the lower end of the scale (under 100 grain) which means that inertia is less on impact. Blade angle can be an issue with both mechanical and fixed blade broadheads.
  • Limits Game Options — Because of the decrease in penetrating force, mechanical broadheads are not always the best choice for big game like elk or bear where the vital organs are deeper and the arrow must travel farther into the target to deliver a killing shot.
  • Mechanical Errors — Fixed blade broadheads rarely have mechanical failures, which is not always the case when it comes to mechanical broadheads. Blades can occasionally fail to deploy, leaving the animal with a wound to suffer. While still small, the risk of an arrow failure is a little bit higher simply because there is more involved in the blade deployment vs a tried and true fixed blade broadhead.

1. WASP Jak-Hammer SST

The Jak-Hammer is my number one rated mechanical broadhead for bows and crossbows. The Jak-Hammer has a proven and reliable front deploying design that is good for use on turkey, deer, hogs, and sometimes larger game.  WASP kept things simple on this broadhead, using a neoprene o-ring to retain the blades in flight, and rolls backward on impact.

The Jak-Hammer utilizes quality materials like .036” stainless steel blades, which is a strong gauge to provide power to cut deep wound channels. On the front end is a hardened steel trocar tip to cut on contact. Don’t be surprised if you get a complete pass through shot with these heads. Multiple hunters have reported shooting multiple animals with the same head. If you take care of them by sharpening and replacing blades as needed, the Jak-hammers can last you several seasons.


2. NAP Spitfire 3 Blade

The Spitfire 3 might be one of the most popular mechanical broadheads ever made. The Spitfire is highly regarded as one the best broadheads for deer thanks to a simple blade mechanism. Each blade is sandwiched between a retention clip and the slot in the ferrule, and these parts have a hole that pivots on a small screw. The force of impact pushes the front edge of the blade past the retention clip, exposing the cutting edges. Be sure to replace the retention clips and screws after 5 impacts.

The Spitfire point and ferrule have a nice aerodynamic shape that flies and groups very well. When properly assembled, the blades won’t open in flight like cheaper heads. Just like on the NAP Thunderheads, the trophy tip and ferrule has small grooves on all three sides, meant for flight accuracy. A lot of bow hunters try all kinds of mechanical broadheads, only to end up settling on Spitfires. You could save yourself some time by getting set up with the best at the start.


3. Ramcat Mechanical Broadhead

Ramcat expandable broadheads are supposed to be one of most aerodynamic designs made. The ferrule is larger than other mechanicals but features 3 airfoil lobes that allow air flow, preventing the wind from catching it. Ramcat claims the razor-sharp head has market best penetration, and multiple independent tests have proven this to be true.

The Ramcat is actually a hybrid broadhead, where the blades can fold forward, but once deployed are fixed in place. There are no fancy slots or lightening holes in this head, just solid .032” stainless steel cutting surfaces. Should you not get a pass through shot, the back edges are also sharp so you can cut while pulling the arrow back out. One thing to know with Ramcats is to make sure to check the small screws every time you get ready to shoot for consistent deployment.


4. Grim Reaper Razorcut SS

If you’re looking for a good 100 grain mechanical, the Grim Reaper Razorcut SS is one to seriously consider. If you are one of those shooters who are unsure about an o-ring blade retention system, then have a look at the Razorcut SS. Each blade is fitted with a spring loaded mechanism that holds itself in place until the pressure of impact.

The entire head is made in one piece out of stainless steel. It’s actually specifically designed for today’s modern high KE bows and crossbows. One other feature I like on these heads is the cut on contact tip with a ½” plus setback to the tips of the razor blades. This distance means you get some penetration into the animal before any blades are deployed. This leads to better success on angled shots due to fewer deflections.


5. Swhacker Two-Blade – Best 2 Blade Mechanical Broadhead

The Swhacker Two-Blade is known as one of the most accurate flying mechanical broadheads you can buy. Some hunters will say the blades need sharpening out of the packages, but the great thing is how well they fly, meaning they get the job done. Surgical sharp edges are probably a little overrated anyway. If you can hit your target and leave a nice blood trail to follow that’s as much as bowhunters can ask for.

The other pro for this broadhead is the huge 2″ cutting diameter, opening after entry, which has been found to be true and maintained even as it passes through an animal. The means even a less than perfect shot can inflict enough damage to drop the deer. If you are having trouble with flight accuracy, slow killing shots, you definitely should give the Swhacker a try. 


 

Real Life Data –Fixed Blade vs Mechanical

Still not sure what type of broadhead you need? An article out of the Quality Deer Management Association provides excellent stats from a study conducted by Andy Pedersen on fixed blade versus mechanical broadheads. Here is a little of what they found.

  • Fixed blade broadhead arrows recovered 82 percent of their targets. The target field was 1,066 deer and 874 were bagged.
  • Mechanical broadhead arrows recovered 91 percent of their targets. Out of 230 hits, 209 deer were bagged.
  • Bow Type Matters — Compound bows had an 89 percent recovery rate with mechanical broadheads whereas crossbows with mechanical broadheads have a 96 percent bag rate.

What does this mean?

The target in the study was deer, which are a species that offers a size and kill zone that makes both fixed blade and mechanical arrows somewhat equal.

The bow type mattered greatly as crossbows provide more direct power and deeper penetration using mechanical broadheads. Recall that one of the disadvantages of the mechanical broadhead was penetration. That is overcome with short distance shooting (19.7 yards for crossbows) and more power behind the arrow.

This brings up the question of distance. Both types of shooters in this study were close range. Crossbows took shots at an average of 19.7 yards and compound bow at 17.6 yards. Add distance to the equation and the results of this study would likely be different.

Final Thoughts

So while it seems that mechanical broadheads outperform fixed blades, you have to really consider skill level, distance, and the conditions in which hunting occurs.

Just make sure to choose a broadhead with a stout tip, whether cut on contact or chisel. A cut on contact style is probably superior in most scenarios when hunting for larger animals like deer. Cut on contact broadheads would seem to inflict the most damage regardless if you strike bone or the vitals.

The conclusion of which is the best broadheads is not a broad statement but more of an individual answer. What is your target? What is your range? What is your accuracy and skill level?

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Photo Courtesy Mad Guy Outdoors


*Last updated 2018-12-19 at 16:08 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API