Bow Depreciation | Surprising Advice For Selling A Bow

Bow Depreciation | Surprising Advice For Selling A Bow

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of hours studying and analyzing bow depreciation of multiple different brands and price points. I’ve analyzed over 200 different compound bow models and their prices over time. In this post, I’m going to share my conclusions with you.

Compound bows lose around 13% of their price once you leave the shop with them, and an additional 7% to 10% for every year since purchase. If you’re a beginner you should probably go for a new starter bow, but more experienced archers can get incredible deals on used bows in good condition.

Let me just address this in advance: the math here isn’t perfect, but my findings are a good rule of thumb. They’re dedicated to helping people manage expectations of how much they should pay or charge for a used bow.

Regarding the math in the post: there are a few ways to use percentages for depreciation. When I write, for example, a 10% depreciation, I mean that the bow is now worth 90% of its original price. When I’m referring to a five-year-old bow, I mean that it was purchased 4-5 years ago.

Now that everything is clear, let’s see what I found.

Compound bow depreciation over time

The numbers below were the average depreciation of different compound bows over time. Obviously, some bow’s prices behave differently, but the numbers here were averaged to describe most bows in the marker.

To find these numbers I analyzed the listing and sale prices of 221 different models over time, and calculated their depreciation. Here are the numbers:

Compound Bow AgeBow Depreciation
One year old13%
Two years old20%
Three years old 30%
Four years old 39%
Five years old 48%
Six years old 60%
Seven years old 72%
Eight years old 74%
Nine years old 76%

Remember that these numbers are the average depreciation percentages, and can vary a lot, depending on the brand and price of the bow. But they are a good rule of thumb for the depreciation of compound bows.

Let’s discuss a few conclusions I’ve arrived at with this data.

Bow Depreciation Conclusions

#1: Most one-year-old compound bows are barely used. While I expected them to go for much cheaper, getting a bow that was only used a few times for 10-20% off is a really good deal. I wouldn’t go for any bow though: try to hold for a good deal and get the best value for your money. Also, make sure that the seller isn’t selling a heavily used bow as a new one. Carefully check it.

#2: Bows show the biggest price drop between six to seven years old. After this price drop, their price pretty much stays constant. This means that If you have an old bow lying around in storage, and you intend to sell it one day, you probably should do it sooner rather than later. Buyers will benefit from buying an older bow because they’ll pay significantly less than for a newer one, but also because the price will not change as much. If later on, they’ll decide to sell the bow again, they’ll sell it on a price close to what they bought it for.

#3: If you’re buying a used bow, try finding a 1-3 year old bow that isn’t heavily used. Though I’ve noted that buyers can benefit from buying an older bow, I still think a newer, 1-3 year old bow in good condition will be the best thing to go for. If you’re buying the bow from someone you know treated it well, then I’m all for buying an older bow and enjoying the lower price. But paying a bit more for a bow in good condition with newer features is less likely to get you into bad situations.

#4 Some new beginners bows cost as much as a used high-end bow. While I don’t recommend beginners get a used bow, mainly because you need to have a basic understanding of bows to buy one, that’s an interesting fact. If you have some experience and enough knowledge to recognize what gear you actually need, you can go for a higher-end used bow. It’ll allow you to progress with the bow.

#5: The bow’s price drops at least 50$ the moment you leave the shop. More like 150$ for high-end bows. That’s something to consider if you’re going to buy a new bow. This price drop is actually lower than what I would expect, but it’s still significant.

How to avoid overpaying for a used bow

People can sometimes overestimate the value of their bows, and list them for a higher price than standard sale prices. If you’re experienced buying used bows you can probably tell when a bow is overpriced, but there are a few things you can do even if you aren’t.

The first thing you should go about is checking the market prices for the bow you’re interested in. Compare prices between different sellers and see who offers the best deal. Notice that the best deal isn’t always the cheapest one – paying a bit more of a bow in better condition is almost always a smart move.

Since different markets sometimes offer different price ranges, you should also check the prices in different places. Compare the prices to the standard selling price of the manufacturer, and see how significant the discount is.

I think it’s also a good idea to check how old the bow is and see if the seller offers a good deal, compared to the table I’ve listed above. Try to get a deal at least as good as the table suggest, this way you’ll know you’re not overpaying.

For the first couple times you’re looking for a used bow I’d consult with a more experienced friend. Many times knowing someone that understands the markets will give you a leg up.

Also, try to avoid buying out of stress. Always remember that even if you miss a good deal, the next one is right over the corner. If you’re patient, you’ll definitely find a good price eventually.

When checking for the price, also consider that you’re probably going to take the bow to a professional archery shop to get checked and tuned, which costs some additional money. Take that into an account with your calculations.

What do to when you get a used bow

Let’s say you’ve found a bow you’re happy with at a fair price, so you inspected and bought it. What things you should do before you start using it?

The first thing you should probably go about is clean the bow. There are a lot of products you can use, but a simple soft towel and some oil for the screws should do the trick. You should probably replace the bowstring as well and apply string wax on the new string. If you’ve bought a compound bow you’ll need the assistance of a pro shop to do that.

You’ll definitely need to get the bow tuned to fit your physique. Take the bow to a professional archery store and get it properly inspected and tuned. It’ll cost you a bit of money, but it’s well worth it. When that’s done, you can be confident that the bow is completely functional and tuned to your needs.

When that’s done, you can start using the bow. Getting used to a new bow can take a while, but if you went for a high quality bow that’ll be done in no time.

I hope you found this post helpful. I’ve put a lot of effort into the research and I hope that you’ll be informed when selling or purchasing a used bow, and have a positive experience.