Is Archery An Expensive Hobby? Breaking Down The Costs

Is Archery An Expensive Hobby? Breaking Down The Costs

Most people that are interested in archery wonder how expensive is it. It involves a lot of seemingly complex equipment, and many feel intimidated to start with archery because they think it might be really expensive.

In this post, we’re going to break down the expected costs of archery, both the initial costs of getting all the necessary equipment and the costs you should expect to pay for shooting in a club’s range. The different styles of archery obviously hold different entry and practice costs, but I’m going to break everything down with details, so you can make educated expectations.

Compared to other sports, archery is not cheap, but the minimal entry costs are far from unreachable. It all depends on the equipment you choose and how you choose to practice. Once you have all the necessary equipment, the costs are very reasonable.

The essential gear you need to get started with archery will cost you a few hundred dollars, but once you get it – you will barely need to spend your money. Archery ranges will charge between 5$ to 20$ for a day.

Archery equipment doesn’t require much maintenance, and the costs of maintaining your equipment are very low. Once you get your equipment, it will be ready to shoot if you keep it safe, without you having to pour cash for maintenance. The only thing you have to pay for annually is a fee for clubs, and that’s only if you don’t have somewhere to practice (in which case, think about turning your backyard into an archery range and read my blog post on how to do that).

When discussing the costs of a hobby, we need to first consider the initial costs of getting the necessary equipment. I’m going to break down the costs of the absolutely must-have equipment and some nice-to-have equipment. After that, I’m going to go over the costs of joining a club and using their range, entry fee for competitions and some other unexpected thing you might spend money on.

How much does archery equipment cost?

When considering wheater or not a hobby is expensive, the first thing that comes in mind is the initial costs of the equipment. Now obviously high-quality equipment comes at a wide price range, but I’ve decided to start up my browser and research a little. I’ve come up with a price range that can give you an idea of what the expected costs of getting into archery will be.

Now obviously you can spend multiple thousands of dollars on each item on the list. I’ve based my research on multiple online archery shops and looked at the low to mid price range. This is basically what you should expect to spend as the initial cost for getting into archery (but you can always spend more).

Expect to spend a minimum of 500$ for a good starter compound bow and some added essential equipment. Recurve and traditional archers will spend around 200$ to get started. If you research well and spend your money wisely, the starter equipment will serve you for a very long time.

How much does a bow cost?

The first thing you’re going to purchase when getting into archery is obviously your bow. It’ll be the most expensive item you’re going to get, yet arguably you should get a bow as good as you financially can since it’ll serve you for a longer time.

A proper compound bow starts at the price of around 300$ and up to 1000$ at a good shop. Recurve bows are quite cheaper and go at 100$-600$. Longbows also start at around 100$ and go up to 400$. The starter bows are usually on the low end of the scale. You can always invest more, but this should be the expected price range you’re going to encounter.

If this feels like much to you, consider getting a 2nd hand bow. Archery equipment has a really good 2nd hand market – but you should consider that your new bow will probably require a professional tune. I don’t really recommend getting your first bow 2nd hand, because you don’t really have the knowledge required for checking the equipment. It’s a great option for more experienced archers though.

But the cost of the bow itself usually doesn’t include some must-have accessories that should be considered. For example, arrows, a quiver, a sight, and a release aid.

Expected costs of essential bow accessories

The added costs of necessary bow accessories may add up to around 150$ – 350$ on average. This includes a bow case, arrows, a quiver, and a release aid. These are things that you will probably purchase and are somewhat of a prior hidden cost.

If you bow didn’t come with a bow case, make sure to get one. It’s really important for carrying and protecting your bow. A standard bow case will cost between 50$ to 200$. You also have to make sure it fits your bow and is comfortable to carry.

Other things you need to get after your bow are arrows and a quiver. Arrows go for around 10$ for a single arrow (depending on their material), but usually, they go for around 30$ for a pack of 6. A quiver will run you around 20$ to 60$. Expect to spend around 70$ for both.

Most compound archers use a release aid, which costs between 100$ to 200$. Recurve and traditional archers don’t use a release aid, but typically do use finger tabs for shooting gloves which are much cheaper, and go for 20$ to 60$.

Optional archery equipment costs

Most archers get some gear that makes their lives easier – but is definitely not essential. I would suggest beginner archers start with the basics alone, and once they’re more experienced consider getting more equipment.

Many compound archers find it useful to have a stabilizer on their bow. It makes aiming and shooting much easier and more precise. The cost of a stabilizer varies, and mostly depends on its size and quality. You can get a one as cheap as 30$ to 60$.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a range, you can purchase your own archery targets and create your own range in a dedicated area. The price of a target usually depends on what type of target you get. I’ll suggest not going for a high-end target – it will probably be better going for a mid-priced target since the quality is basically the same, where it matters.

  • Bag targets – they are the simplest and the cheapest type of targets. If you’re buying your first target and don’t want to make a huge investment, this might be a good option for you. You can get a bag target for 30$ to 80$.
  • Block targets – are a great long term investment you can make in your archery. They are very lightweight and durable, but more expensive than bag targets. They cost between 30$ for a small target to 150$ for a big one.
  • 3D targets – they can be used to create realistic hunting situations or to practice for a 3D archery tournament. If you’re just starting out I’d suggest getting a simpler target first, but if you want to get into 3D archery getting your own 3D target and setting a range can be a great idea. As I’ve mentioned, 3D targets are more expensive, and go for between 100$ to 300$ for a target.

Many archers use a rangefinder in order to find the distance to their target. It’s useful for bowhunters and archers who haven’t honed the yardage judging skill yet. You can find a simple rangefinder for as little as 100$ up to 300$. If you want to save your money though, consider learning how to judge yardage as an archer – you can read about that in my distance judging article.

Obviously there are an infinite amount of things you can purchase in order to enjoy archery even more. I believe that when starting out you should aim to keep your gear investment to a minimum and only spend money on essentials. Later on, if you decide that something is worth buying, you’ll be better informed and know if you really need it. The things I listed here are usually the first things archers purchase after they gain some experience in archery.

How much does archery cost once you have equipment?

I mentioned before that once you get your equipment, archery is quite cheap to practice. But it’s wise to also consider the costs of ranges fees, archery lessons, and tournament fees – so you know how much you’re expected to pay.

Archery ranges fees

The prices of archery ranges vary and really depends on where you live and which clubs you choose to go to. Counties with an archery culture and a lot of lands will usually have cheaper prices. Typically smaller clubs with less equipment will cost less than big, well-known clubs.

Expect to pay around 5$ to 8$ for using a range at a small club, and around 10$ to 20$ for the bigger clubs. Consider that sometimes bigger clubs have equipment you can use, and might be worth the added costs if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot on equipment before learning the basics.

If you plan to shoot in a range for an entire year, most archery clubs offer a yearly fee. It will typically be much cheaper than paying every time you want to use the range. Consider doing that to minimize costs, if you can.

Archery lessons cost

Most beginners should consider the costs of archery lessons when they’re starting out. It’s quite hard to learn proper archery form on your own, so most beginners end up taking at least a few lessons when they start with archery. To minimize costs you can usually take a group lesson.

The actual prices of archery lessons vary, depending on where you live and your skill level. Expect to pay 20$ to 40$ for a group lesson, and 35$ to 55$ for a private lesson. You can usually get a better price for weekly or monthly lessons.

If you’re not sure where to get your archery lessons, you should first check at your local archery club. Try and compare prices online and with multiple archery clubs to get a good price with a recommended teacher.

Tournament fees

Most archery tournaments have a small fee for entering the competition. The price is usually kept low, in order to motivate people to compete. In bigger competitions, the fee is usually used to pay the winning prices. The goal of a club’s archery tournament is not to make a buck, but to introduce people to competitive archery.

Expect to only pay a small price for tournament entry. Remember that if you’re good you might even win a prize – so you’ll be making money instead of spending it.

Equipment maintenance costs

As I’ve mentioned before, your archery gear requires little to no maintenance if you keep it safe. I’d suggest you take your bow to a professional tune at your local archery shop once a year.

An annual professional bow tune at your local archery shop will cost between 50$ for a simple tune to 150$ for a complete tune including string replacement. I’d suggest going to a good recommended archery shop even if they’re a bit pricier.

To keep your bowstring in proper shape, I’d suggest using string wax. It will ensure a longer life to your string, so you don’t have to replace it as often. String wax is really cheap, and for the price of a few bucks and some time investment, you’ll ensure your bowstring be in a good to use.


Archery is not cheap to get into, but once you have all the equipment you need practicing becomes really cheap. Unlike other hobbies, your gear requires only minimal maintenance, so most of the costs of archery are for the range.

I’d suggest getting only the essential gear once you get into archery, and when you become more experienced consider getting some of the optional equipment.

Archery doesn’t have to be expensive – it all depends on how you choose to practice it and how creative you are. I’ve even seen people creating their own 3D targets from scratch to save some cash. Money shouldn’t be a reason to not get into archery if you’re interested in it.