How To Measure The Arrow Length Of A Compound Bow [Hands On Guide]




Have you ever checked the length of the perfect arrows you’re shooting? Many hunters, maybe like you, haven’t really pondered on arrow length. You hit the target often enough, so why fuss over how long the arrow is right?

But here’s a heads-up: arrow length affects accuracy. A too-long arrow can mess up its flight. So, how do you measure arrow length for a compound bow? Here’s a simple guide:

How To Measure The Arrow Length Of A Compound Bow

Add An Inch To Your Draw Length

Say yours is the standard 28″ — aim for a 29″ arrow. A too-shorter arrow? Risky, it might just strike your hand. Dive into this guide; by the end, you’ll be on point in choosing the correct arrows  length.

Let’s uncover this together!

What’s In An Arrow Length & Why Is It So Important? 

Before diving into arrow lengths, let’s touch on the basics since they’ll come up in this guide.

At the foundation of your arrow is the shaft. Think of it as a long, hollow tube, often crafted from carbon arrows or aluminum arrows. or wooden arrows At the front end of this shaft, you’ll find a little piece, either aluminium or plastic, known as an ‘insert.’ This insert sticks to the shaft, giving you a spot to screw in the field tips. And that gold tip? It’s the business end of your arrow.

Do lighted nocks affect arrow flight? Yes, lighted nocks can slightly affect arrow flight by adding a minimal amount of weight to the rear of the arrow, potentially altering its balance and trajectory.

Lastly, we have the fletching, sometimes called flight wings. These are colourful, soft vanes made either of plastic or feathers. You’ll often see them glued onto the shaft in a circular design, with two vanes of one colour and one of another.

Arrow Length & Why Is It So Important

And What Is The Importance?

You might be thinking, “how to measure  arrow length for a bow  matter so much?” Well, it’s a big deal. For folks just starting, there’s often confusion between arrow length and arrow size. And it’s a bit tricky picking the right arrow length as a beginner.

So, why is the length of your arrow such a big topic? Speed. The length of your arrow directly affects how fast it flies. And the speed of your arrow changes its spine, which is just a fancy way of finding the stiff side of an arrow. Are you know how broadheads change arrow flight ? If no, then learn here.

Ever heard of FOC or (front-of-centre equations). They tell you where the balance point of your arrow is. However, without the right info, these FOC equations won’t help much.

Now, here’s the super important part

If you choose the wrong arrow, length isn’t just about accuracy; it’s about safety. Some archers have even hurt themselves with arrows going right through their hands. Scary right? 

 Let’s dive into how you find out the right length for your arrow. Ready? So Let’s go.

What You Will Need?

Measuring arrow length is a simple process. I think all the equipment is available in your home. What you will need: 

  1. Marker
  2. Measuring tape
  3. Bow and long arrow
  4. Someone to assist you.

How To Measure Arrow Length?

Alright, Are you ready to measure your arrow? There are three main ways to do it.

How To Measure Arrow Length
How To Measure Arrow Length

Method 1: Using Bow And Arrow

Step 1: Begin by adjusting your bow to fit your complete draw. This works best with compound bows that have a limit. Grab an arrow that’s about 2 to 3 inches longer than what you think your full-draw length is.

Step 2: Get ready to shoot. Stand tall with your feet apart, like you’re facing a target.

Step 3: Hold your bow and arrow like you’re about to shoot. Brace yourself – you’ll need to stay in a full-drawn position for a bit.

Step 4: Pull back on the bow to a full draw. While you hold steady, have a buddy mark the arrow just past the riser. Stay still while they make the mark.

Step 5: Once marked, measure the arrow from its tip to the mark. Add an extra 1-2 inches, and there you have it – your ideal arrow length!

Method 2: Hands Stretched Out

Step 1: Stand straight and stretch both arms out in front of you. Extend your fingers, too. Your arms should form a straight line, like you’re pointing at something far away.

Step 2: Get a buddy to help. Ask them to measure from the middle of your chest all the way to the tip of your longest finger. For most people, this distance matches the arrow length when pulled back to the riser’s tip.

Step 3: Now, add an extra 1-2 inches to that measurement. That’s the length you want your arrow to be.

Method 3: Bow Without Arrow

Step 1: Get ready to draw your bow as if you’re about to shoot. Remember, you’re not using an arrow for this one.

Step 2: Pull back the bow string, just like you’re at full draw. Position the string between your thumb and index finger.

Step 3: Ask a friend to measure the distance from where the string touches your fingers to the very end of the riser.

Step 4: Tack on an extra 1-2 inches to that measurement. That’s the arrow length you’ll need. 

Do you know how broadheads change arrow flight? Broadheads can change arrow flight by causing a shift in the arrow’s aerodynamics due to their greater surface area.

Handy Tips

Always include that extra 1-2 inches as a safety net. But remember, some modern bow-like  recurve bow might actually need arrows that are 1″ -2″ shorter arrows than what you’ve measured.

Bought the correct arrow draw length arrows that don’t fit, just right? You can trim them down, but this might make them weaker. If you must cut them, a high- arrow speed abrasive wheel saw is the tool for the job.

One last thing: measure before you buy. Most arrows come in 32 “-34” lengths. If yours is outside that range, the shop might cut them to your size for free! It’s always good to double-check.

Arrow Length Calculator

Arrow Length Calculator

The best arrow length usually falls within one inch more or less of your compound bow’s draw length. 

So, if your draw length is 26 inches, aim for an arrow length between 25 and 27 inches. 

Always make sure your arrow sticks out at least an inch past your arrow rest when you draw your bow. 

For my setup, I chose arrows that are an inch longer than my draw length. 

But your configuration can be different, so carry on reading to discover the perfect arrows match for you. 

How To Determine Arrow Length For Compound Bow (Step By Step)

Choosing the right arrow isn’t just about accuracy; it’s about safety, too. Get the wrong arrow, and you’re risking more than a missed shot – you’re risking injury to yourself and those around you.

When I talk about the size of an arrow, Let’s  dive into the thickness of its shaft and how it bends before snapping. On the other hand, length? Well, that’s all about how long that arrow shaft is. But how do you nail down the perfect arrows  length?

Don’t be upset. Let’s learn to determine arrow length for a compound bow.

Method 1: Suitable For Beginners:

Here’s an easy-peasy method tailored for beginners. Do all you need? A measuring tape and a good buddy to help you out. Let’s jump in!

1. Stand Properly:

First, get into your compound archer groove. Stretch out your bow arm to the side as if you’re getting ready to take a shot. If you like having your feet a tad wide, go for it. Picture your target, stand tall, and keep those eyes locked on where you’d aim.

2. Hold the Measuring Tape:

Hold the measuring tape snugly between your pointer and middle fingers. Have your friend stretch it out to the thumb on your other arm. Keep that arm level with your shoulders. This ensures we’re on point with the arrow length.

Now, aim to get into what we call the anchor position. It’s when the top of your index finger rests near the corner of your mouth. But heads up! Depending on your compound bow, this spot might vary a bit.

 Don’t forget – stretch that thumb on your bow hand.

3. Measure The Arrow Length:

While you hold that pose, have your friend measure the distance. Once you’ve got the number in inches, add an extra inch to it. That’s the length of your arrow.

Method 2: More Accurate And Suitable For Experienced Archers

This technique is better than the first method. While you’ll still need a buddy’s help, it involves a few extra calculations.

1. Determine your Draw Length:

To safely find your measuring draw length at home, stand tall and straight. Ensure you’re not slouching and you’re in comfy attire that lets your elbows move freely. With your arms out at your sides and level with the floor, you’ll need a pal.

Get them to measure the span from fingertip to fingertip with the measuring tape. Take that measurement in inches and divide by 2.5. If you land between numbers, always round down for proper draw length.

Always make sure to check your measurements again; it’s a smart way to be sure they’re right.

“You’ll want the length of the arrow to be your draw length + another inch or two. It’s for safety. Using arrows that are dangerously short will either make you compensate with poor form, or even worse, pull it off the rest at full draw and have the arrow end up in places it definitely shouldn’t be. So, if your draw length is around 32″, 34″ is a good length for your arrows. (34″ is also some of the longest you’ll find. Easton makes some of their aluminum arrows even longer, but the 34,5-35″ X7s are so stiff they’re only suitable for very high draw weights and the XX75s need to be special ordered.)”

2. Pick the Arrow Length:

With your draw length in hand, tack on an extra 0.5 to 1 inch to find your arrow length. So, if your draw length comes to 28 inches, your arrow shouldn’t exceed 29 inches.

You measure this length from the nock groove to the arrow shaft’s end. If you mess up the length, either too short an arrow or too long, it’ll hamper your target arrow shooting style. 

A too-short arrow poses a risk of falling and hurting your hand, potentially arrow manufacture it fly off the bow’s rest, putting your hand or arm in jeopardy. On the other hand, a lengthy arrow throws off your accuracy.

How Can You Adjust Your Arrows?

Using a high-speed saw is your best bet for cutting arrows. It makes sure you have the right arrow length for your upcoming traditional archery session.

Another option is to consider a rotary tool with a rough wheel. But steer clear of a hacksaw – it can leave jagged bits behind.

If you’re thinking about hiring an expert to trim your lighter arrow or doing it yourself, always turn the arrows while cutting to achieve a smooth edge. And don’t forget, it’s the best way to cut them too short. 

Tips: Always lean towards cutting them a bit longer arrow. It leaves room for any tweaks later rather than regretting a too-short cut from the start.

Arrow Length To Draw Length Chart

In archery and bowhunting, it’s important to know how arrow length and draw length are connected.

This helps the archers perform their best shoot accurately. The table below shows the arrow length you need for each draw length, making it easier for archers to pick the right gear.

Arrow Length (inches)Draw Length (inches)
Arrow Length To Draw Length Chart

What Risks Or Problems Might Arise From Using An Incorrectly Sized Arrow

Choosing the right arrow length is crucial. If your arrow is too long, it’s heavier arrows and shoots slower, affecting your bow’s performance. Also, longer arrows might need a stronger spine for balance.  On the other hand, a too-short arrow is dangerous.

Always ensure your arrow is at least an inch longer than your full draw.

 A super short arrow might get stuck, break, and injure you.  For safety and best performance, always pick the right arrow length.

Frequently Asked Question

 What Tools Do I Need To Measure The Arrow Length Of My Compound Bow?

To measure the arrow length for your compound bow, you’ll need a measuring tape and a marker. 

With these tools, you can mark your full draw weight position on the arrow and then measure the length accurately.

Can I Use A Standard Tape Measure Or Ruler?

Yes, you can use a standard tape measure or ruler to determine your arrow length.
 Is There A Standard Arrow Length?

No, arrow lengths vary based on the archer’s draw length and the type of bow used.

What Are The Benefits Of A Right-Length Arrow For The Compound Bow?

Yes, you can use a standard tape measure or ruler to determine your arrow length.

 Is There A Standard Arrow Length?

No, arrow lengths vary based on the archer’s draw length and the type of bow used.

What Is The Best Arrow For A Compound Bow?

The best arrow for a compound bow depends on the archer’s specific needs and the purpose of target shooting. However, many archers prefer carbon arrows for their durability, light arrow weight, and consistent performance.


 I think you understand very well how to measure arrow length for a compound bow. This is very important for every hunter.

 If you want to ensure both accuracy and safety in your shot, you must follow the right steps. Always keep this in mind: picking the right arrow length can really boost your target shooting game.

Bob Magic

Written by

Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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