Although there are many parts to your bow setup that affect speed and accuracy, the arrow rest is one of the most critical and often overlooked accessory.
An arrow rest is added to a bow to help hold the arrow in place while you are waiting to take a shot. A drop away arrow rest provides the same function but falls away as you’re taking your shot which prevents the arrow from touching the rest as it’s loosed. This advanced feature allows you to take faster and more consistently accurate shots. Drop away arrow rest often include noise dampening features, which is an important consideration for bow hunters.
Are you looking for that extra edge on your shot? After rigorous testing, we’ve made a list of the 4 best drop away arrow rests of 2021 based on durability, price, additional features, and ease of set up and adjustment.
Best Mid-Range Drop Away Arrow Rest – QAD Ultra Rest
|Metal||8/18 Stainless Steel|
|Capacity||3.0L pot / nonstick frying pan|
|Best For||Car camping and van life|
If you’re looking for a mix of quality and value, the QAD Ultra Rest falls very nicely into a mid-range price point.
The reliability of the arrow rest is impressive, especially considering you’re not paying top dollar. The drop rest is efficient and only takes a few adjustments to get it functioning correctly. The instructions included with this model are very helpful and accurate, so we would highly recommend following them when you are first learning how to set up and adjust it.
We also really like the quality of construction and material of this rest. For instance, the mount and the action body are very well built. The material and finish of these parts are high-quality and durable. All in all, we expect this model will last a long time.
It also has a range of features that make it an incredibly versatile arrow rest. It has a full draw indicator that alerts you when the launcher is in position and you’re at full draw. This takes a lot of the guesswork out the draw. It also will shoot shorter arrows, so anyone who prefers stiffness and increased speed and accuracy of a short arrow will really appreciate this capability.
A safety measure every archer can appreciate is the breakaway safety feature that protects you in the event of a mishap when you loose the arrow. Another great feature is how the arrow to be held in a way that allows it to remained nocked for an extended period without having to remove it from the rest.
One unfortunate and limiting aspect of this model arrow rest is that it only comes in a right-hand option. So lefties will have to seek an alternative rest.
Best High-End Drop Away Arrow Rest – Ripcord “Code Red”
|Metal||hard-anodized aluminum (5.2L Pot) & Aluminum (3.2L pan)|
|Capacity||5.2L pot / 3.2L nonstick pan|
|Best For||The Camp Chef extraordinaire|
Willing to pay top dollar for the best of the best? The Ripcord Code Red is our choice for the best high-end drop away arrow rest.
A quality arrow rest makes a big difference when it comes to arrow rests, and a good archer knows that even a slight advantage can make a significant difference in real-world results. This arrow rest doesn’t cut any corners.
It has a “drop-dead” brake feature that eliminates bounce-back on the rest. This ensures that there will be no unintended movement because as a result of the arrow hitting the rest. To even further facilitate a more accurate shot, it has a truly deep “V” design that is built to ultimate stability. It also has a containment bar north of the rest for some added stability insurance.
This rest is also very convenient with its very simple and fast set up. Not to mention it’s a breeze to adjust as you’re using it.
A feature especially useful for hunters is the internal dampening system that cuts down on the noise as you loose your arrow. Like we said before, slight advantages can provide significant real-world results. Even something as small as a silent shot in the milliseconds before your arrow reaches its target ensures the all too important element of surprise.
The only real downside to this arrow rest is the price. It’s quite expensive and might be a bit too much for someone on a limited budget. However, something to keep in mind is that it’s exceptionally durable and likely to last you a really long time. So, a bigger investment upfront could save you money on replacements in the future.
If you value quality, reliability, and luxury features--and don’t mind paying for it--the Code Red is arrow rest for you.
Editor’s Choice – NAP Apache
|Metal||hard-anodized aluminum (both pots)|
|Capacity||2.5L pot / 1.5L nonstick pan|
|Best For||The Dynamic Duo|
The NAP Apache is a great all-around option for arrow rests and our editor’s choice above all other tested models.
Unlike the QAD Ultra Rest, it is available in both left and right hand options. And, similar to the Code Red, it has sound-dampening technology that facilitates a silent arrow release all hunters will appreciate.
One thing we weren’t too thrilled about was the size and weight of the overall arrow rest. It’s a bit heavier and bulkier than the Code Red, and other models of arrow rests over $50. While it’s not as expensive as the Code Red, we still would have expected it to be lighter at this price point.
On the plus side, it’s very easy to set up and adjust. This means you’ll be able to adjust your accuracy more easily on the fly and waste less time playing around with setups that are more difficult to dial in. And if you’ve previously been using a whisker biscuit set up or are currently considering one, you’ll really appreciate the fact that you don’t have to spend additional money replacing worn-down brushes.
If you’re considering this model, something you should note is that it doesn’t not come with a clamp for the down cable and will require a serving string. However, even without a clamp, the design itself provides a good degree of security.
Although you may not get all the features and advantages of the higher-end Code Red or Vapor Trail, you’ll save good money. So, when it comes down to it, this is one of the most reliable choices you can find for the price and very suitable for most archers and hunters’ purposes.
Best Performance on a Drop Away Arrow Rest – Vapor Trail LimbDriver Pro V
|Capacity||3L pot / 2L nonstick pan|
|Best For||Keeping in your car camping kit for unexpected adventures|
The Vapor Trail LimbDriver Pro V is a serious efficient arrow rest and a top performer for hunters and archers alike.
It features a top arrow load that’s built for speed and accuracy. The support it provides helps deliver better speed than your standard arrow rest. Also, the free-floating launcher arm eliminates any contact with the fletching when shooting. Overall this model facilitates incredible accuracy and more consistent groupings.
The Vapor trail is one of the most silent releases on the list. Easily more silent than the QAD rest. And even though this model is made for advanced archers and hunters looking for exact precision, it has a surprisingly simple set up that makes it a great option even for someone who has never used a drop away style arrow rest. . We also really like that it has a full containment design that provides optimal security. However, it’s the most expensive arrow rest on the list, so you’ll pay extra for these advantages compared to the cost of some other available models.
The reliability of this Vapor Trail is substantial. Even though it has quite a few moving parts, they are well designed and durable. You can count on it to work in all weather conditions, even in freezing cold weather. This makes them a perfect option for year-round hunters looking for reliability even in the dead of winter.
We thought it was a bit odd that it doesn’t come with any instructions. But, there is a useful video for installing the rest.
This is one of the highest quality, most accurate rests on our list. If you’re willing to pay a premium for a top performing model, the Vapor Trail is the right arrow rest for your needs.
The type of drop away arrow rest that’s right for you will depend on your needs and preferences as an archer or hunter. To help make your buying decision easier, we’ve laid out a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind while weighing the options.
When you loose an arrow, it will inevitably make some degree of noise as it passes the arrow rest. To reduce this sound, arrow rest manufacturers have developed technology that dampens the noise made by the loosing of the arrow.
For bowhunters, stealth and noise reduction are critical. Most hunters are looking to get within 10 to 20 yards of the animal they’re hunting in order to ensure a clean and ethical shot. However, in that close range, animals and especially deer, are very aware of even the slightest sounds. A little noise can spook them into moving right before the arrow hits the intended part of their body. This could result in a complete miss or, worse, a non-lethal hit. So, for hunters who are looking for every advantage of stealth and silence they can get, an arrow rest equipped with noise dampening technology would be a worthwhile feature to seek out.
For archers, this will be a matter of preference and courtesy. If you’re shooting on your property at targets, it might make no difference to you whether there’s more sound. After all, we’re not talking about a gunshot or anything here. However, if you have a preference for a silent shot or shoot at a range close to other archers and want to be courteous to their concentration, you may appreciate an arrow rest with noise dampening technology.
After you’ve nocked the arrow and placed it on the rest, it’s not a given that it will stay within the confines of the rest. The wrong movement could cause the arrow to jump off the rest unintentionally. When this happens, it can range from mildly annoying, requiring you to simply place the arrow back on the rest, to very dangerous, for instance, in the milliseconds before you’re about to loose the arrow and it’s too late to hold back.
Some drop away arrow rests have bars that prevent the arrow from leaving the rest, and others do not. This is a matter of personal preference, so when shopping around for arrow rests, you’ll have to decide how important this feature is to you.
Size and weight
An arrow rest will inevitably add some weight to your bow setup. When it comes to the precision and accuracy necessary for bow hunting and archery, experienced shooters will know what weight setup works best for them.
Drop away arrow rests are manufactured using a variety of materials and come in many different styles and sizes. These variables will all affect the overall weight of the rest. How big of a factor that plays in your overall bow setup will depend on your preferences and degree of particularity.
Some hunters and archers are very particular about the weight of their setup. An accurate shot is all about consistency of motion, and even a slight change in such a significant variable as the weight can alter the way they’re used to shooting, causing inconsistency.
Others may not be too bothered by a slightly heavier or lighter setup because they either don’t have that degree of sensitivity, or they don’t mind adjusting to differences.
It’s essential to understand how much slight additions of weight affects your shot and find an arrow rest that makes sense for your preferences.
It’s critical to do some research on the durability of the drop away arrow rest you’re interested in buying. Some rests are made of sturdy materials and high-quality craftsmanship. Other manufacturers looking to offer budget prices may opt for lower quality materials and inferior designs that will result in issues down the road.
The more durable the rest is, the more reliable your shots will be and the longer the rest will last you. However, that reliability and longevity may cost you a higher upfront investment. Also, some durable arrow rests may be slightly heavier due to the sturdy material the manufacturer has chosen to use. So, if weight makes a difference to you, you’ll want to keep that in mind before selecting the most durable rest you can find.
Some drop away arrow rests come with protective design components such as breakaway safety features. These types of features are meant to protect the shooter as well as other bystanders.
You should thoroughly research what safety features the manufacturer has added to the arrow rest before buying. Look through reviews to see if anyone has had experience with the feature and if it was reliable.
Ease of set up and adjustment
It can be a real pain to set up and adjust some arrow rests. And, the more difficult it is to adjust, the more likely it is that you’ll have difficulty finding the most accurate alignment.
For those who like to fully break down their bow after every use, a drop away arrow rest that’s easy to put back on saves time and energy.
Although everyone can appreciate the efficiency of any easily adjustable arrow rest, it is especially important for those with less experience to choose a rest that is not overly complicated to adjust to avoid frustration and inconsistency in their shots.
Be sure to read reviews for all drop away arrow rests you’re considering and get an idea from the general public of how complicated the adjustment process is. Online video tutorials specific to the model of arrow rest you’re thinking about can also be very helpful if they’re available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although there are pros and cons to both, the advantages of drop away rest over a whisker biscuit are hard to ignore. Drop away rests tend to be more accurate and allow for more consistent groupings than whisker biscuits. Whisker biscuits also require the periodic replacement of the bristles, which is not required of drop away rests. However, it is a matter of preference, and some people prefer the simplicity of a whisker biscuit instead of the drop away rest which has moving parts.
The direction you’ll want to move your arrow rest depends on where the arrows are landing relative to their intended mark. Whatever side of the mark they are hitting, move the arrow rest slightly in the opposite direction. When an arrow hits too far to the left, move the rest right. When it hits too far to the right, move the rest left. Be sure to make incremental adjustments to prevent a dramatic overcorrection.
Although it's theoretically possible to shoot a compound bow without an arrow rest, it is definitely not recommended because of danger and lack of efficiency. Without an arrow rest, the arrow will be unstable prior to loosing it. This will cause a dramatic difference in accuracy and consistency. It is also safer to use an arrow rest with a compound bow because keeping the arrow secure and stabilized will reduce the risk of a misfire that could cause harm to yourself or bystanders.
Arrows should either be level on the rest or have a very slight downward angle. The leveling placement is somewhat a matter of preference, but it is generally agreed that the arrow should not be angled upward. Although having the arrow level on the rest is the most common setup, some people prefer to notch the arrow about 1/8th inch above the arrow rest, creating a slight downward angle. People who prefer this downward angle often say they prefer the “shooting downhill” sensation it creates.