For crossbow hunters, it doesn’t get much better than the best crossbow with a built-in cocking device. These mechanisms and cranks allow you to rapidly load your bow with little force. Plus, there are premium silent cranking systems that keep you stealthy in the field. In some cases, you’ll find that there’s no longer a need to load your bow ahead of taking it out into the field.
Good candidates for crossbows with cocking devices are youth who may have trouble cocking a crossbow, beginners, hunters, and people who have suffered shoulder injuries in the past. Additionally, aging hunters will find that this type of crossbow is easier on the joints, back, and shoulders. Got a beer belly? Well, if you’re currently shooting a compound bow, it might be time to switch to a crossbow. Don’t worry, we don’t blame ya.
How to Choose a Crossbow with a Built-In Cocking Device
First, there are features to consider when choosing one of the bows in this guide:
- Arrow Speed – One of the main advantages of using a crossbow is its devastating arrow speed. If you came here today looking for a hunting crossbow with a built-in cocking device, we have some real treats for you in our top picks. The most powerful crossbows have a max arrow or bolt speed of well over 400 fps.
- Cocking Device Types – There are several types of devices. Some brands offer premium cocking/un-cocking mechanisms that are integrated into the bow. These are the best available. Second, there’s the best crossbow with a crank cocking device that comes pre-installed or is available to purchase as an add-on. Third, the most affordable and least advanced type of mechanism is the rope cocking device.
- Size & Weight – The third consideration is the size & weight of the bow. Leading brands have figured out how to pack a ton of power into small packages. As a result, some of the best crossbows on the market are very light and compact. Depending on your age and size, it’s important to match your frame to the right bow. Plus, the more compact a bow is the better it is for hunting.
Now, it’s time to check out the current leaders of the pack.
Best Crossbows with Cocking Devices Reviewed
As promised, we have some real treats for you below that are sure to satisfy your needs and meet your budget. In each of our reviews, we deliver all the most important points to consider on your journey to choosing the perfect crossbow.
#1) Ravin R29X w/ HeliCoil Technology & Silent Cocking System
This, my friend, is absolutely one of the best crossbows on the market with the premium advanced HeliCoil tech. First, the main component that makes the R29X our top pick is the Versa-Draw Cocking System. With this ambidextrous system, the bow requires just a 12lb minimum cocking weight. Plus, it allows you to quickly and safely cock/un-cock your bow.
Second, the R29 series is the first to feature Ravin’s Silent Cocking System for super stealth operation in the field. Regarding power, the R29X sports an impressive 450 fps max velocity & 180 ft-lbs of kinetic energy while managing to weigh just 6.75 lbs. When cocked, the R29X measures a compact 6″ axle-to-axle.
Additional highlights of the HeliCoil system are frictionless floating arrows, perfectly level cams & string, and the included accessory package w/ scope. All in all, hunting from a climbing treestand or blind is the ideal use for the R29X because of its mix of power and its compact size. Plus, there’s never a question as to whether a Ravin crossbow will be accurate when it comes time to take your shot.
- Fully-integrated silent cocking device w/ 12lb minimum draw weight
- Super lightweight and compact
- Extreme power at 450 fps & 180 ft-lbs
- Smooth, frictionless operation
- 100-yard illuminated scope included
- Arrives fully assembled and pre-tuned
- Perfect for treestands and ground blinds
- Five-year limited warranty
- Costs a pretty penny
- You might like our next pick more
#2) TenPoint Vapor RS470 XERO
If you weren’t satisfied with the scope on the Ravin R29X or just want a top-of-the-line crossbow, the RS470 is worth a long look. First off, this crossbow goes well beyond just sporting a built-in cocking device. If you’re unfamiliar with the Xero scope, it’s the finest digital rangefinding scope on the market. During your hunts, you cut out all guesswork with the Xero, leading to dangerously accurate shots.
Additionally, the Xero automatically adjusts to changing light conditions to ensure the illuminated aim points can always be seen clearly. Next, the cocking system is similar to Ravin’s, as it’s both silent and built into the bow. TenPoint refers to its mechanism as the “ACUslide,” and it too allows for easy cocking & un-cocking.
As for power, the Vapor RS470 is the most powerful crossbow in our guide, with a 470 fps max speed and 180 ft-lbs of kinetic energy. These measurements apply for use with a 370-grain Pro Light Carbon Arrow. Finally, one area where the R29X is the winner between the two models is in the size & weight category. The Vapor RS470 is slightly heavier at 8 lbs w/o accessories and not quite as narrow when cocked at 6.5″ axle to axle.
- Features a Garmin Xero X1i digital scope
- The most powerful crossbow with a built-in cocking mechanism
- Features TenPoint’s silent ACUpoint system for effortless use
- Lightweight & compact
- A two-stage trigger for improved shot consistency
- Perfect for hunting all types of game from turkey to elk
- Made in the USA
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Some assembly required
- Digital sights and scopes are not yet legal for hunting in all states
#3) Excalibur Assassin 360
Another one of the best crossbow brands, Excalibur, manufactures its Assassin series that features built-in cocking devices. Of the Assassin models, we feel the 360 gives you the most bang for your buck. Comparatively, it costs less than half what the RS470 XERO costs at the time of this writing, and a good bit less than the R29X. However, don’t let price be the only factor that guides your decision because the Assassin 360 is still a premium bow.
The first highlight is Excalibur’s very user-friendly Charger Cranking System. In comparison, the 12lb cocking weight matches our top pick. Plus, Excalibur’s cranking system is the quietest you’ll find. Never again will you worry about scaring off quarry from your stand or while spot & stalk hunting on foot. Lastly, the Assassin 360 allows for easy de-cocking similar to our top two picks.
Regarding power, that’s where the first two crossbows in our guide are the clear winners. Although, the Assassin 360 certainly gives you enough power for hunting, target practice, and 3-D at up to 360 fps and over 100 ft-lbs of kinetic energy. Finally, the Assassin 360 is wider than our first two picks with a cocked width of 21″, yet this bow is lighter than the RS470 at 7.7 lbs. Plus, it’s important to keep in mind that this bow features Excalibur’s recurve limb tech.
- More affordable than our top 2 picks at the time of this writing
- The quietest cranking system
- A cocking weight of just 12 lbs
- Weighs under 8 lbs
- 2-stage trigger system for enhanced accuracy
- Extreme durability
- Quick tool-less adjustments
- You might prefer the simplicity of a recurve crossbow over a compound
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
- Not as powerful as our top two picks
- Potentially wider than you’d like
#4) Wicked Ridge Invader X4
Now, it’s time to unveil our first budget pick. Compared to our first three picks, this is the first bow in our guide that’s currently going for under 1,000 bucks. First, the built-in cocking device in the X4 package is presently one of the most user-friendly on the market. It’s known as the ACUdraw 50, and it’s manufactured by TenPoint. If you choose the model shown here, the package includes the ACUdraw 50 rather than the standard ACUdraw.
The Invader X4 arrives with the ACUdraw 50 fully integrated into the stock. Furthermore, with the ACUdraw 50, you lower your draw weight to a mere 5 lbs. That’s one of the lowest numbers you’ll find, making this bow an even better choice for growing youth, senior hunters, and archers who have suffered injuries in the past. Overall, the ACUdraw 50 is a huge upgrade over a rope.
Now, let’s go over a few more highlights the Invader X4 has to offer beyond its cocking device. The second biggest highlight is it weighs just 6.3 lbs, and that’s the lightest you’ll find in our guide. Third, it’s fairly narrow at 15″ axle-to-axle when cocked, and it has a 360 fps max arrow speed that matches the power of the Assassin 360 for a much lower cost. Fourth, the accessory package isn’t too shabby, and the bow carries TenPoint’s limited lifetime warranty.
- A tough crossbow to beat in the sub-1000 price category
- Comes equipped with the ACUdraw 50
- A cocking weight of just 5 lbs
- The lightest model in our guide at 6.3 lbs
- Made in America
- Narrower than the Excalibur Assassin 360
- 360 fps and 112 foot-lbs
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Not quite as quiet as TenPoint’s silent Versa-Draw System
- You might want more power
- More likely to run into quality issues than with premium TenPoint crossbows
#5) Barnett Whitetail Pro STR
Last is our top budget pick by Barnett. Of the models in this guide, the Whitetail Pro STR packs the most power for the money at 400 fps. At the time of this writing, it costs about a third of the price of the Assassin 360, and it falls into the sub-500 category. Having said that, the built-in cocking device that comes standard in this model is the least savory of the bunch.
Instead of sporting an integrated silent system or crank, it includes a rope device in the accessory package. However, the good news is that it’s easy to upgrade this bow by adding Barnett’s crank cocking device. The bad news is the device is not cheap, which will push the total cost of the rig beyond the sub-500 point. The key takeaway is to decide whether you’re good with the rope or prefer the upgrade. If you prefer the upgrade, then it’d be wise to compare the total cost against other bows with built-in cranks like the Invader X4.
Several final highlights of the Whitetail Pro STR are its overall weight of 6.9lbs, made in the USA, frictionless release tech, and the smooth TriggerTech trigger system. As for the warranty, Barnett backs this model with a 5-year warranty, and the warranty must be registered within 10 days of purchasing it.
- Includes a rope cocking device
- Easily upgradable to Barnett’s crank system
- The most affordable crossbow in our guide at the time of this writing
- On the lighter side at 6.9 lbs
- Made in America
- Arrives mostly assembled
- 400 fps
- 5-year warranty
- The need to register within 10 days of purchase to activate the warranty
- The added cost of upgrading to the crank
- Not as durable as our first picks
Before you select the best crossbow with a built-in cocking device, it’s important to consider which features benefit you the most as an archer or hunter. Presently, we feel that Excalibur and Wicked Ridge offer the best cocking systems for the money, while Ravin and TenPoint bring the best silent cocking systems to the table.
Also, Ravin and TenPoint manufacture our favorite bows overall. Our top two picks are the types of crossbows that’ll stick with you for a lifetime and not fail you during critical moments. Finally, depending on your state’s laws, you might not be able to hunt with the Garmin Xero featured on the Vapor RS470 XERO. Alternatively, there’s the option to pick up the RS470 package that includes an EVO-X Marksman Scope.