How To Measure Your Draw Length

Before you can buy a compound bow, you need to figure out your draw length. Different compound bows come with various draw length settings, for instance:

So how do you figure out what minimum draw length you need if you don’t have access to a compound bow and can’t/don’t want to visit an archery pro-shop? It’s actually extremely simple.

Measuring Your Draw Length at Home

To carry out the measurement, all you need is a measuring tape and someone to help you out. Here are the steps:

Step #1: Stand tall, making sure your not hunching forward and that you’re not wearing any clothes that could restrict arm movement or prevent you from seeing whether your elbows are locked.

Step #2: Spread your arms to the sides, making sure that together they form a straight line that is parallel to the floor.

Step #3: Have someone measure your arm span carefully, from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other one. Make sure the measuring tape is fully stretched out or else the measurement won’t be accurate.

Step #4: Take the length in inches and divide it by 2.5.

draw length measurement


So if your arm span is calculated to be 70″, divide that by 2.5 and you get 28. This means that your draw length is 28″, and so your bow should allow for this length to be set – and preferably with an extra inch or two to spare.

Double-Check Your Measurements

For the vast majority of people, their arm span in inches will be equal to their body height in inches. After you perform the calculation above, take your height in inches and see if it’s the same as your arm span – it should be extremely close, indicating you did things correctly. There might be a slight difference between your height and arm span however, in which case your arm span precedence.

Stay On The Conservative Side

If in doubt, always round down. So if after performing the calculation above you are not sure if your draw length is 28″ or 28.5″, assume it’s 28″. Additionally, always make sure you have at least a bit of “backup.” So again, if you were to calculate your draw length to be 29″, you should get a compound bow with a cam system that allows you to set a maximum length of 30″, and preferably 31″. This is to provide you with a buffer in case you measured your draw length incorrectly.

Additionally, I recommend double and triple checking your measurements. Also, make sure that you use a relatively new measuring tape, as older ones that have gone through many years of use can become over-stretched slightly, making your draw length appear to be as much as half an inch longer than it is in reality.

Measuring Draw Length – Summary

I hope the above was simple enough and helpful. Once you have determined your draw length, head over to our compound bow comparison chart to see which of the finest compounds on the market meet your requirements.

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