With so many different arrow offerings available on the market today, choosing the best arrow to shoot can be a confusing process. Many archers want to know, Should I shoot an aluminum arrow or a carbon arrow out of my bow?
The answer is different according to your experience, your intent to use and your budget.
In my opinion, any arrow on the market that you can tune and shoot straight is the right answer for you.
Don’t be afraid of the varieties of the arrows when you look at the arrow catalog, went into a local archery shop, or doing online shopping.
Arrows have more variety than all other archery equipment…
But it is easier to pick the right type of arrow than you think.
Quick Answer: Carbon vs Aluminum Arrow
But remember! There is no 100% right answer.
Most probably, you will have a similar experience with both materials.
When we compare carbon vs aluminum arrow, the biggest difference is that people pay higher prices on carbon arrows just to get more durable arrows.
The other technical details (velocity, penetration, etc.) can be equitable with changing other parameters for both carbon and aluminum (weight, diameter, broadhead, etc.)
If you're interested in archery arrows, you can learn every detail about arrows and how to categorize them to pick one according to your need.
Also read: Types of arrows
Types of an Arrow
Basically, archery arrows have 4 main parts;
But one of them is the most critical part of an arrow… The shaft…
The shaft is the main structural part of an arrow. So, other components can be attached to it.
Additionally, the length of the shaft determines the length of the arrow. The shaft is everything for an arrow.
Let’s mainly divide the types of arrows according to their shafts.
Wood and fiberglass arrows are commonly used by traditional archers and beginners.
But we'll investigate the most popular and used types of arrow shafts in this article. Carbon vs Aluminum Arrow...
As a material ‘’Carbon’’, based on relatively new technology (around 30 years).
With its superior properties, Carbon has become a favorite material in areas such as aviation, space, transportation, and even archery.
Today, carbon arrows can be easily counted among the finest projectiles ever shot from a bow.
Carbon fiber is very durable (more than steel) and a lightweight material which makes it also valuable for professional archers. It is also flexible and doesn’t lose its first shape after bent (Bending forces are the most critical ones for an arrow life).
Carbon arrows are more durable than any other shafting material ever produced. Period.
Carbon materials are made by thousands of fibers combined. These fibers solidify after getting their shape in their production process and creates the last product.
Considering all these features and the manufacturing process, it is not a surprise that these types of arrows are fairly expensive.
The disadvantage of made by thousands of small, invisible fibers is the hardly understand if your arrow has damage or not when you hit something tough or take an unwanted shoot.
In this case, the general advice is to bent the arrow and listening to the small cracking noises like the ‘’grinding’’ of the fibers. If you don’t hear anything, Then it’s OK.
Almost all carbon arrow companies produce arrows with straightness of +/-0.001-inch. That is an incredible sensitive tolerance (It’s recommended that the straightness should be at least +/-0.03-inch). Weight and spine tolerances are also very sensitive.
Carbon arrows are still continue to develop with technology. However, since it's a newer type of arrow, there aren't as many sizes available compared with aluminum, they come in less variety of size.
In the mid-1930’s manufactures convinced that consistently straight uniform arrow shafts were impossible to manufacture from wood, Then they turned their attention to Aluminum.
Aluminum is a more affordable material for an arrow and used by mostly indoor archers today.
But when the price is the biggest criteria, aluminum arrows are far more in advance than the carbon ones even for the experienced outdoor archers.
They are consistent and straight as much as carbon arrows. But it’s a fact that carbon arrows are more durable than all other type of arrows.
Aluminum arrows have a lot more sizes and a huge range of spines to choose from. This is one of the biggest advantages of an aluminum arrow. It’s really easier to find a closer spine match without having to struggle with shaft lengths and excessive point weights than any type of arrows.
Besides, Aluminum arrows are the easiest ones to work with. They are really accurate and easy to tune.
Aluminum arrows are naturally heavier than carbon arrows. This is not always a bad thing. They are usually thicker and a lot easier to pull from the targets.
Why not Aluminum arrows?
The only big drawback is that they bend easily and are less durable.
For instance, If you shoot an aluminum arrow from 15 yards into a foam target, the arrow will wobble (you can see it even after it hits). But if you take the same shot with a carbon arrow, you won’t see any wobble. This is the reason, carbon is much stiffer and straightens out quicker.
From shaft to shaft, aluminum is the most precise you can get. Plus, with the new material technology, the newer aluminum arrows don’t bend like the old times.
Yet, sometimes even if you don’t notice, Aluminum arrows are lost straightness after your shot. This small bending amount can heavily affect your shot performance. Straighter arrows definitely fly more accurately.
With the carbon arrow, it is almost impossible to encounter such a situation.
If you want more velocity, you have to use carbon arrows. That’s quite certain.
But, velocity is not everything.
If you shoot with an aluminum arrow while you’re doing everything for more speed, your arrows will be bend easily. If you’re lucky, they can be straightened again.
Carbon vs Aluminum Arrow
Opinion from experienced archers:
Many archers who have used aluminum arrows for 20-30 years say that when they try to use carbon arrows, they see little advantage other than durability.
Many people still using aluminum arrows instead of carbon for decades. There are many reasons for this. Aluminum arrows are easier to re-fletch. They also have excellent spine consistency. You don’t have to worry about cracks as carbon arrows.
For some people cheap heavier arrows are also a critical parameter to choose an arrow.
Info for hunters
If you don’t consider durability as a material choosing factor, animals don’t care if your arrow shaft is made of carbon or aluminum. The velocity and the mass of the arrow are going to determine penetration. The damage is all about kinetic energy. Also how well your bow is tuned is significantly important for your arrow penetration.
Hybrid Solution: Alloy-Carbon Arrow
There is also a hybrid solution to take advantage of both aluminum and carbon shafts.
These types of arrows keep weight down and gain weight tolerances, accuracy, spine consistency with the Aluminum core, but also add stiffness, durability, and strength with the thin Carbon cover.
That makes them ultra light and significantly faster.
Arrows are made from carbon fiber cover with alloy core are usually at the top of the price range list.
I hope this post was helpful for you to find out the answer Which one is better for you? Carbon vs aluminum arrow…
Remember, the arrow on the market that you can tune and shoot straight is the right answer for you.
Whatever you choose, they are both great options in my opinion.
Please leave a comment below if you have anything to add or a question to ask and I'll be happy to respond.