Arrow Size Chart – Beginner’s Guide

| Last Updated May 15, 2021

Figuring out what size arrow to use as a beginner can be challenging and the confusing measurements don’t make it any easier.

Luckily, we’re here to help make this process less confusing and teach you everything you need to know.

Let’s start with the basics:

How to Read Arrow Measurements

Before you can use a size chart, you need to understand how arrows are measured. 

Aluminum Arrows

Aluminum arrows label the outside diameter and the thickness of the shaft. They’ll have a number that is four numbers long. 

The first two numbers refer to the diameter, measured in 64ths of an inch. If the first two numbers are 16, that means 16/64 of an inch. 

The second two numbers correspond to the thickness in 1000ths of an inch. If the second two numbers are 17, then the shaft is 17/1000 inches thick. 

Carbon Arrows

Manufacturers measure carbon arrows by spine deflection, which is how much it bends. The smaller the number, the stiffer the spine. Most ratings range from 260 to 500. Aluminum and carbon-fiber combos also use this system. 

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Arrow Length

The standard method of measuring an arrow is the distance in inches from where the string rests on the nock to the end. This distance doesn’t include the tip. 

While manufacturers give you this information, they may measure from tip to tip or the arrow’s shaft. The best way to find the length is to measure it yourself. 

Arrow Size Chart

We’ve broken this size chart down into labeled rows and columns, and the corresponding cell tells you what arrow you need. The rows will have your bow weight, while the columns will have your arrow length. 

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What Size Arrow Do I Need?

What size you need depends on factors like your bow weight, type, and size. 

Bow Weight

The weight of your bow determines the weight of the arrow you need. Archers typically weigh in grains or grains per inch (GPI). Diameter, thickness, and materials determine GPI. Heavier bows need heavier arrows and vice versa. 

Bow Type

Different bows need different-sized arrows. Recurve bows are lighter than compound bows, so they need smaller arrows. Compound bows can handle heavier ones. They also may need stiffer arrows if they have aggressive cams. 

Bow Size

Draw length correlates with drawing weight and determines bow size. So, the bigger your draw weight is, the longer your draw length is, and the larger your bow should be. 

As draw weight increases, you should decrease your spine deflection. You should also have at least five grains of weight for every pound of draw weight. 

How to Determine Beginner Arrow Length

To determine your arrow length as a beginner, use a bow with light draw weight and an arrow at least three to four inches longer than you can reach.

Draw your bow with your string anchored under your chin, making sure to use proper form. 

Have another person mark the shaft. New archers should add one to two inches to this length unless they’ve had training and have the correct form. 


Figuring out what arrow size you’ll need is simple once you understand how to read arrow measurements. Aluminum arrows are measured by diameter and thickness, while carbon ones measure spine deflection. You also need to know arrow length and bow size, weight, and type. 

Now that you understand these measurements, you can use our convenient chart to determine what you need quickly and with little effort! 

People Also Ask

Have more questions? We’ll answer them below!

Do Arrow Sizes Differ By Brand?

Sizing and labeling can vary by brand. However, knowing the basics of how arrows are measured will still help you determine what size you need. If a brand uses a different measuring tactic or labeling system, they should have that information listed on their website. 

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What If I Use Arrows That Are Too Long?

Using an arrow that is too long will weaken the arrow’s spine. This problem causes you to be off-target. 

What If My Arrows Are Too Small?

If your arrow is too small, it can slip off the bow or become lodged in the arrow rest. These issues can cause arrow failure, equipment damage, and severe injury. 

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.