Best Duck Decoy Spreads – 2020 Guide

| Last Updated September 15, 2020

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Hunting, especially hunting birds, is a task that requires the greatest set of skills. What can further enhance this experience and make your hunting trips a lot more successful are the right sort of accessories. A good duck decoy spread is the perfect example of such accessories.

This article will help you get the best of duck decoy spreads and serve as your buying guide to these incredibly useful hunting aides.

Comparison of the Best Duck Decoy Spreads

  • Flocked heads with 6 sets of unique head styles.
  • Features 12 pieces, including 7 drakes and 5 hens.
  • Best overall unit that trumps every feature it has to offer.
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  • A set of six fine detailed, realistic mallards.
  • The unit includes two feeders, two resters and two swimmers.
  • Runner up on this list that stands to be second by a very small margin.
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  • The set includes 12 pieces, including 6 drakes and 6 hens.
  • Best for the money, giving you great value for the cost that you pay.
  • The paints, developed with UV technology, give the feathers a reflectivity similar to the original.
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  • Best for ponds with the ideal resting postures.
  • A set of 6 mallard decoys, including three drakes and three hens.
  • Designed and created by the best decoy carver, world champion, Rick Johannsen.
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  • Super Magnum sized decoys for the perfect hunt.
  • Set of six decoys including four drakes and two hens.
  • Best for marsh; the perfect companion for bird hunting in marshy areas.
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  • Best for rivers since it promises an excellent result.
  • The 60/40 ratio allows the keel to stay put in the rivers.
  • A pack of six pro-grade mallards that feature a super realistic look.
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  • Best Wood Duck Decoy Spread
  • 6 pack of premium decoys
  • Innovative 10 inch design for natural motion in water
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How to Choose Duck Decoy Spreads

Choosing the right tools for your hunting trips can be a painstaking task, given the wide variety of them available on the market. If you too find yourself confused about how to decide on the right option, then do not be bothered anymore. Here are all the aspects you need consider as you pick the best solution for yourself.

Natural and Lifelike

While looking for a decoy, the most important factor that you need to keep in mind is the looks of it. The final product that you choose should be as natural-looking and close to reality as possible. Even if it may not seem that way, birds are among the relatively small category of animals that are known to be very smart. They are easily alarmed by foreign textures and colors. It is therefore of great importance to opt for a decoy that they can recognize as realistic.


Durability is another crucial factor, the importance of which couldn’t be stressed enough. If a decoy isn’t designed to be durable enough, over a span of time, it will start losing its form and look. Birds are bound to notice small details such as faded colors or scratches. So you need to ensure that the spread you choose is durable enough to avoid all those.

Keep a Picture For Reference

If you feel like you can’t be too sure of which decoy looks closer to reality, then keep a picture for reference. This will be of great help when you find yourself in a dilemma over what to choose. Just compare the decoy to the picture, and whichever looks more similar will be your final choice.

Quick Take | Best Duck Decoy Spreads

Just looking for the top three best duck decoy spreads? Here they are:

  1. Dakota Decoy X-Treme 12 Pack
  2. Avian-X Top Flight Fusion Mallards
  3. Flambeau Storm Front Classic 12 Pack

Review of the Best Duck Decoy Spreads

With a clear overview of all the aspects that you need to keep in mind, it is finally time to look at the best options that you have. In order to ensure that you get to pick from the best of the best, here we have reviewed some of the top units that you can find.

Dakota Decoy X-Treme Flocked Drake Head Mallards (12 Pack)  12120


  • Allows you to adjust the lines with the cleated front
  • Tough and designed to last over a longer span of time
  • Movable heads of the pieces add an extra dimension, making it the perfect decoy
  • Comes with an ultra-realistic look and form that makes it look as close to real as possible
  • Company offers an extremely suitable price range for all the features and quality that it has to offer


  • One might find putting the heads of the pieces on to be a great hassle
  • Not designed to withstand extreme temperatures and might break if exposed to great heat
  • Rubbery material may contract or expand with changes in altitude and temperature

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the main reasons this product tops this list is how well it has been received by its users. They have all found it to perform well beyond their expectations. From the durability of the construction material to its details and form, users have found that everything about this product amounts to absolute perfection.

Why it Stands Out to Us

As mentioned earlier, all the features included in this decoy are the absolute best. But there is one feature that specifically stands out to us. And those are the details on the body of these pieces. Upon close inspection, one can notice numerous fine details that give it a realistic look like no other.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is designed for professionals and amateurs alike. These decoys would serve to be the perfect choice for all those that are looking for the most realistic possible option. If you too are looking for a piece that could pass as real duck while it's spread out, then you need to look no further.

What Could Be Improved and Why

As discussed earlier, the heads may prove to be of some trouble. They are also likely to be damaged easily if not handled with care. Given this, it would have been perfect if this set came with a carrying bag to keep it safe while not in use.

Bottom Line

With all things considered, there are no two views about this being one of the absolute best of its kind. You can spend your time looking for others with better features or quality, but there are likely to be very few, if any, that would match up to this one.

Avian-X Top Flight Fusion Mallards 8076, Realistic, Same


  • Designed to be bigger in size than average decoys
  • Lightweight, allowing easy portability for all hunters
  • Feature spots on both ends that allow them to be set up on rigs
  • Good quality construction that allows no scratches, even after repeated use
  • Spread looks remarkably real, thanks to all the details and smart paint scheme


  • Paint chips off fairly easily, and the pieces have to be handled with care
  • Does not come with a set of anchor product weights, and they have to be separately purchased
  • Individual set doesn’t have enough pieces, and one would have to buy more than one to create an appropriate spread

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have found a lot to say about this product, but most of it is in a positive context. Hunters have been extremely pleased with how many birds this spread managed to bring in. They have found it to perform way better than other standard or high-end alternatives, which cost a lot more than this set.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Out of all the outstanding features that this spread has to offer, what really puts it on the top of others is the unrealistic realism of these decoys. It has managed to thoroughly impress us by how detailed and well-designed this spread is, making it almost impossible to differentiate from the real thing.

Who Will Use This Most

Given all the features, this spread would make the perfect choice for just about anyone that is out for hunting birds, which is why it ranks so high on this list. But this unit is designed specifically for those who are looking for a spread that wouldn’t present much trouble with its portability. And with the lightweight design, that is exactly what this spread offers.

What Could Be Improved and Why

These decoys would function far longer if it wasn’t for the paint that chips off easily. Either a better quality paint that maintained the present paint scheme, or including a slot decoy bag that would prevent the pieces from rubbing together would have allowed this product to work considerably better.

Bottom Line

If we could count out the chipping-off paint, there is absolutely no reason why one shouldn’t buy this spread. It is realistic, lightweight, cheap, and perhaps offers almost every feature one would look for in an ideal spread. Thus, we find this product to be the runner-up for best item on this list.

Flambeau Outdoors 8030SUV Storm Front 2 Mallard Decoy, Classic Floaters - 12-Pack


  • Entire spread is surprisingly cheap and can easily fit into a smaller budget
  • Classic 14-inch size of the decoys bring them closer to reality, reeling in more birds
  • Advanced paint scheme used is designed specifically to enhance the life-like feel of the spread
  • Features 3 active, 3 semi-resting, and 6 semi-resting drakes that allow the spread to move realistically
  • Pieces come with a secure strap weight location that allows easy setup and tear-down of the spread with the anchor weights


  • Pieces are not of high-end quality, meaning that they can scratch easily
  • Plastic on the bottom is not molded well and may allow easy leaks every now and then
  • Need to be held down with anchor weights that are not included and need to be purchased separately

What Recent Buyers Report

Other than the easy leaks that one might experience with these products, buyers have had nothing bad to say about this spread. On the contrary, they have remarked about how well it seems to work, highly recommending other bird hunters to use this instead of other high-end products.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With all the great features here, it is hard to pick one thing that we specifically like. But what intrigues us most about this spread is the special quality UV paint scheme that the manufacturers have adopted. One needs to see the spread for themselves to understand how well it helps in giving it a realistic feel.

Who Will Use This Most

This is perfect for all those who are new to the task of duck hunting. It will allow them to use a false bird that works just as well as a standard, or even a high-end product, without having to pay the extra price. It is ideal for all those that are short on their budget but seek to find the best possible option.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The only thing we would like to ask for this spread is the use of safer products. The paint used includes ingredients that may be harmful if somehow ingested. Switching these ingredients to safer ones that are less hazardous would be a great improvement.

Bottom Line

Even if the paint of the unit is not safe, it can be easily justified by the fact that this product is not one that is likely to be taken in the mouth by users. As long as it is used appropriately for its intended use, it is completely safe and ideal for use by one and all.

Avian-X Top Flight Preener/Rester Mallard Duck Hunting Decoys 8072


  • Set of six pieces is well balanced and moves with a natural flair
  • Perfect design and form are designed to bring the decoys as close to reality as possible
  • Ideally captures the realistic form and posture of real-life sleeping, resting, and preening mallards
  • Smartly designed to be at the resting position that puts surrounding birds at ease
  • World champion decoy carver has smartly chosen a natural and ideal paint scheme that is not only realistic but also easy on the eyes


  • Costs slightly more than the standard pieces that one can find
  • For the price that is paid, one would expect the set to include a greater number of decoys
  • Neck and the body of the mallards are two pieces that are glued together, forming a cleft-like space where dirt and other debris can accumulate

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a high-end product that comes with high-end reviews. All those that have recently bought this do mention that they had to pay a higher price, but they also mention that the extra money was absolutely worth it. From the quality of the material to the smartly adopted paint scheme, everything about this is just absolutely perfect.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The world champion decoy carver has very strategically designed these decoys to provide the ultimate functioning. What we love about this spread is how the manufacturer chose resting positions for the mallards' posture. This ensures that the birds around find themselves at ease around this decoy, making the hunt considerably easier.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone who has been hunting for a while now will be able to appreciate the excellence of these products very well. These decoys are indeed designed for professionals that want to take their bird hunting sessions to a whole other level. This spread will allow an enhanced hunting experience that one won’t find with standard products.

What Could Be Improved and Why

These decoys are nothing less than great pieces of art. It is, therefore, necessary that they are handled with care and stored safely when not in use. With that said, it would be ideal if this set came with slot bags that allowed more careful storage of the pieces.

Bottom Line

This product is on par with all the high-end products that promise quality and excellence of form and functionality. Comparing the price of this unit with other standard units is unjustified as it really provides buyers with the worth for the money that they pay.

G&H Super Magnum Fixed Head Mallard Duck Decoy (4 Drake/2 Hens)


  • Paint scheme chosen proves to be highly advantageous, giving it a lifelike feel
  • Pieces are made out of high-quality materials that ensure that your spread lasts a long time
  • Super-sized decoys allow an easy view in the marshy lands for the surrounding birds
  • Fine details on the feathers give it a hyper-realistic look that even humans could fall for
  • Stationary heads with resting positioned decoys allow maximum numbers of birds to be reeled in


  • Paint seems to chip off easily, and seem to fade over time as well
  • Pieces are not light enough to provide users with the ideal portability
  • Entire set does not include enough decoys to serve as a large enough spread on its own

​What Recent Buyers Report

If you want to resort to user reviews to evaluate how well this spread works, then reading the reviews might convince you enough into buying the decoys altogether. Users have found this to be extremely well designed, coming as close to reality as a decoy can. In the words of the recent buyers, this unit is worth every cent that you pay for it.

​Why it Stands Out to Us

What we absolutely love about the G&H decoy spread is its rich size. The super magnum-sized decoys can be easily visible, even from a distance. This makes them the perfect bait to reel in birds for a perfect hunt. So even if none of its other features work, the hefty size definitely would.

Who Will Use This Most

The form and ideal design of these decoys are manufactured to perform in marshy areas ideally. Anyone that sets out to hunt for birds in marshes would find this to be the perfect spread to aid their hunting trip, and it would work for longer, without wearing out in the rough environment.

​What Could Be Improved and Why

The only thing that we could ask from this decoy set is for more. The decoys may be large, but not enough in number to mount up to an appropriately sized spread. If the manufacturers had added a few more units to the set, it would have been ideal in all aspects.

Bottom Line

All in all, this is a set that will not disappoint you. Everything from its high-quality build, to its impressive color scheme, will add up to absolute perfection, making it the ideal spread that one could wish for. And if you are out in the marshes, there is nothing better than this for you.

Avery Pro-Grade Mallard 6 Pack (Active) 73103 42


  • Standard-sized decoys are designed to ensure a natural look for the spread
  • Constructed from a top-quality material that ensures enhanced durability
  • Avery greenhead mallards are designed with intricate details that give them a lifelike feel
  • Pack provides a variety of body styles, saving the spread from looking monotonous and fake
  • Set provides you with two swivel head drakes, two semi swivel head hens and two active drakes which feature a natural flair of movement


  • Decoys would need a greater number of fillers for an appropriate setup
  • Paint is prone to chip off easily with even the slightest bit of rough usage
  • Spread could use a larger number of decoys to function as a proper spread

What Recent Buyers Report

With this set, what has really impressed the buyers is the quality and form of the spread, given the not-so-high-end price tag that it comes with. One would expect it to function just like standard units, but they actually function a lot better, providing users with a great value for their money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If we had to name one feature that we think makes it work best, it would be the 60/40 ratio for the keel. This smartly designed feature allows the unit to stay put and float with the natural movements that a real mallard would exhibit in a river. Nothing gets closer to reality than that.

Who Will Use This Most

This set of decoys would serve to be of the perfect use for all those that set out to hunting birds in rivers. This is simply because of how well these move in the given water body, and how lifelike it feels. It is likely to perform well in other water bodies too, but in rivers, it is the absolute best.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The only improvement that could be suggested for this unit is a better quality primer. The paint scheme seems to be perfect, but what use is it if it doesn’t last long? A better primer would not only prevent the colors from fading, but also prevent the paint from chipping off easily.

Bottom Line

There might be a few cons with this product, but they are bound to be present with every other product that you see. There is no reason why this set of decoys wouldn’t ideally function to reel in a good amount of birds for you. And if you still can’t believe it, then try for yourself.

Best Wood Duck Decoy Spread:
Avian-X Top Flight Duck

Avian-X Top Flight Duck Green Wing Teal Floater Decoy (6 Pack), Brown


  • Durable no-flake paint
  • Designed to be realistic in shape and size
  • Six ducks with different postures and colors
  • Soft plastic bodies that don’t lose their shape
  • Weight-forward swim keel gives realistic movement


  • Only a six-duck decoy pack

What Recent Buyers Report

These decoy ducks are very realistic and hold the shape well. You can put them in the water multiple times, and they will not deteriorate. Everything from their shape to their color is natural-looking. They have some of the best quality among any duck decoys and offer great value for money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Being realistic enough to fool waterfowls (ducks, swans, geese) is the main purpose of these decoys. They are supposed to lure them to the trap. The Avian X duck decoys are green-winged and teal and 10 inches in size from the breast to the tail to match the anatomy of real birds.

They have been designed to look as if they are feeding with their heads down. Two birds are in feeder drake style, two in low head style, one in feeder hen style, and one in low hen style.

Their paint is also very durable and does not easily chip off or get dull.

Bottom Line

The teal ducks or the Eurasian teal are a very common breed of duck that migrate to the south in winter. This pack of decoy ducks aims to imitate them in the best possible way with shape, size, and color. They succeed in providing a durable product for duck hunting.

Hard Core Brands 01-200-0001 Economy Series Mallard Floater Decoys, 12 Piece


  • Price tag ensures that it can easily fit into smaller budgets
  • Whale tail keel design brings a lifelike movement to the spread
  • Comes with a one-year warranty that ensures customer satisfaction
  • Design of the mallards include fine details on every part, including the feathers, giving it a realistic feel
  • Pieces are designed out of the best material to ensure the highest durability, so your set lasts longer than you expect


  • Set can be used as great filler decoys, but not as a spread on its ow.
  • Decoys need proper anchor weights for their setup, but they have to be separately purchase.
  • Slightly smaller than the standard size and would have been better if designed to be an inch or so longer

What Recent Buyers Report

If one goes through the reviews of this decoy spread, they will notice how often buyers have to talk about the small size of these units. But regardless of the size, users still report that they work efficiently, and provide the full functionality that one would expect.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you ask us, the best thing about these units is the price tag that they come with. It allows you to experience a high-quality product that comes with a cost that won’t weigh too heavy on your pocket. This economic set provides with not only quality but quantity as well that will be sure to leave you impressed.

Who Will Use This Most

This decoy spread is ideal for all those that are new to duck hunting. Those setting out to hunt in the lake will find this to be the perfect set to spread out or even use as fillers in the waters. Given the durability, this set will last way longer than users expect it to, even with rough use in the lake.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The only thing that we feel could be a little better is the paint scheme used. Even though the details carved into the design are outstanding, the paint scheme at certain points seems a little off and unrealistic. Some tweaking in that aspect will allow these to work way better than they already do.

Bottom Line

To be honest, this set may not be the best one out there, but it is definitely one of the best that you can get in the given price range. Along with all its specific set of features, it indeed serves to be the ideal spread to be used on a lake.

Best for Open Water:
AvianX Top Flight Duck 6 Pack

AvianX Top Flight Duck Open Water Mallard Decoy (6 Pack), Green (1-Unit)


  • Front weighted keel design gives an extra realistic feel to the decoys
  • Integral swim clip allows the decoys to move with a natural swimming motion
  • Paint used is of a special type, one that resists chipping off even with rough use
  • Pieces are slightly oversized as compared to the standard units, giving it an upper hand
  • Perfectly imitates resting open water mallards that allow the birds not to be too wary, making them an easy target


  • Setting up the weights with the unit may prove to be harder than usual
  • Spread is slightly overpriced for the quality and quantity that it provides
  • Pieces are not very lightweight, making them slightly less portable than others

What Recent Buyers Report

After buying and using this decoy spread, most users found themselves surprisingly satisfied. What most of the users loved about it was the durability that it offered. This spread proved to last beyond anyone’s expectations, making it a great hit among users.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The durability is undoubtedly outstanding, but what really makes this spread a must-buy for us is the quality of paint used. The special non-chipping paint used is not only realistic but also a huge advantage to the users, because even the slightest chip off in the paint can render a decoy unusable.

Who Will Use This Most

Given the form, shape, and design of this resting mallard decoy spread, it is ideal for use when hunting in open waters. Given the swimming motion with which they float, one would find them to work perfectly in open waters as compared to any other sort of water bodies.

What Could Be Improved and Why

All in all, these decoys are absolutely perfect, except for the white rings around the neck. The paint seems to be put on without much thought, and no proper finishing, which in certain lighting situations may stand out. If only this white ring could be fixed, or somehow removed, the decoy would be perfect in form and function.

Bottom Line

The white ring may be an issue on some days, but that isn’t always the case. You will find there to be days when this spread will reel in more birds than any other standard spread that you have previously used. It is one of those outstanding products that you have to use to know for yourself.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

There are still a few more aspects to consider before you make the ultimate decision. These may not be particular to this product, but these may serve to be the deciding factors of how satisfied you are with your product.


The final unit that you choose must be one that fits well into your budget. You don't want to spend time looking at items that cost more than what you are willing to spend. It will not only waste your time but may also result in overspending. It is therefore important for you to have a clear idea of how much you can spend on a product, and shop accordingly.


On the other hand, do not opt for a product just because it is cheap. You need to consider the quality of it; you want something that is good enough to perform its function well. In all cases, you need to opt for an option that gives you a good value for the money that you spend on it. This way, you are not spending more than what is needed, and you are also not being ripped off for what you spend.


Portability of your unit is one of the factors that simply can’t be ignored. The decoys need to be transported in every hunting trip and placed in the right area for a good hunt. If they aren't portable enough, a simple task can become a great hassle.

Types of Duck Decoy Spreads

Just having realistic and good-quality duck decoys are not enough. You need to know how to place them. Different water environments, time of year, and type of bird can mean different types of spread. You have to know where the ducks usually tend to go and whether you need a big pack of decoys or if a smaller one will suffice. 

If you are new to this, you’ll probably not know all this right away. Here are some of the common and well-tested spreads that can get you started on the right path.  

Fish Hook

This is also referred to as a J-hook spread because of the shape of placement. This spread is used for divers. It is suggested to put the long end of the ‘J’ at a 45° angle from the blind. The bend of the ‘J’ or fishhook is right above the blind at about 20 yards.

The blind here is the cover or hiding spot of the hunter.

Double O

The double O, as the name suggests, has two Os of decoys on either side of the landing zone and above the blind. It is often recommended to use spreads that are not common and those that birds have seen before so that they are easily fooled. It is often said to keep changing your spread and not use the same one every time. This technique can be applied in this instance.

The landing zone here is where you want the birds to come to so you can aim properly.   

Shallow Water

This spread aims at driving the ducks near the shore. Here, the decoys are placed on the edges of the water around the landing zone. They can sometimes take a ‘U’ shape. It is not necessary to place them in perfect symmetry; in fact, randomness works better and feels more natural.   

Flooded Timber

This spread is applied to areas with flooded timber, as the name suggests. This does not require a huge spread. It is suggested to place most of the decoys on the upwind side and half a dozen on the downwind side.

This type attracts mallards, woodies, and dabblers. The area in which you hunt is usually not too big. It is the ‘hole’ or an opening between the flooded trees.   


This spread is when you want the most random placement. It attracts all different kinds of ducks, including mallards. It is suggested to keep the ends of the ‘X’ close to each other and not too open. In this case, the landing spot or your blind will be the middle of the letter ‘X’ or your placement.

Random placement looks the most natural and fools birds the most. Your ‘X’ does not have to be the perfect shape but rather should resemble it roughly.

How to Set Up Duck Decoy Spreads

If you have been hunting birds using decoys for a while, you probably know the basics of it. But if you are new to this, and know nothing about how to work with these, then do not worry. Here is a quick guide to setting up your decoy spread for the perfect hunt.

Finding the Right Area

The first thing you need to do is to find the right location to spread your decoys. For this, you might have to consider a number of factors such as the type of water body, the temperature, and environment, the weather, etc.

Most importantly, you need to ensure you set up your decoys in an area where there are birds present for you to hunt. Moreover, ensure that the spot you choose is fairly visible for you to get the right shot.

Setting up Patterns

Once you have picked your spot, it is time to lay down your decoys. You are not supposed to just randomly place, as that is never the natural formation. You need to pick one of the specific patterns.

The different patterns are designed based on different variables, such as the wind and surroundings. To ensure that you pick the right pattern, you need to evaluate your surroundings carefully.

Stay Keen

Once you have set your decoys, you are good to go. All you need to do is stay keen and keep an eye out on your prey. If you have correctly set up your spread, it wouldn’t be long before the birds start reeling in.

Still having troubles with the setup? Do not worry, here is a video that will definitely help answer any questions that you still might have.


Hunting birds is a tricky task, requiring the right set of skills. But with a good decoy spread that is set up well, this task is made considerably easier. The key is to pick the right sort of decoy that not only looks natural but also responds to the surrounding environment. With those two features and a proper setup, you will find yourself hunting birds with no issues.


My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) 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.