I’ve been using a release aid with my compound bow for over 20 years now. My favorite release when I was a teen shooting my PSE Brute Force was a Jim Fletcher fletchmatic rope release. I loved that thing. With the advent of the popular D-Loop in modern times, this release is largely gone the way of the Dodo. But fear not, there are other great releases to be had at reasonable prices.
What’s the Best Archery Release under $100? As an overall pick the Tru-fire Hardcore buckle foldback wrist release works well for a variety of shooting and hunting applications. It’s comfortable and adjustable making it a great choice and Tru-fire is known for good quality.
Of course there’s more than 1 style of release and to choose a single overall best option would be doing a disservice to other types of releases so let’s break it down into 4 categories and have a closer look.
There are various types of release aids on the market but we’re going to focus on 4 major categories here. The first will be an index finger release. These releases normally attach to your wrist and have a trigger which opens a caliper or hook. Next up we’ll look at Thumb releases, sometimes called half mood releases, which are handheld and operated by your thumb rather than your index finger. Hinge releases are popular with target shooters and those trying to overcome target panic and lastly I’ll offer up a suggestion for best overall Youth release.
Here are my 4 major points of consideration in choosing the best release in each category:
Best Wrist Strap Index Finger Release
The Tru-fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback is my choice for best wrist release under $100. Some places have this coming in just over $100, but can be had on Amazon and other places for under. This release earned a Reader’s Choice Gold award from Bowhunting World in 2020. It’s most commonly sold in camo, but can be had in black as well. Bonus – It’s made in the USA!
Comfort is going to be a big factor here because after all this thing is going to attach to your wrist. The best shooting release in the world can be ruined by an uncomfortable wrist strap. The Tru-fire Hardcore has a leather strap with soft inner lining that looks to be well stitched. In addition this is a foldback release so you can get the release out of the way for better use of your hands, like to climb into a tree stand, or pull arrows from a target.
In terms of adjustability there’s 2 major points to consider in my opinion. Most wrist straps will be adjustable either by Velcro or buckle, in this case it’s a buckle. So I turn my attention to sensitivity and length. I have big hands so being able to adjust the release out longer is important to me, Others may have the opposite issue, either way, being adjustable in length is a key point. This release has an adjustable length to help fit it properly to your size hands. The trigger travel is also fully adjustable.
Operation comes down to just how it sounds. How well does the release operate. Is it easy to use, is it functional, how well does it release, etc. Tru-Fire is bold enough to claim that this release is guaranteed not to slip off loops. The hook design makes this really fast and easy to attach to your bow which is great. Once you get used to it, hook releases are probably the fastest and easiest to use.
Lastly we have quality. Tru-Fire is no slouch in the industry. They’ve been around a long time and are well known for having great fit, finish, and function. And judging by the majority of reviews I’ve read, the hardcore holds up to these claims. It wasn’t given a Reader’s Choice Gold award for nothing and it’s proudly made in the USA.
Best Thumb Release
In this category I offer you the Spot-Hogg Whipper Snapper as my choice for best thumb release under $100. This is a 3 finger thumb release that’s well built by a reputable company that never disappoints.
What makes a thumb release comfortable? Well that’s up for debate but size, shape, and finish are good considerations. Some of this is preference as well, many half moon style thumb releases come in either 3 finger or 4 finger setups, I’ve seen some 2 finger. My personal preference is 3 fingers, I like to drop my pinky back and 3 fingers are plenty for me to pull back with. The Whipper Snapper has a nice ergonomic design that fits a good range of hand sizes. They do also offer a 4 finger version as well, but the 3 finger seems to be the most popular.
Same as with the wrist releases, adjustability is important. In this case there’s no length or wrist strap adjustments to worry about but the Spot-Hogg offers good adjustability for the trigger travel and sensitivity.
This release has one of the fastest trigger breaks in the industry with a nice crisp response. It also has an auto reload feature. It should be noted that this release is only compatible with bows that have a D-loop installed.
Quality is not an issue with the Whipper Snapper. Spot-Hogg delivers well in this category with their proprietary materials and attention to detail these releases are well made. Pouring through reviews of this release will generally back up that statement save for a few people as is always the case with any product.
Best Hinge Release
Finding a quality hinge release that falls into the under $100 category is a bit of a challenge as this type of release tends to be more expensive than others. So rather than recommend something that’s absolute trash I’m gonna have to go a bit over $100 for this one. That being said, my pick is for the Tru-Fire Sear Hinge Release which comes in a bit over $100. Check Amazon for current pricing.
The sear has a heavy brass handle with smooth contours allowing for a comfortable and repeatable grip on the release. Both are important for accurate shooting. Everything is fully machined to feel great in your hand.
The Tru-Fire Sear hits a home run on adjustability. You can adjust almost everything about this release including using or omitting the 4 finger extension and moving the thumb post to 3 different optional positions. You can adjust how hot or cold the release is and is has 4 click options including no click.
The two previous categories are what make the operation of this release a breeze. Adjustability means you can get just the experience you want and tune in how easily you want it to break the shot (hot/cold). There’s not much to say here other than the Tru Fire sear gets the job done well.
Proudly made in the USA Tru-Fire performs vigorous testing on their products and has proven themselves an industry leader for many years. This is a well made release using good quality material that’s fully machined to perfection. This release is also available in an array of colors.
Best Youth Release
So I’ve actually already written an article about the best Youth releases which you can check out over here. However the long and short of it is that my top pick would be the Scott Hero X which comes in well under $100. You can check out that article to read more about it and a few other choices.