Purchasing a new set of bowstrings

There are a ton of options out there when choosing a new set of strings for your bow, but how do you choose? Seems like there are 100’s of string manufacturers out there and every claims to be the best…. To simplify and help answer this question, first you need to put yourself into a category: 1. I’m an archer/bowhunter who does all my own bow work or I have a friend or family member that does all my bow work 2. I’m an archer/bowhunter who utilizes a pro shop to do my bow work If you’re in category 1, you can support your local pro shop and purchase a set of strings from them, or you can buy directly from one of many aftermarket string companies. Although there are many options, look for those that offer a guarantee with their products against common issues such as: peep rotation, elongation (creep) and serving separation. If the company isn’t willing to stand behind their products, that’s probably a good indicator of quality. Also, there is a wide range of prices in aftermarket strings. What makes a $150 set of strings better than a $100 set or even a $50 set? Every string manufacturer out there is saying that their strings, regardless of price, are the best made and many of them even claim to have some mystery magic that nobody else has. So, if everyone’s strings are the best, why the wide price range? Could the $50 set of strings be just as good as the $150 set? The short answer for that is no or very unlikely, but there are a few major factors for prices. For starters, most people or companies selling their strings inexpensively are probably guilty of not paying federal excise tax and also don’t likely carry product liability. Another is being the companies cost to produce them. The material costs to build quality strings can vary some depending on the volume that the string company does, but that difference is very minuscule. The material cost to build strings is actually pretty small, leaving labor and overhead as the biggest driving forces behind cost. Let’s face it, without a company making a profit, there is no company, but as a consumer, you also shouldn’t have to pay for inefficiencies in production that result in an increased cost of the product.  The next factor is quality vs. perceived quality. It’s always somewhat of a “get what you paid for” scenario, but only up to a certain extent. I would agree as I previously mentioned, that you’d be hard pressed to find a good string set at $50 that would rival the quality of anything in the $100+ category, but this is probably as far as it goes. In most cases, a good quality set of strings is going to be at least $100 or more. When you get into the $100-$150 range, price really has no significant bearing on the quality of the product. Basically saying, if you tested 10 different sets ranging from $100 – $150, the results wouldn’t likely match in order of price. Your $150 set could rank anywhere in the top 10 just as much as the $100 could win. So, the lesson here is don’t skimp on your strings for a “cheap” set.  If it looks like an amazing deal, it might be “buyer beware”. The other lesson is once you start exploring the higher price category, cost isn’t an indicator of quality. Lastly, when trying to decide what strings to get, do a little research. See what companies know their stuff and back it with service. See who’s willing to talk “tech” and get you the information you need, or who’s just looking to grab another sale. Don’t be afraid to call up, ask questions and educate yourself. Calling or emailing a company for info is in no way an obligation to buy. You’re the customer and $100+ is a lot of money, so spend it where you have confidence. On to category #2. This one is much easier…. Go to your local archery shop! That’s what they’re there for. They have a working relationship with one or possibly several different string manufacturers that they trust. They put new strings on bows and install them every day, so they can attest to the quality, workmanship and customer service they get with that company. Plus, supporting your local pro shop, supports the heart and backbone of the archery industry. Most pro shops will charge for the installation of strings and the setup of the bow, but this service is money well spent. Regardless of why you’re in this sport, accuracy and reliability are important to all of us. The pro shop brings this back to your bow when strings are changed. Here’s what not to do….. I would strongly recommend not buying a set of strings online or directly from the manufacturer and then bringing them into your local pro shop to have them installed without talking to them first. Unless you are loyal to a brand or set on buying a brand they don’t or won’t carry, it’s just not great practice. Here’s why…. The price you paid for those strings directly is likely the same that you would have paid to have them ordered in the store. Even if you saved a couple dollars buying them direct, the installation price for strings not bought in store is often higher than when purchased there, eliminating any savings. Then what happens if there’s something wrong? A serving in the wrong location, a wrong length? Maybe you accidentally ordered the wrong length…. If this was done through the dealer, they would take care of all of this and make sure you got the right product, instead of you having to be the middle man. Buying through your archery shop doesn’t mean you can’t choose your brand though. You can still do your research and even talk to the string company. Educate yourself just the same and ask questions. Then you can go to your local dealer and tell them what brand you want. Most archery shops will order the product their customer wants and just about every string company will sell a set to a dealer, even if they don’t do business on a regular basis. At GAS Bowstrings, we sell to consumers, dealers and distributors, but firmly believe in the brick & mortar archery shops that work hard to provide a positive experience for their customers when purchasing archery and hunting equipment. We are always happy to talk bowstrings or even just “bows n’ arrows” with all our past, current and potential future customers, including those who buy from us directly as well as those who go through their pro shop. When you’re looking for your next set of strings, give us a call or ask your local dealer about GAS Bowstrings and Fuel Your Success! Eric Griggs Owner – GAS Bowstrings

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