What Is The Best Brace Height For a Recurve Bow?

by | Sep 6, 2022

Brace height is something that is essential for the optimum performance of your bow, but is also something that has a lot of archers confused as to what the best brace height for a recurve bow is and why it is so important.

There are two settings that you can use for your recurve bow brace height. The bow’s manufacturer will recommend the brace height, and they will also specify a high-end and a low-end. Usually, this is a range of about 3/4 inches between the two. For example, a recommended brace height might be a low-end of 7 1/4 inches to a high-end of 8 inches.

Let’s take a closer look at why brace height is important and what it means for your bow if your brace height is not set correctly.

What Is The Best Brace Height For a Recurve Bow?

The brace height is the distance between the bowstring and the deepest part of the grip on the bow’s riser.

Every bow has a recommended range for its brace height, and the recurve bow is no exception. Setting up the brace height on a recurve bow is going to be part of the ongoing bow maintenance as brace heights can change over time due to the bowstring losing tension.

Recurve Bow Brace height

I would always recommend using the manufacturer’s recommendations for the brace height in relation to the limbs of your recurve bow and not the riser.

This is because the limbs are continually flexing and bending, storing all the energy and doing all the work. If your brace height is not set within the recommended range, then the longevity of your limbs might be severely affected.

Below is a table of the manufacturer’s average brace height recommendations:

Bow Length (Inches)Brace Height Range (Inches)
62 – 64 7 1/2 – 8 1/2
66 – 68 8 – 9
70 – 72 8 3/4 – 9 1/2

What Does The Brace Height Do?

The brace height can have an effect on three main areas of your bow’s performance:

  1. Speed of the arrows
  2. Stiffness of the arrows
  3. The noise of the bow

Speed of the Arrows

The brace height will determine how long the arrow is on the bowstring. A higher brace height will cause the arrow to leave the bowstring early, resulting in less weight behind the arrow as well as less energy being transferred into the arrow, which equals less speed.

Stiffness of The Arrows

The point at which the arrow leaves the string affects how much the arrow flexes while in flight. A lower brace height will make your arrows stiffer, while a higher brace height will make your arrows weaker.

The Noise of The Bow

A lower brace height will result in a very aggressive delivery of the arrow, and more residual vibration through the bow limbs once the arrow has left the bow string.

A higher brace height will give you a much softer delivery of the arrow with a lot less limb flutter after the arrow has gone.

High vs Low Brace Height

When setting up your brace height remember that you want your bow to be set up to deliver the best performance when the arrow is being delivered. Not when the arrow has already left the bow.

To achieve that, I would recommend the lower brace height, or at least somewhere closer to the lower end of the manufacturer’s recommended range.

That way you get more speed with the arrow being delivered more crisply with a lot more punch.

How Do You Adjust The Brace Height On A Recurve Bow?

Adjusting the brace height on your Recurve bow is a fairly simple procedure.

You’ll need:

  • Bow Square
  • Bow stringer

You’re going to measure the brace height from the deepest part of the grip to the string using your bow square.

Bow Square

Once you know your current brace height, you’ll then need to unstring your bow using the bow stringer. Then once you’ve decided on whether you’re going to raise or lower the brace height, you simply add or remove twists to the string.

If you’re raising the brace height, you’ll need to twist the string so that the interwoven fibres tighten up. This, in effect, will shorten the distance between the limb tips creating more tension on the bowstring. Twist the opposite way to lower the brace height and increase the distance between limb tips.

Once you’ve added your twists, re-string the bow and check your new brace height measurement. Shoot a few arrows to see if you have the right result. If your arrows are not performing the way you want them to, repeat the procedure until you find that sweet spot.

Does Brace Height Affect Draw Weight?

There is a lot of debate on this subject going around the internet about this topic, but the simple answer to the question is, yes, adjusting your brace height does change the draw weight of your bow. Here’s how:

  1. When you raise your brace height, you’re shortening the bowstring and the distance between the limb tips. This causes the limbs to flex more and store more energy.
  2. The bowstring will be shorter at brace height, but it will also be shorter at full draw.
  3. Upon release, more energy is transferred into the arrow.

Conversely, lowering your brace height will have the opposite effect. The tip-to-tip distance will increase, causing less energy to be stored in the limbs, and less energy transferred into the arrow on release.

The difference in draw weight will likely be around 1lb difference per 1-inch difference in brace height. So not a huge amount, but it’s enough to affect your arrows’ velocity and trajectory.

Related: When to Increase Draw Weight On A Recurve Bow

What Happens If Your Brace Height Is Too High?

On every bow, there should be guidelines from the manufacturer as to what the brace height should be. But if you do decide to go outside those guidelines, then you could end up with a much noisier bow.

Arrow flight will also become more erratic as the bow’s performance becomes throttled. Similarly, if you are ‘under-bracing’ your bow, for extended periods of time, you could end up damaging the bow limbs.


You need to find the optimal brace height that gets you the best performance out of your arrows when they leave the bow.

So ultimately, the best brace height for a Recurve bow comes down to personal preference while working within the manufacturer’s guidelines. Go outside of those and you might end up compromising your bow limbs.