What’s the Best Bow String Wax?
Regardless of what kind of bow you're using—a recurve, a compound, a longbow, or any other kind of bow—you need to be waxing your bow strings. It's necessary for both the maintenance of your bow, and archer safety.
In this post, I'll introduce some information about bow string waxes (such as how to apply wax, how often you'll need it, and some "best practices" to keep in mind), and then I'll review the most popular bow string waxes, and hopefully we'll find the best bow string wax for your rig.
One quick note before I get started: in my descriptions below, I define what certain waxes are good for, but really, all of these waxes will get the job done. You may find, over time, that you prefer one over another, but they're all good products made by good companies, and you can use them on any compound or recurve bow.
Do I Even Need a String Wax?
Yes indeed! Bow string wax serves three purposes:
- It prolongs the life of the string, by bundling strands together, and keeping strands from "fraying" off.
- It coats the string so that the string doesn't damage itself (yes, you read that right). A bow string is actually made of many different mini-strings, and all of those mini-strings rub together when you draw the bow. A good bow wax keeps those mini-strings from rubbing each other raw and weakening each other.
- It keeps the string from absorbing water, which damages the fibers of the string.
If you're using a bow—ESPECIALLY if you're using a higher-pound bow—you need to maintain the string with bow wax.
Beware of Scented Waxes
If you're hunting, you may want to think about buying a wax that doesn't smell too strongly, or simply an unscented wax. Whatever you're hunting, it's probably got a stronger sense of smell than you do, and there's no need to give yourself away and make things harder for yourself! Also—and I don't have any science to back this up, but it's my own suspicion—if something is "Forest" scented, that's still something that animals can smell a mile away. Because, after all—how does a string wax smell like the forest? Through a bunch of weird chemicals, is how, and that's the sort of thing an animal can smell immediately.
If your main interest is target archery, don't worry about any of this—feel free to buy any wax your nose desires.
How Often Should You Wax Your Bow String?
Generally speaking, people don't wax their bow strings frequently enough! Most of us are pretty tough on your bows, and waxing is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy bow.
There are some different opinions about waxing your bow strings—big surprise—but the opinions range from "You need to wax your bow string after every single session you use your bow," to "You need to wax your bow string every week or two." A wax after every shoot might be a little bit much, but you should definitely clean your bow string and apply wax after every few sessions.
Clean Your Bow Before You Wax It
Before you add new wax, take some dental floss, and wrap it around the top of your bow string, so that the string is super tight around the bow. Then, drag the dental floss down the bow string. As you go down, you'll see a bunch of old string wax bunching up in the dental floss. It'll be black and brown and gross, and that's the gunk that you want to get rid of.
If you need a visual representation of this, check out the video links in the next paragraph.
How to Actually Apply Said Wax
A quick note about actually rubbing the wax into the string: if you visit some of the popular archery forums (Archery Talk, Texas Bowhunter, Field and Stream, etc.) you'll find a lot of men and women who advise using a piece of leather to rub the wax into the string. That may not be a great idea—using leather creates a lot of heat, and that can damage your bow string. As you see in the videos above, it's often a better idea to simply use your hands (and, yes—that wax is going to stay on your hands for a while! That's just kind of how it is). Your fingers will get the wax hot enough to melt into the string—and you'll feel the heat—but your fingers will not produce enough heat to harm the bow string (unless you're The Flash or something).
Random Points and Things to Keep in Mind
Here are a couple pointers about the actual practice of waxing your bow:
- Wax 360 degrees around the string. Beginners have a tendency to wax one side of the bow string and say, "That's that," but you've got to wax all around.
- Make sure you're only waxing the parts of your string you're supposed to be waxing. Don't wax the servings; if wax gets into the servings, it actually loosens those servings (among other things), and you don't want that.
- Don't use candle wax or bees wax. Those were good options in "days of yore," but today's waxes are composites of all sorts of materials that are specifically made for bow strings. Plus, candle wax and bees wax are really difficult to get out of a string.
- Don't overdo it on the wax! This is one of those "a little goes a long way" situations. Overwaxing the bow string makes it a magnet for dirt and grime, and that's a bad thing—especially if you're using a compound bow, and your bow strings will be moving through your cams.
OK! To the reviews:
String Wax Reviews
There are plenty of other kinds of bow string waxes out there, but these are the ones I'm most familiar with:
Bohning Tex-Tite Bow String Wax
Bohning is one of those tried-and-true companies that makes solid products related to archery. I've bought nocks, vanes, fletching jigs, and so on, and I've always been happy with my purchase. Their string wax is a great option: it's natural wax—meaning it won't smell super weird—and it's for use with synthetic bow strings, which is what many, many people use.
The Tex-Tite Bow String Wax has an excellent consistency, comes off easily with string (see my "How to Remove String Wax" section, above) and lasts a long, long time.
If you're an outdoor bowsman, this can be a great option: it's specifically made for bows you're going to use outdoors, so if you're trudging around in the wind and the rain and the snow, you'll be fine. This is a popular option for hunters, for that reason. It's not the most popular among hunters—that would be the next wax—but it's widely used, for certain.
Scorpion Venom Polymeric Bowstring Wax
THIS is perhaps the most popular bow string wax for folks who love to hunt. Made with genuine scorpion venom, this is a fantastic bow string wax.
I'm kidding. There's no actual scorpion venom in Scorpion Venom Bowstring Wax. It is, however, made out of a bunch of other natural ingredients and conditioning oils from shea (a shea is a nut of the African shea tree), kokum (which is fruit-bearing tree known for its industrial and medicinal uses), and mango (which is a fruit that is delicious). That sounds odd, but mango oils are an excellent conditioner, and they're used in a lot of products.
If all of that sounds fancy, that's fine, because it adds up to an excellent bow string wax. It doesn't freeze, it's resistant to moisture, and it doesn't become brittle and flake off, like some lower-grade waxes. Plus, just like the Bohning string wax, it's odorless, so you can use when hunting, and it won't alert your prey of your presence. Plus, it's a little more pliable than some of the other waxes on this list, so it's a little easier to apply to your string.
I made a few jokes in this description, but seriously—this is a fantastic bow string wax, and it's probably the best bow string wax on the list.
Scorpion Venom Bow Maintenance Kit
Technically, this is a review of bow waxes, but I figured I should include the Scorpion Venom Maintenance Kit, which includes a string cleaner (which removes old wax from the string), a bow string fluid (to coat the string), and a cam and serving lube (which lubricates and coats the cam and the idler wheel). This is specifically for compound bows, and if you're looking to extend the life of your bow, they can be very helpful. There aren't too many all-in-one string maintenance packages, so I figured I'd include it.
String Snot Bow String Wax
I've written about this in another post, but you've got to admit: the names that archery companies give their products are downright fantastic. String Snot? That's awesome.
String Snot Bow String Wax is a fine product: it's a composite of different types of moisture-repellent materials, such as grease, oil, and wax, so you can safely bring your bow into harsher weather without fear of string damage. It's non-freeze, too, so if you're a hard core, true grit kind of archer, you can use your bow in the freezing cold and safely assume you're doing no damage to your bow string. It's odorless, too, so it's great for the hunt.
And, finally—if you've got a younger archer in your family, give the gift of String Snot. They'll love it, and it'll be good for their bow.
Allen 674 Archery Bow String Wax
I love no-frills products that "get 'er done," and Allen Bow String Wax is certainly one of those products. Don't let the plain label fool you—this is a fantastic bow string wax that will greatly extend the life of your bow string.
This product is occasionally pretty dense—it may be a little bit hard and you may need to use a little "elbow grease"—but that's fine. That doesn't mean it's not working; some waxes are simply like that.
Allen makes a lot of great archery products—bow squares, broadhead wrenches, camo items, etc.—and I've bought a lot of their products. I've never really had a complaint about their quality or their durability.
Keep in mind, these are usually sold as a single item or in packs of six, so make sure you're choosing the option you want.
Mossy Oak Bow String Wax
Just like the wax I just discussed, Mossy Oak Bow String Wax is a very simple-looking wax that gets the job done. Mossy Oak makes a number of other archery products, and this is another company I'd recommend. I've used this on a recurve bow and the "glide-stick" format makes it easy to apply.
One thing I should mention: if you're going to throw this into your bow case, it's best to put it in a sealable plastic baggie, like a sandwich bag. It's not the case that it'll get too hot—if it does, you must be a very, very hot place—it's just a good idea in case the cap ever comes loose.
LimbSaver Bow String Conditioner and Protectant
I've never actually used the LimbSaver Bow String Conditioner and Protectant, but I love LimbSaver—they make my favorite bow stringer—so I figured I'd include them on my list. It's the only product I've found that's non-toxic, so if you've got a beloved pet that likes to go and lick absolutely everything in sight, you may want to look at this option.
That's All for Now...
OK! You should now have a pretty clear idea about bow string waxes, and how to use them. I hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by!