Minecraft: Crossbow vs. Bow, Which Is Better?

crossbow vs bow in minecraft

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Minecraft’s world is full of terrifying aggressive mobs, so it’s a good idea to be armed and ready when they start creeping out from the poorly-lit areas. And even if most players prefer to arm themselves with swords, it’s a good idea to have something ranged on hand as well. As far as ranged weapons in Minecraft go, you can choose between crossbows, bows, and tridents, but in your inventory, sometimes there is a place only for one. This is why we set out to figure out between crossbows and bows, which weapon is better and which one should you use?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Bows are an excellent starting weapon due to being easy to use and easy to craft. They also have a longer range.
  • Crossbows are great once you enchant them, figure out special types of ammunition, and have the resources to craft them.
  • Overall, Crossbow is a better weapon mostly due to its late-game potential, as it has a better damage output. In the early game, bows take the win.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated in October 2023, and it reflects the most up-to-date state of the game.

Crossbow vs. Bow: Ammo

Both crossbows and bows use the same type of ammo and the mechanics are mostly the same. You can fire up one arrow which will be consumed, and this is where the crossbow has some advantages. First, you can load up the crossbow with fireworks, in order to induce an explosion however you need to explosive effect on them.

In terms of ammo spent, both crossbow and bow have their pros and cons. Bows have the Infinity enchantment which means that you can fire up all the arrows in the world without them actually being spent from your inventory. You still need to have at least one arrow in your inventory for this to work.


Crossbow has Multishot enchantment that allows you to fire up to three projectiles at the same time, but only one arrow from your inventory will be spent.

This category really depends on what you’re looking for when it comes to a weapon if storage is no problem for you then Crossbow offers a better advantage with the Multishot enchantment that allows for higher damage output and AoE effect. If you’re often struggling with storage, in that case, Infinity might be useful.

Crossbow (1-1) Bows


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Which weapon reloads faster?

Bow generally reloads faster and doesn’t have extra steps when using it involved. The crossbow does have that extra step since as soon as the projectile is attached to the crossbow you need one more manual action to target and release it. Crossbow however does have Quick Charge enchantment, that allows you to reduce the reload time for crossbow, which means that firing up the next shot will be faster.

Generally, bows start much faster than crossbow, but as soon as you get to the enchantment, crossbow turns out to be faster between the two weapons. Still, not all players can get their enchantments right away so this point will be split as well.

Crossbow (2-2) Bows

Which weapon has better enchantments?

Bows have several enchantments at their disposal

  • Power- that increases damage.
  • Punch – that adds knockback to arrows pushing the target back.
  • Flame – that sets targets aflame.
  • Infinity – that allows you to shoot arrows without using them up.
  • You can also enchant your bow with Mending and the Curse of Vanishing.

Crossbow has the following enchantments:

  • Quick Charge – that allows you to shoot faster.
  • Piercing – that allows your projectile to pass through multiple entities.
  • Multishot – that fires three arrows at once, dealing AoE damage.
  • Unbreaking – that increases the durability of the weapon.
  • You can also enchant your crossbow with Mending and the Curse of Vanishing.

As you can see by this analysis both weapons have different unique enchantments that are designed to address some shortcomings of the weapon when compared to the other weapon. My personal opinion is that the bow has a better enchantment because it addresses the initial lack of damage while keeping all the things that keep bows better than crossbows. However, the crossbow gets utility enchantments that turn it into an AoE weapon.

Crossbow (3-3) Bows

Which weapon deals more damage?

Crossbow deals more damage even if Power V enchantment is taken into account. Why? Because of the AoE and because it starts out with more damage in general. Every crossbow, by default, starts with 11 points of damage for a maximum draw, and every bow starts with 6 points of damage for a maximum draw without a critical shot.

bow in minecraft 1

This goes up to 18 points if Crossbow is loaded with Fireworks and you can deal even more damage if you have piercing and multishot enchantments on your crossbow. Overall, the bow doesn’t really stand a chance in terms of damage when all factors are taken into account.

Crossbow (4-3) Bows


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Crossbow vs. Bow: Which weapon is better?

Both weapons have their pros and cons. Bows are certainly better and easier to use early on when you just need something to shoot ranged damage easily and efficiently. However, as soon as you have access to more resources, you can really turn your crossbows into weapons of mass destruction, meaning that they are slightly overall better.

Which weapon do you prefer to use? Let us know in the comments below!

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