An ongoing debate among bowhunters rages on as to whether the whisker biscuit or the drop-away arrow rest holds superiority as the ultimate bowhunting equipment. The two styles hold your arrows differently, and while some bowhunters prefer the whisker biscuit, others prefer the drop away rest. You may need to try them both out to decide which one you prefer, but we will cover the advantages and disadvantages of each here.
Whisker Biscuit vs Drop-Away Rest: How They Differ
The whisker biscuit prides itself on its simplicity and ease of use. The synthetic bristles hold the arrow in its place as you wait for the opportune moment to release the arrow. A whisker biscuit completely encircles the arrow to hold it in its place without effort on your part. The plastic enclosure makes whisker biscuits more durable than other arrow rests.
Now, let’s look at the drop-away arrow rest. This piece of archery equipment receives praise from bowhunters because of its pinpoint accuracy and speed. The drop-away arrow rest uses a full containment chamber, much like the whisker biscuit, but they look completely different. The drop-away rest also offers a couple of different styles, whereas the whisker biscuit always looks the same.
Side Note: If you’d like to know how the whisker biscuit fares in terms of accuracy, I wrote about that here.
In terms of aesthetics, I would say that the drop-away arrow rest looks better. It has a more technological appearance; however, that doesn’t influence the shots much.
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Speed and Accuracy: Who Wins?
Without a doubt, the drop-away arrow rest delivers better speed and accuracy. The issue with the whisker biscuit is that the whiskers will slow down the arrows—not much, but you lose about 3 to 6 fps on your shots. On the other hand, the drop-away arrow rest, because of the design and adjustment, only gets 25 to 50 percent contact with the arrow. That lowers the impact that the drop-away rest has on the accuracy and speed of the arrow.
Upon shooting with the drop-away rest, nothing comes into contact with the arrow, making for a deadlier shot. However, both will have an equally deadly impact when trained well with it. The whisker biscuit may prove slightly less accurate, but you would be mistaken if you thought it completely inaccurate. With only a slight inaccuracy in comparison to the drop-away rest, you would be mistaken if you were to use that as the sole reason not to use this arrow rest.
The drop away gains fps while the whisker biscuit loses fps.
Reliability: Whisker Biscuit vs Drop-Away Arrow Rest
The simplicity and reliability of the whisker biscuit will come out on top every time. You can shoot equally as far with a whisker biscuit as what you could a drop away, but the accuracy decreases with the farther you shoot a whisker biscuit. Out in the field, once you spot your prey, you draw back the bow and take a shot. It doesn’t get easier than that, which many bowhunters have come to love about it.
While the bristles of the whisker biscuit wear out after time, you can replace them easily. The drop away used to have a reputation for mechanical failure in the 1980s: Out in the bush, while waiting for your big-game target, you don’t want to lose your 10-point buck because of a faulty drop-away arrow rest. Modern drop aways have improved remarkably, but you need to pay attention to the brand.
Some of the best brands for the drop away include:
- Trophy Taker
- Rip Cord
When properly installed, the drop away usually offers decent reliability. We would definitely put the whisker biscuit in the winning category here, however.
The higher ranking here largely happens because of the simplicity of the biscuit. You have fewer moving parts, which make it less likely to fail over the drop away.
Forgiving: Which One’s Better?
The drop away wins this category every time because you need to have the perfect position when taking shots with the whisker biscuit. You can’t afford to screw up your shooting position or the arrow will fly less accurately. The drop away, on the other hand, won’t impede your shots as much. If you shoot in the wrong position, it won’t necessarily become a game-changer. You might say that you can adjust to the drop away easier than the whisker biscuit.
Whisker Biscuit vs Drop Away Arrow Rest: Which is Better for Beginners?
Someone new to the drop away will struggle more to learn it than the whisker biscuit. I would always recommend that beginner archers go with the whisker biscuit because of its better shooting capabilities. The biscuit holds the arrow firmly in place and makes taking shots much easier.
The advantages of the whisker biscuit for beginners include affordable, simple design and full arrow containment for shots. You can’t beat that for a beginner.
Applications: Who Wins and Where?
Because of the dependability, the whisker biscuit does better in a bowhunting scenario. Would you want to sit outside for 16 hours only to miss your buck because of a mechanical failure? That can and has happened with the drop away. The biscuit is less prone to mechanical failure. The drop-away arrow rest does better, on the other hand, when you put it in a place like target practice.
During target practice, you need to squeeze out as much accuracy as possible, and here’s where the drop away performs best. You don’t even see many people using a biscuit in the target practice realm. The whisker biscuit wasn’t even designed for target practice. They first invented it because of two passionate bowhunters who wanted to make shots out in the field easier.
Easier on Arrows: Whisker Biscuit or Drop-Away Arrow Rest?
The whiskers of the whisker biscuit can damage the fletching of your arrows, especially when not installed correctly. On the other hand, the drop away doesn’t have anything that the feathers can catch on, which makes it far better for your arrows. For someone who doesn’t want to have to re-fletch their arrows, I would recommend the drop away. Drop aways don’t have issues with the arrows and the friction like how the biscuits have.
Cold Weather: Beware of the Biscuit
Bowhunting in Minnesota, oftentimes we hunt in the snow or the icy cold. Having such deep contact between the arrow and the whiskers can be an extreme disadvantage in the cold. For one thing, if the whiskers freeze, it will be 10 times harder on your arrows. The drop-away rest has a huge advantage here in that it doesn’t have contact with the arrow. In the cold weather, you don’t have to worry about the whiskers ruining your fletching. I would consider this a minor point but still worth considering.
|Category||Whisker Biscuit||Drop-Away Arrow Rest|
|Speed and Accuracy||Inferior||Superior|
|Better for Beginners||Superior||Inferior|
|Easier on Arrows||Inferior||Superior|
Keep in mind that while this gives you a general idea of the whisker biscuit versus the drop away, I would still highly recommend that you try both out to see which one you like the most. Detailing the superiority and inferiority doesn’t matter as much as personal experience. I’ve seen many bowhunters who prefer the whisker biscuit, but others prefer the drop away. Which one you choose depends on you.
In all the two come quite close when it comes to shooting, which has created a camp of diehard followers for whisker biscuits and a diehard camp of followers for drop away arrow rests.
Whisker Biscuits Advantages and Disadvantages
- Best choice for beginners
- Excellent reliability out in the field
- Simple design makes it easy to figure out
- Affordable cost on the whisker biscuit
- No accuracy difference at 40 yards or less
- Durable and doesn’t break easily
- Keeps arrow in containment chamber
- Better choice for hunting
- Accuracy falls away at 40 yards or farther
- Eats your arrow fletching
- Looks ugly on all bows
- Not great in cold weather for hunting
- Less forgiving of shooting position
Drop Away Arrow Rest Advantages and Disadvantages
- No contact with the fletching
- Better speed and accuracy
- The fps improves with a drop away
- Forgiving of shooting position
- Better choice for target practice
- Looks better on the compound bow
- As reliable as a whisker biscuit with the right brand
- No friction on the arrow to lower accuracy
- Not as dependable as a whisker biscuit
- Poor choice for beginners new to bowhunting
- Harder to learn than a whisker biscuit
- Timing issues
- Higher potential to fail than a whisker biscuit
Try Them Both out to See Which Works Best for You
You could either buy a drop away and a whisker biscuit, or you could check with a buddy to see if they have the other. Give it a few shots with each one to see which one you like the most. You have diehard defenders in both camps. Consider your priorities and which one feels better shooting. One thing to remember is how you may need to practice to learn either choice. Both have a slight learning curve to have fully accurate shots.
Ultimately, how you shoot matters more than the arrow rest that you chose. The whisker biscuit has its virtues, but the drop-away arrow rest has its virtues as well. If you plan to hunt a lot, you may find that you like the whisker biscuit more. People who practice target shooting will appreciate the increased accuracy. A lot of whisker biscuit shooters, however, report that they don’t see a huge difference in terms of accuracy.