TIP! Never buy a crossbow without testing a few different models. You want to know which one suits your shooting style, what features are most important for you, etc.
When you shoot a crossbow you want it to be quiet. It can be the difference between a clean shot and a messy one, or even a complete miss. You can either look for a crossbow with parallel limbs, which reduces shock and vibration, or buy noise-dampening devices to put onto the limbs of the crossbow.
The most important question is what are you going to use the crossbow for?
Target shooting or hunting?
Since you probably won’t be walking as much with your crossbow you can go for a heavier bow, which generally means more power and more accuracy, since the bolt’s trajectory will be flatter.
How often will you go shooting? A couple of times a month? Then you can get a relatively inexpensive bow. Taking it more seriously? Then you will want to spend more to get a good quality bow.
As a hunter you will probably want to get a good quality bow as that will directly translate into how successful your hunting will be.
You will want to get a lightweight crossbow that can punch above its weight in terms of accuracy, velocity and impact. A compact compound bow will serve you a lot better than the more traditional recurve bow.
Barnett produces a wide range of crossbows and is one of the more popular brands. They cater for hobbyist to intermediate hunters, and at the very top end of their range are some of the best crossbows.
For the more discerning hunter or target shooter you get Parker crossbows. Costly but top of the range.