QAD Ultra Rest HDX Review

Price: $144.95 – $159.95 (List)
Pros: Total arrow containment, no launcher bounce back, proven design, quiet, color options
Cons: Possible fletching contact issues, sensitive to installation and tuning
Bottom Line: The most popular drop away arrow rest on the market
Manufacturer: QAD

The QAD Ultra Rest HDX is by far the most popular drop away arrow rest on the market today. Nothing else even comes close. This rest has a solid design that has been proven over and over again by hunters and archers every year. If you dare to question that, there is an army of QAD super fans out there who will tell you that this is the best arrow rest they have ever used. You can also find plenty haters on the other side of the fence. We don’t fall into either camp personally, but we do understand what all the fuss is about.

How it Works

The QAD HDX is a pretty simple drop away arrow rest. It is cable driven as opposed to limb driven which means that the activation cord attaches to the down cable on the bow. To operate the HDX you simply nock an arrow and then use the thumb knob to cock the rest in the up position. When you draw back the rest will move from 80 degrees upright to 90 degrees in the last inch of your draw cycle. The launcher will automatically drop out of the way when you execute the shot.

QAD Ultra Rest HDX Review 2

What We Like About the QAD Ultra Rest HDX

Proven Design

The QAD HDX has been in the hands of more archers than any other rest and their feedback is overwhelmingly positive. You will find bad reviews out there too but when you average them all out the results speak for themselves. This arrow rest has proven itself to be a winner for a ton of people. It has also been tested with just about every bow, arrow, and vane combination out there. If you are having trouble deciding between different products you can sleep easy going with the one with a proven track record.

Total Arrow Containment

Total arrow containment is one of the best things about QAD Ultra Rest HDX. When you cock this rest in the ready position it is impossible for the arrow to fall out. It also keeps the arrow contained up off the riser which helps keep noise to a minimum. Bottom line, it keeps your arrow secure and silent. Before, we didn’t understand why anyone would shoot a cable driven rest over something like a Hamskea, but after shooting the QAD we get it. The containment is definitely better.

No Launcher Bounce Back

You don’t have to worry about launcher bounce back when using this rest. The QAD Ultra Rest HDX has an internal locking mechanism that keeps the launcher blade down when you release an arrow. The prevents any issues with the launcher bouncing up and contacting the vanes during the shot. However, you still have to watch out when you set up your bow to prevent the launcher slapping against your arrow shelf.

To add on this, don’t try to shoot an arrow without cocking the rest first. This rest is not designed to be shot from the launcher down position. Doing this repeatedly may damage the lock down mechanism inside the rest.

Launcher Stays Up if You Let Down

The QAD HDX is designed to stay up even if you let your bow down, which is the big thing that has separated it from the Ripcord Code Red. It sucks letting down a shot and having your arrow rattle around and flop off the rest. The QAD keeps your arrow quiet and secure in the rest until you intentionally release an arrow. We also think this makes archers more likely to let down instead of taking a poor shot while practicing. It’s more tempting to reef off an arrow if you know you are going to have to cock it again anyway.

Super Quiet Design

The QAD Ultra Rest HDX is very quiet as long as it is setup properly. QAD ships each new rest out with felt for the launcher that helps reduce noise a bit. The only downside to felt is that it wears out and has to be replaced. You also want to make sure your launcher isn’t slapping the arrow shelf on your bow when you release an arrow. If you set your activation cord too tight the rest might make a clicking noise as you come to full draw. The rubber thumb cocking wheel doubles as a dampener as well, although we really aren’t sure how much that helps.

Tons of Colors Options and Bow Specific Models

One thing people really seem to love about the QAD Ultra Rest HDX is that it comes in more custom colors and configurations than any other arrow rest. QAD makes a custom version of the Ultra Rest for most major bow manufacturers to ensures that it fits the bow correctly. We used the universal model on a Prime bow and it fit nicely. The HDX is available in over a dozen different colors and camo patterns. We aren’t much into color customization, but the QAD is great for archers who are.

QAD HDX Problems

Although this rest has a ton of fans there are also plenty archers willing to talk about the problems they have had with the QAD Ultra Rest HDX. That is pretty much inevitable due to the high number of people using this rest. No product is indestructible and freak accidents happen. All that being said, there were a few problem areas that we noticed.

QAD Ultra Rest HDX Review

Notorious for Fletching Contact Issues

Fletching contact is the biggest problem that archers are likely to encounter with the QAD Ultra Rest HDX. We would be doing a disservice to anyone reading if we didn’t point out that this can be an issue. However, this problem really only happens when the rest is not installed and tuned properly. That doesn’t make this a bad product but it is a downside in our opinion.

There are a few variables and things you have to get right when installing and tuning this rest so that it functions perfectly. You have to install the activation cord on your bow string at least 3 inches below the rest. However, some bows shoot better with the cord lower on the string.

You also need to have the correct amount of slack in the activation cord so that the launcher moves to the full upright position within an inch of coming to full draw. If the activation cord is too loose or too tight the rest will not function properly.

An issue that we ran into personally was having too low of a nocking point. This caused the launcher to contact the bottom vanes on the arrow during the shot.

There are also a ton of forum posts online about these issues that aren’t exactly helpful. If you look you will find people recommending different measurements and ways to install the rest that are different than what QAD gives in the instructions. This can cause a lot of headaches. QAD has great customer service and will help you troubleshoot if you contact them.

If this all sounds like too much trouble, look into the Hamskea or Limbdriver Pro-V rest.

QAD Ultra Rest HDX Installation Tips

You can find the official instructions from QAD, here. Beyond that there are a few tips that we think are helpful.

First, the cable clamp included with the rest can slip on the bow cable and cause timing issues. An easy fix to this is to get some serving material and serve above the clamp once you get it setup. This should prevent any slipping. You can also get rid of the clamp and serve the activation cord into the cable.

Second, when troubleshooting fletching contact issues you can spray foot powder on the launcher before shooting. This will help indicate where contact is being made. You can also apply lipstick to your vanes an accomplish the same thing.

Most importantly, if you make any horizontal or vertical adjustments to the body of the rest you will have to re-time the activation cord. QAD states this specifically in the instructions.

Different QAD Ultra Rest Models

We reviewed the QAD Ultra Rest HDX, which is the most popular of the different QAD models. If you want to know how it is different than the other models read the overview below.

QAD Ultra Rest Hunter vs HDX

The Ultra Rest Hunter is a much more stripped down version of the HDX. It is designed to be more affordable, which it is. However, that means leaving out some features that are nice to have. The hunter rest lacks a dedicated elevation adjustment which makes it difficult to tune up and down. It also lacks the lock down feature to prevent launcher bounce back. That being said, it does have an arrow containment system that is good for hunting.

QAD Ultra Rest LD vs HDX

There aren’t a ton of differences between the LD and the HDX rest. Both rests have the same internal parts so they operate the same. The main differences are cosmetic things on the outside of the rest. For example, the mounting bar on the LD is longer and it has a straight containment bar instead of the curved one on the HDX. This means you have a little less fletching clearance on the LD than the HDX. The biggest difference is probably that the LD doesn’t have a harmonic dampener on the thumb wheel, which could cause it to be a little louder than the HDX.

QAD Ultra Rest HDX vs LD

Final Thoughts

The QAD Ultra Rest HDX is a solid choice for anyone who is looking for a proven drop away arrow rest. It is great for hunting due to the tight arrow containment but is also capable of being very accurate. When installed and tuned properly the HDX is an awesome rest, but be aware that it can be tricky to get it tuned. If you are looking for something simple to tune, take a look at a limb driver rest like the Vapor Trail Pro-V.

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