When one first decides to enter the world of crossbow shooting and hunting it is easy to become overwhelmed when selecting the crossbow that you want. First you will find that the prices wildly vary from as little as 50 dollars to upwards of a grand or more. Also you will find that crossbows have many different features to select from like ones that are lightweight or heavy, crossbows that come with a scope or not and so on. Thankfully with some knowledge of crossbow features and functionality you can review your different options and select the one that works best for you.
First, when selecting your first crossbow you should always go and shoot as many different crossbows as possible. This way you can find what type and configuration that you like the best before you spend any money. This is especially important for shooters that are buying their first crossbow.
When you are ready to buy the first consideration that most buyers look at is weight. A lighter crossbow will be easier to tote through the woods but it will also probably be less stable when taking the shot. Conversely, a heavy crossbow will be more stable when taking the shot but will be harder to carry during hunting. So it really comes down to what type of hunting you are planning on doing. If you have a deer stand set up, a heavier crossbow will probably be better as you will be mostly static during hunting. If you are going to be tracking more reclusive game a lighter crossbow will be better for you. So it is up to your own personal purpose of the crossbow.
Another concern when purchasing a crossbow are the features that come with the crossbow. Many crossbows now come with a cocking device attached to the crossbow. This is not completely necessary but it does make it easier to cock the crossbow and eliminate the need for the purchase of a cocking device. This is also an important feature for older crossbow purchasers that may find it difficult to manually cock the crossbow.
Scopes are another feature to look for when purchasing a crossbow. Typically it would be a good idea to purchase a crossbow that has a scope included as the scope will be specifically designed to work well with that crossbow. If you decide to purchase an aftermarket scope it will add costs to the overall purchase but you will have a more custom setup to your crossbow. Red dot scopes are great for crossbows as most shots are taken at a short range. If you are more used to conventional rifle scopes those will work as well. Either way do not go out and buy the cheapest scope you can find as you get what you pay for.
The best recommendation is to just go out and test the different crossbows that are you have in mind. That way you can review the crossbows and find the best crossbow that works for you.