It does not matter if you have been using and collecting air rifles for years or they are just beginning to grow on you, when you invest in one, you want to make sure that it is the best, at least for the money that you can afford to pay, because there are a lot of models out there, available for prices going from a few tens of dollars to several hundred or dollars.
The intended use of the air rifle
If this is going to be your first rifle and just for backyard fun, there is no point in spending a fortune on it. It is better to look for one that does not make too much noise, in order to remain in great terms with your neighbors, and has a lower scope, to match the dimensions of your back yard. Spending between $ 100 and $ 150 on a .177 caliber should be more than enough for your leisure time.
If you need the rifle for hunting, you should definitely search for an accurate, lightweight and powerful model. Depending on your prey, a.22 should answer your needs on the long run, especially if its velocity reaches somewhere around 950 ft/s. With a little research, you should be able to find a great rifle for no more than $150 – $200.
In competitions, however, accuracy comes first, and in order to obtain it, you need to pay attention to the barrel, the trigger, the sights and the recoil. Then, for bench rest shooting, you may appreciate some extra weight when it comes to recoil management, as long as you can count on a crisp and light trigger. For accuracy, you need shooting pellets with a sub-sonic speed of less than 1,000 feet-per-second, a reliable scope that holds zero, and a cheek risers solid stock.
In the end, you know your priorities better than anyone, you have the freedom to make lists with the features that you are after, to analyze a few models, their afferent prices and as many air rifle reviews as you need in order to make the best decision. Air rifles are often chosen based on instincts and first impression, so it would be useless to get further into details.
Do your research, buy the model that you consider to be the best air rifle and enjoy your hobby!