Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You?

Posted by: Justin Zarr on Aug 27, 2012
Page 1 of 7

I believe it was sometime around 2005 or 2006 when I first started to notice lighted arrow nocks popping up on my favorite hunting shows.  Arrows that were once a quick flash in a dimly lit screen, leaving viewers to wonder if and where the arrow hit it’s mark, were now streaming bolts of light streaking towards their target.  Without question, the “cool factor” of lighted nocks was pretty high those first few years. 

Like many bowhunters out there, I quickly rushed out and picked up the first pack of nocks I could find, slapped them in my arrows and began shooting.  Of course I did little to no research on available brands or technologies, and even less research on how to properly install and use them.  Much to my dismay, I was never able to achieve consistent results and my somewhat expensive experiment was given up after a season full of mistrials.

Now, some 6 years later I’ve finally come full circle with these fiery little gadgets.  With a plethora of new options available to modern bowhunters , each with its own unique design, I decided I wanted to find out just how these new lighted nocks worked and which ones would be on the back end of my Carbon Express Maxima come October.  After all, there are few things cooler in the bowhunting world than seeing the bright flash of a lighted nock as it rushes towards a deer’s boiler room.

First Things First

To start things off I began to research the different brands and options available to me.  Queue Google!  A few savvy web searches turned up about ½ dozen major players in the lighted nock arena.  I quickly set out to get my hands on them all and wound up with 5 different brands; Carbon Express, Lumenok, Nockturnal, Firenock and Tracer.

Group of lighted arrow nocks
Who knew there were so many different lighted nocks to choose from?

For my evaluation I decided to rate each nock on a scale of 1-5 in five different categories; Price, Ease of Use, Reliability, Brightness, and Weight.  While this system does leave out a few features which may be important to some such as color options, replaceable battery, durability and advanced technology, I felt these were a good sampling of what’s important to most bowhunters.  Here’s what I found out.

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Justin Zarr

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15 Comments on "Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You?"

Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Chad - thanks for the detailed response! The Tracer nocks I got straight from a major sporting goods retailer, so if they are the "old" style there must be quite a few of them still out there being sold as new. As for the Firenock, I think you'll see the biggest area that drove their score down was simply the cost. They scored middle of the pack or better on all other ratings. I just felt that for the average person, $22/nock was just too much considering their competition was sometimes 1/3 of that price. I agree that they are a great product in virtually every aspect, but the cost just puts them out of range for a lot of people. For purposes of my testing I was unable to really test reliability or longevity, but I'll be sure to give an update post-season to let you know. I plan on carrying 3-4 different nocks with my throughout the year to give them a good workout. You can bet the Firenock will be one of them.
Posted by Justin Zarr on 8/27/2012 2:43:16 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
The best thing about "Reviews" are they make excellent starting points for the consumer. In the end, nothing replaces personal experience. Considering what it would cost our readers to "test" each one of these nocks, I think your review definately helped someone make a decision or choose a starting point....and that is exactly what it was meant to do.
Posted by Steve Flores on 8/27/2012 4:43:34 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Thanks for the information Justin!
Posted by Birchwood Bowhunter on 8/27/2012 4:58:24 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
GREAT ARTICLE.RIGHT NOW I HAVE NOCTURNALS.I MADE MY OWN SMALL TOOL TO TURNEM OFF.CAN BE DONE VERY QUICK.I LIKE THE FACT THAT I CAN TURN THEM IF NEEDED.I TOOK ONE AND LET IT SET IN H2O FOR A HOUR.AND IT STILL GLOWS.A TINY BIT OF BOW STRING WAX APPLIED AROUND HOLE AND SWITCH HELPS TOO.
Posted by RUSTY on 8/28/2012 9:01:58 AM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Nicely done, Justin. My biggest factor is durability. I believe time brings the cream to the top, and there's nothing more frustrating than products that get great reviews when brand new, but a year later are better off in the trash. If they market them as disposable, great...but they don't. So I feel they should last. So I'd be most interested if you did a review of these products one year and two years later, with the exact same nocks you test here. I think the results will be compelling. Thanks again.
Posted by Jarrod Erdody on 8/28/2012 9:12:02 AM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Great writeup Justin! I'm going on my second season shooting Nokturnals and I've found no reason to switch. You'll get used to the method of turning off the nokturnal. I always have a pocket knife on me and I can turn these nocks off in a blink of an eye now. Its really that simple for me. And like Rusty stated, a little bit of wax applied over the hole will prevent blood/water from getting to the internals of the nock. I've also found that the red ones are brighter than the green. Good luck this season!
Posted by Donnie W. aka Finch on 8/30/2012 11:33:42 AM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
just use the tip of other arrow in your quiver
Posted by bill on 9/2/2012 7:01:57 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
sorry should of mentioned nocturnal nock just use tip of other arrow to reset best lighted nock ive ever used and some will stay bright for a week no joke.
Posted by bill on 9/2/2012 7:09:59 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Great write-up, thanks!
Posted by Scott_R on 9/3/2012 5:38:01 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Great article Justin, I have found both versions of the Tracer on the store shelves depending on where you shop. There are also 2 different versions of the Luminok still out there. I shoot Easton Axis arrows and they use the X nock. All of the lighted nocks that I have tried are lighter for this arrow. Tracers weigh 22gr and Nocktunals weigh 19gr. The Tracer practice nocks are setup for the bigger diameter arrows and need to be filed down to the correct weight if using small diameter arrows. I have had failures of both the Tracers and Luminoks. the Tracer I just had to glue back together but the Luminok nock split. I emailed them and they sent me a new one the next day. With that said, these failures will not keep me from using their products.
Posted by Nat Triplett on 9/11/2012 10:12:38 AM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
One other thing, I don't like the idea of the nock having to move to turn on the light. That is why I stopped using the Luminoks. The switch on the Nockturnal and the magnet switch on the Tracer is a better design, in my opinion. I haven't used the Firenock or Laser Eye.
Posted by Nat Triplett on 9/11/2012 10:20:08 AM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
Hi justin great article.Just wanted to let other hunters know that firenock also offers the lighting nock for the S NOCKS which is about half the price of the firenock which you can still replace the battery and the nock if it brakes i have shot all other nocks and firenock was the only one that gave me the performance i wanted. Robert welsh Team firenock thank you have a safe and great season.
Posted by robert welsh team firenock on 9/11/2012 8:13:37 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
what nothing for us crossbow hunters? can't use my compound because of steel pins in my back that didn't work. going bow hunting after 5 years of no bow hunting. YAY
Posted by gunslingr45 on 9/16/2012 4:52:19 PM
Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
your tracer nock that you used was an old style... like 2010 they all come with replacable batteries now and arnt wrapped like that. also the lumanocks arnt that reliable after practicing with one many times u can easily break/wear out the connectors, as well with the lumanock they sometimes do get knocked on. also back to the tracer if your using an arrow like the full metal jacket the magnet system sometimes will react upon nocking the arrow b/c of the full metal arrow causing it to not function perfectly everytime. as far as giving the firenock such a terrible rating i think realiablity should be a bigger player and as far as cost goes. its like anything you get what you pay for. i have shot every one of those over the last 3 years and feild tested each one, and hands down the winner is the fire nock. only problem i had ever had was a weak battery, but swapped them out and worked perfectly. as for the magnet problem with tracer...there is nothing a little superglue cant hold. its th
Posted by chad rumsby on 8/27/2012 11:46:17 AM
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Re: Lighted Nocks; Which Is Right For You? #
I have shot both the Lumenok and the Tracer nocks and I decided to go with the tracers. I have been shooting the tracers for the last three seasons now. I love the on/off feature (though i will say sometimes it is an art to hold the arrow steady enough for the nock to turn off or on.) I did not like messing with pulling out on the Lumenok after every shot. Sometimes I would open my bow case and find the Lumenok lite up. The main selling feature for me on the Tracer was the blinking after 10 seconds. You mentioned that as a negative but I love how it makes it just that much easier to locate the arrow after its been shot. As mentioned before the new Tracers come with a lithium battery that can be replaced. They also come with practice nocks which is huge. I finally bugged easton enough they sent me a dozen practice nocks so I shoot year round with the same set up as my hunting rig. I have never had a Tracer not light up. Loved the review just wanted to give a little love to th
Posted by Josh Jacobson on 8/27/2012 9:19:33 PM
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