Even with the fastest crossbow in the world, you need the best crossbow bolts as well to go with it. There are so many different crossbow bolts from several manufacturers, so finding the correct crossbow bolts for your bow can be a difficult task.
When you are crawling against the whitetail, and you are ready to pull the trigger, the last thing you want to stop you is inadequate equipment. Choosing the correct bolts is essential to get the most out of your crossbow and choosing the wrong pair of bolts can mess up your shot and possibly leave you injured.
Instead of you having to do all the research yourself we have made a comprehensive guide to follow you through your purchase so you can find the crossbow bolts that suits you and your crossbow.
Dont get me wrong, we won’t just show you the best crossbow bolts on the market, but we will show you both the positive and the negative sides of them all so you can compare them and pick the one that you think suits you the most. We have done this to similar archer equipment as well such as our best single pin bow sight guide.
10 Best crossbow bolts reviewed and rated
Now, let’s start on the list of the best crossbow bolts, I will write the details on each crossbow bolt and you can decide for yourself which crossbow bolts you should purchase.
1. Barnett Outdoors Carbon 20 Inch – Best for Target shooting and field practice
These crossbow bolts are great and cheap options for those who want to practice target shooting or field practice. Arrows do break, but when you break one of these you dont have to feel bad about it, because you know they didn’t cost you the bank.
Still, if they are one of the cheaper options on the list they are still well-made bolts that is perfectly accurate, equipped with half moon nocks and when shot it has a straight trajectory line that is easy to predict.
If you want to shoot at longer distances than 50 yards you should upgrade to some heavier crossbow bolts, but if you are shooting less than that, these are great arrows to use for target shooting and field practice!
2. Carbon Express Maxima Blue – Best lightweight crossbow bolts for competitions and serious archers
The maxima blues are one of the best crossbow bolts on the market if you prioritize weight, accuracy, and durability. The maxima blues are bolts that will ensure that you get a flat trajectory line that makes it easy for you to get tight groups and high target scores.
What makes these crossbow bolts so great are the innovative cross-weave material that is used. This new material is a cross-weave between two carbon materials giving it the same strength as if you had two spines in one bolt.
These are low profile bolts, that can cut through the wind like it was nothing. However, To get the tight groupings and remarkable accuracy, you need to pay the price tag of these bolts, and they are not cheap.
3. Parker Hunter Crossbow Arrows – Best lightweight bolts for hunting
This is the best crossbow bolts for hunting purposes only, they do not come with field tips to use for target shooting or field practice.
What you will notice from your first few shots is that there are very predictable, every shot will feel the same, and after some time you will easily make tight groupings. with these crossbow bolts, you can be sure to have the exact same trajectory line for each shot, the only thing you need to do is to adjust to it.
If you are looking for a hunting arrow that is easy to handle, accurate, light and can provide nearly the same penetration power when it hits the target as it went out of the crossbow then these are the crossbow bolts for you.
Details: 15 grains per inch and lenght is 20-inches
4. BloodSport 20-Inch Crossbow Bolts – Best crossbow bolts for deer and other small deer
These solid crossbow bolts for those who are looking for crossbow bolts that delivers everything you need in order to take down the future whitetail you are standing up against.
The bloodsports 20-inch crossbow bolts are .003 straight and come with brass insertions and half moon nocks.
These crossbow bolts are suited for the modern high-speed crossbows, but the standard 150 lb crossbows as well, if you either choose to use broadheads or field tips you have the option to to tailor the overall weight of the bolts.
These are great lightweight bolts that you have available at purchase without breaking the bank. They are built for speed and power, surpassing 400 fps easily which is more than enough to bring home a trophy.
These crossbow bolts deliver everything you need in order to take down the biggest whitetails out there since the spine weight is forward these crossbow bolts offer better speed retention and shot recovery
These bolts are designed to be stronger and more durable to give you the same shooting trajectory line and power for every shot. These crossbow bolts will be flying straight against your a deer without it noticing it with high speed and disguised with the Mossy Oak camo pattern.
Camouflaged, fast, accurate, and powerful there isn’t much these crossbow bolts don’t deliver.
6. TenPoint Crossbows Aluminum bolts – Great for target shooting and small game
These crossbow bolts are perfect for beginner to entry archers looking for crossbow bolts to use for small game hunting or target shooting.
They come with field tips, but you can change them out with broadheads as well if you want to hunt bigger game, but I would only recommend these crossbow bolts for the small game really, that’s where they excel and thrive.
These are 20-inch bolts that do well repeatedly, accurate and fly straight as a line. For small game, these hard-hitting crossbow bolts are just what you need!
7. Carbon Express Piledriver – Best crossbow bolts for hunting big game
The bigger the prey gets the meatier the bolts need to be as well, these crossbow bolts are made of the well-known brand Carbon express which we know makes remarkable crossbow bolts.
These crossbow bolts add massive penetration power and great target penetration in your arsenal making you ready to encounter most big game animals in the world.
These crossbow bolts are one of the heaviest bolts that carbon express offers, as we know this brings a lot of power to the table, but you need to know the distance of your target before you take your shot in order to hit perfectly.
8. TenPoint Pro Elite Carbon Bolt – Upgrade for big game hunting
These tenpoint crossbow bolts are hand-picked to ensure that you get the straightest and uniform crossbow bolts out there.
If you are looking for crossbow bolts that will travel in a perfect trajectory line for a further distance with high power and speed then these crossbow bolts are for you.
With a balance point slightly over the center, these are better for longer distances. They come with field points, but if you are going to hunt big game with these I would recommend you to switch them out with broadheads, then you will have a pair of powerful bolts that can take down most animals out there on a distance.
The nock on these are fantastic as well, they are bright yellow Omni-nock which gives you six grooves to choose from and eliminates the danger of your string slipping.
The crossbow bolts offer a premium accuracy and consistency that most other manufacturers can compete against.
9. PSE Fang bolts – Best cheap crossbow bolts
If you are on a strict budget and want to save money on your purchases then I recommend you to use PSE fang bolts, these work great for archers who want to go the cheap way.
They are 20-inches long with the straightness of .005 and weighs 300 grains without a point. You can use these bolts to both hunt and for target shooting, but it requires you to switch to broadheads if you need to hunt bigger games.
With 5 star ratings on amazon, these crossbow bolts are more than worth the price tag with its accuracy and durability which is proven by the raving reviews made by the users of the fang crossbow bolts. In option, this looks to be the best crossbow bolts if you are on a budget.
10. Black Eagle Zombie Slayer Crossbow Bolts – Good for budget archers
These carbon crossbow bolts are great for those on a budget, these have a high review score on amazon as well with 19, 5 star reviews!
These can only be bought in a 6-pack so the total price will be a bit higher than the PSE fang bolts, but the bolts are still very cheap.
These bolts can be bought in any size from 18-22, the smallest bolts are only 80 grain and the 22 bolts are 92 grain.
Still, if these crossbow bolts are cheap, they are far from bad, they are purposely built for accuracy and penetration and with the straightness of ± 0.001 you can be sure that your shot will be going one way and that is straight and fast towards your target.
With such well-made bolts, you can be sure to hit what you are aiming for every single time! The zombie bolts can be used for both hunting and target shooting.
How to find the best crossbow bolts
I am now going to help you to find the crossbow bolts you need, in order to have efficient bolts for your hunt or target shooting then there are a few factors you should check first, such as momentum, accuracy, and speed. All these three factors are essential to get the result you wish for.
Let’s jump to the fun stuff! Here are a few of the factors you should check before you decide to purchase your next crossbow bolts.
The kinetic energy is as vital as speed when you were looking for the best crossbow to buy. Speed is the factor that is often put often focus when purchasing a crossbow, but when your bolt is flying through the air, the speed of the crossbow can’t do much. So that’s why you need both parts to be optimized for accuracy, speed, and power.
To take down the whitetail, you are facing you need to have speed and penetration power if you have a super light arrow traveling in lightning speed against the deer, but it breaks impact, then it wouldn’t do much harm would it?
My point is that you need a balance between speed and penetration in order to get the optimal effect out of your shots. If you are struggling to find the correct distance between you and your target then these bolts can be a great choice.
There are three types of bolts you can choose between, these are light, standard and heavy.
- Lightweight (350-400 grains)
- Standard (400-435 grains)
- Heavy (435+ grains)
Lightweight crossbow bolts – pros and cons
The lightweight bolts will travel faster and have a higher maximum speed limit resulting in a flatter trajectory line.
But sadly they have their downside as well, and lighter bolts are easier affected by external forces such as wind and rain. They do add more noise and vibration to your shots as well, because of its weight. This increases the stress on your crossbow and can result in damage or shortened lifetime for your crossbow parts.
Lightweight bolts perform best in situations where the weather conditions are optimal and open terrain.
Standard crossbow bolts – pros and cons
The standard bolts have a mix of both weight and penetration power which equates to well-balanced bolt that can be used in most situations and weather conditions.
Because of the added weight, the shot will make less sound and vibration as well, which is a big downside of the lighter bolts.
Heavy crossbow bolts – pros and cons
The heavier bolts have more power, kinetic energy and penetration power behind them, but because of its weight, the trajectory line will be lost sooner.
If you are going to use the heavy bolts you need to know the exact distance or else your bolts will rarely hit the target.
The heavy bolt is perfect to use if you are hunting in rough weather conditions or hunting big game with some thick skin that requires extra energy to get through.
You need a straight arrow to have a clean and accurate shot, the straighter the better. So when you are purchasing your arrows you need to check what straightness they accept.
If you want affordable crossbow bolts, but still work fine than bolts that accept +/-.006 should be perfectly fine, but if you want the best crossbow bolts that you can find then they should be only accepting +/-.001 bolts in the package.
But straightness is now everything, without the arrow spine, the straightness doesn’t have much to say.
The arrow spine is a measurement on how though the arrow is when the string is pushing against the nock on your crossbow
When we shoot a crossbow bolt vibrations are sent through the bolts, the arrow spine needs to reflect the power of these vibrations to make them worth using.
Each crossbow sends out a different amount of vibration, so they should have different crossbow bolts as well.
If you shoot with a crossbow bolt with a weak arrow spine on a crossbow with high draw weight, you can risk getting either injured or an of course shot.
If you shoot with either fiberglass or carbon arrows and do these the crossbow bolt can explode in your hand, so make sure you dont skip this step when looking into buying your next crossbow bolts.
Buying bolts for hunting
When you are looking for bolts you are going to use for hunting you need to put more energy into doing the research, because if you dont use the proper bolts while hunting you can risk wound the animal.
The math is pretty simple, the bigger the animal the tougher your crossbow bolts needs to be.
Dont use the cheapest you find on hunting, those are fine for target shooting, but when dont risk it when it comes to hunting animals. Choose the best pair of crossbow bolts within your budget and go with them.
Preferably you should use the same crossbow bolts while you are practising as you are when you are hunting. This way you won’t have any surprises or difficulty when you are hunting.
How many crossbow bolts should you buy?
As I mentioned earlier you should use the same crossbow bolts when you are practising as when you are hunting to avoid any conflicts when you are switching bolts.
I recommend you to at least buy 12 bolts so that you have 6 bolts you can use to practice volume with and have 6 different bolts for your hunting.
It can be costly to purchase that many bolts in one sitting, what you can do is to buy six crossbow bolts now for practising and then buy the remaining crossbow bolts when the season is close by. This way you have time to save up a few bucks in order to buy the last part of your bolt batch.
What nocking point should you choose
The crossbow nock is a piece of aluminum or plastic attached on the top of the bolt shaft. Having the correct nock is important to get the optimal energy transfer between the crossbow and the bolt. You can usually not pick which nock you want on the bolt you are purchasing, but you can quality check the bolt you are about to purchase and check to see if the bolts are great, if not then I suggest you continue your search.
I recommend you use: half-moon hybrid for target shooting and hunting if you are going to shoot at night or a place your bolts can easily be lost then use lighted nocks
There are 4 different types of nock you can choose between, these are flat, half-moon, half-moon hybrid and lastly lighted nocks. I will now go in detail about the difference between each type, let’s start with the flat on shall we.
As the name states, these nocks consists of a flat disk, these are the most used and oldest form of nocks. Since the nock is flat you have the option to place the string nearly anywhere on the nock which can be nice something, but one thing you need be careful of when using a flat nock is that the string can easily slide off the nock, resulting in dry fire. Next one up is the half moon.
The half moon was made to prevent your string from slipping off the nocking point. The half moon is the “safest” nocking point out there because of the added sides that make sure your string stays input.
When you are using a half moon you have the option to either have the single fletching on top or the bottom, if you talk to an experienced hunter he will tell you to put the single fletch on the bottom in the grove to ensure optimal accuracy.
The half-moon is a happy medium, it gives you the option to choose between different nocking points like the flat nocking point gives you and in addition, it gives you some of the security the half moon nocking point provides.
Lastly, we have the lighted nocks, these nocking that is lighted, making them easier to see and retrieve. These are mainly designed for hunters, lately, these have become very popular, which makes a lot of sense.
If you are hunting in the dark or want to record your hunts then a lighted nock can be a great idea, helping you to easily find your arrows and at the same time, it looks kinda cool.
The fletching is a crucial part to make your arrow go straight and accurate. The fletching can be found on the bolt shaft close the nock. Usually, the crossbow bolts are equipped with three fletchings made of plastic, the only thing you need to do in your purchase regarding the fletchings is to confirm that they are healthy and existing.
When you purchase bolts for you crossbows one thing you need to make sure is correct is the length. Usually, the crossbow bolts are anywhere from 16 to 22 inches in length.
Check with the manufacturer which bolts you need for your current crossbow or do a quick google search, I which I could provide you the information, but there are simply too many crossbows for me to cover that.
Should you buy Carbon, aluminum bolts or fiberglass bolts
Lastly, you need to choose which material you want your bolts made off, aluminum bolts are less expensive bolts that work well, but they are less durable than carbon arrows, so you will end up buying new ones more often than if you choose to buy carbon bolts. Aluminum bolts are the best crossbow bolts for those who want to practice archery without having to break the bank.
Carbon bolts are more expensive but more durable. They tolerate more bending, so when your bolt is shot through the air and suddenly get stopped by your archery target it will naturally cause some tension and bend on your arrow. The strength of the carbon prevents that the carbon bolt gets less effective or weaker. Carbon bolts are the best crossbow bolts for hunting.
The last material is fiberglass, these are more affordable than carbon bolts, and they absorb shock and bends very well, but the reason I am not a fan of them is that they are prone to explode in your hand.
Other cons of fiberglass are that some bolts use glue that doesn’t bond that well with fiberglass. If you are going to bring these with you on a flight or travel then I recommend you to purchase a bow case to store them in, or an arrow case.
I hope you found this list of the best crossbow bolts useful and the buying guide, if not then let me know how I should improve this list in the comments below, thank you.
Make sure to check out our recent guides such as the : Best bow release.
Andy Ryan is an archery enthusiast who has been practising hunting and target shooting as long as he can remember. He is known for his accurate groupings and humming laughter. His texts are packed with experiences and knowledge about the archery sport that few obtain.