NERF guns are a great way to get kids outside and encourage important physical play, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to tell which choice will give your kiddo the edge in combat. There are lots of feature-packed models available, so whether they like smaller guns, huge blasters or even a crossbow, there’s something for everyone. We took a look at the 14 best NERF guns to give your kid the edge in combat to help you pick the right one for their style. 

Our Top Picks

Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger

Best Overall

Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger

Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

Upgrade Choice

N-Strike Elite Rough Cut

Nerf N-Strike Elite Rough Cut

Best Budget Buy

N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

HOW TO PICK THE BEST NERF GUNS

1. Recommended Age

When it comes to choosing toys or gear for kids, age is always a factor to focus on. If you want to give your child a competitive edge, you’ll want to choose a gun made for someone their age. One that’s made for an older or younger child could leave them confused about the operation of the toy or unable to keep up with their friends because of its small size.

2. Size

The items on this list and NERF guns in general vary pretty widely in size. Beginners and younger kids often do better with smaller toys, while more advanced users can quite literally break out the big guns. If your child is on the smaller side or is just starting out, you may want to check out the dimensions of a product before buying.

3. Ammo

What is a NERF gun without its ammo? Certainly not much fun to play with, which is why the company includes at least a few pieces of ammo with every toy. Noting the amount of ammo that comes with a toy can be helpful, as it will let you know if you could benefit from keeping more on hand.

4. Color

Favorite colors can be a major identity point with kids, as can be colors that are disliked. These toys come in a broad variety of colors, fortunately, so even if your child is picky about color there’s likely something they’ll go for. It’s a feature to note if your child is particular about it.

5. Batteries Needed

We don’t need to tell you why having batteries is important for battery operated toys, but we will anyway – no batteries takes the fun out of the toy and frustrates your child. Knowing if you need batteries, how many and what kind(and having them on hand) can make things easier on you both.

6. Safety Hazards

It’s a non negotiable to always know if there are safety hazards present on toys and gear for kids and to ensure that the appropriate measures are taken to keep children safe. The most common possible safety hazard with NERF guns is a choking hazard, and we’ve noted where that’s present.

The Winners

#1

Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger

Best Overall

Perfect for multi kid households and family fun, this two pack of NERF Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger laser guns is a super unique option that’s great both indoors and out. The fact that these sleek little blasters come in a two pack makes life easier and less expensive for parents, and safe lasers instead of real projectiles means kids can play anywhere, so space and location isn’t as much of a factor. The guns can be set to 10 or 25 hits before the user is “out”, allowing for short or long battles.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 12.1 x 14.9 x 4.4 inches
Ammo: None, laser
Color: Yellow/Orange, Blue/Orange
Batteries Needed: 12 AA batteries not included
Safety Hazards: None

#2

N-Strike Elite Rough Cut

Upgrade Choice

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Rough Cut is an awesome 8 dart blaster, this toy fires up to 75 feet – it’s not as far as some on this list, but it’s still pretty cool. The pump fire action offers combat edge without batteries required, and the durable, sleek appearance makes battles feel more immersive. Kids can perform either precision shots or rapid fire with this gun that’s fairly compact and includes a tactical rail that can be used with N-Strike mods.

Recommended Age: 6+
Size: 18.9 x 11 x 2.8 inches
Ammo: 8
Color: Blue, white, orange
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#3

N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

Best Budget Buy

This smaller, inexpensive blaster is easy for younger kids as well as a good first time NERF pick for older ones. Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is not TOO small and boring, but the mechanics are exceedingly simple. The blaster fires its 6 rounds up to 90 feet, which is exciting in battle, and the manual slam fire adds extra intensity to play combat. The rotating barrel action is awesome too, and best of all, there are no batteries required. 

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 7 x 12.8 x 2.8 inches
Ammo: 6
Color: Grey, blue, orange
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#4

N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster

Best nerf gatling gun

N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster is a large, extra cool Gatling gun model which features a tactical rail that’s great for N-Strike accessories as well as a 25 dart drum that with both aesthetics and function that kids will love. The stately blaster has an easy to grip handle and fires up to 5 darts per second at up to 90 feet with a set of fresh batteries, giving kids a definite edge in combat play. 25 darts is a nice starter set, but make sure you keep batteries on hand, because all the really fun features of this toy rely on them.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 4 x 24 x 12 inches
Ammo: 25
Color: Blue and orange
Batteries Needed: 4 D batteries not included
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#5

Zombie Strike Sidestrike Blaster

Best zombie nerf gun

Zombie Strike Sidestrike Blaster is a petite blaster that can fit in a large pocket, but comes with a holster that’s perfect for stealthily hunting zombies. It’s great for an impressive quick draw that opponents won’t be expecting. Kids can stash the blaster in its holster, and the two dart storage compartment on the top prevents lost darts. It still only comes with four, though, so it wouldn’t hurt to pick up an extra pack. It’s a sturdy little gun, and it’s a good pick for first timers or younger users.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 2.8 x 9 x 12 inches
Ammo: 4
Color: Grey, green, brown, orange
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#6

Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K

Best Full Auto NERF Gun

The advanced acceleration system on this larger blaster allows it to fire 8 rounds per second at 100 feet, a huge combat play advantage for kids. Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K is a rechargeable toy with a super high capacity hopper that can hold 200 rounds(they’re included). A shoulder strap makes it easy for your child to tote this hefty gun and achieve precision shots, and the red and blue flags means kids can use this Rival toy without being relegated to one side every time.

Recommended Age: 14+
Size: 5.2 x 33 x 15 inches
Ammo: 200
Color: Grey/white, orange, black
Batteries Needed: Rechargable, included
Safety Hazards: None

#7

Rival Artemis XVII-3000

This big, bad gun features a multi column rotating high capacity blaster with an easy load integrated magazine and cool slam fire action with no batteries required for intense combat play. The signature design of Rival Artemis XVII-3000 comes in red or blue with distressed white stripes for a militaristic feel, letting kids choose their favorite team. The gun comes with 30 rounds, the maximum that it’s able to can hold.

Recommended Age: 14+
Size: 4 x 20.5 x 10 inches
Ammo: 30
Color: Red or blue
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#8

N-Strike Jolt Blaster

The smallest model on our list, the N-Strike Jolt Blaster is a great pick for smaller users or as a first time NERF weapon. It can fit easily into a pocket for stealthy combat and it’s simple to load and fire. The cocking handle action adds fun and realism and is easy for kids to perform. It’s a good travel toy, because it doesn’t take up much space, but older and more experienced kids may be bored with it and it only comes with two darts, so you may want to invest in more.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 6.6 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
Ammo: 2
Color: Blue and silver
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#9

Rebelle Combow

Perhaps the most unique choice on our list, this crossbow from the Rebelle line is designed for girls and great for encouraging them to get in on the NERF combat action. They can pretend to be their favorite action heroine or just throw down some wicked shots with their crossbow, which can be separated and used as a blaster as well for versatile play. The Rebelle Combow comes with 8 darts, which is enough to start, but not a ton, so you may want to pick up a pack just in case.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 2.6 x 27.5 x 13.7 inches
Ammo: 8
Color: Blue, orange, yellow, pink accents
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: None

#10

N-Strike Elite DualStrike Blaster

The distinctive design of N-Strike Elite DualStrike Blaster allows it to fire both Elite and Mega darts, and kids can switch easily between the two modes of fire via a switch on the side of the blaster. The Mega Whistler darts call attention from all around as they create a high pitched whistle while they soar, making combat even more fun. Even though it can hold two kinds of darts simultaneously, it’s still a compact blaster that’s simple to use. It comes with 3 of each type of dart, which isn’t many – it would be wise to pick up a few more.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 2.3 x 7.3 x 15.3 inches
Ammo: 3 elite darts, 3 mega whistler darts
Color: Blue, red, orange
Batteries Needed: None
Safety Hazards: None

#11

Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K

The Rival Nemisis MXVII-10K is  cool Rival gun with an impressive high capacity hopper, this blaster can easily hold the 100 ammo that’s included. As a classic Rival, it’s available in red or blue with signature distressed white stripes that offer a distinctive look in battle play. The blaster features full auto fire, and you have the option of purchasing the NERF battery pack separately which makes this gun a rechargeable toy rather than one that needs batteries. Additionally, a tactical rail lets kids mod the gun with N-Strike accessories.

Recommended Age: 14+
Size: 4.8 x 12.2 x 29.2 inches
Ammo: 100
Color: Red or blue
Batteries Needed: 6 D batteries not included, also compatible with NERF battery pack, sold separately
Safety Hazards: None

#12

N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blaster

This less common design mimics a space fighter gun and features a tripod for extreme precision shots and tactical edge. The N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blasters’ belt looks and feels extra cool during battle play, and the 25 whistler darts catch attention with their high pitched shriek. The fully automatic blaster lets kids focus on perfecting their aim, but they can switch between quick fire and single shot modes easily.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 5.6 x 30.1 x 14 inches
Ammo: 25
Color: Orange and yellow
Batteries Needed: 6 C batteries not included
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#13

N-Strike-Mega-Mastodon

Another awesome full auto Gatling gun, the N Strike Mega Mastodon features an adjustable shoulder strap and is great for growing kids. Featuring 24 whistler darts, combat is loud, raucous and active with this toy, which features a 24 dart drum that’s awesome in both appearance and performance (note that it requires assembly that might be too complex for a younger user, so be prepared to offer help). It fires an impressive 100 feet, allowing kids to dominate battles easily.

Recommended Age: 8+
Size: 4.2 x 33.7 x 15.8 inches
Ammo: 24
Color: Red and orange
Batteries Needed: 6 D batteries not included
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

#14

N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster

The impressive N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster can hold a remarkable 144 darts as well as up to 8 quick reload clips to make combat play feel almost limitless. A tactical rail allows them to mod the toy easily with accessories that are sold separately, which makes this a very customizable gun overall. A rotating ammo rack allows kids to auto fire, performing quick shots with a 75 foot range.

Recommended Age:
Size: 4.5 x 23 x 13 inches
Ammo: 24
Color: Blue, orange, white
Batteries Needed: 4 AA batteries required
Safety Hazards: Choking hazard

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for Nerf Guns LOVERS

Nerf Mods: a Beginner's Guide

If you’re itching to try some unique mod projects that are a great family project, check out this tutorial on how to create some of the most common NERF gun mods from geek27 at Instructables.

nerf targets diy cardboard

Stuck inside on a rainy day but still want some safe target practice play for your kids? This amazing cardboard spinning target shooting gallery by Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls is easy and fun to make and can be stored easily for reuse.

DIY epic dart belt hack

If your kids have a lot of ammo to carry, they can channel their inner Rambo with this awesome DIY epic dart belt hack from Melissa at Fireflies and Mudpies – they’ll love running around with this thing on, plus they’ll always be loaded for bear.

Nerf Party Cake

Throwing a NERF themed birthday party for your kiddo? Check out this NERF themed birthday cake from Natalie at Messy Moms that will wow guests with both great taste and super cool presentation.

build nerf war battlefield

If you want to go all out for a family fun event, birthday party or sleepover weekend, you have to see this NERF war battlefield by STEAM Powered Family. There’s a little bit of everything, and it’s sure to wear kids out without actually being too difficult to set up.

Quick Decision

Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger – Best Overall
A 2 pack is great for siblings or friends, and laser combat means play space is less limited

N-Strike Elite Rough Cut – Upgrade Choice
It’s an 8 dart gun with a 75 foot shot and battery free pump fire action that handles easily

N-Strike Elite Rough Cut – Best Budget Buy
It’s compact, inexpensive and easy for younger kids to use

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hannah m.

hannah m.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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