Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Nerf Guns

We tested toy blasters from Nerf, Pokonboy, and Best Choice Products to determine which were the most fun
The Best Nerf Gun
Credit: Jason Peters

Our Top Picks

By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 11, 2022

We spent dozens of hours researching Nerf blasters before we bought the 10 best models on the market today for a head-to-head Nerf weapon battle royale. We carefully inspected each product for the subtleties and differences in features that set it apart from the others. We considered how hard the manual powered Nerf blasters are to set as well as the size and price of the batteries for the electric models. We even measured the maximum distance each blaster was able to shoot its projectile. Most importantly, we judged how much fun each model was to use. Read below to see the results of our comprehensive Nerf blaster review.

If you're looking for something fun and educational to keep your kids entertained, check out our reviews of robot kits for kids and kids electronics. We've also tested fun games like card games and board games, and even drones for kids.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on October 11, 2022, to remove a discontinued product.


Best Overall Toy Blaster

Nerf N-Strike Strongarm Blaster

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Revolver-style cylinder
Easy to set
Slam-fire blasting
Loading takes extra time
Can only hold six darts

The Nerf N-Strike Strongarm Blaster is the leading single-handed style toy blaster that doesn't use batteries. It features a flip-out style cylinder that houses the six included darts that will have you feeling like you're the star in an old western film. It is ideal for kids because it's easier to set to blast than many others. One of our favorite features of the N-Strike Strongarm is if you keep the trigger held down, it can automatically shoot all six darts.

Our only complaint with the Nerf N-Strike Strongarm is that it takes longer to load than many other models. The revolver style is fun, but it could leave you vulnerable to people with toy blasters that are easier to load in a toy blaster battle. Still, the Strongarm is a great choice for a manual-powered model.

nerf gun - best overall toy blaster
The Strongarm is one of best manually powered toy blasters that we've tested
Credit: Jason Peters


The Best Motorized Blaster

Nerf Ultra One Motorized Blaster

Power: Battery | Projectile Type: Ultra One Dart
Insane range
High capacity drum
Extra dart storage on stock
Can only use specified darts
Uses large batteries

The Nerf Ultra One Motorized Blaster could launch a dart nearly twice as far as the second-place contender and more than three times as far as the weakest blasters. This is primarily a result of the dart design on the Ultra One, which features aerodynamic fronts plus grooves on the back that give them spin like a well-thrown football. The drum-style cylinder is massive, holding 25 darts, plus there are also holders for four more on each side of the stock.

Unfortunately, this blaster can only fire Ultra One darts, which are more expensive to replace than standard darts. If you're being bombarded with a different style of dart by your opponent, you can't pick them up and use them to return fire. Also, C batteries are heavy, and since the blaster draws a ton of power, they won't last very long. Having said all of that, the Ultra One Motorized Blaster is pure awesomeness, especially if you want a model with a phenomenal range.

nerf gun - the best motorized blaster
The Ultra One Motorized offers a high level of performance
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Single-shot Toy Blaster

Nerf N-Strike Elite Jolt Blaster

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Secret agent points
Single shot
Hard to set

If you want a toy blaster for dirt cheap, take a look at the Nerf N-Strike Elite Jolt Blaster. This thing is tiny, easily fitting into a pocket. But don't let its size fool you; its range is very impressive. The Elite Jolt reminds us of a particular secret agent's blaster of choice and is also great for kids who aren't quite big enough to handle the bulkier models.

The main downside to the Elite Jolt Blaster is that you must reload for each shot. In full-on toy blaster combat, this wouldn't be the model of choice. That said, it would be nice to have one hidden in your boot, just in case. Another flaw is that it's a bit hard to set. Even though it might be the right size for a child, you may need to help them blast it — which might not be a bad thing. In general, this is a great blaster at a fair price and is fun for just about anyone.

nerf gun - best single-shot toy blaster
We love the tiny size of the N-Strike Elite Jolt
Credit: Jason Peters


Best for High-Volume Fire

Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster

Power: Battery | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Double barrel
Duel 25 dart drums

For an all-out toy blaster assault, you will want the battery-powered Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster on your side. With two 25-dart drums that attach to either side of the blaster, you'll for sure be the last one to run out of darts. It can be held either by the rear grip and top handle or mounted on the quick-release spring-loaded tripod with a rotating pivot. When the thumb trigger is depressed, the barrels alternate, unloading the massive clips at your target.

If you want a blaster that's easy to transport or hide with, you'll probably want to select a different option. The Rhino-Fire also isn't the best for small children. At 34 inches long and 16 inches wide, this thing is massive and takes up a lot of space on your shelf or in the toy box. It's also expensive, even more so when you factor in the cost of its six D batteries. Despite the size and cost, this blaster is the best for defending your fort in a toy blaster showdown.

nerf gun - best for high-volume fire
It is hard to not have fun blasting with the Rhino-Fire
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Ball-Style Toy Blaster

Nerf Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 Blaster

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Foam Balls
Impressive range
Innovative design
Trigger lock
Balls tend to get lost
Not the easiest to set

For a different style of toy blaster, check out the Nerf Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 Blaster. Instead of foam darts, the XX-1500 shoots foam balls, and they shoot fast and far — one of the best ranges that we've seen. We love the construction of this model. It has five integrated magazines that hold three foam balls each, and as the toy is set, its entire front cylinder is loaded. Also, it's great that the Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 has a trigger safety lever.

Because the entire front cylinder of the blaster has to rotate every time you want to shoot, the Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 is a bit hard to set, and so it is not the best model for small kids. After the foam balls hit their target, they tend to roll and bounce into odd places, so they can be a bit hard to keep track of. Even so, this is perfect for a ball-style toy blaster.

nerf gun - best ball-style toy blaster
The Rival Roundhouse has a revolving cylinder that holds 15 foam balls
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Reconfigurable Toy Blaster

Nerf Longstrike Modulus

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Detachable barrel, scope, and bipod
Three 6-dart clips
Clip storage in the stock
Solid range
Bolt action setting is a bit cumbersome

The Nerf Longstrike Modulus has a very inventive design with an array of configurations. It can be used as a short barrel blaster, or you can attach an extended barrel, or then set it up as a bipod with extendable legs to the barrel. The Modulus scope can be attached in any configuration. It includes three six-dart clips, two of which get stored in the stock while the other is attached to the blaster.

The lone complaint about the Longstrike Modulus is that the bolt-action setting on the side is a bit awkward and slow. If your goal is rapid dart deployment, it will be better to go with a battery-powered blaster or a manual model that is easier to set.

nerf gun - best reconfigurable toy blaster
The Longstrike Modulus has a removable bipod, scope, and barrel extension
Credit: Jason Peters


Best One-Handed Battery Powered Toy Blaster

NERF Fortnite SMG-E Blaster

Power: Battery | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Very easy to use
One-handed quick action firing
Style points
AA batteries
So-so range

When it comes to battery-powered toy blasters, the Nerf Fortnite SMG-E Blaster is hard to beat in that it was designed to replicate a model from the actual Fortnite game. With a single six-dart clip that easily loads and snaps into place, you'll spend less time fumbling with darts and more time blasting them. Unlike some battery-powered models with large revolving cylinders, the clip feeds darts straight into the barrel and thus fires quickly. Also good: it uses AA batteries that are readily available in most households and more affordable than the C and D batteries used by some other models.

Its main downside is its short range. For maximum dart sailing distance with your battery-powered toy blaster, go with a more powerful model. The SMG-E is best if you want a battery-powered toy blaster that is easy to operate and fires quickly.


Best for Firing Multiple Darts at Once

Nerf NER Elite Trilogy DS 15

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Blasts three darts at once
Pump action
Spent dart cartridges eject out of the side of the toy
Poor range
Reloading takes extra time

The Nerf NER Elite Trilogy DS 15 is a favorite for the simple fact that it shoots three darts at once. Whether you are blasting targets or contending with friends, three darts in the air at once will give you a better chance of scoring. Once you pre-load the five triple dart cartridges, they are stored in the stock for the next shot. As you set the blaster, using the bottom handle pump, the used dart cartridges pop out of the side of the toy body.

The Trilogy DS 15 divides the potential energy of a shot into thirds by launching three darts at once. As a result, it has a poor range. Another downside is that you must pack the cartridges with darts before loading them into the blaster. Between the cartridges and darts, that's a lot to keep track of. That said, we still think it's a very fun toy, especially if you want to blast three projectiles at once.


A Great Kit that Includes Two Blasters

Pokonboy 2 Pack Blaster

Power: Manual | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Holds two darts underneath the barrel
Comes with two types of darts
Disappointing range
Single shot

The Pokonboy 2 Pack Blaster is perfect for someone who wants a complete battle set in one purchase. This set includes two blasters, plus 30 standard darts and 30 suction cup darts. Even if you lose a bunch, you'll never run out of projectiles. Underneath the barrel, this model holds two darts, perfect for quick reloading. This blaster is small — only 8 inches long by 5 inches tall.

The Pokonboy is a single shot, so you have to load a dart and set the blaster every time you want to shoot. Regrettably, during range testing, this blaster came in dead last. But for those that want two blasters with a plethora of darts at a decent price, this would still be a great kit.

nerf gun - the pokonboy comes with two blasters and 60 darts
The POKONBOY comes with two blasters and 60 darts
Credit: Jason Peters


A Mediocre Battery-Powered Blaster

Best Choice Products Foam Dart Blaster

Power: Battery | Projectile Type: Standard Dart
Removable scope
20 dart clip
So-so range

We love the Best Choice Products Foam Dart Blaster's removable modular scope, and that the clip holds 20 darts, which is one of the largest capacities for a blaster of this style.

The disadvantages of the Best Choice are that its range is very poor for a rifle-style toy blaster, and during our tests, this model emitted an unusually whiny and annoying sound. This company aimed to make a decent toy blaster, but if you seek performance, we'd recommend going with another model.

nerf gun - the bcp model has an extra-large clip
The BCP model has an extra-large clip
Credit: Jason Peters

Why You Should Trust Us

Our testing process begins with extensive research to find the top products. We then purchase those contenders for hands-on testing. In this category, we bought 10 toy blasters for our head-to-head comparison. We put each product through the paces, testing key performance attributes like range, projectile capacity, ease of use, and fun factor to rate and rank each product. After our extensive testing, we pick our favorites and explain why they're the best to help you find the very best product for your needs and budget.

To head up our comprehensive toy blaster and blaster review, we used our resident foam dart weapons expert Ross Patton. Ross grew up playing with toy blasters and organizing battles with his neighborhood buddies. As an adult, he completed a B.S. in Environmental Science, has ten years of product testing experience under his belt, and is a Senior Review Editor at TechGearLab.

A duel challenge has been accepted
A duel challenge has been accepted
Two paces away then turn and shoot
Two paces away then turn and shoot

Analysis and Test Results

We began by formulating a test plan. To provide our readers with the best toy blaster assessment possible, we determined that our score should be narrowed down to three key metrics, in no particular order — range, projectile capacity, and fun factor.


The test plan for firing range was simple — take the blasters out to the local soccer field on a day with dead-calm wind and see how far each one could shoot a dart. Then we broke out the old trusty measuring wheel and recorded the distance from the furthest dart back to the shooting point.

nerf gun - we used a professional-grade measuring wheel to precisely measure...
We used a professional-grade measuring wheel to precisely measure the distance that each projectile traveled
Credit: Jason Peters

The Nerf Ultra One Motorized Blaster was easily crowned the champion of this competition. The Ultra One's dart tips are specially engineered, and the grooves on the back of the projectile give them a spiral flight through the air that helps them fly faster and farther than the rest. When we unleashed this beast, we were blown away as we watched the darts sail nearly half of the soccer field — the furthest dart that we sent went 135 feet.

Surprisingly, second place for the range assessment was given to the Nerf Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 Blaster — the model that uses foam balls as a projectile rather than darts. The furthest ball we recorded traveled a distance of 88 feet. It's even more impressive that this is a manually powered toy blaster that is not that hard to set. The Roundhouse gets the thumbs up from the GearLab crew.

Just behind the Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 in our range experiment was another one of our favorite manual-powered models, the Nerf N-Strike Strongarm Blaster. We measured the Strongarm's furthest dart to be 77 feet from the point of origin.

nerf gun - the nerf ultra one motorized blaster shoots darts farther than the...
The Nerf Ultra One Motorized Blaster shoots darts farther than the rest
Credit: Jason Peters

Projectile Capacity

If you are deep in a toy blaster clash, it's nice to have extra projectiles ready to go. We considered the number of darts or foam balls that each model has loaded and ready or ready to load.

At the top of the list for this metric is the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster. With a drum clip on each side that provides a total of 50 loaded darts, you'll be the last one to run out in a contest or battle as long as you don't get trigger-happy and unload them all at once.

nerf gun - with 50 darts, the rhino-fire is not the blaster you want to be...
With 50 darts, the Rhino-Fire is not the blaster you want to be pointed at you in a showdown
Credit: Jason Peters

The Ultra One Motorized Blaster has a 25 dart drum, along with four dart holders on each side of the stock, for a total of 33 darts that are ready to go on this model. Although the extra darts on the stock will take a few seconds to load, at least they're on hand and accessible.

nerf gun - the ultra one motorized has a 25 dart cylinder
The Ultra One Motorized has a 25 dart cylinder
Credit: Jason Peters

Another model with a decent amount of readily accessible darts is the Nerf Longstrike Modulus. This toy blaster uses six-dart clips that are easily locked into place and ejected. Best of all, it holds two extra clips in the stock that you can keep pre-loaded for a total of 18 darts ready to blast your target or opposing team.

nerf gun - the longstrike modulus houses a total of 18 darts between its three...
The Longstrike Modulus houses a total of 18 darts between its three clips
Credit: Jason Peters

Fun Factor

This metric was our favorite. We took our panel of expert professional product testers, provided them eye protection, set the blasters out in front of them, said "have at it," and watched everyone smile from ear to ear. At the end of a full-blown, no holds barred foam projectile battle extravaganza, we simply asked everyone which models were their favorites. A few models easily stood out.

It's really hard to beat the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster in this metric. With two 25 dart drums, a thumb trigger, and a tripod, we can't imagine a toy blaster being much more satisfying to shoot.

nerf gun - it's hard not to smile when you're shooting the rhino-fire
It's hard not to smile when you're shooting the Rhino-Fire
Credit: Jason Peters

Our other favorite model for pure fun is the Nerf Rival Roundhouse XX-1500 Blaster. With the set handle on top and the 15 round rotating cylinder, this thing can send foam balls very far and at a very rapid rate.

nerf gun - we give the rival roundhouse a fun rating of 10
We give the Rival Roundhouse a fun rating of 10
Credit: Jason Peters

Finally, when it comes to single-shot models, the Nerf N-Strike Elite Jolt Blaster was our favorite. This tiny blaster has a phenomenal range for its size, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

nerf gun - the jolt packs quite the punch for such a tiny toy
The Jolt packs quite the punch for such a tiny toy
Credit: Jason Peters


At GearLab, we aim to equip you with the best data possible so you can make an informed decision before you make your purchases. We hope that having read this review, you will be able to choose the perfect toy blaster for your needs and budget, whether you are looking for the model with the longest range, the largest projectile capacity, or the one that is just plain old fun to shoot.

Ross Patton

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