Nothing brings friends and family together like a Nerf gun battle. Your kid and the kid in you will love playing with these fun and surprisingly powerful adventure toys. Nerf guns are great for indoor or outdoor play, short and long-range battles, and basic target practice too. Ammo ranges in size and design based on the gun’s design and what you want it to do. For example, if you’re peppering your sliding glass door, suction cup-tipped ammo should be on the list. You can load up whistle ammo or try out Nerf’s Rival, MicroShots, or Modulus lines.
We researched dozens of the best Nerf guns for kids to find the best of the best, based on factors including size and weight, ammo, range, ease of use and value for money. The Nerf N-Strike Elite Disrupter takes the top spot. It offers multi-shot capabilities, easy targeting, and it looks good in hand. The other Nerf guns on our list range from a power-packed multi-shot monster to tiny guns that get bonus points for their light weight and simplicity.
Don’t forget to check out other fun family activities for indoor or outdoor adventures that will get everyone moving.
Our Top 5 Nerf Guns for Kids
Here are our picks for the top Nerf Guns for kids. Compare the features and ratings of different models.
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*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers.
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Nerf Gun
- Nerf lovers – Nerf lovers come in all ages. If you’re looking to get your first Nerf gun or add to your collection, there’s never a bad time to buy a Nerf gun. Go small and affordable with a single-shot model or dominate in the next battle with a motorized gun that includes a hopper.
- Parents who want retribution – Kids love Nerf guns but when the ammo flies, you might find yourself getting hit while trying to go about your business. Parents who want to join in or at least protect themselves should jump in and get a Nerf gun of their own.
- Kids who want to join the battle – Family and neighborhood Nerf battles provide hours of fun. Don’t let your child be the only one on the block who can’t join in.
- Gift givers – Grandparents, aunts, uncles listen up – a Nerf gun is an excellent birthday gift. However, be sure to check with mom and dad before purchasing to make sure they’re OK with anything remotely gun-related in the home.
Who Shouldn’t Buy a Nerf Gun
- Delicate homes – Nerf darts and foam rounds won’t hurt people, but they can easily knock fragile items off shelves or stands. If your home is full of breakable items, a Nerf gun might not be a good idea. The other option is to only use them outside.
- Homes where guns aren’t welcome – If you or the person you’d like to give the Nerf gun to are against any kind of gunplay, a different toy might be better received.
- Size and weight – Nerf guns can weigh as little as a few ounces or up to five or six pounds. That may not sound like much, but for a child, five or six pounds is not lightweight. Smaller, younger children need a smaller Nerf gun that’s easy to hold and arm. Older children can handle the heavier, multi-shot, motorized models.
- Ammo capacity – A Nerf gun with a higher ammo capacity can give you the advantage in a battle. Also, think about how the ammo capacity affects the weight and use of the gun. Do you like to ambush (motorized multi-shot) or sniper shoot (single shot) your targets?
- Single or multi-shot – Single-shot models won’t win a battle, but they’re often easier to use and less likely to jam. They’re a great first Nerf gun for younger children, as long as they can handle arming it. Multi-shot models may be manual or motorized, and they offer distinct advantages when the ammo starts flying. However, they tend to be heavier and may jam more often.
- Manual or motorized – Manual shot Nerf guns are less likely to jam and much lighter in weight. However, they can’t fire as quickly as motorized models. Each has its place in the battle, depending on the Nerf guns you already have and what you need to up your game.
- Accuracy – Nerf guns aren’t known for their accuracy. However, some models are definitely more accurate than others. Higher-powered models tend to offer the best accuracy. But even then, using the sights might not be as accurate as you think. Nerf guns, in general, are more for play than competition.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $5 and $500
The majority of Nerf guns fall between $25 and $100. A $500 price tag might sound outrageous but discontinued Nerf models can cost a pretty penny. Single-shot models make up the majority of the lower-priced Nerf guns. Motorized models start at around $50, and the more rounds they hold and shoot, the more they cost.
The Best Nerf Guns for Kids: Full Reviews
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Disrupter shoots a single shot or six consecutive shots using slam-fire action. The six-dart drum holds the six Elite darts included with the gun. It has an excellent range for a gun this size and price, firing up to 27 meters. This model is also relatively lightweight at one pound, making it an option for younger children.
If you lose track of whether the N-Strike is ready to shoot, you can check the indicator—orange means you’re clear to fire. The ease of firing, six dart capacity, and range make this a great option for newbies, young children, or someone who needs to add a Nerf gun with solid performance to their collection.
- Single shot or slam-fire options
- Holds six darts at a time
- Excellent 27-meter range
- May jam during slam-fire
The Nerf Elite 2.0 Trio SD-3 Blaster costs less than $10, is small enough for younger children but powerful enough that older kids can use it for sneaker attacks. The 2.0 Trio has three chambers but fires the ammo one at a time, with the user having to arm the gun in between each shot. It has an advantage over a single fire, single load models because you only have to reload every third shot.
The 2.0 Trio comes with six elite darts and shoots up to 27 meters. At only 5.3 ounces, this Nerf gun lets tiny hands get in the battle too. The only downside is that some units lose their shooting range with time.
- Compact and lightweight
- Only reload every three shots
- 27-meter range
- Some units lose their range over time
The Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K belongs in the advanced category. Older kids will love the domination of a Nerf gun that shoots eight foam rounds per second with a 200 round capacity hopper. It comes with a shoulder strap and two handles to manage the five-pound body.
The Rival comes with 200 high-impact foam rounds. A top opening in the hopper makes it easy to load, even for younger kids, though little ones might need help toting this one around. A removable, rechargeable battery powers those rounds and adds the majority of the weight to this model. The best part is once you enter the battle with this Rival, victory is around the corner. The price stands as the only downer.
- Fires 8 rounds per minute
- Hopper holds 200 rounds and automatically fires
- Comes with a shoulder strap and two handles for control
- Heavy for smaller kids
The Nerf MicroShots 6-Blaster Bundle includes six single-shot blasters that offer an impressive range of power and accuracy. Sometimes the simplest Nerf guns are the best. These guns rarely, if ever, jam, are easy to use in a sneak attack, and can be concealed when you’re in the heat of a battle. With six, you can share with friends or family for a bigger, better battle, too.
Each MicroShot shoots a single dart and is hand-powered, so no batteries are needed. They’re a great option for young children, though the youngest of users might need help arming them. The other downside is that the whole set only comes with six darts, so you might want to get an expansion dart pack along with the guns.
- Accurate and powerful for the size
- Enough MicroShots to share with friends and family
- Younger kids may need help arming
- Bundle only comes with 6 Elite darts
The Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster belongs to Nerf’s Modulus line. These guns include interchangeable parts that can be detached and reassembled as needed. You can take off the end of the barrel, remove the scope or barrel handle based on the look and feel you want for the battle. The scope also goes on in several positions for easier use by multiple users.
The Modulus line is compatible with other Modulus models and accessories, so you can continue to expand the gun’s design with time. It includes a barrel handle and shoulder stabilizer for more accurate shots. It comes with ten Elite darts and shoots single shots with each arming. However, watch out for the bullet access door. This side-loading model won’t fire if the door isn’t shut, and it’s easy to leave open.
- Removable parts allow for customization
- Scope fits into different positions
- Contains interchangeable parts with other Modulus models
- Single shot
- Won’t fire if the bullet access door is open
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Nerf guns OK for 4-year-olds?
Nerf guns, unless otherwise stated, are generally approved for children three years old and older. If you’re buying a Nerf gun for a four-year-old, choose wisely. Children that young don’t have the strength or dexterity for every Nerf gun. Models that are difficult to arm or are heavy might be more frustrating than fun.
At what age should kids get Nerf guns?
Nerf guns are generally approved for children ages three and older unless it specifically says otherwise on the packaging. These toys are not safe for children younger than that because the darts or foam rounds may come apart and pose a swallowing hazard for younger children.
What is the most powerful Nerf gun?
From our list, the Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K takes the top spot as the most powerful model. However, the NERF Hyper Mach-100 Fully Motorized Blaster rises to the top overall. It puts out a serious amount of ammo, making it brutal during a Nerf battle.
What is the cheapest Nerf gun?
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Jolt Blaster costs less than $5, but this single-shot gun packs in more power than the size or price suggest.