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The best Nerf guns to buy in 2021

Included in this guide:

best Nerf guns
(Image credit: Hasbro)

Is there ever a bad time to play with the best Nerf guns? The answer, obviously, is no. We've gathered up our favorite Nerf blasters for you to choose from as a result, and there's something here to suit every age or budget.

No matter what you go for, the greatest thing about the best Nerf guns is the fact that they can be used indoors or outdoors at any time of year (unlike the best water guns, which are a lot more seasonal). In addition, there's a pretty ridiculous variety of Nerf blasters on offer these days. With multiple ranges that cater to different audiences, it's a dart-firing gold-mine.

To help you get the lowest price, you'll also find the latest discounts on this page. Our bargain-hunting software is constantly on the lookout for deals, so price cuts on the best Nerf guns will be displayed alongside each blaster.

Best Nerf guns - top 10

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

1. Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6

The best Nerf gun overall

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts
Capacity: 6 darts
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Accurate+Tactical rails for accessories
Reasons to avoid
-Only carries six darts

Don't be fooled by this Nerf blaster's size; it packs a punch and toes the line well between cost and good old-fashioned fun. This revolver-style option is cheap yet surprisingly accurate, and it can unleash a satisfying barrage of darts in one go once you've pulled back the priming slider (refreshingly, it isn't a one-shot wonder).

Plus, the Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6 has versatility to spare. Tactical rails allow you to add numerous accessories should you want to upgrade down the road, and you can clip on everything from scopes to better grips if you have the budget or inclination. You can even add a shoulder rest if you want to level up what is already one of the best Nerf guns. When combined with its cowboy-esque loading mechanism, it's a solid all-rounder.

Alright, so it only carries six darts at a time. But that makes picking them up again less of a chore, we suppose. An impressive range of 27 meters means you'll be able to hit foes from ages away while they're still underestimating your blaster, too.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

2. Nerf N-Strike Elite Jolt

The best cheap Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts-
Capacity: Single shot
Reasons to buy
+Very cheap+Small+Still packs a punch
Reasons to avoid
-One dart at a time

Need to keep things cheap and cheerful? This pocket-sized blaster is the best Nerf gun on the market. Sitting pretty at the lowest price point on this list, it's spot-on for beginners, younger children, or as a throwaway gift to your friends. 

Despite being a single-shot blaster that must be reloaded with new darts after each shot, the Jolt is also punchy enough to be taken seriously. It won't strike fear into the hearts of your enemies like a Nerf Elite Titan CS-50 heavy machine gun, but that just gives you the element of surprise.

Because of the Jolt's small size, it's fantastic as a last resort as well. Out of darts for your main Nerf blaster? This discreet sidearm is what you need in a pinch. There aren't many moving parts to jam or get broken either, so it's ideal for rough-and-tumble kids who are always on the go.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

3. Nerf Fortnite AR-L Elite

The best mid-range Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts
Capacity: 10-dart clip
Reasons to buy
+Looks just like the game version+Motorized+Flip-up sights
Reasons to avoid
-Requires batteries

Blending one of the most popular video games of all time with one of the most beloved toy brands, this Nerf blaster is ideal for fans of either. That's because it's not just a cool Fortnite crossover; it's an excellent Nerf gun in general.

Based on the Fortnite Assault Rifle, this blaster has all the personality of that series thanks to oversized proportions and a bright, here-I-am color-scheme. However, it's what's inside that really impresses. The AR-L features a motorized mechanism that will fire darts faster than normal, making it a very cool piece of kit if you can keep it stocked with batteries.

Elsewhere, the AR-L offers utility thanks to flip-up sights that go with a stock for bracing against your shoulder and a 10-dart clip for quick reloading. It's comfortably a front-runner for any list of the best Fortnite Nerf guns.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

4. Nerf Ultra Select

The best premium Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Ultra distance + Ultra accuracy
Capacity: 20 darts
Reasons to buy
+Clever dual-clip system+Fast-firing+Cool design
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

There are plenty of Nerf guns that are more expensive than this one, but the Ultra Select gets our vote as the top premium option because it's still (relatively) affordable, looks awesome, and has a smart gimmick that actually makes it worth the extra cost.

This Nerf blaster does exactly what it says on the tin; it carries two separate magazines with unique types of dart, and you can then 'select' whichever one you want to fire on the fly. That means you can use Ultra ammo with increased range for laying down suppressing cover before instantly switching to a new, alternate Ultra dart if you want more accuracy. It's a novelty, sure, but it's a novelty with practical uses.

A battery-powered firing mechanism helps push the Ultra Select over the edge. It hurls out shots quickly and accurately when fuelled by batteries, putting it head and shoulders above Nerf's cheaper alternatives.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

5. Nerf Fortnite TS-1

The best Nerf shotgun

Specifications
Ammo type: Mega darts
Capacity: 4 darts
Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Fortnite styling+Mega darts
Reasons to avoid
-Slow to reload

Fortnite crossing over with Nerf is a match made in heaven; the battle royale is both imaginative and wacky when it comes to weaponry design, making for memorable toys that stand out from other blasters in the Nerf stable. They're instantly recognisable as items from the game, too. These aren't cheap reskins with a fresh coat of paint.

The TS-1 is a great example. Inspired by Fortnite's Tactical Shotgun, it may as well have been wrenched from the screen and dropped into real life. There are a couple of different versions to choose from (including one with llama targets), but each of them is a pump-action heavyweight with plenty of stopping power. 

That's due to the fact it uses Mega darts. These are larger than standard Nerf ammo, so the TS-1 fits a unique role on this list of the best Nerf guns - it's easier to hit things with, making it a good choice for younger Nerf warriors.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

6. Nerf Ultra Pharaoh

The best long-range Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Aerofin Ultra darts
Capacity: 10-dart clip
Reasons to buy
+120ft range+Gold embellishments+Not too unwieldy
Reasons to avoid
-Can be expensive

If you prefer to keep your foes at a distance, the Ultra Pharaoh is a dream come true. Offering a staggering range of up to 120ft, it's the ultimate sniper rifle from Nerf.

As the poster-child of Nerf's Aerofin Ultra foam darts, this blaster is able to shoot farther than anything that's come before it -  very little can match the Pharaoh in terms of sheer distance covered. Thanks to a bolt-action system, it's also pretty satisfying to reload.

Festooned with gold embellishments that compliment the orange, black, and white design nicely, the Pharaoh is a handsome beast too. When combined with those impressive new darts, it's got performance and looks nailed down. 

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

7. Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator

The best modular Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts
Capacity: 12-dart clip
Reasons to buy
+4-in-1 blaster+Versatile+12-dart clip
Reasons to avoid
-Hard to find in some regions

If you can't decide which Nerf blaster to get, why not opt for one that can do it all? Starting out as a pistol and scaling up to a full-size assault rifle, the Retaliator has four configurations for greater personalization. It's the pièce de résistance of modular design and is one of the best Nerf guns thanks to that 'more is more' mentality.

Thanks to a range of over 70 feet, this utility doesn't come at the expense of performance. It's capable of holding its own in a Nerf battle, and the presence of a tactical rail allows you to add your own scopes as well.

Although it's harder to find nowadays than it once was, the effort is worthwhile. And luckily enough for us, the Retaliator relies on Elite darts that are widely - yet cheaply - available. Want to stock up on extra ammo? You'll be able to buy them in bulk at very little cost.   

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

8. Super Soaker DartFire

The best combi-Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts/water
Capacity: 5 darts & 1.1L of water
Reasons to buy
+Uses water too+Fair capacity+Decent range
Reasons to avoid
-Only carries 5 darts

If you want maximum flexibility in hot weather, the Nerf-owned Super Soaker Dartfire has you covered. Besides shooting water from a 40floz tank, it's fitted with five Nerf darts that . It's the best of both worlds.

Handily, the DartFire uses Nerf Elite darts. Because these are the bog-standard bullets of choice for most Nerf products, they're easy to buy in bulk. That makes stocking up on ammo nice and easy.

This Super Soaker is no slouch when it comes to water battles either. Powered by a 40 fluid ounce (1.1 liter) capacity, the DartFire is able to blast water up to 38 feet. That's not bad going for something in this price range.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

9. Nerf Fortnite RL

The best Nerf gun rocket launcher (?!)

Specifications
Ammo type: Rocket darts
Capacity: Single-shot
Reasons to buy
+It's a Nerf rocket launcher+No, seriously. ROCKET. LAUNCHER.+Fun Fortnite design
Reasons to avoid
-Carrying rockets is a faff

OK, we know this isn't a traditional blaster. But come on. It's a freakin' Nerf rocket launcher. That makes it one of the best Nerf guns in terms of cool-factor alone. Want to intimidate your opponents? This is the way to do it.

Seeing as it's based on the Fortnite weapon in particular, the RL is quirky too. With a shark face to go with tongue-in-cheek Xs and Os along the barrel, it's an eye-catching toy that's sure to turn heads. The bright green paint helps it stand out as well; it's a real showstopper.

Naturally, the RL doesn't utilise normal darts. Oh no - it calls upon something more impressive. Massive foam rockets, in fact. Marvellous.

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

10. Nerf Hyper Mach 100

The best Nerf gun for pros

Specifications
Ammo type: Hyper round
Capacity: Up to 100 rounds
Reasons to buy
+Fast fire-rate+Larger capacity+Easy reloads
Reasons to avoid
-Loads of rounds to pick up

Looking to take your Nerf battles to the next level? The Hyper line is tailor-made for the competitive scene and will provide a more powerful, precise blaster; it's a contender for the top spot of the best Nerf guns around thanks to high-impact foam pellets and motorized insides. 

While other blasters feature battery-powered mechanisms, this takes things to the next level. As well as rounds that fire at 110 feet per second, it provides enormous, easy-reload ammo hoppers to help you stay in the game for longer. Tactical rails leave you space to store extra rounds, too.

Basically, this is more of a grown-up Nerf blaster for tournament play and Nerf Arena. If you want a good all-rounder to see you through such intense competitions, the Mach 100 is an excellent choice.

Best of the rest

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Hasbro)

11. Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm

A great choice for budget-conscious Nerf warriors

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts
Capacity: 6 darts
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Accurate+Not too heavy
Reasons to avoid
-Only six darts

If you want to get your hands on one of the best Nerf guns without breaking the bank (or having to put up with something bulky that'll take up loads of room), the Elite Strongarm is perfect. This revolver blaster is cheap yet surprisingly accurate, and it won't weigh you down either. It's the ideal gift for a kid or your own inner child.

Although it may not boast a laundry-list of features, the Strongarm still makes an impression thanks to its cool six-chamber loading mechanism and impressive 75ft range. That means you'll be able to keep foes at a distance despite this blaster's modest size.

In addition, the Elite Strongarm includes a tactical rail for adding accessories later on. That means you can snap on scopes if you want to upgrade.

Nerf Modulus Demolisher 2-in-1

(Image credit: Hasbro)

12. Nerf Modulus Demolisher 2-in-1

The best 2-in-1 Nerf gun

Specifications
Ammo type: Elite darts and rockets
Capacity: 10-dart clip & single-shot rocket
Reasons to buy
+Best of both worlds+Fires foam rockets too+Motorized
Reasons to avoid
-Rockets are awkward to carry

Why have a rocket launcher or blaster when you can get both? That's the thought process behind Nerf's Modulus line, and the Demolisher is one of its figureheads. This is one of the best Nerf guns out there thanks to that smart 2-in-1 design, and it's the versatile little toy that could.

Combining a standard rifle with something bigger, it attaches a pump-action secondary shooter below the motorized main barrel. That means you can be laying down supressing fire before shooting an enormous foam rocket to disrupt your opponents' plans.

Combine that with a removable stock you can replace with others and you're left with the ultimate customizable blaster. It's a great all-rounder and well worth considering.

Nerf dart deals

best Nerf guns

(Image credit: Nerf)

Getting hold of the best Nerf guns is only half the battle - you'll also need ammunition to arm yourself with. That's why we've rounded up the internet's best dart deals for Nerf, and you'll find them listed below.

Before you dive in, just be sure to check which Nerf gun you're buying for. Some use different types of darts, ranging from classic run-of-the-mill ones to new versions that fly further. Although a few are interchangeable (such as the Elite range), many, like the Rival pellets, aren't. You can find out more in our guide to cheap Nerf bullets, but here's a quick breakdown:

  • Nerf Elite: Bog-standard Nerf darts. They're compatible with almost everything that isn't an Ultra, Hyper, or Rival blaster.
  • Nerf Ultra: New Nerf darts that fly further than others. Only compatible with Nerf Ultra blasters.
  • Nerf Hyper: Because they're pellets rather than darts, these won't work in anything that isn't a Hyper blaster.
  • Nerf Rival: Another set of pellets that will only fit Rival blasters (they're bigger than Hyper pellets, so won't work on those either).

Looking for more ways to stay entertained? Don't forget to check out the top board games for kids or these board games for families.

Benjamin Abbott

As one of the site's Hardware Editors, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I've been writing about games in one form or another for almost a decade (with bylines ranging from Metro.co.uk and PC Gamer to TechRadar), and have worked at GamesRadar+ since 2018. I can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.