There's never a bad time to break out the best Nerf guns. These toys are perfect for backyard battles or indoor foam firefights, and Nerf blasters are a great way for everyone to let off steam (or as a welcome break from screens).
Because there's a lot to choose from, we've rounded up our favorite Nerf blasters here. They'll suit any age (be it young kids or tournament-playing pros) or budget, and crucially, there's no use-by date on them either. Unlike the best water guns, the best Nerf guns can be played with indoors or outdoors no matter the time of year.
This guide isn't just about saving you time in your search for the ultimate Nerf blasters, though. We've also got our bargain-hunting software on the case, and it'll display the lowest available price for each of the best Nerf guns.
Best Nerf guns - quick list
Want to get to the good stuff as quickly as possible? No problem - you'll find an overview of the very best Nerf guns below. If you'd like more info on each blaster, simply click the relevant link.
Best of the best
The best Nerf gun overall
This new addition to the line-up has completely changed the game - it removes the need to pick up darts after use, is rechargeable, and remains lots of fun. It's a must-have.
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The best cheap Nerf gun
It may be small, but this Nerf blaster is still mighty. Besides packing six darts at once, it's surprisingly accurate and offers a decent range that'll keep you in the fight.
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Best for kids
The best Nerf gun for younger kids
If you're buying for younger Nerf warriors, the Jr. range is where you should start - and this is the best of them by a long way thanks to its superior ammo-count and accuracy.
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The best long-range Nerf gun
Prefer to keep your distance during backyard battles? This Nerf blaster has a particularly long reach of 120ft, making it the ultimate dart sniper rifle.
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The best pro Nerf gun
Competitive players should look no further than the Mach 100 if they want to gain an edge over their opponents. It's a solid all-rounder with a blistering rate of fire.
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The best modular Nerf gun
Want the best value for money? You should check out this modular Nerf blaster. It can be a little pistol, full-size assault rifle, and more, so you're not short on choice.
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The best Fortnite Nerf gun
Fortnite blasters might be some of Nerf's best, but we've yet to find one we like more than this. Thanks to its screen-accurate design and battery-powered mechanics, it's a winner.
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The best Minecraft Nerf gun
A lot of Nerf blasters bring the blocky world of Minecraft into real life, but few do it better than this. It may look unwieldy, but packs a decent punch.
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Best Nerf gun overall
On paper, the Gelfire Mythic shouldn't work. Biodegradable ammunition you don't need to clean up sounds too good to be true, and 'water-hydrated rounds' feel like a recipe for disaster. But in reality? This is one of the best Nerf guns we've ever used. It's not even a contest.
That's because the blaster makes good on its promises. As we mentioned in our review, it's "a mechanical marvel that changes the game" with ammo that goes far beyond our expectations. Simply drop these tiny orange grains into a bucket of water, leave them for a couple of hours, and come back to find a tub of pellets that are sturdy enough to handle but will safely disintegrate after being fired. Seriously, they don't leave any sort of mess and help you avoid the dreaded dart pickup following a backyard battle.
That alone helps the Pro Gelfire Mythic feel like the start of something big, but its other features elevate it even further. Besides being powered by a rechargeable battery that slots into the handle, it comes with a single-shot or semi-auto firing mode, remarkable range, and the ability to spit out 10 rounds per second. Oh, and you won't need to shop for bonus ammunition anytime soon either - there are 10,000 in the box.
- Read more: Nerf Pro Gelfire Mythic review
Best cheap Nerf gun
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. The revolver-style Commander RD-6 is cheap yet surprisingly accurate option, 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, it 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 gun for younger kids
Because they're smaller, lighter, and easier to use than other Nerf guns, the Nerf Elite Jr. blasters are ideal for children aged six and up - and the Rookie Pack is definitely top of that pile. For a start, it's crammed with value; along with a load of spare darts, this set contains targets to practice on.
Naturally, the blaster isn't so bad either. Called the 'Rambler', it beats other Elite Jr. equivalents in terms of functionality... and fun. To begin with, it can carry more darts at once than any other Elite Jr. toy. Along with less reloading, this means your kid can lay down a blistering rain of ammo thanks to the low pull-force on display here.
In addition, the Rambler is simply cooler to use than the others. Lining up your shots with the oversized but still-useful scope is a blast, and getting into a rhythm with its pump-action mechanism is oddly satisfying.
The best long-range Nerf gun
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 gratifying 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 gun for pros
Looking to take your Nerf battles to the next level? Hyper is tailor-made for the competitive scene and will provide a more powerful, precise blaster. And thanks to foam pellets thrown at dizzying speed by a motorized system, it can outshoot many of the best Nerf guns.
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 modular Nerf gun
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 27 meters, 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 a very low cost.
Best Fortnite Nerf gun
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 as a result.
Best Minecraft Nerf gun
The Pillager's Crossbow isn't what we expected it to be. If anything, it's better. Even though it looks clunky and imprecise, this is a powerful blaster with enough range to give you a fighting chance in soft-play battle.
Despite being based on the Minecraft weapon, Nerf's latest crossbow carries three Elite darts that can be fired one after the other in quick succession - simply pull back the lever, squeeze the trigger, and watch your ammo catapult itself across the room at surprising speeds. When we went hands-on with this Nerf gun, we were averaging distances of about 20 meters per shot.
Sure, it's not the easiest blaster to aim thanks to a lack of sights. And yes, other crossbows from Nerf (like 2014's Zombie Strike Crossfire Bow) come with a slightly greater capacity. But this newcomer will have your opponents on the run in short order nonetheless.
- Read more: Nerf Minecraft Pillager's Crossbow review
Best combi-Nerf gun
Want maximum flexibility to go with value for money? This option is perfect for hot summer days outside. Bringing together Nerf and its Hasbro-owned sibling, the Super Soaker, this option shoots water from a 40floz tank while also firing Nerf darts from a barrel at the top. It's the best of both worlds.
Helpfully, the DartFire uses cheaper Nerf Elite darts as well. These are the standard ammo-type for most of the best Nerf guns, so you should have no trouble finding and stocking up on these foam bullets in bulk.
The Super Soaker part of the DartFire is no slouch either. Powered by a 40-fluid ounce (1.1 liter) capacity, it's capable of shooting water up to 38 feet during a battle. Considering this blaster's price, that's not bad going.
Cheap Nerf darts
Finding the best Nerf guns is only half the battle. To make sure you're ready for your next Nerf shootout, you'll need to find ammunition - and plenty of it. To help you get started (and avoid the ignominy of having to pause the game and pick up your ammo in the middle of a firefight), we've listed deals on darts below.
However, make sure to check which Nerf gun you're buying for before diving in. 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 (with links straight to the product on Amazon):
- 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).
- Nerf Gelfire: This entirely new invention differs from all of the above - the rounds are water-hydrated, so start out tiny and get bigger. Only compatible with Gelfire blasters.
Best Nerf guns - FAQ
What Nerf gun is best?
Although you'll get a very different answer depending on who you ask, we'd argue that the best Nerf gun is 2022's Pro Gelfire Mythic. Packing a unique new kind of round that shatters safely on impact and leaves nothing left behind to pick up, it's an innovative design that side-steps one of the biggest problems with toys like this (finding all your darts afterward).
However those wanting a more traditional blaster that balances price with performance should consider the Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6. Sure, it doesn't necessarily have a party trick either in terms of extendable stocks or removable barrels. But it still manages to hit hard and can be fired multiple times rather than having to be primed after each shot. It's not too bulky either, so younger Nerf warriors won't be weighed down (the Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm is also a contender for much the same reason, but that one's not so widely available anymore).
Meanwhile, those with a larger budget should consider the Nerf Fortnite AR-L. As well as looking awesome thanks to being a perfect replica of the video game weapon, it has a motorized mechanism that allows users to fire 10 darts in quick succession. It uses the cheap Elite darts as well, so you won't have to spend a fortune stocking back up.
Which Nerf gun is the most powerful?
If you're hunting down the most powerful Nerf gun, you'll want to keep an eye out for motorized blasters. These use batteries to increase the speed at which they fire darts, allowing them to spit out ammo at a blistering pace. So far as we're concerned, few can beat the Nerf Hyper Mach 100.
Able to fire at a rate of 110 feet per second, the Mach 100 is an absolute monster that is quicker and more precise than most rivals. You can get off-brand alternatives that can potentially outstrip it, of course, but no official Nerf gun can compare to this Hyper model. Just bear in mind that it fires foam pellets rather than darts.