The Best Nerf Guns for the Whole Family in 2020

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Our Top Picks for the Best Nerf Guns

The perfect combination of firepower, a good size for all ages, and a decent pricepoint. Small enough for little ones, but is cool enough for older kids too.
Best Nerf gun for young kids: Nerf N-Strike NanoFire
Best for young kids (ages 3-6)
Small and simple. This blaster loads one dart at a time so toddlers and preschoolers can figure out how to easily operate it with little to no help.

Best Nerf gun for slightly older kids: Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire
Best for older kids (ages 7-12)
Perfect for older kids with the firepower of a 15-dart drum that shoots up to 90ft! Plus a fun pump-action that’s easy enough for kids to use.
Best Nerf gun for teenagers: Nerf Rampage N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster
Best for teenagers (ages 13+)
Teens will be hooked on this 25 round dart drum gun with Slam Fire. Shoot streams of darts up to 90 feet. Firepower galore for the hard-to-impress older crowd.

Looking for the best Nerf guns for some family fun? It’s a great idea, but there are so many options. How do you choose?

Here, we help you by breaking down the best Nerf guns for families, kids, teens, and more. You’ll find everything you need to know to start some epic Nerf gun battles with your family in this guide.

Table of Contents
  1. Our Top Picks for the Best Nerf Guns
  2. Best Nerf gun (for the whole family)
    1. Top choice: Strongarm Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster
    2. Runner-up: Nerf Zombie Hammer Shot
    3. Budget choice: NERF Fortnite Micro Ice Storm Collection
  3. Best Nerf gun for young kids (ages 3-6)
    1. Top choice (and budget choice!): Nerf N-Strike NanoFire
    2. Runner-up: Nerf N-Strike BowStrike Blaster
  4. Best Nerf gun for slightly older kids (ages 7-12)
    1. Top choice: Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire
    2. Runner-up: NERF Fortnite SMG-E Blaster
    3. Budget choice: Strongarm Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster
  5. Best Nerf gun for teenagers (ages 13+)
    1. Top choice (and budget choice!): Nerf Rampage N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster
    2. Runner-up: NERF Fortnite AR-Durrr Burger Motorized Blaster
  6. Best Nerf gun for parents
    1. Top choice: Star Wars Nerf Han Solo Blaster
    2. Runner-up: Longstrike Nerf Modulus Toy Blaster with Barrel Extension
  7. Best Nerf guns to splurge on
    1. Top choice: Nerf Elite Titan CS-50 Toy Blaster
    2. Runner-up: Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
  8. Best alternative line of Nerf guns
    1. Top choice: Nerf N-Strike Mega Mega Mastodon
    2. Runner-up: Megalodon Nerf N-Strike Mega Toy Blaster
  9. Must-have accessories
    1. Easy cleanup: Nerf Elite Dart Rover
    2. Be ready for battle: 2 Pack Kids Tactical Vest Kit
  10. A Guide to Buying the Best Nerf Guns & FAQ
    1. What are Nerf guns?
    2. Which Nerf guns are the best?
    3. What’s the difference between all of the Nerf guns? There are so many types!
    4. Are Nerf guns safe?
    5. Does it hurt to get shot by a Nerf gun?
    6. Should kids be playing with guns?
    7. Can you play with Nerf guns indoors?
    8. Do girls like to play with Nerf guns?
    9. Can you buy replacement foam darts/bullets from other companies besides Nerf? 
  11. Final thoughts

Best Nerf gun (for the whole family)

Top choice: Strongarm Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster

This blaster is an all-around great dart gun at a good price. It’s small and simple enough for younger kids to play with but packs enough firepower for the tweens, teens, and adults to have fun too. There’s a lot of features included at a price that is low enough to stock up on so the whole family can get in on the action. 

Key features
  • Fires 6 darts in a row without reloading
  • Slam-fire 6 darts in rapid succession
  • Flip-open 6-dart barrel for easy loading
  • Shoots darts up to 90ft (27 meters)
  • No batteries needed
  • Includes 6 Nerf Elite darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 2.88 x 13 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 16oz
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Fun and easy to use
  • Cost-effective
  • Can rapid-fire
Cons
  • Can’t hold as many darts as bigger guns

Runner-up: Nerf Zombie Hammer Shot

Nerf Zombie Hammer Shot
Great for family fun too, but holds one less dart than the Strongarm.

This runner-up could easily have taken the number one spot for the best overall gun. It’s a similar price point and style, and the Zombie Strike style might be more appealing for some. The biggest reason this is the runner-up is simply that it holds one less dart than the Strongarm.

Key features
  • One-handed firing capabilities
  • Holds 5 Zombie Strike darts (Elite darts will also work)
  • Pull-back hammer
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 2.56 x 13.27 x 10.12 inches
  • Weight: 1lb
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Cool Zombie Strike style
  • Can be shot one-handed with pull-back hammer instead of pump-action
  • Compatible with other Elite darts
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Holds fewer darts than other guns
  • Hammer might be harder for young children to use

Budget choice: NERF Fortnite Micro Ice Storm Collection

This six-pack of single-fire Nerf guns (Fortnite-themed) might not be the best for epic battles, and your teens won’t brag about them to their friends. However, for a fun family night, they might be just right for your crew on a budget.

Key features
  • 6 guns included
  • Fortnite-themed
  • Includes 12 Nerf Elite darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 1.75 x 18.25 x 13.75 inches
  • Weight: 2.11lbs (combined)
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • 6 guns included
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Very small
  • Single shot

Best Nerf gun for young kids (ages 3-6)

Top choice (and budget choice!): Nerf N-Strike NanoFire

This little blaster is perfect for tiny hands. Not only is it small, but it’s also simple and easy to use. While it’s technically rated for ages 8 and above, smaller children could absolutely use this blaster. The ease of use will give them a sense of independence and work on their motor skills while reloading. Reviewers on Amazon said that even their 2-year-olds were able to use this.

Key features
  • Compact size
  • Single shot
  • Comes with 3 Elite darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 1.5 x 5.75 x 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 3oz
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Small
  • Easy to use
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Very small
  • Some reviewers said cocking it was difficult for toddlers

Runner-up: Nerf N-Strike BowStrike Blaster

Nerf N-Strike BowStrike Blaster
Great for smaller children too, but has more negative reviews than the N-Strike NanoFire.

Small and compact, this blaster is another great choice for smaller children. The biggest reason it doesn’t come in at number one instead of runner-up is it’s a bit lower in customer reviews.

Key features
  • Compact size
  • Single shot
  • Comes with 3 Elite darts
  • Flip-up sights
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 2.24 x 8.5 x 7.36 inches
  • Weight: 5.1oz
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Small
  • Easy to use
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Very small
  • There were more negative reviews for this one and more complaints of defects

Best Nerf gun for slightly older kids (ages 7-12)

Top choice: Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire

Teens and parents will love this just as much as the tweens will. With a 15-dart drum, this gun has firepower capabilities a lot of parents only dreamed of as kids. Even though it’s cool enough to please kids at this age, it’s also small enough for them to use with ease and won’t overpower them.

Key features
  • 15-dart rotating drum
  • Fires 90ft (27 meters)
  • Comes with 15 Elite darts
  • Slam-fire pump-action
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 3.27 x 18.5 x 10.12 inches
  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Higher capacity
  • Good mobility
  • Easy to use
  • Long-range capabilities
Cons
  • Not as accurate in long-range
  • Comes in plain packaging

Runner-up: NERF Fortnite SMG-E Blaster

Some parents and kids might prefer this one because of the cool Fortnite styling, but the firepower is a bit lower on this blaster vs. our top pick, which is why it’s in second place. This blaster has a six-dart clip and also requires batteries.

Key features
  • Modeled after blaster in Fortnite
  • Motorized
  • Comes with 6 Elite darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 2.64 x 15.98 x 9.02 inches
  • Weight: 1.65lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Trendy styling
  • Good mobilit
  • Easy to use
  • Motorized
Cons
  • Being motorized means it needs batteries
  • Lower firepower than others
  • Not long-range

Budget choice: Strongarm Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster

Best Nerf gun for the whole family: Strongarm Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster
An all-around great dart gun at a good price that is small and simple enough for younger kids to play with.

For this age range, the best budget option out there is the same one we recommended for the overall best family gun. It’s a solid option for this age at a great price.

Best Nerf gun for teenagers (ages 13+)

Top choice (and budget choice!): Nerf Rampage N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster

Can you say firepower? Teens can get into some epic battles with the family or their friends with this blaster. The perfect choice to get them bought into family fun nights, but still giving them something to show off to their friends. The drum holds 25 darts and has the Slam-Fire action for rapid-firing darts. While this isn’t the least expensive Nerf gun available, it’s reasonably priced and you’d be hard-pressed to find something with this capability at a much lower price point.

Key features
  • High capacity 25 dart drum
  • Slam-Fire action for rapid-firing
  • Comes with 25 Elite darts
  • Blasts up to 90ft (27 meters)
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.45 x 21.3 x 13.43 inches
  • Weight: 2.87lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • High capacity
  • Can fire rapidly
  • Works for long-range
  • Good accuracy
Cons
  • Some reviewers had issues with darts jamming in the drum

Runner-up: NERF Fortnite AR-Durrr Burger Motorized Blaster

NERF Fortnite AR-Durrr Burger Motorized Blaster
Looks cool, but has less firepower than our top choice for teens.

Another close call. Many teens would choose this one over our top choice because it’s Fortnite-themed, and also has decent firepower. However, it only holds 10 darts at a time before needing to be reloaded, while our top choice could hold 25.

Key features
  • Fortnite replica blaster
  • Customizable with stickers
  • Motorized
  • Blasts up to 10 darts before reloading
  • Includes 10-dart clip and 20 total Elite darts

Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 2.63 x 31 x 13.25 inches
  • Weight: 2.43lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Cool styling
  • Motorized
Cons
  • Can’t hold as many darts as bigger guns
  • Requires batteries
  • Less capacity
  • Not as long-range
  • Some had problems with it jamming

Best Nerf gun for parents

Top choice: Star Wars Nerf Han Solo Blaster

Best Nerf gun for parents: Star Wars Nerf Han Solo Blaster
Parents who are Star Wars fans can join in the fun while pretending to be a certain scruffy-looking nerf-herder.

Nostalgia and the cool factor are what make this blaster a parent’s dream. It’s modeled to look similar to the Han Solo blaster from Star Wars and also comes with GlowStrike darts that are charged in the gun so they glow when fired. These darts are made in a similar style to Elite darts so you should be able to swap them out.

Key features
  • 4-dart clip with 4 darts included
  • Sound effects
  • GlowStrike technology and darts
  • Can fire up to 70 ft
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 1.63 x 15 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 1.35lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Cool style
  • Glow in the dark darts
  • Can shoot one-handed, even for kids
  • Accurate according to reviews
Cons
  • Might jam sometimes
  • Small clip without a lot of firepower

Runner-up: Longstrike Nerf Modulus Toy Blaster with Barrel Extension

Find a comfy spot and just relax while the kids run around with this sniper-style Nerf gun. Perfect for parents who might want to stay out of the fray but still play.

Key features
  • Fires 6 darts without reloading
  • Customizable barrel length
  • Extra clips for quick reloading
  • Comes with 18 total darts

Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 x 24.02 x 10.51 inches
  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Quick reloading with the 3 clips each holding 6 darts
  • Adaptable size
  • Shoots accurately over 50ft
Cons
  • Tripod might be shaky

Best Nerf guns to splurge on

Top choice: Nerf Elite Titan CS-50 Toy Blaster

The be-all-end-all of Nerf guns has arrived. This blaster is massive with a 50-dart drum. It’s a fully motorized behemoth of a blaster that any true Nerf gun fan would love to get their hands on. 

Key features
  • 50-dart drum
  • Rapid-Fire
  • Motorized
  • Includes 50 darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.13 x 37 x 15.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.48lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Massive
  • Holds 50 darts at once
  • Fully motorized and able to rapid-fire, shoots very fast
  • Reviewers say it’s very accurate
Cons
  • Reviewers say this one does hurt if you are hit with one, so use with caution
  • The drum can jam if you don’t load properly
  • Not suitable for younger children

Runner-up: Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K

Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
Has the highest capacity we can find with 100 rounds, but the little balls may be a pain to clean up. Also, it’s for recommended for teens and above only.

This Nerf gun has the highest capacity of any we could find, holding 100 rounds at once! It is so cool, but the one major flaw for us is that it uses little balls instead of the traditional darts. This might not be a problem for many, but it means having to separate out the darts from the balls when it comes time to clean up.

Key features
  • Easy loading with a hopper that holds 100 rounds
  • Motorized
  • Includes 100 rounds
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.76 x 12.24 x 29.17 inches
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 14 years and up

Pros
  • Huge capacity
  • Holds 100 rounds
  • Fully motorized and able to rapid-fire, shoots very fast
  • Reviewers say it’s very accurate
Cons
  • Takes a different style of round than other Nerf guns
  • Uses a lot of batteries

Best alternative line of Nerf guns

Top choice: Nerf N-Strike Mega Mega Mastodon

Nerf N-Strike Mega Mega Mastodon
Looks huge and cool. Comes with larger darts that whistle when shot.

A massive gun from the Mega line of Nerf guns. As the name would suggest, it’s big. Not only is this actual gun huge, but the darts that the Mega line use are larger than the Elites or other lines. Since these are bigger they might be better suited to older kids, teens, and adults. One pretty cool feature of these darts is they whistle when shot, which could also get annoying to parents.

Key features
  • Fully motorized
  • 24-dart drum
  • Comes with 24 Mega whistling darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 x 33.74 x 15.75 inches
  • Weight: 6lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Looks cool and intimidating
  • Automatically fires 24 darts at a time
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Very large, and might not be best for smaller kids

Runner-up: Megalodon Nerf N-Strike Mega Toy Blaster

This is like the Mastadon’s smaller but equally ferocious sibling. It has a 20-dart rotating drum and can shoot a whopping 85ft! The smaller size also means it would be easier for smaller kids to handle.

Key features
  • Awesome firepower and comes with 20 Mega Whistler darts
  • Long-range capabilities
  • Shoots up to 85ft
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 x 24.5 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Lots of firepower
  • Easy to use and load, even for kids
  • Very long range
Cons
  • Sometimes jams
  • Might be hard to cock

Must-have accessories

Easy cleanup: Nerf Elite Dart Rover

NERF Elite Dart Rover
Pick up to 100 darts without bending your back. Some people have trouble getting it to work though.

Nothing kills the family fun buzz like having to do the cleanup at the end. The Nerf Elite Dart Rover solves that problem. It’s like a dart vacuum that will pick up 100 darts at a time. Reviews are mixed on this product though. Some say it works perfectly while others say it doesn’t work at all and actually can damage the darts. But it’s at a lower price point, and the littler kids might even like playing with this just as much as the gun since push/pull toys are always a fave.

Key features
  • Retrieves up to 100 darts Includes mesh bag to hold darts g
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 5 x 7 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 15.8oz
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Speed up cleanup
Cons
  • Might damage darts

Be ready for battle: 2 Pack Kids Tactical Vest Kit

Really get into the spirit with these tactical vest kits, though you may have to order a few for the whole family. Do note this isn’t a Nerf product, so the quality might not be as uniform.

Key features
  • 2 tactical vests
  • 2 face masks
  • 2 protective glasses
  • 2 quick-load clips
  • 40 blue Elite refill darts
  • 40 red Elite refill darts
Specifications
  • Product dimensions: 13.26 x 10.03 x 3.18 inches
  • Weight: 1.22lbs
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up

Pros
  • Makes play more realistic
  • Safety features like protective eyewear included
  • Plenty of darts to reload
Cons
  • Quality isn’t as high as Nerf brand

A Guide to Buying the Best Nerf Guns & FAQ

What are Nerf guns?

A Nerf gun is a toy dart gun, technically called a “blaster,” that shoots small foam darts. 

The term “Nerf gun” comes from the most famous brand to produce foam dart guns, Nerf, which is owned by Hasbro. While only blasters created by Nerf are strictly “Nerf guns,” many people use the term to refer to any and all foam dart guns.

Which Nerf guns are the best?

The answer to this will vary widely depending on who is buying it and how they will be used. The perfect Nerf gun for a 17-year-old will almost never be the same as one for an 8-year-old. 

That’s why this article breaks down the best Nerf guns for each age group, plus the best ones for all age ranges, so you can find the Nerf guns that best suit your family.

What’s the difference between all of the Nerf guns? There are so many types!

The most important difference between the different types of Nerf guns is the type of dart required to use them.

Nerf has many different lines of blasters. Some of those lines have compatible darts, others do not. So if you’re going to have multiple people playing together, like a family, it would make the most sense to choose guns from all the same line. That way you won’t have the headache of sorting through all the darts to match them up with the appropriate blaster.

All of the Nerf guns recommended in this post (except for the runner-up for best to splurge on, and the ones recommended in the best alternative line of Nerf guns) are from the same line or use the same line of darts — specifically the Elite darts.

Are Nerf guns safe?

For the most part, Nerf guns are safe toys. Hasbro, the owner of Nerf, has said that years of testing prove they are safe to play with when used properly. However, it would be wise to use some basic precautions.

The biggest risk when using a dart gun like this is an eye injury. If a dart hits an eye from close enough range it can cause damage and even vision loss. There’s a simple answer to this though: Get protective eyewear for your family Nerf gun battles. 

Packs of protective eyewear like this one from Amazon are a great way to minimize risks without minimizing the fun.

While most Nerf guns are recommended for children ages 8 and above, younger kids don’t want to be left out of the fun, understandably. As long as there are adults to supervise their play and take safety precautions, there’s no reason why everyone can’t enjoy themselves.

Does it hurt to get shot by a Nerf gun?

Most of the darts have a rubber tip that might sting a little if fired from a close enough range. But generally, it doesn’t hurt to be shot with a Nerf gun.

Should kids be playing with guns?

This is a hot question, and a tough one each family needs to consider. What one family is comfortable with might be out of the question for another. 

For this reason, it would be smart to talk to the parents of your kids’ friends before allowing them to play together with guns. That way you can prevent any issues that arise and respect the boundaries of other parents. 

Can you play with Nerf guns indoors?

Yes. Of course, use caution. Put away breakable and sentimental items, ensure there’s plenty of space for everyone to move without being hurt, and set ground rules.

Do girls like to play with Nerf guns?

Absolutely. All children might have different preferences for the toys they want to play with, but Nerf guns don’t have a gender. All kids (and adults too!) can play with Nerf guns.

Can you buy replacement foam darts/bullets from other companies besides Nerf? 

Yes. You can find massive packs of replacement darts from a variety of companies, like this 1000-dart pack! You can get darts for about US$0.03 per dart in packs like this, but if you buy replacement packs from Nerf, they will run you around US$0.16 per dart. That adds up to a lot of savings.

Just be sure you choose darts that are compatible with your Nerf guns, which should be clear in the description.


Final thoughts

There are literally hundreds of Nerf guns out there, and choosing one can be overwhelming. Not only should it have enough firepower for the Nerf gun battles to be fun, it must be easy enough for your child to use, and not too heavy to tire them out quickly.

We hope our guide, sorted by age ranges, has helped you to choose the best Nerf guns for your family’s needs.

Looking for more ideas for outdoor fun? Check out our picks for the best outdoor toys for 10-year-olds and the best laser tag guns and sets.

The Best Nerf Guns for the Whole Family

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