If you are thinking of getting yourself a NERF blaster or have been asked to buy one for someone by now you have probably realized that there is an awful lot of choice out there.
The Nerf range has expanded out from the original foam darts into several sub-ranges that use this type of ammo, such as the N-Strike Elite and Doomlands 2169 ranges, as well as adding a bigger version of these darts, called the MEGA range. Finally, we have Rival range, the new(ish) kid on the block, aimed at 14+ age range.
These ranges all add a certain flavor to the world of Nerf, and in reality, they all have some good blasters, some not so good and almost all have at least one terrible bit of gimmicky nonsense!
So, to make things easier we have listed some of our favorites and broken them down by price. Please note that prices on Amazon fluctuate, so while we have done our best to group them in the right price range, these fluctuations may see them be listed for more (or less) than the price band we listed them in.
We start off with the best under $15, where you can find some surprisingly good ones for very little money. We then step it up to the best under $30 where you get into the first powered blasters. Finally, we take things up to the best under $50 where you will find the full-auto blasters that get all the headlines.
So, lets get into it and start with the under $15 blasters…
Best NERF Guns Under $15
I love the Hammershot! Originally rumored to be NERF’s cowboy range, the success of shows like the Walking Dead saw Hasbro shift focus to the Zombie genre.
This has lead to several really cool blasters, that while they look gimmicky, are actually great fun and surprisingly practical.
So while the Hammershot may look like a bad buy compared to the Disruptor, as it only carries five rounds compared to the Disruptor’s six and has no slamfire, it does have a very nice trick up its sleeve.
The priming mechanism for the Hammershot can be operated one-handed! This makes it an excellent secondary blaster so you can scavenge for more ammo or hold the flag in “Capture The Flag” while still being able to defend yourself.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3
$15 is not a lot of money but the NERF Triad, can be found for as little as half that! Yes, you can get the Jolt for even less, but the extra buck or two for the Triad is well worth spending.
Now don’t be put off by its diminutive size, it will hold 3 rounds that are front-loaded and packs a surprisingly big punch for such a small blaster.
The simple front loading mechanism hides some cleverness behind the scenes that allows it to figure out which of the barrels are loaded so if you have a dart in there, it will never fire an empty chamber when you pull the trigger.
No, it does not have some of the features like slam fire or single-handed operation, but it’s simplicity and small size make it a great intro into the world of NERF and I still carry one around as a backup in my NERF wars
Nerf N-Strike Elite Disruptor
The NERF Disruptor was released as a follow-up to the hugely popular NERF Strongarm. While the Strongarm has a very cool loading mechanism, this actually makes it slower to reload in real life. The simplified Disruptor is loaded from the front, which I find much faster.
When it was released many people criticized it as Hasbro doing nothing but cost-cutting. This may be true, but I don’t mind too much as the price is actually lower than the Strongarm and I find it more practical, so I am not complaining!
Other than that, the Disruptor shares the same performance and features of the Strongarm; N-Strike Elite performance with the darts reaching about 70fps and a range of around 75’/30m and Slamfire.
So, if you find yourself in a tight spot, Slamfire lets you hold the trigger and each time you pull the priming handle you fire….excellent fun, even if you will find yourself scrabbling around the floor collecting ammo more often than you’d like!
Overall a really good blaster that you cannot go far wrong with
Nerf Zombie Strike Flip Fury
Now this is a pistol designed to start a conversation! You cannot really use the Flip Fury as a backup as it is pretty large, but it is excellent as a blaster in its own right and its party piece flipping drums is worth the price alone!
The Flip Fury is essentially a Strongarm/Disruptor with two ammo drums; the top drum fires, leaving you the ability to load the lower one from the front. Once you run out of ammo in the top drum, you simply pull the lever just under the trigger guard and it flips around and you have another 6 rounds to fire…excellent!
It also features slam fire, and with double the amount of ammo of the other blasters here, it can really throw a hail of foam at your targets!
The one big downside is its bulk, which makes it hard to use as a secondary blaster, but if you are looking for an awesome pistol, this one packs a massive bang for the buck and is thoroughly recommended!
Nerf N-Strike Elite Mega Lightning Bow
Blasters a bit dull? Want to pretend to be Robin Hood or Katniss Everdeen rather than Han Solo or Princess Leia? Then this could just be the thing for you.
The bow is very simple – you just slot the dart into the front, pull back, aim and let the string go and the dart flies off with a very satisfying “twang” and with a surprising amount of accuracy.
This one fires the MEGA darts, which I don’t really like in blasters as they don’t fire as far or with as much accuracy as the Elite darts, but when fired from this, they make sense and the “smack” as they hit their target is even more satisfying somehow!
If you’d like the bow to fire standard Elite darts, then there is also the Nerf Rebelle Epic Action Bow. I am not a fan of the Rebelle graphics and branding as it just strikes me as a little condescending as the colors on the other ranges are not specifically “boy” from what I can see, but the bow is great fun!
So if you like the idea of something a bit different, then these bows could be just the ticket
Best NERF Guns Under $30
Nerf Rival Artemis XVII-3000
I am a big fan of the Nerf Rival range and this model typically hovers around the $30 mark, which is a bargain if you ask me and the reason why I have put it here at the number one spot!
The Artemis is a spring powered, slamfire capable blaster with a monstrous 30 round capacity in a surprisingly compact package. The loading mechanism is really clever, allowing you to drop ammo in to partially reload, while still keeping some ready to go if you get attacked.
With the better accuracy of the Rival hi-impact rounds and slam fire this 30 round magazine makes it a lethal combination….and an awesome blaster!
The Rival range is aimed at 14+ age group, so don’t buy this for younger kids, but for anyone else, this blaster is one you can show off for the cleverness of the loading mechanism as well as the firepower!
The Stryfe is one of the mainstays of the NERF world. It was one of the first flywheel blasters and it was immediately successful and for good reason – it is still an awesome blaster!
It needs batteries to power the flywheels, so you have a little button to spin these up. Once it is spinning, you just pull the trigger and a dart flies off, pull it again and another goes – no need to pull any priming handles!
It takes pretty much any size mag so you can load it up with anything from a 6 round mag and keep it for backup or add a stock and 18 round mags and turn it into an awesome primary blaster.
The Stryfe just does what you want of a semi-auto blaster, but what makes this a great buy is the range of modification kits you can get – nothing comes close!
So if you want more powerful batteries of rechargeable batteries, there are a ton of kits to do that. You want a stock or to make it look like a blaster from some sci-fi show or other? Yep, kits for that!
For a while I thought they were going to kill this blaster off, but NERF has recently introduced a Modulus branded version of the Stryfe, with some little additions, so it looks like there is plenty of life left in it yet!
I make no excuses – I have several of these and I lovee them! This incarnation comes with a very small 6 round magazine and a terrible stock, but the simple genius of this spring powered blaster still shines through.
There are flashier blasters with battery powered flywheels throwing out five rounds per second, but they make a lot of noise. So for the old school hunter-killer missions, this is still my blaster of choice.
Robust, comfortable and with the ability to add much bigger magazines and stocks this is the epitome of old school Nerf sophistication and ability.
A blaster well worthy of the classic tag.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Stockade
The Stockade is a blaster that I think gets very overlooked. The internals are very similar to the Stryfe so you get a semi-auto flywheel blaster (which means it will need some batteries) with Elite performance.
“So why wouldn’t you just buy a Stryfe?” I hear you ask. Well, this comes with a pretty good stock and, rather than a magazine, it uses a 10 round drum.
This drum loading mechanism is more reliable than magazines (I cannot remember mine jamming) and can be front-loaded, which is ideal for scratch games where you are having to grab ammo that has already been fired.
I really like this blaster and find it overlooked by many, but it has so much going for it and I thoroughly recommend it!
The Doomlands 2169 range is Nerf’s post-apocalyptic range, with slightly Mad Max-esque styling they seem to add a bit of a price premium over similar blasters in other ranges.
This means that most of the time I don’t really pay them much attention, but the Lawbringer is just different enough to make it worth the money.
Essentially this is a bigger version of the Hammershot, with a stock and a drum that holds twelve rounds. However, in use, the single-handed cocking action and extra ammo make this a really pleasing combo – I must confess to liking this blaster far more than I should!
If you can stretch to buying two, then dual wielding is a real option and boy do you look bad-ass (or at least I thought I did….!)
Add to this the clear sections so you can see the mechanism in action and you have a very cool blaster
Nerf N-Strike Elite CrossBolt
The Crossbolt is for those that want something a little different. Essentially a magazine fed crossbow and it works far better than you think it might!
The priming handle on the top pulls back the string and you pull the trigger and away goes the dart. It’s really good fun!
There is also a nice little tweak you can do to make it fire a little bit harder too – you can take the string off, shorten it and then reattach it…it is about the simplest blaster to modify!
So if you are looking for something a little off the beaten track, this is the one to go for!
Best NERF Guns Under $50
Nerf N-Strike Mega Mega Mastodon
The Mastodon is, quite simply, nuts! The Mega darts are not favorites of mine, but when you load 24 of them into this monster and start popping them off at 3 per second, it all makes sense!
Now before I start, the Mastodon is heavy and not cheap to run as it needs six D batteries, which it goes through fast. Unlike the newer Rival blasters which offer rechargeable packs, you cannot officially get them for this (although there are aftermarket kits)
But leaving such practical considerations aside, hearing the hearty “thwack” of these oversized darts smacking against their target is so satisfying and in full-auto….oh yes!!
Nerf N-Strike Elite HyperFire
The Hyperfire is the latest full-auto blaster in the N-Strike Elite range. It pumps out darts at around four rounds per second with a more accuracy than usual for these darts as the mechanism spins them as they fire…cool!
It also comes with a rather cool 25 dart drum, which looks great, but if you are in a Nerf war, can be a bit cumbersome compared to stick mags, but you will approve of the larger capacity when you hold down that trigger!
My biggest gripe is that it is really uncomfortable to hold as the thumb hole is in the wrong place for me, but may people fit it just fine (I am an adult, with adult sized hands…so I really shouldn’t complain when a toy is not sized for me!)
Great fun and an excellent blaster even if I do still prefer the Rapidstrike…
Nerf CS-18 N-Strike Elite RapidstrikePrice Disclaimer
The Rapidstrike was the first fully auto blaster from Nerf. It is now beginning to show its age as newer blaster like the Hyperfire fire faster and more accurately.
However I don’t like the Hyperfire as it does not fit me properly and is a bit more prone to jamming. The Rapidstrike also has so many kits to upgrade it that this can become a blaster that will out-perform the Hyperfire, but out of the box it is not as good if you can get your thumb through the hole!
So I will leave it there and let you decide which to go for…which, let’s face it is going to be the Hyperfire!!
Best NERF Guns when Money is No Object
The Nemesis is awesome, the Rival range fire small foam, golfball-like ammo at around 100 fps, far higher than the Elite norm of around 70fps, and they are so much more accurate than Elite darts. Now image you get to fire one hundred of these little suckers at up to five per second without reloading? Yeah, that is the Nemesis!
So, without doubt, this is the blaster to buy if you have the cash….nothing else comes close so I will not even bother to list other alternatives!!
- 1 Best NERF Guns Under $15
- 2 Best NERF Guns Under $30
- 3 Best NERF Guns Under $50
- 4 Best NERF Guns when Money is No Object