Warm weather is almost here! As kids get ready to ditch their tablets in favor of some old school outdoor fun, it’s time to amp up the artillery for water war season.
We blew through gallons of water to find the absolute best in aquatic artillery innovation. We can say, without question, that the X-Shot Water Warfare Epic Fast Fill by Zuru(available at Amazon for $14.99) can’t be beat. Its fast-fill technology puts kids at the top of their water combat game. For smaller kids that struggle with the 34-ounce water capacity of the X-Shot Water Warfare Epic Fast Fill, the Nerf Super Soaker DinoSquad Dino-Soak Water Blaster (available at Target) ran a close second.
While the X-Shot and the Dino-Soak took top honors, there were some pretty close contenders. Most models we tried offered cool features like double-barreled drenching or sustained spraying—so we have lots to say about each toy.
Here are the best water guns we tested, ranked in order:
Zuru X-Shot Water Warfare Epic Fast Fill
Nerf Super Soaker DinoSquad Dino-Soak
Nerf Super Soaker Twin Tide
Nerf Super Soaker Roblox SharkBite
Zuru X-Shot Water Warfare Fast Fill
Nerf Super Soaker Hydra Water Blaster
Team Magnus Incog
Zuru X-Shot Fast Fill (2-Pack)
Joyin Sloosh Spritz Aqua Phaser (3-Pack)
Max Liquidator Original Water Blaster (6-Pack)
1500CC Super Squirt Gun (2-Pack)
Zuru X-Shot Water Warfare Epic Fast Fill
This water gun seriously drenched the competition during testing, making it the best water gun for kids of all that we tested. This is a feature-packed soaker, with an excellent range, and it comes at a great price.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with the time it takes to refill an empty water gun while your opponents attack you, the Zuru X-Shot line of soakers will offer a whole lot of gratification during your next water war. The ingenious design has a flip-open back that reveals a nearly 3-inch opening, making this a water gun that can be refilled in seconds and once closed, the seal is tight and leak-free.
The high-capacity 30-ounce reservoir, the excellent pump-action, and its impressive drench range of 30 feet all made this water gun top our list. We also love that this soaker has a rotating face that allows you to change stream density, which allows kids to mix things up during water play.
The only complaint we got was this soaker can feel heavy and unwieldy and, while the large-mouthed water tank did make it a favorite, it can be tough to open for younger kids. If you have a child age 8 or older, however—or if you’re the one you’re shopping for—this water blaster can’t be beat.
This blaster immediately stole the show by our dinosaur-obsessed testers for its cool design. For smaller kids, the Nerf Super Soaker DinoSquad Dino-Soak packs a ton of power in a relatively small package. What impressed us most was the soaker’s ability to be manageable enough for kids as young as 3-years-old, yet powerful enough that you may want to steal it from your kid on occasion.
This surprisingly powerful soaker completely kept pace with competing models that are geared towards older kids. The Dino-Soak effectively shot streams of water slightly over 25 feet, making it a formidable piece of artillery. It was also surprisingly lightweight for the 24 ounces of water it holds, so younger kids really felt like they were at the top of their blaster game.
What truly set it apart, however, is it had the smoothest and easiest pump action of all the soakers we tried. This made it a soaker that was easier for kids to use without getting fatigued—and it also made for a pretty good time when adults took it to the battleground.
There are hundreds of soaker guns on the market. We selected our pool from top sellers with the best reviews, then we pitted them against each other. We had testers ranging from age 3 to mid-40s, and tested for ease of use, fun factor, water capacity, pump action, and distance of shooting streams.
I'm Janelle and I'm the parenting writer here at Reviewed. I also happen to love a good water war and have been shooting soaker guns since the early 1990s. While I’m not sure there is any sort of certification for expertise in water combat, I’d probably consider myself an expert on all things Super Soaker and beyond.
I’ve tested toys and products for Reviewed for three years and love to nerd out on the nuances of each product.
My lab assistant for testing was 8-year-old Henry. We recruited as many friends (kids and adults) as we could to test the soakers on numerous occasions. (As you can imagine, recruitment wasn’t much of a challenge.)
First and foremost, we looked for playability. We tested each gun to make sure it held as much water as it claimed, and we tested the distance and the velocity of water streams for each.
We filled each soaker with water and food coloring and measured 30 feet and used that to measure the distance and accuracy of each water stream. Those that hit the 30-foot mark with accuracy rose to the top of the list.
We also tested the ease with which each soaker could be refilled, asking each child to refill the blasters without assistance. If it was too difficult for a child of the manufacturer's recommended age to figure out without help, we docked the soaker in our scoring.
Finally, we tested for weight and ease of carry. We weighed each soaker after it was filled, but we looked at this objectively as well observing the kids and determining how long a child could use a soaker—particularly the heavier ones—before they decided if it was too heavy for a kid to use for extended water blasting.
What You Should Know About Buying a Water Gun
For a truly powerful piece, we preferred a water capacity of 24 to 35 ounces. Kids will need a minimum of 24 ounces to stay in the game without needing to constantly refill, but anything around 35 ounces is generally too heavy for kids to manage while running around.
Weight of the Soaker
If the weight of a soaker is too heavy, kids (and adults) will get fatigued by playing. If you want a soaker that’s over our recommended 35-ounce capacity, we encourage you to look for ones with alternative handle options to accommodate the weight.
Likewise, a soaker that’s too large for the child you are buying for will prove unwieldy. Since soaker battles aren’t the kind of activity you play when standing still, any soaker you buy should be at a scale your child can easily manage.
Many water blasters put added tension at the pumps to enhance a soaker’s drenching capabilities. While this is generally a great thing, a worn-out pump arm is a buzzkill on the battlefield. We recommend you look for a soaker that has an action that your child can manage during long durations of play.
Other Water Guns We Tested
Nerf Super Soaker Twin Tide
This was another impressive water gun by Nerf, tying for second place with the Dino-Soak in our testing. Holding an impressive 33 ounces of water, it still managed to be surprisingly lightweight and very easy to wield, thanks to its stocky design.
This soaker has an extra-wide mouth so it fills far more quickly than most. We never felt frustrated by the fill time and we also felt like this one may even be preferable when filling directly from a garden hose.
This water blaster is double-barreled and shoots two simultaneous streams of water—making for some pretty substantial soaking action that kids loved. This is a serious favorite of the kid and adult testers alike, earning this one an Editors' Choice award.
New to the water blaster scene is the SharkBite, a Roblox-branded Super Soaker by Nerf. Kids love the lightweight feel of this soaker and its excellent 25-foot water stream. They also, not surprisingly, loved the look of this streamlined water blaster.
Cool features on this option, which helped it rise to the top, were the shoulder-stabilizing shark tale and the shark-fin “sights.” This is one of the most stable-shooting Super Soakers on the market. Kids loved both the look of this water blaster and the accuracy of aim they were able to achieve.
Like the X-Shot Epic Fast Fill, this soaker has the flip-back fast-fill feature that allows kids to refill their water guns within seconds. This blaster holds 24-ounces in its water tank and doesn’t have the dial feature that allows kids to choose their water stream. While some may prefer this pared-down version, it was too similar to the Epic, so it really just felt like it was living in the shadow of a much cooler model.
A veritable water cannon in a kids’ toy, this water blaster soaks with some serious power. Holding 65 ounces of water, this water blaster truly goes the distance, making it an excellent choice for serious play.
While most water blasters that held such a large capacity got marked down for being too heavy for kids to use, this one has some cool features that make it easier to hold than the competition. An arm stabilizer made this a favorite of hideout soaker shooters who wanted to blast water from clubhouses and treehouses. The drop grip and pump handle allowed for a stabilized aim that allowed for sure-fire shots that delivered a decisive deluge against opponents.
While this wasn’t our favorite when it came to running around, it was a winner when it came to more tactical water wars. If your water warrior wants to be shooting from a fox hole, this is our favorite choice.
And now for something completely different. What everyone liked most about this soaker was you didn’t realize it was a soaker until it was too late. Named the “Incog,” this soaker looks more like a briefcase for an international spy. The compact size made it easy to hold, the action was great, and—holding an impressive 40 ounces—it remained lightweight and delivered great drenching power.
Where it fell short was during filling. The screw-top cap didn’t always recap easily—particularly when kids were being targeted during refills. This caused some frustration, some leakage, and maybe one temper tantrum. Overall this is still a fun water toy and we loved the element of surprise, but this is better for older kids.
We’d be lying if we said these squirt toys weren’t fun to play with. If you’re going into a small scale, hand-held, squirt gun fight, your foes don’t stand a chance.
Like the other X-Shots, these high-quality pistols have the fast-fill option. Unlike them, however, the reservoir opens with a really fun flip button that you can open one-handed. If you are looking for a squirt gun as opposed to a soaker, you will love these.
If you are buying for a family outing or want to buy a few soakers for a party, the value of this party favor-style three-pack can’t be beat. The price point, however, was the only thing we really liked about these water guns. Since they only hold 15 ounces of water, kids ran out of water almost as fast as they could refill.
Refilling was slow, and there were no fun features to make these stand out. The price point is terrific, but since most of the soakers we tested (and loved) came in at $15 or less, this may be a situation where a little splurge is worth it.
At $17 for six soakers, these are an excellent choice for your next pool party. Even though they look like something that rolled out of Elmo’s toy box, we were actually blown away at just how far the soaking stream reached with these.
These shoot water 30 feet and were a blast to unleash on unsuspecting victims who underestimated their power. That being said, they only hold about 3 ounces, so they need to be refilled for every shot.
These are a fun choice for little kids in a kiddie pool, when you don’t want anyone accidentally bonking each other with the hard plastic of other soakers, and when you have water to refill at the ready. Our 3-year-old tester loved these, but kids 5 and above were ready to move on to soakers with more exciting features.
We initially loved the idea of this two-pack, unfortunately, these left us underwhelmed. Even though these blasters held an exceptional amount of water, the stream didn’t go as far as competitors, hitting about 27 as opposed to 30 to 35 feet. They were also heavy and difficult to lug around, fatiguing all of the children who tested them.
None of the kids were particularly wowed by these blasters and, considering these come in at about $14 apiece, there would be no real motivation for us to buy these on our own after testing them.
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