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The Best Nerf Guns of 2022

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Editor's Choice Product image of Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6
Best Overall

Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6

Players don't have to figure out a complicated combination of buttons and levers in order to prime the blaster; all they have to do is pull back the bolt before pulling the trigger. Read More

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good aim
  • Easy to load

Cons

  • None that we could find
Product image of Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow

Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow

The feature that sets the Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker apart is the crossbow that's mounted to the top, which can be used to shoot darts. Read More

Pros

  • Crossbow
  • Easy to load

Cons

  • Only holds 5 darts
Product image of Zuru X-Shot Reflex 6 Royale Edition

Zuru X-Shot Reflex 6 Royale Edition

It also doesn't have the detachable scope, which means that it's not very accurate when it comes to hitting an intended target. Read More

Pros

  • Easy to load
  • Simple to shoot

Cons

  • Doesn't have good aim
Product image of Zuru X-Shot Omega

Zuru X-Shot Omega

This gun shoots the farthest of any of the Nerf guns we tested, but, unfortunately, that doesn't translate into accuracy at hitting a target. Read More

Pros

  • Holds lots of darts
  • Shoots far

Cons

  • Tends to jam
  • Not especially accurate
Product image of Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster

Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster

Another huge problem with the Pharoah Ultra is that's it's very difficult to remove the clip in order to fill it with Nerf darts. Read More

Pros

  • Long range
  • Integrated scope

Cons

  • Extremely difficult to load
  • Unwieldy

If you'd asked me when I was pregnant with my son if I ever thought that he would end up having a closet full of Nerf guns, I would have laughed right in your face. I envisioned his childhood being full of wooden blocks, organic kale chips, and mommy-and-me meditations visualizing world peace. As with most things about parenting, nothing has gone as planned, and I do, in fact, have a son whose favorite toys are plastic weapons. Naturally this makes me—and my son—well-suited to finding the Nerf gun that's best for players of all ages and sizes. If you're looking for a toy that's going to get them off of their tablets and outside, a Nerf gun is a smart investment.

With the help of my adult colleagues and my kids, I spent the better part of three weeks checking out the most popular Nerf guns to find the best one. Of the 10 that we looked at, the Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander (available at Amazon) is the easiest to use—and the most fun—for kids and adults alike. It is one of the simplest to load and a cinch to use. Of course, when it comes to these fun toys, it's practically impossible to just choose one, especially when other models offer different features like a cool T. rex design or an added crossbow.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

A boy, laying in the grass, aiming a a nerf gun
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Our favorite Nerf gun is easy to use for both kids and adults.

Best Overall
Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6

The Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander is one of the simpler guns that we tested, but it consistently garnered high marks from both our adult and child testers. The foam darts are extremely easy to load quickly—you simply stick them directly into the rotating chamber—and while it didn't have perfect aim, players hit the intended target more often than not.

Another reason for the Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander's high marks is that it is easy to shoot. Players don't have to figure out a complicated combination of buttons and levers in order to prime the blaster; all they have to do is pull back the top slide before pulling the trigger. It didn't require a lot of hand or upper body strength to use the slide either (unlike in some of the other models we tested), which made it fun for players of all ages—even my 7-year-old daughter.

With a price tag of under $10, the Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander provides the most bang for your buck (pun intended). Sure, you could spend upwards of $50 on a fancy Nerf gun that requires batteries, but it won't be nearly as easy to use or as fun for everyone to play with. The Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander has such a low price point that you might as well purchase at least two so that you can have a truly epic—and evenly matched—Nerf gun battle.

Pros

  • Easy to use

  • Good aim

  • Easy to load

Cons

  • None that we could find

Product image of Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow
Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow

The feature that sets the Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker apart is the crossbow that's mounted to the top, which can be used to shoot darts. Players can either use the crossbow or go the more traditional route and pull the trigger instead. Both choices yield a super strong shot, and our kid testers didn't have any problems using the bow or the trigger mechanisms. In fact, all of our testers gave the Outbreaker high marks for its shooting power—it was the strongest of all the guns we tested—as well as how easy it was to load the darts into the rotating drum.

The Zombie Strike Outbreaker also got points for how cool it looks. I mean, who doesn't want a crossbow-Nerf gun combo? The trademark Zombie green color makes this Nerf gun stand out in a crowded playroom, and it felt durable enough to withstand plenty of Nerf battles.

If you're in search of a Nerf gun that's more unique than Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander, you can't go wrong with the Zombie Strike Outbreaker.

Pros

  • Crossbow

  • Easy to load

Cons

  • Only holds 5 darts

Product image of Zuru X-Shot Reflex 6 Royale Edition
Zuru X-Shot Reflex 6 Royale Edition

The Zuru X-Shot Reflex 6 is another gold-plated gun, but it's smaller and more compact than the Royale Hawkeye. It also doesn't have a detachable scope, which means that it's not very accurate when it comes to hitting an intended target. In fact, my daughter found it so annoying that she wasn't able to hit her victim (me) that she rated the Reflex 6 "difficult and frustrating."

As far as loading the projectiles, the X-Shot Reflex 6 took the top spot in the "easy to load" category, likely because users can quickly and easily pop the projectiles right into the rotating chamber. The X-Shot Reflex 6 is a good choice for younger Nerf gun obsessives who might otherwise have a hard time figuring out complicated steps in order to get a gun to shoot, since it works with a simple spring and plunge load design. Simply pull back the hook on the rear of the gun and then just push the trigger to shoot the darts.

Pros

  • Easy to load

  • Simple to shoot

Cons

  • Doesn't have good aim

Product image of Zuru X-Shot Omega
Zuru X-Shot Omega

The Zuru X-Shot Omega is a cool-looking gun that's sure to intimidate even the most seasoned Nerf opponent. This gun shoots the farthest of any of the Nerf guns we tested, but, unfortunately, that doesn't translate into accuracy at hitting a target. That being said, the X-Shot Omega can shoot up to four darts per second, so if you're looking for sheer volume as opposed to tailored aim, this gun won't disappoint.

There's no question that one of the features that sets the X-Shot Omega apart is that it holds lots of darts, which means you won't have to pause your Nerf battle to reload. However, our kid testers found that it was difficult to line the darts up in the chamber, which resulted in issues with the gun jamming.

One of the best features of the X-Shot Omega is that you prime the blaster by pulling back on the handle mounted on the top of the gun. While this may sound difficult considering the size of the gun, it has little resistance, which means that it was easy for even our youngest tester to manage.

Pros

  • Holds lots of darts

  • Shoots far

Cons

  • Tends to jam

  • Not especially accurate

Product image of Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster
Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster

The Nerf Pharaoh Ultra is a huge gun. While that's certainly a plus when it comes to intimidating your opponents, it is decidedly not a plus for kids. In fact, the Pharaoh Ultra is so long and heavy that it was practically impossible for my 7-year-old daughter to manage, and she needed help holding it up to shoot.

Another huge problem with the Pharaoh Ultra is that's it's very difficult to remove the clip in order to fill it with Nerf darts. Neither of my kids was able to get the clip out without adult help, and even I had such a tough time getting it out that I had to get my husband to help. Our adult testers also had a difficult time with the clip and rated the Pharaoh Ultra as the most difficult to load of all the guns we tested. Needless to say, this is not a Nerf gun that kids are going to be able to manage independently.

The Pharaoh Ultra did get points for accuracy though, thanks to the integrated scope and how far it can shoot. It also felt durable and like it can withstand lots of hard use, so it could be an ideal choice for older teen Nerf enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Long range

  • Integrated scope

Cons

  • Extremely difficult to load

  • Unwieldy

Product image of Nerf DinoSquad Rex-Rampage
Nerf DinoSquad Rex-Rampage

The Nerf Dino Squad Rex Rampage is the only Nerf gun we tested that required batteries, which turned out not to be much of a "pro" as it made the gun really heavy. If you're scoring simply on looks, however, the Dino Squad Rex Rampage is a winner thanks to its resemblance to an actual T. rex. The bright red and green colors also help it to stand out, and it was the first gun that my kids wanted to test because they found it so appealing.

Unfortunately, outward appearance is the best thing the Dino Squad Rex Rampage has going for it. Our testers did like that the clip holds 10 darts at a time, but it scored low for accuracy at hitting a target, and every single tester felt that it was underwhelming.

The battery power means that there's no need to prime the blaster—users simply fire up the motor and press the trigger—but no one felt that this feature made up for the Rex Rampage's overall shortcomings.

Pros

  • Attractive design

  • Easy to shoot

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Underwhelming overall

Product image of Zuru X-Shot Crusher
Zuru X-Shot Crusher

Similar in design to the X-Shot Omega, the Crusher features pump action that can blast up to four darts per second. That's definitely a great thing—assuming the gun isn't too heavy for your kids to manage. Our youngest tester could barely lift the Crusher up, and she certainly couldn't hold it steady long enough to take advantage of this trait.

In terms of accuracy, the Crusher scored low, and it wasn't especially easy to pull back the handle to load a dart into the chamber. The 35-dart belt is a pro, however, and we didn't have issues with the auto-rotating belt causing the gun to jam as we did with the Omega. The Crusher has a long shooting range—supposedly up to 90 feet—but its lack of accuracy canceled out any positive impact that provides.

Pros

  • Holds 35 darts

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Terrible accuracy

Product image of Nerf Modulus Recon MKIII Blaster
Nerf Modulus Recon MKIII Blaster

The feature that sets the Nerf Modulus Recon MKIII blaster apart is the dart shield that can be attached to the top of the gun. While this seems like a cool idea, it's not big enough to shield players from any shots unless their opponent is basically standing four feet in front of them. Great idea, not so great in execution.

The Nerf Modulus Recon MKIII blaster was difficult to shoot for both our kid and adult testers—you have to pump the slide back and forward for each shot—which slowed down how quickly they were able to shoot their opponents. The Recon MKIII blaster also shoots really hard, which led to concern among the parents in our testing group that players could get hurt. The Recon MKIII blaster does have a clip that holds 12 darts, but everyone found that it was hard to remove and took time to load (though not as difficult as the Pharaoh).

As far as accuracy, the Nerf Modulus Recon MKIII blaster scored pretty low, but it does have a long range, making it good for use outside.

Pros

  • 12 dart clip

  • Detachable dart shield

Cons

  • Hard to load

  • Not accurate

Meet the tester

Anna Lane

Anna Lane

Editor, Parenting

@theannalane

Prior to joining Reviewed as the Parenting Editor, Anna worked as a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. A graduate of New York University, Anna currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

See all of Anna Lane's reviews

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