Updated: November 2017

Nerf Gun Reviews:

It's almost like a right of passage for kids, get a nerf gun and have battles in your house or in the yard. Most kids love to play hide and seek but after a while that can get boring so incorporating a nerf gun set into the action is perfect. Nerf guns only fire soft darts that don't hurt (don't aim at the face or eyes) and most kids don't have the ability to aim that well anyways. I grew up with Nerf products and we used to have the Nerf disc guns that fired soft dics around the house. The Nerf dart guns are great for children say 5 to 12. I have never had one of my kids get hurt using them and when we grew up things were always safe. There are way more Nerf guns on the market today - Vortex, N-Strike, Swarmfire, etc. Most of the Nerf dart guns range in price from $15 to $70. The add ons like tactical vests, safety glasses, extra darts, targets, and belts are very reasonably priced. You will find most Nerf guns or sets in stores like Target, Walmart, or Toys R Us.

Choosing a Nerf Dart Gun - Pick from the Nerf N-Strike Maverick ($13)on up to the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blaster which sells for $70. We bought the Nerf N-Strike Maverick for our 5 year old son, but the spring loader mechanism is very hard for him to do. I pretty much had to sit there with him in order to get the nerf bullets to fire. He was finally able to pull back on the spring loader at age 6 and use the gun on his own. If you can test one of these guns - perhaps a friend has one - that would give you a good idea if your child is ready and has the hand/arm strength to get it to work. Another common complaint (mine included) is that the firing of the bullets isn't always successful. They get caught in the barrel or misfire completely. Overall, we have had lots of fun with the nerf gun, but don't expect it to perform perfectly. The Nerf Dart Tag Swarmfire is another dart gun that is the weapon of choice if playing DART TAG (similar to laser tag but using darts instead). The Swarmfire gets excellent reviews for its rapid fire ability, although users say the 6 C batteries required to run it make it an expensive option. In Dart Tag games you wear specially designed shirts with target zones on them and if the dart hits that zone it will stick to the shirt. The Swarmfire holds 20 darts, so with rapid blasting, you could be out of ammo quickly. You'll probably want to buy a dart tag refill pack here. Some come 36 to a pack for less than $8. We have found that with the Nerf N-Strike Maverick darts, they tend to come apart after about 18 months where the glue holds the tip together. Replacements are cheap, but still something to consider. You can browse the best selling Nerf dart guns here.

Best Nerf Gun:

RECOMMENDED - If you want the coolest Nerf dart gun on the market, go with the Nerf Dart Tag Swarmfire which sells for about $30. Designed to be used with a Dart Tag setup, the gun will still work when not playing the game. Accuracy and rapid fire are the strength of this Nerf gun and it's fun to shoot. The Swarmfire is actually an electronic blaster that takes 6 C batteries. The blaster comes with 20 Dart Tag darts, but you'll want to order more as the gun fires them off quickly. For littler kids, this automatic blaster allows them to be part of the fun without having to be able to use the spring loader mechanism on most of the other Nerf guns. The N-Strike series of guns - Barricade, Stampede ECS, Maverick, Recon CS-6, and Vulcan EBF-25 are just a few of the fun blasters they have available. Some are larger than others and most will dispense their load of darts quickly, so having extra darts will help keep the fun rolling along.

Nerf Dart Gun for Smaller Kids:

RECOMMENDED - Lots of little kids have trouble cocking the manual Nerf guns and so these automatic ones are the best option. The NERF N-Strike Barricade RV-10 is not a bad deal at less than $15. It does require 3 AA batteries, better than the Swarmfire which needs 6 C batteries, but still an added expense. Many of the reviews we read online from parents with smaller kids felt this was a good dart gun. No spring loaded mechanism to mess with and the little guys and girls can still participate and enjoy themselves. It comes with 10 darts and those will be fired quickly so your child will need to reload often. The Swarmfire is a good alternative, but the batteries needed to run it and the fact that it is front heavy may make it harder to operate for kids younger than 7. What I like about Nerf is that they have created dart guns for all ages and some of the larger ones like the Vulcan or Recon CS-6 are great for tweens to play with. The kids on our block have weekend battles in driveways, yards, and houses and almost every make and model of Nerf gun is on display.