Whether it’s for a family skirmish around the house or all-out office warfare, you need to be the one with the best NERF blaster. But which NERF should you buy? We’ve rounded up the finest foam-flingers to buy.
NERF blasters vary in price, size, power, ammo capacity and ammo type. You don’t want your eight-year-old struggling to aim a massive fully automatic rifle, and similarly your demanding 12-year-old might not be so impressed by a single-shot pistol.
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There’s an enormous range of NERF blasters available, though, and the line-up changes regularly. Certain large retailers even have exclusives that you won’t even find out about unless you shop around.
Here to help ensure you’re properly armed, we’ve created a definitive list of the best NERFs you can buy.
But let’s quickly clear up a few details first…
NERF buying tips
Anyone who’s ever had a NERF battle knows there aren’t enough darts on the face of the planet to get you through without having to scavenge on the floor at least once for a desperate reload.
Trouble is, Hasbro isn’t overly generous with the initial supply of darts with most of its NERF blasters, so make sure you factor into your budget that you’ll need an extra pack for each gun. Maybe go for two packs with a higher-capacity full-auto rifle such as the Elite Hyperfire.
Currently there are five different types of official NERF ammo to choose from. The standard NERF dart is a small, rubber-tipped foam cylinder that these days is sold under the Elite, Zombie Strike or Doomlands branding – all identical except for their colours. The newer AccuStrike darts are compatible with all standard NERFs, but promise increased accuracy from an improved tip design.
Then there’s the Mega dart, which is a bit bigger and makes a satisfying whistling noise as it flies through the air. Don’t expect quite the accuracy you get from the standard dart, but Mega weaponry is darn good fun.
The Missile is larger still, but only used as a secondary one-shot ammo type by certain NERF blaster models, such as the Elite Demolisher.
More serious are the foam balls used by NERF’s Rival range, aimed at ages 14 and up. This spherical Rival ammo, which looks like little yellow golf balls, is designed to be fired at higher velocities and with more precision.
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There’s also a load of accessories to choose from – including many from third-party manufacturers. Some of them, such as sights, are mainly cosmetic. They look cool, but won’t really help in close-quarters dartplay.
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The most useful accessories by far are higher-capacity magazines (or what Hasbro calls “clips”). There are official NERF ones in various shapes and sizes, and there are a few third-party options out there too. They’re interchangeable between models – as long as your model of NERF blaster has a magazine that’s actually removable, that is – so a stock of mags is a worthwhile investment.
The NERF Modulus range includes the most official accessories, including complete upgrade bundles. You can get grips, sights, barrel extensions, bipods and more. Just make sure your blaster is compatible with all the accessories in the bundle, or you could make an expensive mistake. The Modulus Tri-Strike, for instance, has an upper accessory rail, but not a lower one, so it can’t take advantage of a flip-down grip or a bipod.
Hasbro even makes wearable items for NERF warfare. Vests and bandoliers can be bought for holding extra darts, but more worthwhile (and less dorky) are face masks that are a good shout if you’re using the hard-hitting Rival gear.
Lucky NERF warriors who can still find one can even deploy a dart-firing tank drone, the Elite TerraScout.
NERF Elite Jolt
1 of 10
- Price – £5.99
- 1-dart capacity
- 2 Elite darts in the box
Yes, it’s a NERF pistol for around a fiver. Don’t be deceived by this single-shot, manual-powered blaster. This is most certainly one for your undercover arsenal, when the ammo in all your bigger blasters has been spent. The Jolt punches well above its weight in both the distance it shoots and in its power.
But it only holds one dart, so you’d better have good aim. For extra fun, go head to head, one dart each, in a Man With The Golden Gun style.
At time of review the NERF Elite Jolt Blaster was available for £5.99.
NERF Elite Disruptor
2 of 10
- 6-dart capacity
- 6 Elite darts in the box
A superb six-dart shooter that’s an upgrade to the popular Strongarm model, fully loadable from the front without the need for the Strongarm’s swing-out cylinder. Load up with darts, and with the manual, rapid-fire “Slam Fire” action enabler, you can pump up and let rip in seconds. This blaster also features a tactical rail so you can add other items from the NERF range to it.
At time of review the NERF Elite Disruptor was available for £12.99.
NERF Elite Stryfe
3 of 10
- 6-dart capacity (magazine)
- 6 Elite darts in the box
- Requires 4x AA batteries
The Stryfe has been a long-standing favourite of both casual NERFers and the foam-dart hardcore. Straight from the box you get a compact, submachine-gun-like blaster with semi-automatic dart delivery via a motordrive that takes common (and cheap) AA batteries, and is fed by a six-shot removable magazine.
But it’s the upgrade potential and versatility that have led to the Stryfe gaining its legendary status. There are barrel and butt fittings, so you can choose from the array of aftermarket shoulder-stock and barrel-extension options, plus there are accessory rails top and bottom for fitting grips, sights, lights or whatever else you fancy. And, of course, you can swap out the mag for a higher-capacity version.
At time of review the NERF Elite Stryfe was available for £19.99
NERF Elite SurgeFire
4 of 10
- 15-dart capacity (fixed drum)
- 15 Elite darts in the box
In many ways, the SurgeFire is the ideal NERF blaster. It’s a good size to swing onto target, it has excellent ammo capacity, is easy to reload, and can be Slam Fired at an amazing rate for rapid fire without any noisy motor whirr to give away your position.
The only tiny niggle is that you can’t add a shoulder stock. There is an accessory rail along the top, though.
At time of review the NERF Elite SurgeFire was available for £25.99
NERF Elite Crossbolt
5 of 10
- Authentic crossbow action
- 12-dart capacity (magazine)
- 12 Elite darts in the box
Let’s get medieval, yo. The Crossbolt doesn’t use the usual NERF method of a spring to compress air for firing; instead it has proper working crossbow arms and an elasticated string to pop the darts up the barrel.
Shooting it out of the Dark Ages, though, is a generous 12-shot magazine, so a new dart gets loaded every time you pull the slide back. Two separate jam doors will make sure you keep the Crossbolt running smoothly in the heat of battle.
At time of review the NERF Elite Crossbolt was available for £29.99.
NERF Modulus Regulator
6 of 10
- 12-dart capacity (magazine + spare 12-dart mag)
- SwitchFire tech
- Modular design
- 24 darts in the box
This unique blaster is the first NERF with SwitchFire, so you can choose between single-shot firing, fully automatic and three-shot bursts, just with the flick of a switch. Whether you’re trying to carefully pick off an opponent part-hidden behind the sofa, or want to storm a bedroom fortress, you’ve got it all in one blaster.
With this being part of the Modulus range, there are also plenty of parts you can bolt on. There are three barrel attachments, two of which can double as scopes and one which has a swivelling carry handle. There’s also a butt stock with built-in storage for the spare 12-dart mag, and there are plenty of accessory rails for bolting on even more cool gear.
Without stepping up to the Rival series, this is the best NERF blaster you can buy.
At time of review the NERF Modulus Regulator was available for £39.99.