Welcome, Spring, 2014!
Summer's coming all too slowly, but Spring is finally acting more spring-like and the snow has almost all melted. Here at iSoaker.com, we've completed our testing of the new notable water blaster products of 2014 with the exception of range tests and are summarizing our findings for you. While the specific review pages (see also: the listing of Water Gun / Water Blaster Product Analyses) go into more statistics and details about particular water blaster models, this article is meant to provide a good overview of what to expect from the blasters tested here.
If you just want to know our choice for the best, scroll down to The Verdict. Otherwise, read-on to learn more about all the contenders and understand better why one ended up rising to the top of the field for summer, 2014.
So, with no further ado, here are the newest water weaponry offerings from the two major manufacturers, Hasbro Inc. and Buzz Bee Toys Inc.:
New Nerf Super Soaker Water Blaster Models for 2014
New Water Warriors Water Blaster Models for 2014
Buzz Bee Toys Inc.
MSRP: $$.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Alpha Fire is one of the smal, trigger-based water blasters released by Hasbro Inc. Unlike most other trigger-based water blasters, the Nerf Super Soaker Alpha Fire features three nozzles in a triangular arrangement (sort of like the points of the capital Greek letter Alpha) and blasts out three streams in this spreading, triangular formation. However, since its streams are powered by a mere trigger-based pump, pushing a mere 2.6mL (0.09oz) per pump. As such, the streams pushed are thin and last only a fraction of a second. Good for younger water warriors, this water blaster is easily outclassed by most larger water blasters.
MSRP: $19.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Barrage is, perhaps, the largest new water blaster overall for 2014 released by Hasbro Inc. While the Tri-Strike Crossbow may occupy slighly more volume when its arms are extended, the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage is far chunkier and holds much more water in its reservoir: 2550.00 mL (85 oz.). The Nerf Super Soaker Barrage also features an interestingly designed nozzle selector that features three settings, but has the opening of the selector centered in the forward portion of the blaster (most nozzle selectors have their different settings closers to one side of the selector unit. The nozzle selections are entitled Distance, Flood, and Scatter, representing two stream settings and one fan setting. Unfortunately, despite the large size of the reservoir, the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage is a pump-action water blaster with an average-sized pump, pushing a mere 22mL (~0.7 oz.) per stroke. As such, each of the nozzle settings only blast water for a fraction of a second. Moreover, while the two stream settings perform respectably, the fan (Scatter) setting yields a remarkably thin fan blast that would be easily affected by wind, perhaps even mere breathing. Beyond this, while the large volume reservoir is a good thing, the position of the grip at the rear makes this water blaster very unwieldy and uncomfortable to hold single-handedly. While pump-action water blasters need two hands to operate, it is sometimes nice to be able to have one hand free to manipulate something else or when running. In the end, the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage appears more imposing than it actually performs. While its large reservoir capacity will extend this water blaster's useful lifetime in the water warfare field, its low pump volume limits its ability to quickly soak any opponent and would be farily quickly outclassed by any truly pressurized water blaster. Oh, and the reservoir cap can easily dribble thanks to having a small hole drilled into it to permit air to enter, but lacking any gating function to prevent water from dribbling out when the blaster is angled.
MSRP: $14.99 USD
The Water Warriors Charger by Buzz Bee Toys Inc. is the only new pressurized water blaster produced by either of the two major manufacturers. Interestingly, its looks are also deceiving in that not only is the Water Warriors Charger a pressurized water blaster, it features a separate pressure chamber as well (comprised of the black tank that is visible on the upper-forward portion of the blaster). The long, thin, cylindrical pressure chamber is in a rather unusual shape and position compared to the typical spherical chambers or vertically-position cylindrical chambers found on other water blaster models and limits the range of optimal firing angles. Nevertheless, this quick charging, potent blaster offers a solid 2x stream setting and a slightly higher output burst setting that covers a slightly larger area (4 -slightly spreading streams). Its pump moves smoothly, pressurizing the pressure chamber is 5-7 full pumps and its reservoir offers over 7 full repressurizations.
However, it should be noted that this blaster is about the same height and length as the older Water Warriors Python 2, but is notably thinner, thus holding overall less water. The Water Warriors Charger is akin to a lighter version of the Super Soaker Max-Infusion Defender, but with harder-hitting nozzle settings. Overall, the Water Warriors Charger makes a solid addition to most water warrior's armoury. Just beware of larger pressurized water blasters and, of course, most elastic-based water blasters.
MSRP: $14.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Double Drench is a pump-action water blaster by Hasbro Inc. featuring two sets of three nozzles in an arrangement akin to the Nerf Super Soaker Alpha Fire's nozzles. While its pump pushes more water than the Nerf Super Soaker Alpha Fire, yielding 19mL (~0.6oz.) per stroke, its thin, spreading streams fail to offer much intimidation as a blast, serving to increase area covered at the cost of range and accuracy. Oh, and the reservoir cap can easily dribble thanks to having a small hole drilled into it to permit air to enter, but lacking any gating function to prevent water from dribbling out when the blaster is angled. While some may like the styling for role-playing opportunities, the functionality of this water blaster in a water fight quickly reaches its limit. Perhaps good for light soakfests, the Nerf Super Soaker Double Drench is out-ranged by most other water blasters with proper nozzles and out-performed by any truly pressurized water blaster.
MSRP: $9.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Freezefire is a pump-action water blaster by Hasbro Inc. that features a single nozzle. While providing average performance for a pump-action blaster, its claim-to-fame is its larger-sized cap to make it simpler to put ice cubes in the reservoir. Not sure how many people use such a feature, but while cold water chills one's opponents faster, ice rarely melts quickly, thus reducing one's available capacity. Oh, and the reservoir cap can easily dribble thanks to having a small hole drilled into it to permit air to enter, but lacking any gating function to prevent water from dribbling out when the blaster is angled (Is this statement feeling repetitive?). While comfortable to hold and use, the Nerf Super Soaker Freezefire provides decent performance, but no real surprise for a pump-action water blaster. Good for small soakfests or as a backup, the Nerf Super Soaker Freezefire is still easy outpaced by truly pressurized water blasters.
MSRP: $19.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm is a slightly upgraded motorized water blaster released by Hasbro Inc. for 2014. Unlike older models like the Nerf Super Soaker Thunderstorm, the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm requires 6 AA batteries to operate. These two additional batteries allows a slightly better motor to be used, allowing the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm to push out water at the rate of 17mL/s (~0.6oz./s), better than the 7.5mL/s (~0.3oz./s) of the Nerf Super Soaker Thunderstorm. Granted, this is still only slightly better than half the output of the old Super Soaker XP 70. Perhaps one interesting thing to note is that Hasbro Inc. opted to completely ditch their magazine system for the entire 2014 Nerf Super Soaker line. While the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm holds more water in its reservoir than two of the Nerf Super Soaker Clip System Canisters, its capacity is less than the Nerf Super Soaker Domination Drum and far less than the Nerf Super Soaker X-Treme Hydro Pack. Also, though output is increased, it is still barely half the output of what the old Water Warriors Tarantula (2007) could push. Thus, while an improvement in performance, the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm costs 50% more to operate (needing 6 batteries as opposed to 4) and is still easily overpowered by any truly pressurized water blaster.
MSRP: $4.99 (2-pack) USD
The Water Warriors Power Shot XLs are small, trigger-based water blasters released by Buzz Bee Toys Inc. for 2014 and come in a variety of colours (green, yellow, red, and blue). They share the same "XL" designation as the Water Warriors Kiwk Grip XLs, but are named Power Shot, though lacking the trigger-inhibition mechanism featured on the Water Warriors Power Shot blasters. These small, trigger-based blasters perform well for their size, though each pull of the trigger only pushes 0.7mL (0.02 oz.) of water. The snap cap is also somewhat prone to dribbling is the filled blaster is left on its side for prolonged periods of time; not recommendable to keep a fully loaded Water Warriors Power Shot XL in one's pocket. Good for younger water warriors, the Water Warriors Power Shot XL is easily outclassed by most larger water blasters.
MSRP: $12.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Blue Crush is a straight-forward water blaster released by Hasbro Inc. for 2014 targeted at female users. Oddly, it is also the only new 2014 Nerf Super Soaker model to feature a tactical rail; why Hasbro opted to put a rail on this blaster at all remains to be seen. Pumps push out roughly 21mL (0.7oz.) per stroke, yielding an adequate stream. However, the reservoir cap can easily dribble thanks to having a small hole drilled into it to permit air to enter, but lacking any gating function to prevent water from dribbling out when the blaster is angled. While comfortable to hold and use, the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Blue Crush provides decent performance, but no real surprise for a pump-action water blaster. Good for small soakfests or as a backup, the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Blue Crush is still easy outpaced by truly pressurized water blasters.
MSRP: $16.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Dolphina Bow Blaster is an odd bow-themed pump-action water blaster targeted at female users. Though being pump-action, its pump is mounted reverse to standard pump-action blasters, meaning that one must pull the pump to make it blast water. Not only is this non-obvious, making it more difficult to aim and shoot, it is the incorrect response for the action if one were attempting to roleplay using this bow-themed blaster; a bow does not shoot when simply drawing the arrow. The pump arrangement also leads to one other concern: damage to the pump rod by drawing the pump too forcefully. The stream from the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Dolphina Bow Blaster is decent and the fact that the bow's arms serve as the reservoir do not make this blaster feel imbalanced. However, the reverse pumping action would take some time to get used to and does reduce the maximum power a user can push into the stream since most people are able to push their hands together with more force than pulling them apart. Decent for roleplaying and some light-hearted games, the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Dolphina Bow Blaster would likely find it hard to keep up even with similar-sized pump-action blasters due to its pumping arrangement.
MSRP: $4.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Mini Missions are small, trigger-based water blasters targeted at female users and come in either blue or purple. Unlike the Nerf Super Soaker Alpha Fire, the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Mini Mission has a standard nozzle and pushes out a decent stream for this type of blaster, yielding 0.7mL (0.02oz.) per blast. Good for younger water warriors, this water blaster is easily outclassed by most larger water blasters.
MSRP: $11.99 (2 pack) USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Tidal Tube are basic, syringe-type water blasters. Able to push 320mL (10.7oz.) per pump, since these water blasters lack any reservoir, one cannot stray too far away from a filling station. Streams pushed for these type of blasters are satisfyingly thick and pack a good soak, but one's ability to aim well and its lack of on-board reservoir limits this type of water blaster's range of use. Moreover, the non-screened nozzle tends to dribble a bit when the pump is filled. Good for pools or the beach, the Nerf Super Soaker Tidal Tubes provide their users with one, perhaps two at best, shots before needing to be refilled.
MSRP: $24.99 USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Tri-Strike Crossbow is the largest water blaster (by size) released by Hasbro Inc. for 2014. Being the second bow-themed water blaster by Hasbro Inc., at least this water blaster features a typical water blaster pump cycle. Unlike the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Dolphina Bow Blaster, the Nerf Super Soaker Tri-Strike Crossbow has multiple nozzles. Its primary nozzle functions whether its arms are collapsed or now. However, by toggling a switch, the crossbow's arms will automatically swing to the open position, activating two small nozzles near the ends of the arms. Unfortunately, both of these arm nozzles yield particularly tiny streams, offering no advantage and serving only to weaken the primary stream. The arms must be manually pushed back to their closed position. In the end, the Nerf Super Soaker Tri-Strike Crossbow offers poorer performance than the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage, but at a higher price, and still easily outclassed by any truly pressurized water blaster.
MSRP: $3.99? USD
The Nerf Super Soaker Zip Fire is perhaps the smallest of the trigger-based water blasters released by Hasbro Inc. for 2014. Being trigger-based, it performs well for their size, but upon prolonged usage, the sample tested appears to begin leaking via the trigger hole. Each pump pushes a mere 0.5mL (0.02oz.) per shot so don't expect to get anyone particular wet when using this blaster. Good for younger water warriors, the Nerf Super Soaker Zip Fire is easily outclassed by most larger water blasters.
Unlike last year, the winner was much simpler to decide this year. Again, unfortunately, the bulk of the 2014 Nerf Super Soaker line seems to have forgotten what a "Super Soaker" is meant to be, the ones who actually brought the world the Super Soaker show that they still strive for better performing water blasters. Though Buzz Bee Toys Inc. only released two new products for 2014, the Water Warriors Charger is, without a doubt, the Best New Water Gun / Water Blaster for 2014.
While the Water Warriors Charger is smaller than the 2006 Super Soaker Max-Infusion Defender, it offers higher output and two nozzle settings for greater versatility. Aside from its reduced capacity due to its thinner nature, perhaps the only other drawback to this blaster is from the elongated, nearly horizontal shape of its separate pressure chamber; thanks to gravity and geometry, the number of optimal firing angles for the Water Warriors Charger is definitely more limited. Unfortuantely on this blaster, an angle meter was not included.
The Water Warriors Charger packs good power into a small package, charging quickly and blasting with good force. Though individual blasts do not last too long, the Water Warriors Charger can be re-pressurized quickly, minimizing one's vulnerable time. Outperformed by significantly larger pressurized water blasters, the Water Warriors Charger can easily outpace any of the other 2014 stock water blasters reviewed above, making the Water Warriors Charger the Best New Water Gun / Water Blaster for 2014. Of course, its higher output means it will blast through its water capacity faster than the other water blaster models above, but the point of a water blaster is to soak, not to see who lugs water around longer for. Just keep a back-up in hand for protection when refilling.
Note: Formal range testing needs to be done on all of the above water blasters. However, from the testing done thusfar,we already have a sense of what to expect and do not foresee any of the other water blaster models to have such an exceptional range achieve to make up for their difference in output and performance when compared to the Water Warriors Charger. For example, the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage does manage to have a higher output (71mL/s) than the Water Warriors Charger (64mL/s), but the Barrage's stream lasts a mere 0.3s while the Charger continues to blast for up to 1.5s, 5 times as long.
Soak on! Leave NO one dry!