About this Article
The Water Gun / Water Blaster Buying Guide looks at all the stock water blaster models available for a given year. This is different than the Best New Water Gun / Water Blaster for Summer, 2014 article that limits its choices to only the new water blaster models never previously released.
Want the best water gun / water blaster for one's money?
There is much more to determining what the best water blaster is for you than simply which one holds the most water or pushes out the most water the farthest. Beyond raw power and capacity, users must also keep in mind their own abilities and strength versus the weight of a fully-loaded water blaster, how easy it is to prepare before it can shoot, how comfortable it is to hold and use, and, of course, its price versus its features. While some may feel that price does not matter, most have some level of budgetary constraints.
Wandering the toy aisle, there are a number of water guns and water toys that fill the shelves in the spring and early-summer months. There are two brands that remain the top choices for the water blaster section in terms of build quality and performance: the Nerf Super Soaker brand by Hasbro Inc. and the Water Warriors brand by Buzz Bee Toys Inc.
The Water Guns / Water Blasters
The water blasters available in 2014 at various stores according to the companies' websites are as follows (links to iSoaker.com review pages are included):
The most immediately obvious difference from last year (2013) is that the listing above is much more even in terms of the number of different water blaster models available per brand. However, what should be emphasized is that while the above lists are what each brand is making available to retailers, no store will carry all of the items and some specific models may prove more difficult to find. With this in mind, this guide will strive to stick to recommendations based on what one will more likely be able to find in retail settings, not yard sales or online auctions. Of course, this view is also based on a Canada/US-viewpoint. We are much less aware of which of the above products make it into European, Asian, or Australian markets let alone Central America, South America, or Africa.
As always, the opinions that follows are based on personal experience. With that in mind, we do also note that we have experience with more types of water blasters than most, thus feel we can offer a broader viewpoint that what may be found elsewhere. Moreover, we strive to remain as objective as possible on what constitutes a good water blaster. Of course, the following are still the opinions of a lone individual - if, after reading this, you yearn for additional opinions, the best place to turn to is the hub of the online water warfare community: WaterWar.net Forums. Check out the posts and threads other members there have made to add to the information presented below. When one has a limited budget, it is always best to get as many opinions as possible and weigh them against your own thoughts and instinct.
Onto the guide!
For the Biggest, Most Powerful Water Gun / Water Blaster Currently Available
(Same as in 2013) For older and/or stronger individuals wanting to take hold of the most powerful water blaster that can easily be found in stores, your best bet is to look for the Water Warriors Gorgon (~$24.99-$29.99 USD). The Gorgon's dual-air-pressure chamber system, large reservoir, and 5-option nozzle selector offers the most available power from the listing above. It is on the heavier side when loaded, but it does work well. Of course, priming the pressure chambers with some air before pushing in water will allow this blaster to perform its best. The main problem, though, may be finding this particular blaster since not all the major retailers appear to be stocking it; it is, after all, technically an older model, first released in 2011.
If limiting one's choices to blasters released in 2014, it's the Water Warriors Charger ($14.99 USD) all the way as the best blast for your buck. Hitting with two solidly performing nozzle settings, while the Water Warriors Charger is not the largest new stock water blaster of 2014, it can easily outsoak any of its competitors at any given time. Presently, the Water Warriors Charger is only being sold at KMart in the US.
The runner-up choices for available water blaster models are the Water Warriors Colossus 2($19.99 USD) and Water Warriors Python 2 ($14.99 USD). The Water Warriors Colossus 2 and Water Warriors Python 2 offer similar power and capacities (the Python 2 holds a little less water, but then again, it is also an overall smaller blaster - see: Water Warriors Python 2 versus Colossus 2 comparison). Some may prefer the Colossus 2 since it features a separate pressure chamber, but others will prefer the Python 2's smaller form and near-perfect balance. While being a pressurized-reservoir blaster, the Python 2 is fairly easy to pressurize and its lack of a separate pressure chamber also translates into longer shot times. The Water Warriors Outlaw (not to be confused with the Water Warriors Ultimate Outlaw) is also highly recommended despite being an older model as it holds more water than the Python 2 and performs well, though some may not be as fond of its rear-positioned trigger. While the Outlaw can be used single-handedly by older individuals, younger kids and some prefer to cradle it.
For Those Not Wanting to Pump-to-Pressurize Their Water Gun / Water Blaster Before Use
Pressurized water blasters, in general, offer more potential power than pump-action or motorized water blasters. That said, there are those who prefer not to worry about being caught depressurized, instead having water power available with the pull of the pump or trigger.
For Pump-Action Water Guns / Water Blasters
(Same as in 2013) For pump-action water blasters, larger pump volumes typically yield more power. Of course, the pump should be smooth and easy to use since any notable pump lag would seriously decrease one's effectiveness in the field. When it comes to pump-action water blaster, very large-piston blasters aside, the best is the Water Warriors Steady Stream 2 ($9.99 USD). Unlike other pump-action water blasters, the Steady Stream 2 features a spring-loaded chamber that stores part of the power from one's pump, making the blaster's stream last a little bit longer than when one stops pumping. The advantage of this is that some energy that would typically go to waste is store and, more importantly, if one pumps quickly enough, as its name implies, the Steady Stream 2 can produce a stream that rivals a pressurized-water blaster being smooth and consistent unlike typical pump-action water blasters that blast, then pause as the pump needs to be refilled before shooting again.
The runner-up for pump action blasters is the Water Warriors Avenger ($9.99 USD) with its decent-sized pump and choice of three (3) settings. While the Nerf Super Soaker brand released many, many new pump-action water blasters for 2014, unfortunately, all of them suffer from more notable pump lag. Hence, while a single shot may seem good, the time needed before a second shot can be done is what pushed these products out of consideration. Initial output may seem decent, but average output drops by 40%-50% when you factor in the pump lag.
For Motorized Water Guns / Water Blasters
Motorized water blasters continue to be fairly available thanks, ironically enough, to the Nerf Super Soaker brand. While typically lacking the power that pressurized or even decent-sized pump-action water blasters can yield, many like the simplicity of the motorized water blaster since all one needs to do is add batteries, fill it, aim, and pull the trigger. These motorized blasters can be aimed better than pump-action water blasters since the user does not need to make any major motions to use them. They do, of course, require batteries to work, thus increasing the overall operating cost of these water blasters.
When it comes to motorized water blasters, the best buy for your money is still the Water Warriors Hydro Current ($12.99 USD), released in 2013. Offering good capacity in its fixed reservoir, it is able to shoot more water farther than comparable models in the Nerf Super Soaker line (see: Water Warriors Hydro Current versus Nerf Super Soaker Lightningstorm comparison). The Hydro Current's main drawback for a motorized blaster is the fact that both the battery compartment and motor are positioned near to the front of the blaster, making it rather forward-heavy. While easy to use, even for a four-to-five year old, younger users will likely need both hands to balance this blaster well.
The newest motorized water blaster for 2014, the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm ($19.99 USD), offers better performance over the older Nerf Super Soaker motorized water blasters such as the the Nerf Super Soaker Lightningstorm ($24.99 USD) and Nerf Super Soaker Thunderstorm ($14.99 USD). However, the Nerf Super Soaker Hydrostorm requires 6 AA betteries, increasing your overall operating costs by 50%, and only manages to match the Water Warriors Hydro Current in terms of output
For Younger Water Warriors (4 - 6 year olds)
For the young water warrior, going for the biggest water blaster is usually not a good idea since most small children lack the strength and patience to use blasters that require pumping before they can be used or weigh more than they can easily carry. Generally, trigger-based, motorized, and/or pump-action water blasters are preferred. Also, since many parents do not wish for their children to use toys that are styled, even if only-remotely like a real weapon, styling often matters as well.
One definite popular choice amongst both parents and children alike are the various Water Warriors Animal Squirts (~$3.99 USD). Coming in the shapes of a frog, a shark, or a gator. Beyond simply squirting water, these items also open their mouths when shooting. As such, they offer some play value even when not filled with water. Moreover, since many young children like getting wet, but not too wet, the Animal Squirts limited output gets the job done at letting kids know when they have hit or been hit, but without getting anyone too wet too quickly, allowing for longer game times.
The new Water Warriors Power Shot XL, presently sold as two packs for ($4.99 USD), are also a great choice. Being relatively small, trigger operated water blasters, the Water Warriors Power Shot XL is easy to hold and use with younger kids being able to blast them without much difficulty. Their lower output also prevents them (and anything else) from getting too soaked too quickly, particularly if some children may try to use their water blasters in less optimal environments. There are also the Nerf Super Soaker Rebelle Mini Missions ($4.99 USD), but while cuter in some aspects, these water blasters cost twice the price for the same performance. Regardingr the Nerf Super Soaker Zipfire (originally $4.99 USD on Amazon) oddly, a price for the single blaster can no longer be found.
For more ambitious young water warriors, the Water Warriors Hydro Current ($14.99 USD) also works well. Though typically requiring both hands of a younger child to use, while rated at 5 years old and up, we have seen strong 4 year olds use this blaster without problem. It is a little heavy if completely filled, but definitely not over encumbering. Of course, there is also the Nerf Super Soaker Electrostorm ($9.99 USD) which younger users may find fun to use and not drench as much as the Water Warriors Hydro Current does. Of course, both these options push out much more water than the Water Warriors Animal Squirts so be wary that some children do not take getting drenched too quickly very well.
As for pump-action blasting, the Water Warriors Gargoyle (price TBA) is a nice, light pump-action water blaster that is very easy to pump and use, rated at 4 years old and up.
What we did not dive as deep into the above are discussions the prices of these products. This is partly since retail stores tend to tweak their own price structure based on season, quantities, and demand and partly from finding it difficult to find out the actual manufacturer suggested retail pricing. That said, the Nerf Super Soaker line seems to range from $4.99 USD for the Zipfire up to $29.99 USD for the Switch Shot with their entire line, except for the Point Break, being either pump-action or motorized. On the other hand, a two-pack of Water Warriors Power Shot XLs seem to go for $4.99 USD while the Drench 'n Blast retails for $19.99 USD and the Gorgon for ~$24.99-$29.99 USD with many high-performing pressurized water blasters available as well as value-priced pump-action water blasters. For soaking value for your money, the Water Warriors brand still comes out on top for 2014.
In the End
Of course, what is the "best" water gun / water blaster for the individual depends just as much on the person as it does on the water blaster model. As different people have varying strengths and preferred water fighting styles, some types of water blasters end up more appealing than other. That said, while we offer our recommendations based on our experiences here at iSoaker.com, there is a whole community of avoid water warriors out there. For those wanting to get second opinions from others on what water blaster they should choose, readers are encouraged to go to the WaterWar.net Forums, check out related threads, and post their remaining questions there.
Now, enough with the reading; Get out there and get soaking!