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10 Best Nerf Guns For Toddlers And Older Kids To Play With In 2022

10 Best Nerf Guns For Toddlers And Older Kids To Play With In 2022

There’s nothing my family loves more than having fun with Nerf guns.

It’s a tradition we started a year ago because it’s safe and engaging, though we have limited our fun to some of the low-power Nerf guns for toddlers.

We specifically chose Nerf guns for toddlers because we wanted it to remain family-friendly instead of an intense and competitive sport.

It was a way to enjoy my husband’s favorite hobby the same way I loved spending time with family by playing board games.

While I was initially against it because of all the negative connotations around the activity and any influence it might have on my kids, it has honestly been a breath of fresh air during the warmer months as it allows us to burn off some of that excess energy.

Plus, I’m sure that as fun as board games are for me, my kids prefer their father’s choice of activity much more! They get to show their dexterity and aim off without having to strain their brains too much over some game strategy.

Whatever the case may be in your household, I can guarantee that these toy guns with their foam darts will be a very fun activity, as long as you first take the appropriate safety measures into consideration.

These usually boil down to the size of the actual gun because 4 year-olds can’t exactly carry around large Nerf blasters, nor would you want them to, given the power they contain.

The other factors of course concern the ammo itself.

The size of the Nerf darts and the potential choking hazard they might pose should some of the foam fall off also needs to be factored into your decision.

There’s also the matter of safety. No matter how low power the smaller guns are, there’s still the risk of a dart hitting someone in the eye so it’s imperative that you get hold of some safety goggles for your little ones.

You want to prevent any unwanted injuries while you bombard one another with round after round of foam darts.

There are some other factors to consider depending on the way you choose to raise your kids, but these are some of the most important ones.

While these factors will severely limit the number of potential models of Nerf guns you’ll be able to pick from, it’s for the best because I wouldn’t be suggesting this as a fun family time activity for small kids if all the safety precautions weren’t in place.

So then, what are the best Nerf guns for toddlers? Well, to save you time, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the 10 best ones that fit these criteria and listed them here for you in no particular order.

Keep in mind that if none of these fit the bill, you’re still likely to find a few other models that might, but do be sure that the recommended age is for that of a small child.

Think 3-6 year old and not 8+ and remember to look at all the other safety precautions as well.

10 Best Nerf Guns For Toddlers And Older Kids

1. Nerf Glowshot Gun

To start the list off, here’s one of the simpler models of this Hasbro brand fun-time activity, the Glowshot model.

It’s small, compact and simple. All you need to do is load one of the foam darts into the back, pull the handle to prime it and then pull the trigger to shoot the dart forward.

The whole thing comes with three darts that’ll need to be manually loaded every time, but it still makes for a good starter Nerf gun for toddlers.

Not to mention that it does what its name implies, it glows when the button on the grip of the Nerf gun is held down, a great little feature that’ll make it all the more appealing to your little ones.

The gun itself doesn’t need batteries to operate and might be even easier to handle if you take the batteries out, making it lighter for younger children to wield and ultimately get you with a Nerf dart or two!

Just keep in mind that the glow won’t work if you do.


• Glows in the dark

• Doesn’t actually need the batteries to function

• Compact

• Budget-friendly

• Easy to use


• Nothing too luxurious outside of the lighting

• Only has 3 darts which isn’t an awful lot

2. Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster

Next up on my list is an Amazon exclusive Nerf blaster, the Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm.

It’s a bit of an upgrade to standard Nerf pistols due to the dart drum that holds up to 6 Elite darts.

But, unlike other dart clips on bigger guns, this one doesn’t need batteries to operate which means it’s lighter than the competition. It also rotates automatically and is really easy to pop out and reload once the user is out of ammo.

All one needs to do to shoot a quick spray of foam darts is move the priming mechanism up and down to quickly cock the gun all while holding the trigger for it to fire out in rapid succession.

It’s important to mention that this Amazon exclusive model was made for outdoor use as it can reach a maximum distance of about 90 feet when paired with the Elite darts that come with the Nerf gun.

A pretty good addition to your Nerf arsenal, though do make sure to keep it separate from your indoor blasters.

One final thing to note is that it comes in frustration-free and recyclable packaging, which is definitely a plus when it comes to going green!


• Dart drum that holds 6 shots

• Can fire said drum out in quick succession

• Doesn’t operate on batterie

• Relatively cheap

• Easy to reload

• Lightweight


• Amazon exclusive

• Mechanism might be too strong so only recommended for outdoor use

3. Nerf Zombie Hammer Shot

Here we have a crowd favorite, the Zombie Hammer Shot.

Every child likes the idea of shooting down zombies and this neat-looking Nerf pistol is made to facilitate that exact feeling.

It’s made out of child-safe non-toxic materials, is lightweight, and can easily be wielded one-handed for all your toddler’s zombie blasting needs.

This super little blaster comes with a barrel of 5 green, zombie strike darts that are front-loaded.

All you and your child need to do to prime them is pull the hammer back and fire in quick succession or take a steadier pace to conserve ammo.


• Amazing gun design

• Comes with 5 darts that easily load

• Easy to handle and aim with

• Very lightweight

• Not overly expensive like some other models

4. Nerf MicroShots Zombie Strike Hammershot

If you’re looking for a similar design to the Zombie Hammer Shot, but want a more compact gun for your young children that doesn’t pack quite as much of a punch then you might want to give his little brother here a go.

MicroShots Hammershot is the lite version of the original Hammer Shot. It resembles more of a flare gun and only has two darts.

It lacks the barrel and each shot has to be loaded individually, but it retains the exact same, easy hammer priming system.

While a bit less practical than the larger one, it’s a lot lighter and easier to use for 3 and 4 year olds if they’re finding the original one too tough to handle.

Plus, they won’t really lose out on any of the fun as long as you keep everyone on a similar power level.


• Quite compact

• Easy to use priming and firing mechanisms

• Lovely detailing on the model

• Perfect for younger kids

• Accurate

• Cheap, but still good quality


• Not well-suited for big kid hands

• Only comes with two darts so you’ll need to buy more which can be a hassle

5. Star Wars Rogue One Nerf Captain Cassian Andor Blaster

Here’s a fun little themed dart blaster from the Nerf gun lineup, a Star Wars one with the iconic blaster sounds from the franchise to boot!

It’s quite small, can fit on a belt, and is rather easy to use – perfect for young kids.

They even get to feel what it’s like to wield the Elite blaster used by Captain Cassian from the Rogue One movie.

The best part though has to be the GlowStrike Elite darts that come with the blaster. When properly primed and fired, they glow in the dark!

The gun is easy to load too – just push the dart in through the front, pull the lever in the back to prime it, and then pull the trigger to hear the satisfying Star Wars blaster sound followed by a lit up dart.

With your purchase, you’ll receive 3 Elite darts and 2 AAA batteries (at least on Amazon), which is a rarity in modern toys that often exclude them but still keep the price high.


• Star Wars themed

• Comes with 3 GlowStrike darts that light up when shot

• Firing a dart is followed by the Star Wars blaster sound

• Quite accurate

• Easy to use, handle, and prime

• Comes with batteries included


• One of the more expensive Nerf gun models

• Requires batteries to operate which might end up being even more expensive

6. Nerf Fortnite TS-1 Blaster

This neat little pump-action Nerf gun was designed for cross-promotion between Nerf and the very popular game Fortnite and it’s one of Nerf’s best designs to date.

Mimicking the design of one of the signature guns in the game, this sweet, hand-powered blaster shoots 4 darts in quick succession with 4 more resting in storage for easy access.

The darts used for this gun are the Elite Nerf mega darts and you get 8 with the purchase.

They help pin down those quick-moving targets and cover a larger distance.

The gun is intended for both indoor and outdoor use, but given that it’s a medium to almost large-sized gun, you might want to keep it to outdoor use only!

That said, this gun is a must-have for any outdoor arsenal of Nerf guns for toddlers and will be a mainstay in all foam dart shootouts for a good while.


• Fortnite themed

• Comes with 8 darts, 4 can be loaded, 4 can be stuck in the stock storage compartment

• Pump action allows firing in quick succession

• Quite cheap considering all the perks


• Better for older children because younger kids might have a harder time handling this model

7. Nerf N-Strike NanoFire (blue)

Back to some of the more compact and lower power blasters, we have the Nerf N Strike Nanofire.

This compact little pistol comes in either blue or green, fires up to one dart at a time with an easy priming system, and stores two extra darts on top of the Nerf gun for easy access and reloading.

Not only that, but it’s quite lightweight and easy to handle.

It’s compact size means that whoever is using it can be a master of stealth as they won’t have the gun peeking out too obviously from any hiding spot.

The fact that it doesn’t use any batteries is also a bonus as there’s no added weight to it just for the sake of some gimmick.


• Quite compact and easy to carry and aim

• Easy to use

• Can hold up to 2 darts on the top and 1 in the barrel

• Simple priming system

• Affordable


• Only comes with 3 darts

• Not the most visually appealing design

8. NERF N-Strike Elite Firestrike Blaster

If I had to suggest my choice for the absolute best Nerf gun to kit out the whole family, it would be the Nerf N-Strike Elite Firestrike Blaster, hands down.

It comes with 3 darts that front-load into the gun and has a very easy to use priming mechanism, but that’s standard for most guns on this list.

What truly sets this Nerf gun apart from the rest is its precision light beam that helps perfect your aim at the opposition at distances up to 15 feet with pinpoint accuracy, and the pistol itself can reach a maximum distance of a staggering 75 feet.

But that’s not all, the Firestrike blaster also features a tactical rail which is compatible with many of the additional Nerf accessories that you can buy on the side should you want to spice up the game.

Though, I do recommend keeping it vanilla for the time being and upgrading later down the line when your kids get a bit older.

The gun itself is rather lightweight, though a bit heavier than the non-battery powered ones.

The one downside to the whole package is that this model doesn’t come with batteries included which adds a bit more to its price tag and a bit more hassle, but overall it’s one of the best, if not the best model on the market at present.


• Precision light beam makes aiming a breeze up to 15 ft

• Can reach long distances

• Affordable

• Comes with a tactical rail if you want to further modify it

• Lightweight

• Doesn’t need batteries to operate


• Batteries not included

• Best suited for outdoor use given its power

• Better in the hands of older toddlers (5-6)

9. Nerf N-Strike Elite Quadrant

Another good model to consider is the Accustrike series Elite Quadrant Nerf blaster.

It’s a very compact pistol with a barrel that houses 4 darts that can be primed and fired quickly by just holding the trigger button and moving the primer back after each shot.

The gun already comes with the 4 Elite darts in the package, but you’re always free to purchase more should you wish to have larger ammo stocks when you and your kids play.

That said, I think 4 shots is a very fair amount of foam darts to have per person and still offers some room for error.

This gun is one of my personal favorites due to the color and the added accuracy thanks to its small size and maneuverability.


• Lovely design

• Lightweight and compact

• Comes with 4 darts

• Easy to prime and fire

• Can unload quickly

• Affordable

• Very accurate


• Might not appeal to those who dislike lower power Nerf pistols

10. Nerf N-Strike Elite DualStrike Blaster

Now, if you’re looking for a bit more flair when getting Nerf guns for toddlers, then this dual strike blaster might be the way to go.

While a bit bigger than some of the more compact models, this one makes good use of that size by providing the wielder with two different sets of Nerf darts, the standard Elite ones and the unique Mega Whistler darts.

When purchasing this gun, you’ll receive 3 of each making for a total ammo count of 6.

What makes these Mega darts so unique is that, when fired, they produce a sound similar to a scream, kind of like a classic firework which adds to the flair of the game (though it might be frightening to kids who are easily spooked).

If that’s the case, for your family, you might want to pass on the whistler darts and replace them with regular Mega darts.

And it’s really easy to switch between the two as well. All it takes is shifting a switch on the side of the gun, and voila, you’re using a different kind of ammo.

Naturally, it also has a very easy priming mechanism that works by just pulling it back to cock a dart into place.

It does only fire one dart at a time so all you rapid fire enthusiasts are likely to be left disappointed.


• Holds up to 6 darts, 3 of each kind

• Has both Elite darts and the new Mega Whistler darts that scream when fired

• Easy to switch between, prime, and fire without much issue

• Not too expensive

• Unique design


• Whistler darts might be scary to some kids, if so replace with regular Mega darts

4 Things To Consider Before Buying Nerf Guns

yellow nerf dart gun with foam bullets on black wooden table

As mentioned at the start of this article, Nerf guns, while fun, can be dangerous for younger children.

That’s why I was against the whole activity in the first place when my hubby suggested it.

That is until I realized that after the appropriate safety measures were taken into account, my kids could safely enjoy this energetic activity with minimal risk of injury.

The size

The first factor you want to consider when thinking about the safety of this pastime is the size of the Nerf gun and the foam darts themselves.

These guns are separated into three different categories: small, medium, and large.

When looking at Nerf guns for toddlers, you want to go either small or medium – never large.

There’s no large model that’s safe for young children, either to wield or be wielded against due to the handling difficulty and the sheer power packed into them.

Even medium models are rarely suitable for little ones, so stick with the safer, low power options instead to keep the younger kids safe.

The medium-sized ones are usually the most fun since they typically have additional features like rotating drums or barrel extensions, but even those are only recommended for the older toddler (5-6).

If your kids are in the 3-4 age range, the compact sizes are going to work best since they can at least handle those.

Do take note, you might see some other sites recommend the large motorized blaster guns because they might be fun for you.

Aside from being high-powered and likely to jam, let’s be honest, it would be straight up unfair if your kids had to be pitted against you, so rather just stick to low power until your kids reach the double digits in age.

They might not have all the fancy additions and might only be able to hold a handful of foam darts at a time, but at least they’ll be able to wield them properly and enjoy what they do have.

If you’re having fun with them, match their level of firepower for a more even playing field.

The intended age

While this is one of the more obvious things when looking to buy a Nerf gun for a toddler, some people do tend to skim over this and complain about it afterward.

It’s important to always look at what the manufacturer has labeled as the recommended age group, especially for Nerf blasters as that takes the size, safety, and firepower into consideration already.

Believe me, they know what’s best and you should always consult that sticker when shopping, no matter the product.

The overall safety

As you might already know, Nerf blasters can be very dangerous and have made the headlines a few times.

There have been reports of accidents where unprotected play has occurred and most of these involved eye injuries as a stray foam dart hit someone in the eye.

To help avoid this problem, make sure that your shopping list includes some toddler-sized safety goggles (and some you-sized ones too as you’re not exempt from the risk of this injury) to provide the safest way to enjoy this rather fun activity.

The firepower of the Nerf blaster needs to be considered as well. You should see the intended firing distance of each blaster model on the box.

These can go anywhere from 10 feet all the way up to 70 feet. The ones closer to the upper range are usually meant for outside use so if you’re only going to perform this activity indoors, it’s safer to go for the lower options.

Even if you’re considering outside play, I still wouldn’t go further than 40 feet at the most just in case.

The final factor to consider in this category is any potential choking hazards, small bits of the Nerf gun that might shed or fall off that your child might put in his mouth.

These are usually loose pieces from the Nerf gun itself or the tip of a foam dart.

Always pay close attention to this during play or at least read the reviews on the intended product to confirm the sturdiness of its components.

No parent wants a choking hazard near their kids, no matter how fun the related activity may be.

Ease of use

Of course, the fun of the gun is only as high as how well your kids can actually handle them. Size is only one of the factors, many other things come into play here.

One such thing is the ease of priming or cocking of the shots.

Some Nerf blasters come with sliders to help prime shots into place, these ones are best avoided because they require a good bit of strength to prime and kids typically struggle with these.

Smaller sized Nerf blasters won’t have this problem and will usually just have a handle that makes it easy to prime the darts, making it easier for your child to actually have fun with a blaster that works for him.

The other factor is the ease of loading and reloading the Nerf gun itself. Once your little one runs out of ammo, it won’t be as fun for him anymore if it takes him ages to reload the thing.

That’s why it’s best to avoid giving guns with dart drums or large magazines to kids because those can be a nightmare to reload.

This is why many auto-fire blasters are avoided because they usually feature these large mags.

The other reason is that the darts themselves tend to get stuck in the rapid fire models and the time it takes to get them unstuck or clear the jam ends up draining all your little one’s fun!

In Conclusion

Finding good Nerf guns for toddlers can be hard given all the necessary boxes that need to be ticked.

These, unfortunately, severely limit the pool of available options in addition to the added personal preferences and limitations that might knock a few more off the list.

But, ultimately it’s up to you whether or not you even want to take this hobby up in the first place. You don’t have to strong-arm yourself into liking it just because your kids do if you feel like it isn’t safe.

Sure, I was willing to take the chance after all of the safety measures were put in place, but it might prove a bit too much effort for a single activity on your end or it might prove to be a bit too expensive.

Certainly, there are other potential activities for toddlers out there as well, especially in summer.

That said, I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of Nerf gun play before trying it out.

It really isn’t any more dangerous than some of the other shenanigans your kids might get up to and a few goggles are going to go a long way in keeping your kids safe.

Believe me, at worst they might end up getting pinched by the firing mechanism which is really only a minor ouchie.

As much as it pays to be safe, it’s not worth it if it comes at the cost of your kids’ overall fun and enjoyment.

It’s their childhood after all and if they’re good and behaved, there’s little reason to deny them something that isn’t as dangerous as the name might imply.

So, my personal suggestion is to give it a shot!

If it ends up being something you feel isn’t safe for your kids, then it’s not a big loss.

As I said, there are other alternatives that might prove a bit more fruitful with your kids that can be done with items that you have laying around the house.

And if it ends up becoming one of the family’s newest favorite pastimes, then I’m glad to be the one to have introduced this to all of you mammas out there!

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