Durable construction. Large reservoir holds a whopping 84 ounces of water. Three spray settings to choose from. Capable of reaching targets up to 38 feet away.
Can be a bit heavy for smaller children when filled to capacity.
Crafted from quality materials designed to withstand extended outdoor use. Reaches up to 70 feet. Ultra fast reloading mechanism. Removable cap for add-ons.
Needs to be submerged in water for filling and reloading.
Good water capacity. Trigger mechanism is easy enough for smaller children to use. Tough exterior withstands rough play. Variety of colors to choose from. Comes in a budget-friendly 2-pack.
Decent squirting ability, but not the longest range.
Super easy for children to fill and use. Solid build with a tough exterior. Lightweight enough for smaller children, yet just powerful enough to keep bigger kids entertained. Appealing, modern design.
Smaller water capacity than more expensive or larger models.
Large-capacity backpack with hose-attached water gun for extended play. Easy to use with adequate range. Fire hat included. Great for games for younger children.
Can be a bit heavy when filled to capacity. Only suitable for younger children.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether you like it or not, it’s not summer until someone’s blasted you with a jet of aqua from a water gun. They might be designed with kids in mind, but you’re never too old to take part in a water gun fight!
The question is, which water gun should you choose? Which model will most thoroughly soak your friends and foes? If you need some help deciding which water gun is best for you (and your kids), you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re ready to purchase a water gun, check out our top recommendations. For everything you need to know before you commit to a super soaker, enjoy our buying guide full of information on determining factors.
Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and prices of the different types of water guns.
Squirt guns – or water pistols, as they’re sometimes known – are compact water guns that squirt short streams of water when you pull the trigger.
Pros: Squirt guns are small and lightweight enough for younger children to use. They’re easy to operate and don’t require pumping or a battery. Since they tend to be inexpensive, they’re cheap enough for kids to buy themselves with pocket money.
Cons: Water pistols usually aren’t very powerful, and they have a short spray distance. They have small water reservoirs, so they need to be refilled often.
Price: Most squirt guns cost between $2 and $5 each.
Pump-action water guns require users to pump a lever before pulling the trigger. This diverts some of the water into a pressurized chamber, so it can be squirted out further and harder.
Pros: Pump-action water guns tend to be quite powerful and are capable of squirting a lot of water a long way. They don’t require batteries, so they won’t run out of juice at a crucial moment.
Cons: You can’t shoot continuously with a pump-action water gun, since you have to intermittently stop and pump again.
Price: Basic pump-action water guns cost as little as $10, but large high-end models can cost up to $100.
A motorized water gun has a pump that is powered by a motor, so the user simply has to press the trigger to operate it.
Pros: Since motorized water guns are battery operated, there’s no need to pump them. This means you don’t have to take a break from soaking your foes to pump, plus they’re generally easier to aim.
Cons: The fact they’re battery operated means motorized water guns can run out of power at a crucial moment. They also tend to be slightly less powerful than pump-action water guns, though newer models are catching up.
Price: Expect to pay between $20 and $80 for a motorized water gun.
The water capacity of a water gun is how much water it can hold in its reservoir. The larger the water capacity, the less often you’ll have to fill up your water gun, but the heavier it will be when full. If you intend to have long, epic water battles (don’t forget the sunscreen!), it makes sense to opt for a water gun with the largest capacity possible. That way, you won’t have to keep taking breaks to refill the reservoir. Small squirt guns often hold less than three ounces, whereas large soakers can hold 80 ounces or more. As a rule, pump-action water guns tend to have larger water reservoirs than their motorized counterparts.
Check the physical dimensions of a water gun, as well as the weight. And don’t forget to factor in the weight of the water in the reservoir, too. You should be able to find these details in the product specifications. It’s especially important to consider the size and weight of a water gun that you’re buying for a child. If it’s too large and heavy for him to handle, it’s not much use.
Spray distance refers to the distance that a jet of water can spray from a water gun. If your water gun has a long spray distance, you don’t have to get too close to your opponents in a water gun fight, giving you an advantage over those who have models with shorter spray distances. A basic squirt gun may have a spray distance of under 10 feet, whereas the most powerful water guns can discharge water over 50 feet. Most manufacturers list the spray distance of their water guns in the product specifications. While it’s not the only important feature, if we were stuck between two water guns we liked, we’d opt for the one with the most impressive spray distance.
Some water guns have adjustable nozzles, which allow you to change the properties of the water jets. The exact nozzle settings vary between models, but you generally have the option to switch between a wider, softer spray and a thinner, harder spray. Very powerful jets can feel slightly painful if they hit at close range, so it’s wise to adjust the nozzle to a softer spray when younger children are involved.
Select a water gun that’s durable enough to meet your needs. Some cheaper models aren’t designed to last. If you only want it for very occasional use, this might not be an issue. But if you want years of fun from your water gun, it’s worth spending extra for a well-made, durable model.
Make sure everyone stays safe while using their water guns. Avoid running on slippery surfaces or near the edge of pools. We recommend supervising younger children during water gun fights.
Consider buying a target. If you’re buying for an only child and don’t want to be on the receiving end of water jets all summer, consider purchasing a water gun target for her to practice on when she’s playing solo.
Q. Do I need to put batteries in my water gun?
A. If you have a basic squirt gun or a pump-action water gun, there’s no need for batteries because they’re operated manually. Motorized water guns, on the other hand, require batteries to power the motor. It’s always a good idea to double-check whether or not your chosen water gun requires batteries when ordering to avoid the disappointment of not being able to use it when it arrives.
Q. Do water guns have a recommended minimum age limit?
A. All water guns have recommended minimum ages. This is due to a range of factors, including the water gun’s size and weight and whether or not it has any small parts. If you’re buying for a child, it’s important to abide by these minimum age recommendations, not only for safety reasons but because a child younger than the recommended age might be too small to handle the water gun in question.
Q. Are there any accessories I can buy for my water gun?
A. Yes, you can find accessories for certain water guns, especially big-name models like Super Soakers. Popular extras include backup reservoirs and target vests.