Nothing makes you revert to your childhood quicker than shooting an unsuspecting friend or family member with a water gun. The fun of water guns doesn't diminish as you age -- if anything, it's more fun the older you get. The point is you don't have to be a kid to embrace the joy of a good water gun, you just have to be a kid at heart.
If you plan to share your water gun with the kids in your life, you need to get the best. Children have discerning tastes in their water-based weaponry, and you want to give them more than adequate firepower when they need it. To do so, read our buying guide and check out our top pick, the Nerf Super Soaker Barrage.
Considerations when choosing water guns
Type of water gun
Water guns come in three main types: squirt guns, pump-action water guns, and motorized water guns. Squirt guns use basic kinetic energy to spray water while pump-action water guns use air pressure to spray. Motorized water guns also use air pressure, but they have a motor that keeps the air pressure built up in the chamber so you don't have to pump them yourself.
The size of your water gun often impacts how much water it can hold as well as how easy it is to use. Obviously, for smaller children, smaller guns are optimal. Also keep in mind that a larger water tank is heavier when full of water.
How much water a water gun can hold is an essential factor in choosing the right one for you. If your kids want to have as much "ammo" as possible for a massive water battle, then get them a water gun with large tanks. While small squirt guns can hold only about three ounces, large pump-action water guns can hold more than 80 ounces of water in one load.
This is an important number for those serious water fight warriors. While smaller squirt guns only shoot a few feet, a large high-powered water gun can go much farther. You can find water guns on the market today that can shoot water up to 50 feet, and even farther than that in the right conditions.
Similar to an adjustable nozzle on a garden hose, some water guns come equipped with an adjustable tip for a customized experience. They can go between a small strong stream and a wider, softer stream. This is a great feature for kids who sometimes play with bigger kids and other times play with little ones.
If your child is worried about running out of water in the middle of a water fight, look for a water gun that has a backup reservoir. Sometimes this is mounted on the water gun itself, while other guns have a hose that leads to a separate reservoir on a backpack or shoulder strap.
Water gun prices
Water guns cost between $2 and $100, depending on what you're looking for. High-end water guns are usually motorized or pump action and have a number of special features.
Q. How young can children start using water guns?
A. Every water gun has its own suggested minimum-age limit. While basic squirt guns can be used by toddlers in the bathtub, you need to make sure that your water gun's suggested minimum age is adhered to for safety purposes.
Q. Do I need batteries for my water gun?
A. Squirt guns and pump-action guns do not require batteries. However, if you purchase a motorized water gun, you need to get batteries to go with it. It's a good idea to keep an extra set on hand as well, so your kids don't have to quit mid-water war.
Water guns we recommend
Best of the best: Nerf Super Soaker Barrage
Our take: Super Soaker is the ultimate water weapon.
What we like: The 84-ounce water tank and triple-setting nozzle means your kids have a leg up on "the enemy."
What we dislike: Because of the large tank, the gun can be heavy for little ones.
Best bang for your buck: Stream Machine Water Launcher
Our take: No one is safe from this long-range water gun.
What we like: Can hit targets with a steady stream up to 70 feet away. Made from durable materials. A terrific price, especially if you need more than one for siblings and friends.
What we dislike: Needs to be submerged in water to reload, making it better as a toy for the pool or beach.
Our take: Dress-up and water-fight fun at the same time.
What we like: The large capacity backpack means that children can have extended play without a break.
What we dislike: Backpack might be too heavy for smaller kids if filled to capacity.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.