5 Best Nerf Guns Under $30 Budget-Friendly Blasters

Best Nerf Guns Under $30

Written By: Jeremy Alden

The high-quality Nerf guns that you see on TV are notorious for being way out of everyone’s budget. They’re typically battery-powered, semi-automatic, and run upwards of $50.

However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a great Nerf gun for half the price. Here are some of the best Nerf guns out there for under $30.

My Top Picks: Best Nerf Guns Under $30

Our Top Pick
Nerf N-Strike Elite: Strongarm Blaster
  • Fires darts up to 75'
  • Pump the slam fire slide repeatedly while you hold down the trigger for rapid firing
  • Flip open the rotating barrel for easy loading
  • Elite darts work with any elite blaster and most n-strike blasters; sold separately
  • Includes blaster, 6 elite darts and instructions
Best Value
Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster
  • Retaliator blaster can be built in 4 configurations and fires elite darts 90 feet
  • Removable stock helps you steady your shot, or you can remove the stock with the flip of a switch
  • Barrel extension has top and bottom tactical rails so you can add most n-strike accessories 
  • Enhance your mobility with the stability handle
  • Blaster comes with stock, stability handle, barrel extension, 12-dart quick reload clip, 12 elite darts
Best for Beginners & Cheapest
Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster
  • Put some serious blasting power in your pocket with the triad ex 3 blaster
  • Its smart technology tells it which barrel is loaded so you can fire it with confidence
  • And its small size lets you conceal the blaster in the palm of your hand or a pocket, then draw fast
  • Pull down the loading handle to ready your shot, then fire when it's time to take down your target

Budget-Friendly Nerf Gun Buyer’s Guide

1. Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster

2. Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

3. Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster

4. Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster

5. Nerf Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster

The Top 5 Best Nerf Guns Under $30

Best Nerf Guns Under $30

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster is perfect for those who want a little bang for their buck.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster review

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster (read the full review here) is a mini-blaster that is capable of holding up to three bullets in the front of the gun, uses an easy pull-down loading mechanism at the bottom of the gun to prepare the bullets for launching, and can shoot all three bullets individually without requiring you to rotate the barrel.

On top of that, this mini blaster has a range of up to 90 feet.

When it comes to this blaster, there aren’t any complaints about the way that it functions. Those who have purchased this blaster are happy with the way that it works and haven’t had problems with it.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster back
Best for Small Hands
NERF N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster
  • Micro Triad EX-3 blaster has mega power
  • Blaster knows which barrel is loaded
  • Fires darts up to 90 feet
  • Loading handle readies your shot
  • Blaster comes with 3 Elite Darts and instructions

Things We Like:

  • Affordable Price

  • Long Range Works Well for Indoor and Outdoor Use

  • Reloading Is Easy and Can Be Done From the Front
  • Barrel Doesn’t Need to Rotate to Use All Bullets
  • Easy Loading Mechanism Compatible With All Ages

Things We Don’t Like As Much:

  • Nothing!

If you don’t have a ton of money to spend but you still want a quality Nerf blaster that will function well in Nerf battles, you should consider purchasing the Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster’s rotating barrel can hold up to six darts and slides out for easier reloading, uses a simple pull-back, loading mechanism to prepare the bullets for firing, and can launch bullets up to 90 feet.

-You may be interested in: How Accurate Are Nerf Blasters & Darts?

Unlike the previous blaster, this one does have some downsides. The most noticeable problem is that this blaster has a tendency to jam and misfire over time.

Also, the loading mechanism can be a little difficult to pull back. However, these problems shouldn’t prevent you from considering adding this blaster to your collection.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster rotating barrel
NERF N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster with Rotating Barrel (Amazon Exclusive)
  • FIRE 6 DARTS IN A ROW: Fire 6 darts in a row from this quick draw, fast firing Nerf N Strike Elite Strong Arm toy blaster that shoots darts up to 90 feet (27 meters) and includes 6 Nerf Elite darts
  • SLAM FIRE BLASTING: Slam fire all 6 darts in a rapid blasting wave at targets by moving the slide back and forth as you hold down the trigger
  • INCLUDES 6 NERF DARTS: Includes 6 Official Nerf Elite darts that are designed for distance, tested and approved for performance and quality and constructed of foam with flexible, hollow tips
  • EASY, OPEN, RECYCLABLE PACKAGE: Ships in simple recyclable packaging that’s easy to open and frustration free
  • FLIP OPEN ROTATING 6 DART BARREL: The Strongarm Nerf blaster has a rotating 6 dart barrel that flips open for easy dart loading and is hand powered no batteries required

Things We Like:

  • Affordable Price for Quality Blaster
  • Long Range Works Well for Indoor and Outdoor Use
  • Sliding Barrel Makes Manual Reloading Easier
  • Handle grip is comfortable
Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster handle grip

Things We Don’t Like As Much:

  • Loses Launching Power Over Time
  • Loading Can Be Difficult at Times

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster is a little pricier compared to the previous blasters but is great for those who have Nerf battles frequently.

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster uses pump-action to fire its bullets, comes with an ammo clip that can hold up to 12 bullets that can be fired up to 75 feet, and a stability handle, a stock, and a barrel extension. You can find this blaster online for about $25.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster back

Some people have a problem with this gun jamming, most likely due to the fact that it comes in 3 separate pieces that you have to put together.

However, others haven’t had a problem with jamming so it may just be how well you put it together. If you’re willing to overlook this potential problem, you will have a great blaster that can easily be modified and works well for intense Nerf battles.

NERF N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster, Stock, Grip, Barrel, 12-Clip, 12 Darts, Outdoor Toys for Kids 8+ (Amazon Exclusive)
  • CREATE 4 DIFFERENT BLASTER STYLES WITH THE NERF N-STRIKE ELITE RETALIATOR BLASTER: It includes removable accessories to configure the Nerf dart blaster 4 different ways in kids outdoor games
  • INCLUDES REMOVABLE STOCK, GRIP, AND BARREL EXTENSION: The stock, grip, and barrel are easy to attach and remove to create different blaster looks with this foam dart blaster
  • INCLUDES 12 NERF ELITE DARTS AND 12-DART CLIP: The Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator blaster includes a removable 12-dart clip and 12 Nerf foam darts
  • 12-DART PUMP ACTION PRIMING: Unleash 12 darts in a row. Load the clip into the toy blaster, pump the priming slide backward and forward, check the ready indicator, and pull the trigger to blast a dart
  • FUN KIDS OUTDOOR TOYS: Nerf toys for boys and girls can be used for indoor or outdoor games for kids.

Things We Like:

  • Affordable Price
  • Has Good Ammo Capacity
  • Use Pump-Action to Fire Bullets
  • Comes With Plenty of Accessories
  • Long Range Works Well for Indoor and Outdoor Use
  • Easily Modifiable
Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster a part

Things We Don’t Like As Much:

  • Reported to Jam
  • Comes in Three Separate Pieces Rather Than Whole Blaster

The Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster is cutting it a little close to the budget threshold, but is an awesome gun for the price that you are paying.

The Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster is unique compared to the other guns on this list because it can fire three different bullets. The first bullet it can fire is the normal Nerf Elite style darts, of which it can hold ten in the ammo clip.

Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster

The second type of ammunition that it can launch is the mega bullet, of which the gun can hold only one. The final type of ammunition is the missile, and again, the gun can hold just one of these.

This blaster also uses pump-action to fire its bullets and it comes with all the accessories needed to use the blaster. 

Along with more pieces, however, comes more problems. The biggest problem that many people have is that the pull lever has a tendency to jam. Besides that, the gun functions well and is well worth the price.

Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster, Mega Barrel, Rocket Launcher, Clip, 1 Rocket, Kids Outdoor Games (Amazon Exclusive)
  • 3 WAYS TO BLAST: The Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike blaster has 3 different launchers, giving you 3 ways to blast. Fire Nerf Elite darts, Nerf Mega darts, and a Nerf rocket
  • ELITE DART BLASTER, MEGA BARREL, and ROCKET LAUNCHER: Use the bolt-action Elite dart blaster by itself, or attach the included Nerf Mega barrel extension or rocket launcher for more ways to play
  • CREATE A SEPARATE ROCKET LAUNCHER: Attach the 2 rocket launcher pieces together to build a launcher that you can use on its own
  • INCLUDES 10-DART CLIP, 10 ELITE DARTS, 4 NERF MEGA DARTS, 1 NERF ROCKET: This Nerf toy blaster comes with foam projectiles for all 3 blaster styles, and a removable clip for the Elite blaster
  • GREAT GIFTS FOR KIDS: Nerf Modulus blasters are great backyard toys for 8 year old boys and girls. They’ll have fun changing blaster styles as they play. Each sold separately, subject to availability

Things We Like:

  • Highly Customizable With Three Different Firing Methods
  • Affordable Price
  • Ammo Clip Eliminates the Need to Reload Manually

Things We Don’t Like As Much:

  • Pull Lever Has Reputation of Jamming

The Nerf Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster is a great option for those who want to reload easily but who still want the ammo capacity of some of the better blasters.

Nerf Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster

The Nerf Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster comes with an ammo clip that can hold up to six bullets, uses two different loading methods that make it useful for two-handed and single-handed firing, and has a cool design for those who want to shoot their opponents in style. 

Like some of the other guns, this one has a reputation of jamming, especially when the lever isn’t properly loaded. Still, this gun is cheap and has a great ammo capacity for Nerf battles and can even be used with one hand so you can hold another Nerf gun.

Nerf Zombie Slingfire
  • Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster has lever-action blasting
  • Blaster loads 2 ways: Swing lever or flick to load with 1 hand
  • Includes 6-dart clip and 6 Zombie Strike darts
  • Tactical Rail lets you add accessories - sold separately
  • Includes SlingFire blaster, 6 Zombie Strike darts, 6-dart clip and instructions

Things We Like:

  • Good Ammo Capacity
  • Comes With Ammo Clip
  • Can Be Modified to Hold Extra Ammo
  • Uses Single-Hand Reloading Option if You Want to Hold More Guns
  • Nice Design
Nerf Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster ammo clip

Things We Don’t Like As Much:

  • Reputation of Jamming

Out of all of these affordable Nerf blasters, we recommend that you purchase the Nerf N-Strike Retaliator Blaster

It’s affordable, has a great ammo capacity, and works well in Nerf wars.

Before you purchase any type of Nerf gun that is less expensive than the average, here are some things that you need to take into consideration.

1. Quality

While there are Nerf guns on the market that are cheap and work well, there are still some Nerf blasters that meet the expectations one would have when purchasing a cheap toy.

Before you decide to buy just any Nerf gun, always do some research on how it functions and what type of material the body is made out of.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself when conducting research. Is it constructed from cheap plastic that shatters easily? 

Do any of the launching mechanisms or additional parts jam frequently or break soon after use?

Does it continue to function well even after it has been dropped or after it’s been used frequently?

If the answers to any of those questions are no, then that Nerf gun is probably not worth purchasing, no matter how low the price may be.

2. Range

A Nerf blaster needs to be able to launch its darts long distances, regardless of how much you have paid for it.

Don’t purchase a Nerf gun that has a reputation of shooting five feet even though the advertised distance is 75 feet or farther. These guns will not be useful during a Nerf battle that requires you to play either inside or outside. Search instead for one that is both budget-friendly and packs the same punch as its pricier alternatives.

3. Ammo Capacity

Although you wouldn’t expect a cheap Nerf gun to be able to hold a lot of bullets, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aim for it (no pun intended).

Look for a gun that can hold at least six bullets or more in its barrel. This suggestion doesn’t imply that the guns that hold less bullets work poorly (it tends to be the opposite), it just puts you at a disadvantage during a Nerf war when you can shoot less bullets and are forced to reload quickly in order to avoid being shot.

Also, keep in mind how your gun will be holding its bullets. Is it a gun that fires them rapidly and requires you to manually reload or is it a gun that can be quickly reloaded using ammo clips and other accessories.

The guns that hold more bullets but require you to reload the barrel by hand tend to be harder to use and can give your opponent an opportunity to attack while you’re taking the time to reload.

4. The Ability to Accessorize

If you only have $30 to spend on a Nerf gun but are considering investing in Nerf in the future, you may want to consider whether or not your gun is able to be fitted with additional accessories.

Accessories, although they will cost you more money, will give you an advantage that other players may not have during a war. For example, having additional ammo storage on your gun or modified blasters can be a big help when you need that extra something during a battle.

Also, accessories don’t have to be purchased immediately, which means that you can buy a high-quality, affordable blaster now and purchase accessories when you have more money in the future.

5. Type of Ammunition

No matter what type of Nerf gun you are using, the type of ammunition that the Nerf blaster uses is almost always an important factor.

It can be awesome to purchase a blaster within your budget that also fires a ton of bullets at once or uses unique rounds, but once you run out of bullets, you are going to have to buy some more.

This can be costly if you use a special type of ammunition or if you tend to lose ammunition quickly. Keep this in mind before you purchase any special Nerf gun that requires specific ammunition.

Also, keep in mind that not all ammunition works with each Nerf gun available. If you’ve been building a collection and you only have a collection of guns that is compatible with one kind of bullet, don’t purchase a new gun that needs unique bullets.

This could be a problem later on when you have to buy two different kinds of bullets so that you can use all of your guns in a Nerf battle.

Jeremy A
Dart Dudes

About the Author

Jeremy is the founder of Dart Dudes, the leading resource for parents looking to pick up a Nerf toy for a child. He grew up with his four brothers and two sisters where there was always a Nerf war taking place.

With a focus on safety, Jeremy has helped thousands of parents help chose the right Nerf toy for their kids or grandkids. He lives in California with his wife and family. Learn more about me. - You can email me jeremy@dartdudes.com

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