The Best Water Guns for Drench Warfare
Looking to adopt a shock-and-awe strategy for the summer’s water-gun battles? The Super Soaker FloodFire Blaster, Aqua-Zooka Double Shot, Water Warriors Colossus 2 and others will wring out every advantage
By Matthew Kronsberg in the Wall Street Journal
EVER SINCE THE RISE of superpowered water guns about a quarter-century ago, our yards, pools, beaches, and parks have been the staging grounds for an ever-escalating arms race. The soaker-industrial-complex long ago convinced us to toss aside the puny squirt guns in our arsenals in favor of high-pressure, high-volume water blasters.
Under the guise of a family visit to Florida, I set out to test the cutting-edge weaponry you may well deploy in your next water war. I recruited soldiers (my son, two nieces), and we conducted test flings of Zorbz Self-Sealing Water Balloons in the yard (cleared of the land mines deviously planted by the dog). We strafed our artillery range (a cul-de-sac with distances marked in sidewalk chalk) with a water-shooting drone, then splattered it with guns like Water Warriors Colossus 2 and the Aqua-Zooka Double Shot, both of which easily came within striking distance of the 40- and 50-foot ranges, respectively, claimed by their manufacturers.
Then we engaged in actual combat. We quickly learned, however, that while you can start a war with a long-distance squirt, you fight it in close quarters. And in those situations, time spent reloading is time left vulnerable to attack. That problem was solved with the new Nerf Super Soaker FloodFire, which can connect to a garden hose for unlimited water and constant pressure.
Was it overkill? Affirmative. The threat of mutually assured saturation was realized, and yet, somehow, our appetite was only whetted for more. Here, a report on our findings.
The Aircraft | 1. Ethos QX 130
Weapon Type: Remote-control drone with water-squirting attachment
Water Capacity: .07 ounces
Range: 10 feet (when hovering at an altitude of 10 feet)
Advantages: Total air superiority.
Vulnerabilities: A well-aimed blast from a Super Soaker might knock it out of the sky.
Technical Notes: The flying time of this relatively easy-to-fly quadcopter is just shy of 10 minutes; more than enough to sow mayhem. Although the water reservoir is small, the QX 130 is still capable of getting off a respectable 25 squirts before the tank needs to be refilled. Along with the water-squirter attachment, a camera, rocket launcher, winch and even bubble blowing module are also available. Not even a Blackhawk has a bubble machine. $100 plus $13 for the water module, ares-rc.com
The High-Capacity Howitzer | 2. Nerf Super Soaker FloodFire Blaster
Weapon Type: Water gun that converts from hand-pumped to hose-powered
Water Capacity: 43 ounces or unlimited
Range: 38 feet
Advantages: Superior pump-action when used with its stock water tank.
Vulnerabilities: Limited range and maneuverability when tethered to a hose.
Technical Notes: The FloodFire’s greatest strength is also its Achilles’ heel. The shut-off dial on the quick-connect attachment that lets you connect the blaster to a garden hose tended to pop out, spraying water everywhere except our target. Although we do not advocate modifying water blasters in any way, we couldn’t help notice that a standard quick-connect attachment, usually less than $5 at the hardware store, solved this problem perfectly. Attached to the hose, the FloodFire is great for more than water fights; use it as a sprayer to wash your car or water your begonias…with extreme prejudice. $25, nerf.com
The Grenades | 3. Zorbz Self-Sealing Water Balloons
Weapon type: Water balloons that automatically seal
Water Capacity: Varies
Range: How good is your arm?
Advantages: A devastating payload.
Vulnerabilities: The balloons themselves are fairly strong, so instead of exploding on impact, they sometimes bounce off the intended victim.
Technical Notes: The secret to the Zorbz is that each balloon contains a vitamin-shape gelatin capsule that lodges in the balloon’s neck when filled, sealing it shut. As any parent who’s ever spent an afternoon tying water balloons will attest, this is the kind of innovation that can make a water war a little less like hell. The capsule (which, like the balloon itself, is biodegradable) softens when wet, so the seal may fail with time. As a result, these are best loaded and quickly deployed. $7 for a pack of 100, zorbzwaterballoons.com
The Bazooka | 4. Aqua-Zooka Double Shot
Weapon type: Double-barreled blaster
Water Capacity: 25 ounces
Range: 50 feet
Advantages: Quick to load, quick to shoot.
Vulnerabilities: Only works when fighting in or near a body of water (a bucket will do).
Technical Notes: Compact, powerful and utterly simple; if our tests used a ranked voting system, this would have been the winner. The DoubleShot functions like an oversize syringe: Pull back on the handle to suck up water; push forward to shoot. Though one could arguably let off multiple, short blasts with the Aqua-Zooka, in practice, this is a single-shot weapon. But when that shot is more than a pint and a half of high-velocity H20, do you really need more? $18, airhead.com
The Assault Vehicle | 5. Carrera Red Freezer Watergun
Weapon type: Water-shooting remote-control car
Water Capacity: 8 ounces
Range: 20 feet
Advantages: A maximum speed of just over 11 mph makes for quick attacks (and getaways).
Vulnerabilities: Though it’s categorized as “splash proof” and can sustain return fire, beware of deep puddles and water balloons.
Technical Notes: The angle of the front nozzle on the car is manually adjustable, so it takes a little bit of mental triangulation to predict squirt height. Even at maximum inclination though, the water stream is little more than waist high, making this the perfect way to annoy toddlers or harass the family dog. Xenon headlamps make night raids possible, with about 40 minutes of run-time delivered from the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Even with a full tank of water, on ground performance is quick and nimble. $90, carrera-rc.com
The Pressure Blaster | 6. Water Warriors Colossus 2
Weapon type: Old-school shooter with a supercharged range thanks to the pump-operated pressure chamber
Water Capacity: 74 ounces
Range: 40 feet
Advantages: The large water tank means fewer refilling breaks.
Vulnerabilities: More than 2 feet long and over 6.5 pounds when fully loaded, it can be ungainly for small children.
Technical Notes: While its rotating nozzle with a choice of three spray settings and the side-mounted gauge for finding the optimal shooting angle are attractive features, what separates the Colossus 2 from other blasters on the market is its two-chamber shooting system. One chamber holds water, while a shotgun-style pump fills the second with pressurized air. This is closer to how original Super Soakers worked (vintage models can now fetch hundreds of dollars on eBay). While the blast power isn’t much different from other soakers, once pumped, the Colossus can be operated with one hand, freeing your other hand for lobbing water balloons or Instagramming your opponent’s moment of sodden defeat. $20, buzzbeetoys.com