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The range of styles and warfare options in the Nerf universe has developed significantly over the years. We have come a long way from the massive blue and orange blasters and can now pick up all kinds of toys in various themes. One of the most interesting alternative weapons is the Nerf bow.
In this guide, I want to highlight some of the best options in bow and arrows Nerf has to offer. I will provide short reviews on the top models as well as a quick guide on what to look out for.
What is a Nerf bow?
Nerf bows offer something a little bit different to your standard Nerf “gun”. The most common toys are blasters and shooters that fire darts in a way that replicates a shotgun, pistol, machine gun, or something else from a war film or videogame. A bow is different as it takes inspiration from either a bow and arrow design or a crossbow.
This typically means pulling back a string, acting as the quiver, and shooting arrows at your targets. These bows can take the action into a different genre or just provide a cool secondary weapon.
In addition to this, you will find that the majority of Nerf bow and arrow sets available right now are marketed towards girls. Now, I want to point out from the start that there are absolutely no restrictions on who can play with which bow.
I have separated the products into models for girls and boys below. But, if your 8-year-old boy loves the look of a secret agent teal and purple bow then why not. Similarly, there is no reason why little sisters can’t have a go with the more “masculine” options.
How much does a Nerf bow and arrow cost?
Costs can vary depending on what you want the bow to do, as well as availability. For example, if there is a rare model that isn’t available on Amazon right now, such as the elusive Zombie Strike model, you may need to pay a little more on bidding sites.
But, those that are commonly available tend to range between $50 – $100. Some of the smaller models for younger kids with fewer features aren’t going to cost as much. The more high-end options like 2-in-1 shooters and those with collectible elements will cost more. Overall, this doesn’t make the bows any more expensive than a more traditional shooter or blaster.
Things to look out for when choosing the best bow and arrow Nerf has to offer
1) The design of the bow
The look of the bow is just as important as functionality as these first impressions count for so much. Kids want a bow that not only looks really cool but that their friends and siblings will be envious of. That is why Nerf put so much effort into creating stylish designs with great impact.
The shape of the wings on the bows makes a big difference, as does the color scheme. A lot of the Nerf Rebelle bows use teal, purple and pink to be feminine but not overly girly. There is a pop-punk look with some nice curves. The boys’ models are a bit more blocky and industrial or tend to follow the classic design.
2) The ease of use
When it comes to functionality, there are two key issues here. The first is the ease of use in using the string or the trigger to fire off the shot. A lot of the strings do wear out and snap after a while. The other is the reloading system. Some bows are a little more authentic in that you load the long arrows one by one. But, this can be frustrating for some kids. The rapid-fire six-shooters with the rotating drums are more popular.
3) The range and quantity of the arrows.
Speaking of those arrows or darts, it helps to know that you have enough in the pack, to begin with. Some products only provide a couple of longer arrows, which is where it helps to buy a spare pack to go with the bow. Others are more generous so that you can load the drums and maybe have some spare.
Also, be aware that the intended range can vary between the darts and arrows. Some are estimated to reach 100 feet while others fall short at 75 feet.
4) Unique selling points.
Then there are the unique selling points that can make these products even more appealing to players. A great example of this is the use of the whistling dart, which is seen in a few ranges. This adds to the sensory experience and drama.
Then there are the magic darts with hidden messages that players need to decipher with a special decoder toy. These are available in a few of the Rebelle models. Some of these also have colorful collectible darts to watch out for.
What is the best Nerf bow?
The term “best” really is subjective, but I have to say that Nerf has done a better job with the models in the girls’ Rebelle line than anything for the boys. There is a lot more thought in both the designs and the gameplay, thanks to the secret agent and spy themes and the addition of the decoder and hidden messages.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies Arrow Revolution Bow. This option just has that extra firepower and visual impact for slightly older kids while maintaining the fun gameplay of other models. The Combo gets an honorable mention as a 2-in-1 toy for teens that really want to immerse themselves in the action.
The best Nerf bow and arrow original toys boys can enjoy
I want to start with this Stratobow because it is such a familiar-looking design. It uses the classic blue and orange color scheme that you see on a lot of blasters. Therefore, it works well with the classic Nerf designs for building up a collection of interesting weapons.
This design and the ease of use make it a great first bow. It doesn’t need batteries and is easy to learn. Just pull back the string and aim, letting the reloading 15-dart clip do the rest.
A possible downside here is that the string may become loose with repeated use, although this is true for some other bows. It is also not as interesting as some of the other options because of the design. The 85-foot range is only average too.
This next option I like a lot because of the design. It is interesting to compare this “boys” option to the designs for the “girls” bows below. Even the name – Thunderbow – sounds more masculine and menacing. What I like about the black and red industrial look is that it is different from other themes out there. Another benefit is the promise that this will fire darts up to 100ft, which is the longest range in this guide.
I can’t find much to say against this model if you are looking for a basic bow for your young son. You can’t load as many darts at once, but they are whistling darts this time. There is space for five darts at once, which is plenty, to be honest, and then there are five spares. The only downside is that the girls get a lot more features and a bit more attention to detail in the Rebelle designs.
This is another product that is more of a classic model than something more modern or interesting. In fact, this was the first-ever Nerf dart-firing slingshot. I can see the appeal because there are a retro feel and that simplicity for young kids that you don’t always get with modern options.
As with the previous models, all you need to do is load up the bow and pull back the string. This should be a fun little toy for those that aren’t into the heavy team warfare games.
What I don’t like is the ammunition. You get two Elite Darts here that are commonly seen in other models. So, not only is this pretty boring compared to the whistling or coded arrows with other bows, you don’t get a lot to play with. The only upside is that you can store both the darts on the arms of the bow.
The best Nerf bow and arrow girls can enjoy.
Moving on to those more interesting and attractive girls bows from the Rebelle range, I first want to highlight this popular Agent model. This is a beautiful bow with an almost angelic wing design in white and teal.
You get three pink bolts to fire with the aid of the string and an Electronic sight to help you line up the shot. What I love about this bow is that there are hidden messages in the arrows for friends to decipher with the decoder tool. This tool is free in the box.
Overall the “Agent” and “Spy” models are a lot of fun because of these features and extra gameplay. The problem here, however, is that the string is not the best quality. It may require a hack by parents to strengthen it and give kids a more reliable, durable model.
This is another option with that spy and secret agents theme running through it. There are a lot of similarities here with the features included and the general purpose of the gameplay. You get some more of those cool whistling arrows – 6 of them this time – in a stunning bow with similar pink, purple, and blue toes. This is one is fun as you load it up like a six-shooter and fire off with the trigger via a rotating action to line up the next shot.
One potential issue here is the size. This is a large bow with some power to it, which explains the long 90-foot range on the darts. It is a definite upgrade on the other Rebelle bows in terms of functionality. But, it might be better for older kids who are more capable of handling it.
The most interesting difference I can see in this Strongheart bow is that you get a series of multicolored Nerf darts rather than the whistling arrows. Some kids may not like this as much because it isn’t so authentic as a bow and arrow. Others will love the chance to collect the different patterns. There is also one message dart to use with the decoder, which ties this bow in with the other models so far and could allow friends to play their game with various weapons.
The bow is an attractive pink and dark-gray model with a tribal-esque print and the Rebelle logo. It is also to hold all four darts without reloading in between. A possible downside is a 75-foot range, which is not the same as the whistling arrows. But, this does feel like a smaller bow for smaller children.
The last of these girls Nerf bow and arrow products is similar to the model above with the four different darts and the reloading system. The design here is gorgeous and takes players in a different direction from the agents and spies. This one looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in a fantasy video game, where the heroic princess fights back. The faux metalwork on the wings is a nice touch, as is the chain from the reloader which has a series of charms on it.
The issue is that the impact in gameplay is pretty much the same as above. The darts used only have a 75-foot range, so aren’t going to compete with some other models. It is also one of the “girlier” options here and this might not be quite as appealing to some pre-teens as the cooler style of the other Rebelle models. This feels like a more simplistic option in its function for younger players.
The best alternative weapons related to Nerf bow and arrow sets.
This first option in these alternative weapons is more of a crossbow than a bow and arrow. There are a few of these around and they can prove to be a big hit with all kinds of kids. This one is still more for the female audience because of the colors and branding. But, the action and style aren’t the same girly archery bow. Either way, this one works brilliantly with the Rebelle line to offer kids a little diversity in how to play.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with the trigger locking into place. This has been mentioned by different parents, which suggests that the makers need to reconsider the mechanism on future models. Still, most kids seem to have fun even if it is a little frustrating. Also, it seems to only come with two bolts. But, they are also whistling bolts which adds to the experience.
The last option that I want to talk about is really cool and something sure to be a hit with keen players. There is a sense with the other bows that the plan was to either give girls a different sort of game or to give them an alternative weapon as a team member with other players.
This is different. Here you have another crossbow-style bow and arrow but it separates into a bow and blaster. This gives teens a lot more to play with and a chance to strategize and order their troops around. The model is also part of the AccuStrike Series, which is said to feature the most accurate Nerf darts.
The only possible issue with this model is that you end up with something that is far too complicated for a lot of girls. This is a lot different from the fun little bows that let young girls channel their inner heroine or play as secret agents. This one is more deadly and much better suited to older players.
Choosing the best Nerf bow and arrow for your kids.
There are different approaches here. First, you need to decide which route to take within the more gender-specific models. Do you want the cuter, less-powerful models for younger kids or is your girl ready to take on a bigger mission and a more impactful weapon? Make sure to read the specifications carefully on any model you choose.
Compare your options to see which offers the best value for money and the most entertainment for your child. Also, be aware that while the Nerf bow and arrow original models for boys are limited. There are more Rebelle girls models than I could mention in this guide. Girls really do get the better deal with the best bow and arrow Nerf products.