In the realm of non-lethal combat games, gel blasters and airsoft guns offer unique advantages and drawbacks, catering to different gaming preferences. This article aims to explore the differences between these two options, comparing their pros and cons, and helping players choose the right equipment for their games.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to these games, this guide on gel blasters vs airsoft guns will provide valuable insights. I will discuss the benefits and limitations of each, allowing you to make an informed decision for your next gaming session.
Join me as I uncover the intricacies of gel blasters and airsoft guns, providing you with the knowledge to conquer any gaming challenge that lies ahead. Let’s dive in and find your perfect toy gun of choice!
How Useful Are Gel Blasters?
Gel blasters are toy guns that fire small, soft gel balls made of water-absorbing polymer material– known as Orbeez, gel balls, water beads or splatter balls. They’re similar to airsoft guns and paintball markers, but instead of shooting pellets or paintballs, gel blasters shoot gel balls that are usually about 6-8 mm in diameter.
Gel blasters are popular in the United States, Australia and some other countries, and are often used for recreational activities. While they are generally considered safe, it’s important to use them responsibly and follow local laws and regulations.
Benefits Of Gel Blasters Over Airsoft Guns
Gel blasters owe their widespread popularity to various factors, including the various advantages they offer over airsoft guns. Here are the key points you should consider.
Cost-effective: Gel blasters can be more cost-effective than airsoft guns due to the fact that the ammunition is more affordable. While both the toy guns are inexpensive, top-rated gel blasters are more worthwhile.
Lower Impact & More Safe: Gel balls are soft and generally don’t hurt as much as airsoft pellets, making them a good option for younger or more sensitive players. Airsoft guns are far from being the safest kind of toy guns and have been banned in several countries due to the danger of injuries. Gel blasters didn’t take long to replace them as a much safer and relatively harmless alternative. Not only are the gel beads soft, but they’re also fired at lower velocities.
Easier To Clean: Whether you play with Airsoft guns or gel ball blasters, you’ll be scattering ammunition all over the place. However, gel beads are much easier to clean up once you’re done playing. Gel blaster balls are also biodegradable and do not have any adverse effect on the environment.
Less Legal Complications: Another reason you should choose a gel blaster over an airsoft gun is that the latter involves far less stringent legalities. Many states in the US bar minors from using airsoft guns at all, while others require them to do so in the presence of their parents or legal guardians.
Disadvantages Of Gel Blasters In Comparison To Airsoft
While gel blasters beat airsoft guns in the ways I mentioned, they also suffer several drawbacks.
Time Constraints: Unlike the harder pellets used in airsoft guns, gel beads need to be soaked in water for at least four hours before you can use them. This preparation time poses a time constraint for last-minute plans.
Less Powerful: Gel blasters aren’t as powerful as airsoft guns, which is one of the reasons why it’s a safer option. However, this also means a gel blaster can’t shoot as far and as hard. Even the most powerful rifle-style Orbeez guns can only fire at a maximum speed of 250 feet per second. Airsoft rifles, on the other hand, can reach 600 feet per second. Gel blasters are also less powerful than paintball guns.
Lack Of Realism: While airsoft guns look similar to real firearms and are often close replicas, most gel blasters clearly appear as bright-colored toy guns.
Alternatively, How Different Are Airsoft Guns?
Airsoft guns have been around for much longer than gel blasters. They are replica firearms that shoot small, lightweight plastic pellets using compressed air, gas, spring power or battery. They are used in recreational sports similar to gel blasters, where players compete in mock battles and military simulations.
Airsoft guns are designed to look and feel like real firearms, but they are generally not as powerful and are intended for use in safe, controlled environments. Safety gear such as eye protection is mandatory when using airsoft guns, and players are expected to follow strict rules and regulations to ensure everyone’s safety.
When Should You Prefer An Airsoft Gun Over A Gel Blaster?
Airsoft guns maintain superiority over gel blasters in a number of ways.
More Realistic: Unlike gel blasters, airsoft guns are incredibly realistic. These guns are even used as movie set props in place of real guns. The realism of airsoft guns extends beyond their appearance. They’re also very similar to real firearms in weight and function. This means you can use an airsoft gun to train for accuracy and grow your shooting skills.
Better Accuracy: Airsoft guns are generally more accurate than gel blasters, thanks to their hop-up system and higher shooting speed that imparts backspin on the pellets, increasing their range and stability in flight.
Wider Availability: Airsoft guns are more widely available than gel blasters, with a greater variety of brands and models to choose from. They can be easily customized and upgraded with various accessories and counterparts, allowing players to modify and improve their weapons according to their preferences.
More Game Options: Airsoft guns are often used in a wider variety of game types and scenarios than gel blasters, such as MilSim (military simulation) games and Speedsoft (fast-paced, close-quarters combat) games.
Also Read: Can You Put Airsoft BBs In A Gel Blaster?
Limitations Of Airsoft Compared To Gel Blasters
Although popular and fun to play with, airsoft guns have several disadvantages compared to gel blasters. Here are some important points you should consider.
High Risk Of Injuries: The high firing velocity, together with the fact that the projectiles are hard plastic pellets, is a safety concern. This is why you’re required to wear adequate protective clothing and gear when playing airsoft.
The Danger Of Realism: In a toy gun, a realistic appearance can be both a good thing and a drawback. While it’s much more thrilling and fun to play with, an unaware person might mistake it for a real weapon. This might put you in danger of being attacked, potentially with real firearms. For these reasons, airsoft guns are banned in many states.
Non-biodegradable Ammo: Unlike Orbeez beads, the ammunition used in airsoft guns isn’t biodegradable. Made of plastic, the pellets would take ages to break down in the soil.
More Maintenance: Airsoft guns require more maintenance than gel blasters need, including regular cleaning, lubrication, and part replacement.
Gel Blaster Vs Airsoft Comparison
|Point of Difference||Gel Blaster||Airsoft Gun|
|Appearance||Gel blasters are pretty stylish and most of them clearly look like toys/ replica guns.||Airsoft guns tend to imitate real firearms more than gel blasters.|
|Uses||Gel blasters are used solely for playing and recreational purposes.||These toy guns are used for playing, professional training, skirmishing and plinking.|
|Ammunition||The water beads used as gel blaster bullets, are soft with a gel-like texture. They are bigger than airsoft pellets but weigh less.||Hard airsoft pellets are much firmer but heavier than the ammunition of gel blasters.|
|Shooting Speed||Gel blasters shoot with a speed of 90-250 FPS, with an average of 150 FPS.||Airsoft guns shoot faster with an average speed of 400 FPS.|
|Shooting Range||Gel blasters have a shooting range varying from 30 to 80 feet, with the more powerful ones reaching 100 feet.||On average, the range of airsoft guns is higher that gel blasters, which varies from 120 to 225 feet.|
|Accuracy||Toy guns like gel blasters, Orbeez guns and splatter ball guns are less accurate compared to airsoft guns.||An airsoft gun will allow you to shoot much more accurately due to higher shooting speed and better aerodynamics.|
|Minimum Age Requirement||While there isn’t any legal age limit on gel blasters, but most manufacturers recommend the minimum age as 14 years.||The laws vary between different states and one might be required to be at least 18 years old to purchase or use an airsoft gun.|
|Safety & Risk Factor||Gel blasters are much safer due to lower speed and softer bullets.||Airsoft guns pose the risk of severe injuries if you won’t take the necessary precautions.|
|Legality||The legal restrictions regarding gel blasters are comparatively relaxed due to lower risk factors.||More stringent laws apply to airsoft guns in most countries, especially in the United States.|
|Environmental Concern||Gel blasters are environment-friendly, thanks to the biodegradable ammunition.||The plastic pellets used in airsoft guns pose environmental concerns.|
|Price||Gel blasters cost ($30-200) almost the same as airsoft guns, but the ammo is much cheaper.||Airsoft guns have a similar price tag in the range of $15-200, but their ammo is costlier.|
Related Comparison: Laser Tag Vs Paintball Vs Airsoft: Which Is Better?
The Differences Between Gel Blaster And Airsoft
1. Design & Appearance
Gel blasters and airsoft guns both look stylish and sophisticated. However, most gel blasters are colorful and clearly look like toy guns. Airsoft guns, on the other hand, appear much more realistic and are often hard to distinguish from real weapons.
As for internal functioning, gel blasters are exclusively battery-operated. A motor fires a piston back and forth to shoot out the gel beads. Airsoft guns can be spring-powered, gas-powered, or electric. They also weigh similar as real guns, while gel blasters are far lighter and easier to carry.
2. Different Uses
Gel blasters are used exclusively as toys, either for casual playing or as a recreational sport in arenas. You may play with these toy guns both indoors and outdoors.
Airsoft guns have a wider range of applications. Apart from playing, they’re also used for training and simulation purposes. In fact, those guns have found use even in the military and movie prop sets. Comparatively, airsoft is also a more serious sport.
3. Type Of Ammunition
This is probably the most notable difference between gel blasters and toy guns. The former uses gellets, also known gel balls or water beads. As I mentioned earlier, hydrated gellets are mostly made of water and hence very soft. Airsoft guns, on the other hand, fire spherical plastic projectiles.
This essentially means airsoft pellets are hard, unlike the soft gel pellets used in Orbeez guns. While the two kinds of pellets are of about the same weight, hydrated gel blaster balls are much bigger. A typical airsoft bullet has a diameter of 6 mm, while a fully grown gel blaster ball has a diameter of 6-8 mm.
4. Shooting Range & Speed
Considering Airsoft guns are much more powerful than gel blasters, it’s no wonder that the former has a longer shooting range and speed. The shooting range of a gel blaster varies from 30 to 80 feet, depending on the type of gun (SMG, assault rifle, sniper, etc.). Some of the most powerful gel blasters can also reach 100 feet.
For comparison, Airsoft guns can shoot as far as 120 to 225 feet on average. If you get a powerful airsoft sniper rifle, you might even be able to hit a target accurately from 300 feet away.
5. The Accuracy
This is yet another aspect where airsoft guns are superior to gel blasters. The high firing velocity makes airsoft pellets much more accurate than gel beads from a long-range splatter ball gun.
Being smaller and harder, these pellets also face less air resistance as they fly. Range and accuracy go hand-in-hand, so it’s easy to see that airsoft guns are much better at shooting targets from a distance.
6. Minimum Age Requirement
If you’re a minor or buying a toy gun for your child, you need to check out any age restrictions on airsoft guns in your state/locality before buying one. The age limits to play with gel blasters is more flexible.
However, remember that it’s illegal to sell airsoft guns to individuals under 18 years of age in every US state. If you’re a minor, you’ll have to get an adult to make the purchase. Some states like Minnesota require users to be under supervision when operating airsoft guns.
7. Safety & Risk Factor
As I mentioned earlier, safety hazards with airsoft guns are the main reason why gel blasters came into existence. Not only are the airsoft pellets hard, but the high firing velocity makes them dangerous to anyone not wearing proper gear. Apart from the obvious risk of losing eyesight if you get shot in the eyes, airsoft guns can also cause wounds and fractures (especially teeth).
Did You Know?
Gel blasters are much safer – the gellets are soft and don’t hit as forcefully as airsoft bullets. While they can still sting and cause some redness on the skin, the effects wear off quickly. You still need to wear goggles for eye protection and play responsibly, but playing with gel blasters requires much less protective gear than airsoft guns.
Another risk factor associated with airsoft guns is that of your toy being mistaken for a real firearm. It would put you at risk of getting injured or worse.
8. Legality Concerns
The legalities surrounding airsoft guns might make you think twice before buying one too. Apart from the age restrictions, the display of replica guns in public is banned in several US states. This is done to address the risk of toy guns being mistaken for real ones, as I just discussed. You may also be required to buy airsoft guns with a bright orange tip to indicate it’s a toy.
Laws regarding replica guns also apply to gel blasters. However, they are easier to follow as most gel blasters look like toys anyway. The rules still vary significantly from one state to another.
While Texas allows individuals to carry airsoft and splat R ball guns freely, California has completely banned public display. In New York, all air guns are restricted without a license, including airsoft guns and gel blasters.
Overall, the laws regarding airsoft guns are more stringent. Several other countries have banned airsoft guns entirely but allow gel blasters in a controlled way.
9. Environmental Issues
As plastic waste continues to be a chief environmental concern, so do the plastic pellets used in airsoft guns. However, the gellets used in most Orbeez guns, are completely biodegradable. If you leave them in the soil, they will break down entirely within 1-10 years, depending on the weather conditions. I’ve actually put a lot of used gel blaster balls in the soil under my garden plants to retain moisture, which proved to be very effective.
Coming to the price, both types of toy guns cost about the same. You can get decent airsoft guns and gel blasters for around $25-$50, while the high-quality ones will cost anywhere from $60 to $200.
However, gel blasters are more cost-effective in the long run due to cheaper ammunition. While a pack of 2000 good quality airsoft pellets would cost you $10 on average, you can get 10,000 gellets for the same price.
Here is a video explaining the differences between gel blasters and airsoft guns, worth checking out!
So, Gel Blaster Or Airsoft- Which Is Better For You?
To sum up, both airsoft guns and gel blasters are enjoyable to play with and offer a fantastic experience. Especially if you’re a recreational gamer like me, you might want to go for airsoft guns due to their realism. However, consider the associated legalities and take necessary precautions to prevent injuries. You can seriously injure someone not wearing protective gear by shooting him/her with an airsoft gun.
Personally, I feel that gel blasters are a better choice than airsoft for those playing casually at home or in the backyard. You’ll be less likely to break fragile stuff or injure someone and won’t have to put on all that gear every time you want to play. You should still remember to gear up properly and be a responsible player while operating a gel blaster. Remember that the purpose of these toy guns is having fun without causing problems to others.
Ultimately, it comes down to your likes, dislikes, and convenience. As long as your local laws don’t pose an issue and you can play safely, both airsoft and gel blaster guns are viable options.