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Nerf Better Than Balloons Review

I mainly review blasters on this website. But sometimes there are related items that are worth a try. For example, Zuru’s Bunch o Balloons line has been great for quickly getting ammo ready for water warfare. Even so, they’re still water balloons, coming with all the cleanup afterwards of rubber bits.

Hasbro, meanwhile, has taken a different approach. Better Than Balloons aims to fill plastic water pods quickly (albeit with the need to separate them after), pop open on impact, and keep each “balloon” in one piece for easy cleanup. They’re sturdy enough to be handled roughly, but can be thrown, stomped, squeezed, etc. for whatever soaking action you want. Are they worth it? Perhaps, if you want to do the messy part ahead of time – and have time.


I fully expect Beret to make shorts slapping “Tide” stickers on the pods…

Anyway, the Nerf Better Than Balloons come in various packages, each with folded up plastic sheets. Well, not sheets, per se (there are multiple layers of plastic fused together), but that’s the term I’ll use. There are12 pods to a sheet, with connective plastic in between, and various perforations and channels throughout. You’ll also find a garden hose attachment, which will get inserted into a fill hole at one end of the sheet.

Once you lay the sheet flat and insert the attachment, turn on the water. Doing so forces water through the channels in the sheet, eventually filling up all the pods, which seal shut afterwards. I use the term “eventually”, simply because sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. It might have something to do with the instruction “fill flat”, which you can’t 100% do thanks to the pods being folded up in package. More often than not, one or two of the pods refuse to inflate unless you manipulate them by hand to get the channels to open up. Depending on your water pressure and how tightly you’re holding the attachment nozzle in the fill hole, you might actually burst seams in the assembly before those last 1-2 balloons fill! You may get wet before any battles even start.

Once the pods are all filled, you need to separate the pods along the perforated lines, and throw away the rest of the plastic. There’s a bit of an art to this, as often the plastic will tear in other directions, leaving small bits to clean up. Doing all this ends up taking a good amount of time (and Zuru made a video that, while exaggerated a bit, still shows the drastic difference in prep time). On the other hand, the pods are really sturdy, much more so than the usual water balloon, and there’s no need to judge how big the balloon needs to be. So you won’t have issues of “too small, does not break” or “too big, pops at the slightest touch”.

With all that being said, there was a need for testing…


Naturally, my wife was eager to use these on me, once it got warm enough to be able to use my outdoor spigot without freezing issues.

The “splash area” isn’t quite the same as with balloons, with it being more directional (usually toward the filling end). Even so, they’re still effective for soaking the target.

Best of all, the actual cleanup took seconds. So if that’s a concern at all, these are clearly the better option.

Final Thoughts

Nerf Better Than Balloons are competitively priced in the “fill fast and play” category. They clearly take more prep time, but they’re effective to use, and extremely easy to clean up. Perhaps with a tweak in manufacturing or packaging, the pods can be filled faster and the whole system made even better. Even so, if I know there’s going to be a battle later, my vote goes for extra prep time/cleaning up trash in one go, having battle, and then easy cleanup.


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