Gel blaster guns differ from Airsoft guns by the way of fire power, type of ammunition, realism and accuracy. In the next guide I will try to answer most of your questions you may have regarding their difference.
Airsoft is one of the most exciting sports all over the world, well, mostly all over the world with exception to some countries like Australia, Singapore, Syria, North Korea, Yemen and so on.
The players from such countries often travel overseas to participate in airsoft games.
The reason they are banned in such countries is often of the political correctness and fear of the firearms.
If you live in one of the countries that have airsoft guns banned by the law and you do not want to travel overseas each time you want to play a match, you may be interested into some substitute for airsoft that is legal, luckily you have stumbled upon the gel blaster guns.
In short the difference between gel blasters and airsoft guns is the following: Airsoft guns are more sophisticated, more powerful and more popular than Gel blasters because the airsoft market is way bigger, however gel blasters are a good substitute for airsoft guns in regions where airsoft guns are prohibited.
In this guide I will make it all clear for you so that you know how good of a replacement the gel blaster guns are compared to the well-known quality of airsoft guns.
I have also created a comparison between airsoft and paintball, and airsoft and laser tag, so you can check them out if you have ever taken paintball or laser tag into consideration because it is legal in states where airsoft unfortunately is not.
What are Gel Blasters?
If you have heard of airsoft and paintball, it will not come as a surprise that gel blasters are the imitation of both but with an adjusted type of ammunition.
The ammunition is among the reasons why they are considered legal in some states, they shot water, how dangerous can some water be if it collides with the body or object? Well, you can get wet if you get hit multiple times but no more than that.
The power and quality differ from gun to gun but what I have realized is that if you avoid the cheap plastic replicas of guns in both airsoft and gel blaster niches, then they won’t disappoint you.
In later part of this guide I will compare all the features of gel blasters versus the ultimate and well-known airsoft guns.
Here are some Gel Blasters you can find on Amazon which aren’t high-tier but are a good example, and decent-quality, great toys for fun and competitive backyard battles.
Are Gel Blasters legal?
The law is still not welcoming any toy or replica that resembles a real gun, so there are still some regions where even gel blasters are banned.
To avoid all the issues I will state the regions of Australia where these guns are completely allowed for use, but be careful because not all regions allow them.
Does your region allow them by the law? Check it out down below:
Australian regions regarding the law
The following regions do not have restrictions on owning or using a gel blaster gun.
The law may change, but according to the information that we have at the time of writing and publishing this Gel blaster guns are legal in ACT,QLD,NT,WA and SA.
The issue is still present in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales where there are restrictions for using or owning such guns.
The ammo type difference between Airsoft BBs and Gel Blaster water balls
They are well known to the public, they look like pieces of plastic that commonly come in white color and have the size of 6 mm as their standard.
The inner gun barrel diameter is just slightly bigger than the BB ammo size so it allows just enough space for the ammo to go through as well letting just as much of the needed air to push the bb through.
There is a FPS test that shows you how fast those BBs get out of your airsoft gun and many fields have regulations regarding that power.
The weight of the BBs comes with different standards and they are based on the power force of an airsoft gun, so a gun with lesser force like spring guns that fire with around 250 FPS may find those lighter BBs better, while guns like snipers with FPS of about 400-600 may rely on heavier BBs. The heavier BBs are more accurate due to better resistance against the wind.
Those standard weighs are the following: 0.12 gram, 0.20 gram, 0.25 gram, 0.28 gram, 0.30 gram and up to 0.40 gram.
Therefore, airsoft guns are capable of better accuracy and range than gel blasters.
When it comes to the material there are basically Biodegradable BBs and non-biodegradable BBs.
Biodegradable BBs are a bit more expensive but are made out of PLA plastic also known as polylactic acid or polylactide.
They tend to break down in carbon dioxide and water at outdoor environments due to it’s natural and renewable sources like the ones of corn products and certain starches.
Non-biodegradable BBs are not environmentally friendly and many playing fields are not allowing them, however they can still be used in private areas or indoor where they are easier to collect afterwards.
It is also important to mention that there are metal, ceramic and porcelain BBs but are not used for sport purposes.
Gel blaster ammo is less known to the public, they look like pieces of plastic but are not, they are indeed jelly beads and have such behavioral characteristics.
The Air blaster guns behave similarly to Airsoft guns in terms of how the basics of mechanism works. When you get your gel balls they will seem tiny but after you soak them in water they will absorb it and get way bigger to the sizes of 7-8 mms.
The weight of the gel balls is usually 0.21 gram and that makes them similar to those of airsoft but there are not heavier ones that may fit into the more powerful guns because overall Gel blaster guns tend to have less power.
Per average, rifle gel blasters can reach up to 280-300 fps while most airsoft rifles easily reach 400 fps.
When it comes to the material used for this type of ammo it is safe to assume that it is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
They are made out of water crystal gel that absorbs water or in other words a water-absorbing polymer such as polyacrylamide which is often referred to as superabsorbent polymer (SAP).
So, in terms of biodegradability they break down extremely fast because the water evaporates instantly and gel is super bio-friendly.
Storing Gel Balls
These balls need to soak in water for approximately 4 hours to fully expand to their size.
The best practice is to leave them soaking over night because if they are underdeveloped, which means that they have not absorbed enough water, they will cause your gel blaster gun to function inappropriately.
Once your gel balls have fully absorbed the water they can be kept for up to 2 weeks in a container but should be stored in some colder place like in a fridge to prevent shrinkage.
The power and the overall quality of Airsoft guns compared to Gel Blasters
When it comes to the power of an airsoft or gel blaster gun, it greatly depends on the type of gun and the model. It is not a rule but usually, pistols have less power than rifles.
So it is safe to assume that cheap models in both Gel blasters and Airsoft result to be just the toys that lack power, accuracy, and quality in build.
Some may say that such cheap toys are safe for children to use, although I don’t recommend that kids play with anything that can hit an eye. Both plastic BBs and gel water balls have the power to cause damage. Although the damage may be minimal with low FPS weapons and especially gel water balls, why risk it.
Kids should be though to respect any gun even though it’s a toy, and once they do they can enjoy games of airsoft or gel blasters responsibly.
Regarding safety, airsoft guns are more dangerous, so gell blasters will cause less pain and fewer bruisers, but nevertheless, mandatory eye protection is a must! If you want a comparison of how much airsoft guns hurt and what are usual injuries, check out my article about usual injuries in airsoft.
Furthermore, I suggest investing in high quality guns when it comes to both airsoft guns and gel blasters if you do not want your gun to break after a day of play or have a shooting power of a toy that discharges a projectile that travels no further than a stone thrown by a toddler.
Not all expensive guns are correct choices but if they cost over $100 they probably are of a decent quality and won’t disappoint you as a beginner.
We will compare only those guns over $100 (only for simplifying the comparison) and see whether Gel blasters can match Airsoft guns or not.
Currently the market offers more of high power, high quality, high detailed and more realistic guns for fellow airsoft players, but really decent replicas can be found on the market for Gel blaster players.
So, you must expect that most of the gel blaster guns are not as powerful so they cap at around 250 fps for price of around $150 and you can barely find anything that goes better than that, but for a match you do not need anything far better than that and it is going to serve you really well.
As mentioned there are more powerful and more authentic versions of guns for airsoft that can reach over 400 fps.
The basic idea when you are looking for a gun is to find one with the least cheap plastic components as possible and it will serve you longer. Airsoft guns come in full metal or wood versions while gel blasters are usually made of plastics only, but worry not most of them for a price over $100 are made out of really solid hard plastics that will not break easily. Many airsoft guns can also only be found made of plastics, but if it’s quality plastics it is not a problem.
Most gel blasters guns are powered by electricity and those are the ones that you should consider if you wish to buy one.
For airsoft guns, it is also common to see gas and spring powered guns beside the electricity guns (in this article I explained more about every airsoft gun type).
What is more popular?
Gel blasters follow the interest rate of airsoft because people are finding it as a great substitute.
The aspect of realism
Some people are interested in airsoft guns purely for their realistic appearance. Once again, electric airsoft guns are the most usual and reliable replicas but there are gas airsoft guns that can get super expensive but happen to also be more realistic.
Gel blasters are not made primarily for purposes of realism or replicating real weapons so they often look like obvious toys.
As the market grows there are more and more available gel blaster guns that get more and more realistic for decent price.
One thing that adds up to the realism is a blowback mechanism that can be found on some airsoft guns, this unfortunately is not included on most of the gel blaster guns.
The conclusion is that airsoft guns offer far more replicas of real guns and are often created with such purpose to imitate the real guns, while the gel blasters tend to improve as the market grows but are not as accurate in terms of realism as the airsoft guns.
The price and additional expenses
I have written the article that explains how much airsoft costs, but in short airsoft guns on average cost $150-200 for high-quality rifles and around $100 for starting decent-quality rifles.
$50-100 for starting decent-quality pistols and $100-200 for high-quality pistols.
Gel blaster guns per average cost pretty much the same as airsoft guns.
There are really expensive airsoft and gel blasters guns on the market that cost over $400 and they will offer you the greatest performance in terms of power, realism and accuracy, however you do not need such guns in beginning to join a game.
Additional parts like scopes and magazines may cost additionally if you decide to upgrade your gun.
Airsoft BBs of high-quality cost around $10 for 2000 pieces.
Gel blaster balls of high-quality cost around $10 for 10000 pieces.
Entry fees for fields cost up to $20 per average for both sports.
The conclusion is that gel blasters may end up being slightly cheaper in long terms, however if you want to match the power, accuracy and realism of airsoft guns, you will need to cash out far more on gel blasters and hope that there are such models available on the market.