Pressure is NOT always Better

So much for my Pressure is Better article.

Being curious about Target, which used to carry one of the best selection of Super Soaker and Water Warriors brand products, now stocks their seasonal shelving with Nerf Super Soaker and Flood Force-brand water guns.

For 2015, Nerf Super Soaker appears focused solely on style and pump-action-type water blasters. The Flood Force brand, made by SwimWays Corp., offers some fairly decent-sized water guns that actually use air pressure to create their streams! Might this be another good alternative brand to check out?

While pressurized, the products, themselves, just had a cheap vibe about them. Though perhaps subjective on my part, the packaging looks cheap and the plastic on the Flood Force models felt lacking. Moreover, while untested at the store, I noted how the trigger on these pressurized blasters move in an arcing motion (not sliding), suggesting to me that these may use a pinch-trigger valve (this has not been confirmed). Nevertheless, the early Super Soakers did well with their pinch-trigger systems so I picked up the two largest Flood Force water blasters for testing.

Flood Force HurricaneAbove is a picture of the Flood Force Hurricane. Retailing for $19.99 USD, this is a good-sized blaster. Slightly longer and definitely taller than a Water Warriors Renegade and Super Soaker Max-D 6000, the Hurricane feels somewhat light for its size (the older blasters weight at least ~750g while the Hurricane weighs in a 604g).

Trying to allay my suspicions, after taking pictures and measuring some stats, I headed over to fill this blaster and test it out. Its rather opaque reservoir made it tricky to determine the optimal level to fill, but I figured as long as I left a reasonable amount of air space in the reservoir, I could test this baby out. Noting this was a pressurized reservoir system, I ensured the reservoir cap was fastened securely (but not overtightened).

Then I started pumping…

Was I pumping?

Well, I was moving the pump rod. That was certain. However, each pump stroke offered so little resistance, I feared the seal was broken. I loosened the reservoir cap slightly to see if I had built any pressure. It hissed so I re-tightened it. Ok, I was building pressure, but the Hurricane’s short pump stroke would mean it would take awhile to build good pressure for testing.

Just need to pump it up a little more, right?

Well, as I continued to pump, I began to hear more hissing. Did I not tighten the cap properly? The cap was fine – the hissing was emanating from the body of the blaster. The heck?  But no water was coming out, yet. And, of course, the more I pumped, the more hissing occurred. Was the pressure release valve already activating?

Heck with that, I pulled the trigger. It took a moment for the internal tubing to fill, then the stream emerged. To say I was underwhelmed by what I saw next would be an understatement. While the box says the Hurricane can blast up to 28′, I felt I could already see a downward arc in the stream within a few feet. Given the minimal amount of pressure this water gun could build, I am uncertain the stream would reach 20′ on a good day. I will do range testing on this blaster, but am not holding my breath that this would be a spectacular performing item. In fact, this is the sort of pressurized water gun that makes the 2015 Nerf Super Soaker line look good!

And I am still in disbelief I just typed that last line.

Do I think the Hurricane I’m testing is merely defective?  Hard to say for certain,  but its mechanisms do appear to be working consistently. Once pressure in the reservoir had dropped enough, the internal hissing stopped, suggesting that it was from some pressure release valve. However, the reservoir still had pressure since, unscrewing the reservoir cap, more pressurized air hissed out. Depressurizing, then repressurizing the system, the internal hissing began again as I pumped frantically trying to increase its operating pressure. Of course, at that point, the blaster also began dripping water from its body, also indicative of a pressure release valve.

While I do plan to finish testing the Flood Force Hurricane, this item showed me I was wrong in my “Pressure is Better” statement. A pressurized water gun is only better when it can achieve enough pressure and is designed well enough to use its pressure well. As for the Flood Force brand?  I picked up both the Flood Force Hurricane and Flood Force Tsunami. I’ll test both, but have no desire to test any more of these water guns unless they make some MAJOR improvements.

2 thoughts on “Pressure is NOT always Better”

  1. I suppose it is this type of blaster that gives pressurized blasters a bad name. I have used off brand air pressure blaster in the past with equally poor results, often they leak and barely hold enough pressure to produce a stream, these flood force blasters seem only slightly better.

    in my opinion the prevalence of these (and other equivalently) poor performing water blasters has a negative effect on the whole market. Many other consumers may have used such products and assume there is nothing better possible/available.

    The “Super Soaker” name on the current Nerf Blasters gives them immunity to the negative market effect of weaker blasters. If anything the weaker blasters make Nerf Super Soakers look better and help ensure their dominance in the market.

    the Water Warriors brand lacks the immediate recognition to the average customer that the Super Soaker name has. It is likely many people mistake the Buzz Bee range for cheaply made poorly performing blasters. This likely hurts sales.

    It does not help that water warriors blasters are often re-branded by the retailers. I have seen Water warriors blasters sold as Chad Valley, Sizzlin cool, Stats splash and George home .
    this makes the water warriors blaster hard to find for those are informed of their potency compared to current Nerf super Soakers. One cannot simply search for them, one must be able to recognize the products by shape, color ect. most people are not enthusiasts that can recognize most blasters ever made at a glance.

    1. @jja: All the thoughts in your comment are spot on, though I wouldnt’ quite say that “Nerf Super Soaker” is immune to the negative market effect. While they get away with more because of brand recognition, as they continue to push out mediocre products year after year, consumer confidence in the brand is dropping. I’ve seen all-too-many emails from others looking for water guns that performed like the “insert original Super Soaker model from 1993-2000” and are disappointed by the recent water blasters released under the “Nerf Super Soaker” brand.

      Though the Water Warriors brand still manages to push out some decent performing blasters, they do not do as much advertising (very few commercials), thus many consumers just don’t think of them when it comes time to seek out a good-powered water gun.

      These are challenging times for the avid water war enthusiast.

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