Buying guide for
Laser tag is a fun pastime that can be enjoyed at home with a laser tag set. Whether you have two players or are entertaining a whole party, laser tag sets make for fun and safe entertainment.

Home laser tag sets typically use invisible infrared light to tag sensors and can keep track of who you tag. You can play with teams or with every player on their own, but you will need compatible laser tag guns. Some guns may include a variety of game modes and scoring systems. The durability and battery life may vary, and younger children are more likely to damage guns and wear out batteries quickly.

You should consider how many guns you are looking to purchase and how often they will be used. We have picked some top recommendations, but if you are not ready to make a decision yet, you can continue reading to learn more about key features and styles.

Content Image
Once upon a time, laser tag enthusiasts had to travel to a laser arena and rent equipment in order to play. Today, you can purchase your own laser tag set and play inside or outside of your home whenever you please.
If the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the term “laser tag” is a Star Wars-like laser cannon that melts objects, think again. Commercial-grade laser tag sets are safe to use. The beam won’t harm players, other people, or other objects in the area.

The laser gun is usually a piece of plastic that houses a beam generator. The plastic is molded into the shape of a gun with a trigger mechanism that activates the laser.

Most laser tag guns are easily carried in one hand, like a pistol. The electronics and computer chips needed to keep score or record data are included in the gun, too.

Finally, many laser guns contain sound, tactile, and light effect capabilities. These features are not only cool, but they also give you feedback when you make or receive a hit.

Content Image
With the right laser tag set, you can pry the kids away from the TV and get them moving around. You may even end up joining in on the fun.
A sensor unit measures when a laser light strikes it. With at-home laser tag sets, the sensor is usually included in the gun. If you were to visit a laser tag arena, you would be given a vest or a chest plate that contains the sensor. This is not always the case with at-home sets, however.

Most at-home laser tag guns use infrared lasers. You won’t be able to see this type of laser light. Therefore, you’ll want to select a laser tag gun that has a sight on it to ensure accurate aiming.

Back when infrared laser tag sets initially appeared on the market, consumers complained of inaccurate readings and a beam that was too wide. However, the technology has improved a lot in the past decade. Infrared laser guns now work extremely well.

Because the guns and sensors are portable, they run on battery power. Most at-home laser tag sets require AA or AAA batteries, often four per gun. (If you’re using laser tag equipment at an arena, the guns there probably will use rechargeable battery packs.)

Understand that if small children will be using the laser tag guns, they almost certainly will burn through batteries quickly. That’s because little ones are likely to press the trigger over and over, not caring what they hit. Older players are likely to aim more and press the trigger less, consuming less battery power.

“Laser tag guns will use batteries in a hurry during continuous play. Using rechargeable AA batteries is a good way to save some money over the long run.”
Durability is often a shortcoming of at-home laser tag sets. Many of the guns available for home use are constructed of cheap plastic with little weight to them. If a player bangs a gun into objects or drops it continually — which can happen in this type of game — the gun could malfunction.

Young children aren’t exactly known for their care with toys, so don’t be surprised if your guns break occasionally. You could spend a bit extra to receive a gun made from stronger plastic. But even strong plastic won’t protect a gun that flies out of a running child’s hand and crashes into a tree.

If you’re new to laser tag gaming, here’s a quick primer on how to play:

Playing at an arena
For a long time, the most common way to play laser tag was at a business that provided all of the equipment and the game area.

These arenas still exist today. Perhaps your child has attended a birthday party at a laser tag arena, for example. You pay to play there (meaning you rent the equipment), and the arena provides a scoring system and the game rules. Arenas can have extensive setups, including multiple levels and/or realistic battlefield scenery.

“Make sure the area in which you’re playing laser tag is free from stray objects to prevent tripping.”
Playing at home
When you play at home, you obviously provide your own equipment — such as the products in our product list. You can play outdoors or indoors, but be advised that some laser guns work better than others in bright sunlight. Most offer a few different gaming options, but there will be less versatility with at-home equipment than at an arena.

The goal
No matter where you play or what game you pick, the goal is always the same. You want to strike the opponent’s sensors with your gun’s laser.

You could hide behind objects to ensure your sensor isn’t struck. In most games, however, the more aggressive player is rewarded. (In other words, striking another player is worth more than what you lose when you are struck.)

Keeping score
Most at-home laser tag gun sets will keep score for you. That means there won’t be any arguments about whether a player was hit! Each time the gun’s sensor is hit by an opponent’s infrared laser beam, it records that fact. Lights on the gun alert you to how many times you’ve been hit.

Once you’ve maxed out your number of allowed “hits” during a game, your laser gun will stop working.

Content Image
Laser tag guns come in a variety of hues. But when determining teams, the hue of the plastic on the gun doesn’t matter. Teammates are determined by the settings on the gun.
Single-person laser tag
In a single-player game, it’s every person for themselves. The laser tag system awards points when you hit another player’s sensors, and it deducts points when your sensor is struck. Whoever scores the most points before time’s up is the winner.

This is a common game option at pay-to-play laser tag arenas. In another game variation, each player has a specific number of “lives.” The player with the most lives when the time expires is the winner. Or, alternatively, the last player with lives remaining wins. This elimination-type game is common for the style of at-home laser tag sets we’re discussing here.

Content Image
As long as you stick with the same brand of laser guns, you can have eight or more people play in a single game. The guns must be compatible, and you’ll need to buy more than one kit.
Team laser tag
You can play laser tag in teams. In this type of game, only the shots that strike opposing team members count.

Team gaming variations include “Protect the VIP,” in which each team picks one VIP to protect from their opponents’ shots.

Other simple team games can involve a scoring or elimination system, as described in the Single Person section above. All team members’ scores are added together to determine a winner.

“Feedback in a laser gun set is important for knowing when you’ve recorded a hit or been hit.”
Laser tag vs. paintball
Laser tag and paintball are both first-person shooting games played in an arena or field. But being hit with a laser beam in a laser tag game doesn’t cause pain. Being struck with a paintball projectile can cause small welts.

Laser gun beams can travel a much farther distance than a paintball pellet. Furthermore, laser tag isn’t messy — but paintball certainly can be.

Laser tag vs. airsoft
Both of these games are first-person shooting games. An airsoft gun fires round pellets made from plastic or a biodegradable material. An airsoft projectile doesn’t leave a mess on the skin or clothing after striking a target, so it’s similar to laser tag in that respect. (Some airsoft pellets are coated in a powder that leaves a residue when it strikes a target.)

But unlike the painless strike from a laser tag, an airsoft projectile can leave a welt on the skin. Furthermore, airsoft pellets aren’t biodegradable; they must be collected after the game.

Content Image
A few laser tag sets include targets you can use for practice or solo play.