Super Soaker is a brand of recreational water gun, first sold in 1988. The first Super Soakers utilized pressurized air to shoot water with greater power, range, and accuracy than conventional squirt guns. Super Soakers were popular for many years - so popular, in fact, that the term super soaker is sometimes used generically, to refer to any type of pressurized water gun.
The Super Soaker was invented by Lonnie Johnson, now of Johnson Research Group.
Most Super Soakers use air pressure to force the water out of the nozzle and into the air. Air pressure-powered Super Soakers utilize one of two types of propulsion systems: a pressurized reservoir system, or a separate firing chamber system.
Super Soakers that use the pressurized reservoir system have a single reservoir for air and water. The reservoir is first partially filled with water, then air is forced in under pressure. When the trigger is pulled, the pressurized air forces water out of the reservoir.
Super Soakers that use the separate firing chamber system have a large reservoir for water only, and one or more smaller firing chambers. In this system, water is pumped from the reservoir into the firing chamber(s), compressing the air in the chamber(s). This exerts a force on the water, thus providing the power to push the water through the nozzle when the trigger is pulled. Super Soakers using this system are, generally speaking, more powerful than ones that use pressurised reservoirs.
Other models use piston pressure. This system is very simple in its concept, water being simply forced through the nozzle by the pump's shaft pushing it. Since the power available is directly proportional to the strength of the arm of the user, these models are less popular. On the positive side, no pre-pumping is required, as opposed to the other type of technology where one must pump several times to build up the required pressure.
The Constant Pressure System (CPS) is the most powerful system used by Super Soaker. The user pumps water from the reservoir into a rubber chamber, which expands as more water is forced into it. The stretched rubber exerts a constant pressure on the water, which propels the water when the trigger is pulled. In larger models, the resulting blast is forceful enough that recoil can be felt.
While the average consumer may find off-the-shelf Super Soakers adequate, some Super Soaker enthusiasts choose to modify their soakers for increased range and output.
K-modding: The K-mod is a modification restricted to CPS-class soakers with spherical pressure chambers. It can yield significant output increases. A prime example is a K-mod performed on a Super Soaker CPS 2100. The process involves stretching many (usually between 50-90) balloons around the pressure chamber to allow for more pressurization to take place. The drawback, however, is that thickening the pressure chamber reduces available room for expansion, decreasing the duration of shots.
While K-modding only works with spherical pressure chambers, there is a similar modification that may be performed upon CPS Soakers with cylindrical pressure chambers called Colossus. This modification involves sliding a bike inner tube or latex rubber tubing around the pressure chamber.
Pressure Release Valve Disabling: This modification, initially and incorrectly identified as check valve freezing, is very common and allows for greater power. Stock water guns contain a pressure relief valve between the reservoir and pump tube. The valve regulates the amount of pressure generated inside the pressure chamber by venting air or water once a certain pressure threshold has been reached. By removing this valve and sealing the resulting gap, a greater level of pressure is attainable, thus increasing the water output.
This modification, while optional in soakers which have not been K-modded, is often a necessity for K-modded soakers; the thicker pressure chamber may require more pressure than the relief valve would allow. Removing the relief valve is in fact removing a safety feature, increasing the chances of malfunction and damage in the toy by allowing too much pressure to build up, so discretion should be taken with regard to the number of times the soaker is pumped and how much force is required for the pump to fully retract. It is far more likely that a weak part of one's water gun will crack and spray water from the crack in a worst case scenario.
This modification is better known as check valve freezing, involving incorrect terminology. What was originally referred to as a check valve has now been identified as a pressure release valve; and the term freezing is irrelevant.
Nozzle drilling: A common modification which involves using a drill to enlarge nozzle orifices. With a larger nozzle orifice, higher water output is obtained. However, drilling a nozzle too large will reduce range. Nozzles' orifice size can be also reduced by filling in the orifice with epoxy, waiting for the epoxy to dry, and then redrilling a smaller nozzle. Threaded, removeable nozzles have also been attempted, allowing for a multitude of nozzles orifice sizes on a single Super Soaker.
Reservoir expansion: This modification increases the total volume of water available to the user of the water gun. Commonly, the reservoir is expanded by means of a backpack containing water, constructed with bottles or plastic pipe, but there are numerous methods to increase reservoir capacity not limited to a backpack.
* SS (Original): The Original Super Soaker 100 (later renamed the Super Soaker 50), which first appeared in 1988, easily outpowered other water guns of the time. This model was followed by the Super Soaker 100 in 1990 and the Super Soaker 300 in 1993. The model line also included a pistol-sized offering, the Super Soaker 30.
* XP (eXtra Power): This range, now discontinued, used air pressure and ranged from the pistol-sized XP 15 to the XP 300 which sported a backpack for higher water capacity. Some of the best XP soakers include the XP 110, XP 150, and XP 310. Generally speaking, the one regarded as the worst is the XP Backfire.The XP110 was one of the best of the series; it was relatively inexpensive, reliable, light and featured a power gauge.
* XXP (eXtra eXtra Power): This range consists of two double-barreled models, XXP 175 and the XXP 275, introduced in 1996.
* CPS (Constant Pressure System): The most powerful Super Soaker range, with up to 20 times the power as the "standard" XP 70. Introduced in 1996, this range includes the CPS 1000, CPS 1500, CPS 2000, CPS 2500, CPS 3000, CPS 4100.
* SC (Super Charger): This range, introduced in 1999, allowed quick pressurization using a garden hose, used the CPS system in most models, and included two backpack guns.
* Monster: Like the SC series, but bigger. This line could be filled with a hose. Introduced in 2000 were the Monster (later re-released as the Monster X) and Monster XL (which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest water gun ever produced). Additionally, in 2001, another blaster was released, which was again called the Monster.
* Max-D (Maximum Distance): In 2002, Super Soaker introduced the Max-D line. The Max-D guns introduced newer technologies, including ball valves for the trigger to maximize flow. They also brought back the use of pressurized reservoir systems in medium-sized blasters.
* EES (Electronically Enhanced Soakage): This unpopular, battery-powered, 2003 line had sound effects.
* SoakerTag: In 2004, Hasbro launched "SoakerTag", which utilized a number of small "tags" attached to one's shirt. The tags were starch based and dissolved when hit by water, thus allowing players to determine who had been hit in a waterfight. Hasbro also released a line of "SoakerTag" blasters, which fans considered underpowered.
* SoakerTag Elite: The 2005 SoakerTag line was also considered underpowered, although it did include two CPS models.
* Max Infusion: This 2006 line is hose-fillable without removing the cap. The blasters can use a universal 50 oz. water "bandolier" or the 100 oz. backpack that comes with the Overload.