The Product Development of the Infamous Super Soaker

by | May 7, 2019 | Designing, Educational, Innovation, Inventions, Inventors, Product Design, Product Redesign, Uncategorized

What would be a summer without a water fight? From water balloons to water guns, its no surprise that one of the first household name that comes to mind when thinking of the perfect weapon to grab in water fight is the infamous ‘Super Soaker’ However, what is now considered a popular household name had started out as just an idea! To celebrate the upcoming summer season, here is an inspiring story explaining the innovation and development of one of the most iconic products of the summer. Interested in learning about another great inventor? Our spotlight on Thomas Edison is a great inspiring read!

The Inventor Behind the Idea

 Developed by a nuclear engineer in 1982, Dr. Lonnie Johnson invented the idea and design of creating the first high performance water toy gun.  After a series of continuous design developments in figuring out how the toy would work, Johnson finally designed the perfect prototype – a toy gun that relies on air pressure and arm pumping for pressurizing the water flow out of the toy.

Confident with his new invention and toy development idea, Johnson carried out passionately his product with different toy companies until finally having his idea manufactured, produced and patented. The Super Soaker was released in 1991 and became a huge commercial success. Although, this first success was not the end for Johnson and his product! Since the debut of the super soaker in 1991, Johnson continued to keep working on his product design, looking for new ways to innovate both his own product, and the toy market.

Development and Design

The Super Soaker has gone through countless different design developments, showcasing how important it is to always stay inspired, and keep your ideas alive. Looking back at the numerous concept design developments of the Super Soaker, here are some of our favorites!

The most popular developments made in improving the super soaker mainly dealt with altering the pressure reservoir, water chamber and nozzle. For example, a nozzle that would shoot water in different directions and angles, and a pulsating valve that would shoot ‘water bullets.’ One of the biggest developments to the super soaker was the design on the firing chamber to which an elastic and rubber like substance was used to pressurize the water. This development actually became so powerful that the model had to be removed from the market due to safety concerns.

A Super Innovation

The next big innovation for the Super Soaker products and design was in 2004, which introduced the ‘SoakerTag’ concept. This changed the super soaker from more than just being a product, but rebranded the whole design of the toy into becoming a tag game. Another huge development was the Max-Infusion blasters that featured back and hip pack water reservoirs to increase the overall water capacity of the toy. With this new development, soon came a new added innovation to the Super Soaker product design. After this 2004 model had been released, a new feature labeled as ‘quick fill caps’ allowed for faster refilling capabilities without having to stop and remove the cap to the toy, solving the frustrations that people had with continuously having to refill product mid-game. This new development was soon introduced to all models that were on the market.

The Legacy

Featured in the 2007, the Hydro Blitz model carried one of the most significant improvements, which featured two firing chambers and a lever-based pump, resulting in staggered blasts, and moved the water around the toy in a way that would sustain water for longer periods of time. Finally, 2009 marked the end of the independent branding for the Super Soaker to which the product was redesigned with the popular toy gun brand, Nerf. This new designed not only pushed continuous innovation to the product itself, but also to the toy market.

A super inspiring story of how a simple idea can be turned into one of the most revolutionary products in the toy market, and how product development can change one invention into a super performance toy gun recognized worldwide. If you’re interested in reading more about the evolution of different inventions and designs, we have two informative blogs on the Evolution of the Stove, and on Design!

If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MAKO and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Company Team

MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.



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