New edit: since I can't edit straight onto my original post I'll post my new version here and let you guys suggest advice till I get as best a copy as I can then I'll do my best to put it as first post.well here goes and don't forget if there's any advice/ correction you want to say, say it it's really helpful.
- A&K: one of the most popular cloners, their guns are generally a slight bit more expensive than other cloners. They produce the cheapest sr25 on the market but like all their guns there is a high number of lemons. Their guns are usually bought as an upgrade platform.
- APS: an extremely recent brand, they make a whole line of affordable EBBR’s which are said to be absolutely horrible. Due to the EBB system many parts and internals are proprietary.
- AGM: Another Chinese cloner generally considered sub-par to other cloners but this is disputed. However they make several unique guns such as their Sten and MP40 (both are rebranded by ASG) which are the only ones available for WW2 re-enactors.
- ARES: A big brand name making both expensive high end replicas and affordable guns such as their G36 series and more expensive ones such as their LMGs and L85s. They have purchased STAR airsoft and have carried on producing some of their guns.
- Army: A Chinese cloner known mostly for L85 which is the cheapest on the market.
- ASG: An airsoft company which rebrands or licenses guns, their most popular guns are their JG G36 series. They also license (or rebrand I’m not sure) high end guns such as the VFC AW338
130-200$ (not counting their AW338 since it is not an AEG)
- Beta Project: Another new airsoft brand who have made themselves popular with their magpul tactical AK, however it seems to be Cyma made internally (this is only a rumour and has never been confirmed). They have just released a new series of EBB mid length M4s.
- Bolt: Yet another new manufacturer, who for the moment only have recoil-shock EBB M4 at a much cheaper price than the marui series. They seem to perform decently but due to fact that this brand is new, their reliability cannot be vouched for.
- Classic army: One of THE BIG brand names of airsoft. They were one of the first airsoft brands and are one the most trusted ones even today. They have an extensive arsenal mostly of H&K replicas such as MP5s. Their M15 (M4/M16 with a different name) are generally trusted. Have both a sportline (plastic body replicas) and proline (metal body replicas)
- Cybergun: Another rebrander/ licenser, they extensively license King arms guns and repack low end clone guns such as Cyma ( I may be mistaken I can’t quite remember). They do have one replica that is their Famas which is not a rebrand but which they get especially manufactured for them. Cybergun has been known for making cheap, low quality guns that is sold at stores like Walmart and Big 5, but they do also license decent cloner AEG's.
?-350$ (high prices on licensed King arms products)
- Cyma: A low end manufacturer, however their guns are considered to be excellent especially their AK series which are considered to be the best value AK’s on the market. They are also renowned for their M14 series which are considered to be a great upgrade platform since it is fully marui compatible. They used to primarily make LPEG's which were absolutely horrible, but since then have made mostly AEG's.
- Dboys: Dboys is one of the most popular low end brands, their guns usually have bad performance but they are cheap, have metal bodies and are mostly marui compatible meaning they could be (with A LOT of work) a decent upgrade platform. Dboys are great guns to start off casual airsoft with just don't expect to be get 250ft kills with one they are not beasts in terms of accuracy but they shoot so they're fair enough I guess.
- Deep fire: I may be mistaken but I have heard that they are an overall decent mid end manufacturer.
160-?$ (I’m not familiar with their products if anyone could give any extra info I’d appreciate it)
- Echo 1: An American repacker, they usually upgrade their guns a slight bit before re-selling them. They are extremely popular and well rated in terms of both performance and reliability. Unfortunately they are nearly only available in the US.
-150-3000$ (taking into account their minigun)
- G&D: An extremely new airsoft brands manufacturing systema clones at less than ¼ of the price. The internals are fully systema compatible meaning cheap replacement parts for systema owners and extremely high end replacements available for G&D owners. However like all PTW’s, maintenance is likely to be a nightmare.
- G&G: Another big manufacturer, their most popular guns are their combat machine series which are one of the most popular airsoft guns series around being both: cheap and good. They do however have polymer bodies. They also make high end guns which are also extremely popular but certain series such as their M14s and SR 25s are heavily criticised for not being compatible to either marui or the other SR 25 manufacturers.
- G&P: Another one of THE big airsoft brands, they are extremely well known for their M4 series, especially the magpul ones. They do have a bad reputation though for having extremely weak gears. G&P manufacture all magpul guns. G&P are also famed for their motors and externals which are on par and sometimes (depending on which model you are looking at) even better than their VFC counterparts
- Jing gong (JG): JG is considered to be the best Chinese affordable brand; they are especially famous for their G36 series which are extremely good for their relatively low price tag. They also make a G3 which is known for its accuracy. Makes both plastic body and metal body replicas.
- KART: Kart mainly produces a whole line of M14s which are both cheap and have bad performance. However one of their guns is an M14 EBR (the cheapest on the market) which is often used as an upgrade platform
- King arms: Another big brand name, they mostly make M4/M16s which are extremely good quality for a decent price tag. King arms are also famous for their M4 ultra grade guns which are probably the best beginner guns featuring: a low price tag, the same internals as their higher end guns and good performance. These series perform slightly better than the G&G combat machines for a similar price tag.
- KWA: KWA produces excellent guns which are renowned for their excellent performance and a price tag in the 2-400$ (depending on models. On Asian airsoft websites). However they are not marui compatible thus a nightmare to repair/upgrade. They have recently bought out a new sportline version which is under the 200$ price tag and has the same internals as its full metal counterparts.
- Magpul: Magpul airsoft guns are made by G&P. Their guns are not too good performing they are usually bought for their ACR bodies since they come stock with a crap hop up and other internals which need work/replacement out of the box even with the hefty price tag. Once upgraded though you have a beautiful gun. Magpul have just released a new, cheaper, streamline series featuring both the standard and AK style ACR variants. Due to the fact they are manufactured by G&P their externals are absolutely wonderful.
- ICS: Another BIG name in the world of airsoft, they produce a large span of replicas. They have recently come out with a new split gearbox design enabling a working forward assist: a feature that till then had only been available to PTW’s. However these series have not been overly popular due to the fact that most of the gearbox internals are proprietary. They produce both low end polymer bodied replicas and high end metal bodied replicas. On the other hand ICS still produces great guns.
- Real sword: One of the best airsoft brands, they do not have a huge amount of choice but their replicas (mainly of Chinese guns) are beautiful and perform wonderfully. Their most famous gun is their SVD which is widely known and is for some the best AEG available on the market.
- Socom gear: Socom gear is mostly known for their Barrett M82 replica which is extremely expensive but also extremely badass and good. They produce a whole wide range of other Barrett guns but they have a hefty price tag and a ABS bodies which is a let-down.
- Systema: Systema is widely considered to be THE best performing stock airsoft brand but for any of their guns the parts are proprietary and often fragile. Systemas are widely used for law enforcement/ military training hence their designation PTW (Professional Training Weapon). They are undoubtedly the best performing guns but not the most reliable. Before even thinking about buying one just know that they cost with no exception 1000$ +. Systemas are made to replicate the operation of a real gun. Eg: Once reloaded, the gun can only be fired if the bolt is racked back and the bolt catch hit.
- S&T: S&T are a relatively small gun brand, who produced for a little while a PPSH and Tar 21 they seem to not be to widely known in the airsoft world. Some of their guns such as the PPSH have ceased to be produced leaving the owners with an orphan gun which can no longer be repaired
200-350$ (not quite sure about them)
- SRC: SRC produce low end guns, their guns do not perform too well overall but have a low price tag. They are known for coming out with the first airsoft RPK.
- Tokyo Marui: Tokyo Marui is THE airsoft brand, they invented the airsoft AEG, their guns perform flawlessly. However their guns have ABS bodies and low fps. They make up for this with outstanding performance and an excellent hop up unit. One could write whole books of the advantages and disadvantages of Marui guns but no matter what way you put it they perform great. Tokyo marui have recently put to sale the new recoil shock system which means that in their guns (these new series have metal bodies) the user feels a recoil effect with each shot. These new recoil shock series are more expensive but also include features similar to a Systema: the bolt catch, no firing when empty…
270-700$ (not taking into account their mini boys series AEG)
- Umarex: Umarex only licences guns, it all depends on the model to know their reliability. they license high end brands such as VFC and low end brands.
- VFC: A big name in the airsoft world their replicas are known to perform well but they are mostly known for their externals which are the best of all the airsoft brands.
- WE: WE has only just ventured to the AEG world but they came in with a Bang. WE has released an AEG that like ICS guns has a split gearbox, but, unlike ICS the WE AEG is fully marui compatible giving it the awesomeness of a working forward assist and the upgradeability of any marui gun.
- Well: One word:
Note: most of these prices are just a general idea of the companies’ prices, though there may be a couple of exceptions. Also I unfortunately live in France so my prices are not based on American stores but Chinese and Hong Kong ones such as Redwolf, Uncompany, WGC and RSOV… To balance that I’ve added 20 or so $ to the high price estimation to get the price as close to that of the American market as possible. Finally I thought I’d also warn you that If you live in the EU Prices will be much higher.
Special thanks to all those who are helping me create this list.
I may try do do a brand by brand, feature by feature ?/5 mark for the list as the next update.