Paintball guns won’t work without air compressors. You need them to fill the paintball tanks with compressed air. They’re different from what you usually see or use. For example, compressing the air to a range of 4500psi is quite a different scenario than compressing it to 180psi, which you get at the usual workshops.
Most high-pressure air compressors are embedded with two or four-stage arrays to get the ideal pressures. Unfortunately, they are pretty expensive to build, as the materials used for making these compressors are also costly. Paintball is a popular real-life action game, but the paintballs will have no propulsion without these small gas tanks. Hence, without compressors playing paintball can be a tough choice.
Therefore, the players who are keen to take control of this game should also get a clear idea of the technicalities of the paintball markers and the game process. The compressors fill the gas tanks with paintball markers to power them for shooting the ammunition at a speed of 300ft per second. The compressors are important like any other equipment in the paintball game.
Most people have the preference to play paintball in their backyard or private space with all the gears. But, if that is the case, one should not miss out on having a paintball air compressor on priority. Without that, you will have to go to local refill stores to fill the paintball gas tanks. And that will cost a little at one time, but too much in the long run.
The technical definition of an air compressor is a device that uses electricity, diesel, or gasoline for compressing the outside air. And then, it stores the same in the high-pressure container. After that, this air is transferred to the smaller canisters. Compressed air is useful for different applications such as filling paintball markers, filling tires, and others.
The ideal advantages of compressed air as the paintball propellant include stability, consistent pressure for better power, high accuracy, no pressure lags, and you have more shots for every canister. In addition, the cheap and affordable costing has made the use of compressed air more common in paintball games. So, it is time you should get your air compressor and do the refills all by yourself.
Most people might find it difficult to filter out the best air compressor from online stores. This is because they might lack the specification knowledge upon what to consider for buying the best. Therefore, this guide intends to make you aware of the three best paintball air compressor models and the buying guide and considering factors for ideal purchase. Follow till the end.
Best Paintball Air Compressors: Categories
Value for Money
#1 Best Overall: HP DAVV 100L/Min 5.5-HP Air Compressor
The primary purpose of the HPDAVV air compressor is to fill the scuba tanks. But as per the ratings, the scuba tanks are entitled to the same pressure as the compressed air tanks for the paintball guns. Hence, this product is a perfect air compressor for the paintball markers. To help you get a better understanding of the proficiency of this compressor, here are some of its features:
The power supply for this air compressor is gasoline. The powerful Honda GX gas engine commits to delivering 5.5 Horsepower. It is the perfect pick for refilling the paintball tanks on the fields, where the electricity is scarce. The gasoline air compressors are more powerful and might deliver faster refills than the electric models.
The drawback to this consideration is that the maintenance aspects for the beginner paintball players will increase with that of gasoline compressors. This equipment generates a lot of noise due to its operation mechanism. People cannot use it indoors, making it a viable option for the paintball game organizers, who run a business.
If you are using it for your games in the backyard, then the effort of refilling the paintball tanks will be more with gasoline air compressors. But the power proficiency is better in it by all means. Therefore, it depends upon individuals to decide whether to purchase a gas-powered air compressor or not.
This air compressor is perfect for paintball players who have been in this sport for a long time and are frequent. They will make the right use of this heavy-duty compressor. Storing the gas engine compressors without use will also deteriorate their efficiency and increase maintenance costs.
- Flow Rate
Flow rate signifies the amount of air the compressor can generate at a specific pressure level. The air compressors with higher flow rates are destined to provide more air. Hence, this makes it ideal for air compressors to support larger applications. This product has the Yong Heng air compressor, one of the best available ones in the market, and can deliver up to 3.5 CFM flow.
However, you cannot expect all paintball air compressors to operate on industrial level flow rates. It is because higher CFM makes the air compressor heavy-duty and expensive. Therefore, you need to understand that paintball markers and tanks can work with a slower flow of air, and keeping that aspect in mind, the flow rate is perfect for making this product the best overall one on the list.
- Four Stage Compressor
This product by HPDAVV makes use of a 4-stage air compressor, which has an additional compression step to enhance better performance. These stages aim to enhance the output volume that can be achieved with equal energy input, like that of the lower stage compressors.
A 4 stage air compressor can add up a long and continuous run time and offer a larger air volume at high pressure. This product is best in the lot for refilling the paintball tanks.
- It comes with an intake air filter and oil separator
- This product comes with a pressure gauge.
- There is a safety valve and pressure switch.
- This is a Honda engine that ensures high performance and reliability.
- Air cooling generates better airflow.
- This product is on the list of expensive air compressors.
- It needs more maintenance to keep the engine and compressor in running condition.
#2 Value for Money: HPDMC 110V 4500 PSI High-Pressure PCP Air Compressor
The alternative to gasoline engines is electric-powered air compressors. Gasoline compressors are noisy and emit harmful exhaust products that might jam the paintball tanks if they are sucked into the compressors and ultimately to the tanks. This electrical air compressor by HPDMC is smaller in size and is less expensive. It is the ideal pick for everyone who intends to get a home paintball air compressor or refill station. Here are some features to help you get more information about it:
- Power Supply
It comes with an electric motor that generates power of 2.5 Horsepower. This motor operates on standard 110v and 60 Hz power. The pressure delivery for this air compressor is recorded at 4500psi, which is optimal for paintball tank refills. The electric air compressors have lower output efficiency than the gasoline compressors, which is an obvious difference. The maintenance cost is less than the electric motors embedded in the paintball air compressors.
When used for home paintball tank filling concerns, it doesn’t add much to the electricity bill. Instead, it will help you save money on energy, as electricity is cheaper than gasoline. The uptime and reliability are high with electric power supply, enhancing productive outcomes. There is no risk of exposing yourself to suffocating vapors and odors, common in gasoline-burning engines.
- Flow Rate
The flow rate for this electric air compressor is 2.0 CFM, which is less than the gasoline engine for sure but is sufficient enough to fill the paintball tanks within a short period. The electric air compressors used for heavy applications usually have a higher flow rate. But as this product is dedicated to refilling the paintball tanks with compressed air, the CFM levels are kept low.
- It has a built-in pressure gauge for keeping track of pressure levels at all points.
- The pressure switch over the air compressor allows you to adjust the pressure.
- It is pretty small and compact to let you easily carry it anywhere.
- It is an affordable high-pressure air compressor.
- It needs a specific cooling system that you need to purchase separately on priority.
#3 Best Cheap: Orion Motor Tech High-Pressure Electric Air Compressor Pump
If you are looking for a budget-friendly and cheap electric high-pressure air compressor for your paintball tanks, then this Orion Motor Tech product is an ideal pick for you. Most of its prodigious characteristics make it favorable for fresher paintball gamers. It is for beginner players who want to refill their paintball tanks. This machine is light in weight and small to carry almost anywhere easily, making it favorable for beginners to play paintball games. Just because the price is less, you won’t find this air compressor compromising any important features. Here are the features of it:
- Power Supply
It is an electrically powered air compressor that operates on a 110v 60Hz setup. This power input can deliver 4500psi of air at 50L per minute. It takes around 30 minutes to fill a 6.8-liter paintball tank. It is an ideal air compressor for paintball and firefighting, scuba tanks, bike tires, car tires, leakage detecting, air impermeability tests, bicycles, automobiles, and others.
- Two-Stage Compressor Design
It comes with a two-stage compressor design, similar to the single-stage compressor functionality. The variation in the two-stage compressor design is that the compressed air is not sent to the tank directly. Instead, it is first sent to the smaller piston for the second stroke at low pressure.
Following that, the double pressurized air will be cooled and delivered to the paintball storage tank. Now, your tank is ready to power the paintball marker and its ammunition in the game sessions.
- Water Cooling System
This budgeted product is water-cooled. Therefore, you need to get separate coolants to add to cool. First, you add the air compressor’s given vessel. This coolant will minimize the heat generated while producing compressed air during the paintball game. In addition, it will ensure that the equipment doesn’t damage during continuous use.
Water cooling systems require more maintenance in comparison to air cooling systems. However, there is no such difference in cooling proficiency, as both work well in doing their respective jobs. The long-term maintenance hassle is the only concern that makes water cooling a less preferable option. But, people who are looking for affordable options can adjust to the water coolant system healthily.
- It comes with two oil/water separators.
- The price is affordable for a high-pressure air compressor for a paintball tank.
- It is portable for you to carry almost anywhere for enjoying the paintball games with uninterrupted refills.
- You need to give it a constant water source to cool down the compressed air and prevent heat damage to the equipment.
Buying Guide for Best Paintball Air Compressor
Before inching into the consideration factors for purchasing the ideal air compressor for the paintball game, you should have a basic understanding. First, you should know that the paintball air compressors are quite similar to those used at the dive shops for refilling the scuba tanks.
The most crucial difference between the scuba and paintball tanks lies with the air quality at the output. The scuba tanks demand to be filled with breathable air to avoid human health adversities. Therefore, there are regulations for the scuba tanks that install different filtration systems to purify the air. There is a regular air testing process as well.
The scuba tanks and air compressors undergo timely maintenance as well. Again, it is to ensure that the equipment doesn’t hamper the health aspects of any scuba diver. The air used in the paintball guns is not that critical and doesn’t demand purity filtration. It is used for propelling the ammunition of paintball markers. Therefore, it is not lethal to human health by any means.
As you have understood this basic difference, it is time for you to get a clear insight into the factors you must consider before buying a paintball compressor. Of course, all the available accessories mentioned above in this guide are shortlisted upon comparison with several products. But still, as you need to buy just one, you must count on choosing factors on the priority. Therefore, the considerable factors include:
You need to check that any air compressor you use for filling the paintball tanks should have a pressure rating of 4500psi and not less than that. The high pressure becomes essential because the air cylinder present over the gun is quite small. And if you are using lower pressure, you will eventually run out of air immediately. And running out of air in the middle of the game can cause risks, and you might end up losing the game.
It is not acceptable to go around and fill the tank every 5 minutes, as that would deteriorate the game’s fun. High pressure in the storage cylinder will regulate back to the pressure range between 250 and 850 psi. Higher PSI indicates that the air compressor can store more air within the tank. Hence, it allows you to operate longer on the air tools such as paintball markers.
The benefit of this type of build is that the regulated output will be the same every time the pressure within the cylinder drops. It is a crucial inclusion because, without this feature, the firing pressure will lower after every shot. The pressure compatibility at 310 bars or 4500psi makes the air compressor expensive. When the pressure reaches a specific level within the tank, it will stop the compressor. The right amount of pressure should be applied for playing the paintball game in a well-manner.
The stored air will then be used for running the paintball marker, and when the air runs out, the compressor can be connected again to build back the air pressure within the tank. Therefore, the pressure consideration is important because inadequate pressure won’t be helpful for your paintball game. Therefore, check for the pressure compatibility of the air compressor.
#2 Flow Rates
The flow rate is yet another crucial factor in determining the efficiency of an air compressor. It states the observation on how fast the compressor will be refilling your paintball tank. The higher the flow rate figures, the less the waiting time for refilling the paintball tank. Hence flow rate is dependent on the air compressor. And the waiting time of the paintball game is highly dependent on flow rates.
The only downside to the flow rate consideration is that higher flow rates are accountable for expensive and bigger compressors. Therefore, you cannot expect the portable and small air compressors to have flow rates of the industrial level compressors. You need to check on the specification list and find the right mix of flow rate and pricing that would meet your needs.
The technical definition of flow rate is the material quantity moved per unit of time. The volumetric component or measurement unit of the flow rate is called Cubic Feet per Minute or CFM. It is the unit used for rating air compressors of all types. The CFM value intends to change with the change in PSI. When you lower the output of PSI, the CFM increases.
The compressor with a high CFM rating is accountable for delivering more air. But extremely high CFM is wanted mostly for industrial and heavy applications. On the other hand, paintball markers need a moderate CFM rating, which is enough to deliver sufficient air to propel the paintball ammunition. Therefore, you need to check the suitable flow rate permissible for the paintball markers.
- If you are willing to play 0 to 10 plays per hour, you should get a 2CFM air compressor and two storage cylinders for the paintball game.
- If you are willing to play 10 to 20 plays per hour, you should get a 4-5 CFM air compressor with four storage cylinders.
- If you are willing to play around 20 to 50 plays per hour, you should get 10 CFM air compressors with six storage cylinders.
- If you are willing to play around 50 to 100 plays per hour, you should get 25 CFM air compressors with ten storage cylinders.
The higher CFM concerns are for the professionals running a business out of paintball sports. The organizers of this game intended to keep air compressors of maximum permissible flow rates, as they need to fuel many markers multiple times throughout the day.
#3 Power Source
There are two air compressors for paintball markers or tanks: a gasoline-powered compressor and the electrically powered compressor. An electric compressor is preferable for most individuals who own an air compressor to conduct their small game rounds in the backyard. It makes more sense.
When you use electrically operated compressors, you will observe no noise in them at all. It is not the same with gasoline-powered compressors, as they make a lot of disturbing noise. But the downside of electrical air compressors for paintball is that you get lower flow rates in them than the gasoline-powered compressor.
Therefore, if you seek higher flow rates for faster filling of the tanks, the gasoline air compressor will make more sense. But as the paintball game is no industrial project, people often rely upon electrical air compressors on priority. It is because they also demand less maintenance than the gasoline models.
The best thing about an electrical air compressor is that you can even use it indoors. The smaller models might require 110 to 120 volts of household current for operating. The bigger models demand more power, but that is not the point of concern for paintball players. You will just need a suitable and compatible extension cord with the air compressor to increase accessibility.
If you are going on a trip and are planning on enjoying a paintball game, then gasoline air compressors are good in those situations. However, you cannot expect to have electricity on every outdoor site you visit for fun. Therefore, you can also count on a gasoline-powered compressor as well. Moreover, they have higher HP than the electrical models, and they can also generate higher psi.
The only caution you need to consider is to avoid using the electric compressors in damp areas. In addition, for gasoline-power compressors, you should avoid using them indoors, in stagnant areas, and confined areas.
#4 Air Cooled or Water Cooled Compressor
The ideal recommendation for the paintball players is to go with air-cooled compressors. It is because they are less complicated, and the players will have to spend less maintenance time on such air compressors that are cooled by air. The mechanism of an air-cooled compressor is to make use of air to reduce the temperature of compressed air within the equipment.
Every time the compressor generates heat, the air-cooled circuit gets activated. Hence, it reduces the hot air with the radiator and fans embedded within the device. On the other hand, the water-cooled air compressors use liquid coolants from some external units for cooling down the compressed air or other substances that are heated up during the process.
The dedicated circuit minimizes the heat using a shell and tube exchanger with water cooling. Water cooling is an ideal pick for the air compressors at industrial levels and the higher HP machines. In industries, the water used for cooling the compressor is reused in some hot water heating systems.
It is not advised to go with water-cooled compressors for mere paintball games. You won’t be heating the compressor to a level that needs coolant to lower the temperature. Therefore, it is better to get the air-cooled ones at affordable rates, which will demand easy handling and low maintenance.
While selecting an air compressor product, you need to check on the available accessories that you get with it. The accessories are important because they will help you with the tank refilling process. If you are not getting the accessories with the kit you purchase, you might buy them separately.
Some of the common accessories that you should look for in a compressed air tank are a breath nozzle, water pipe, water pump, pressure relief screw, O-rings, explosion-proof disc, and others. You will need all of these to safely use the air compressor, not just for paintball tanks but also for other associated applications. So, count on considering that.
The portability factor of the small paintball air compressor is justified only when the weight is nominal. It is natural for the air compressors to have some weight, which cannot be minimized or compromised, as that would deteriorate the functional efficiency of the equipment. The lesser the weight, you’ll have greater chances of winning the paintball game
But still, there is an expectancy of the portable paintball air compressor to weigh between 10-20kg to be easily carried around places. It is not an important consideration while you are looking for quality products. Therefore, this consideration factor is around the last bits.
The final consideration is the price of an air compressor for your paintball games. The most common aspect people avoid buying the air compressors and go for regular refills at stations is the cost. Most people think of avoiding the one-time expense to keep spending more on refills every short period. However, it is economically not advisable.
The pricing of the paintball air compressors or portable air compressors is high. But if you are a regular paintball player, then this investment will seem worth it in the long run. Do not compromise on buying any poor-quality air compressor for your paintball marker, just to save a few bucks on it. Inappropriate pressure might damage your gun and will also hamper the gameplay experience.
Count on the budget concerns, but compare it with your quality needs as well. As a result, you will have a great product to operate.
Even though the paintball air compressors demand less maintenance, they still do some minor check-ups over a specific period. You cannot expect the machine to work seamlessly without calling out for wear and tear checks. It adds up a very little cost, which is obvious for you to bear, to ensure optimal protection for the paintball gun tanks and compressor health altogether.
This article covers all the information you need to choose the right air compressor for your paintball tanks. The three product options listed above are best in their lot and are packed with all the necessary features and accessories to give you an uninterrupted paintball experience.
The things that you need to refill your paintball tankers are; a high-pressure air compressor, a fill station with proper connection accessories to the paintball tanks, and the gauges for checking pressure flow at all critical points. You can also keep a compressed air dryer to remove water vapor from the compressed air, a cage or fill a box for safety during tank filling, and a compressed air storage tank.
So, if you are a paintball fanatic, this article has possibly given you all the necessary information upon getting an air compressor and using it all by yourself. The only thing you need to do is go through the instruction manual once before using the compressor to fill your paintball tanks. After that, knowing the right approach steps will help you prevent accidents.