Every paintball enthusiast inevitably reaches a stage where they have to consider moving beyond equipment rentals and investing in kit of their own. One of the biggest questions faced when searching for the best paintball tanks is which type to go for. The choice is a relatively simple one, with two key types to consider. Firstly, there’s the once more commonly used CO2 tank. The other paintball tank option is compressed air.
C02 Tanks Explained
There’s a good reason why CO2 tanks have been an enduring popular choice of tank for paintball players. First and foremost, C02 tanks provide a very affordable option. Not only are C02 tans generally more affordable for new players, there’s relatively cheap to refill. On the other hand, C02 tanks do suffer from sensitivity when it comes to temperature. C02 tanks have a tendency to freeze, with lower temperatures experienced during colder weather having a detrimental effect on the interior pressure of the tank. Pressure is also affected at the other end of spectrum, most notably when you’re firing away at rapid rates.
Compressed Air Tanks Explained
These types of tanks, otherwise known as high-pressure air (HPA) tanks are certainly the less obvious choice when compared to CO2 alternatives. However, these types of tanks are becoming more widely adopted by paintball players. One of the keenest corners of the market adopting HPA tanks is the competition level. The reason? High-pressure air tank are a go-to choice for those seeking more consistent levels of output and more reliable overall performance. Those who play paintball more regularly should certainly consider the switch to HPA. Paintball fields have become wise to the benefits of the system and today many locations offer refills for compressed air tanks at no extra charge.
Tank Pressures Explained
No matter what type of tank you’re looking at, high-pressure air is the core of the refill. The way C02 tanks and HPA varieties differ is when it comes to the overall output. Higher pressures are tolerated by most paintball markers easily enough. However, with certain types of markers (electronic types included), certain pressure levels need to be observed. In these instances, the role of a regulator becomes pivotal. A regulator is a crucial element of a paintball tank that moderates the output pressure of compressed air as it travels throughout the tank itself and subsequently into the rest of the marker.
When picking out a paintball tank, keeping in mind the recommended operating pressure of your paintball marker is of paramount importance. You need to pay attention to the minimum levels relating to input pressure if you want your gun to operate properly. A pick of anything above the operating pressure threshold should be fine. However, there are exceptions, such as when you’re looking at a gun with an internal regulator.
In this case, you should be considering inputs at a higher value than the operating pressure. In most cases, this should be no higher than 500 PSI above the operating pressure of your marker. Certainly, you want to be looking at an input of at least 300 PSI above. Stick to these guidelines and you’ll avoid any unwanted issues that might come about from mismatched pressure levels.
A high-pressure tank is almost always the best option to choose, provided of course it comes with its own regulator with the option of adjustments. Again, exceptions exist. A lower pressure alternative would be the advised alternative for those with a paintball marker limited to an operating pressure of 150 PSI or below.
Why Tank Material Matters
Don’t overlook the importance of material construction when it comes to purchasing a new paintball tank. As a general rule of thumb, the poorer quality the material, the lower levels of performance you’ll be limited to. Material affects key characteristics like carrying weight, tank durability and overall efficiency, so all need to be considered when making your purchase.
One of the best choices when it comes to picking out a new tank. Aluminium tanks benefit from being incredibly lightweight thanks to their material, making them easy to cart around the playing field. It’s not hard to understand why so many paintball players reach for aluminium tanks, every time. However, there are some downsides to this kind of tank. Aluminium might be lightweight, but the drawback is a compromised level of durability. These varieties of tank can be easily dented and damaged from impacts on the field. Aluminium tanks can only accommodate a maximum PSI of 3000, so bear that in mind as well.
Despite the drawbacks, the relative inexpensiveness of aluminium air tanks make them a very desirable option. Provided you take care to avoid unwanted damage on the field, these needn’t be a short-term solution and can carry on performing well for a long time.
Carbon Fibre Tanks
Carbon fibre is something of a modern marvel when it comes to the world of materials. Paintball tanks made from this innovative material bring together the benefits of being both lightweight and durable. Like aluminium tanks, they’re easy to carry around the field, but they won’t succumb to wear and tear as easily. As such, you don’t need to be as mindful of staving off damage when playing, allowing you to focus on the game at hand. Another benefit these tanks bring is a higher capacity of up to 4500 PSI.
Because of all of these benefits, it’s no great shock carbon fibre tanks have been readily adopted as the standard by more professional-level paintballers. However, there’s an unsurprising knock-on effect when it comes to price. Expect to pay higher outlying costs with this kind of tank, but do so knowing you’re investing in something that will hold up well for a long time and perform more consistently.
Selecting the Right Size of Tank
Tank size is one of the biggest factors to keep in mind when picking out a new addition to your paintballing arsenal. Going for a bigger tank isn’t always the best course of action, however. Don’t be tempted into picking a tank solely with total shot capacity in mind. If you do, you might be left handling a tank that’s far too cumbersome and heavy to allow for sufficient freedom of movement on the field. Ultimately, you want to pick a tank where size and weight are in perfect balance to best suit your playing needs. If pushed to make a choice, however, a lighter overall option is the best course of action.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Overlooking Durability
Overall sturdiness and tank durability is absolutely crucial for those seeking something that holds up well to repeated use. If you’re a halfway serious paintball player, you’ll be putting yourself and your equipment through the ringer in all manner of playing conditions. All kinds of weather conditions and types of terrain need to be considered when looking at the best paintball tanks, ensuring you’ve got something durable enough to stave off damage from the elements and general wear and tear. Even if you’re looking at occasional play, skimping on your purchase as far these factors are concerned is never advisable.
Now we’ve outlined all the key areas of focus, you should be in a much better position when it comes to making an informed choice of paintball tank. Naturally, budget will play a major part of your overall decision, but looking for models that combine lightweight mobility with durable design is always advisable. In need of other equipment? Check out our review on the best paintball guns on the market today.
The Best Paintball Tanks Of 2021
Need some further inspiration? Below, you’ll find a selection of some of the best paintball tank models currently available on the market.
There’s plenty to like with this high-pressure air tank. Quality materials instantly make this a reliable option, with an aluminium alloy liner and carbon fibre bottle body making it a resilient model. You can also look forward to higher work pressure levels (4500 PSI), while a robust overall design makes it a worthwhile long-term investment. A good choice for those regular players of paintball with access to free HPA refills.
Those looking for more bang for their buck should look no further than this tank and fill station set, that also includes a regulator. We’ve talked about the importance of premium materials and this product ticks all the right boxes in this respect. There’s an aluminium alloy liner as standard, with a full wrapping of carbon fibre. What’s more, epoxy coating means that overall strength and durability is enhanced. Ideal for those seeking something that scores highly for shock resistance and resilience to corrosion.
Those who value high-performance specs have plenty to savour here. Premium materials abound with this HPA tank, with an aluminium alloy liner as standard, not to mention fully-wrapped carbon fibre and glass fibre winding. Epoxy coating has also been used to add further levels of protection and improve overall robustness and shock resistance levels. A good choice for the more professional level of paintballer, this tank is a perfect balance of lightweight convenience and mobility, along with reliable durability.
If you’re after a more affordable choice that doesn’t skimp on technical prowess, the HK Army AeroLite Air System might be the way to go. This tank system brings together the lightweight resilience of a carbon fibre tank bottle with an aluminium regulator that provides reliable performance, every time.
This Empire Paintball air system instantly grabs your attention with its rough and ready aesthetic, not to mention some impressive specs. Top marks for its 4500 PSI fill capacity, not to mention its 800 PSI output pressure. Pure Energy Technology is on hand here to improve regulator performance, with the regulator itself scoring further points for its superior choice of material. While its aluminium we’re talking about, it’s aviation grade aluminium. As such, you’ve the benefits of a very lightweight construction, with added robustness to withstand more rigorous play on the field.
Another top HPA tank option to consider. This Ninja Paintball 4500 PSI high-pressure tank boasts carbon fibre construction, ensuring it hits the benchmarks of robustness and resilience. It’s a good choice of tank for high-pressure air aficionados, with the premium build and durable materials making for a tank that certainly justifies the asking price.
If you’re after high performance, this Ninja Carbon Fibre HPA tank is the way to go. The Sonic Recharge Technology (SRT) piston is the standout feature here, with the aluminium plating of the piston component allowing for superior reload capability. Shim Pressure Adjustment and Mini Fill Valve also come as standard. On an aesthetic level, this 4500 PSI tank also hits high notes, with optional brass or aluminium bonnets complementing the tactical visual edge of this paintball essential.
Visually, this paintball tank pulls no punches, with an edgy aesthetic professional paintballers will love. On a technical level, there’s also plenty to write home about. This SL2 tank really sells itself with an overall lightweight construction, with the carbon fibre material producing an option that’s around a third lighter than similar models on the market. What’s more, the Pro V2 regulator included with the tank is one of the most reliable options currently available.
This Tippmann Empire Basics paintball tank is well worth considering for those after a more budget-friendly option. Aluminium DOT and TC certified cylinders provide a relatively robust tank design that’s incredibly lightweight, while the fill capacity of 3000 PSI should be sufficient for most paintballing requirements. For the money, it’s an ideal investment, but the more enthusiastic paintballer may wish to consider something with a more robust build and higher fill capacity.