Paintball equipment comes in a large variety of options, it can be overwhelming for new players unsure of where to start. In paintball, like most hobbies, it’s best to start with the budget friendly equipment and upgrade as you gain more experience.
Your air system is the lifeblood of your gear. While carbon dioxide (CO2) is not as widely used as it once was, it is still the cheapest propellant you can buy to power your paintballs down range. As a player, it's essential to understand the key aspects of CO2 for paintball. Here's 5 things you should consider before purchasing a CO2 tank:
Non refillable cartridges are not recommended except in special applications like in a pistol-like paintball marker or a stock class pump marker. Disposable cartridges shoot the lowest number of shots per use and are the most expensive to buy per ounce at 83.5 cents per ounce.
Refillable CO2 tanks range in size from 9 oz to 24 ounces and cost less than 50 cents per ounce to refill a tank as of 2023.
Modern paintball markers are designed to operate using gaseous CO2. However, paintball CO2 tanks hold CO2 in liquid form. The anti-siphon tube is designed to solve that problem.
When liquid CO2 is released from the tank, it changes into gas within a fraction of a second. Although the transition is rapid, it's not instantaneous. If liquid CO2 enters your marker it can interfere with operation. It is also corrosive and will cause water condensation to form which can lead to rust and damage to your gear.
The anti-siphon tube is an accessory players add to draw in only the gas form from the bottle. The anti-siphon tube acts like a snorkel, strategically drawing gas from the top of the bottle and leaving the liquid undisturbed at the bottom.
Anti-siphon tubes are only effective when the tank is oriented in a horizontal position. When the bottle is in a vertical position, the anti-siphon tube becomes a siphon tube, drawing liquid CO2 into the marker.
On-off switches are a great addition to any marker using CO2. Removing a pressurized bottle from your marker can ruin the soft threads, break the fragile o-rings, and waste CO2. On-off switches use a retractable pin to depressurize the marker for safe and easy removal without damage.
Paintball CO2 tanks are most compatible with entry level mechanical paintball markers. High performance paintball markers that use sensitive electronics do not work with CO2 tanks for paintball. Be sure to check your manual for compatibility prior to using a CO2 in your paintball marker.
While filling a CO2 tank is relatively safe and easy to do, it is still recommended to visit a respectable paintball field or store to ensure the refill is done properly. CO2 is not as available as it was in the past, so call ahead to make sure the store has CO2 available for purchase.
Alternatively, welding supply or aquarium stores may be able to provide refills if a local paintball park is not an option. Be sure to call ahead to make sure they have experience filling CO2 tanks for paintball.
The components of a paintball CO2 tank are simple and there aren’t many serviceable parts.
Tank o-rings can be easily swapped out if they are damaged and generally only cost $1-2 for a set.
Burst disks are designed to safely vent the pressure in the tank if it exceeds safe levels. The most common cause for burst disk failure is usually temperature related, such as leaving the tank in a hot car for too long.
A failed burst disk can be easily replaced with a new one for about $10.
Bottles require testing and recertification every 5 years. Unfortunately, the cost of recertification is usually more expensive than purchasing a brand new bottle. We recommend discarding old tanks and buying new rather than recertifying.
CO2 tanks are budget friendly, low maintenance and meet the minimum performance requirements for many entry level markers. CO2 bottles are great for many mechanical markers, but will not work well with high performance electronic markers.
If you're willing to spend a few extra dollars, you should consider buying a compressed air tank for paintball. Read our blog post to get informed: https://urbanwarzonepaintball.com/blog/gear/compressed-air-tank-for-paintball/