Types Of Paintball Propellants And Their Advantages

Paintball enthusiasts have two choices when it comes to tanks to propel paintballs toward their targets. You can either use compressed air, or HPA, tanks or you can use carbon dioxide, CO2, tanks. CO2 tanks were the first type of propellant tanks used for the sport and they were the only type used for many years.

The Advantages of CO2

There are two types of CO2 tanks used for paintball, refillable CO2 tanks and 12 gram cartridges, used in paintball pistols. There are several advantages to using CO2 over using HPA tanks. One advantage is that CO2 tanks are lighter and smaller than HPA tanks. Although they are smaller, you can get the same number of shots, if not more, out of a CO2 tank.

It is far easier to find places to buy CO2 tanks and get them refilled as well. Most sporting goods stores or department stores that sell sports equipment will carry paintball gear, including propellant tanks. If you have refillable tanks, you can take them to paintball shops, your local fire department, or welding supply stores to have them refilled. CO2 tanks are the most popular option because they are inexpensive, so a player can afford to carry several tanks with them when they play.

Advantages of HPA

Some paintball guns, also known as markers, do not use CO2 tanks, but they use HPA tanks. There are two types of HPA tanks, aluminum and fiber wrapped tanks. One advantage to using compressed air over CO2 is that the pressure is more stable. You won't notice any fluctuations in pressure when playing in cooler weather or if you are rapid fire shooting.

Aluminum HPA tanks are the least expensive option, but even though they are smaller, they weigh more than fiber wrapped tanks. In addition, they only rate up to 3000 psi, but fiber wrapped tanks rate up to 4500 psi. Both types will regulate down to 850 psi for high output shooting or 450 psi for low output. A CO2 tank is regulated for 850 psi.

HPA tanks are much more expensive than CO2 tanks and it can be more difficult to find places to refill them. In most places, players with HPA tanks either have to find a paintball shop or a specialty shop like Arizona Air Boutique Inc. in order to get their tanks refilled. It is up to each player which tank they wish to use, but if cost is a factor, CO2 tanks are the most cost effective.