CO2 Paintball Tanks vs Compressed Air (HPA)

CO2 Paintball Tanks vs Compressed Air (HPA)

A lot of you may happen to have played paintball. For that, you require paintball guns which comprise of CO2 tanks or compressed air. Both are very high-pressure gas sources. Both of these sources happen to have their pros and cons making one of them safer to use without causing any damage. Firstly, let us first explain to you what these two are and then how they both are different from each other.

 What are CO2 Paintball Tanks?

CO2 was the initial gas source used for paintball guns in 1980 and is in use for many years after as well. The way this works is that carbon dioxide is initially in a liquid form inside the cylinder. It then needs to expand into the gaseous state for the paintball gun to work correctly. Like the carbon dioxide, inside the cylinder, expands, it creates pressure which fires the paintball.

 What is Compressed Air (HPA)

Compressed are tanks that came into the market in the early 90s and carbon dioxide was starting to become dangerous. Just as the name indicates, compressed air is the compressed atmosphere. In the beginning, the HPA tanks were filled with nitrogen gas. These tanks come in various sizes such as 3000 PSI or 4500 PSI.

If we talk about appearances the HPA tank happens to have control along with a measure on the top of it. That measure will show you the amount of gas you have left in your tank. In addition to that, it also controls the amount of gas released for your paintball shot. This allows you to have an accurate and measured shot. Additionally, it provides excellent quality and performance.

 What is better?

One of the biggest problems with carbon dioxide is its change of state from liquid to gas. According to the basic laws, as the CO2 in liquid form expands, it also cools down which in turn slows down the expansion rate, resulting in loss of pressure. One of the second biggest questions asked is, which tank is best for paintball. Well, here we will be telling you about all the pros and cons of using both HPA as well as carbon dioxide for your paintball guns.


There are a lot of limitations for using carbon dioxide tanks such as in order for them to work correctly, they need to keep warm at a minimum temperature of 23oC. As pressure decreases the initial velocity of the gun will face more fluctuation than it will with compressed air. People in Canada face this limitation a lot as it is very cold outside. Hence, the carbon dioxide in the tank is unable to expand quickly.

As for compressed air, they do not tend to have temperature limitations. It is great for use in cold weather as well. The temperature has no effect on compressed air as there is no change in state or expansion of gases unlike in CO2. The cold weather is hardly an issue and this has turned out to be one of the greatest advantages of using compressed air tanks instead of carbon dioxide as people can use it to play paintball even in cold weather.


Generally, people suggest that you should use compressed air for electronic guns, whereas you can use both CO2 and compressed air for mechanical as well as electronic guns. This is because electronic guns have a higher rate of fire and due to the drop in pressure in CO2 tanks, they will not give the best output. One of the biggest advantages of compressed air is its consistency. It provides you with constant pressure maintaining a proper velocity which in turn helps you in maintaining an accurate shot.

The output for both of these tanks is the same except for a few limitations. CO2 used to very much in the market and frequently used. But due to some of its drawbacks, the concept of compressed air was introduced. No doubt many people say that compressed air is much better than that of carbon dioxide. However, CO2 happens to work just fine if we provide the right temperature around it.


Let us now talk about the difference in prices between the two. CO2 happens to be very less than that of compressed air. For example, a 22oz CO2 tanks will most probably cost you around $22 and can shoot more than 1000 paintballs. In addition to this, once you’ve got your tank, it refills will only cost around $3 to $7.

Usually, paintball fields charge you for an all together refill once. That is $5 to $10 in most cases. With this, you can fill up your tank as many times as you wish. However, when you first buy it, it is a lot costly. Compressed air tanks can range up to the prices of $40 to up to $250. Yup got to save up some money for that! Compressed air tanks can be a lot costly but I guess it is worth the cost if you happen to live in a low-temperature area such as Canada.


As a result, and keeping all the points mentioned above in mind, we suggest that compressed air is much better than carbon dioxide. Usually, most guns can only b used with compressed air and it is a rule that electronic guns can only use compressed air. Carbon dioxide has a lot of setbacks due to which people don’t prefer it much. Compressed air, however, is costly but it gives you the absolute best results when it comes to playing paintball.

Moreover, because of the reasons mentioned, compressed air can provide you with an accurate shot, consistency and give you high-quality performance as well as the perfect shot without any drawbacks. If you ask us, compressed air tanks are the answer. However, the choice lies in your hand to choose what’s best for you.  And let us be honest, whatever fits your budget well enough. No wonder compressed air is much better but so is CO2. You should not go way ahead and spend a lot of money on a game of paintball now, should you?

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