Deciding whether to use CO2 or HPA air systems with your marker depends on a few factors like what marker you are using, how often you want to refill, whether you can get fills easily, start up costs, and recurring costs.
You should contact your paintball marker’s manufacturer to determine what air source is best. Then contact your local paintball field or store for info on where you can fill an HPA or CO2 tank and what is the cost before deciding which to use.
CO2 tanks have the advantage of being cheaper to start up, can sometimes be easier to get filled, and can get more shots per fill with some markers. However CO2 cannot be used with high end expensive markers that have a solenoid as they can be damaged. CO2 is not always available and you will pay more per fill usually.
CO2 tanks can usually be filled at paintball fields or stores, stores like Walmart and Dicks that have a sporting goods section, welding supply stores, and any store that can fill kegerators tanks like beer supply stores and distributors. Call ahead and ask if they can fill a paintball CO2 tank before going
CO2 is best when;
- You are using a basic starter non-electronically operated mechanical marker.
- Can’t get HPA fills easily. This is usually if you are playing on your own land or private land that is far from a place to fill HPA tanks.
HPA tanks have the advantage that most fields you play at include HPA fills for free with your entry. When paying per fill HPA fills are usually cheaper than CO2. HPA can be used with all paintball markers except for a couple rare exceptions. HPA is also usually cleaner than CO2. HPA is more consistent than CO2 since the air output pressure is regulated and does not need to convert to gas from a liquid like CO2 does.
HPA tanks can usually be filled at paintball fields or stores and scuba shops. Call ahead and ask if they can fill a paintball HPA tank before going.
HPA is best when;
- You are using a high end electronic marker with a solenoid.
- You plan on playing at paintball fields that offer free refills mostly.
- You want the cleaner and more consistent performance from HPA.