Paintball CO2 Vs Compressed Air – Which is better?

Paintball CO2 Vs Compressed Air

Paintball CO2 Vs Compressed Air

In the world of paintball, two of the most common types of propellants are CO2 and compressed air. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

CO2 is a gas that is compressed into a liquid form. When used in paintball, it provides power to propel the paintballs through the gun barrel. Compressed air, on the other hand, is simply air that has been compressed into a tank. It also provides power to propel the paintballs but does so in a different way than CO2. Because it uses high-pressure nitrogen, it is often called an HPA tank.

One of the main differences between CO2 and compressed air is that compressed air is cold, while CO2 is not. This can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on the conditions you are playing in. If it is very hot outside, for example, the compressed air will help keep your gun from overheating. On the other hand, if it is cold outside, CO2 can actually cause your gun to freeze up.

Another difference between CO2 and compressed air has to do with how each type of propellant affects your gun’s accuracy. Compressed air tends to make your shots more accurate, while CO2 can sometimes make them less so. This is because CO2 can cause your paintballs to break inside your gun’s barrel. When this happens, bits of paint can end up clogging your barrel and affecting your accuracy.

So which type of propellant should you use? Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer CO2 because it is less expensive and easier to find refills for. Others prefer compressed air because they feel it gives them an advantage in terms of accuracy and/or preventing their gun from overheating.


CO2 is a gas used in Paintball markers to propel the paintballs through the barrel. CO2 is stored in small cylinders or tanks that are attached to the marker. When the trigger is pulled, the CO2 is released and goes through the valve and into the marker.

Paintball co2 tank


CO2 is temperature sensitive, so it will perform differently in hot or cold weather. It is also very inexpensive and easy to find. You can get CO2 tanks for paintball markers at any sporting goods store or online retailer.

Compressed air is not as temperature sensitive as CO2, but it can still be affected by extreme heat or cold. Compressed air tanks are more expensive than CO2 tanks, but they will last longer before needing to be refilled. You can find compressed air tanks at most paintball stores or online retailers. You can also get or refill your HPA tanks from the nearest scuba shop.


Although CO2 is cheaper than compressed air per ounce, it doesn’t last as long in a paintball gun. A typical 20-ounce CO2 tank will only shoot about 500 paintballs before it needs to be refilled, whereas a similar size compressed air tank will shoot 1,500 or more.

CO2 is also affected by temperature changes. When it gets cold, the gas shrinks and can cause problems with your paintball gun. In extreme cases, the cold can cause your CO2 tank to freeze and crack. Conversely, when it’s hot out, the gas expands and can cause your gun to malfunction.

Another downside to CO2 is that it’s not as consistent as compressed air. Because of the way, CO2 changes with temperature, you may notice that your shots are less accurate in colder weather.

Compressed Air

Paintball CO2 vs. Compressed Air is different and the debate has been going on for as long as either has been around. In the early days of paintball, CO2 was the only option available. Compressed air systems were not only expensive but also very large and difficult to transport. A compressed air system Aka HPA tank introduced in the early ’90s to improve the paintballing experience.

Paintball HPA tank


Compressed Air:
– Most accurate – the denser the air, the more accurate your shot will be
– Air is already compressed, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your marker by over-compressing it
– CO2 can fluctuate in temperature and affect velocity and accuracy, compressed air is less affected by temperature changes
– Generally cheaper to fill up than CO2 – an average 20 oz tank of compressed air will last around 1,400 shots, compared to around 800 shots from a 20 oz CO2 tank

– More power – because CO2 is in a liquid state when used in paintball markers, it expands rapidly and provides more power to the shot
-Easy to find – CO2 is widely available and can be found at most sporting goods stores


Compressed air has a few disadvantages when used in paintball guns. One is that it is more expensive than CO2. Another is that it requires special tanks that can be difficult to find. Finally, it can be more challenging to regulate the pressure in a compressed air tank, which can affect the accuracy of your paintball gun.

can you use compressed air in a co2 paintball gun?

No, compressed air cannot be used in a CO2 paintball gun. Compressed air, or high-pressure air, is typically stored in a tank and is used by paintball markers that feature an electronic trigger. Compressed air is preferred by paintball players due to its consistent pressure, allowing for more accurate and consistent shots.

CO2 paintball guns, on the other hand, use carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in tanks. CO2 is a gas that is stored in liquid form in tanks. When the trigger is pulled, a valve releases a small amount of liquid CO2, quickly turning into a gas, and pushing a paintball out of the barrel.

The two gases (compressed air and CO2) are completely different and are not interchangeable. Compressed air tanks and CO2 tanks are incompatible, and attempting to use one in the other could be dangerous. Therefore, using compressed air in a CO2 paintball gun is not recommended.

Compressed air vs co2 tank, which is better?

Overall, compressed air tanks are generally the better choice for paintball players due to their consistency and ease of refilling.

Though, it depends on your preferences and the type of paintball marker you’re using. Compressed air tanks, also known as high-pressure air (HPA) tanks, are generally preferred by paintball players due to their consistent pressure, allowing for more accurate and consistent shots.

Compressed air tanks are typically more expensive than CO2 tanks, but they last longer and can be refilled more easily. CO2 tanks are less expensive than compressed air tanks and can be used in most paintball markers. However, the pressure in a CO2 tank can vary, which can affect accuracy and consistency.

CO2 tanks also need to be refilled more often than compressed air tanks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a paintball tank?

When choosing a paintball tank, it’s important to consider the type of paintball marker you’re using, the type of paintballs you’re using, and the type of environment you’ll be playing in. If you’re using a mechanical marker, you’ll likely need a CO2 tank; if you’re using an electronic marker, you’ll likely need an HPA tank. Additionally, you should choose a tank that is suited to the environment you’ll be playing in, such as a cold-weather tank for cold conditions.

How do I properly store a paintball tank?

When storing a paintball tank, it’s important to make sure that the tank is secured and the valve is closed. Additionally, tanks should not be stored in direct sunlight or in hot environments, as this can cause the tank to expand, increasing the pressure and potentially damaging the tank. Storing a tank in a cool, dry place is best.

How do I know if my paintball tank is CO2 or compressed air?

The easiest way to tell the difference between a CO2 tank and a compressed air tank is by looking at the pressure rating. CO2 tanks are usually rated at below 3000 PSI, while compressed air tanks are usually rated at 3000 PSI or higher. Additionally, CO2 tanks are typically heavier than compressed air tanks.

Is CO2 more powerful than air?

No, CO2 is not more powerful than air. Compressed air is generally more powerful than CO2, as it is stored in a tank at a higher pressure, allowing for more consistent and accurate shots. CO2 is stored as a liquid in tanks and is converted to a gas when released, which can cause inconsistencies in the pressure, resulting in less accurate shots.


In conclusion, the main difference between paintball CO2 and compressed air is that paintball CO2 is a gas while compressed air is a liquid. Paintball CO2 is used to power the marker and compressed air is used to push the paintballs through the marker.

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