Paintball CO2 vs. Compressed Air – What Is Difference?

When playing with a paintball gun, people often pay a lot of attention to the pressure. So. which is better of paintball CO2 vs compressed air?

A tank usually contains CO2, compressed air, or nitrogen gas. Among them, CO2 and compressed air are the most popular. Paintball CO2 and compressed air both create pressure to push the ball out of the maker.

So, which one is better? We will provide you the answer in this article. Let’s read on to discover!

paintball co2 vs compressed air 1

Paintball CO2 vs. Compressed Air (HPA) Overview

To better understand these two kinds of gas in the paintball field, the following summary will help you:

CO2 in Paintball

“Carbon dioxide” has the chemical formula – CO2. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless gas and dissolves in water.

It is true to say that CO2 is one of the lowest value air that paintballers commonly use for paintball. It is responsible for providing power for the paintball marker.

When CO2 changes from liquid to gas, they create enormous pressure on the controller. As a result, the paintball “is fired” out of the barrel.

Although cheap, CO2 is pretty sensitive to temperature. Therefore, it is not preferred to use it in cold weather conditions.

People usually store CO2 in the paintball tank in liquid form. Just let a little CO2 out of the tank each time the CO2 comes out. This CO2 has the effect of pushing the paintball out of the barrel.

Compressed Air (HPA) in Paintball

Compressed air (HPA) in paintball is air under pressure, including many different kinds of air.

Compressed air is the safest and most widely used air. Other energy sources can cause fire, explosion, and unnecessary fire. Meanwhile, compressed air is relatively safe to replace.

Compressed air is very clean, especially when there are strict requirements for quality and safety for users. It does not affect electrical and environmental monitoring equipment.

You can put it in a sealed tank and use it for paintball combat.

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Difference of Paintball CO2 and Compressed Air 

Compressed air has a significant distinction from CO2 due to pressure. Paintball compressed air pressure is many times higher than usual air pressure. In contrast, C02 has a moderate (low) pressure.

Although the exact effect pushes the paintball out of the barrel, paintball CO2 and compressed air have different points. It is also the critical point for customers choosing CO2 or compressed air.


CO2 includes carbon & oxygen.

Compressed air includes many different gases found in natural air.


The pressure of CO2 in the tank is usually low. It may affect your shooting in cold weather.

Paintball compressed air pressure is many times higher than usual air pressure. It creates extreme pressure to push the paintball to fly farther and more accurately. The performance also won’t be “affected” in cold weather, as is CO2.

As paintball guns become more popular and modern, compression is also more popular. High pressure compressed air makes your shooting performance even better.

In contrast, CO2 tanks will not be suitable for use in cold weather, as analyzed above.


One of the main reasons people often choose CO2 is because it is pretty cheap compared to compressed air. For example, a 20oz CO2 tank costs about $20. With that amount of Co2, you can use 1000 paintballs.

And yet, it’s straightforward to load. Try to see if there is a paintball shop nearby to refill. If you don’t have one, a welding or fire supplier can also charge you with CO2.

In contrast, the initial cost of a compressed air tank is relatively high. It is twice or even ten times more capacitated than CO2.

However, if you use it for a long time, compressed air (HPA) is not necessarily expensive. The charge rate per day is 5 to 10 dollars. It means that you can recharge as many times as you want. You can double-check with paintball fields about that.


CO2 is easy to maintain and refill. You can fill the CO2 tank at the paintball shop or welding shop nearby.

Compressed Air is more challenging to maintain and refill.


Everyone knows that CO2 needs to expand from a liquid to a gas. This process only occurs correctly when the temperature reaches 23 degrees Celsius. Therefore, if you play paintball in cold weather, this expansion process can be slow. It will affect the performance and strategy of paintball players.

On the contrary, consistency is a remarkable feature of compressed air. When using paintball compressed air, you don’t need to worry about temperature affecting its stability like CO2. Of course, paintball players can play it in cold weather without any trouble.

paintball co2 vs compressed air

What is the limitation of compressed air HPA compared to CO2?

Compressed air HPA has three main disadvantages.

  • Refilling the tank can be a big hassle if there’s no professional shop nearby.
  • Compressed air (HPA) is always bulkier than CO2 tanks.
  • The price of compressed air HPA is also not competitive compared to CO2.

Paintball CO2 vs. compressed air: What should I choose?

HPA compressed air seems to dominate over CO2 in this fight. With compressed air, you can play in all weather (hot and cold).

It also doesn’t compromise but also improves performance and shooting speed. However, depending on the type of gun and playing style, you should choose paintball co2 or compressed air.

Final Thoughts

Paintball CO2 and compressed air both have outstanding features. Depending on your preferences and experience to decide which type to use for your combat.

There is a critical note that you must not overlook. You need HPA compressed air for most electronic paintball guns. For the mechanical makers, the use of CO2 will be more appropriate.

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