From left to right: HK Army 48ci aluminum air tank, and next to it is a blue HK Army 20oz CO2 tank.

What’s The Difference Between Co2 and Compressed Air?

Both CO2 and compressed air are used as propellants for paintball guns. These propellants are used to send each fired paintball downrange towards their target, and in most cases, to re-cock the paintball gun and prepare it to fire another paintball. CO2 has been used as a paintball air source since the earliest days of paintball, in the form of 12-gram CO2 capsules, while larger CO2 bottles holding 9, 12 or even 20 ounces are also used. CO2, when used for paintball, exists in both gaseous and liquid forms and is very susceptible to outside influences that affect its pressure and performance, including temperature, rate of fire of the paintball gun on which it is used, and even how the player holds their bottle. Compressed air, used in regulated air tanks for paintball use, is a much more reliable power source for paintball guns, as it is used in air tanks equipped with pressure regulators that ensure air is constantly delivered at consistent pressure to the paintball guns on which they are used, and is not susceptible to temperature or rate of fire. While many players begin their paintball playing days using CO2, many large parks and most serious players have switched to compressed air to power their paintball guns, and many mid to high-performance paintball guns recommend or require compressed air in order to operate.

What is better to use, compressed air or Co2?

Depending on where you are playing paintball or what you are doing will determine which option is better. If you are playing on your own property, shooting in your backyard, and using a mechanical marker then Co2 would be the better option because the tanks are less expensive and you will get more shots per fill. The downside of Co2 is that it can not be used in all markers and it can be difficult to find places that fill these tanks. If you are playing at a paintball field, compressed air is the best option because you can just keep refilling your tank all day long as needed, and can be used with all markers. The downside to compressed air tanks is that the tanks are more expensive than Co2 tanks and you can not fill them off of a standard shop compressor, it must be filled from a compressor similar to what is used to fill scuba tanks. these compressors fill up over 5000PSI and are not affordable for filling yourself.

Browse CO2 tanks HERE and check out Compressed Air/HPA Tanks HERE

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