What is a paintball hopper? A hopper or loader is what holds all your paintballs on the top of your marker. A basic hopper, commonly referred to as a gravity fed hopper does not have anything mechanical or electronic to assist in feeding paintballs. As the name suggests, these use gravity and the recoil of the marker to assist in feeding paintballs into your marker. Some basic paintball hopers are a little less basic than others though. Some of these paintball loaders will have shelfs, raceways, or similar mechanisms to help avoid overcrowding in the hopper, and to help line paint up to make its way into the marker. One major thing to note about gravity fed hoppers is that if you are using a marker that has very little recoil, you will likely end up having to shake your marker to get paintballs to feed. The general rule of thumb is that if you have an electronic marker, then you will likely want an electronic hopper.