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5 Best Paintball Air Compressors | Portable & Electric

Paintball Air Compressors

If you are looking for the best paintball air compressor to fill your Co2 paintball tanks, we got you covered. In this buyer’s guide, we will review what to look for in a paintball air compressor, the alternatives, hydro testing and much more.

Most of the paintball air compressors we included are for DIY applications and for small shops. If you own a large shop and are looking for a commercial paintball compressor scroll to the bottom and feel out the form for a FREE quote.

Why Are Paintball Air Compressors Different?

It all has to do with the pressures involved.  Compressing air to 4500psi is a lot different than the 180psi that most home workshops deliver.

Most high-pressure air compressors use a two-stage or four-stage compressor array to get the necessary pressures.  These are more expensive to build. The materials from which these compressors are built are also more expensive.  

Top Paintball Air Compressors

1.HPDAVV 100L/Min 5.5-HP Air Compressor – Best Overall Paintball Air Compressor

The HPDAVV compressor is a scuba tank air compressor.  Scuba tanks are rated for the same kinds of pressures as compressed air tanks for paintball guns making this a perfect air compressor for your paintball tank refill station.  The features it offers are unparalleled.

  • The HPDAVV is powered by a Honda GX gasoline engine delivering 5.5 horsepower.
  • This unit is equipped with a Yong Heng air compressor that can deliver up to 3.5cfm flow.
  • Four stage compressor for high efficiency 
  • Intake Air Filter
  • Oil separator and filter
  • Pressure gauge
  • Safety valve
  • Pressure switch
  • Air cooler

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Honda engine can’t be beaten for reliability and performance
  • High-performance air-cooled compressor generates a good airflow
  • Includes a pressure switch, oil separator, and safety valves
  • If equipped with the proper filters and air dryers can be used for scuba tanks as well

Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Requires more maintenance to keep both the engine and the compressor running properly

2.HPDMC 110V 4500 PSI High-Pressure PCP Air Compressor – Best Electric Paintball Air Compressor

Gasoline engines are noisy and produce some nasty exhaust products that you might not want sucked into your compressor and into your paintball gun tanks. 

Electrically driven compressors are typically smaller and less expensive than gasoline-powered compressors. The HPDMC is a great option for a home paintball compressor and refill station. 

It has almost everything you need to plug it in and start refilling your paintball gun tanks.

  • Works on standard 110v 60Hz power
  • 2.5 horsepower electric motor
  • Delivers 4500psi at 2.0cfm
  • Built-in pressure gauge
  • Adjustable pressure

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Not too expensive for a high-pressure compressor
  • Works on 110 volts

Cons

  • Requires a cooling system that must be purchased separately

3.HPDAVV Portable Air Compressor 4500Psi – Runner up Best Electric Paintball Air Compressor

If you want to fill your paintball tanks on the go, then the HPDACC Portable Air Compressor may be just the thing for you.  Small enough to be easily transported, the HPDAVV compressor delivers enough airflow to keep your tanks filled for all-day paintball game play anywhere that you can find an electrical plug, or even combined with a portable generator.  This compressor doesn’t lack in features either.

  • Uses standard 100v 60Hz electrical power
  • Produces 1cfm of air at 4500psi
  • Intake air filter
  • Low vibration design
  • Less than 65db noise level
  • Built-in water-cooling pump

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Portable for on the go tank filling
  • Quiet operation and very low vibration make it easy to use
  • Complete unit.  Nothing else needed to fill a tank
  • An economical alternative to big compressors

Cons

  • Requires a water source for the cooling
  • Not suitable for any tank larger than a paintball gun tank

4.Orion Motor Tech High-Pressure Electric Air Compressor Pump – Best Budget Electric Paintball Air Compressor

This small portable electric high-pressure air compressor from Orion Motor Tech gets the nod as our choice for the budget-conscious paintball player who wants to fill their own paintball tanks. The small footprint and lightweight of this machine make it possible to have high-pressure compressed air with you all the time. You won’t find the Orion HP air compressor lacking in features for its budget price.

  • 110v 60Hz electrically operation
  • Delivers 4500psi air 50L per minute
  • Two-stage compressor design
  • 30 minutes to fill a 6.8L tank
  • Water-cooled

Quick Video Review 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Portable lightweight design
  • Great price for a high-pressure compressor
  • Runs on 11v power
  • Two Water/oil separator built-in

Cons

  • Requires a constant source of water for cooling

5.12V portable PCP Air Compressor with Transformer – Best 12-volt Paintball Air Compressor

That’s right.  You read it correctly.   This little portable air compressor will run on anything from 22v to 12v.  The transformer is built right into the compressor housing and allows you to switch from 220 volts, 100 volts, and even has the connections to run directly on 12 volts.

  • Runs on 220v, 110v. or 12 volts power sources
  • 4500psi
  • Oil and water-free operation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can be used almost anywhere
  • No water or oil required 
  • Built-in gauge
  • Small, lightweight, and easily transported

Cons

  • Recommended for tanks less than .6L
  • Slow airflow means long tank fill times

Do my paintball tanks need to be hydro tested?

HPDAVV 100LMin 5.5-HP Scuba Tank Air CompressorAll high-pressure compressed air tanks must be hydro tested every 3 to 5 years.  Every tank manufactured in the United States is stamped with a serial number and a manufacturing date. 

If you take your tank to be refilled, the operator of the refill station will, more than likely, check the date stamp on your tank.  If the date on the tank is older than five years, the refill operator should refuse to fill the tank until it is hydro tested.

What is Hydro-Testing?

Hydro-testing of high-pressure tanks requires means placing in a container or cage that will keep the parts of the tank confined if the tank fails during the testing. 

The tank is filled with water until all the trapped air is purged from the tank. The water is then pressurized to 1.5 times the tanks rated pressure limit. If the tank passes this test, it is rated for another three to five years.

What is the Lifespan of my Paintball Gun Tanks?

Paintball Gun TanksThat is a hard question to answer.   The lifespan of a high-pressure tank depends a lot on how it is used and how it is maintained.  Each fill and discharge cycle puts stress on the tank.

This recurring stress is the primary cause of tank failure.  The more times the tank is refilled and then discharged, the quicker it will reach the failure point.  

We Have a group that wants to fill a lot of tanks on a regular basis.  What do we need?

Filling one or two tanks for your personal use is one thing.  Putting together a system that can reliably and safely fill a lot of tanks requires more equipment. 

You are effectively building the same sort of system that your local paintball field operator should have to serve their customers. At a minimum, you need a high-pressure air compressor with a high enough rated airflow to keep up with your demands. These high flow rated compressors get very expensive and are often beyond the financial reach of all but the largest commercial operators.  The other option is to install a cascade system.

A cascade system makes it possible to use a smaller, less expensive compressor because you are basically storing compressed air. The cascade system uses one or more compressed air cylinders to hold compressed air that is then used to fill your paintball tanks.  The compressor only must keep refilling the air cylinders in your cascade system.

Cylinders are not that expensive, but they do incur other costs.  Every tank must be hydro tested periodically. In addition, you will need some other equipment in your system to protect your cascade and your paintball gun tanks.  At a minimum, you will need:

  • Properly rated piping and hoses to contain the high-pressures in the system.
  • You should install a compressed air dryer to remove water vapor from the compressed air to keep your cascade tanks from collecting water.
  • A protective cage or container in which to fill your paintball tanks safely

 

What Should I look for in Paintball Air Compressor? {Buyer’s Guide}

When shopping for an air compressor suitable for filling your paintball tanks, there are some basic components that you need to consider.  Most of the compressors that are advertised as paintball air compressors are really the same compressors that dive shops use to refill scuba tanks.  

The major difference in filling scuba tanks and paintball gun tanks is the quality of the air on the output end.  Scuba tanks must have breathing quality air. There are all kinds of regulations that cover what kind of filtration must be in the system, regular testing of the air, and maintenance requirements on the equipment.

Air for paintball guns is not that critical.  The major items to consider when purchasing a high-pressure compressor for paintball guns are:

Paintball Air Compressor

  • Pressure – Any compressor that will be used to refill paintball gun tanks should be rated at no less than 4500psi.  
  • Flow Rate – Flow rates are important because the flow rate determines how fast your compressor will refill your bottle.  The higher the flow rate, the less time you wait. The downside is that higher flow rates require bigger and more expensive compressors.  Finding the right mix of flow rate and price for your needs is the challenge.
  • Power Source – Do you want an electrically powered compressor or a gasoline-powered compressor.  For most of us, an electrically powered compressor makes more sense. Electrically operated compressors tend to be smaller and make less noise than their comparable gasoline-powered brothers.  On the other hand, if you need higher flow rates and a bigger compressor, a gasoline-powered compressor may make more sense.
  • Water Cooled or Air Cooled – If possible, we recommend opting for an air-cooled compressor.  Air-cooled compressors are less complicated. You will spend less time on maintenance with an air-cooled compressor as well.

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Why Use CO2 For Paintball Guns?

Let’s face it, serious paintball players prefer using compressed air as the propellant for their paintball gun rather than CO2.  They cite all kinds of reasons, but it usually comes down to performance.

Compressed air is consistent. You get almost the same velocity from your paintball gun using air no matter what the temperature.  CO2 velocities can go down considerably if you play outdoors in cold weather.

Using compressed air for your paintball gun naturally leads to the question of filling your own tanks.  Basically, air is free. CO2 is not. With the proper equipment, you can make use of the free air and fill your own tanks with compressed air.

However, before you grab that any portable air compressor you have in your garage and start trying to fill tanks, there are some things to learn.

Co2 Air Tanks Required 

All tanks are not air tanks.  Keep the following things in mind.

  • CO2 tanks are different than compressed air tanks(source).  The two are not interchangeable.
  • Some paintball guns will not work with compressed air.  Make sure your gun is compatible.
  • It takes some specialized equipment to created compressed air that will operate your fun properly and safely.  

Paintball Refill Station: What Do You Need?

Setting up a paintball compressed air refill station requires some knowledge, some skill, and some special equipment. At a minimum, you will need the following to assemble a compressed air refill station for your paintball tanks.

  • A high-pressure air compressor capable of producing at least 4,500psi
  • A fill Station with the proper connections to fill the paintball gun tanks
  • Gauges to check the pressures at all the critical points.

In addition, you may want to add to your system

  • A compressed air dryer to remove the water vapor from your compressed air.
  • A fill box or cage as a safety precaution when filling tanks.
  • At least one compressed air storage tank

All this equipment is easy to source.  The one crucial part is the high-pressure air compressor.  This is not your garden variety home workshop compressor. Generating compressed air pressure in the ranges needed for paintball guns requires an air compressor designed for the job.

Let’s face it, serious paintball players prefer using compressed air as the propellant for their paintball gun rather than CO2.  They cite all kinds of reasons, but it usually comes down to performance.

Compressed air is consistent. You get almost the same velocity from your paintball gun using air no matter what the temperature.  CO2 velocities can go down considerably if you play outdoors in cold weather.

Using compressed air for your paintball gun naturally leads to the question of filling your own tanks.  Basically, air is free. CO2 is not. With the proper equipment, you can make use of the free air and fill your own tanks with compressed air.

However, before you grab that any portable air compressor you have in your garage and start trying to fill tanks, there are some things to learn.

Before you Make the Switch

All tanks are not air tanks.  Keep the following things in mind.

  • CO2 tanks are different than compressed air tanks(source).  The two are not interchangeable.
  • Some paintball guns will not work with compressed air.  Make sure your gun is compatible.
  • It takes some specialized equipment to created compressed air that will operate your fun properly and safely.  

Air isn’t Really Free

In the end, compressed air isn’t free.  While the air you start with may be free, the investment you make in equipment and maintenance all add costs to the compressed air you put into your paintball gun tanks. 

If you do see your way to investing in a compressor to refill your paintball gun tanks, I hope that the information in this article helps you understand better what is involved.   Happy Paintballing!

AircompressorsUSA Team

AircompressorUSA Team is full of diverse writers from different industries. Our team includes small business contractors, assembly line managers, scuba shop owners, garage owners & More. Our Team makes every effort to provide the most accurate information to our readers and buyers.

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