The 11 Best Paintball Guns for 2021

Crush the competition with our top picks

David McBryan, Paintballer-in-Chief

David McBryan
Paintballer-in-Chief
Updated: 11/13/20
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Your paintball marker is your livelihood on the field. Without a means of eliminating opponents or spraying cover fire, you're nothing more than a moving target.

11 best paintball guns - primary image

Are you looking for the best paintball gun to up your game? That's where we come in.

This guide rounds up the top paintball guns across 11 different categories spanning everything from lightweight speedball markers to pump-powered pieces and even the best paintball pistol.

There's a lot to cover, so let's jump right in.

Paintballer's Picks for the Best Paintball Guns for 2020

Best All-Around Gun
Planet Eclipse Etha 2
Best Speedball Gun
Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R
Best Woodsball Gun
Empire Paintball Axe 2.0
Best Mechanical Gun
Planet Eclipse Emek 100
Best Pump Paintball Marker
Azodin K3.5 KAOS
Best Marker for the Money
Tippmann Cronus Tactical
Best Gun for Beginners
Kingman Spyder Victor
Best Pistol
Umarex T4E
Best Sniper Rifle
Tippmann A5 Sniper
Most Lightweight Paintball Marker
Empire Paintball Mini GS
Most Reliable Paintball
Tippmann 98 Custom

Find the right paintball gun for you

It's impossible to put together any definitive list of the top paintball guns, because there are far too many factors that influence which marker is best for you:

  • Game type (woodsball vs speedball)
  • Play style (front lines vs sniping)
  • Level of experience
  • Budget

That's why these rankings aren't really rankings in the traditional sense.

(In fact, #9 is my second-favorite paintball gun.)

Instead, these are just 11 of the best paintball markers available for various situations.

Let's start with what I actually consider to be the top-rated paintball marker and my personal favorite.

Best All-Around Paintball Gun: Planet Eclipse Etha 2
Best All-Around Paintball Gun: Planet Eclipse Etha 2

1. Planet Eclipse Etha 2

Best All-Around Paintball Gun

An upgrade to the Etha 1, the Planet Eclipse Etha 2 is leaps better than its already notable predecessor. It has an impressive combination of toughness and durability in a lightweight marker thanks to its high-quality Nylon and aircraft-grade aluminum construction, but it's still affordable enough for anyone who wants a top-of-the-line marker.

Every feature on the Etha 2 feels like it was designed exactly for its purpose, from the size and spacing around the trigger to the efficient spool valve design to left and right-side firing mode LED indicators for shooters of all handedness.

Blowback-free, buttery smooth firing with incredible accuracy in a 2.2-pound package makes the Etha 2 perfect for any type of game, though it really shines in speedball.

Key Features
  • Spool value electronic paintball marker
  • Batteries store conveniently in the front grip for each changing
  • Gamma Core drivetrain is an upgrade over the Etha 1
  • Pneumatically latching spool for better regulation of air released per shot
  • Cushioning rubber system prevents paintballs from getting clipped in the barrel
  • High-quality SL3 regulator delivers consistent pressures even if HPA tank is variable
  • Amazing POPS ASA for easy removal of HPA tank
  • Shooting mode LED indicators on both left and right side
  • LED screen indicates ramping, debounce, semi-automatic, and rate of fire
  • Reinforced Nylon for feed neck, eye covers, and grip frame
  • Wide temperature range from sub-zero to 100°F
  • Lightweight at just 2.2 lbs

Pros

Constructed of high-quality materials, including aircraft-grade aluminum for interior parts, for consistent performance for the life of your marker
Amazing air efficiency allows you to fire up to 1,000 shot on 4000 PSI tank
Most parts can be upgraded
Easy to disassemble for cleaning

Cons

Louder than other markers, so not ideal for deception
Takes longer to start on and turn off
Unable to upgrade its appearance
Best Speedball Gun: Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R
Best Speedball Gun: Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R

2. Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R

Best Speedball Gun

The Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R is an upgrade to the 160R with only a couple of notable changes: a smaller foregrip and the removal of the air transfer pipe that took air from the tank to the regulator. With the GTEK 170R, it's directly in the trigger frame, so no pipe is needed. The result is a much more streamlined experience.

The calling card of this marker is its ultra-efficient, amazingly quiet firing system. It features a way cool breech sensing system that covers the firing chamber mid-shot to trap pressurized air, allow you to use less air per shot with fewer refills.

Overall, the GTEK 170R is an amazing speedball gun because of how lightweight and balanced it is. It's so precisely designed that it feels impossibly small, but I mean that in a good way. Ultimately, this is one of the most popular paintball markers available and players rave about it with good reason.

Key Features
  • Electronic paintball marker
  • Airplane-grade aluminum everywhere
  • Breech sensing technology covers the firing chamber mid-shot to preserve air pressure, trapping up to 30 PSI
  • Gamma Core drivetrain shoots at just 135 PSI with impressive firing speed and power
  • Clamping feed neck to lock hopper in securely
  • Interactive LED board to set firing modes
  • Smaller foregrip than the GTEK 160R
  • Foregrip contains the 9V battery
  • Lightweight at just 2.05 lbs

Pros

Milled, airplane-grade aluminum exterior is a pleasure to hold
Incredibly quiet for stealthy play
Ultra-reliable across all weather conditions - read for any game
Amazing air efficiency means fewer refills
More affordable than comparable electronic markers

Cons

Trigger experience is good but not great
High end price tag - it's a damn good paintball gun but expensive
Best Woodsball Gun: Empire Paintball Axe 2.0
Best Woodsball Gun: Empire Paintball Axe 2.0

3. Empire Paintball Axe 2.0

Best Woodsball Gun

Many players associate big, bulky, tactical-looking markers with woodsball. However, the truth is that any marker can be a woodsball marker, because the same things that make a marker great for speedball make it great for woodsball: maneuverability, balance, accuracy, and reliability.

On those points, the Empire Paintball Axe 2.0 excels. Many players compare it with the Etha 2 and ask which is better, but that answer comes down to preference. Compared to the Etha 2, the Axe 2.0 offers an all-aluminum exterior, shorter, more compact design, and better trigger sensation at the expense of its weight as the Axe 2.0 checks in at 3.5 lbs (1.3 lbs more than the Etha 2).

Many paintball players say this is their absolute favorite marker for any gameplay type. It's quiet, efficient, reliable, and makes for an excellent woodsball marker.

Key Features
  • Electronic paintball gun
  • Durable all-aluminum body
  • 12" barrel
  • Low-pressure operation is gentle and quiet
  • Wrap-around rubber foregrip
  • Foregrip accepts OLED Redline board
  • Easy-clean sights
  • Shockwave board makes it easy to switch between firing modes (semi, ramp, burst, full auto)
  • Features accurate Driver XX barrel
  • Push-button bolt removal system for easy disassembly and maintenance
  • Moderate weight at 3.5 pounds (10% less than original Empire Axe)

Pros

More compact design than the Planet Eclipse Etha 2
All-aluminum exterior has a better feel than Etha 2's Nylon
Realistic metal-on-metal trigger feel
Quiet firing and efficient air use
Woodsball players note that it is easy to maintain

Cons

All-aluminum exterior shows wear and tear more than Nylon
Heavier than comparable markers
Many players prefer at least a 14" barrel, but this is personal preference
Best Mechanical Gun: Planet Eclipse Emek 100
Best Mechanical Gun: Planet Eclipse Emek 100

4. Planet Eclipse Emek 100

Best Mechanical Paintball Marker

If it weren't for the Emek 100's mechanical assembly, you'd think it was a top-of-the-line electronic marker. After all, it comes with the same Gamma Core drivetrain and breech sensing technology of the three markers above, allowing for a low, 135 PSI firing pressure and no sear tripper or springs like other mechanical markers. This thing is reliable and will keep firing as long as you need it to.

It also features a 10" barrel constructed of high-quality, airplane-grade aluminum and a durable, glass-reinforced Nylon exterior in an amazingly light 1.87 lb package. The barrel-length is too short for some, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a more consistent marker under 2 lbs.

You'll also be hard-pressed to find a better mechanical marker - it's easily one of the best mechanical paintball guns available. And when you consider price, the Planet Eclipse Emek 100 stacks up closely with some of the best electronic paintball guns available.

Key Features
  • Mechanical PB gun with Spool Cure ST1 bolt mechanism
  • Glass-reinforced Nylon construction for lightweight durability
  • Breech sensing technology covers the firing chamber mid-shot to preserve air pressure, trapping up to 30 PSI
  • Gamma Core drivetrain with pneumatic self-timed firing mechanism (no sears or springs)
  • 10" airplane-grade aluminum barrel
  • PAL-enable loading system
  • Deftek offset feed
  • Screw-in ASA
  • Hoseless air transfer system
  • Tool-less grips make disassembly easy
  • HPA only, not CO2 (compressed air) compatible
  • Integrated SL4 inline regulator
  • Lightweight at just 1.87 lbs

Pros

Mechanical operation means no batteries required
PAL-enabled hopper for more efficient, maintenance-free loading
Light, smooth trigger pull
Low operating pressure (135 PSI) and Deftek feed makes breakages rare
Incredibly compact and lightweight compared to other markers at just 1.87 lbs

Cons

10" is shorter than many players prefer, compromising accuracy
Mechanical marker not ideal for speedball
Best Pump Paintball Marker: Azodin KP3.5 KAOS
Best Pump Paintball Marker: Azodin KP3.5 KAOS

5. Azodin KP3.5 KAOS

Best Pump Paintball Gun

Pump paintball markers offer a totally different playing experience than either mechanical or electronic markers, but some players absolutely love them.

Whether you're a paintball player looking to get into pump paintball or have used these markers before, the Azodin KP3.5 KAOS is an excellent option. The best feature of this paintball marker is its smooth, dual cocking rods that make loading paint easy and satisfying.

Overall, the KP3.5 is simple to use, bordering on idiot-proof, and is an astounding value at its price point with some nice features like the aluminum clamping feedneck and pull-pin release bolt.

Key Features
  • Pump-powered firing mechanism
  • 14" two-piece barrel with two backs (.685 and .681)
  • Aluminum body, aluminum single-trigger frame, and aluminum clamping feedneck
  • Dual cocking rods for smoother pump stroke
  • Quick-release bolt
  • Rock Steady regulator
  • Macroline with swivel fittings
  • On/off ASA

Pros

Pump stroke is light, easy, and smooth
Pump handle is large and easy to hold
Phenomenal value for the cash among pump markers
Ergonomically feels good to use, even switching hands
Quick pump arm removal (just 2 screws) for easy maintenance

Cons

Exterior aluminum is cheaper than the rest of the marker and scratches easily
The quality of Azodin markers can be hit or miss
Very long trigger pull
Limited ability to upgrade or modify
Doesn't come with a hitman plate
The Top Paintball Marker for the Coin
The Top Paintball Marker for the Coin

6. Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Best Paintball Gun/Marker for the Money

When it comes to value you can't go wrong with anything from Tippmann. Their products have earned them a strong reputation. The Cronus Tactical gets the nod for two reasons.

First, its supreme customizability. Almost everything on this marker can be upgraded or customized if (more likely, when) you want to purchase those mods. And because the Cronus Tactical is so reliable and durable, you'll be able to make those changes over years without worrying about the marker failing. These markers are so durable that many paintball fields purchase them as rentals, which is a testament to how much of a beating they can take.

Second, the price point on this marker is incredible, generally well under $200. Whether you're looking for a quality entry-level marker or an inexpensive base model with a ton of customizability, chances are the Tippmann Cronus Tactical is for you.

Key Features
  • Mechanical, with reliable firing mechanism accurate up to 150 feet
  • Up to 8 bps firing speed semi-automatic
  • Gravity feed for paintballs
  • 9" ported barrel for quieter shooting
  • Open bolt blowback
  • Tactical MilSim design
  • High-impact composite build
  • Molded rubber grips are comfortable and slip-proof in wet conditions
  • 4 x 20 mm Picatinny rails to add attachments like red sights and scopes
  • CO2 (compressed air) and HPA (high pressure air) compatible
  • Heavier at 3.7 lbs

Pros

Tons of ability to upgrade or customize thanks to Picatinny rails
Cool tactical design
Features Tippmann's reliable inline bolt system that fires smoothly even with sub-par paint
Hands-down the top high performance paintball gun for the money

Cons

Heavier weight and bulk make it less ideal for speedball
Shorter firing range with 9" stock barrel (reported max of 75 feet) that you'll probably want to upgrade
Best Beginner Paintball Gun: Spyder Victor
Best Beginner Paintball Gun: Spyder Victor

7. Kingman Spyder Victor

Best Beginner Paintball Gun

I'll be straight with you: This is Kingman's lowest-end marker. But that doesn't mean it's garbage. To the contrary, the Spyder Victor delivers a surprisingly good experience for just north of $50.

Its components are mostly lower-quality to make that price point possible, resulting in accuracy issues beyond 40-50 feet and a good amount of chopped paint, but its highly customizable, has little blowback, and is extremely gas-efficient, all of which make it great for beginners. Nobody would confuse this for a high end expert gun but if you're at the beginner level just starting out it's a solid pick.

Key Features
  • Mechanical paintball gun
  • Blowback design with air efficient EKO Valve
  • Operates on both CO2 or HPA
  • Aluminum body with anodized matte finish
  • Non-slip rubber grip panel
  • Lightweight at just 2 lbs

Pros

Many upgrades available making it a great project marker
Air-efficient EKO Valve can fire up to 1,500 shots with a standard 20 oz compressed air tank (standard is 800)
Low recoil makes it great for the beginner

Cons

You get what you pay for as many parts are lower quality
Not accurate beyond 40-50 feet
Not consistent muzzle velocity
Best Pistol: Umarek T4E
Best Pistol: Umarek T4E

8. Umarex T4E

Best Paintball Pistol

Paintball pistols are a whole other beast and not optimal for competitive paintball when matched up against any other kind of marker, but they definitely have their place as either sidepieces or showpiece.

If that's your line of thought, the Umarex T4E is a phenomenal option.

T4E actually stands for Training For Engagement, meaning Umarex designed the T4E with the size, weight, and feel of an actual firearm. It shoots .43 caliber paintballs, powder balls, and rubber balls at about 360 feet per second (FPS). Unfortunately, this is well above the maximum-allowed firing rates of 280-285 feet per second, so you'll need to make some personal adjustments to make it field-legal. At the time of this writing the balls per second isn't clear.

If you're looking for a realistic type of paintball pistol for training purposes, check out our guide to the 17 Best Airsoft Pistols. Airsoft offers much more realism with many airsoft pistol manufacturers taking pride in how realistic they can make their guns, modeling them after classic firearms like the Beretta APX, P226, M1911, Desert Eagle, and others.

Key Features
  • Metal barrel and slide for realistic look, feel, and weight
  • 8-round, drop-free magazine with realistic mag release
  • Adjustable rear sight and fixed front sight
  • Picatinny accessory rail for easy mounting of lights, lasers, and other accessories
  • Fits duty holsters
  • 360 fps shooting out of the box
  • Self-lubricates for easy maintenance

Pros

Loud, satisfying pop on trigger pull
Durable metal construction
Realistic size and weight makes it ideal for firearm training
Fits duty holsters

Cons

Low shooting range as a .43 cal shooter
Shoots at 360 fps, which is faster than the typical 285 fps max allowed, so you'll have to down-regulate
Can be difficult to change your CO2 (compressed air) cartridge
Doesn't hold up well to wet and/or dirty conditions
Best Sniper Rifle: Tippmann A5 Sniper
Best Sniper Rifle: Tippmann A5 Sniper

9. Tippmann A5 Sniper

Best Paintball Sniper Rifle

The Tippmann A5 Sniper is the same marker as the standard Tippmann A5, except it comes with the sniper package with a longer barrel for more accurate long-range shooting. However, "sniping" can be misleading in paintball. If you're firing standard, round paintballs at or below the maximum allowable velocity, the longer sniper barrel won't give you more range.

But if a paintball sniper rifle is what you're after, the Tippmann A5 Sniper is your best option.

Key Features
  • Mechanical paintball gun
  • Long 16" barrel
  • Durable body made with aluminum die-cast receiver
  • Cyclone feed system increases loading speed
  • 250-foot range
  • 200-round stock hopper
  • 500-shot capacity on a single gas tank
  • Works with CO2 or HPA
  • Vertical front grip for a stable shooting experience
  • Maximum feed rate of 17 bps
  • Shock-absorbing end cap
  • Can be assembled and disassembled easily

Pros

Long 16" barrel and powerful firing pressure give you accuracy up to 250 feet
Shock absorbing end cap improves durability
Durable with Tippmann's brand name reliability - their markers are solid

Cons

Long barrel makes it harder to maneuver in the field
Can't achieve long-range sniper status with a regular round paintball type
Best Lightweight Paintball Gun: Empire Paintball Mini GS
Best Lightweight Paintball Gun: Empire Paintball Mini GS

10. Empire Paintball Mini GS

Best Lightweight Paintball Gun

There are several advantages to having a lightweight paintball gun, but maneuverability is at the top of the list. With an accurate shot from its 12" barrel and plenty of high-rate firing modes, the Empire Paintball Mini GS is an awesome entry-level or intermediate option, especially for speedball players. It's leagues better than its predecessor, the original Empire Mini, so don't let that marker's poor reputation dissuade you from adding the Mini GS to your arsenal.

Key Features

  • Electro-pneumatic paintball gun
  • Autococker threaded 12" aluminum barrel
  • Shockwave board provides easy access to firing modes (semi-auto, PSP, three-shot burst, millenium, ramping, and full-auto)
  • Fires between 180-200 PSI up to 23 bps
  • Fully rubber grip around front of the body
  • Clamping feedneck
  • Laser eyes on the inside
  • On/off ASA regulator
  • Lightweight at 1 lb, 14 oz

Pros

Very lightweight with great balance for easy field play
Minimal recoil from electro-pneumatic firing mechanism
Great accuracy with the 12" barrel
Every firing mode you could need for all types of play, including tournaments

Cons

Compact design isn't ideal for people with larger hands
Some tendency for gas tank to leak if not maintained
Most Reliable Paintball Gun: Tippmann 98 Custom
Most Reliable Paintball Gun: Tippmann 98 Custom

11. Tippmann 98 Custom

Most Reliable Paintball Gun

You could put just about any Tippmann marker in the "most reliable paintball gun" category, but the Tippmann 98 Custom gets the nod because it's the gold standard for durability and versatility.

In fact, its biggest plus is right in its name: its customizability.

The base model, shown in the image above, looks like a plain old marker. When fully loaded with whatever upgrades you like, it looks like something from Call of Duty.

Key Features
  • Mechanical paintball gun with semi-automatic firing and .68 caliber
  • Compatible with CO2 and HPA
  • 8.5" barrel length (11" on Custom Pro models)
  • Vertical removable foregrip
  • Built-in adjustable iron sight
  • Bottomline air feed
  • 3/8" Dovetail accessory rail and 7/8" Weaver-style rail
  • Removable feed elbow
  • Moderate weight at 2.9 lbs

Check Price on Amazon

Pros

Probably the most customizable marker available
Has Tippmann's signature durability and longevity
Efficient gas use and compatible with either CO2 or HPA

Cons

More recoil than you'd probably like
Stock barrel is just 8.5"
Base model weight isn't too bad but tons of accessory add-ons can make it heavy

Frequently Asked Questions

Which paintball gun is the most accurate?

We picked the Tippmann A5 Sniper for it's accurate long-range shooting. It has a long 16" barrel which gives it 250-foot range

Which paintball gun shoots the hardest?

The Umarex T4E shoots at about 360 feet per second (FPS), well above the maximum-allowed firing rates of 280-285 feet per second. You'll need to make some personal adjustments to make it field-legal.

What is the most expensive paintball gun?

The most expensive on our list is the Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R at $799.

What is the best pump paintball gun?

The Azodin KP3.5 KAOS is an excellent option.

What is the best mechanical paintball gun?

You'll be hard-pressed to find a finer mechanical marker than the Planet Eclipse Emek 100

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Featured image courtesy of Wallpaper Flare

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