Best Paintball Guns
The Top 11 Best Paintball Guns
Learn which paintball marker you should buy
The Best Paintball Guns for 2021 👇
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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)
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
The Three Major Types of Paintball Guns
There are three main types of paintball markers: pump mechanical, and electronic.
Pump paintball guns have a shotgun-style pump which makes them slow and not very accurate.
So really we're talking about two main types - mechanical vs electronic. Mechanical paintball guns are cheaper and easier to operate than electronic, but they are also less accurate.
Electronic paintball guns and more expensive, accurate, and faster. This makes them a great choice for speedball.
What Paintball Guns do the Pros Use?
Our friends at Valken have a great article about the paintball markers the pros use. According to them, here are a few popular models:
We feature Valken's paintballs in our best paintballs article, be sure to check 'em out.
How Do Paintball Guns Work?
Mechanical paintball guns are semi-automatic which means one trigger pull fires one paintball. They are fully mechanized without repeated hand-pumping or external power sources.
When you pull the trigger pull it moves a sear catch, which in turn releases a striker held under spring pressure. The spring decompresses and propels the striker forward where it hits a valve that releases compressed air. The firing pressure launches your paintball down the field while at the same time blows the striker back into its beginning position where it locks behind the sear catch until you hit the trigger again.
This is blowback design and is similar to the recoil action of a traditional firearm.
Electronic paintball markers are complex compared to mechanical paintball markers. There are three main types:
- Electronic Sear Trippers
- Pneumatic Poppet Valves
- Spool Valves
Each works differently but they all run off a circuit-driven mechanism powered by a battery (either 9V or rechargeable).
CO2 vs HPA Paintball Air Tanks
Both CO2 and HPA have their place but HPA has pretty much taken over.
- CO2 tanks are more expensive due to supply and delivery of liquid CO2
- Refilling CO2 is more time-consuming because you need specialized fittings and training
- HPA performs more reliably under various firing speeds and weather conditions
CO2 is a fine option for beginners or infrequent players using mechanical paintball guns but if you’re a serious paintball player HPA should be your choice.
The Quest for the Best Paintball Gun
While it's fun to debate and research, the real answer is that there is no best paintball marker - but there is a the best paintball gun for you and your specific situation.
I hope you found this article useful. Happy paintballing my friend!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What's the best paintball gun under $200?
The Tippmann Cronus Tactical Marker is our pick for the best paintball gun for the money.
- What's the best mechanical paintball gun?
You'll be hard-pressed to find a finer mechanical marker than the Planet Eclipse Emek 100.
- Which paintball gun is the most accurate?
We picked the Tippmann A5 Sniper for its 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 adjustments to make it field-legal.
- What's the most expensive paintball gun?
The most expensive on our list is the Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R at $799 but an Eclipse Bling Ego 09 will set you back $5,0001!
- What is the best pump paintball gun?
The Azodin KP3.5 KAOS is an excellent option.
You might also like
Featured image courtesy of Wallpaper Flare