The Best Paintball Hopper of 2021

Dye Rotor R2 vs Virtue Spire IV (Who Wins?)

David McBryan, Paintballer-in-Chief

David McBryan
Paintballer-in-Chief
Updated: 10/23/20
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There are two clear contenders atop every list of the best paintball hoppers: the Dye Rotor R2 and Virtue Spire IV. Which is our pick for the best paintball loader? Scroll down to find out.

Best paintball hopper - primary image

Paintball hopper manufacturers try to wow you with bold claims:

  • "Our hopper can feed 50 bps!"
  • "It holds up to 400 paintballs!"
  • "I just ate 3 feet of sub for lunch!"

OK, that last one is genuinely impressive. And the second one has some benefit too.

But 50 bps? Who needs that?

Electronic markers with ramping modes like PSP, NXL, and NPPL cap out at 15 bps in accordance with tournament rules. Most paintball fields will cap you at 12-15 bps, and semi-automatic markers can't approach those numbers anyway.

This article's purpose is to wade through the chafe and cut the fluff so you get just what you came here for: the best paintball hopper.

Paintball Hoppers vs Loaders

You'll see these terms used interchangeably because they mean the same thing. Hoppers load paintballs into your marker, so they're also called loaders.

Gravity-Fed vs Electronic Hoppers

Paintball hoppers come in two basic types:

  1. Gravity-fed: Use gravity to load paintballs into your marker
  2. Electronic: Use battery-power to force paintballs into your marker faster than Mother Nature can on her own

Gravity-fed hoppers are less expensive and can load 10-12 bps into your marker. Considering most players can't pull the trigger faster than 7-8 bps, there's little reason to spring for an electronic hopper if you're using a mechanical, semi-automatic paintball gun.

But if you're using an electronic paintball gun, then you absolutely need an electronic hopper to take advantage of the many advanced firing modes up to the max-allowed 15 bps rate.

With those distinctions out of the way, let's take a look at the best paintball loaders of both types.

The Virtue Spire IV is the Best Electronic Paintball Hopper
The Virtue Spire IV is the Best Electronic Paintball Hopper

1. Virtue Spire IV Electronic Loader

Best Electronic Paintball Hopper

The Virtue Spire IV Electronic Loader is in a virtual tie for Best Paintball Hopper with the Dye Rotor R2. The Spire IV is smoother and more reliable up to 13-14 bps, at which point the Rotor R2 is the better loader. But considering the max-allowed firing rate is 15 bps, what do you think is more important

  • The first 14 bps
  • The 15th and final bps

I'll take the first 14, and that's why we think the best paintball hopper is the Virtue Spire IV Electronic Loader.

The Proto Primo is the Best Gravity-Fed Hopper
The Proto Primo is the Best Gravity-Fed Hopper

2. Proto Primo Gravity-Fed Loader

Best Gravity-Fed Hopper

The Proto Primo's hopper design efficiently feeds paintballs into your marker faster than any other gravity-fed loader. It almost never jams and it'll outpace your semi-automatic firing all day, every day.

The Dye Rotor R2 Electronic Loader is the Fastest Paintball Loader
The Dye Rotor R2 Electronic Loader is the Fastest Paintball Loader

3. Dye Rotor R2 Electronic Loader

Fastest Paintball Loader

The narrow loser to the top-ranked electronic loader β€” the Virtue Spire IV β€” the Dye Rotor Series actually has a longer track record of success at the pro level than any other hopper. These hoppers are lightweight, compatible with every paintball marker out there, never jam, and can fire over 50 bps. You'll have it for life, making it a worthwhile investment.

The HK Army Pinokio Loader is the Biggest Paintball Hopper
The HK Army Pinokio Loader is the Biggest Paintball Hopper

4. HK Army Pinokio Loader

Biggest Paintball Hopper

The HK Army Pinokio has a nifty design that lets you expand its capacity from 250 paintballs β€” the same size as other high-end hoppers here β€” to an astonishing 400 paintballs by adding the neck attachment, all while remaining as light and maneuverable as possible. The larger volume is great for woodsball and pairs well with some of the best markers for woodsball. And despite the Pinokio's high capacity, it can still feed over 30 bps.

The Valken V-Max Plus Electronic Loader is the Lightest Paintball Hopper
The Valken V-Max Plus Electronic Loader is the Lightest Paintball Hopper

5. Valken V-Max Plus Electronic Loader

Lightest Paintball Hopper

The Valken V-Max Plus has a 220-paintball capacity yet weighs under 1 pound while other electronic hoppers here weigh at least a few ounces more. However, the Valken V-Max Plus is only compatible with .68 caliber markers.

The Tippmann Cyclone Feed is the Best Low-Profile Paintball Hopper
The Tippmann Cyclone Feed is the Best Low-Profile Paintball Hopper

6. Tippmann Cyclone Feed Low-Profile Hopper

Best Low-Profile Paintball Hopper

Tippmann shows off their design chops once again with their Cyclone Feed Low-Profile Hopper System, which works on the Tippmann A5, X7 Phenom, and other Cyclone Feed-compatible markers.

The JT Paintball Revolution Electronic Loader is the Best Cheap Paintball Hopper
The JT Paintball Revolution Electronic Loader is the Best Cheap Paintball Hopper

7. JT Paintball Revolution Electronic Loader

Best Cheap Paintball Hopper

The JT Paintball Revolution Electronic Loader was revolutionary when its paddle-powered, paintball-feeding system was first designed about 15 years ago, but it just can't keep up with best paintball hoppers above. Still, it's just about the cheapest electronic loader you'll find and feeds paintballs at 12 bps β€” the top end of what the best gravity-fed hopper can do β€” with a 180-paintball capacity.

Honorable Mentions For Best Paintball Hopper

There are a few other paintball loaders I haven't mentioned that clearly aren't the best paintball hopper but do have their place for different types of players. Let's run through a few more with a quick overview of why I like them.

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