The Best Paintball Tank of 2021

HPA vs CO2, Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber & More

David McBryan, Paintballer-in-Chief

David McBryan
Paintballer-in-Chief
Updated: 10/23/20
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Looking for the best paintball tank? We've got you covered as we look at the best CO2 tank for paintball, the best HPA tank, and 5 other top picks for every type of marker.

Best paintball tank - primary image

Your beautiful Planet Eclipse Etha 2 is nothing more than an expensive showpiece without a tank full of air.

Make the most of your marker with the best air tank possible.

(Or at least the best air tank within your budget.)

These are our picks for the best paintball air tanks for every kind of marker.

4 Key Paintball Tank Features

There's a ton of variety among paintball tanks, which makes selecting the single best paintball tank an impossible task. As you're shopping for paintball air tanks, keep these 4 features in mind:

  1. CO2 vs HPA: The propellant inside the tank
  2. Tank size: Measured in cubic inches and represented by "cu" or "ci"
  3. Tank pressure: Measured in PSI and more important to note for HPA tanks
  4. Aluminum vs carbon fiber: Material the tank is made of

I'll explain these more at the bottom of this article.

One more note: HPA tanks are described with a set of numbers like "48/3000" where the first number is the tank size (48 cubic inches) and the second number is the tank pressure (3000 PSI).

The Maddog 20 oz Refillable Aluminum CO2 Tank is the Best CO2 Tank For Paintball
The Maddog 20 oz Refillable Aluminum CO2 Tank is the Best CO2 Tank For Paintball

1. Maddog 20 oz Refillable Aluminum CO2 Tank

Best CO2 Tank For Paintball

The Maddog 20 oz Refillable Aluminum CO2 Tank weighs 3 lbs when filled and measures 10.5" long with enough capacity for up to 1,000 shots. That's more than enough for an entire day on the field (maybe even two).

The Ninja Paintball 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Best 4500 PSI HPA Tank
The Ninja Paintball 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Best 4500 PSI HPA Tank

2. Ninja Paintball 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank

Best 4500 PSI HPA Tank

Ninja Paintball makes the best paintball tanks, and this 48/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the best HPA tank, hands down. It weighs 2 lb 10 oz filled, measures 10.5" long, and comes with an adjustable regulator with variable 450-850 PSI output. Its high-volume, high-pressure design has the capacity for up to 1,000 shots per tank at 850 PSI.

The HK Army 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank is the Best 3000 PSI HPA Tank
The HK Army 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank is the Best 3000 PSI HPA Tank

3. HK Army 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank

Best 3000 PSI HPA Tank

The HK Army 48/3000 PSI Aluminum HPA Tank has a regulator with 800 PSI output and aluminum's extreme durability. It's the most reliable 3000 PSI HPA tank and is compatible with any air line available.

The HK Army Aerolite 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Best Budget 4500 PSI HPA Tank
The HK Army Aerolite 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Best Budget 4500 PSI HPA Tank

4. HK Army Aerolite 68/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank

Best Budget 4500 PSI HPA Tank

"Budget" and "4500 PSI HPA tank" usually don't go together because 4500 PSI tanks need to be made from carbon fiber, which is more expensive than aluminum. However, this HK Army Aerolite 68/4500 HPA Tank costs about the same as the Ninja Paintball 45/4500 HPA Tank yet has 51% more shot capacity. That sounds like one of the best budget HPA tanks to me.

The Tippmann 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank is the Best Budget 3000 PSI HPA Tank
The Tippmann 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank is the Best Budget 3000 PSI HPA Tank

5. Tippmann 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank

Best Budget 3000 PSI HPA Tank

The Tippmann 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank has two price-lowering factors working in its favor: smaller 48 cu volume and aluminum tank construction. Its regulator ensures consistent 800 PSI output and it's made by Tippmann, one of the best brands in paintball.

The Ninja Paintball Pro V2 90/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Biggest Paintball Tank
The Ninja Paintball Pro V2 90/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank is the Biggest Paintball Tank

6. Ninja Paintball Pro V2 90/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank

Biggest Paintball Tank

With a 90 cu volume, the Ninja Paintball Pro V2 90/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank puts all others to shame. You may be able to find 128 cu HPA tanks out there, but they're few and very far between.

The HK Army 13/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank Lightest Paintball Tank
The HK Army 13/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank Lightest Paintball Tank

7. HK Army 13/3000 Aluminum HPA Tank

Lightest Paintball Tank

It doesn't get much smaller than the 13/3000 HPA tank by HK Army. Even though it's made from heavier aluminum, it's just so damn tiny with a 13 cu volume and under 2 lb weight when filled.

Best Paintball Tank Buyer's Guide

If you're unsure of which paintball tank to buy, this next section is for you.

There are 4 key features you'll need to keep in mind when shopping for the best tank for paintball:

  1. CO2 vs HPA
  2. Tank size
  3. Tank pressure
  4. Aluminum vs carbon fiber

CO2 vs HPA

CO2 and HPA are the two most common propellants used in paintball. Which you need is dictated by the paintball gun you're using, and each has its advantages:

Advantages of CO2

  • More affordable
  • Refills are more widely available

Advantages of HPA

  • Fires with more consistent pressure across a wider range of temperatures
  • Virtually required on high-end electronic markers
  • More flexibility because of the previous bullet point
  • Easier to refill yourself

Our full CO2 vs HPA comparison has a ton more info.

Tank Size & Pressure

Paintball tanks come in a variety of sizes and pressures.

I'll look at both size and pressure together because they work in tandem to determine your shot capacity before needing refills.

Let's look at CO2 and HPA separately.

CO2 Tank Sizes

  • CO2 tanks come in two types: single-use cartridges and refillable tanks.
  • Single-use cartridges generally weigh 12 grams and can fire up to 35 shots before needing to be replaced.
  • Refillable CO2 tanks generally range from 9-36 oz with 36 oz tanks firing up to 1,600 shots before needing to be refilled.

HPA Tank Sizes

  • HPA tanks are rated by maximum allowable pressure (PSI) and come in 3000 PSI and 4500 PSI ratings.
  • They also vary in volume, measured in cubic inches (cu or ci), and generally range from 13-90 cu.
  • HPA tank shot capacity depends on both tank pressure and tank volume.
  • On the low end, a 13 cubic inch HPA tank with 3000 PSI pressure (13/3000) can fire up to 500 shots before needing to be refilled.
  • On the high end, a 90 cubic inch HPA tank with 4500 PSI pressure (90/4500) can fire up to 1,400 shots before needing to be refilled.

Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber

Paintball tanks are made from either aluminum or carbon fiber (also called composite tanks). Each has its advantages.

Advantages of Aluminum

  • Much less expensive (often 1/3 the price of carbon fiber tanks)
  • More durable

Advantages of Carbon Fiber

  • Much lighter (about 1 lb less compared to similarly-sized aluminum tanks)
  • Higher pressure rating up to 4500 PSI (aluminum is only rated to 3000 PSI)

CO2 tanks are made exclusively from aluminum.3000 PSI HPA tanks are made from both aluminum and carbon fiber.4500 PSI HPA tanks are made exclusively from carbon fiber.

Do I Need a Paintball Air Tank Regulator?

A paintball air tank regulator ensures the pressure flowing into your marker doesn't exceed the marker's upper limit, usually 750-850 PSI. This prevents damage to your marker and keeps shot velocities to the legal limits.

CO2 tanks are pressurized to about 800 PSI, so you don't need a regulator.

HPA tanks are pressured to either 3000 PSI or 4500 PSI, so you do need a regulator. Some HPA tanks come with one. Some are sold separately. Most HPA tank regulators with down-regulate pressure to an 800 PSI output, but you can also buy adjustable regulators that let you change the output pressure, usually in a range of 450-850 PSI. Lower pressures mean more shots per tank but slower velocities.

Your regulator is an important part of your air tank assembly, so don't overlook it. The best HPA tank regulators are lightweight and deliver consistent pressure from beginning to end, and consistent pressure means consistent velocities and predictable shot trajectories.

What Stores Refill CO2 Tanks?

Welding supply shops (like Airgas) and sporting goods store (like DICK") are two common places where paintballers refill their CO2 tanks. Just Google "CO2 fill stations near me" for a complete list.

Where to Refill Compressed Air Tanks?

Places that refill HPA tanks aren't as common as those that refill CO2, so a good first place to check is your local paintball field. Scuba shops are a great place to get HPA tank refills, but, obviously, not everyone has a scuba shop nearby. Ask local paintballers or check online forums for other places to refill compressed air tanks.

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