How To Fill A Paintball Tank With An Air Compressor

how to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor

Those are some electrifying moments you spend in the paintball battle arena. But what’s so annoying about this sport is refilling your marker (paint gun) every now and then.

Paintball stores charge you $4 for per 1000 PSI air. If your paintball tank has a 4500 PSI rating, you’ve to spend $16 at least every time to fill the tank.

Guess what! You can buy a new tank within 60 bucks. So, renting a service outside doesn’t make any sense. But how to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor at home then?

Well, that’s what I’ll share in this guide. You can refill a tank following 3 methods. Read along to learn them all and save you money from the next game.


Types of Paintball Tank

If considering the gas source, there are mainly 2 types of paintball tanks available in the market, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and HPA (High-pressure Air) paintable tanks.

Depending on the type of tank you’re using, the refilling system may vary slightly. Each of them has its own bads and goods.

The availability, suitable markers (paintball guns), and cartridges are all somewhat related and influence the decision of which type of paintball tanks you’ll need.

CO2 or Carbon Dioxide Paintball Tank

From the inception of this sport, the Carbon dioxide tank has been used, and it’s still widespread.

The particular gas tank works in a unique way. It changes its state from liquid to gas to create pressure. And that pressure ends up driving the ball out of the marker.

Technically this trait is suitable for transportation, minimizing gas leakage issues. But there is a downside of liquid CO2 also.

Because of its nature, it requires a minimum of 70° Fahrenheit for the transformation.

Less than that can generate pressure to drive balls. But your shots will be inconsistent. So, these paintball tanks become useless during cold seasons or in low-temperature zones.

Average CO2 tanks feature around 4500 PSI (pounds per square inch) ratings. However, this can vary sometimes.

HPA or High-pressure Air Paintball Tank

It’s also known as compressed air, Nitrogen, or N2 tank. This sort of tank was used first in the early 90s.

Unlike CO2 tanks, this one features natural gas states from beginning to end while creating air pressure to drive balls.

Hence, there is no temperature maintenance issue with HPA paintball tanks. You can store this tank at room temperature throughout the year.

You’ll also get higher firing rates with these tanks compared to CO2. Average HPA tanks come with 3000-4500 PSI ratings.

The first drawback of these compressed air tanks is their high pricing. These are also costlier to refill. Apart from that, there is also safety concern related, as nitrogen gas is flammable.

Where Can You Fill Paintball Tank?

You can fill a paintball tank both at home and from different shops. When it comes to do it yourself, you’ll need a gas filling station and a scuba tank.

For both HPA and CO2 tank filling, you can also get support from paintball pro shops. They provide refilling service based on thousand PSI gas.

You can also get the same service from a scuba store. They usually offer to buy and rent similar services.

Many think gas stations provide refilling services for paintball tanks. Well, they don’t. And even if some do, it’ll just waste your money.

Local filling stations supply gas with low PSI, ranging from 30 to 200. The range is useful for vehicles but isn’t adequate for the pressure you need for markers.

How to Fill a Paintball Tank with an Air Compressor?

If you’re willing to save some money on refilling your paintball tank, it’s wise to do it at home. Follow the below guide.

“This instruction is based on the HPA paintball tank. CO2 tank refilling requires professional attention to avoid accidents.”

Method 1: Refilling from a Larger Tank

If you already have a workshop tank at home, this method is the easiest way to follow. You just need a fill station to perform the job.

This device allows you to regulate the air pressure that’ll be transferred through the scuba tank to the paintball tank. Connect one end of the filling station to the paintball tank and the hose line to the scuba tank.

However, having to fill a larger tank less frequently doesn’t actually solve your problem. You still have to take the bigger tank to fill once in a while.

Method 2: Using a Hand Pump Air Compressor

This method simply consists of a typical hand pump, and you’ll be pumping like you would a bike tire.

These pumps compress air and stages before releasing air into your tank. They usually cost 60 dollars to 200 dollars.

However, the bad part is it’s too time-consuming and stressful. For example, filling a paintball with hand pumps requires around 900 pumps to refill a 3000 PSI tank.

If you’ve got a 13-inch cubic tank, this method is simple and perfect to refill without any issue.

Method 3: Using an Electric Air Compressor (Scuba)

Industrial compressors like the ones you see at the paintball shooting range are gigantic and expensive. This can cost you thousands of dollars, which isn’t practical for occasional jobs.

But the good part is, nowadays, you can get a miniature high-pressure air compressor online. They do the same as the larger size but take a longer time.

Step 1: Check the PSI

There is a pressure gauge display on the compressor, which shows you different levels of PSI while working.

Usually, the yellow can take you up to 1500 PSI, the green 3000 PSI, and the red 6000 PSI.

Before moving forward, check the maximum PSI support of your paintball tank. Always keep 500 PSI less during refilling.

Step 2: Temperature Precautions

In most electronic compressors, you can find a temperature reading monitor. Never exceed 65-degree Celsius (not Fahrenheit) during the job.

To keep the room temperature, you’ll need to do the necessary ice setup. So, fill a bucket full of water and add some ice into it.

Step 3: Set up the Pump

Since it’s an engine-driven instrument, you must ensure that the oil is on point. Therefore, you’ll need fully synthetic oil.

Pour in some oil and make sure it gets enough to reach the red dot (the measurement section is available on the front.)

Next, you’ve to plug in the tube. Insert one to the bottom connector and another to the top connector.

Then connect the hose to the pump. Make sure to push the toggle button forward. After that, put the pump inside the water.

Step 4: Turn on the Compressor

Insert the power cables of both pump and compressor into any nearby electrical outlet.

You’ll start to notice the monitor’s temperature dropping after connecting the cable. It’s because the pump is inside the ice bucket, and the cold water is entering the compressor and cooling it.

Step 5: Start Refilling Paintball Tank

For this guide, I’m using a 4,500 PSI tank. Whatever model you’re using, just plug in the tank to the compressor now. To do so, connect the hose pipe end to the paintball tank.

Turn on the machine. Then rotate the fill station knob clockwise to set it to 4000 PSI (set yours according to the tank limit).

When you start the process, the temperature will slowly increase. Monitor the display and turn off the machine if it crosses 65-degree Celsius.

It might take approximately 5 minutes to complete the filling. When it’s done, first release the air by rotating the fill station knob counterclockwise. And then turn off the machine.

How to Store Paintball Tank When Not in Use?

Paintball tanks are filled with compressed air, which can cause a hazardous scene if released improperly. To store your paintball tank when not in use, make sure:

  • It’s properly sealed.
  • Remove the fill cap and unscrew the top of the tank.
  • Make sure the valve is closed by pressing down on it with a finger. If it’s open, close it by hand.
  • Lay the tank on its side and keep the valve end facing up.
  • Put duct tape over the top of the valve end, then put the cap back on (screw it on tight).
  • Then keep it inside the paintball tank closet and store it.

Tips for Using Paintball Tank Air Compressor

Air compressors can be dangerous if you don’t follow the necessary precautions. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when using an air compressor:

  • Always wear proper safety gear like eye protection and a dust mask.
  • Keep the compressor well away from objects that could be hit by the rotating parts.
  • Use the correct pressure for the paintball tank you’re filling. Too high pressure can damage the tank, while too low pressure won’t fill it with air fast enough.
  • Never use a CO2 air compressor to inflate balloons or toys – these are made for different purposes and can easily be damaged by the excessive air pressure. The same goes for hand tires.
  • Don’t run an air compressor in an enclosed space, as the compressed air is flammable and can cause serious injury if any wrong action happens.
  • Monitor the pressure of your tank on a regular basis.
  • Never use your air compressor to clean paintball markers and other plastic equipment. This could damage or even break parts that are sensitive to high air pressure.
  • You should never use air compressors, especially portable ones, indoors or near flammable objects due to the risk of fire from short-circuiting the electrical system and

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I fill my paintball tank with regular air compressors?

Yes, you can fill a paintball tank with a regular air compressor if it delivers either compressed or CO2 air. For instance, you can use scuba air tanks.

2. What pressure do paintball guns run at? / How much psi should a paintball tank have?

Average paintball guns or markers run at 3000-4500 PSI. However, nowadays, some markers have up to 5000 PSI ratings. While refilling, you should maintain the PSI rating of your tank.

3. Can I use compressed air in a CO2 paintball gun?

Some paintball gun tanks have specific air types, while some are built in a way to support both liquid and gas. If your paintball gun tank support either air type, you can refill it with CO2.

4. Is compressed air or CO2 better for paintball?

Even though compressed or Nitrogen air is expensive but it’s better than CO2 for paintball. Compressed air provides more consistency than others.

5. How often do paintball tanks need to be hydro?

Usually, paintball air tanks come with an average of 12-15 years of lifetime. So, whether it’s a carbon fiber or fully aluminum air tank, you should hydro it once in 4-5 years.

Wrapping Up

That’s the whole process of how to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor at home. Among them, the best refilling technique is using an electric compressor that might cost you around 400 bucks. Instead, you can use a hand pump, but it requires a lot of time and effort.

So, how do you find this guide helpful? What’s your first-time refiling experience? Buzz me with your feedback. Cheer!

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