Updated Jan 2021:
Firstly, if you’re brand-new to the wonderful sport of paintball, check out our complete beginners guide to buying a paintball gun. This post is a goldmine of information that will teach you the different types of paintball play and the guns (or markers) that for each. Also, if you’re on a budget check out our reviews of best paintball gun under $300 or best paintball gun under $200 (for a strict budget 🙂 )
|BEST OVERALL: Tippmann Cronus Basic & Tactical Paintball Gun Kit||Buy Now|
|BEST FOR SERIOUS PLAYERS: Tippmann A-5 .68 Caliber||Buy Now|
|BEST FOR SPEEDBALL: Spyder Victor Semi-Auto||Buy Now|
|BEST FOR WOODSBALL: Tippmann Stormer Elite .68 Caliber||Buy Now|
|BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Tippmann 98 Custom Platinum Series .68 Caliber||Buy Now|
|BEST HIGH END: Empire Mini GS Paintball Gun Legendary Kit||Buy Now|
|MOST ACCURATE: Empire Axe 2.0 Marker||Buy Now|
|BEST PISTOL: Umarex T4E Walther PPQ .43 Caliber||Buy Now|
While there are different variations of the game…the crucial component to winning always stays the same – the paintball gun. And price doesn’t always get you the best.
The key is understanding which gun to get for your skill-level and style of play. A speedball player is going to look for a rapid-fire e-trigger while a woodsball player might lean towards a longer-range sniper style marker.
At the moment, there are hundreds of paintball gun models available on the market for every type of player but they biggest consideration is generally price. You want the best marker for your price range – whatever it might be.
We’ve got detailed reviews of each of our picks at the bottom but if you just want to cut to the chase then the table below breaks down our all-around best paintball guns based at every price range as well as the best paintball pistol for your money:
- Some things to consider…
- What To Look At When Choosing A Paintball Gun
- Top 5 Paintball Guns for 2020
- Tippman Cronus (Best Overall)
- Tippmann A5 (Best for Pros)
- Spyder MR6 (Best for Speedball)
- Tippmann US Army Project Salvo (Best for Woodsball)
- Tippmann 98 Custom (Best for Beginners)
- Empire Mini (Best High-End)
- Empire Axe (Most Accurate)
- Tippmann X7 Phenom (Best for Pros)
- The Best Paintball Pistols
- The Ultimate Paintball Gun Buyers Guide
- Choosing The Best Model For Your Play Style
- Electronic or Mechanical Guns?
- Final Tips
Some things to consider…
Choosing a paintball gun may sound like an easy task but it’s easier said than done…especially these days when there are SO many options on the market. One of the first things to consider prior to buying a paintball gun is the place where you intend to use it.
In case you plan just to play on and off with your friends on your own territory, you’re not going to want to spend the money for the most advanced paintball gun model. This can be just a waste of money since you will not be able to use the functions of the paintball gun to their full potential.
Moreover, the place also will determine the source of air or gas supply that you will need for your gun. Professional fields always have access to the compressed air or the CO2 so this is not an issue…however, if you’re going to be raging in the woods for hours at a time, then lack of CO2 will sink your chances quickly.
But if you are planning to play on your own, your access might be limited. Thus, in case you choose the paintball gun model, which requires CO2, but you don’t have the access to it/its limited, this can be an issue.
Bear in mind that CO2 is a liquid gas and it can be potentially damaging to the guns that are not designed to handle the liquid – you could purchase an expensive paintball gun and damage it by just using the wrong fuel.
What To Look At When Choosing A Paintball Gun
Now, when you know why you should not disregard the importance of choosing your paintball gun carefully, let’s move on and discuss the main factors you should pay attention to when choosing one. These 7 factors are where you want to identify what matters and what you’re willing to live without.
There are three basic types of a paintball gun: pump, mechanical and electro-pneumatic.
Pump paintball guns are how i began but they’re already a somewhat outdated option for modern players, so I’m only going to focus on the other two options.
Mechanical paintball guns require no electricity, which is a great advantage. They are also very reliable but tend to be slower and louder than the electronic type of paintball guns.
Electronic paintball guns operate with the help of batteries and circuit boards. This type of guns fires more consistently and is usually quieter. However, they are harder to fix and tend to be more expensive than the mechanical models.
The choice comes down to you BUT if you can fine an electronic marker for a good price, then it’s probably worth springing for the extra dough.
After you have decided on the desired type of your paintball gun, next thing to consider – the weight of your gun. This is one of the most important factors to pay attention to when choosing your paintball game best companion.
Here, the preference always goes for the lighter models, considering that you will need to carry the gun around. Aside just from carrying it, you will need to be able to move quickly and discreetly, so make sure you are choosing the gun that will provide you with the right level of mobility.
Think of the places you are most likely to be playing in. Also, consider settings of the paintball game’s field. Unless the playing field is a relatively dark place, better opt for a gun that will not stand out.
The bright color of the gun can appear as a problem – it can be very easy to spot the screaming color of the paintball gun in the field. Thus, you risk being noticed and shot very often. I would suggest going to darker and calmer colors of a paintball gun.
As you develop yourself as a paintball player, you will be willing to have more sophisticated functions in your gun. Thus, I would suggest opting for a model that is upgradable. Check if there any updates available for your model of a paintball gun.
Some of the paintball gun models are not quite spread. Hence, it can be very difficult to find readily available upgrades for these models.
It might happen that at one point of time your paintball gun will need maintenance. It is important to check the availability of the repair parts for the desired model, so you don’t have to wait too long to get your gun fixed.
Level Of Commitment
Last, but not the least, think about how much you will be involved with the paintball game. Ask yourself: how often will you play?
In case you are determined to play multiple times a week, or, at least, every week, invest a little more in a durable paintball gun – it will serve you a good time.
However, if you plan to play once or twice a month, it is better to rent paintball guns from the fields or to borrow them from your friends.
Top 5 Paintball Guns for 2020
Finally we get to THE LIST! We decided to break down the best overall gun for every price point. These markers are good all-around guns for every style of play and pack a huge bang for the buck. If you’re a highly specialized player this list may not be for you but if you’re just looking for the best value within your budget…this is for you:
For those who like the realism and tactical appeal brought by Tippmann models; this is a fine entry into that world of paintball markers. The Cronus is designed to remind of the great 98 custom; but it’s also an improvement in almost every way.
With this gun, you get a removable stock and barrel shield; adding a very cool look for this gun that is suited for intermediate players. Most users have reported extremely good experiences, especially in terms of the gun’s accuracy. Plus, it’s very versatile; the gun comes with a rail system you can use to attach all kinds of accessories like grips, lights, and dot sights. Keeping all of that in mind, we can safely say that the Cronus won’t be a disappointment for even the most experienced players. And the fact that it comes with an agreeable price tag and fine durability isn’t a bad argument either. Any player that’s after a long-lasting paintball marker on a tight budget will find this being a perfect fit!
What is the Best Pro Paintball Gun?
In a lot of ways, it wouldn’t be wrong to view the Tippmann A5 as the louder, bigger brother of the Cronus…but on steroids! If you’re someone who values the sense of a military simulation in their paintball game, this gun will prove not only realistic-looking, but also incredibly adaptable.
It comes with quite a few options for different body kits, all of which look amazingly realistic. Want your gun to look like an MP5-SD, or a HK 417? Perhaps a more menacing but classic AK-47? This gun can achieve all of that! There is also a wide array of barrels, grips, magazines, barrels, and stocks available; making the list of combinations basically endless.
As for the basic version of the gun itself – it comes with a nice safety fire selector on the grip, as well as the option for single shooting mode. If you’re someone who also wants the option of full auto, there’s an electronic trigger you can use instead of the stock grip. However, one of the most interesting features of this rifle is the A5 threaded barrel; it’s compatible with all sorts of other paintball markers, so you won’t have a difficult time swapping it out if you need to.
The loading system that comes with the gun out of the box is quite awesome – the Cyclone loading mechanism. It goes a long way towards stopping paint chopping, so you’ll find it incredibly useful for intense matches and confrontations. All in all, this is a pretty popular gun with scenario paintball players, as you might have guessed. And it’s definitely a great package providing enough versatility for any kind of intermediate or professional-level player.
Are Spyder Paintball Guns Any Good?
Yes. Spyder is a great (but lesser known) brand. Definitely on-par with Tippmann but they just haven’t been around since the 80’s. The Spyder MR6 is quite similarly designed compared to the first gun we’ve reviewed here – the Tippmann Cronus. Likewise, it sports a sturdy stock and a long barrel, both allowing for increased accuracy levels. The design of the gun is very stylish, being entirely black – and the materials that the gun is made of are extremely high-quality. It’s also versatile enough, considering the double-tap trigger that makes it great for both woodsball and speedball; its long barrel makes it capable of achieving the longer ranges needed for the former. All in all, something that both intermediate and beginner players will appreciate.
For our next pick of the draft, we’re going back to one of the most popular paintball brands on the market. That’s right, you’ve probably guessed it – the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo! Right off the bat, we have to say that this might be the very best-looking marker we’ve recently had the chance to try out. There are simply no two ways about it – the gun is just so darn cool. If you’re a fan of woodsball or tactical simulations, this real-looking marker will surely satisfy all of your needs. It simply looks stunningly badass, always sure to provoke a compliment even from opposing players.
The Project Salvo also comes with a front grip and rear stock, as well as a red dot sight; making sure that the package you get with it is versatile enough even without purchasing separate attachments. And when you couple that with Tippmann’s Cyclone feeding system, you’ve got yourself a nifty paintball gun that can help you absolutely dominate the playing field.
Though, depending on your personal preferences and physical prowess, there’s something that could either be a bug or a feature; the added weight that these attachments are bound to provide. Regardless of that, the stock attachments are expertly designed to look completely realistic, adding to the overall simulation vibe that the marker gives off. And thanks to the gun’s longer barrel, the accuracy you can achieve is not bad at all. If you want a gun that packs a punch while also looking awesome – definitely look no further than the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo!
Saying that the Tippmann 98 Custom represents an extremely popular paintball marker would definitely be a big understatement; it’s one of the most widely used models in the entire world. And if you’re at all familiar with this particular model, you probably know why that’s the case already; we’re talking about a gun with a fantastically low price point, making it great for absolute newbies buying their first marker. On the other hand, it’s also easy to use and pretty reliable – making it the basic stock of any local paintball shop. While it’s affordable, it’s also fine-made; making it quite a bit more valuable than the nameless cheap markers you can find at Wall-mart.
It comes with a Picatinny rail, allowing for a whole range of optics attachments; such a reflex sight for quick target acquisition. Because of everything we’ve mentioned so far, this is probably the best gun that a new player can buy for an agreeably low amount of money. The rail system we’ve just mentioned means that, although the gun itself is a pretty basic entry-level offering, you have plenty of options to upgrade it as time goes on. For instance, you could add the very popular flatline barrel, increasing your accuracy and range simultaneously. While this is the most popular entry-level gun anywhere in the world, many high-level players still keep a spare one as a backup; a testament to its lasting quality.
If we’re talking about brands of high-end paintball guns, we’d really be remiss to leave out Empire off the list. This is one brand that truly lives up to its titular name, and that goes for their Empire Mini paintball marker as well. This is one of the tiniest paintball guns you can find, but make no mistake; it’s still a force to be reckoned with. It’s very easy to manoeuver and control, mostly due to its lightweight appeal. Plus, the e-trigger it comes with means you’ll be able to shoot as quietly as possible, but also quickly.
The marker’s design has two handles, meaning it’s very comfortable and the pressure gauge that’s found on the air connector definitely represents a nice touch as well; making sure you’re always aware of how much air you’ve got left in the tank with nothing more than a quick glance. If you’re someone who wants to participate in entry-level tournaments, this is definitely a fine choice; its tight accuracy and small size make it perfect for indoor close combat situations.
What is the most accurate Paintball Gun?
The answer: the Empire Axe; another fine offering from the same manufacturer. If you intend to get into more serious paintball competitions and tournaments, the chances of coming across this popular gun are quite high. It’s a paintball marker that’s very popular, as it packs a heavy punch. The gun has as many firing modes as you’d like, being capable of performing both full auto, ramping, and single shot.
Advanced paintball players do require a certain standard of quality out of their markers – and the Empire Axe definitely passes that test. This is certainly a rock-solid gun whose e-trigger mechanism provides for plenty of versatility. Regardless of whether you want to take part in outdoor woodsball extended games or some quick speedball, this is a great choice; albeit a pricey one. While not all players can afford this, its upgrade potential, accuracy, and versatility definitely make sure that it’s on everyone’s wishlists.
We’re not sure if ‘badassery’ is actually a genuine word, but it definitely sums up our next paintball marker quite nicely – the Tippmann X7 Phenom. And just like the A5 that this brand produces, the X7 is also renowned for its high customizability; making it a frequent sight in all kinds of simulation games. Its visual upgrades make it incredibly good-looking if you want to invest some time and money into making it so; with a mechanical single shot and a lightweight frame that can bear all kinds of attachments with ease. Though, if the single-shot mode bothers you, there’s always the option of installing an e-grip with burst fire and full-auto firing modes.
The e-grip that’s designed for this gun has another neat feature; if its battery goes out in the middle of the game, you don’t have to make any kind of pit stop or lose momentum. Instead, the gun will automatically switch to the mechanically-powered single-shot mode. Also, if you put the gun in safe mode it will also save battery power, due to the design of its internal circuitry. Many woodsball players appreciate this gun, seeing as it’s incredibly accurate over long and medium ranges. Plus, if you’re into scenario gameplay, its adaptable light frame makes it a fine choice for any game of that sort.
Sure, the price tag for this bad boy is quite higher than the one for Tippmann’s classic 98 Custom; but this gun earns its place on any list of high-level guns because of its quality, and not just its price. It’s not something an absolute beginner should think about investing in, but once you consider yourself an intermediate – definitely think about getting one!
The Best Paintball Pistols
Most serious paintball aficionados worth their salt tend to have a backup weapon with them; you never know when you’ll encounter a clogged barrel or a jam in the middle of an intense game. So, having a pistol handy will be a very cautious and worthwhile idea in such a scenario. Plus, there’s always the chance you might run out of ammo; if you’re in a close-quarters combat situation, switching to a secondary pistol will be far quicker than dealing with ammo pods or re-filling the hopper in the middle of the game. Sure, these pistols are something of a paintball luxury, as not all players carry them; but they’re still very fun to use, not to mention extremely useful.
If you’re someone who’s got some cash to burn on paintball; this Tippmann TiPX pistol will prove to be more than a worthy addition to your paintball arsenal. It’s a piece of gear that boasts an extremely high quality; with three magazines each capable of carrying 7 rounds of general paintball ammo. It’s very easy to reload as well.
While this paintball handgun isn’t too heavy while being fairly compact, you’ll find that it still manages to maintain a sense of realism that’s a well-known trait of the Tippmann brand. There’s also a semi-auto firing mode, provided by tiny CO2 cartridges that are found under the gun’s barrel. Also, you’ll find a tiny rail that gives you the option of attaching different accessories, like a laser sight. All in all, we can safely say that the TiPX is certainly one of the finest paintball handguns you can find in any market. Its high quality of design and extreme levels of reliability make it an awesome choice of sidearm for any player.
Our last handgun on this list is a better choice for players of a more casual disposition. Still, the JT ER2 Pump Pistol is a compact handgun marker, fitting the bill when it comes to firepower and accuracy.
With it, you get two CO2 containers right out of the box. Compared with other affordable paintball pistols in its price range, this one actually packs a heavy punch. While the tube feed system makes it less streamlined than the likes of the Tippmann TiPX, this is also available for only a fraction of the former’s price. Plus, the overall build quality is definitely enough to warrant a purchase from even a more experienced player, but one that’s running on a tighter paintball budget.
The Ultimate Paintball Gun Buyers Guide
If you’ve read all of the reviews we’ve provided above, you’re definitely someone’s who’s looking to buy a new paintball marker. And we certainly hope that the options we’ve highlighted above have helped you find something that’s in tune with your gameplay style and price range. However, even if you’re not interested in the models we’ve mentioned above – we’re here to provide you with a buyers’ guide; setting up a couple of common principles you’ll use to judge any kind of paintball marker out there.
Generally speaking, there are three different factors that come into your decision of buying a paintball gun; your level of experience, your budget, and your gameplay style of choice.
Obviously, there isn’t much sense in investing in a top-of-the-range paintball marker if you won’t play more often than once a month, or you’re just starting out without any experience at all. Likewise, an experienced hardcore paintball player wouldn’t be using the same cheap gun they bought half a decade ago. In such a situation, you’d probably benefit from swapping out the old one for a better model, now that you know what you’re doing and have some of the other required gear. But let’s dive into this question in a bit more detail!
Choosing The Best Model For Your Play Style
One of the main factors influencing your choice of paintball guns is your preferred type of game. Naturally, this depends on what kind of gameplay experience you enjoy the most, as well as the game modes supported by your nearest paintball field. But if you want to become a truly professional-level player, you should focus primarily on one style, and work on getting better at it. If you want a primer on woodsball vs. speedball, then read our in-depth guide.
On the other hand, most people with a more casual outlook on the sport will want a gun that’s versatile enough to be applicable in any kind of game mode that’s being played on a particular day; so something like the Tippmann Cronus or the Tippmann A5 review might be a good place to start.
Woodsball Paintball Guns
If you’re someone who enjoys the field combat of woodsball paintball matches, you will definitely want to consider a gun that provides you with the most range; possibly also with a stock that allows for additional accuracy intense shootouts over long ranges. In that case, we recommend something like Project Salvo. Also, if you’re not going to invest a lot of money, or you’re just starting out – the 98 Custom from Tippmann will definitely give you the most bang for your buck. And if you add an extended barrel onto it for additional range, and a red dot sight; you’ll be looking at an incredibly useful woodsball marker that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Conversely, accuracy is not such a big issue for speedball paintball matches; firepower is much more important here. So, considering that, a marker like the Empire Mini or their Axe model will do you a better job; as will any well-rounded guns that aren’t suited for anything in particular.
You want something with enough adjustable fire modes to handle situation changes that are frequent in a speedball game. Plus, you need a gun that allows you to get all the right angles in while remaining in cover. We recommend taking a look at the high-end electronic markers that make use of HPA; these will give you the most shots per tank; absolutely crucial in an intense speedball match.
Milsim and RecBall Games
For those who indulge in RecBall games; remember that you’ll be dealing with a lot of structures and bunkers – meaning close-quarters combat scenarios. So, you’ll definitely be looking for a more compact paintball marker; possibly one with enough stability to enable quick rounding of many tight corners. For this purpose, the X7 Phenom may be the best choice out of all the guns we’ve reviewed here today; though the always-welcome 98 Custom is still good if you’re not handling a large paintball budget.
With the right gun, we’re definitely sure that you’ll have a lot of fun playing RecBall; it combines the funnest elements of all the other diverse paintball game types. Considering this, there’s probably no better game mode if you’re a beginner looking to try out everything paintball has to offer; a nifty introduction into the sport.
Also, Milsim players who want to partake in the most realistic tactical simulation possible will want a gun with the right aesthetic; but one that’s still reliable and sturdy enough. Thus, the Project Salvo might be the best option in this regard; after all, if you’re into milsims, you need to have the absolute coolest paintball gear you can get your hands on. Though, in a milsim scenario, your combat role will also be an important factor on whether you’ll choose a sniper rifle or an SMG marker that allows for easier and quicker movement.
Electronic or Mechanical Guns?
Apart from the factors we’ve mentioned above, there’s another one you should think of when it comes to choosing the right paintball gun; the choice between an electro-pneumatic or a mechanical firing system. Generally, electronic guns will use up far less propellant, seeing as they’re primarily firing via a batter rather than gas. Plus, an electronic trigger usually gives you the option of both full-auto and burst-fire modes, giving you more versatility on the playing field as well. If you’ve got less moving parts than in a traditional mechanical marker, you’ll also have less maintenance to deal with; quite simply, there are fewer parts that may break down. At the end of the day – the extreme popularity of eGrips like those featured on the A5 speaks for itself.
But all of that doesn’t mean that mechanical paintball markers don’t have their share of advantages. These are, to put it simply, easier to maintain, less complex, and usually cheaper. While they may have more moving parts in certain models, they’re still mostly made from metal; thus making them easier to clean, disassemble, and put back together. You won’t need to fiddle around with any batteries, wires, or other complicated electronics; making these guns a more obvious choice for beginner players. Plus, not having to think about turning your trigger system on and off is always nice, as well as not worrying about whether your batteries are full. Sometimes, the simplest solution really is the best.
As we close out our guide on the best paintball markers, we’ve got a couple of final tips for you. Firstly, no matter how much you want to save money; avoid buying the very cheapest paintball markers from untested and unreliable manufacturers. These simply won’t hold up when it comes to durability, value, and overall performance. And make no mistake, you will be tempted to do this at some point. The paintball market is bigger than ever these days, and it keeps growing at an amazing rate. Thus, quite a lot of companies are looking to flood the global market with poorly made cheap goods. With that in mind, only use models from quality manufacturers; some of which we’ve mentioned here as well.
Also, and this is absolutely imperative; always wear protective headgear when you’re playing paintball. This is incredibly important, and something you should keep in mind every time you step out to play the game. In any decent paintball club or field, this will be mandatory; plus it’s simply common sense to do so. After all, there’s nothing more important than your health; which could be somewhat endangered by an encounter with high-velocity projectiles, even if they’re just filled with paint! Just make sure you pick a good mask that won’t require constant adjustments due to fogging. Also consider a watch that the Navy Seals wear and read our review of the G Shock Rangeman vs. Mudman.