Paintball hopper to the rescue
Here are some of the benefits you stand to gain by choosing either type of paintball hopper:
Gravity paintball hoppers
- They are lightweight and easy to maneuver.
- They are inexpensive.
- Best for building skill
- Have a slow fire rate
- Usually, possess a smaller capacity.
Electronic paintball hoppers
- Possess a larger capacity feed.
- Shoot at a faster rate.
- Have more features to work with.
- They jam less due to the anti-jamming design.
Gravity load or electronic
Paintball is a very engaging game and finding the best type of paintball hopper for your skill and budget is important. In the market, you find basically find the gravity load models or the electronic models. Each type of these paintball hoppers come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The gravity load models have a simple structure that does not require batteries or a motor to move the paintballs. The units utilize the user’s movement to move the balls into position. Since it depends on mechanical movement, the shooting speed is a bit low and you will discover that they jam easily.
The gravity load models are good for beginners because it gives them time to make tactical decisions without shooting aimlessly at fast speeds. They also happen to be lightweight and friendlier to your pocket.
Electronic paintball hoppers possess a motor that facilitates easy paintball loading. These units have internal settings that prevent the paintball from jamming, therefore, providing consistent performance. This uninterrupted loading then allows a fast speed rate of 20+ balls per minute. These efficient models need reliable batteries to provide optimal performance. The downside is that these electronic models are a bit expensive and also weigh more. That is why they are recommended for more skilled players as opposed to beginners.
Choose the paintball loader for your competition level
It is crucial to get a unit that fits your skill level so as not to find yourself in frustrating situations. There are basically three levels and each has hoppers that are compatible. They include:
For this level, matters are very simple because your interest is just picking up. There is no need to spend a lot of money on a professional unit. Paintball hoppers for beginners are lightweight, feature simple structures and are inexpensive. As a beginner, you have access to gravity loaded models and the electronic models. The gravity models need no batteries and just rely on the user’s movements. They are simple structures with a low feed speed of 8+balls per minute while the motorized electronic models offer feed speeds of 16+ balls per minute. The electronic models get jammed less thus making them a preferable choice.
These models are intended for people who have acquired more skill but they are not participating at a professional level. These mid-range models cost more than the beginner models as they have more features. For example:
The sound activated hoppers work with you as you play. Their system relies on the sound produced after a marker fires to release the next ball ready for firing. These sound activated models work effectively only relying on the sound produced by the gun. They are not designed to pick up on any other sounds around and therefore won’t fire haphazardly.
Next are the eye-activated hoppers which can be considered as some of the best products in the market. These eye hoppers include sensors that identify the motion of the paintballs. Once the eyes spot a paintball moving down to the trigger, another one is released right in time for the next shot. If you are sensitive to noise it is better to work with the eye-activated hoppers compared to the sound activated models.
Cyclone models rely on a cyclone feed for effective loading. These models need no batteries they just need gas to launch the marker into action. These gas propelled models are quite consistent but may take up more gas than you expect per round.
If you ever compete professionally then it only makes sense to get a professional unit. These units have a larger capacity and feed speed rate compared to the basic models. These professional level models have well-designed motors that provide consistent performance to avoid jamming. They may also have sensors to ensure that nothing goes wrong as you play and indicators to show battery level.
Features to consider while buying the perfect paintball hopper
What kind of features do you look for when in search of the perfect unit? Do you just look at the price or there is more? Read the following section to understand what features to look out for:
Size and weight
The size and weight of your paintball hopper can be a friend or an enemy as you battle. If you are carrying a large unit then there are chances that it will weigh you down. It is important to consider the size of the unit and the average number of paintballs you may need for a complete round. Smaller units with small capacities will hold fewer balls and thus prove lightweight enough. Models with a large capacity will hold more and thus weigh more too. The good thing is that modern models have a lighter build compared to the older traditional ones.
Money is hard to come by nowadays and the last thing you want is to buy a product that disintegrates easily. There is a need to ensure that the materials used to create the hopper are long-lasting. In most cases, the industry standard indicates that plastic is used to create the hoppers. However, this does not mean that since its plastic it has to be cheap. The plastic used should be able to withstand impact and maintain its appearance through many uses. High-quality nylon or polycarbonate make good material choices.
Like implied earlier on, there is importance in understanding the number of paintballs you may need to complete your challenge. If the unit you have is able of holding many paintballs then you won’t have to waste time reloading. The minimum number of paintballs a simple unit has is 50+ paintballs and these kinds of models are usually for beginners. Skilled and mid-range players need a unit with a larger capacity than the basic models. There are models that offer a capacity of 200+ paintballs in one run while there are others that offer less. Depending on the budget you have you can pick a model with a large volume or less.
This boils down to your level of skill because how fast you pull the trigger may determine the model that you get. Simpler models especially the gravity loaded ones will have a slow fire rate as they lack paintball propelling mechanisms. These models usually work at a rate of 8+ balls per second. If you were in a competition it is likely that a player with a faster gun will nail you before you are ready to respond. Models with faster mechanisms can launch up to 30+ balls per second, like the Dye Precision Loader Rotor R2, which is convenient if you are in the thick of the game.
Finding a compatible paintball hopper for your gun is important for optimal performance. If you have an older model then you might have to search more for a compatible unit. These days the industry is standardized allowing multiple products to be accessed by users all over the world. It is hard to find a paintball hopper that doesn’t fit in today’s models but if you are not sure you can always buy the gun and the paintball hopper from the same brand. That way you will avoid getting frustrated and losing money.
When on the field it is easy to drop your gun and you need to be sure that the quality will hold both internally and externally. As stated before most paintball hoppers are made out of plastic which can be vulnerable especially the clear ones. It is important to gravitate to hoppers that are created from high-quality plastic that is able to withstand a bit of damage. There are manufacturers who have made it a mission to provide durable paintball hoppers with thick dexterous material so don’t just settle for the cheap models that will break in a day.
Speed feed, jam proof and other options
Not all models have the same features due to the price level. In some model, you will find that offer variable speed feed so that you can have more control. The adjustable speed feed moves from low to high depending on your preferences.
There are also those that come with battery life and feed indicators. The indicators can be both visual and audio. These features are important as they remind you that you need to refill or recharge. Many models use LED indicators that are hard to miss and will keep you aware.
Anti-jamming mechanisms are very convenient as they save you the trouble of having to manually unclog the unit. This feature is especially useful in electric units where balls are released at a fast rate. Some of the models featuring this mechanism are the G.I. Sportz LVL, Virtue Spire IR and Dye LT-R.
Ease of use
A unit that allows you to load the paintballs easily is a winner. This is usually indicated by a large feeding mouth and a quick switch lid, like in the Valken Paintball VSL Tournament model. You also want a unit that has an automated on/off so that you are able to save power. A unit that is easy to keep clean and disassemble saves you time. You will be able to maintain its appearance, keep the trigger smooth operation and store it away from dust.
You have options as to the style and colour of paintball hopper you can choose. If you need bright colours or camouflage themes it is all available in the market. Choose a unit that matches your personality and game surroundings. If you want to buy it as a gift it’s safer to buy neutral colours. Some companies create sets of clothes, guns and hoppers to match, like HK Army did.
Like always a warranty is a safety net that makes us feel better about the products that we buy. Settle for products that offer a valid warranty. The warranty doesn’t have to be long but if you can get one the better. If you find problems contact customer care for solutions.