Nitrogen tanks or HPA (High-Pressure Air) tanks are the modern adaptation of CO2 tanks for paintball tanks. In this post, I will discuss the usefulness and importance of an HPA tank, how to choose the best one, and how to use it.
Most paintball guns use pressured gasses to propel the pellets (unless it’s electric); the majority use CO2, a colorless gas that is 53% heavier than air. And the less pronounced majority use HPA, or Nitrogen, which is also a colorless gas, but it is 3% lighter than air.
Which one is best for you depends on some different factors, let’s get into it.
Different Types Of Paintball Tanks
The need for buying an HPA or Nitrogen tank completely depends on your purpose in paintball. CO2 tanks are perfectly fine for beginner to intermediate-level players. In fact, not too long ago, all paintball guns used CO2 tanks.
Nitrogen or HPA tanks are much more expensive than CO2 tanks and for the casual player, the extra cost adds very little. So you might be thinking then what are the extra benefits for the money to make you choose an HPA or Nitrogen tank over the regular CO2 one.
Well, the CO2 in CO2 tanks is kept in pressurized liquid form. It is similar to LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas), which is what lighters use. It works great to quickly propel the paintball out of the chamber when let out in short bursts.
However, the performance of the liquid CO2 isn’t stable, especially not on hot days. That’s because as the outside temperature rises, the CO2 stored in liquid form will begin to evaporate.
This causes the pressure to fluctuate, making your range and speed change, requires more fill-ups and more. It’s not very efficient or stable when used in hot weather.
Nitrogen or HPA tanks are great solutions for this, as they aren’t liquid. They don’t evaporate; thus, their pressure doesn’t ever change and they are more efficient, giving you more shots per fill and better accuracy and long-term stability.
But it’s not all positive; these tanks are significantly more expensive. This is the simple comparison:
Paintball CO2 Tanks
- Low cost.
- Weather will impact your accuracy.
- Widely available in the market.
- Refills are widely available.
- Need to empty a tank before refilling.
- Less shots per fill.
- Performance fluctuates, especially in hot weather.
Paintball HPA/Nitrogen Tanks
- Performance is stable.
- Can be refilled at any point.
- More efficient (more shots per fill).
- Usually lighter.
- Less available refills.
- More expensive.
In a nutshell, HPA tanks are the best option for those who care about that extra accuracy, efficiency, and speed.
Best Nitrogen Tanks For Paintball Guns
Ninja 48/3000 Aluminum HPA Paintball Tank
Ninja 50/4500 Carbon Fiber HPA Tank
Tippmann 48/3000 HPA Tank
Empire Basics 48/3000 Tank
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What PSI do Paintball guns use? Most modern paintball guns use between 3000–4500PSI.
Can I use a CO2 tank to refill a Nitrogen tank? Yes, you can. Since Nitrogen tanks can hold higher PSI, it is safe to use CO2 in Nitrogen or HPA tanks.
Can you refill paintball tanks? Yes, you can refill paintball tanks. Whether it is a CO2 or HPA tank, you can always refill the tank. For Nitrogen, you might need to visit special filling stations, as Nitrogen tank PSI is higher than CO2.
Is CO2 or HPA better for paintball? Both are good for paintball, though HPA is generally better for players looking for extra efficiency and accuracy.
Do paintball tanks expire? Yes, you need to check the expiry date provided on your tank. If it is expired, your paintball tank will need to be hydro-tested before further use. Usually, you’ll need to hydro-test your tank every 3 to 5 years.
How much does it cost to refill Nitrogen Tank? On average, Nitrogen refills cost around $2 per gallon, but the charge varies from one refilling station to another.
Is it safe to use other gases with Nitrogen? Nitrogen is pretty expensive. Therefore, you can use other gases (which can be safely blended with Nitrogen) while filling your tank. However, most HPA tanks nowadays use other gasses with Nitrogen to reduce costs.
How to refill an HPA or Nitrogen Tank
For refills, I would suggest you visit a filling station. These gasses require high pressure (ranging from 3000-4500 PSI) on the tank to compress properly, which can be quite dangerous for a beginner.
And, it requires some serious equipment. If you urgently need a refill, you can use CO2 until you get a chance to visit a station.
Anyway, if you are interested in refilling yourself, check out this video:
As discussed in this post, HPA or Nitrogen tanks for paintball guns are the best option for players looking for the extra edge. These tanks are more efficient, more stable, and lighter than CO2 tanks. If you’re serious about paintball, this is an excellent purchase.