Choosing the right size CO2 tank is as important as choosing the actual paintball gun. CO2 tanks differ from each other based on weight, CI, PSI, how many shots per fill, etc. Thus, depending on your game mode and preferences, you can (and should) choose the tank which suits your specific needs.
The short answer is: The most popular CO2 tank sizes are 48CI/3000PSI and 68CI/4500PSI. However, you should choose the best size for you based on the weight, shots per fill, PSI, how tall you are, and, finally, what compressor your field has.
This post will discuss in detail about different things which you need to keep in mind while choosing a CO2 tank. To make your job easy, we have created a table which clearly differentiates all the CO2 tanks based on their size.
Paintball CO2 Tank Size Chart
|CI||PSI||Approx. Shots Per Fill||Average Weight Of Tank||Player Height|
How To Choose The Best Paintball CO2 Tank For You
CI : Stands For Cubic Inch
The cubic inch (symbol in3) is a unit of measurement for volume in the Imperial Units and the United States customary units systems. It is the volume of a cube with each of its three dimensions (length, width, and depth) being one inch long.
Thus, CI is the unit that measures the physical volume of CO2 tanks. A tank’s volume indicates the maximum quantity of compressed liquid CO2 which it can accommodate. As the CI value of a CO2 tank increases, its capacity increases.
While this gives you more shots per fill, it also significantly affects the size, weight, and price (more on that below).
PSI : Stands For Pounds Per Inch
The pound per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch (symbol: lbf/in2; abbreviation: psi) is a unit of pressure or stress based on avoirdupois units. It is the pressure resulting from a force of one pound-applied to an area of one square inch. In SI units, one psi is approximately equal to 6895 N/m2.
Thus, a PSI value of a CO2 tank indicates the maximum force it can withstand. A paintball gun uses compressed CO2 to force the balls out from it (aka, shoot them). The increase in PSI will increase the force, therefore increasing the range.
Note: For PSI’s higher than 3000, you’ll need to make sure your field has a capable compressor, as not all do.
Shots Per Fill
This column mentions on average how many paintballs can be fired from that specific CI/PSI CO2 tank per fill. These values are average values that I determined from various data sources. Thus, it may vary between different makers.
A good rule of thumb: When wanting to calculate the approximate shots per fill for a tank, multiply by ten times the CI value for tanks with 3000 PSI, and multiply by fifteen times the CI value for tanks with 4500+ PSI.
Average Weight Of Tank
Since CO2 tanks have to withstand high PSI, they have to be made from some strong materials. This results in pretty significant weights. Which, as pressure and size (PSI and CI) increase, the weight does as well.
However, the reason tanks with more PSI are lighter is because they’re usually made of carbon fiber (marked by CF). This is great for weight but also means that they will cost significantly more.
A paintball tank is long; therefore, it will be difficult for a short person to carry a 88/4500 CO2 tank. It will make it difficult to aim, run, and everything in-between.
An ideal paintball CO2 tank should stop at the elbow’s crease when you hold the paintball gun at a shooting position. This isn’t easy to decide online as body types vary greatly, so you should try various tank sizes at a store and see what fits for you.
Three Types Of CO2 Tank Materials
Currently, CO2 tanks are made from any of these three materials – Steel, Carbon Fiber, or Aluminum. The material from which your tank is made will determine its weight and longevity.
You might think that since steel is very strong it will last long. But it is the other way around; steel has more chance for corrosion, so it is prone to easy damage fairly quickly if it gets wet often.
As we know, aluminum is one of the lightest materials on earth while still being tough. This is the reason it is often used in airplane manufacturing.
Therefore, aluminum is an excellent choice for CO2 tanks, as they’re durable, cheap, and easy to carry. The only downside with aluminum CO2 tanks is that they’re easily prone to dents (because of aluminum’s lightness). This can decrease its lifespan if it gets beat up a lot.
Carbon Fiber Tanks
Carbon fiber tanks are the most widely used and most recommended because they’re more durable than both aluminum and steel tanks while being significantly lighter. Most professional players prefer carbon tanks. The only downside with carbon fiber tanks is that they are also considerably more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CO2 or compressed air better for paintball? Both CO2 and compressed air have their upsides and downsides. CO2 tanks are less expensive but easily affected by outside temperature. In contrast, compressed air provides high PSI, it is less affected by the outside, but it is significantly more expensive.
How often do paintball tanks need to be hydro tested? Most commonly, a paintball tank needs to be hydro-tested between 3 to 5 years after its purchase. For professional players, regular testing is advisable. Every tank comes with an expiration date which you can see on the backside of it.
Can you fill CO2 tanks with compressed air? Compressed air or Nitrogen needs more PSI than CO2 tanks. Thus, it is not advisable to fill CO2 tanks with compressed air. However, you can fill HPA tanks with CO2.
As discussed in this post, the best paintball CO2 tank size should be chosen depending on your preferences. However, the most popular CO2 tank sizes are 48CI/3000PSI and 68CI/4500PSI. I hope you find what works for you and have a great time paintballing!