Paintball Guns and Gear forums banner

The ultimate new player buyers guide to markers, masks tanks and more!!!

110353 Views 506 Replies 55 Participants Last post by  PaintballBuzz
UPDATE: Everything updated, checked over prices, added new masks, hoppers and markers and cleaned out some old ones. As always, if you feel something is wrong or needs adjusting or adding, send me a PM. This now takes up 39 pages in a word document, have a nice read!

Alright so we get a lot of new player questions on here asking which marker to look into or which this and which that to get for new players so I figured I would put together something to answer some of the basic questions. This is not an all questions answered guide but should at least get you going in the right direction if you are new to the sport and looking for equipment.

The first thing a new player looks for in paintball is the marker (gun) but it is actually more important to find a few other things first. If you already have a tank and mask then skip down to the markers. If you do not I highly suggest you read over this very important information first. You may be temped to find a package deal that has everything you need in it, and while these do exist they have some major drawbacks. In my years of paintball I have only found a few of these packages that actually have good gear in them. What they tend to do is give you the marker you want, and then the rest of the equipment is bottom of the barrel crap that you will eventually replace. So for the most part, avoid them and put together your own package. You will spend less money in the long run and not have to deal with crap equipment.

The mask, it is by far and large, the MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF EQUIPMENT you can buy. Not only is it keeping your eyes intact and protected but a crappy one will ruin your day of play. There are two basic categories of masks and they both refer to the lens. There are single pane lenses and there are double pane lenses (called a “thermal lens” ) To make a long story short let’s just say single pane lenses are crappy and will fog on you, it does not matter if they have a anti-fog coating, they will still never be as good as a thermal lens. You want to find a thermal lens mask, these are very hard to fog up and will just make your day of play better overall. That said the other important factor to consider is the fit. Since my face is a different shape than your face, a mask that fits me correctly may not work for you the same way.
The best way to shop for a mask is at a local shop, try on everything with a thermal lens and buy the one that fits you best. If you try a mask on and you cannot tighten it down enough to the point that when you shake your head around very hard it can stay on, then the mask does not fit you properly. If there are gaps between your face and the foam padding, then it does not fit you properly. Basically you want a mask that can tighten down on your face enough that it will not move around and will give you enough protection (the neck is where a lot of masks will not cover enough of if they are too small or short for you)

So if trying on in person is not an option and you must order a mask online or if you’re just looking at whats out there here are a few options

a short list of masks and brands that I would never intentionally walk out onto a paintball field wearing, while all of these masks must be ASTM safety tested to be sold as a paintball mask, so must also a Chevy Cobalt be crash tested, just because it passes the minimum standards does not mean there are no better options out there

Kingmann / Spyder
everything they make is garbage

Tippmann / US army
while their quality has been going up it is still not to the point that I would recommend their masks

Extreme Range
use it as target practice, not to keep you safe

Gen X Global
probably some of the worst masks I have ever seen, fields wont even use these for rental players

scott used to make paintball masks about 10 years ago and has started up again.....with what looks like the same masks, they are terrible

GI Milsim
out of my list of terrible masks, this is probably the "best" one, but owning the best ugly dog is not really a prize you want to win

First, a family of masks (side note: the e-vents, avatar and helix are sometimes all referred to as the "Vents" but they are different masks! know which one you are looking at!)

Empire E-flex, BASE $90

This is an old idea with a new twist. The old JT pro-flex (which are still available) had a lasting reputation as a very customizable mask, you could take them apart and swap out parts depending on your needs. well empire decided to take this idea into the new age of masks and has come out with the E-flex. Essentially it is the e-vents with removable and changeable parts as much as you would like, this also enables you to modify sections of your mask (like the lower sections for a certain look or to fit your body better) and be able to have different lower sections for different occasions. One of the other factors that made the pro-flex masks so popular is right in the name, the flex of the lower section of the mask enables more bounces than a harder mask. A few downfalls: like the other empire masks, these still use the small locking tabs to secure the mask in place. These are rather small parts that are fairly easy to lose. The lowers sit rather far from some people’s faces which can cause some muffling effects when you are trying to talk. Another great idea for all you pro-flex owners out there, the lower sections are changeable with the original proflex lowers! the e-flex loweres are reportedly a smaller and thinner profile than the original proflex lowers so if you have a larger face you can also pick up a set of proflex lowers that have a bit more space in them. the price makes them not super friendly on a new budget but if you get one of the other empire masks then the e-flex will always be an upgrade option since you can use the same lenses. My father in law uses these and absolutely loves them, he is a heavy sweater and has had no fogging issues at all

Empire e-vents, BASE $70

duel layer foam (very comfy) and all the bells and whistles including removable ear guards I own 2 pairs of these and have loved them, been very durable for me and parts are easy to find

Invert helix thermal
BASE $30

(do NOT get the non-thermal version of this mask, it will be missing the "thermal" in the name) again, this mask uses the same lens as the e-vents, e-flex and avatar so your field of vision will not be compromised at all. This mask uses an even cheaper frame and the foam is very durable but not very comfortable. For this reason if your budget allows I suggest going with the avatar. However, because this mask uses the same lens, if you use it for a while, buy a few different lenses and then decide to upgrade to the e-flex or e-vents, all the lenses can be used on those masks as well. This mask will also work with replacement foam for the e-vents mask to make it much more comfortable, it requires some elbow grease to install but makes a much more comfortable mask for $15

Proto Switch FS Thermal BASE $70

(DO NOT GET THE NON-THERMAL VERSION OF THIS MASK, typically known as the "EL") a little large and heavy and field of vision is a little narrow. for the price I feel there are better options out there but this is not a terrible choice which is why I am leaving it on here.

JT proflex BASE $90 (now known as the "spectra proflex")

this is one of the most widely known, and customizable masks in the industry, you can buy pieces of this mask and put it all together yourself, mix and match colors and customize the mask as you see fit. I personally do not have any experience with this mask but I know people who swear up down and sideways by it. It appears that all spectra proflexes now come with thermal lenses. A good mask that has stood the test of time.

Dye I4 BASE $109

I own one of these, I love them, easy to change lens, easy to adjust, easy to clean. Very comfortable to wear all day long. These do have a short lower section so more of your neck is left exposed. It’s up to you if this is an issue or not

Save Phace masks BASE $55-$80

these masks are more about the look than anything. For the money there are more comfortable, lighter and more usable masks out there but if the look is super important to you, take a look at what they have

WARNING!!!! Save Phace now makes masks that are NOT designed for paintball use but they are not very clear about saying they are not designed for it!!! DO NOT TAKE CHANCES ON YOUR SAFETY Having a mask that "looks cool" is not worth an eyeball, in all honesty i suggest players avoid save phace all together
See less See more
1 - 20 of 507 Posts
Sly profit BASE $80.

From what I’ve understood they have been a good mask to those who have bought them, slightly low on the forehead which leaves more of your head exposed but the lens gives good vision and is easy to change, these have 2 straps on them, 1 goes higher on your head, 1 goes lower which offers a better hold than a single strap, one complaint a lot of people seem to have with these is it is harder to hear and yell with them on other a lot of other masks out there.

Sly/Valken MI-7 BASE $37.

It seems this mask is sold under both Sly and Valken as of now. But from what it is, it is a true thermal lens mask in a budget package. I have never seen this mask in person so you you have one PLEASE send me a PM to give me your impressions of it. On the outside it seems like a decent deal but I would expect to find some rather cheap and uncomfortable foam in a mask this cheap. One note on this mask, if you are interested in it be SURE to get the MI-7, they also make the MI-5 which looks very similar but does not have a thermal lens in it. For the price, I would take a Helix thermal over this mask.

NOTE ON V FORCE MASKS: All V-force masks have a single pane lens, in every model except for the armor this is a thermo-cured lens, and while it is not quite as good as a true duel pane thermal lens, they do a pretty good job at keeping the mask from fogging. V-force has recently released true duel pane thermal lenses for their masks that can be purchased for the masks separately for around $25-$35 depending on what you want

Special thanks to TLMiller for putting the V-force section together.

V-Force Armor

~$25. The low end. Comes normally with non-thermal lenses. There are now dual-pane thermal lenses available for them. To be avoided unless you have a small head, and the thermal lenses are heavily suggested.

V-force Profiler

~$65. Comes with thermo-cured lenses default, dual-pane lenses are now available. Great field of vision, and fits well.

V-Force Grill

~$100. (5/13/17 many of these are now coming with an additional thermal lens, may be limited time offer) Comes with thermo-cured lenses by default, dual-pane lenses are now available. Designed to last longer. Has quick change foam, easy out lenses, very comfortable. Good field of vision.


it is important to know if you will be using HPA or CO2 before you decide on a marker, about half of the markers produced today are HPA only markers. Meaning, without modification these markers are not safe to use CO2 on as it will damage them.

There are no markers currently made that require the use of CO2

So, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between HPA and CO2, there is another sticky in the new player section that explains that in better detail so I will not go into it but here are the basic highs and lows of each

+tanks are cheaper
+typically easier to find a place that can fill the tank
+more shots per volume than HPA (if you have an HPA tank and a CO2 tank that are the exact same size, the co2 tank will last longer)
+some tanks never need to be hydro tested (refer to hydro testing section on HPA tanks below)
- can not be used on all markers
- harder on o rings, you will have to replace o rings more often
- can not always be used in cold weather, cold effects how co2 tanks function and if it is cold enough (35 F or below) the tank will not be producing enough pressure to fire your marker

+ more consistent output pressure, means your shots will be coming out at closer to the same speed
+ no “spikes” in pressure like co2 can give you
+ can be used on any marker
+better for the life of o rings
+can be used in any weather
+arguably more accurate
-a comparable tank is usually 5x the cost of a co2 tank
-fills are harder to come by (no your compressor in the garage at home cannot fill these tanks)
-tanks must be hydro tested every 3 or 5 years (most tanks are 5 year hydros now)

Hydro testing- your probably wondering what this is, well in a nutshell to ensure your tank is safe and will not blow up in your face it needs to be tested every once in a while. If I have a 4500 psi HPA tank that needs to be tested, I find somewhere that can do it (paintball shops usually send them out, scuba shops sometimes do and sometimes do them in house) they will charge me around $30-$35 and it will be about a week until I see my tank again. What happens is the regulator is taken off of the tank(most scuba shops require you to do this before bringing it in, paintball shops will typically do it for you) and they fill the tank with water then put 150% of its normal pressure in it (6000psi for my 4500psi tank) after this they measure how much the tank has expanded and if it is still safe, put a new hydro date on it and send it back to me. If it is not safe they drill a hole in the side of it and throw it away.

So in the long run (and even short run) a HPA tank is going to do better for you but in order to get a good one new you are looking at about $130 minimum. While you can get tanks for as little as $50 they are just not worth it because they will be heavier and carry very very few shots compared to their larger cosines. I do not recommend getting a small 3000psi HPA tank ever.

Unless the only places around you that can fill can only fill to 3000psi, a 3k tank should be avoided. This may sound strange because they are typically cheaper but you are paying a lot of money for a tank and the 4500psi tanks will be lighter and carry 20% more air than their 3k counterparts. 4500psi tanks have to be fiber wrapped to hold the pressure whereas 3000psi tanks can be made of aluminum. Aluminum is a lot cheaper but also a lot heavier than the fiber wrap. I cannot tell you the number of people who have ignored my advise on this, bought a 3000psi tank and then 2 months later are on here saying “I should have listened to Trbo and gotten a 4500psi tank”

So finding a tank comes down to your budget more than anything. A 20oz co2 tank will run you around $20-$25 ($35 for a super nice one with a fill meter on the side) and on most entry level markers will get you around 1000-1200 shots. This is a great way to get into the sport on a budget and get your setup running.

Want to make your CO2 tank better?
Sometimes its cold and co2 does not want to work, or your marker can fire fast enough that you are sucking liquid co2 into your marker (bad news) one of the ways to help prevent this is to have whats called an anti-siphon tube (AS tube) installed by your local shop ($20-$25 usually) DO NOT EVER INSTALL THESE ON YOUR OWN, BOTH OF THE DEATHS IN OUR SPORT CAME FROM WHEN SOMEONE INSTALLED THESE THEMSELVES AND DID IT WRONG you cannot buy a tank that has a AS tube already in it as they must be installed so the tank is matched to the marker. Once installed the tube will prevent a lot of liquid co2 from entering your marker. They are not a 100% failsafe against it which is why you still can not use co2 on a lot of markers but they do help.

But what if you have a little more money?

Well your probably looking at HPA tanks then. One thing I have to mention about HPA tanks. It is possible to buy a tank that will not work with your marker. The vast majority of entry level markers will require a high pressure input (around 750-900 psi, same as CO2) but HPA tanks, since they have regulators can be bought with other output pressures on them to be used on markers that may run better, or require a lower input pressure. Low pressure HPA tanks are rare but they are out there. Know before buying.

Well as for hpa tanks, a 68ci/4500psi tank can typically be found used with at least a few years of hydro left on it for around $100. The 68/45 is seen as a standard size tank in the industry, if you are ever in question about which size HPA tank to get, find a 68/45.

Don’t want used you say? This is where your options really open up but you will need around $130-$170
There are LOTS of well made tanks to choose from, since prices are very similar I suggest buying a made in the USA tank (if you are in the US that is) brands that make tanks in the USA are

CP (custom products)

Ninja air


Out of which I now own 2 ninja tanks and can tell you from experience they are EXTREMELY well made. For the same price as other companies want you get a longer warranty and can get a tank with an adjustable regulator (tank can be adjusted to 4 different pre-set output pressures) but any one of the above brands makes excellent products. Take your pick, shop around
See less See more
Alright, the section you have been waiting for​

Ok, a few things every new player needs to understand first. There are markers made that look good, and there are markers that perform well. There are some crossovers but they are generally really expensive.

A lot of new players get caught up looking into buying a used high end marker and while you can get a lot of performance for a cheaper price doing this, it is generally a bad idea for a new player. High end markers take some know how to keep them running right, know how that is based on learning off of an entry level marker. Also high end markers often only have a parts production run of a few years, so while I can go find a DM5 for $200, it is a bad idea because if anything ever breaks, I now have a $200 paperweight that can’t be fixed

For a new player or even one that is still finding their way into the sport, I highly, HIGHLY suggest finding a marker that is based on performance and value rather than the look. Here is the reason why

Short side story, I used to play backwoods ball with a group of friends, we all got into paintball around the same time but we took two very different routes, I went for performance first and did not care what the marker looked like, my friend matt along with a handful of others fell into the trap of wanting a marker that looks good and wanting to dress up the marker with scopes and slings (while there is nothing wrong with this if you know what you’re doing, a new player rarely does as far as paintball is concerned) long story short, Matt ended up spending around $600 trying to make a Tippmann A-5 better and in the end, when he finally realized that it will always be an entry level marker he got out of the sport because he felt like he had just wasted a lot of money (and he did) on a marker that he could only really make marginally better. The handful of friends that did the same thing also got out of the sport, meanwhile I had not felt the same $600 that I had spent had gone to waste, rather I got good value for my money, here we are 5 years later, im still playing with that same marker that I bought back then

So if you like the milsim look that’s fine, I just really suggest waiting until your second or third marker to get into it. Get something that will be better at giving you the basics of the sport now instead of a specific look

A few brands to avoid at all costs! (as far as markers are concerned)

JT, Brass eagle, extreme range, viewloader and I suggest staying away from PMI but they are not as bad as the others on this list.​

to make a long story short each of these above brands will only reliably work for about a weekend. After that you will probably encounter many problems due to poor build and material quality.

Alright here is how the marker section will work, I am going to go through brands, give an overall statement for the brand, then into specific markers


You have probably heard people saying that Tippmanns are indestructible and will run forever, well, truth be told that is not entirely accurate anymore. At one point Tippmann was known for producing the longest lasting markers in the industry. Back in 2004 however the company changed hands and a few key parts were changed to make them cheaper to produce. Since then the markers have not been the tanks that they used to be. They are by no means repair buckets now but they just don’t live up to the reputation that the company was based on either. They are simple and straight forward but are more designed to be dressed up for a certain look than be a great value like they used to.

The 98 custom BASE $119
Probably the most recognized marker in the entire sport, if my memory is correct on this it is also the marker that has the longest running production run as well. It is a basic inline blowback design that was first marketed…..well, it was a REALLY long time ago as far as paintball is concerned. It has no frills but will shoot paint

The gryphon
BASE $70

Really it’s a 98c that has been stripped down to its bare essentials, it is not customizable at all and uses a double clamshell body that is rather annoying to take apart. Even still, its $70 and gets you into the sport

The carver one
BASE $100 / with e-frame $140
Like the gryphon the idea was to strip down the 98, this one however still keeps the customizability of the 98 just in a cheaper package, it does have a few drawbacks over the 98 such as, if you want to use a double trigger on it, you must replace the whole trigger frame and not just the trigger and guard as the stock trigger guard is one piece with the trigger frame. that aside it does a pretty good job of giving you a basic 98 for less than a 98.

The FT-12 (flip top) BASE $119

So it only took Tippmann the better part of 2 DECADES to realize that the 98 is not all that fun to take apart. essentially you have to split the whole marker in half down the middle with a decent amount of screws to take out in the process. So they finally cured that with the fliptop, first it was released as a rental for fields and now to the general public. The guts are still an old 98 just in a different shell. I am not certain that this one will retain as much of the customizability as the 98 has but if you are just looking for a simpler and straight forward marker the FT is not only cheaper than the 98 but is much much easier to work on as well

The A-5 BASE $180 / with e-frame $280
It’s a 98c with a cyclone feeder on the side and a slightly larger and heavier body. While the cyclone does succeed at being a purely mechanical loader, it is really not that great of a loader compared to the feeders that are made in the industry today. It also means that when you move onto another marker you also have to buy a loader as you can not take the cyclone off of the a-5 and put it onto anything else. For this reason it is typically a better idea to get a 98 and a standard feeder

The X7 phenom
BASE $300/with e-frame $400

While this marker is a departure from Tippmanns never ending use of the inline blowback it is by no means new technology. The core of the marker is based around a AGD design that was in use since the early 90s, other than that it still uses the cyclone feeder and is much larger and heavier than the AGD design however this also means that the maintenance required is a little more in depth. It is nothing crazy hard but taking the marker apart and troubleshooting any problems is not a walk in the park either. This is technically a mid range marker though because of the design. The e-frame version also retains the ability to fire in semi-auto without using the battery.

the Crossover BASE $350
Tippmann it seems has finally come around to the idea that many of their customers are not only playing woodsball but also speedball. A while back when they introduced the A5 they tried to aim it as a marker that could compete on the speedball field but with the cyclone on the side it has never been able to do as much as a standard setup as the cyclone makes a rather large target sticking out the side of a bunker. So now they are coming out with the crossover, in essence it is the same AGD design that is in the phenoms just in a lighter and smaller shell. they have added eyes into a marker for the first time ever (good job tippmann!) and it comes with a double trigger stock. they have taken the cyclone off of the marker in favor of a vertical center feed design (good job tippmann!) so they took a bunch of metal off of it, took the cyclone off, added eyes and a double trigger They have kept the mechanical/electronic operation of the phenom with a select switch above the trigger. The regulator was moved to the ASA which can be traded out with a traditional asa and hose setup to run a vertical forgrip regulator if you want. Tippmann states it is HPA only but is compatible with CO2 however in order to run CO2 tippmann states you need to use a remote line. A AS tube will also serve the same function to keep liquid co2 out of it. For what it is I feel it is overpriced when looking at what else is out there but it is a good idea from tippmann so I congratulate them on trying new things

US army markers
Us army is a division of tippmann that just has a different look to it. Basically all US army markers are just a tippmann 98 in a dress. They are just made to look a certain way but on the inside they are all the same 98
See less See more
(battle tested)

BT came about when tippmann changed hands, long story short Ben Tippmann was forced out by some stories, left of his own accord by others, at any rate he then created BT and continued producing the 98 custom under a different name. Today, he still produces the 98 in the majority of the markers. the TM-7 and TM-15 are the notable exceptions but they are covered later on in the mid range marker section. Everything that BT produces except for those two markers and a pistol or two, is like the US army markers, a 98 in a dress. The great part however is that they are typically cheaper than what tippmann wants for the same marker, so if you were looking at a 98, check out the BT-4 as well

The BT-4 BASE $115

its a 98, nuff said

The slice BASE $130

BT took the same idea tippmann had behind the FT-12 and incorporated it into a BT-4. There are a few differences in that the slice appears to have kept more of the original BT-4 in its design. the trigger frame appears to be untouched and while I can not say for sure if this means the e-frames and RTs will work with the slice or not sofar it does look promising that they will. Personally, I would go slice over FT-12 from what I have seen from both sofar

Kingman / spyder (same company)​

Like tippmann, spyder uses a blowback design and always has, but that is about where the differences stop. Spyder uses a stacked tube blowback (STBB) design that makes the markers more compact, lighter and much easier to work on. Typically the bolts and hammers will come out with no tools needed and to get to the valve of the marker only 4 screws need to come off. Around 06 spyder really started turning up the heat on the entry level market by introducing more features for a lower price. They managed to introduce a marker with everything a new player could want at $100 and while the prices have gone up a bit from then, the value and “bang for your buck” is most certainly still there.

The victor (or victor II if you find those) BASE $60 / with E-frame $85
Probably the most basic of markers this has no frills, it is a mechanical double finger frame with no extras on the marker. If you are on a very tight budget this may be an option for you. I can tell you from experience these things are a lot of fun. Friend of mine had one he picked up used and he always kept an eye out for used parts, a year later he had probably spent $100 on the thing total and had an e-frame, clamping feedneck and a on/off asa. Thing was a hoot and a great value

The Sonix BASE $70 / with e-frame $105
Take the victor, put a clamping feedneck and an aluminum forgrip on it. Worth an extra $10 if you ask me

The Xtra
BASE $90 / with e-frame $125
It is basically a victor with different milling and a forgrip, for 2012 spyder is putting a different valve in them so they will get slightly better efficiency

The Fenix BASE $150
Probably one of the top contenders for the bang for your buck category. This marker has everything a new player could want and more. Eframe and eyes, clamping feedneck, adjustable double trigger, and a forgrip regulator. Take a tippmann 98 and put all that on it and the marker + extras will end up costing you around $400 and still be larger, heavier, harder to work on and can never have eyes so you can see why I am such a large fan when spyder does something like this marker. About the only 2 things I would add to this marker if I bought it would be an on/off asa and like any other entry level marker, a decent barrel, but neither are needed out of the box. This is one marker however that if you are using CO2 with I would highly recommend you also have a AS tube installed in your tank (refer to AS tubes in the tank section above) These also now have spyder’s “eco valve” which helps reduce kick and improve efficiency. Spyder claims 1600 shots off a 20oz co2 tank but I think that is a little exaggerated but even if you take 200 off of that and are looking at 1400, it’s still pretty good.

Spyder MR series
These are the spyders that have been dressed up a little for the milsim crowd, they are all based around the same STBB design that spyder always uses and many are new for 2012 so I am adding a disclaimer that I know very little about a few of these but as they are based around the classic design and markers above I feel my assessment of them will be fairly accurate

The MR100
BASE $100 /with e-frame $140
For 2012 spyder is replacing the MR1 with the MR100. It is basically a sonix with a slightly different body and a side mounted Picatinny rail. For 2012 they also have changed these over to a center feed design with a clamping feedneck as opposed to the side feed that the mr series used to be. The mr-100 looses the small drop forward that the mr1 had but keeps the angled asa. A angled asa helps keep liquid co2 from entering the marker
Note: it seems they are also still selling the MR1 as well for the same price, for comparisons it is basically the same marker but with a right hand feed and a small drop forward with a 15 degree ASA on it.

The MR4
BASE $130 / with e-frame $170
At heart this is a larger MR100 that is meant to look more like am m-16 so you can start to see just how much a certain look will cost you, even still if it is worth it to you go for it. It does come with a clamping feedneck but is missing both the double trigger and angled ASA that the MR100 has. Has more rails and a carry handle on top though

BASE $170
A mag fed spyder WHAT!? Yes that’s right, spyder has broken into the world of mag feeds it seems with quite a revolutionary design. The MRX is basically a MR4 with an adjustable stock and a very special feed. It seems they designed this marker to work on both a mag feed and a standard hopper setup. Whats more is you can change between the two during a game. The mag is nothing special as it is only an 11-round mag but I would be surprised if someone does not make a larger aftermarket one at some point.

The MR5
BASE $200 / with e-frame $250

Essentially this is just a MRX in a slightly different body. There are almost no changes in the marker itself besides a few rails on the front and the subtraction of the carry handle

See less See more
Azodin is a rather young company but has been creating some well priced and well equipped markers for a while. They got their start in the world of pumps but decided to also help out the entry level with designs that almost mirror the spyders. Most of their markers (not all) feature an autococker threaded barrel. This is great because after the entry level the percentage of markers in the mid and high end that use autococker threads are around 75-90%. Which means if you have a cocker threaded marker from the start, you can buy a really nice barrel or barrel kit and chances are it will be able to work on your next marker as well.

The Kaos BASE $90
This marker is very similar to spyder sonix. It is a basic STBB design, comes with a clamping feedneck, double trigger and an angled ASA to help prevent liquid co2 from getting in

The Blitz
BASE $170
Azodins answer to the fenix, it is the same STBB design with a clamping feedneck, e-frame and eyes and a regulator. Still autococker threaded barrel and keeps the angled asa from the kaos
SAFETY NOTE ON THIS MARKER! A lot of blitzs come with macro line to connect the ASA to the regulator, if you are using CO2 this is NOT SAFE. You will need to replace it with steel braided hose in order to avoid the macro from breaking while using CO2. so if you are using CO2 add about $10 to the cost to have that replaced

The Kaos Deluxe BASE $180

It’s a kaos with a different valve, not worth $180
SAFETY NOTE ON THIS MARKER! A lot of kaos-Ds come with macro line to connect the ASA to the regulator, if you are using CO2 this is NOT SAFE. You will need to replace it with steel braided hose in order to avoid the macro from breaking while using CO2. so if you are using CO2 add about $10 to the cost to have that replaced

The Zenith Z2 BASE $300
Azodin seems to think that the more polished something is, the more of a price hike people will allow. Granted this is quite a nice STBB but the problem is compared to something like the spyder fenix, there is just not enough here to justify twice the price. Like the fenix it is a double trigger e-frame with eyes, clamping feedneck and a regulator, the Z2 also has a OLED screen and along with the usual slew of firing modes but also a decent number of adjustable parameters. An on/off asa and basically those are the major points it has over the fenix. Milling is a little nicer in my opinion but certainly nothing that makes any kind of a performance difference. On the down side Azodin still insists on using macro hose over steel braided which means you cannot run this marker on CO2 without modification. It is a good marker but really nothing that would even come close to justifying the price in my book
SAFETY NOTE ON THIS MARKER! A lot of zeniths come with macro line to connect the ASA to the regulator, if you are using CO2 this is NOT SAFE. You will need to replace it with steel braided hose in order to avoid the macro from breaking while using CO2. so if you are using CO2 add about $10 to the cost to have that replaced

Azodin milsim markers
Yes even azodin has started producing milsim and like their other creations they essentially mirror the spyder MR series

The ATS BASE $80
Almost a direct copy of the MR100, there really are almost no differences besides a $20 price difference

The ATS+
BASE $120
All they really did here is dress up the ATS, its a ATS with a forgrip and a longer barrel with rails on it. Also has an adjustable stock. It seems some of these come with clamping feednecks and some do not so I really can not say what yours will have if you get one.


The ER3 BASE $75

As far as I know this marker is the original ER3 from Piranha seeing as Empire bought out Piranha a few years back. Under Piranha it was a good little marker the only problem being that the quality of materials that they used was often lacking. I actually ran a rental fleet of Piranha ER3s for a summer camp for a few years and they were good little markers. They are a simple STBB design like the spyder markers and while this one has had a facelift from the Piranha version it seems they are being produced under empire now. For all intensive purposes it is almost identical to a Spyder sonix. Basic and gets the job done however I will say from a quality standpoint, I would take a sonix over this

See less See more
What? That’s not enough markers you say? Ok ok! Here is a few more if you are rather adventurous or have some experience in the sport already

The following is a list of MID RANGE markers that some players have started with. While I am putting these markers on here if you are new to the sport I highly suggest you find something from the list above for reasons I am about to go into. This does mean however that


So what makes a marker in the mid range different from a entry level marker? Well its simple really, it is the way the marker functions. While there are some grey areas in paintball as to exactly where some markers fall (like autocockers) the vast majority of experienced players list a entry level marker as a marker that uses a sear and hammer to open some form of poppet valve. It does not matter if the marker is mechanical or electric, what matters is how the pneumatics of the marker function. Likewise a mid range marker is more often than not seen as a marker that does not need a sear or hammer and in 99% of cases whose operation is controlled by a pneumatic solenoid, meaning these markers, must be electric.
So why not start with a mid range marker? Well in a nutshell the mid range markers just take a little more know how to do maintenance on and solve problems with so they are typically not suited to a new player who does not have that. Also the parts involved are a little more expensive, so if you happen to break something while working on it, the replacement parts will be more expensive and it is best to get this experience on something that has cheaper parts. To make a long story short, unless you have some experience it is better to wait until you are looking for a second marker to look into any of these. However if you do have that experience or just want to see what is out there, here are some of the more well known mid range markers


Dye is one of the big names in paintball. they have been producing high end markers for years and are largely responsible for many of the steps taken to improve the spool valve through the years. They used to have a sister company named proto but it seems they have finally closed the doors on proto and absorbed the few markers proto was producing into the dye lineup. the rail has been a staple in paintball for years and finally a few years back they split it into two markers to make the customer happy. many customers wanted more features on the rail while others wanted a less expensive marker. Now everyone can be happy.

The Rail BASE $250

You may be thinking that the rail and SLG are fairly close because the prices are similar, well they actually are not. The rail uses a true unbalanced spool design in a budget package. Over the majority of entry level markers it will kick less, be quieter and get better efficiency. Overall it is a pretty good value of a marker with a lot of aftermarket parts out there for it as well. I have shot a few of these and seen many many of them on the field. For the most part they are a fairly trouble free marker but I still would not suggest a new player tries one until they have experience first.

The 2013 reflex rail
BASE $500

Really it’s a rail with a few more bells and whistles. Dye it seems is always changing this marker as for 2013 they have still pumped more into it. Compared to the rail this also has an eye pipe, hyper 3 reg, aluminum frame, different trigger, on/off asa and some better milling on the body . To me this is a rather hefty price tag for a mid-range marker but that aside, it does come with some rather nice features.

(they work together for the most part)
Invert got their start a few years back by creating a small enough marker that it got everyone talking. They used a design that while it had been used before, never quite like this.

The Mini BASE $325
This marker broke from tradition and used a single tube air rammed poppet design incorporating an internally plumbed grip. While none of these pieces were new, putting them together like this was. I used to own one of these and sold it for a number of reasons but the highlights are thus, the marker uses custom sized o-rings, the rest of paintball uses standard sizes which means the chances that your local shop or field having mini o-rings is lessened. Always carry o-rings on you. It also uses an integrated regulator with a ASA, this is a problem for a few reasons, first, you can not relocate the ASA at all and second, without buying a new $80 regulator from Invert, there is no way to mount an on/off asa on it. The regulator itself can not be serviced by the owner. Big issue for me because I do all my own maintenance. Overall though, it will be slightly more efficient than the rail or PRR but will be louder and kick a little more. It does shoot good but is often a little too small for some people. If you are considering this marker, defiantly hold it before buying, many people do not like the feel of it because it is so small

The Axe
BASE $460

Really it is a invert mini that is slightly longer, heavier, has rounded corners and a tool-less bolt removal along with the new regulator that has an on/off integrated into it. It does weigh slightly more which is a mixed blessing. while its more to carry around this also means it will shoot slightly smoother as well. It is a lot of extra money for the same base design as the mini but it is up to you if the extras are worth it or not

The TM-7 and TM-15 below are marketed under BT, not empire or invert just for reference

The TM-7 BASE $400

Yes it seems the trend today is to take a marker that sells well and put it in a milsim package. Well that’s all the TM-7 is. On the inside it is an invert mini wrapped in a different shell. Unlike the majority of milsim markers however this is a step above the entry level markers that have milsim shells around them. It uses a single trigger with select fire and has the typical slew of rails. Comes with a built in forgrip and adjustable stock.

The TM-15 BASE $480
Its just a TM-7 in a larger shell. Empire also felt the need to use a magnesium body on this, as to why, it is slightly lighter and stronger than aluminum but it also costs a lot more but there certainly is nothing wrong with aluminum in markers either. It is larger and heavier but everything else is the same

Dangerous power​
DP has been around making mid range markers for a while. Every once in a while they will release something that does a good job of balancing features and price. Also, every once in a while they release something that is not a very good balance of that.

The E1 BASE $185
Esentually this is a version of the g4 that is stripped down to its bare essentials. It is currently the lowest priced mid range marker in the industry. Almost everything on it has no frills. The ASA is integrated into the composite grip frame so it can never be moved but at least they do give you an on/off ASA. The body is very simply milled and it comes with a standard feedneck. No frills, but a true mid range marker for a budget.

The G5
BASE $320
For the “new” G5 DP has gone with a gas-through grip design over the traditional macro hose design, other than that it is a fairly typical unbalanced spool at a decent price. The only outstanding feature it has over other unbalanced spools it is typically lighter (if only by an ounce or two) Unfortunately for DP, both the g3 and g4 and now G5 have had some teething issues when they were released. Lots of factory QC issues meant lots of markers were delivered already needing work.Bearing in mind the price the g5 is often compared to the proto rail and in that fight the rail wins even if the prices were the same. For a little less the rail will be quieter, kick a little less and get better efficiency. However both markers are a good design and personal opinion and comfort does play a roll.
See less See more

The Aura BASE - $330

Description contributed my TL_Miller

A small Canadian manufacturer, most well known for their older STBB also called the Aura. This model is NOT a STBB. This is a true unbalanced spool valve (like a PMR or an G5), however, it uses a clapper noid to directly actuate a valve instead of using a pneumatic solenoid to cycle. While this has some disadvantages, it has a single major advantage. Unlike a PMR, or an Ion, If you overpressure an Aura, you won’t blow the noid. This makes it so that it is compatible with co2 (and that there is no macroline). It is internally plumbed like the Mini, Luxe, G6R. The drive is a very simplistic version of a spool valve, with the bolt itself being oring-less, made of delrin, and in total only being a couple dynamic orings. In fact, in the entire engine, there are only (I believe) 8 orings fewer orings = fewer points of failure. The marker has a clamping feedneck and an on/off stock.


The Proton BASE - $325

Really this is an Mokal Aura in a slightly different shell. The milling is different, there is a different trigger, different feedneck and the back cap is slightly easier to remove. Some people like the different trigger and feedneck, some do not, either way if you are considering an aura defiantly check out the proton as well


As much as it pains me to put this on here (and believe me, it REALLY pains me) if I am trying to write a fairly unbiased guide I feel the gog markers do fit the criteria in which I am choosing which markers to include and which to leave out. They are all mid range markers within the price range I have been using for everything else. GOG will say that they all can run on CO2 however from experience, you really should at minimum be using an anti-siphon co2 tank and in reality it is just easier you will have a lot fewer headaches if you just run HPA on these markers. The reason gog will say they are safe to use CO2 with is the regulator on these. They designed this regulator first for the SP1 or vibe, and while it is true, its safe to run CO2 on these markers because the regulator will vent out any liquid CO2 that gets sucked in, the down side is when it is venting the marker can not fire as the venting process shuts off the air flow to the marker.
That aside I feel it is VERYimportant for players to understand why exactly nearly nobody on this site along with VERY few experienced players in all of paintball will support GOG or the Gardner brothers who run it. To make a very long story short the Garner brothers are the single worst thing that has ever happened to paintball and have single handedly put many good companies out of business even though those companies had very good ideas and designs usually over a patent that was should not have been the Gardner brothers to begin with. In my personal opinion, every single penny that goes towards GOG is a penny that is then used to tear down paintball just so the Gardner brothers can make 2 more.

Please take the time to read this explanation of their past if you are curious as to why they are almost unanimously hated in the paintball realm before purchasing their products. What you buy is of course your choice but I do really encourage you to read what exactly the Gardner brothers have chosen to do with the profits they made off of markers that players like yourself have purchased from them in the past.

And an even longer version, on Bill Gardner chimes in on this one. It's quite a long ordeal.​

The markers: To make a long story short, the only marker that GOG produces is the Smart Parts ion, all the markers they have are simply the ion with different styling and a few different bells and whistles. Last I have heard the bolt has not even changed since the original ion which came out I believe in 2005. The one good thing is that all the markers now have BOB (bolt out back) which in reality the original ion should have had from day 1

The eNMEy BASE - $120
Mechanical ion with its only outstanding feature being a clamping feedneck

The eNVy BASE - $190
This is about 95% exactly the same as the original Smart parts vibe. Take an eNMEy and put a e-frame on it

The eXTCy BASE - $250
Again, about 95% exactly the same as the original ion XE. If I remember right a few QEVs a different trigger and some different milling are really all that separate it from the eNVy
See less See more

So now that you have a mask, tank and marker, you need something to feed this beast that you have created. There are a few simple things to know before just going out with $30 and finding what you can on that.

There are 3 basic types of hoppers
1) Gravity feed – these are the most basic of hoppers, essentially they are a funnel with a cap on top of your marker. As the name suggests they rely on gravity to get paintballs into the marker and nothing more. They are the cheapest hoppers but also the most limiting because they will not reliably feed paint. You often have to shake them to get them to work which is why they are often referred to as a “shake and bake”

2) Agitating hoppers – These are essentially a gravity hopper that have an agitation arm on the inside so paint will not get jammed at the top of the feedstack. These hoppers still rely on gravity to get the paint into your marker but they make sure there is always paint above the feedneck ready to fall in

3) Force feed hoppers – As the name implies these hoppers force paint all the way into the marker and do not rely on gravity to do anything except get paint into the drive portion of the hopper itself. Most of these hoppers maintain a constant tension on the ball stack (the line of paintballs from the hopper into your marker) so once a paintball is fired, a new one immediately takes its place. These are the most reliable way to make sure there is a paintball ready to fire under any conditions.

Among the e-hoppers, they all need a way to “sense” when they need to feed and when they need to stop or else they will constantly be trying to feed (there are a few of those) and there are 3 basic types of sensors used in hoppers today.
First, sight, like eyes in a marker, eyes in a hopper see if paint is moving down into the marker or not, if it is then the hopper knows it needs to feed more. The main problem with eyes is if a paintball breaks in the hopper, your eyes can go “blind” and not be able to tell if the hopper needs to feed or not. They are also the slowest sensing system (which really isn’t a large concern to be honest) as they need to wait until paint has already moved past them to start the hopper feeding.
Second there are ears. Ears “hear” when the marker fires and then feed paint based on that. This is the fastest sensing system as the ball stack does not even need to move for the hopper to know it needs to start feeding. Unlike eyes, if a paintball breaks in the hopper, the hopper will continue to feed as there are no eyes to go blind. A few years back when ears were still in their early stages there were a few issues with some markers being too quiet for the hopper to hear it effectively or in some cases picking up background noise and trying to feed even though you have not actually fired the marker. However from what I have heard these issues have all been sorted out in the last few years and I have heard none of the above issues from any of the current hoppers.
Finally there is “touch”. Touch sensors work a few different ways, one of which is to basically feel when paint is falling into the hopper, another one is to feel the vibrations of a marker as it fires (spire) and the last is to feel on the tension of the ball stack to know if the marker has been fired or not If that tension is decreased they feed. Touch sensors can be fast or slow, the fastest are the ones that feel the vibrations and the slowest are the ones that feel the paint falling past them but unlike eyes or ears they cannot go blind or get confused with too much or too little noise.

On to the hoppers!

Basic gravity feeds (shake and bakes) BASE - $4-$8
Lots of brands make these so I am not going to list individual hoppers since they are all the same, they are just a funnel with a lid

The Proto Primo BASE - $15
Basically proto added a shelf in the standard gravity hopper. This shelf makes it so the top of the ball stack does not have pressure on it resulting in a lot less jamming out of a shake and bake hopper. Basically put, they made a shake and bake that feeds better and does not need to be shaken.

Tippmann AL-200 & SL-200 BASE - $25 and $40
The AL-200 is a constantly agitating hopper, meaning that once you turn it on, it is constantly driving and making noise, this gets VERY annoying trust me, along with the fastest way to drain a battery. My understanding of the SL-200 is that it is based around the same design but has an on/off touch sensor, so unlike the AL, if you are not shooting the SL will not be feeding. This hopper uses the flow style of touch sensor so it has a rather slow reaction time. Even still I would not recommend either of these hoppers, Tippmann has never been known for great hoppers and if anything ever happens to these replacement parts are going to be harder to come by than most other hoppers

Spyder fasta series (9v, 18v LED, 18v LCD) BASE - $49, $69, $79 respectively

While I do not have any first hand experience with these (if you do PLEASE send me a PM) everything I have read on them points to them essentially being the same as the old ricochet series hoppers that ironically also had 3 variations with a few tweeks in the shells that should help them feed slightly better and hold a reported 230 paintballs. These hoppers have managed to find a strange place in between agitators and force feeders. While the feed system is designed to be a force feeder they also DO NOT maintain constant tension on the ball stack while the hopper is at rest. What this means is the hopper must wait for the first shot to be fired and then for the ball stack to start moving due to gravity. Once the ball stack moves and the hopper senses it using the same sort of touch sensor that the tippmann hoppers do, it will start driving more paint towards the marker. So while it is moving, it is “force feeding” but while at rest there is no tension on the ball stack. The 9v operates off of one 9v battery and only has a single on off button with a single 2 color light to indicate battery function. The 18v led is essentially the same hopper as the 9v just with an extra slot for a second battery. The extra battery also helps it feed faster. The 18v LCD essentially adds a LCD readout screen and a game timer with pre-set alarms built in. Lots of people do not like a hopper that does not keep constant tension on the ball stack but whether or not this is an issue is up to you but considering the price of some of the too come hoppers, you may want to read on to see other choices in the same price range.

JT evlution BASE - $74
If you remember it this is really the Viewloader eyeforce in a new shell (also the evolution 4) It is a pretty time tested design, true forcefeeder that keeps tension on the ball stack and using eyes to sense the paint. Uses two 9v batteries for power and I would expect around 8-10 cases on that. I am not certain if they have kept the evolution 4s tooless break down or not. It looks like they have but I do not know for sure (if you do please contact me) This time around they are using a much better shell material that is becoming more and more common (basically nylon mixed into the plastic) however the big down side is the price. The evolution 4 and eye force were both sold at around $45 so I have a hard time suggesting this hopper considering it is in the price range of the halo too which is a little later and also keeping in mind that running it off of 9v batteries is going to cost a small fortune in the long run.

Halo B v-35 BASE - $99

I know what your thinking “holy crap Trbo, that’s a huge price jump between your last hopper!” Yes it is but I felt I should explain the halo here as a few hoppers later down will rely on this
When first introduced the Halo B was a huge milestone, at the time manufactures were competing to try and get the highest BPS (balls per second) numbers out of their markers but no hopper could keep up. The halo B was faster than anything else at the time and had a lot of features most other hoppers did not. With the addition of a rip drive kit even if the hopper stopped feeding for any reason you could manually wind it to continue playing. After a few years they came out with the v-35 which again was faster than anything before it. The halo design uses eyes and a spring wound drive cone so even before the eyes sense the paint moving the drive cone is pushing paint into the breach. Holds 188 paintballs (counted by Schnelly611) There is not too much to complain about with these hoppers but the most aggravations typically come from the shell design (not weak but not super strong either)and the use of eyes. Power is supplied by 4 or 6 AA batteries (to get up to the 35bps you need to have 6) and battery life is nothing to brag about but not terrible either. I would expect somewhere in the range of 10-12 cases

See less See more
Valken V-max BASE - $60

Really I am putting this hopper on here to advise that you stay away from it. To make a long story short this hopper has some fairly massive problems, the largest of which is that it will really only reliably feed for the first half of the hopper. After that it has some massive popcorning issues and will not reliably feed. Social paintball did a test on it while shooting on a marker and at full speed it was only feeding at 11bps. To make a long story short the company that was creating it did not do enough R&D before pushing it off to the production lines, shortly after they went under and valken bought the remaining stock (which was a lot of hoppers) and they are still being sold, problems and all. AVOID at all costs, save a little extra and get a Halo TOO

Valken V-max 2 BASE - $100
Lets try this again! I really don’t think they did much to change this hopper besides put some different feed arms in it but honestly those were one of the major problems with the first one. I still don’t like this hopper and would easily take a halo too over it any day. Maybe if it was still $60 I could see the price being decent but not at $100, there is just not enough hopper here to justify the price.
Looks the same at the V-max 1, just put a 2 after the name

Invert halo TOO BASE - $74

After the introduction of the halo B empire used the same exact design (literally, parts can be swapped between the two) except instead of eyes they incorporated ears into the hopper to make it sound activated. A stock empire reloader B would outpace a stock halo B and some argue this was the reason halo introduced the V-35 board in the first place. Whatever the reason though the empire clone worked fantastically. They tweeked the basic design a few times through the years and today it lives as the invert halo too. It is an empire reloader B at heart with better ears that do not have any of the problems the early attempts did (that I have heard at least) but the best thing they did is they used a much more resilient shell material. The early halo and empire hoppers had a fairly run of the mill plastic that was prone to cracking with hard impacts. The halo too on the other hand has plastic that is much more durable and able to flex a bit meaning it can take some good abuse and keep kicking. It runs on 4 AA batteries and will get roughly 10-12 cases of paint on those.Holds 180 (count supplied by Martix_agent) Weather it is your first, third or miller’s 33rd marker, the halo too will be able to keep pace making it a great investment for the long run. I, along with many others around here consider this hopper the best bang for your buck hopper currently on the market.

Note on this hopper!: some sites will sell it in different colors including a lot of transparent colors. If you get the transparent colors you will be buying a shell that is the weaker material that I spoke of in the description typically referred to in the title as the “Halo too SE”. If you want the tougher shell get the matte black ONLY (you can always paint it) which will me missing the “SE” in the name.

Empire Scion BASE - $99
Think of this hopper as an upgraded halo too. They have however thrown out the ears and replaced them with eyes instead . They have also incorporated some of the technology from the prophecy into this as well such as the software that, if it senses a jam, will automatically reverse the motor to clear the jam and then keep feeding. The drive cone is also a derivative of the proph. I have not heard for sure how many batteries it runs on but I am assuming like the too and proph, it is 4 AA batteries and you will see around 10-12 cases off of those (if you know otherwise, please contact me). This hopper, also like the too, is compatible with most halo aftermarket upgrades and accessories. Also comes with the rip drive stock like many of its cousins. Personally, I feel the halo too is a great hopper that comes with everything most players want, that said though, this hopper does have some advantages for the price difference its just up to you as to if they are worth it or not.
See less See more

There are always arguments in paintball as to what is “best” truth be told though, rarely can ANYTHING ever be labeled as “The Best”. Some people like features that others don’t. By and large though the next four hoppers are the heavyweight contenders for the “best” hoppers currently made in paintball

The Pinokio BASE - $130
Its back, for about a year this hopper has been off the market in the anticipation that the next version would come out but it has yet to do so and it seems they have put this back into production. This hopper was designed with capacity in mind as the standard will hold around 220 and the extended nose around 380. The extended nose was really designed with back players in mind who are shooting tons of paint. It will make your setup rather heavy starting out but you have a LOT of paint at your disposal as well. The feed system is nearly identical to the spyder fafsa series in both drive and sensing. I would say the pinokio is a little faster but speed was not a major concern for the team developing this hopper. That aside it is going to be fast enough to keep up with any tourney rules today. Runs off of two 9v batteries and I would expect around 10 cases off of those.

The Spire BASE - $185

Virtue has been around paintball for a while. They are most notably known for creating aftermarket boards for markers getting their start creating boards with more flexibility than the stock boards. As time has gone on stock boards have gotten better and better virtue started branching out into other areas. Fist creating boards for hoppers, then RF chips so a marker and hopper could communicate and now finally their own hopper. They used their knowledge of circuit boards to their advantage here creating a new sensing system. They used accelerometers in the hopper to "feel" the vibrations when a marker is fired. The hopper is a tool-less design only consisting of a few major parts. The drive train is reminiscent of the halo series using a feed tray and rotating arms to get paint down into the hopper. These arms also function as the anti-jam devise and virtue says should paint ever jam, the arm will bend down and pass under the jammed paintball ensuring that the paint is not chopped. Sofar I have not been able to pin down if the feed system is spring driven or not but the hopper does seem capable of keeping up with just about anything out there. Virtue has never released speed numbers either as they say the sensing system will simply feed as fast as the marker is shooting. Runs on 3 AA batteries and I would give an estimate of around 15 cases off of those (if you have a more definite answer please let me know) Virtue uses a lot of open ended phrases to describe it like "long" battery life so you never quite know what they mean by that. As for the capacity they say "true 200 capacity" but the phrase is always trade marked so again, you never quite know what they mean by it. But it does seem that 200 is a bit of an exaggeration as most counts from players are around 180-190. For what it is, it is very simple, has a high level of technology in it and is also VERY expensive.

The Empire prophecy z2
BASE - $170

The prophecy is a descendant of the halo B, once the empire reloader came out and sound activation started being used empire started making upgrades to the reloader base, soon they came out with the prophecy that was in essence a reloader that came stock with all of the upgrades and a few new ones. The hopper boasts tooless disassembly and it is true, you can take it apart without tools but it is often like a jigsaw puzzle to get the whole thing apart however the Z2 is slightly better at this than the original was. That aside it is rare that while at the field you would need to tear the hopper ALL the way down. If you need to clean the internals while at the field those parts will come off with relative ease for cleaning. The hopper runs on 4 AA batteries and like the original prophecy I would expect around 12-15 cases off that. It is still a sound activated force feeder that keeps constant tension on the ball stack through the use of a drive cone at the rear of the hopper. One of the big differences between the prophecy and z2 is the shell material. The z2 took after the halo TOO and to the best of my knowledge uses the same material. It is more durable than the original plastic so the hopper should be able to take a good beating. The feedneck was changed since the original as well, it was a 2 piece design that had an inner and an outer sleeve, now it is all integrated into one piece. One of the features the z2 has that I personally wish was in more hoppers today is the magnetic lid. Unlike a traditional snap lid, which must be securely closed each and every time, with a magnetic lid even if you don’t push it all the way down, the magnets take over and close the lid the rest of the way which also allows for some room for the lid to jump up and down and still remain closed unlike a snap lid that, if it pops open, must be closed manually again. From what I have read it does seem one thing is missing from the z2 that was included in the proph, the magnetic clutch system for the drive cone is not mentioned and it is believed sofar that it has been taken out but nobody seems to know what was put in in its place.

The Dye Rotor
BASE - $190

Gosh where to start

The hopper races were off and most people were huddling around the v-35 or the reloader B, dye came along and announced they were entering the hopper race with a revolutionary design. First was the shell material, I still do not understand it completely but it is some form of a nylon composite plastic which came about when most hoppers were being made of fairly run of the mill plastic given the same force that would crack the run of the mill plastics the nylon composite would just flex and return to its original shape. The next big thing was the tool less disassembly in a time when a few screwdrivers and some pliers were needed to take apart most hoppers dye claimed a 30-second tear down time and while for most people it takes slightly longer than this, without problems the hopper can easily be torn completely apart to its base parts in under 60 seconds. Dye claimed 50+ bps and in a time of people battling to have the fastest hopper the rotor put an end to any debates about who had the fastest hopper. While you will never need 50bps it is pretty easy to tell when the hoppers batteries are getting low based on the sound of the motor. If you have a hopper that is only rated to lets say 15bps and you are shooting at 15bps, as soon as the batteries start fading your hopper is no longer able to feed at 15, meanwhile if the hopper is, at its fastest something over 15 you know you have some room to play while the batteries are still fading and if at full speed that is 50bps you have a lot of cushion before you will be under 15bps. Speaking of batteries the rotor runs off of 3 AAs and dye claims 25 cases off of those 3 batteries. Under normal use I have estimated my batteries have lasted around 18-20 cases but honestly it is hard to keep track when you have had the hopper for about 4 years and have only ever replaced the batteries twice. The drive cone of the hopper is quite unique and rather hard to describe, if you are interested I suggest looking up a video on youtube of it. For now lets suffice it to say that the drive cone is a true forcefeed design that maintains constant tension on the ball stack and senses paint movement based on the tension on the ball stack, if the tension lessons the hopper knows to feed and never leaves the ball stack without tension. You can adjust the amount of tension the hopper places on the ball stack with an allen key on the back of the gear box (no tools needed to get to it, just to adjust it) Dye claims 200 can fit in it, I have counted the capacity at 190, some claim 185 but for what it holds the profile is VERY small. If a larger capacity is wanted dye also offers a 250 top which holds a reported 240 which also makes the hopper heavier in comparison. If you do end up getting one I have one suggestion, if you get a speed feed do not get one like the virtue crown that sits higher than the hopper, the shape of the hopper promotes bounces and it works quite well but if you have a speed feed sticking up those bounces off the hopper just turn into breaks on the speed feed.

See less See more
Specialty hoppers

These are feeding systems that are integrated into a few markers out there or are otherwise different from a traditional setup.

Q-loader BASE $90 (basic setup with 2 pods) additional pods around $20 each

The Q-loader is essentially a clip feed system that can be bolted onto any marker. Instead of traditional below mounted rectangular clips it uses clips that are shaped like pods and the mount can be placed almost anywhere as long as the feed tube can reach the feedneck of the marker. The pods each have a spring in them to drive paint into the marker which must be wound when reloading the pods. Each pod is larger than an average pod so they do not always fit in all pod packs and each pod only holds 100 paintballs so you do not have the capacity of a standard setup. While it is a purely mechanical system it has some rather nasty downfalls because of that, when reloading the system it is rather easy to skip a slot for a paintball, if this happens, once the feed stack advances to that open slot it will freespin and slam into the next paintball, not surprisingly this is an easy way to break paint. To avoid this some people have purchased a e-loader just to load the q-loader pods to make sure no slots are skipped over. If you need a e-hopper to load your hopper it seems a rather expensive way to avoid using batteries on the field but to each his own

The Cyclone BASE - $60 (tippmann 98 and most clone markers only)

This is the stock feeder that comes on the A-5 but is also made to mount to the 98 and most of the clone 98 markers out there. In essence it takes the air from the marker that would be vented out into the atmosphere to power a drive cone. There is no need for a sensing system as the feed system only functions when the marker is fired but because of the use of pneumatics to advance the ratchet drive system, the movement itself is quite rough on paint even with soft paddles installed in the hopper. Because the hopper uses air from the marker you will also see a decrease in efficiency after installing one on your marker. Tippmann will try to convince you otherwise but the energy comes from somewhere and because you are taking air from the marker and slowing the hammer’s travel the only way to overcome that and to get the marker to re-cock like normal is to use more air. Tippmann says it can keep up with anything but truth be told i would not trust it much over about 10-12bps, once the hopper gets about half empty it has issues getting new paint into the drive cone of the system and can very easily chop a paintball in half. For the price it is often better to find a standard hopper that can be transferred onto another marker later on but the cyclone is out there as a purely mechanical option

Rip clip BASE - $75

In essence this feed system is a reloader B in a different shell. Really that is all there is to it. Over a standard reloader B there are no advantages. Like the cyclone system the rip clip can not be transferred onto another marker if you ever move on. Different mounting plates are needed for the marker you want to mount it on but again like the cyclone this system is almost only used on the 98 and clone markers.

See less See more
personally i cant see why that hopper costs so much but ill put it in there. i think miller has one if im not mistaken
I have Pinokio, Prophecy, EyeForce, Too, Pinokio, V-Max (freshly back from VAlken and all fixed) currently.
Once again more dumping on Tippmann. :rolleyes:

Even though I know nobody is going to pay attention I'm going to reiterate once again that NOT ALL TIPPMANNS ARE MADE IN CHINA! Here are the markers made in the U.S:

98 Custom Platinum
X7 Phenom
TPX Pistol

Basically just about everything except their budget priced stuff.

Also if you are going to criticize Tippmann for making things in China it doesn't really make any sense to recommend something like a Spyder or Azodin when they are made in Taiwan.
See less See more
Yes, but they are priced accordingly. You can get a mech Spyder for 1/2 the price of a mech Tippmann. Considering performance wise they're identical, reliability they're identical, and the Spyder has the advantage of being smaller and lighter, it's hard to recommend something that isn't better in any measurable way, but is larger and weighs more for twice the price.
i dont really care where something is made, it could be made in the US but be a piece of crap, it could be made in Africa and be a shimmering gem. if all else is equal then i will say yes, buy from a made in the USA brand (like i did with the tanks) but everything else is not equal
Yes, but they are priced accordingly. You can get a mech Spyder for 1/2 the price of a mech Tippmann. Considering performance wise they're identical, reliability they're identical, and the Spyder has the advantage of being smaller and lighter, it's hard to recommend something that isn't better in any measurable way, but is larger and weighs more for twice the price.
it's like the argument that mac users make "it's the cool thing and it just WORKS"

I can get a pc or laptop for half the price, and it works too. guess what? that means i'm saving money.
i dont really care where something is made, it could be made in the US but be a piece of crap, it could be made in Africa and be a shimmering gem. if all else is equal then i will say yes, buy from a made in the USA brand (like i did with the tanks) but everything else is not equal

Consider it constructive criticism on your guide. You make it well known how much you don't like Tippmann but you are shading your guide with a very obvious bias. If you felt it was relevant to your guide to mention (wrongly) that all Tippmanns were made overseas and therefore no longer as reliable it would follow that you should mention that Spyders and Azodins were also made overseas. If it doesn't matter it shouldn't factor into your criteria at all.
1 - 20 of 507 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.