Well both are pressure sources for markers which will launch the paintball from the barrel. It’s marker dependent as to whether you can use either or source without potentially damaging your marker.
CO2 is considered the cheaper option and more readily available whereas compressed air is more consistent. But it’s all down to what your marker requires and what you’re willing to spend.
CO2 was used for the first paintball markers thus setting the standard for various years on what source to use. When carbon dioxide changes into gas from its liquid state it expands which creates pressure, this pressure is used to fire the paintball via the barrel. The tanks should be filled with around 850psi but may vary due to elevation and temperature.
Many CO2 tanks never have to be re-certified or re-tested and are low maintenance. The re-fills are relatively inexpensive and the tanks are compact yielding more shots than compressed air.
However there are some issues, as the liquid expands it also cools and the faster it expands the more rapid the cooling, this can lead to inconsistent shooting. If you ever see white snow falling from the barrel, it’s actually dry ice and a sure sign the liquid is in the gun which could cause mechanical issues.
Compressed Air Tanks
Also known as High Pressure Air (HPA), these are usually pressurized up to the tanks rating of either 3000 or 4500 psi, the pressure is then regulated through the tanks regulator. HPA has consistent pressure and the ability to be used in all weather, accuracy is improved via the higher velocity of the gun with a higher rate of fire.
However there are some drawbacks, if you don’t have a local pro shop getting your tank filled is an issue (we fill these for a cost of £1.00). The tanks are larger and are bulky in comparison to CO2 tanks and they do cost quite a sum more. For a small amount every 3-5years air tanks must be hydro tested and re-certified.
It really all depends on your style of play and marker, but if you can afford the HPA investment we recommend it.
For information on what a HPA and Co2 tanks can hold check out our "Co2 and compressed air tanks" blog post.
If you have an issues don’t hesitate to contact us on 01642 605000.