Isn’t paintball a fun game? What can get better than shooting your opponents with paint and winning an event? But paintball is no ordinary game. It requires loads of equipment to take part in just one small game.
From masks to guns to pants to hoppers, you will need to have a lot of paintball gear to enter a tournament.
In this blog we are more interested in the gear, or rather, one particular item of the paintball gear. Which one is that? The hopper, obviously. How else are you going to have a constant supply of paintballs on the field?
Erm… not sure what we are talking about? You must be a beginner then, right? No worries. We’ll explain. A hopper is a UFO-like object that is fixed on the top of the paintball gun/ sniper to supply paintballs for you to shoot at your opponents. It’s one of the must-have items of paintball equipment, especially if you want to enter a tournament.
Hoppers are also called loaders as they load paintballs into the gun for you to shoot. You have to fix many attachments to your paintball gun. You need a barrel to aim over longer distances, a tank to power the shots, and a hopper to supply the paintballs. Sigh!
But hey, a paintball game doesn’t feel as good as it can without any of these. You don’t want to half-heartedly play paintball, do you? You want to go for it in full force.
Now, back to the topic at hand. We’ve established that you need a paintball hopper/ loader. Which one are you going to buy?
Naturally, there are a ton load of models on the market. Every company is going to claim that it manufactures the best paintball hopper. Whom should you trust? What factors do you need to consider when buying a paintball hopper? Is there anything else you need to know?
Before you are overwhelmed, let’s assure you that we’ve got all of it sorted for you. Just read through this post, and these questions will be answered in detail. If you are a beginner, you might even end up learning a few new things about paintball. Shall we get going then?
Table of Contents
The Best Paintball Hoppers For The Money
#1 Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The first paintball hopper on our list is by Dye. The LT-R is an electronic model that can be considered a lightweight and easy-to-use hopper. Be it the capacity, the firing rate, or the number of shots the hopper can fire, this model has many plus points. Professionals love to use this hopper as it is both efficient and cost-effective. Let’s take a look at the features in detail, shall we?
Features & Benefits
The hopper weighs around 1.05 pounds and has a capacity of 200 paintballs. The paintball hopper comes with patented DYE technology and promises reliability and durability. Not only that, you can also customize the hopper to suit your game. Adjusting the feed tension is one example of this flexibility.
The firing rate of the LT-R is 30 paintballs per second. Isn’t that super cool? This model is pretty similar to the R2 in size and shape but comes at a lower price. Though its body is plastic, it is still strong and sturdy.
- The hopper uses three AA batteries, and one set can fire up to 80,000 paintballs.
- It comes with a built-in, jam-resistant mechanism (shark-fin).
- The hopper is water-resistant and works well in most weather conditions. We love this about it.
- It has a tool-less disassemble model, which means that you can take it apart and put it together without using any tools—or pulling your hair out.
- That said, removing the top lid is a bit tough. However, a little practice should make it easier.
- You can upgrade the hopper as you gain expertise and work toward becoming a professional paintball player.
- There have been no issues with paintballs breaking inside the hopper during the game. This is something we really like about this model.
- This hopper offers high-end efficiency and output for a budget-friendly investment.
#2 Proto Primo Paintball Hopper / Loader - Most Lightweight
The second paintball hopper on our list is a lightweight and affordable model by Proto. This is a gravity-fed model but comes with a teeny mechanism to prevent the paintballs from jamming. It also has a better firing rate when compared with other models in the same range. It has a wide selection of colors to choose from so that you can pair your paintball gun with a matching hopper. There are many other interesting and useful features of this model. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
Features & Benefits
The Proto Primo has a sleek and stylish design that also aids in the consistent delivery of paintballs during the game. It weighs about 2.4 ounces and is considered a lightweight model. The vertical feed design ensures that the paintballs are steadily loaded into the gun.
Though it is a gravity-fed model, you don’t have to shake it vigorously for a continuous supply of paintballs. A minor tilt or a small, brisk shake will do the job. This acts as both an advantage and a disadvantage.
- The capacity of this model is 200 paintballs. Since it is not battery-based, there is no limit to the number of shots you can power using this hopper.
- The feed rate of this hopper is higher than the standard rate of eight to nine paintballs per second of gravity-fed hoppers.
- The feed is smooth and didn’t cause us any trouble when testing it. Using this hopper is quite easy, and so is cleaning it.
- The hopper is made of hard plastic and is durable.
- The affordable pricing is another bonus of this model though you will have to pay extra to buy hoppers in different colors. Still, the price range isn’t too high.
- The lid is a simple spring model that can be opened to reload the hopper.
#3 Empire Paintball Halo Too Loader - Best Durability
Empire is one of the famous manufacturing brands of quality paintball gear, and the Halo Too Loader is no exception to its reputation This is an electronic model and comes with an anti-jamming mechanism to keep up a consistent supply of paintballs during the game. It has a good firing rate, though its capacity is only 180 paintballs. However, the Halo Too is one of the most durable and sturdy hoppers on the market. Shall we look at the design and benefits in detail?
Features & Benefits
This hopper is made of polycarbonate and is one of the sturdiest models on the market. Of course, that means that it is not exactly a lightweight model. The hopper weighs about a pound when armed with the four AA batteries it needs to run. It also comes with a 48ci, 3,000 psi N2 gas tank.
However, it is a reliable model and comes at a pocket-friendly price. And since it has some attractive features, many paintball players prefer this model. Just remember to buy the latest version of this model. The older ones have a screw on the battery door.
- The hopper’s feed rate is 20 paintballs per second. You can monitor the feed tension and adjust it to suit your game.
- It has an LED display to indicate a low battery, so you don’t have to worry about a dead battery in the middle of the game.
- The hopper has six different speed settings. The default is set at three and will continue until you change it. This makes it easy for even beginners to use the hopper.
- The Empire hopper is activated by sound and has a tiny microphone attached to it. You can, of course, turn it down if you use a large gun.
- Don’t ever replace the four AA batteries with a nine-volt battery. It will not deliver the same performance. Go with the recommended batteries only.
#4 Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader - Best Capacity
Dye is a famous brand that manufactures and sells paintball gear in the market place. The R2 is one of the well-known hoppers among the different models supplied by the company—we mentioned this model in our Editor’s Choice above). This one is preferred for its feed rate and capacity, even though it is a bit expensive when compared with other models. Another advantage of this model is the variety of colors it comes in. You can even find an R2 hopper with tiger stripes. We think that’s cool! It’s time to see more features of the Dye R2 hopper.
Features & Benefits
The R2’s lid is also made of polycarbonate but is slightly lighter than the Halo Too. It has a large mouth or opening that makes it super easy to feed the paintballs into the hopper. The curved and rounded shape has been designed to increase the capacity from 200 to 260 paintballs.
You will need to use three AA batteries to run the hopper. It has a low-battery indicator, so that’s another plus. The batteries can power more than 100,000 shots.
- The hopper has an on-off button, a counter reset button, and two DIP switches. You can turn off the sound indicators and also the blinking lights to avoid your presence being detected during the game.
- Disassembling the hopper is very simple and can be done even on the field. Simply snap off the lid to add more paintballs, or slide the brackets forward to pull out the motor.
- The anti-jamming mechanism makes it a reliable hopper. That said, be careful and try to minimize rough usage. Some plastics partscan be prone to breakage.
#5 Virtue Spire IV Electronic Paintball Loaders/Hoppers - Best for Performance
The last paintball hopper on our list is the Virtue Spire IV. A professional player would know that this company has released a series of hoppers (Spire I, II, III, and so on) with varying features. We’ve picked the Spire IV as it is one of the most promising hoppers on the market. Be it the paintball capacity or the instant feeding system, this model has a lot to offer, even though it is a bit expensive.
Features & Benefits
The design of the Spire IV is similar to that of Spire III in size and shape. It also has the same one-click removable lid and comes with the same feed. The model has 220 and 280 capacities to hold paintballs.
However, this is not a lightweight model, weighing it at about two pounds. It is the heaviest model on our list. The unit comes with wireless programming and can be connected to Bluetooth.
- The hopper has an anti-jamming feature to prevent malfunction during the game.
- It has a feed rate of 25 paintballs per second.
- The proactive feed logic board allows instant, continuous, and consistent feeding of paintballs to the gun.
- The hopper has a magnetic drive cone on the inside that makes it easy to clean and use. It is also a tool-less disassembly model.
- You can plug and charge the unit using the extra cord located at the back of the hopper.
- By connecting the hopper to your smartphone, you can keep track of the shots and your game.
- You can use the IFI board to connect the hopper to the Virtue ace marker (through Bluetooth) so that you don’t have to worry about missing a shot.
- Just remember that the lid is prone to breakage during rough use.
Buying Guide for the Best Paintball Hoppers
Aren’t those some really cool paintball hoppers? But, how exactly do you choose the right paintball loader for you? What are the different types of hoppers, and how do you differentiate between them? Let’s try to answers these questions in detail.
Types of paintball hoppers
There are two major types of paintball hoppers available on the market. One is the gravity-fed model, and the other is the electronic model. The names are suggestive, aren’t they? It’s easy to guess how each model would work.
So, what makes them different from each other?
The gravity-fed loaders are inexpensive and can be easily found on the market. They are lightweight and don’t make any sound or rattle since they contain no mechanism inside. The biggest issue with this type is that the hopper can jam unless you are constantly moving.
That’s because the paintballs are all trying to squeeze through the small path that’ll load them into the gun. So, when you keep moving, the paintballs will also move and slip through the tube one at a time.
And this would also mean that your firing rate will be lower at around eight to nine paintballs per second. You might have to shake the gun a bit to load the paintball and then shoot. Though these hoppers have smaller capacities, deliberately designed for newbies, some brands offer a good capacity equal to the electronic hoppers. However, gravity-fed loaders are easier to clean and use.
These hoppers have a small mechanism, actually a tray, inside them that pushes the paintballs to load the gun. Be it the anti-jam feature or the capacity inserter, these hoppers deliver great performance and have a high capacity.
They supply around 20 or more paintballs per second. You don’t need to shake the hopper or give it a hit to load the paintballs in the gun. In fact, all that extra shaking might end up hurting the mechanism on the inside.
Naturally, electronic hoppers are more expensive and not as lightweight as the gravity-fed models. But professionals prefer these because of the capacity and firing power they offer. Electronic hoppers either run off three or four AA batteries. It depends on the model you pick. And considering that they have a complex design, you need to be careful when cleaning them.
Factors to consider when buying the best paintball hopper for you
The following aspects play a vital role in deciding the performance of the hopper. A beginner will not need to invest in a high-end and expensive hopper. A professional cannot compromise on the quality of their game by using an entry-level model, no matter how good it is.
Well, isn’t this an important factor to consider? Generally speaking, a hopper that holds more paintballs is preferred to the ones that have a smaller capacity. While other factors also impact the final decision, such as weight, size, etc., you can easily invest in a hopper that holds around 200 paintballs—the average count. The hoppers have a capacity of 180-260, depending on the brand and the model.
Any equipment will last longer and work better if you take proper care of it. Hoppers are the same. You will need to regularly clean the hoppers to wipe off the paint inside and brush away the dust and dirt that accumulates during a game. The best hoppers are the ones that can be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled with minimum effort.
Let’s understand that we cannot rely 100% on any hopper. Whether it is a gravity-fed model or an electronic one, hoppers can cause trouble in the most unexpected ways. You can minimize this by buying a hopper that comes with an anti-jamming feature (read the next point). Also, read through the reviews by other players to get a better idea.
Thankfully, many models in today’s market come with an anti-jamming feature. This prevents the hopper from jamming and ensures that the supply of paintballs continues. This is a vital feature when you play paintball tournaments with pro-level players.
Paintballs themselves have liquid inside them. You are essentially dealing with wet stuff in this game. But, if you play during heavy rain or have unexpected summer showers in the middle of a game, the rain shouldn’t affect your hopper and cause it to malfunction. But how? Search for hoppers that claim to be water-resistant.
Some of you might be wondering if the appearance of a paintball hopper is as important. Trust us when we say, yes, it is. A professional likes to flaunt their paintball gear as much as their skills. Matching the hopper’s color and design with that of their paintball gun and other equipment is something many players like to do. Luckily, you can choose from various models, sizes, and colors available on the market. The best paintball hoppers usually offer a range of options to choose from to be more user-friendly.
Hoppers, by nature, are going to be slightly less durable compared with other paintball gear. These take a lot of hitting and bumping during a game. If the material used for manufacturing hoppers is one aspect, the mechanism inside is another. If the electronic mechanism were to get damaged, the hopper wouldn’t be of any use. Make your decision considering your budget and your skill level. You’ll save money that way.
Size and weight
Imagine having a globe sitting on your gun. It is going to be uncomfortable and heavy, isn’t it? Even more so when it is filled with hundreds of paintballs. If you are a newbie, opt for a smaller paintball hopper. Increase the size and weight as you gain confidence and experience. The high-end models offer the best of both worlds by holding more capacity and being less heavy. But they cost a bomb and are not much use if you are a beginner.
Material and build
Hoppers are usually made of plastic. But even if it is hard plastic, the hopper is bound to break if it keeps falling and hitting strong substances. However, expensive hoppers are being made using nylon, and the high-end ones are made using polycarbonate material. These are quite sturdy yet lightweight at the same time. Also, they are easy to clean. Of course, they have been designed for professional paintball players.
Luckily for us, most of the hoppers we find today are manufactured based on industry standards. They are compatible with most paintball guns. That said, it is safer to double-check that the hopper is indeed compatible with the paintball gun you own.
We’ve mentioned this in the previous section. Gravity-fed hoppers are slower, and electronic hoppers are faster. Beginners will be overwhelmed if they opt for too fast a firing rate before they master the art. It’s more than okay to invest in a cheap and beginner-friendly model to start with.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
So, readers, have you decided which paintball hopper to buy? Not yet? Shall we recommend one then? We would suggest the Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader as an affordable, reliable, and durable model with a good feed rate and ample capacity.
We have already seen the features and benefits of this model in detail, right? Why wait then. The Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader is a wonderful paintball hopper that can be used by players at all skill levels and it is worth the price.