How Long Do Paintballs Last? This Long!

How Long Do Paintballs Last

Do paintballs get spoiled after a few months? Do they even have expiry dates? If you’ve bought a lot of paintballs, you’ve probably wondered how long they can last. If you didn’t know that they have an expiry date, then it’s perfect that you’re here. Learn more about the shelf life of a paintballs and the right way to store them. 

How Long Does a Paintball Last?

How Long Does a Paintball Last

Not all paintballs are made the same. Since they are made by different manufacturers and are made from different materials, there isn’t a standard length of time that determines the shelf life of a paintball. However, paintball professionals agree that regardless of the material and manufacturer, paintballs last from 4-6 months if they are stored properly. 

Paintballs are made from non-toxic, biodegradable material. Ideally, the paintballs you have right now have the same characteristics mentioned. What’s crucial in the paintball is not really the shell, but the actual paint that’s inside of it. Ideally, the paint is biodegradable, so that means it has an expiry date. 

Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of a Paintball

Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of a Paintball

What factors affect how long a paintball last? Here are some of them. 

Date of Manufacture

Since the general lifespan of a paintball is from 4-6 months, you’ll notice that some of your paintball sets will expire earlier than the others. Of course, there are other factors at play here, but one of those is the manufacturing date. When was it manufactured? If it was made last year, then it’s most likely expired. 

For manufacturing dates, they’ll be found on the packaging of the paintball bag. If you’ve already discarded that, then, just try to remember when you last bought it and count 4 months from there. Hopefully, the set of paintballs you bought wasn’t expired when you bought it. 


Another factor that affects the lifespan of a paintball is the storage, or rather, how you stored them. Did you know that there’s a right way of storing paintballs? Even if the paint is enclosed in a shell, that doesn’t mean you can just leave the paintballs anywhere. 

If you store your paintballs properly, they can last up to six months. However, if they are exposed to sunlight or they get dropped, they will most likely be faulty in one way or another. Some end up having curdled paint while some have dents on the actual shell.

Type of Paint Used

Do all manufacturers use non-toxic biodegradable paint? Unfortunately, no. Older paintballs use toxic paint. Some use a different kind of paint altogether (yes, there are many kinds of it). That means that not all of the paintballs will have the same expiry date. 

Naturally, if the paint used is biodegradable and non-toxic, it will have a shorter lifespan. If the paint is non-toxic, they will definitely expire, but it will take almost a year before they get ruined. Again, it’s best to check the instructions of the manufacture. You might also want to check the ingredients for the paintball while you’re at it. 

Does it Matter if the Paintballs are Expired?

Does it Matter if the Paintballs are Expired

By now, you’re probably thinking, does it even matter if a paintball is expired? You’re not going to eat it anyway, so why bother? 

You have a point there, but expired paintballs affect your game. As mentioned earlier, if a paintball expires, it can be deformed. It can have some dents and corners. In other words, it won’t be a perfect ball when you play with it. And that matters. Why? 

Paintballs are round for a reason. The corner-less shape allows it to reach its highest velocity so that it can reach the person who was aimed at. If it has corners, then there’s more friction that will affect the velocity of the ball. In turn, it might fall short of its aim or it won’t be as accurate even if you angle your marker right. 

Another reason why the lifespan matters is you want to make sure the paint is not hardened. When it’s past the shelf life, some paintballs end up having hardened paint inside. And yes, you guessed it, it will barely make any color when it bursts on impact. Since paintball relies on the splatters for points, it’s just going to be disappointing to see that there was no proof that you hit a person. 

Proper Storage for Paintballs

Proper Storage for Paintballs

What is the proper way to store paintballs then? Here are some tips. 

Place them in a dry and covered area. 

First, don’t put them in an area where they can get wet or rained on. Make sure that they’re also away from direct sun exposure. Leaving them out in the open will deteriorate the shell and the paint inside it. If it gets too hot, the sun will cause the shell to have dents eventually making them deformed. On the other hand, if they get wet, water and moisture can seep through the paintball affecting the quality of the paint. 

Don’t put them in the freezer. 

You’ve probably heard of people freezing their paintballs. In any case, don’t do it. It won’t improve the paintball’s quality. In fact, it will do the opposite. When the paintball freezes, the paint freezes, and the whole thing becomes brittle. It’s also prone to get deformed. 

Turn them over every once in a while. 

Every week, turn the balls over to the other sides. The reason behind this is that you want to make sure the paint doesn’t just sit in one area. Moving the paintballs will also prevent the paint from hardening. 


In summary, a paintball may last from 4-6 months assuming that it was stored well and it uses high-quality materials. If it uses a different type of paint, then the shelf life will differ. If you want to prolong the lifespan of your paintballs, then make sure to store them properly and to leave them in a dry place that’s away from rain and sunshine. Don’t freeze the paintballs, too!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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