Just getting into the sport of paintball? If so, you will want to pay attention to the helpful information in this buyer’s guide. Many of you have probably already your paintball gun and are ready to hit the playing field. But before you can go out and have some fun with your friends, there is another piece of equipment that you will need. Finding a paintball hopper to go along with your gun is very important. Hoppers help you load paintballs into your gun and hold them while you are playing. The larger the hopper the more paintballs you can fire at your opponents. Today we are going to take a broad look at different types of hoppers and how they can benefit you. Let’s get started!
The Best Paintball Hoppers
|Dye Rotor R2||Dye||$$$$||5|
|Virtue Spire 260||Virtue Paintball||$$$$||4.9|
|Virtue Spire 200||Virtue Paintball||$$$$||4.8|
|HK Army TFX||HK Army||$$$||4.7|
|Empire Prophecy Z2||Empire Paintball||$$||4.5|
|Empire Halo Too||Empire Paintball||$||4.4|
This hopper is one of the most expensive on the list but well worth the price. If you are a mid-level player or even a high-level player, this is the perfect hopper for you. The Virtue Spire 200 comes in a huge range of colors so you will always be able to find one that will match your paintball gun. One of the best features of this gun is its extra high capacity. Holding up to 200 paintballs, you will never run out of firepower with this hopper attached to your gun. Another feature that so many people love about this hopper is its toolless release. This will allow you to take the hopper on and off with lighting speed, which comes in really handy on the battlefield. A spring loaded anti-jam drive combined with a flex cycle paddle helps cut down on paintball breakage. This is a very durable paintball hopper that will last the test of time. The hopper was designed with comfort in mind and has a low profile that won’t weight you down or get in the way. If you are a speed player, then this is the perfect hopper for you!
Another higher end paintball hopper, the HK TFX has really made a lot of players happy. This very fast hopper will push paintballs down into your gun with lighting speed! This hopper has a load rate of up to 22 balls per minute which is perfect for those who like to really get serious on the battlefield. Not many hoppers at this price range can handle such a high rate of fed without jamming, but this one does a great job. Available in tons of colors, you will find one that is right for you. Very lightweight at only a few ounces, this hopper is just right for someone looking to move around the playing field without being slowed down. It is also very easy to take on and off which is always a great quality to have. If you are a competition player that is looking to upgrade your beginner hopper with something more mid-ranged, then this is the hopper for you.
This is by far the cheapest paintball hopper on our list but definitely not the cheapest made. In fact, it is very durable and made from only the highest quality materials. While this hopper only comes in a few colors, they are all very attractive and will match well with most paintball guns. This hopper has a very large holding capacity and you will be able to keep 200 paintballs in it at all times. Perfect for those long competition shoots, you won’t have to worry about reloading very often. This hopper is also very lightweight and has a low profile that will allow you to carry it around without issues. Having a lightweight hopper means that you will be able to move more freely around the playing field. This hopper is also sound activated which means every time you fire your paintball gun a new ball will be forced into your gun. This allows for very fast shooting and is great if you are in a situation that calls for heavy cover fire. A perfect mid-ranged hopper, you will be able to have some real fun with the Empire Prophecy Z2.
Now that you have chosen your hopper, you are going to need to have something to carry it in. The Exalt Carbon Case universal loader case is the perfect place to store your hopper while not in use. Very durable and made from strongest materials around, this case will keep your hopper safe while on the go. If you go to a lot of competitions, this is the perfect case for you! You can’t go wrong with this hopper case.
Three Main Hopper Levels
There are three main hopper levels that you can choose from. First, you have the beginner level which is where most paintball players start. Then most players move on to the mid-range level after they have gotten used to the sport. Finally, some players take it up a notch and upgrade to the high-end range. These players often take part in competitions and will spend extra money for their hoppers. Now we are going to take a deeper look at each of these levels.
Beginner Level Hoppers
These are the very first hoppers to come on the market when paintball was a new sport. Now many players who are new to the sport choose them because of their simple operation and the cost for these hoppers are much cheaper than the rest. There are two different types of beginner level hoppers as you will see below.
Gravity-feed beginner hoppers: These are very common and you will see them everywhere. This type of hopper or loader as some like to call them rely on gravity to feed the paintballs into the gun. This is a simple operation that requires no help from any other power source. A beginner level gravity feed hopper normally has a fed rate of about 8 balls per minute. This is really slow compared to other hoppers which is why most people upgrade after they have gotten used to the gameplay.
Electronic beginner hoppers: These hoppers utilize an electronic agitator to help force the balls down into the paintball gun. These loaders are normally twice as fast as the gravity fed models. A feed rate of around 16 balls per minute can be expected. One of the drawbacks to this type of hopper is that they can sometime drain the battery of the paintball gun rather quickly.
Mid-range Level Hoppers
Now we move up the ladder a few rungs to the mid-range hoppers. These hoppers are more advanced and will cost more to purchase. But for those who are getting serious about the sport of paintball, these hoppers are the perfect choice. There are three common mid-range level hoppers to choose from and we will take a better look at them below.
Sound Activated Hoppers: These hoppers are really fun to use and they work in a very unique way. Each time you fire your paintball gun, a microphone inside of the hopper picks up the noise and releases a new paintball. This technology will give you a much faster rate of fire which is always a plus. Many of these hoppers have a 20 ball per minute fed rate.
Eye Activated Hoppers: This is another cool type of hopper. They are designed to actually see how many balls is inside of the tube. When the tube is full the motor shuts off. When the sensor notices that there are no balls in the tube, it quickly turns on the motor to send more down the pipeline. These hoppers can have a fed rate of up to 20 balls per minute depending on the model.
Cyclone activated hoppers: Now these hoppers are really special. These types of hoppers utilize the gun’s own gas to agitate the paintballs sending them into the gun. This means that your hopper will never have to rely on a battery for power. These hoppers can have a feed rate of up to 15 balls per minute. Another advantage of this hopper is that it helps reduce breakage which is always an issue.
High-end Level Hoppers
Now we have to mention the high-end level hoppers. These are only for those serious about the sport of paintball and it can cost you a pretty penny as well. But if you are in competition gameplay, they are a must have! There is really only one type of high-end hopper and it uses force-feed mechanics to push the paintball into the gun. With the use of an impeller, the paintballs are grabbed up and pushed into the gun at a high rate of speed. Depending on the model of hopper, you can have a feed rate that exceeds 50 balls per minute. This is lighting fast and will allow you plenty of cover fire.
What to Look for When Buying a Hopper
Before you run out and buy a new paintball hopper, there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself. These questions will guide you in the right direction and allow you to make an informed purchase that you can be proud of.
What level of competition are you in?
This is a very important question to ask when looking for a new hopper. If you only play every once in a while, you would probably be safe with getting yourself a beginner level hopper. They are very reliable and very simple to use. The best part is they won’t break the bank. You can purchase one of these hoppers and it will serve the purpose. But if you play every weekend with you friends then you might want to upgrade to a mid-level hopper. This will give you an edge on the playing field and impress your friends at the same time. One the other hand, if you are a die-hard paintball player who is taking part in competitions around the country then you will definitely want a high-end hopper.
Is the hopper compatible with the gun you own?
This is another great question to ask. While most hoppers will fit most guns, you might run into some that don’t. Before you go out and buy, always ask the company you are buying from if their hopper will fit your make and model paintball gun. This will help you avoid any costly returns and you will be getting a hopper that works well with your gun.
How many paintballs will it hold?
This is a question that many people fail to ask. If you are looking for a hopper that holds a lot of paintballs, then you need to find one that can carry at least 100 balls. This will allow you to keep playing without having to stop and reload the hopper. Some high-end hoppers can hold up to 200 paintballs.
How heavy is the hopper?
Many people never even think of asking this question. But when you have a very heavy hopper to start with and you add the paintballs, it can really weigh you down. Try to choose a hopper that is durable but is still lightweight enough not to slow you down. We all know that the more weight on the playing field means more tired muscles at the end of the day.
What Qualities to Look for in A Paintball Hopper
Now that you know some important questions to ask while looking for a new hopper, it’s time to learn the several qualities that any hopper should have. These qualities may seem basic but they are much needed. Remember, you are making a large purchase and buying something that you will be using for a long time. Below is a list of eight main qualities that you should always consider before buying a hopper.
Size of the hopper: As we discuss previously, a good hopper should hold at least 50 paintballs. But if you are a more serious player, then you need to look for one the holds at least 100 balls. This will allow you to keep on shooting even when your opponents are reloading.
Weight: While most hoppers are lightweight, some older models can really weigh you down. No one likes to carry extra weight so make sure to purchase a hopper that weighs less than a few pounds.
Style: Many people don’t think about style when choosing their hopper. But if you are the type of player that likes to have everything match, you will want to pick a hopper that matches your gun. Hoppers come in a lot of colors and you can often find one that will match your marker. This may seem silly to some but there is nothing wrong with looking your best on the playing field.
Comfort: If your hopper keeps falling off or if it gets in the way of your game play, chances are you are not going to be happy. Try to choose a hopper that works well with your shooting style.
Rate of fire: Do you want to have a hopper than can keep up with your fast trigger finger? If so, you will need to choose the right hopper for you. You may want to look into either the mid-range or the high-end model hoppers if this is the case. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are just fine slowly shooting your paintball gun taking your opponents out one by one, then you might be just fine with a beginner model. The choice is really up to you.
Durability: Just like when you purchased your paintball gun, you want to look for a hopper that is made from durable materials. Having a well-made hopper will provide you with years of enjoyment without having to worry about replacement.
Warranty: This is another important quality that every hopper should have. A good warranty means that your purchase will be protected. Try to find a hopper that has at least a 30-day warranty included. But the longer the warranty the better.
Price: Everyone has a budget and sticking to the budget is a wise move. Before you run out and gander at all the beautiful hoppers out there, set a budget first. This will allow you to make a smart purchase without feeling buyer’s remorse in the end.
Now that you know a lot more about hoppers, you can now go out and find one that will serve you. Remember to always ask questions before you buy so that you will always be happy with the hopper you purchase. Take a look at the qualities of each hopper has so that you will know what you are getting before you bring it home. Always take into account which type of paintball player you are so that you can get the hopper that matches your skill level. Finally, we would like to introduce you to three hoppers we find to be the best on the market. We have gone to great lengths to review these three hoppers so that you can see just how great they are. All three are at different price ranges which meets the needs of most paintball players. Please take the time to check them out!