Air compressors are used for many different tasks. You can inflate a tire, refill a CO2 tank, and much more. And of course, you can use an air compressor to fill paintball tank.
Since an air compressor has many possibilities to use, it can be easily found. You still need to know, that you can’t use any other air compressor like a tire inflator to fill paintball tank.
Air compressors come in handy if you have an empty paintball tank. Not only will you get new air on hand, but you’ll save time and cost.
Here we show the filling process for the paintball tank. This will require explaining a few things.
- 1 What to use to fill a paintball tank?
- 2 Two types of paintball tanks
- 3 How to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor?
- 3.1 Step 1 — Check your last hydrostatic test date
- 3.2 Step 2 — Find out your tank PSI rating
- 3.3 Step 3 — Release the remaining air from the tank
- 3.4 Step 4 — Connect the paintball tank and air compressor
- 3.5 Step 5 — Carefully fill the tank
- 3.6 Step 6 — Monitor both gauges
- 3.7 Step 7 — Prevent hot fill
- 3.8 Step 8 — Release the pressure
- 3.9 Step 9 — Disconnect the hose
- 4 Safety precautions to be observed when refilling a paintball tank
- 5 Is it possible to switch between tanks?
- 6 Where can I refill my paintball tank?
- 7 Ask for help if you’re not sure
- 8 Frequently asked questions
- 9 Conclusion
What to use to fill a paintball tank?
Paintball tanks are filled with specialized air compressors. You can do it yourself or refill them in special places like on a playfield or paintball gun store.
Paintball tanks require 3000 to 5000 PSI (or per square inch), so a typical air compressor with average PSI cannot be used.
Two types of paintball tanks
To understand the procedure of refilling the air tank, we need to first discuss the difference in the types. The paintball tank is available in three different types:
- CO2 tanks
- Nitrogen tanks
- Compressed air tanks (HPA tanks)
The best way to refill your paintball tank is by learning the type of your tank. Nitrogen tanks are rare compared to Co2 and HPA tanks. And we won’t discuss this.
These tanks are rather unpopular among paintball shooters. Its main issue is that it is filled with a liquid form — compressed carbon dioxide — and not gas. Only when you pull the trigger does liquid become gas.
Another problem with CO2 tanks is that it depends on temperature. If it’s too hot or too cold, the CO2 will expand or shrink. This, in the first case, can lead to damaging the air tank and, in the case of shrinking, no shooting will be possible.
Since paintball can be played in extreme temperatures, tanks being unstable to temperature can be very uncomfortable for a shooter.
Also, with the transition from liquid to gas it loses the power to shoot well with time. This means that shots will not be as far as at the beginning of the paintball game.
Compressed air tanks
There are a few major differences between CO2 and High Pressure Compressed Air tanks.
HPA tank stores oxygen after compression. That means that it cannot be affected by the temperature.
Another big advantage is that it has a regulator and gauge.
The regulator helps to control the pressure of the shot, giving you better accuracy and performance.
A gauge shows the amount of air left in the paintball tank.
Air pressure control gives you better controls and precise results allowing for optimum performance and better gaming experiences.
Many paintball gun shops have HPA tanks, but they don’t use CO2 tanks.
How to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor?
Paintball tanks are filled with compressed gas and require refilling after they are emptied.
Filling paintball tanks with an air compressor can be as simple as filling a flat tire. So it depends on how fast you want to fill your tanks. You can buy a cheap, small air compressor and leave it running overnight.
Paintball tanks have two gauges that make filling the compressed air easier. A convenient gauge on the air compressor helps with refilling the tank.
Step 1 — Check your last hydrostatic test date
Look for a hydrostatic testing date on the paintball tank. It shows a month and a year of the test. Make sure that the last test was not less than five years ago.
This test shows that the tank can handle the pressure inside.
The state mandates that all tanks undergo water testing and inspections every four months. It should be secured against leaks to maintain its integrity.
Do not fill the tank after the hydrostatic test period has expired.
Step 2 — Find out your tank PSI rating
Your tank should have an indicator of how much PSI it should contain. The maximum is usually 4500 psi, so you should not exceed this value.
Please note that if you have a CO2 tank, it must first be cooled down to stabilize the temperature inside the tank. This will make it easier for you to complete it.
The PSI rating starts with a letter then followed by numbers. It is printed on the side of the tank.
Step 3 — Release the remaining air from the tank
Make sure your paintball tanks are empty before refilling. In some cases, the remaining air may affect the filling of the balloon.
To make sure there is no air left in the tank, open the air release valve. This should let the air out. Then close the airflow valve.
Step 4 — Connect the paintball tank and air compressor
Take a close look at the attachment that will be connected to your air compressor. There should be a small dark o-ring designed to prevent air from escaping after you attach it to the paintball tank.
If you can’t find the o-ring, then the tank won’t fill up because the air will just escape through that tiny surface.
If there is an o-ring, simply pull back the nozzle collar so that the center needle is fully exposed. Insert it into the tank through the fill nipple. Make sure it is secure by jiggling the hose slightly. The nozzle should be firm.
Connect the fill adapter to the fill nipple. Make sure it is secured by slightly rocking the hose. The fastening must be strong.
Step 5 — Carefully fill the tank
After making sure that the fastening is correct, slowly release the air into the paintball tank. This can be done by pressing the air compressor lever.
In any case, do not always press the lever or button. You want the fill to be slow and sure, not fast. As it fills, the pressure gauge needle should move up.
Again, the paintball air tank is mostly only 3,000 or 4,500 psi, so you need to know which category your tank falls into. You can check the pressure in your tank by attaching a high-pressure air gauge to the fill adapter.
Step 6 — Monitor both gauges
There will be two pressure gauges — one attached to your tank and the other to your air compressor.
It’s a good idea to watch both when you fill up the tank to check the operation of the pressure gauge.
Ideally, both gauges should move the same way, telling you that they are both working correctly.
Step 7 — Prevent hot fill
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when filling up a tank is filling it up too quickly. This is called “hot-fill” and happens when you push the lever or button too hard.
The air is simply expelled from the air compressor into your tank, causing the pressure gauge to rise quickly.
You don’t want this to happen because it could damage the paintball tank and cause the contents of the tank to be re-evaluated.
Shortly after filling, the air will become hot and the gauge will go down even if you are not using the paintball tank.
To prevent hot fill from happening, do the slow fill process.
The last thing you want is for the tank to suddenly empty 15 minutes after you filled it up.
Step 8 — Release the pressure
This is the most important step that many beginners forget about. After you finish filling it with air, there will still be some air in the air compressor ready to be pumped into the tank.
This air must be released through an exhaust valve attached to the air compressor. Pressing this will allow all excess air to escape. This will make a loud “whistling” sound.
Failure to release pressure can be problematic because it means air is still passing through the hose after release. This can damage the paintball tank, especially the filler pipe.
Step 9 — Disconnect the hose
After the pressure has been released, you can disconnect the hose from the fill nipple. Just do everything else in reverse order, starting with the collar. Pull it down and remove the hose from the mount.
Safety precautions to be observed when refilling a paintball tank
If you carefully follow all the above steps, it will be easy for you to understand how to fill paintball tank with air compressor. Before refilling a paintball tank, some basic precautions must be taken.
Do not hold the paintball can on an uneven surface
If the paintball can fall to the ground during refilling, serious injury could result.
Wear safety goggles and earplugs
It interferes with your vision and hearing if any unwanted incident happens because there are the most vulnerable parts and the most likely to be damaged.
Make sure the tank is not broken
Make sure the tank is not punctured or has the slightest air leak.
Keep tank away from flammable materials
Any such carelessness can lead to a severe fire or explosion of the paintball tank.
Is it possible to switch between tanks?
The simple answer is no. You can’t just switch to a CO2 tank after using an HPA tank with the same paintball gun. Paintball guns come with markers that tell you if it’s HPA or CO2 rated.
You can’t use an HPA tank on weapons with CO2 markers and vice versa – otherwise, you’ll ruin the weapon itself.
Where can I refill my paintball tank?
Most paintball players fill their paintball tanks either at a paintball gun store or on the paintball field fill station.
In most cases, they charge a minimal fee if you have an HPA tank that only needs to be filled with compressed air.
If you have a CO2 tank they will charge you extra as paintball managers have to buy the CO2 from a third-party CO2 supplier company.
Ask for help if you’re not sure
Keep in mind that no one is born knowing how to fill the paintball guns.
So if you are unsure or confused, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many paintball enthusiasts are happy to help beginners keep the sport going strong and growing.
It’s also a good idea to watch others as they fill their tanks so you can better understand how to approach each step.
Frequently asked questions
Can you fill a paintball tank with a regular air compressor?
Do not even attempt to use your air-conditioning system or tires. Most compressors can handle 120 – 140 PSI and your paintballs need about 3,000 PSI for filling.
Can you fill a tank with an air compressor?
Filling an air compressor in a paintball gun can be as simple as filling a tire. Paintball tanks have two gauges that make filling the compressed air easier.
Can you use compressed air for paintball gun?
Compressed air offers numerous advantages over carbon dioxide (Co2). Reliable solution players can trust when playing at high speeds all year around.
Where can I fill my compressed air paintball tank?
Find fill tanks at your neighborhood paintball shops or competition field. Generally, a shop can provide safe air tanks; some will fill the tanks for a small fee to the customer.
In general, refilling a paintball tank with an air compressor is a simple process. This should not take you more than a few seconds.
As you get used to the process, you will find that it becomes easier. However, you will notice that playing often also means refueling, so if you can invest in your air compressor it could save you a ton of dollars in small commissions.
If you decide to do it yourself, keep safety first. Read How to adjust air compressor pressure regulator