Whether you are a beginner making their way in the world of paintball, or an expert looking to take their game to the next level – having the best paintball hopper is an absolute must! Having the right equipment and paintball clothing will help you go further and push harder when out in the arena. The best paintball hopper will certainly do this!
I can remember in back in early 2019 I bought myself a new hopper online. A website had said it was the ultimate in lightweight paintball hopper options. However, I found that when my hopper arrived it was bulky, heavy and had poor balance.
The purpose of this article is to help you avoid the same mistakes I made – which, ultimately, was very costly. To this end, I have written a handy buyer’s guide. It is aimed primarily at beginners (let me be honest, if you are an expert or experienced player it is likely you know what you are looking for).
If you are unsure what you are looking for in your best paintball hopper then you should definitely scroll down to the bottom and give it a quick read.
Not got time for that? Don’t worry, I have ranked each paintball hopper so you can see which one is best for you.
Anyway let’s jump in and get started.
Ease of Use
The Virtue Spire IV Electronic is my favourite hopper on the market and the top pick for the best paintball hopper. This is because of its proactive feeding logic for consistency and reliability. This high tech hopper has wireless integration with both Apple and Android devices. As well as its high tech capabilities, the Virtue spire IV is made to last, with a single hinge-mounted unit you won’t have to worry about the durability of this hopper. A lightweight structure has been specifically designed to allow you to move efficiently and defeat your opponents- this hopper is built to win.
- iFI integration with compatible markers | Proactive feeding logic for consistency and reliability
- Wireless programming through Apple/Android App. Toolless N-Charge installation. Toolless quick-change speed feed adapter
- Single hinge-mounted unit for increased durability
- Dual LED reload indicator with integrated smart spring ramp and toolless tray disassembly for easy cleaning
- Upgraded cosmetics with injected Virtue logos and numerous color options to match your gear
- Magnetically attached drive assembly
Ease of Use
The DYE R2 paintball hopper is definitely a contender for top spot due to its adjustable capacity loader. This innovative multi-capacity shell means you can choose between 200 or 260 capacity without needing any extra tools, parts or shells. Feeding 30+ paintballs per second, as well as lasting for 100,000 shots on 3AA batteries, this hopper has to be one of my favourites on the market for speed and capacity. A Larger mouth design makes it easier to load whilst on the battlefield as well as a reload alert and low battery indicator to ensure you know how your hopper is performing at all times. With a Shark Fin Jam release trigger, you will be back in action almost instantly in the event of oversized or out of round paint. Although this hopper is an excellent quality piece of equipment, it is on the heavier side when compared to other hoppers. If you prefer a lightweight hopper this may not be the best option for you.
- A highly innovative multi-capacity shell that allows the user to choose between 200 or 260 round capacity without the need for additional shells, parts, or tools.
- Patented Rotor Force Fed Technology feeds 30+ balls per second and lasts for up to 100,000 shoots on 3AA batteries. Unleash the true capabilities of your marker with a loader that never fails to keep up.
- 20% larger mouth design over the R1 makes it easier to load while keeping your eyes on the game. A completely redesigned Quick Feed system makes changing from rain lid to Quick Feed (not included) effortless and accomplished in seconds without any tools.
- New Reload Alert System and low battery indicator – New circuit board logic provides an industry’s first patent pending Reload Alert System. Never worry about playing a game not knowing what life is left in your batteries again, the R2 circuit board blinks red when its batteries are low so you know exactly when to change them.
Ease of Use
Ease of Use
- Plastic construction.
- Holds 200 paintballs.
- Clear spring-loaded lid.
- Extremely durable.
- Easy to use.
Ease of Use
- Air assisted loader system feeds paint into your marker at up to 15bps.
- No batteries required.
- The feeder sprocket is linked to the air system for synchronized ball feed.
- Note: If being used on a Non-Platinum Series Custom 98 or Custom Pro marker with a response trigger, you will need an adapter kit, model T299003.
- Low profile 200 round hopper included.
Ease of Use
- Enhanced proactive feeding logic with industry-first angle indicator that never jams with magnetic drive cone.
- Sits balanced on all mechanical and electronic markers throughout running, diving, or snapping.
- The smallest and lightest 200 round loader in paintball allows for a greater field of view with the compact profile.
- Toolless disassembly with magnetic tray.
- Durable nylon lid and (optional) ramps with multiple color and style combinations.
What features to look for when choosing your best paintball hopper
As a beginner you may get caught up in trying to buy all the best equipment but you do not need to spend much on a professional paintball hopper. A lightweight hopper which is simple is a great option for beginners as they are easy to use. Gravity loaded hoppers don’t require batteries and rely on the users movements, the downside to gravity loaded hoppers is they are more susceptible to getting jammed. Electric motors use battery powered motors which spin and feed paintballs into the chamber, this makes for a quicker firing rate than when relying on gravity. Simple models tend to have a lower feed speed around 8+ balls per minute whereas electronic models have a feed speed of 16+ balls per minute.
Mid-range hoppers are designed for players that are more experienced but aren’t quite professional level. These hoppers come at a higher cost due to more advanced features. Sound activated hoppers rely on the sound after a marker fires, this releases the next ball instantly meaning a more rapid feed speed. Another great option which is popular in mid-range hoppers is eye activated hoppers which include sensors that identify the movement of the paintballs. Once the eyes spot a paintball moving down to the trigger, another one is released right in time for the next shot.
If you compete or are interested in competing professionally then investing in a professional unit is a wise move. With larger capacity and increased feed speed rate you can focus completely on your next shot rather than the specifics of your gun. Professional hopper models have uniquely designed motors to provide you with a trustworthy and reliable performance when out on the field. Sensors are often included in these models to boost the performance of your hopper as well as give you information such as battery level.
Size & Weight
Simply going for the biggest hopper you can find is not a wise choice. You should look for a hopper which suits your needs in regards to how many paintballs you want to hold. A well designed hopper holds a minimum of 50 balls whereas advanced models can hold anywhere up to 100 balls, giving you that added advantage when your opponents are reloading.
When it comes to choosing the best weight for you, lightweight hoppers are always highly recommended. If you find a more modern but compact hopper then these are a good choice because there isn’t much weight in them. Always try out your hopper beforehand to ensure it doesn’t restrict your movement due to its weight.
The majority of hoppers are designed and made to fit various types of markers. You should check beforehand that your hopper and marker are compatible to prevent costly returns or even face being stuck with a hopper that isn’t usable.
Many hoppers come with a sleek design, but you may want to check that it is comfortable in your hands when with your marker. Different colours and designs can make you look more professional out on the field.
Something you should really consider when buying the best paintball hopper is that it has a feed speed which is suitable for you. Beginners should go for a more basic and simple model, if you are at any other level we highly recommend mid-range and high-end models which have a higher feed speed to allow you to play at peak ability.
Durability should always be a large factor in deciding which hopper to go for. Cheaper models can be made with cheaper materials causing them to break and encounter issues quicker than higher-end, well designed models which are built with durability in mind. You should choose a hopper which can withstand typical wear and tear as well as rough and harsh circumstances.
Choosing long lasting, tough materials which are also lightweight is what we strongly advise. Aluminium is a lightweight, affordable material which can withstand damage from paintballing but it does require more upkeep as it can easily get dirty. Ceramic is just as lightweight as aluminium yet it can be damaged more easily when on the battlefield. Steel is durable and can handle damage much better than aluminium or ceramic, however steel does carry more weight.
Polycarbonate fiber is probably the most widely used materials for hoppers because of its high durability, easy clean and lightweight properties. this makes it one of the top materials to consider when choosing the best paintball hopper. Many paintballers prefer this material because of its low friction which makes the paintball easier and faster to release.
Rate of Fire
The rate of fire is based on your skill level, how fast you can pull the trigger is typically the main factor in the rate of fire. Cheaper and simpler models will have a slower fire rate mainly due to the gravity loaded hoppers- this is because they do not have a mechanism to propel the paintball are well as the more high-end models.When competing, you need to think about the rate of fire more so than if you are just playing for fun. Higher-end models are likely to have a higher quality and speedier mechanisms which can launch 30+ balls per second.
Paintball hoppers usually have the same basic mechanisms but some may have better quality systems which can influence the performance. Hoppers are made up of a drive shaft and motor along with an outside cover which works consistently across all hoppers. Different mechanisms are available but ensure you choose one that will fit with your style.
You can find hoppers in any price range from low-end budget hoppers to high-end quality hoppers. The price usually reflects the quality due to the materials, brand, added features to boost performance and design. If you are an avid paintball player, it is worth investing in a higher-quality hopper which will be durable and reliable to ensure you can play at your highest standard at all times. For beginners, spending lots of money on an advanced model hopper may not be the best option. There are many great, simpler and more cost effective hoppers on the market which will be suitable for your needs.
Risk of Jams
Hoppers can get jammed which can be an infuriating issue to deal with, especially when you are mid-game. The best paintball hoppers will have anti-jamming systems which can alleviate stress and allow you to have a more enjoyable time out on the battlefield.
Hoppers can come with a huge range of capacities from 20 balls per minute to 200. For beginners, a lower capacity is best but it completely depends on your needs as a player. Players which are advanced or professional players should opt for a larger capacity of up to 200 balls per minute.
An issue paintballers can face is their hopper getting wet from the paintballs, which in turn can damage and even destroy your hopper. Buying a hopper which is water-resistance can ensure it is protected from water-damage- this will prolong the lifespan of your hopper.
Most brands offer a warranty of some sort, you should always choose a hopper which has a warranty of 1 month or longer to ensure you can get your money back or exchange your hopper if it is not up to the standard you expected.
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