The majority of paintball guns on the market function off of compressed air, either CO2 or high-pressured air (HPA). When you receive your new paintball gun, you will be thrilled to find your new gas canister along with it. But, as it is wildly unsafe to send compressed air in the mail, the gas canister will be empty. So how can you get it filled? Luckily you have some options to get that tank filled and get you on the field.
Option 1: Filling Up At A Store
One of the easiest options that you have to fill up the air canisters is to go to a sporting goods store. Most of the major sporting goods stores that sell paintball guns will also have the ability to fill up your air tank for you. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $3 per 1000 psi, though if it is where you bought the marker, you might not be charged at all.
Option 2: Filling Up At A Paintball Field
As most paintball guns need CO2 or HPA to operate, you will find that many of the competitive fields also offer the option of filling up your tanks for you. The cost will vary depending on the location, but you can expect to pay per 1000 psi, just like you would with a sporting goods store.
In the event that you don’t have a field nearby and were not planning on going to a field for battle, you might look at any local paintball clubs or enthusiasts around your area to see if they have the ability to fill the tanks for you.
Option 3: Filling Up At Home
If you cannot or do not want to have your canisters filled at a store or field, then you will need to know how to fill paintball tanks yourself. While it might seem daunting, you do have the option of filling the tanks at home. Two of the easiest ways is to either use an air compressor or a scuba tank.
- Air Compressor: This method will only work with CO2 canisters. For an HPA canister, you would need a different kind of air compressor than you might have in your garage. It just takes a few steps to fill your tank this way.
- The Fitting: Start by attaching the CO2 fitting to the compressor hose and tightly screwing the opposite end of the fitting to the CO2 tank itself. There should be a bleed off valve to unscrew, which will allow any excess air have a path to escape.
- Filling: Now that your tank is attached to the air compressor, you will actually need to fill it. You can figure out how long to run the air compressor by looking at the size of tank you have and doubling it. For example, if you have a 20 ounce canister, you will need to run the air compressor for 40 seconds to ensure that it is filled.
- Finish: Once the allotted time has passed, you need to open the bleed valve for a couple of seconds in order to clear the lines and prevent a buildup. Detach the tank from the compressor hose and make sure you air compressor is turned off.
What You Should Also Know
Even though you might know how to fill paintball cans, you still need to be smart about it. Here are some need-to-knows in order to be safe with your air canisters.
- Do not drop or puncture the canister
- All tanks should be inspected once every 5 years to ensure safety
- Ensure that the fitting of the tank has no residue of grease or oil, which could cause the canister to combust
- Never leave a filled tank in a hot car. It is not even a good idea on a moderately warm day. The gas inside of the canisters will expand naturally in the heat, putting it at risk of combusting
- Likewise, you should never leave a canister out in the sunlight, also running the risk of the air expanding to the point of combustion
- Do not rush to fill up your tank if you are doing it yourself. If you fill up a tank too quickly, it actually will lose psi once the air cools off, leaving you with low pressure and inadequate air
- Don’t go out and buy an HPA air compressor if you need HPA. They can be expensive and are unnecessary in being a successful paintball player. Unless you are running a field, there is no need for it.
To Sum It Up
Ultimately, the safest option on how to fill your paintball tank is to go to the professionals. Sporting goods retailers or your local paintball field are probably the easiest places to get your tank filled. Otherwise you can definitely do it at home, as long as you are smart about it.