About 40 years ago, a handful of renegades decided to chase each other through the woods in New Hampshire with marking devices designed for tagging trees and cattle. Paintball markers have come a long way since then.
The first paintball games designed specifically for the sport were simple pump action models. As the game evolved, so too did paintball marker technology. Semi-automatic mechanical paintball markers came next, followed by electronic designs. All three major types of paintball markers have been refined and redesigned by paintball companies over the years to give players the best performing models year in and year out.
Your marker is the most important piece of paintball equipment you’ll purchase and own. So how do you choose? Which design is better? Answering either question is so difficult because there really isn’t just one answer. When customers come into our store looking to buy a paintball marker, we don’t start by pushing one model on them. Instead, we ask some basic questions.
What is your budget?
When you’re shopping for a paintball marker, it’s important to think about your overall budget. A paintball marker is only one third of your setup; you’ll also need to buy a hopper and either a CO2 or compressed air tank.
If you’re just shopping for a basic paintball marker, you won’t have to spend much more for a hopper and a CO2 tank. If you’re looking to buy a more advanced setup, you’ll have to leave room for the more expensive electronic loaders and compressed air tanks. Keep that in mind even if you’re upgrading your current paintball marker.
The price tiers below should help you decide how much you want to spend on your paintball marker:
Entry-Level: Up to $249.99
Mid-Price: From $249.99 to $599.99
High-Price: From $599.99 to $1199.99
Pro-Price: $1199.99 and up
What kind of paintball do you want to play?
When you think of yourself playing paintball, what do you see yourself doing?
Are you stalking your friends through the woods or an urban setting inspired by an FPS? If so, you may want to purchase a more rugged looking paintball marker that is built with woodsball and scenario players in mind.
Maybe you see yourself on an airball field, crawling up the snake looking to sweep the field, or in a marker battle on the dorito side. In that case you’ll probably want to look into paintball markers designed to meet the needs of speedball players.
The way a marker looks isn’t necessarily tied to how it performs. High-end scenario paintball markers will always perform better than entry level speedball markers, for example. However, if you’re going to start learning how to play X-Ball, you won’t need a mag-fed paintball marker with an air-through stock and iron sights.
What kind of paintball player do you think you’ll be?
The answer to this question generally boils down to how often you think you’ll play paintball. Once you have an idea of how much money and what kind of paintball you think you’ll play, think about how often you’ll make use of your gear.
If you like playing on airball and hyperball fields, but you only play once or twice a month, you can probably stay clear of the High-Price and Pro-Price tiers and have a great time with a paintball marker from the Mid-Price tier.
On the other hand, if you can’t get enough competitive play, you might want to think about investing in a High-Price or Pro-Price paintball marker that’s built to withstand the grind of running drills, scrimmaging other teams, and shooting thousands and thousands of paintballs at a tournament.
The same is true for woodsball and scenario play. If you’re just going to your local field a few times a year, you probably only need something from the Entry Level or Mid-Price tier. If you love the idea of heading to big games with hundreds of other players, you’ll want to spend more on a paintball marker that can handle those kinds of environments.
If you have a paintball marker, you can play paintball. Playing paintball is fun. That will never change.
But feeling like you’re getting the most value out of your paintball marker, like your paintball marker is serving the purpose you want it to? That just makes playing paintball more fun.
Here are the paintball marker companies we’re currently working with, as well as a list of the price points you should expect to see from them:
DLX Luxe Paintball Markers – Pro-Price Paintball Markers
Dye Paintball Markers – Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Markers
Empire Paintball Markers – Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Markers
Field One Paintball Markers – Pro-Price Paintball Markers
First Strike Paintball Markers – Mid-Price and High-Price Paintball Markers
GOG Paintball Markers – Entry Level and Mid-Price Paintball Markers
HK Army Paintball Markers – Entry Level, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Markers
JT Paintball Markers – Entry Level Paintball Markers
Planet Eclipse Paintball Markers - Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Markers
SP Paintball Markers – High-Price Paintball Markers
Spyder Paintball Markers – Entry Level Paintball Markers
Tippmann Paintball Markers – Entry Level and Mid-Price Paintball Markers
Umarex / T4E Training Markers – Entry Level, Mid-Price, and, High-Price Paintball Markers (These are Less Than Lethal and Home Defense markers.)
Valken Paintball Markers – Mid-Price Paintball Markers