Paintball is a shooting sport that includes different teams of players shooting at each other with spherical dye capsules expelled from a gun. It is a tactical and extremely fun entertainment & training sport. However, in order to make the most of this fun sport, you need to possess the best gear.
Hence it is important to choose the best paintball gun and the best paintball hopper. Paintball guns are not that difficult to ascertain, yet you might get confused when it comes to hoppers. We bring to you a list of the best paintball hoppers as per 2019. A hopper is one of the most crucial gears required for a good paintball game.
What is a Hopper?
There are several gears required for a good and fun paintball game. One of the most important ones among all the gears is a paintball hopper. A hopper is also known as a loader. It is a gear that is attached to your paintball gun and sits on the top It is used to refill your paintball gun with all the paintballs to shoot at other people with.
It is one of the most important parts of your paintball gun. Your aim, shooting rate, accuracy; basically, your performance in the game directly or indirectly depends on your paintball hopper. Hence, you need to be very certain and specific about your choice of hoppers if you wish to invest in one.
Different Materials of Hoppers
These are the lightest ones. They are mostly found in all the shops. These are the older ones and extremely affordable and lightweight as well. These are relatively durable and do not break easily either. Yet, you have to make an effort to keep it clean because it gets dirty quite easily.
They are just as lightweight as aluminum ones yet they are more prone to breaking. Yet it is lesser of an effort to clean a ceramic one.
3) Stainless steel
These are the most durable ones. These also experience negligible wear and tear. Yet the only problem with this kind of a hopper is that it is quite heavy and therefore hard to move around. It might weigh you down during a game, something you do not want.
4) Polycarbonate Fibre
Most of the new hoppers are made up of this material. It is lightweight, durable and very easy to clean and maintain. This is the best option to go for. It enables almost zero friction making the paintball effectively speedier and easier to carry around.
Factors to Consider while Buying the Best Paintball Hopper
There are certain factors that you need to keep in mind before you buy a paintball hopper. These factors will enable you to make an informed purchase so as to enjoy this sport as much as possible.
1) Speed Feeds
This is an essential part of the paintball gun system. It is an accessory which is fitted into your hopper lid. They are small and circular in appearance and have teeth-like structures on it rim to facilitate the loading.
This accessory helps you to refill your hopper much quicker. Some speed feeds are known to make the process of refilling faster by almost a factor of 2. There are various options available for this. What also needs to be kept in mind is that not all speed feeds are compatible with all the guns.
2) Feed Rate
If you are very good at the game, you need a hopper that complements your skills. Different hoppers have different speed rates. Some high-end model hoppers have a very high feed rate which is suitable for those who love the competition.
There are medium feed-rate types and low-speed rate hoppers which will be more suitable for someone who is just getting into the sport and likes to shoot at one person at a time. You can select one depending upon your convenience and level of expertise.
3) Mechanism of hopper
The mechanism of a paintball hopper is almost uniform across different brands yet there might be slight differences which may impact the performance. The hopper includes a drive shaft and a motor for the drive shaft and the external protective cover, which is consistent throughout all hoppers.
Depending upon your preference, you can purchase hoppers to be tilted backwards or forward in order to reload the paintballs. People find different mechanisms comfortable so you need to ensure that you pick the one that is suits you better.
Hoppers are available in a wide price range depending on its performance, material, brand, etc. If you are someone who is a very frequent paintball player, you may want to invest in a substantially good hopper, which would effectively enhance your performance.
However, if you are someone who does not play paintball so frequently, you may choose to opt for a hopper which is not very high-end or high priced. Even in the low-price range, you will be able to find a hopper which is significantly better than several others in that range. So, it is important that you make an informed decision.
5) Risk of Jams
Many a times, you might notice that your hopper gets jammed in the middle of a game. This a very bothersome situation, especially during a game. Hence, you should search for a hopper which specifically mentions about the anti-jamming feature.
Many of the hoppers are available with an anti-jamming drive. The best paintball hoppers have this feature but many of the affordable ones also come along with this feature. It depends on the design of tray fillers.
Some hoppers have the capacity of 20 balls per minute but for some others it can go up to 200. Your final choice should depend on your requirement. If you are a new player who just started playing, you can opt for the low capacity hopper. However, if you are an advanced player, you may want to opt for the hopper with the capacity of 200 paintballs per minute.
The high capacity hopper will ensure that you can keep shooting while your opponents keep loading their paintball guns. It will also depend on the duration of your game. For those who play more frequently and for longer durations, you should go for the guns with a larger capacity.
There are different kinds of loaders available, which would impact the reliability of your hopper. For example, if your hopper has a high capacity above 50 balls per minute, it is more likely to malfunction. In this case, if you purchase a high capacity loader, you also need to make sure that you keep it clean, free of paint and juiced up.
This is a factor which will be a question no matter which brand you buy. Because of this, sometimes it is a good idea to buy a hopper with a medium capacity. Also, there are some hoppers that are gravity fed, their performance maybe not as good yet they are very reliable.
Hoppers are available in various materials. The most common of these materials is plastic. The plastic outer shell protects the inner mechanisms o the hopper. Yet, even in plastics hoppers, the cheaper ones are more prone to break compared to more high-end ones. With the cheaper ones, you need to be careful of dropping or hurting it.
The hopper does not break in entirely but its internal mechanics get damaged quite often. If you are an infrequent payer, you can opt for a cheaper hopper. But if you are someone involved in intense paintball games, it is recommended to invest in a slightly more expensive one to ensure durability.
Also, you need to pay attention to the battery life of the hopper before making a purchase.
In the middle of an intense paintball game, you may not want to have a gun-set which is very heavy. So, it is a better idea to buy one which lessens the extra weight. Most of the latest models of the best paintball hoppers are lightweight.
However, quite a lot of these hoppers may weigh you down. So, you should go for a hopper that is compatible with your own weight. Usually, the lightweight hoppers are preferred.
10) Water Resistance
The game might become extremely wet with all the paintballs flying about. In this situation, your hopper can easily get destroyed if it is not immune to water damage. So, when you are deciding upon which hopper to purchase, make sure it has a water resistance feature. This will ensure that your whopper has a longer life and works better throughout.
Every product comes with a warranty these days; hence it is quite natural to ensure that your paintball hopper has a warranty. You should make sure that your hopper has a warranty lasting at least for 30 days. This will effectively mean that your purchase will be safe and protected. The longer the warranty period, the more protected your purchase is.
You must fix a budget in your mind before making the purchase. Even if you buy a hopper which is very expensive, it may not be good for you. Hence, you need to research, set a price range for yourself and then make the purchase.
You may find a good hopper within your limited budget without spending a whole lot. As a consequence, you will not feel guilty about over-spending either!
13) Style and comfort
Style may sound like something secondary, yet it is very important to keep it in mind while making a purchase. First of all, you have to pick a hopper that matches your gun. They also come in different shapes and sizes. You should choose a shape and design that seems easier for you to carry around and maneuver.
It is an added benefit if your hopper is sleek and compact. It should be comfortable for you and it should enable you be active in the game. Also, it would not hurt to have good looking gear while playing!
14) Paintball Compatibility
Paintballs come in various different shapes, sizes and well, paints. Some of the different kinds of paint include oily, dimpled, brittle and reusable types as well. Brittle paints are not supported by all hoppers. Therefore, you need to make sure that you purchase a hopper that is more flexible in terms of paints.
Keeping in mind all the crucial factors that you need to adhere to before making an informed purchase, here are a few of the best paintball hoppers available in the market. You can place a good bet on these ones:
Top 10 Best Paintball Hoppers 2019
1. Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader/ Hopper
This is one of the most reliable hoppers in the market. Its reviews are also very positive on Amazon and all other websites. This is one of those hoppers which falls in the cheaper range yet delivers an incredible performance.
This hopper comes along with a unique loader technology patented by the DYE company. The patented rotor ensures excellent feed rate and consistency. It has an excellent feed rate and it is very reliable. Its features are considered to be one of the best ones in the whole world. It allows a rate of more than 30 paintballs per second, which is remarkable. This one also has an excellent 3 AA battery life. Its battery life facilitates almost 80,000 shots in one full charge. Its performance is known to be consistent worldwide.
It has an anti-jam technology and an easy release system to ensure flexibility while playing. The added fun part is that it is available in almost 14 different color combinations which makes it stylish as well. Also, it has a fairly new design, is lightweight and strong. The latest model of this hopper has several upgrades such as color kits, even quicker feeds, and high capacity.
Buy it here: Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader
2. Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loaders/ Hoppers
This is one of the more compact hoppers available in the market. It is smaller, very lightweight and therefore very easy to use and maneuver. It does not make noticeable irritating sounds. It has a high-reliability factor. It also comes along with anti-jam technology. Even the worst and poorest quality paints can easily be used with this hopper. It has a good feed speed as well.
It has been taking over the market by storm ever since its entry. The outer nylon shell is not only very strong and sturdy, but it is also easy to remove. Thus, it is also much easier to clean. Compared to its size, it holds a lot more paint than similar loaders. It has a very unique technology which allows it to shoot the paintballs at a very uniform rate to give a constant stream of paint.
This hopper is weatherproof (it is water-resistant). It takes not more than 10 seconds to switch the crown feed to a rain lid. This one is available in 6 different colors. The price of this hopper is also quite just. This has been used in several official tournaments which indicates its good quality. This is also one of those hoppers which are very easy to get used to. It performs best with a spring ramp.
Buy it here: Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loader
3. Empire Halo Too Paintball Loader
This is one of the quickest and the smoothest loaders available in the whole market. It is quite affordable. It has a substantially good feed rate of more than 20 paintballs per minute minimum. It is compact and lightweight. It can shoot at a speed of up to 180 balls. This is enabled by its FreewayTM Anti-Jam technology.
The shell of this loader is made up of a combination of several materials such as polycarbonate. It is extremely strong and can endure very hard blows as well. Plus, this makes it harder for the paint to stick on. So, when others will be scraping paint of their gear, you can continue to shoot others in the game. This is quite well suited for people who like to play intense rough games.
It has an LED display and it shows alert messages through LED to indicate that the battery level is low. It has a sound-activated programme which enables you to adjust the motor speed, microphone sensitivity and feed stack monitoring.
It is one of the best hoppers for its price. It is available only in one color, that is matte black. Also, this one is pretty lightweight, weighing an approximate of 1.4 pounds.
Buy it here: Empire Halo Too Paintball Hopper
4. Dye Precision Rotor Paintball Loader
This loader has an extremely impressive loading capacity. It can hold up to 200 balls at one time which is almost 20 percent more than other loaders. It is endowed with a new rotor technology which makes it very easy to use. The loader can be disassembled and assembled very easily.
It has a very unique and convenient feed design. Its design is extremely durable and nearly unbreakable because of its very hard shell. It is considered to be one of the most successful leaders in terms of its feed speed. It has retained its reputation on the market for 15 years.
Because of all these remarkable features, it is considered to be one of the best paintball hoppers ever. It is very reliable as well. It is available in 8 very unique and different patterns which makes it all the more appealing.
It is priced pretty decently as compared to all its features. It has excellent reviews and is known to have such a long battery life that it almost never gets over even after multiple games! This is definitely an excellent purchase!
Buy it here: Dye Precision Rotor paintball Loader
5. Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loader/ Hoppers
This is one of the more compact loaders available. It is extremely lightweight, very fast and easy to maneuver. It holds more paint as well with 220 or 280 round capacity. It has been used for several competitive tournaments.
As the name suggests, a lot of its functions are digital/ electronic. The most unique part about this one is that it can be linked to your smartphone (iOS and Android) for alarms indicating the need to reload. You need to download the app for this function. Install the app, then sync it with your hopper to yield the best results for your own convenience.
The Bluetooth facility is very convenient. It also has an LED indicator to show low battery/ reload alert. It has a very good battery life so to say. It has 2 versions available online; the Spire III 280 and the Spire III 220.
Because it is filled with advanced technology, it is slightly more expensive as compared to the other hoppers on the list. It is available in 5 different colors. It is just as good looking as its functionality.
It has a hinged shell which makes it easier to open and then reassemble again. It may be a little difficult to get used to because it is slightly different. Yet, once you get acquainted with this hopper., you are most certainly going to like it.
Buy it here: Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball
6. Dye Precision Loader Rotor R2
This one has been a very significant innovation in the paintball loader technology. It has a mind-blowing speed rate with a minimum of 30 balls per second. It is extremely reliable and flexible. It weighs around one pound which is quite decent. It has a 20% larger mouth as compared to other hoppers.
This makes it much easier for the paler to have control over it and focus on the game. Like the previous hopper, this one also comes with a Reload Alert System. It also shows indication of when the battery low. Its battery life is also incredible with 3 AA batteries. It can shoot up to 100,000 shots in one battery.
This is an excellent figure. It also comes along with a Shark Fin Jam Release technology because of which the risk of jams is almost entirely negated. It has an in-built transparent interlocking lid which ensures a safer and more secure and closure and a faster loading process.
This one is also a little more expensive because of all its advanced features. This one is available in 27 different colors and styles, which is incredible! It has a low-profile design this makes it possible for the loader to shoot the balls right at the target when they are standing at a close distance.
Buy it here: Dye Precision Loader Rotor R2
7. HK Army TFX Paintball Loader
This hopper has a 216 round capacity and it is pretty efficient. It is easy to maintain with a very hard outer shell. It a good battery life with 2 AA batteries and operates with all kinds of paint whether it is on oily, dimpled, brittle and reusable paints as well. It has a shooting speed which ranges from a minimum of 22 balls per second to almost 50 balls per second.
This one comes along with a power button and LED indicator to indicate battery level. this model is water resistant. It consists of an anti-jam technology as well. This one has a zero-gravity lift tray which helps you to enjoy the whole experience even more.
The model is one of the lightest high-end hopper models. It is super sleek and helps to take a better aim. The rotors are also pretty good and also very fast. This hopper is available in 21 colors.
This hopper is also priced pretty decently compared to the other ones. It works especially fast with almost all the guns. This is quite appropriate for you if you are a beginner; would be easier to understand its overall user-friendly design and mechanism.
Buy it here: HK Army TFX Paintball Loade
8. G.I. Sportz LVL Level Paintball Loader
This is a mid-range paintball hopper and it is also very low profile. It is extremely lightweight, weighing around 1.8 pounds and therefore it is very easy to use as well. It has a 200 Round capacity which will keep up with your good skills. It also has a wider mouth too which facilitates quick shooting.
This hopper has a nylon shell which is extremely durable and break-resistant. It has adjustable speed as well ranging from low, medium to high. Plus, if you have brittle paintballs, this one can cater to that problem as well.
This outer shell enables it to be water-resistant and essentially weather-proof. This also has an LED indicator for low battery along with a sound indicator.
This hopper has an easy on/off button as well. This paintball hopper It is easy to clean and has a jam-proof technology. It is one of the cheapest hoppers available. It is available in 5 different colors. This hopper has the ability to significantly lessen the problems of breakage and jamming.
Buy it here: G.I. Sportz LVL Level Paintball Loader
9. Valken VSL Paintball Loader
This is one of the more high-end hoppers and gives a very high performance. This is a very good and lasting 3 AA battery system. The hopper is lightweight, weighing around 1.2 pounds. It is very fast and it can switch from 0.68 to 0.50 cal in the matter of a few seconds. It has an extending capacity of 250 balls. That is, it comes along with a capacity kit which has the capacity to take the hopper from 180 to a maximum of 250 balls.
It has a shooting speed of a minimum of 20 balls per second. It is compatible with all the different kinds of paints. It also has a pulsing motor which is gentle on fragile paint. It has a quick release system to minimize the time between the finger action and the actual shooting which ensures more precision.
It can be disassembled and reassembled very easily again; it also has a quick switch lid making it easy to clean. Its highlight is its versatility and ease of switching lids. It is priced pretty decently and it is one of the cheaper paintball hoppers.
This model is not available in too many colors, yet even this one model is very good in appearance. It has a very sleek and smooth style. This one also has substantial battery life powered by 3 AA batteries.
Buy it here: Valken VSL Paintball Loader
Basic Gears Required for Paintball
Additionally, there are other important gears that you may want to look at when you have selected a paintball hopper for yourself in order to make your game better. Other than gears, there are a few additional very essential things that you need to carry.
These things are important because these will make sure that your game is smooth, safe and hassle-free. Here is a list of all the different equipment and additional things that you should carry while going for a paintball game:
1) Paintball Mask
The purpose of this mask is basically to ensure safety. Its job is to make it a point you don’t injure your face and especially not your eye. A hit in the eye can potentially blind you. Hence, a mask is must!
2) Safety Goggles
Similar to a mask, the purpose of the safety glasses is to make sure your eyes are safe. If you are looking for an effective and attractive paintball goggle, we have an option for you. The DYE Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggle is just the best and the most fashionable way to ensure that your eyes are safe.
It offers a more horizontal peripheral vision than any other mask does. It is easy to clean as the lens is detachable. It gives a visual advantage and the movement is easier to recognize. These goggles have a good face-fit and goes very easy on your face as it suits different kinds of facial contours. What’s more? It is available in six different colours.
3) Paintball Gun
The paintball gun is one of the most crucial equipment that you need for a game. It is the gear that you actually shoot with. There are multiple features and styles that to need to look at before buying a good paintball gun.
For this purpose, you need to do your research. There are different styles, materials, gas systems, bore sizes and many other factors that you need to pay close attention to. It also depends on your level of expertise and how often you choose to play.
4) First Aid Kit
Make sure you have a First Aid kit along with you containing the bare necessities. Have some band-aids and bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, medical tape, pain reliever spray, etc. This is very important.
This is also known as a battle swab. It is used to wipe off the excess paint. it is pretty compact and can easily be folded to soak up any residual paint. There are two kind of squeegees; jerk and straight shot. Jerk squeegees have a wire or a plastic lead with rubber washers. Straight shot squeegees have similar properties but they are not very flexible.
6) Air Tank
The air tank consists of the propellant which fires the paintball and it is made up of gases such as CO2. Make sure that you have a larger tank of CO2 so that you can be able to shoot several paintballs.
Paintballs are obviously the most integral element to the whole game. Many different colours are available along with different paint types. The more expensive it is, the more indicative it is of good quality. Make sure to bring extra ones so that you can last longer in the game.
8) Extra O-Rings
The O-Rings often wear out during critical points of the game these are required on your gun and on the tanks. You can never know when you will need them, so be prepared to replace them. Therefore, you need to pack a few extra ones so make sure that you do not have to pause your game to play.
9) Allen Wrenches
Sometimes if your equipment malfunction, the simple problems can easily be solved using an Allen wrench, so make sure you have one handy.
10) Overalls/ Jumpsuits
The overalls are very important for your game because they reduce the impact created by the paintballs which might injure your body otherwise. Make sure that your jumpsuit is lightweight so that it does not weigh you down during a game. It should also have a breathable material in order to make sure that you do not too heated up while playing.
11) Water and Snacks
This game is extremely fun, but it can get tiring. Hence, you may want to carry light snacks so that you do not get exhausted. You can munch on them in between games. Yet you should not bring in something too heavy. An energy bar, kale chips or dry fruits are perfect for such a game. Water is a must because you may get slightly heated up and dehydrated in your jumpsuit.
12) A towel/ rough cloth
It is essential that you carry a towel around, just in case. Sometimes if your gear gets too dirty, you may want to do a little bit of a clean up between consecutive games so as to ensure consistently good performance. This is to clean your gun or hopper if it gets too much paint on it.
13) Google cleaner spray and microfibre cloth
Your goggles will inevitable get hit with paintballs. You might get a direct hit or even splatter from other hits. In these cases, you need to ensure that you clean your goggles so that you have the perfect amount of visibility so as to perform well in these games. The goggles cannot be cleaned by just any cloth, you need specific microfibre cloth and spray to take out the paint. If your vision gets compromised, your performance in the game will reduce significantly.
14) Garbage bags
It is the responsibility of the players to ensure that the area is clean when the game is over. Leftover cans, paint boxes, water bottles and paint leftovers should be cleaned up after you are done playing. Hence, it is important to carry large garbage bags in order to ensure the same.
These are a few basic things that you need to carry. The other things should be according to your own convenience to ensure a happy, fun and safe game.
If you love playing paintball and you are a paintball fanatic, you need to be specific about the gear you use. You need to make sure you invest the right amount on the correct equipment in order to play a good game. Maintain all your equipment, take care of them and clean them often. Hoppers are very important to ensure a good game.
The hopper ensures the manner by which you shoot, your precision and skills. They govern your aim, your rate of shooting and many such crucial factors. A hopper can make or break your game.
Our list of hoppers are the best ones available in the market and also are in sync with the most important factors you need to look for while purchasing a hopper.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, if you are interested in paintball – buy an amazing hopper and have a splendid time enjoying the game!