Before you get into a new hobby, it’s important to know how much you’ll be committing to financially. With the cost of being allowed on a paintball field, needing the gear, and refilling those paintballs, how much does paintball cost?
Whether you plan on only playing once, or plan to go regularly with your friends, you can expect to pay $40-$80 when you first start. This price includes field admission, renting gear, and buying paintballs. This is, however, entry-level gear that you will be playing with.
Instead of telling you the prices, let’s show you instead. This chart shows you the pieces of gear you need in order to step out onto the field, and the different amounts you can invest in your gear. Keep in mind that these prices don’t include field admission fees.
|Cost to Rent||Entry-Level Gear||Mid-Level Gear||High-End Gear|
|Gun/Marker||Included in the $30 rental fee||Included in the $30 Pack||$75||$2000 Without Upgrades|
|Mask||Included in the $30 rental fee||Included in the $30 Pack||$20||$500|
|Co2 Tank||Included in the $30 rental fee||Included in the $30 Pack||$25||Compressed Air $250|
|Hopper||Included in the $30 rental fee||Included in the $30 Pack||$5||Motorized Hopper $200|
As you can see, the cost to rent is the same cost to buy an entry-level paintball pack. If you’re planning on going at least twice, it would be worth your money to invest in a starter pack so you don’t need to pay a rental fee again.
In addition to your gear, you will also need to pay an admission fee each time you go paintballing.
The field prices vary by location and can range from $10-$40.
There are several reasons for the huge difference in admission price because you get a different experience in each field. Let me explain.
At Matt’s Outback Paintball in Connecticut, you get 500 paintballs, all-day air, an upgraded rental gun, and a free hot dog lunch for $35. But at Foxhole Paintball in Kansas, you get 500 paintballs and all-day air for $15.
Check your local paintball fields to see what services they include to find out what suits your needs.
What’s the difference between a gun included in a paintball pack and a $2000 paintball gun? Do you really need a motorized hopper for $250 or will a $5 one be alright? Let’s take a look at how the gear changes with price.
This is the one piece of equipment that varies the most. The price difference reflects the reliability of the gun, the weight, and the aesthetic.
The higher the price of the gun, the lighter it will be which will make your arms less tired during a game. A more expensive gun will be of much better quality and be more reliable. It will fire paintballs with more speed and accuracy so it hits your target and does not fall short.
Masks are an extremely important piece of gear for your safety. While the cheapest mask on the market will protect your eyes, it won’t be very comfortable.
The cheap masks on the market are made with rubber so they are easier to clean in between uses so they can be shared. This is why paintball fields supply this type of mask in their rentals.
The more expensive masks use a foam lining instead of rubber. This is much more comfortable during gameplay. Expensive masks also have better ventilation. As you breathe in your mask you create a fog. With better ventilation, your mask is less likely to fog leaving you with clear vision during your games.
CO2 tank or Compressed Air
CO2 tanks and compressed air are both used to launch the paintball down the barrel of a paintball gun, but why are the prices so different? CO2 tanks are used with standard paintball guns, but compressed air is used for high-end guns.
CO2 tanks are more readily available, but less reliable. You can get them filled at most tire pumps or shop compressors very easily, and paintball fields will often have their own filling stations. CO2 isn’t as stable as compressed air.
As carbon dioxide turns from a liquid state to a gas state it creates a pressure that launches the paintball, but elevation and temperature can change how much pressure is created.
Compressed air on the other hand is harder to come by but creates a more reliable pressure for paintball guns. Temperature and elevation won’t make much of a difference, letting the player shoot with more accuracy.
The difference between hoppers is how the paintballs are fed into the paintball gun.
The cheapest hoppers use gravity and use the weight of the paintball to load it into the barrel. The more expensive hoppers are mechanical. While this adds a little more weight to the paintball gun, it causes fewer jams and puts a paintball in the chamber faster.
There’s even a huge difference in the price of paintballs.
The difference between cheap paintballs and more expensive ones is the thickness of the walls, how round they are, and the quality of the paint.
The thickness of the walls needs to be thick enough to launch from the barrel of the gun without bursting, but still explode when it hits the target. If the walls are too thin, they’ll explode in the barrel and cause a blockage.
If the paintballs aren’t uniformly round, there is a chance they won’t fall through gravity hoppers properly, and you won’t be able to fire when you need to. The flight path will also be less accurate as the weight in the paintball won’t be distributed as evenly.
High-quality paintballs will contain bright, highly-pigmented paint that is harder to rub off by players. One rule of paintball is if you’re hit, and the paintball doesn’t explode, you are safe and still in the game. Cheaters will try to wipe off paint splatters to remain in the game, but high-quality paint makes it much harder to do that.
The cost that we haven’t gone over are upgrades. These aren’t mandatory for playing, but if you’re really enjoying paintball and you want your gun to do a little more work for you, you might find some of these upgrades useful.
Boards: Often the first thing players will upgrade are boards, which allow you to adjust your settings to fire at the highest speeds.
Price range: $20-$200
Bolts: Installing a bolt onto a paintball gun will make it quieter, and increase the number of times you can fire paintballs before needing to change your air tank.
Price range: $25-$150
Feed Necks: A good quality feed neck is a must-have upgrade for a lot of players. They are clamps that are used to securely hold your hopper in place during play.
Price range: $5-$50
Grips: Grips are becoming a less popular upgrade because most paintball guns come with comfortable grips. The main use for upgraded grips now is to change the way your gun looks.
Price range: $10-$75
Regulators: Regulators control the amount of air used to fire a paintball. Paintball guns already come with a standard regulator, but people who choose to upgrade them find their gun fires more consistently.
Price range: $75-$250
How to Save Money
With all the expenses for field costs, different pieces of equipment, and upgrades, here are some tips to save money.
- Buy anything that depletes in bulk. Your paintballs and air tanks will be cheaper if you buy them in bulk and store them until you need them.
- Refill your air tanks instead of buying new ones. This is a little harder for compressed air tanks, but if you find somewhere that can fill it, it’s worth it.
- Buy your own paintball pack for around $30 before going paintballing, even if it’s your first time. A one-time payment of $30 to have your own gear is better than renting twice, or renting once and then buying your gear.
- Call around and find a field that will allow you to use your paintballs instead of field paint (paintballs you have to buy from the field to play)
- Find a promotion for a paintball field. Sites like Groupon might have a coupon for you to use if you go solo or bring a group.
Paintball can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t need to.
A first-time game of paintball will cost around $40 to $80, but after time your hobby might have amassed thousands of dollars in gear and upgrades. Spending more won’t make you a better player, but it will put your gear to work for you, letting you focus more on the game than you would be fixing your gear.