The last weekend was delightful for us after we got ourselves the nice-looking paintball shooters. However, some of us were confused about which hopper should be the best fit for these paintball guns. A good gun needs a good hopper, and if you are confused about which one to buy, well, you are in the right place.
In this guide, we will go through all the aspects you need to know about paintball hoppers and pick the best paintball hopper to add to your gun.
Moreover, we will talk about different kinds of paintball hoppers and compare them among different types. There are some great products which we will discuss here and see their features, pros, and cons.
What Are The Types Of Paintball Hopper?
Some of you already know about different types of hoppers, but some may not have an idea about them. However, we will cover the most popular hopper types – the gravity hopper and the electronic hopper.
→ The Gravity Hopper:
If you like everything simple and fun, then gravity hoppers are the loaders for you. These are the basic loaders with no electronic touch. They come plain out of the box with simple engineering. You will find a hollow oval-shaped loader. Inside you will see a hole down to a small pipe where the ball will fall down.
The mechanism of the gravity hopper is simple. You put the best paintballs inside. The gravity pressure will force the balls down to the hole, and it will go down the pipe of your gun.
It doesn’t have any force button to push the balls into the gun. It simply uses gravity to do that, which can cause jamming sometimes.
The good thing is gravity hoppers are quite lightweight. You wouldn’t feel the extra weight on your hand.
→ Electronic Hoppers:
On the other hand, electronic models are for competitive games, fast feeding, and shooting.
Mostly these are battery-powered hoppers and have mechanical instruments for feed. These are easy to use. And fast feeding is very helpful while playing the game.
There is a compound inside the loader where the spinner is set. When the balls are put inside, the spinner will push them one by one into the gun.
The machine shakes up the balls so that there is no jamming while shooting the paintballs.
Choose The Paintball Loader For Your Level Of Competition
According to the users, if we want to categorize the paintball hoppers, we will have mainly 3 types. Beginner, Mid-Range & Professional
The entry-level users play paintball games for fun and recreation. Having expensive kits or competitive guns or accessories are not necessary for them. Keeping that in mind, buyers should pick the right one.
If we have to suggest what price range you should check the hoppers, then pick something under 70$. That will save you some bucks, and still, there are plenty of hoppers that can satisfy your need in that price range.
Are you a pump gun user? Then getting an electronic loader will do not help you much in feeding. In that case, try the gravity hoppers instead. That will be easy to use, and it will match the feeding speed of the pump gun.
Our best pick for beginners is Proto Primo Paintball Hopper. These have the lowest price tag and best performance for beginners. Many mid-range users also like this hopper. We will talk about it later in depth.
Many of us like playing paintball games and sometimes try out competitive matches too. For those players, the hoppers need to be more competitive.
Are you playing paintball games once in a while and bought a paintball gun that is meant to be used for competitive games? You must like fast shooting. Then, electric hoppers are the best choice for you.
A fast feed with an anti-jam mechanism is necessary for competitive games where a split second is important. For a mid-range player, Virtue Spire IR Electronic Paintball Loaders is a good pick. For its quick feed and anti-jam feature. You can also check out the Valken Paintball VSL Tournament Electronic Loader. It is also an amazing paintball hopper for mid-range players. Some beginners can also go for this item.
If you are a professional player playing in tournaments and serious about giving the best in every game and winning tight matches, you need professional equipment.
A fast-feeding, easy to disassemble, good balls per minute, and good holding capacity are things you should check before buying a paintball hopper. A battery-efficient paintball is crucial in a long game. If the paintball hopper is heavier, it will not be easy to move around for a long time.
The Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader or Virtue Spire IV Electronic Paintball Loaders are two good options for you for a professional match. Always pick the best paintball hopper for your playing style.
Best Paintball Hoppers 2021: The Unbiased Review
This one is the best paintball hopper that can be used by all types of users for great performance and superb quality. The Dye LTR paintball loader is a fast feeding loader, and a great number of balls can be put inside at a time. It is energy efficient and has a nice outlook.
- 30 balls per minute
- Expandable compound
- Anti-jam technology
- Top-notch quality
- Best value for the price
- The professional level hopper that anyone can use
The 30 balls feeding rate is amazing in the Dye LTR loader. It can even hold around 200 paintballs inside it. A switch on the back will expand the hopper’s size and let you put more paintballs (around 60 more) inside it.
It is a power-efficient loader with 80000+ balls shot count with a 3AA battery. There is also an anti-jam Sharkfin release trigger and an adjustable feed tension for continuous shooting without any disturbance. If you feel like jamming, pull the sharkfin trigger, and it will be fixed immediately.
It has a tool-less maintenance system for easy fixing. It is also water-resistant, so you will not face any issue playing in the rain or if you accidentally pour water on it.
In case you are playing the night game, you can switch off the lights in blacktops mode.
The virtue spire IV is one of the best hoppers for any professional users or mid-range users. It has given us a loader that’s lighter yet holds more paint, easier, faster, and still out of the risk of jams.
- Programable by mobile application
- Consistent fast feeding
- IFI integration
- Reload Indicator with HU LEDs + Alarm
- Smaller in size
This loader has Spire IV Proactive Logic, which starts feeding the instant the first shot is fired. The mobile application can program it. It provides consistent fast feeding and holds up to 220 balls. It has a smaller dimension that helps players to carry it easily.
The spire IV comes with a Toolless quick-change speed feed adapter, which will help players. It is built for anti-jamming, which is necessary for any professional level game. It has an easy tool-less disassembly function. You can open up the paint hopper at any time that you want.
It is also easy to load by just opening the lid. No need to open the whole loader. It is powered by a 3 AA battery, which gives a good backup for you.
Proto Primo Paintball Hopper has a capacity of holding 200 balls at a time, which is standard. What makes it better is the quick vertical feeding with a spring-loaded reloading mechanism.
- Primo loader
- Spring-loaded lid
- Positive shelf design
- Gravity-fed design
The hopper’s design relieves pressure from the balls and maintains a minimal agitation to the gun. Moreover, its vertical-fed design needs no batteries to operate.
The large opening makes it easier to load paintballs when you are in a hurry. As the hopper can relieve the pressure from balls at the bottom, it doesn’t get jammed. So, it is reliable in every aspect that lets you stay one step ahead of the competitors.
As this is the best budget paintball hopper, please don’t expect feed rates like the ones with battery-powered feeding systems. It has approximately 8 balls per second rate, which is considered enough by lots of experts.
Empire Paintball Halo is a smart hopper with a combination of unique features. It feeds the gun only after hearing the marker firing a ball. Also, the circuit automatically shuts off the operation after one hour of inactivity. Altogether, you are getting an energy-efficient product, and it runs longer than others with 4 AA batteries.
- Sound activated
- Auto-shutoff after an hour
- Adjustable hopper
- Fast feeding with anti-jam features
- LED indicator
The fast-loading mechanism can provide up to 20 bps feed rate. But a capacity of holding only 180 balls at a time makes it less preferable by many players. It is a reliable hopper as its anti-jam mechanism can ensure smooth operation.
On the bright side, the LED indicators warn its user about the low battery situation. For durability and performing in harsh conditions, it comes with a polycarbonate shell.
Compact and lightweight design, high feed rate, and sturdy build are the reasons that make Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loader very popular. You would also love its LED indicators that help a lot in the games.
- Adjustable capacity
- Durable build quality
- High feed rate
- Very gentle feeding
Even if you buy soft paintballs prone to break easily, you will face no issues because of its rubber fingers. The intelligent, proactive feeding system is very responsive, ensuring zero blank shots.
It has a quiet and efficient operating capability that ensures no pulses, which results in no jams. The hopper has an adjustable capacity, and you can choose between a space of holding up to 200 or 260 balls.
The hopper uses 3 AA batteries to operate, and it lasts for a long time. Furthermore, it has a quick lid-changing and fast-feeding system. As both the back shell and the loader’s body is made from durable nylon, you won’t have to worry about its longevity.
The best thing about this hopper is the quick and adjustable capacity. What it means is that you can change it from high capacity to low-profile and vice-versa without any tools almost instantly. The maximum capacity of the high-capacity mode is 250 balls at a time.
- Different ball size compatibility
- Low profile and high capacity options
- Toolless disassembly
- No jamming mechanism
Another great feature of this one is that it allows both .68 to .50 caliber making it versatile. So, you can have different paintball guns for different situations, and you don’t need to carry multiple hoppers.
Moreover, the lid has a quick-release switch to either uses it in rainy weather or remove it for speed feeding. It is a battery-powered device with a simple on/off switch. If you are okay with the weight and a 15bps feed rate, you should seriously consider it.
We have got another reliable hopper like the Proto Primo as it requires no batteries to operate. With an air system for synchronized feeding, this one can perform even better than the Proto hopper.
- Air-operated feeding system
- Good capacity and feed rate
- Wide opening
- Quick-release elbow
It has a feed rate of 15 bps, which ensures no misfires. The hopper has a capacity of holding up to 200 balls at the same time. As it gets attached via a quick-release elbow, you wouldn’t face any complexity using it.
Furthermore, the loader has a wide opening so that you can quickly load it in dire situations. But that won’t make it jammed because of the more synchronized ball-feed design.
Complete reliability on air-power may cause feeding issues
Lastly, we have one of the best paintball hoppers with the adjustable ball holding capacity and an energy-efficient feeding system. With 3 AA batteries, you will be able to shoot up to 100,000 balls at a whopping 30 bps feed rate. Due to the capacity of holding up to 260 balls, it is one of the biggest paintball hoppers.
- Adjustable capacity
- Toolless disassembly
- Great battery life
- Very fast feeding
For its battery-powered operation, it offers several useful LEDs to warn you about reloading and low battery. At the same time, it is also crucial to have a fast reloading feature. That is why the manufacturer has given this model a 20% wider mouth design.
The spring-loaded feeding system ensures smooth and jam-free operation. But in case of bad situations where you need to take the hopper apart, you can do it easily because of its toolless design. The anti-jam rubber-feed mechanism is capable of handling fragile balls without breaking them in the loader.
Features To Consider While Buying The Perfect Paintball Hopper
Features can make a huge difference because your performance on the playing field depends on it! So that is something to consider before buying the best paintball hopper. The followings are some of the key things that you should seek in the best one.
Size and Weight
Your paintball hopper size and weight can either be your friend or your enemy out in the field. You don’t want something that will only weigh you down, and in that sense, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Instead, you want light enough to carry but can still hold enough paintballs for a complete round. Basically, it’s better to carry a hopper in competitive play that can hold up to 200 paintballs. And as for the weight, it depends on the overall size and the capacity of the hoppers. So as long as it doesn’t weigh more than a few pounds, it’s good to go.
Materials and Durability
As a consumer, we want to invest in products that are durable. Materials are crucial for the durability of a hopper like any other product. Different manufacturing companies opt for different materials, for example, Aluminum, ceramic, stainless steel, and polycarbonate Fiber.
The most common and popular one is polycarbonate, as it is lightweight, durable, and very easy to clean and maintain. It is the best option to go for as it has almost zero friction because it makes the paintball effectively speedier and easier to carry around.
Rate of Fire
The best paintball hopper is the one that can keep up with you. That is your trigger finger. So, it comes down to your skill level. The more experienced you are, the faster you’ll be on the trigger, and the hopper’s rate of fire should be, too.
For a beginner, a simple, gravity-loaded model can be enough. It doesn’t have a paintball propelling mechanism built in it; as a result, fire rate is slower (approximately 8 balls/sec).
And for the professional players, it’s recommended to have a hopper with a fire rate of 20 paintballs/sec
Gun and Paintball Compatibility
Loader manufacturers follow a standard measurement these days, which means that most hoppers sold these days fit most of the markers. Still, it’s better not to assume anything, especially if you own an older model.
One way to ensure that the two will be 100-percent compatible is, buying both from the same brand. Alternatively, you can always contact the manufacturer directly and ask them about the compatibility with the specific model you own.
Now for the paintballs, it comes in various shapes, sizes, and paints. The different kinds include oily, dimpled, brittle, and reusable types. All hoppers do not support brittle paints. Therefore, you need to buy a more flexible hopper in terms of paints.
Speed feed is a small accessory fitted into a hopper lid and has a tooth-like structure. The main purpose of this accessory is to make the hoppers refill process almost two times faster.
There are various options available for this. What needs to be kept in mind is that not all speed feeds are compatible with all the guns.
Hopper might get jammed sometimes. That’s a bothersome situation to be in, especially during a competitive game. The solution is to go for a hopper with an anti-jamming feature, which you should consider. Try buying a loader that is out of the risk of jams.
Style and Ease of Use
Style may sound something secondary, but actually, it’s an important fact while buying hoppers. First of all, hopper comes in different sizes and shapes. You need to choose the one which is compact and easy to carry around and go well with your marker. A good look doesn’t hurt, right?
It is necessary to find the best paintball hopper that goes with your need. Depending on the beginners, mid-range users, or professionals, you should pick the item.
Like every other product, hoppers come with a warranty too. Before purchasing, you have to make sure it comes with at least a 30-day warranty to ensure its durability.
# Gravity Hopper Vs. Electronic Hopper
If we have to differentiate between the two hoppers, we should keep in mind that they serve different purposes.
While gravity hoppers can be used on pump guns as they are not fast shooter guns, the electronic hoppers are best for mechanical and electronic guns. The mechanical or electronic guns shoot rapidly, and it needs a jam-free fast feeding hopper. The electronic hoppers can do that for these guns.
The electronic hoppers use electronic energy to feed the balls into the gun. The gravity hoppers rely on the gravity force instead, which makes it slower.
However, the gravity hoppers are a bit less heavy than the electronic hoppers in general. Although, that is not much noticeable.
But in the price tags, the gravity hoppers definitely are lower than the other variants of hoppers because of the simplicity of build and mechanism.
Most players nowadays prefer electronic hoppers for their guns and games.
# Virtue Spire Vs. Dye Rotor: Which One Should You Choose?
Both the Virtue Spire and Dye Rotor are extremely good. There’s a debate on which one is better. And the debate is not going to end any time sooner because of both series’ quality and performance being close to each other.
Both the hopper series can compete with one another with their specific products. In the price section, both spire and rotor have an almost similar price range. Not many differences can be found here.
In the feeding system, there are some differences. Some have the sensing style using infrared, some have sound-sensing technology, and some use g-force. You will notice that the Dye rotor uses the tension of balls feeding and checking when it stops. It has two counter-rotating plastic rings inside to feed. On the contrary, virtue spire has rubber fingers inside it.
Both the hoppers have fast feeding features. But the speed feed part of the virtue spire is quite costly than the dye rotor.
In terms of build quality, both will get A+ offer good output. Although Dye LTR is the best one, virtue products are also a good choice.
Some users will like the Dye, while some will prefer the Virtue spire, and that’s the beauty of various products out there in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best hopper for paintball?
There are plenty of great hoppers you can choose from. However, according to the features, durability, price, consistency, etc., the Dye LTR electronic hopper is the best hopper that you can buy.
However, you can check out the virtue spire loaders as they provide great performance as well. Although picking the compatible product depends on many things.
How do I safely carry a paintball hopper?
For carrying a paintball hopper safely, use a bag where you can put your hopper and go wherever you want. Use a protective case for carrying.
It is not illegal to carry a paintball hopper or anything related to that. If you plan on flying to somewhere with your paintball marker or only the hopper, just put it in a checked bag or package, that’s all. You don’t have to worry about it.
How do I maintain a paintball hopper?
It would be best if you cleaned the paintball hopper after each time you play. Open up the lead and find the button to split the hopper. After that, clean the inside of the hopper.
If it is an electronic paintball hopper, then take out the parts inside the hopper if possible and clean thoroughly. Use protective case for preventing external damage. If you are not using it for a long time, try to clean it once. That will keep it in good condition.
Does the paintball hopper come with batteries?
Some paintball hoppers come with a battery inside the box. Some you have to buy separately. Different hoppers use different kinds of batteries. Some use one or two 9 volt blocks; some have three to six AA batteries. Many new models use only one 3AA battery.
How many shots can a paintball hopper make before I have to change the batteries?
It depends on the hopper that you are using. Many hoppers can only shoot 100 balls before you need to change the battery using 3 AA batteries. On the other hand, some models can shoot over 80000 balls with the same battery capacity. Before you buy a paintball hopper, try to check the battery capacity and how many balls it can shoot with the battery power.
After reading the article, we are pretty sure that you have already figured out the answer to the question about which is the best paintball hopper. All the loaders on the list give you different types of features that you can use.
Now that you know the features, it will be easier for you to narrow down the choices and pick the right one. Hope you get the best hopper for you. And the last thing we want to say- have a good time playing the paintball game!