We’ve all been there before, you’re out on the field sizing up your target, aim it perfectly and fire – but the paintball begins to split in mid-air, throwing it off its flight path and ultimately ruining your shot entirely as it splatters across the ground. Finding the best paintballs for the job is an important part of the game.
Whether you play for leisure or play professionally, there’s no denying that paintballs can make or break your game. However, many people are under the false pretense that a reliable paintball has to be an expensive one. In fact, some of the most sturdy, dependable paintballs on the market also come with an affordable price tag, such as the Valken Infinity Paintballs. These paintballs tick every box necessary for recreational or formal play, such as a strong shell that doesn’t split before it hits the target, and the ability to keep a direct and accurate flight path.
This article not only outlines how to choose the best paintballs for you, it also offers a list of our top 8 – with in-depth reviews designed to help you find the best option for you and how you play. By the end of the article you should come away with most of your paintball-buying questions answered and have a pretty strong idea of which paintballs to buy.
CHOOSING THE BEST PAINTBALLS: WHAT TO CONSIDER?
Do your research
The first step in most purchases is to do your research, but with paintballs there are a few unique areas that you should be sure to research before going ahead with anything. If you don’t have the proper information about what you need and why, it may lead to money wasted on paintballs that you won’t be able to use or paintballs that may worsen your game. The paintball market is vast, and without the necessary knowledge it is easy to make a bad purchase. Make sure you know the caliber of your gun (find it in the instruction manual), and have a look online to see what other players at your level prefer in terms of quality marker.
Cost of the paintballs
The cost of paintballs can also vary hugely, and many wrongly assume that a high price dictates a higher quality. The truth is, there are plenty of cheap paintballs on the market that have high levels of durability and accuracy, as well as plenty of expensive paintballs that are really worth the money – especially if you play in tournaments, competitions or speedball. Reusable paintballs are also a cost-effective choice for practicing with.
Recreational paintballs are typically a little bit different to tournament grade paintballs. They come with a thicker shell that allows them to be used with most guns and markers without breaking. Recreational paintballs are also typically more affordable than tournament grade ones as the quality is a little more relaxed.
Tournament grade paintballs
Once again, differing slightly to recreational paintballs, tournament grade paintballs are characterized by their firm yet thin outer shell. They are durable, yet break more consistently to ensure players can clearly hit their targets. Most tournament grade paintballs have been designed to be used with higher-end paintball guns, so may not be compatible with your recreational gun. Tournament grade paintballs are most commonly used for speedball and woodsball, delivering a more reliable shot.
However you play paintball, it’s best to find a type of paintball that meets your needs, meets your budget, and offers levels of quality that won’t ruin your game.
Top 8 Best Paintballs for Speedball & Woodsball
#1 Valken Graffiti Paintballs – Best Quality Paintballs
The Valken Graffiti Paintballs offer some of the best overall ability, versatility and quality on the market. They boast high-level accuracy and impressive marking abilities, all for a great price – which is why they’ve landed the top spot on our list.
Key features include:
- 0.68 caliber
- Distinct striped shell
- Cardboard box with dividers ensures damage-free delivery
- Bright, no-stain fill
These paintballs from Valken have industry-leading consistency and flight path, which is why they are a favorite at Magfed games and large scenarios such as Castle Conquest and D-Day. Without a doubt, the most distinctive aspect of these paintballs is their shell. The striped blue shell is not only unique to look at, it also boasts incredible strength, ensuring the balls only ever break on contact. It is always disappointing when a paintball breaks mid-air, but these balls ensure you are always given the best chance of meeting your target with a stable flight path.
Valken conducts strict quality control with all of their paintballs, and this is clear in the freshness of the Graffiti paintballs. Unlike many balls that have uneven paths to their target, these balls are straight and direct, ending up exactly where you aimed them. The strict quality and fun nature of these paintballs means that they are well-rounded and can be used for many different versions of play. Whether you play professionally or play for leisure, you will be grateful for the high quality of these balls.
#2 Valken Infinity Paintballs – Best Cheap Paintballs
When it comes to finding the best paintballs that are both reliable and cost-efficient, there’s no better choice than the Valken Infinity.
Key features include:
- Versatile, weather-resistant shell
- Direct, accurate flight path
- Expert fill
- Magazine-fed compatible
Both hobbyists and professionals love these balls due to their high quality and performance. They offer a thicker gelatin shell to prevent the ball from breaking easily, and they shoot straight to your intended target. The seamless design ensures that the paintball is fired without any dents, splits or fractures, boasting a performance that matches up to some of the more expensive, upmarket balls on the market.
You want a paintball that assures you a good game on the field, and the Valken Infinity certainly does that with its consistency, accuracy and quality. If you work with markers that are more rough when handling paintballs – these balls have the perfect level of durability to be compatible. They also could be considered the best cheap paintballs on the market, offering performance far beyond their price point.
#3 Paintball 500 Rounds – Best Paintballs for Speedball
These are some of the best paintballs for speedball at an affordable price, offering a great level of performance and quality in a full bag of 500 rounds.
Key features include:
- 500 rounds of paintballs
- Eco fill of paintball: orange or yellow fill
- Accurate targeting
- Firm & durable shell
These paintballs are often used by top performers on the field due to their simplicity, reliability and durable shell. You can expect these paintballs to not dimple, split or break easily until they hit their target, benefitting from a firm and thick shell that prevents them from breaking in mid-air. Despite the lower price and bulk availability, these paintballs are exceptionally popular which is a testament to their impressive performance that is ideal for leisure and recreation.
The quality of the paint inside these balls is pretty high and they are effective on the field, although it’s important to note that the color of the shells may vary. Another benefit of these paintballs, and something that is usually overlooked with other paintballs, is that they are easy to clean and wipe off. This makes for optimal convenience when it comes to washing clothes, which is made a fair amount easier than with other balls on the market.
Don’t be deceived by the packaging, which seems to offer minimal protection to the paintballs and offers no indication of the quality of the product inside – these are a favorite paintball for practicing and playing for fun, helping users to perform their best and meet their targets. You have assured hundreds of rounds for an impressive price, and breakage is limited due to the high-quality shell – it’s hard to go wrong with these paintballs.
Designed to be used for recreational paintball, these paintballs from well established brand GI Sportz offer everything you could need in a paintball for practice or leisure play.
Key features include:
- Vibrant aqua fill
- Standard .68 caliber paintballs
- Durable shell
- Easy-to-wash paint
GI Sportz is a reliable name in the world of paintball, and these paintballs certainly offer the same levels of dependability and performance that players have come to expect from the brand. Although these paintballs have been designed for recreational use, they still offer a thick and resilient shell like that you’d find on a ball designed for professional play. The shells have a two-tone appearance that is half dark blue and half light blue, and the fill inside is vibrant aqua.
These paintballs are compatible with .68 caliber, which is part of the reason why they are so versatile. They also seem to work well in a variety of different styles of play, such as general play, tournament practice and scenario games. The shell is sturdy enough to not break or splinter in your marker or before it hits the target, which is impressive for a ball designed for recreational use. Furthermore, the fill inside the balls is easy to wash off after play, which means you’ll have no problems quickly wiping down your gear after use.
The Wrek Elite Premium paintballs are some of the best quality paintballs on the market, especially for woodsball players.
Key features include:
- Red/silver shell
- Yellow fill
- Sturdy shell
- Highly accurate flight path
Whether you’re looking for the best woodsball paintballs or just the best paintballs in general, these balls from Elite offer high quality and high performance in packs of 1000 that ensure you never have to run out while out on the field. When it comes to play, you can expect these balls to reach your target with direct accuracy, and without breaking on their way there.
These paintballs come with a red and silver shell that is thick and sturdy, while also looking exceptionally attractive. The shell is weather-resistant, so there’s no risk of paint leaking in hot conditions, or the balls sticking together. The fill inside the balls is a bright yellow, offering the perfect consistency for a satisfying delivery, without any of the unpleasant smell that some other balls have. The paint is also easy to wash, so players needn’t worry about getting any paint on their clothes or gear while out on the field.
The sturdy shell on these paintballs means that they won’t break in the marker or in mid-air, reaching their target via an accurate flight path and only breaking once they hit it. These paintballs are a noticeably expensive addition on this list, however in this case the price is equivalent to the quality. Many players choose these paintballs as they have the peace of mind of consistent high quality and performance.
Tiberius Arms First Strike Paintballs often find themselves at the top of a list of the best paintballs – and it’s justified. These paintballs deliver quality and performance levels to make the best of any player’s ability.
Key features include:
- Patented technology that ensures shell durability
- Exceeds 0.68 calibers
- Fin stabilized – offering excellent range and accuracy
- Thick fill – ideal for marking and and visibility
There is no doubt about it, these are tournament-grade paintballs – and they are actually used in tournaments all over the USA. The balls themselves are made of some of the finest materials the industry has to offer, which means you can rely on them having supreme levels of accuracy. The balls are designed to be especially firm, using a patented technology that adds to their aerodynamics and stability while in flight. The result is a paintball that reaches the precise target you’re aiming for, breaking only once it hits it.
The paint inside the balls is just as high quality and well-designed as the shell. Available in a range of colors, the paint is especially thick which allows for you to easily identify if an opponent has been struck. Despite its viscosity, the paint is also relatively easy to wash off, which means you don’t have to worry too much about hitting your clothes.
Not only do these paintballs offer an impressive performance on the field, it is also impressive that they are non-toxic and biodegradable, which ensures an added element of safety to your play.
Key features include:
- .50 caliber
- 100% biodegradable
- Varied color
- Low impact
The low impact and non-toxic nature of these paintballs means that they are a great match for entry level players, light recreational players, and kids. The paint is safe to reach even the most sensitive parts of the body without causing any damage, it can simply be washed off or wiped away. The paint will not cause reactions on the body, or have any unpleasant side effects if it reaches the eyes or mouth. Unlike most paintballs on the market, these are biodegradable which means that they are entirely safe for the environment – which will be a significant plus to those of us that are more conscientious.
The paintballs themselves have a round shape and sturdy gelatin shell that resists damage and breakage before the ball hits its target. The fill is of a good consistency and comes in a variety of bright colors that easily stand out on the target. The paint is also easy to clean, meaning there’s no need to worry about it getting on clothes or gear. It can be washed away with just water, no detergent required. The balls are also protected against weather damage such as leaks and sticking, which can often happen when paintballs are left in their packaging.
These Vancool Slingshots Ammo have been designed specifically for slingshot users, offering a variety of features and benefits that will suit that kind of play.
Key features include:
- Can be loaded into any slingshot
- Bright colors that are easy to trace
- Made of plastic
- Can be reused many times
The balls themselves are strong and sturdy, which not only is of great use for slingshot users, but it also means that you don’t have to worry about them creating a mess whilst in storage. Some balls will break, splinter or disintegrate while being stored, but these balls keep their shape and the paint is contained which provides further peace of mind in their quality. The strength of these balls is largely due to their plastic structure, however they are not overly heavy like some other plastic balls on the market. Their light to medium weight means that they hit the perfect balance between being easy to use, whilst also accurately reaching their target.
These balls come in a variety of bright colors, which makes it easy to see when they have hit their target, and easy for them to be found wherever you may be playing. Like many slingshot ammo, these balls can also be reused many times over, helping you get more for your money. Ultimately, these balls are more on the affordable side and are largely best used for practice and recreation.
Good Paintballs vs. Bad Paintballs
As we established earlier, not all paintballs are made equal. Some of them are good and some of them are bad, but also some of them just won’t be right for you, your needs and how you play. There are several factors that can help you quickly tell if a paintball is good or bad. The first factor is the print quality on the shell. If the print quality is bad, this is usually a sign that your experience with the ball will be just as bad. Another sign is how easily they break. If your paintballs are delivered to you with some already broken, this may be a sign that the balls will split in the air before they hit your target. Lastly, if the paint inside the paintball smells unpleasant and not fresh, this will probably also affect your experience.
How To Choose The Best Paintballs To Buy
Check the Caliber
The caliber of your paintball will definitely have a direct effect on how you play, so it’s one of the first things you should pay attention to. The average paintball is 0.68 caliber, and this makes for fairly flexible and successful play. Other common calibers include 0.40 and 0.71. Before deciding on the right caliber for you, you must check the size of the bore of your barrel, ensuring the paintball will fit. Usually, the best caliber of paintball is the one that fits best in your gun.
Check for Durability
Durability is another of the first things you should be looking out for when buying paintballs. The durability of a paintball can usually be dictated by its gelatin outer shell. The last thing you want when out on the field is your paintballs to break inside the firing mechanism or to break in mid-air and consequently miss your target. To avoid this, look out for paintballs that have a thicker, sturdier shell, with little reviews complaining of them breaking or splitting.
Even better, look for the paintballs that have weather-resistant shells, as this will prevent them splitting, leaking or sticking together while in storage. Contrary to popular belief, a good, strong, durable paintball does not have to be expensive. The list included in this article shows that there are lots of well-made paintballs to suit a variety of budgets.
Price is always one of the biggest deciding factors in all of our purchases, however, the price can be deceiving when it comes to paintballs. Most buyers will want to identify a paintball that is comfortably within their budget, without affecting the quality. Our list has shown that there are many paintballs out there that offer exceptional value for money, also showing pros that they can practice with cheaper balls and still get the quality they are used to.
Check for Freshness
Freshness is another factor that will affect how successful you and your paintballs are. Paintballs can actually get old and unpleasant quite quickly, so it is important to check their freshness before playing. Although gelatin is an effective coating for paintballs, it can also breakdown over time and lead the paint inside to get an unpleasant smell – which can also lead to them breaking before they hit their target.
You can keep your paintballs fresh by storing them in a dry environment, away from humidity and moisture. Test your paintball before you use it by dropping it from a height of six feet, if it breaks before three drops it is weak and no longer fresh. It is of optimal freshness if it breaks on the sixth or seventh bounce.
The color of the paint inside the ball is another important thing to check before going ahead with your purchase. The color of the paint will also dictate its quality. Neon shades are recommended for woodsball, as they will contrast the best with the trees and camouflage shades around you.
The quality of the paintball will also dictate how far it shoots, and how effectively it will hit its target. Reviews should make it easy to tell if the paintballs you are looking at tend to veer off course during their flight, or if they have a direct and accurate journey to the target. You should also test this factor with your existing balls before heading out for a game.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many paintballs come in a box/bag?
The number of paintballs in a box or bag will largely depend on where you get them from, the type of paintballs you order, and how many you need. Paintballs are typically available in packs that contain 500, 1000 or 2000. 500 are a good amount for those just starting out, or for a bag of reusable paintballs. 1000 is a great amount for those who play recreationally, while 2000 will ensure you never run out of ammo while out and about on the field.
Can I use paintballs in a slingshot?
It is important that you never shoot paintballs with a slingshot, which is why we’ve included a slingshot ammo option on our list. A slingshot is capable of shooting paintballs at a much higher impact and speed than a typical paintball gun, which can cause significant harm to an opponent or anything that was to get in your line of fire.
Are paintballs oil or water-based?
In the past, paintballs were actually made of a glass outer-casing and filled with an oil-based paint mix. However, today paintballs are made with water-soluble substances such as gelatin outer-casing and water-based paint. This is not only beneficial for the safety of players, as water-based substances are easier to rinse out of sensitive areas. Water-based substances are also much easier to rinse out of clothes and wipe off paintballing gear – which leads to far more convenient play!
Are paintballs biodegradable?
We have included a biodegradable option on our list of the best paintballs, as not all paintballs in the world are biodegradable. Those that are biodegradable will be able to be washed away from surfaces, and from nature after a rainstorm. Gelatin shells and polyethylene glycol-based paint fillings should be harmless for the environment, biodegrading over time to not have a lasting impact on the environment where they are left. In fact, many biodegradable paintballs will deform in less than two or three weeks, allowing players to have a better conscience about where they play and the mess they leave behind.
What are paintballs made of?
Paintballs are made up of spherical capsules typically made of gelatin, while the “paint” filling is usually made of polyethylene glycol – a similar substance to the base of cough syrup. These elements are then colored with water-soluble substances, dyes and colorings, ensuring that they are as safe as possible. Many of the materials used in paintballs are also found in food items, however you shouldn’t try eating them as they are likely to be unpleasant and potentially harmful in concentrated doses.
How many paintballs do I need?
This is a vital point to consider when buying paintballs, but something that there is not one straightforward answer for – it will depend on how you play and how often. Consider this: The average paintball player will typically use around 200 paintballs in an hour of play. However, this number can go up or down depending on how energetic and competitive you are. If you are competitive and an aggressive sportsman, you can expect to need 300 per hour of play. And if you are expecting to engage in more relaxed play, you can average around 100 balls per hour of play.
You should also consider how often you intend to play. Packs and bags of paintballs usually come in 500s, 1000s, and 2000s. 2000 will ensure you never run out of ammo while on the field, while 500 may be better suited to a lighter session. You should also allocate enough balls to account for testing several for freshness before you begin playing, and you may also want to practice ahead of the game too.
When looking for the best paintballs, it all comes down to finding the best paintballs for you. Every player is different and will require something different out of their balls. Yet, as we covered in this article, there are a few factors that every player should look out for to avoid bad balls – such as, freshness, price, durability, color and efficiency. We also found that price is not always equivalent to quality and durability, and a lot of the paintballs we included on this list were high-performing without coming with a high price tag.
If you are still unsure which paintballs are the best for you, we can highly recommend the Valken Infinity for their value for money, and a level of performance that will very rarely let you down. With the infinity, a good marksman will always hit their targets, and that’s the main thing any player should be looking for in a paintball.