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How to Fill Paintball Tank with Air Compressor – The Steps

How to Fill Paintball Tank with Air Compressor

You’ve got your paintball gun and want to storm the field and play with your teammates, but the air tank runs out of fuel. What happens now? Clearly, you must refill it to get back in the game. However, refilling the air tank isn’t like pumping air into tires.

Paintball tanks usually operate at 4000 to 5000 PSI, and the typical air compressor used for vehicles is about 180 PSI or a bit more. You can’t use a tire inflator to put more paint in the tank and need the right tools with enough pressure to handle the work. You must take the steps listed below to fill it back up.

What to Use to Fill the Air Tank

There are special air compressors used to refill paintball tanks. If you’re serious about this game and have the money, you can buy a paintball gun tank for personal use.

However, most players refill the paintball gun tanks at the paintball gun store or the paintball gun playing field. These places have an air compressor that you can use for a small fee. Most of the air compressors are operated similarly.

If you’ve filled a flat tire before, you can use an air compressor to refill the tank without an issue. In fact, they’re often easier to fill because of the gauge needle on the compressor.

Types of Compressed Air Tanks

Before you learn the step-by-step directions on the tank refill process, you need to know what tank type you own. When it comes to the content in the tank of the paintball gun, there is HPA, Pure Nitrogen, and CO2.

A high-pressure compressed air tank (HPA tank) contains highly pressurized oxygen. The biggest ones give you more high-powered shots on the field and have about 5000 PSI. There’s also the compressed carbon dioxide version. Compressed CO2 tends to be in liquid form. It becomes compressed gas when you release it from the tank (pull the trigger of the gun.)

Most people tend to use HPA tanks with an air compressor because they have the maximum PSI. To fill HPA tank products, you need to be in a well-ventilated area.

There’s also a Pure Nitrogen tank, but it’s much rarer than HPA tanks and the compressed CO2 versions. If you want that, you may find it hard to refill it, even at a local paintball gas station. Therefore, it’s best to go with an HPA tank or the CO2 version.

Which Is Better?

Most people wonder which tank type offers better performance in the field. Typically, HPA tanks are the go-to option. For one, CO2 is very dependent on the temperature. If the environment around your tank is hot, the liquid inside could expand and damage the internal integrity of your tank.

Thus, if the temperature gets too cold, the CO2 shrinks and the pressure inside your tank decreases. That makes it nearly impossible to shoot at long distances. Since the sport is played in the field and heat/cold could be extreme, this is a huge downside for CO2 tank users. With that, CO2 must transition from liquid to gas for each shot, so you can’t rapid-shoot the gun.

Still, some people use CO2 guns because of the price. They’re much cheaper and cleaner from an environmental point of view. However, HPA is better in terms of efficiency.

Refilling Paintball Gun

A Guide to Refilling Your Paintball Gun Tank

Once you’re at the refilling station, you must fill up the tank. Clearly, an air compressor for the HPA tank is different from a CO2 version. Ideally, the refill gas station has both. Here’s what to do:

Find out How Much PSI for the Tank

Your tank should indicate the amount of PSI it should have. The maximum is about 4500 PSI, and it’s ideal to never go beyond that.

However, if you’ve got a CO2 tank, it should be refrigerated first to control and stabilize the internal temperature. That way, you can fill it with the air compressor completely.

Attach to a Fill Nipple

Take a look at the attachment connected to the air tank. There should be an O-ring that prevents air from escaping when it’s attached to the tank. If you can’t find that ring, the tank can’t be filled; the air compressor just shoots air right through, allowing it to escape through the surface. In this case, you must call someone.

However, if the O-ring is present, pull back the attachment collar to expose the central needle. Plug it into the tank through its filling nipple. You may need to jiggle the air hose a bit to ensure that it’s secure and firm.

Slowly Fill the Paintball Tank

Once you have the attachment done right, slowly release air into your tank. The best air compressor is one that has a lever on it. Just push that. If it has buttons, make sure you’re paying attention to which ones you push and when.

Regardless, don’t hold the buttons or push the lever throughout. You want to fill paintball air tanks slowly instead of rapidly. As the refill begins, the pressure gauge moves upward. Remember, the tank should only have between 3000 and 4500 PSI. Make sure you know what your tank requires before starting the filling process.

Watch Both Gauges

There should be two pressure gauge options – the one on the gun and the other on the air compressor. Make sure to watch both during the filling process to countercheck the gauge’s functionality. Both gauges should always move similarly to indicate that they are working correctly.

Prevent a Hot Fill

One mistake you might make when filling your tank is to do so quickly. This is often called a “hot fill.” It happens when you push the button or lever on the air compressor too much. The air ends up blasting off the compressor and into the tank, which causes the gauge to rise rapidly. You don’t want that to happen, as it could damage your tank or overestimate the contents inside.

A hot fill appears to fill up the tank, but the air gets hot after disconnection, and the gauge drops back down, even if you aren’t using it. To prevent that, the whole process should be done slowly. Otherwise, you run the risk of the tank being empty 15 or so minutes after topping it up.

Release the Pressure

This is an important step that rookies seem to forget. When you’re done airing up the tank with an air compressor, it should still have air inside that’s ready to transfer into the tank. That air must be released with the release valve attached to the air compressor. Pushing on that lets the extra air come out. Don’t be surprised if it makes a loud sound.

If you don’t release the pressure, it means that air is still moving through the hose when you release it. That could damage the tank, especially the fill nipple.

Detach the Hose

Once you have released the pressure, you can detach the air compressor hose from the fill nipple. Do everything in reverse from what you did earlier, starting at the collar. Pull it down, removing the air hose from the attachment. Then, put the hose on the table and head back out for more fun.


Can You Switch Between Different Tanks?

No, you can’t switch between paintball tanks. The guns have markers on them to tell you if they’re CO2 or HPA. You can’t use the HPA tank on a gun with CO2 markers, or you run the risk of damaging the paintball guns.

How Do You Fill a Paintball Tank with an Air Compressor at Home?

To fill a paintball tank with an air compressor at home, you take the same steps listed above. Most people don’t have compressed air tanks, but if you regularly use a nail gun, you may have one. Just remember the safety tips of filling an HPA tank that was discussed earlier, and there should be no problem.

Can You Fill a Paintball Air Tank with a Compressor?

Paintball guns use compressed gas and are between 3000 and 45000 pounds per square inch. Therefore, it’s actually best to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor because they require heavy-duty compression. Just make sure to fill the tank carefully and place the tank securely so that it can’t move around.

How Do You Fill a Compressed Air Paintball Tank?

Compressed air is the best way to fill a paintball tank. The steps listed above are ideal for all types of paintball tank options. They include:

  1. Determine the tank PSI.
  2. Attach the fill nipple to the compressed air tank.
  3. Slowly fill your tank.
  4. Watch the gauge.
  5. Don’t do a “hot-fill.”
  6. Release the pressure.
  7. Detach the hose.


Learning how to fill a paintball tank with an air compressor is easy, as long as you know how to bring the parts together. It might take time to get used to this process, but it can become automatic as time goes on.

Those who play often might want to invest in air compressors at home to make life a bit easier. That way, you’re not always paying the fees to fill up. Plus, you can find a smaller kit that might be transportable as long as you have a power source.

Picture of Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis

Live in Chicago Illinois.
A contractor with10 years of experience.
Works with air compressors for various uses.

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