Best Paintball Gun Buying Guide – 10 Best Paintball Markers Reviewed

If you are looking to get into the sport of paintball you may have some questions about what type of equipment you should purchase to get started.

Or, maybe you have some experience paint-balling and you are just looking to upgrade your gear to get a better advantage against your competition on the field.

Regardless of your level of experience we want to share our top ten picks for the best paintball guns available in 2018.

We have also put together our Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Paintball Pro, which covers all aspects of the sport and will give you all the knowledge you need to hit the field with confidence.

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Best Paintball Gun Reviews - Top 10

Planet-Eclipse-ETEK5-Paintball-Marker

Here is the 5th generation ETEK5 that is both durable and reliable. It is one of the most comfortable guns to hold and the ergonomic design is outstanding.


There are tons of great features packed into this mid-range marker that almost push the limits of what we are used to seeing featured on mid range paintball guns.


Overall, this is a great gun for intermediate players and beginners alike.

Dye-Proto-Rize-MaXXed-Paintball-Marker

Dye is one of the biggest names in paintball and they have been around for years making a good name for themselves.


The Proto Rize MaXXed paintball marker is a great entry to mid-level paintball marker packed with tons of Dye tech. Every aspect of this marker is engineered with the player in mind, and keeps you up and running through every match without fail.


One great feature is the self cleaning eye pipe system that allows you to push through dirt and chopped paintballs without sacrificing accuracy. 

tippmann-chronus-basic-marker

For those of you that are just getting started in the world of paintball check out the Chronus marker from Tippmann.


These markers are cheap and perform fairly well for their cost. The Chronus has a nice vertical grip and front and rear-fixed sites to help you aim.


If you are looking to get into the sport of paintball without breaking the bank, this marker is a great option. 

kingsman-spyder-victor-semi-auto-paintball-marker

For the super budget conscious, the Spyder Victor will not put a heavy dent in your wallet. Many times you can find a full starter package with this marker for about $120.


The gun is made of aluminum and has a nice matte finish. This is the new version of the Spyder Victor that is now 15% lighter and 10% shorter than the last model. 


This is probably the cheapest gun you can find that will still perform on par with other starter and mid-range paintball markers. 

tippmann-gryphon-paintball-marker

The Gryphon is another great entry-level paintball marker made by Tippmann. Tippmann's Gryphon features a foregrip, center-feed and internal gas lines for a nice clean look.


For new paintballers we recommend grabbing a gun in this price range to go out and play a bit more. There is no sense spending $1000s of dollars on paintball gear if you are going to lose interest in three months. 


Get something affordable like the Gryphon and if you are still playing six months or a year later, save up some cash and grab yourself a nice mid-range marker and start dominating the field. 

Tippmann-US-Army-Project-Salvo-Sniper-Paintball-Gun-M-FDP-Edition

If you want something that looks and feels a bit more tactical, check out the US Army edition Project Salvo by Tippmann. If you like being able to customize your gear then this marker is for you.


There is an included red-dot sight, tactical stock and folding fore grip to get you started. You can buy your own scopes or tactical gear to truly make this your own.


Throw an enhanced e-grip on this to make it an electrical marker and allow for full auto play. 

empire-paintball-axe-marker

Looking to upgrade from your starter gun? This marker by Empire is called the Axe and has tons of great features for on and off the field. 


There is a unique push-button bolt removal system that allows for super easy cleaning and maintenance. 


Tank removal is a breeze with the on/off lever and the levels gauge so you always know when you are getting low on air. If you are in the market for a solid mid-range paintball marker check out the Axe. 

dye-m2-paintball-marker

The M2 from Dye is on a whole new level of awesome. Packed with the latest in mechanical and electronic technology, you will always be aware of the status of your marker. 


One of the most noted features is the rechargeable battery that has a wireless charging adapter and mat. There is also a one inch OLED screen in grip for easy access to your gun's stats. 


You are able to pair this paintball gun with an EVOKE system to get real time audio updates and alerts for the number of paints shot or the remaining air in your tank.


If you want the best of the best grab yourself a M2 from Dye.

empire-paintball-bt-dfender-marker

If you hate having your hopper on top of your gun making you a huge target and blocking your view, then this marker is for you. The BT Dfender by Empire Paintball is one of the most unique guns around.


The Z2 loader is built into the gun, allowing you to mount a nice scope on the sight rail and minimize your target on the field.


Keep in mind that the smaller loader will require more frequent reloads. If you are looking for something different or hate your hopper with a passion, check out the Dfender by Empire. 

tippmann-98-custom-platinum-series-paintball-gun

Probably the most well known marker in the industry is the Tippmann 98 Custom. These guns are solid performers that serve both new players, as well as more advanced players due to their customization options.


With anti-chop technology you will be able to worry less about broken paint and focus more on hitting your targets.


The fore-grip is great to add stability and accuracy. The rail on top of the gun can mount a ton of different accessories to further benefit your overall performance. If you are at a loss on what to buy, go with the tried and true 98 Custom.


planet-eclipse-etha-2

Planet Eclipse released the Etha 2 as a nice mid-range gun for players on a budget. There are plenty of great features packed into this price-conscious marker.


There is a hose free air transfer system that is durable and requires less maintenance then other systems.


Powered by the Gamma Core spool valve drive-train, this gun will outperform many other markers that cost two or three times as much as this. For the individual looking to take it to the next level but doesn't have a ton of idle cash laying around, the Etha 2 will make a great option.

Dangerous-power-g5-spec-r

If you are a James Bond fan and want to get a gun that has a little more flash then the rest, check out the G5 Spec-R by Dangerous Power.


Not only does this gun look badass, but it also performs very well in the field. Featuring a two piece 14" barrel, OLED readout, hose free air delivery system and patented clamping feedneck system, this paintball gun is one of a kind.


The fairly low pressure operation allows for 280FPS at 170PSI. Make a statement the next time you walk out on the field with the G5 Spec-R.

Planet-Eclipse-Geo-CS1-Paintball-Marker

Many individuals and pro players love the Planet Eclipse GEO CS1 and claim it is one of the best ever made. 


This marker is super reliable and very low maintenance. This is a great gun for competition-type play, or for more serious and advanced players. 


It has a very low operating pressure around 120PSI, which helps save on air. If money is not an option and you are looking for the best, grab yourself a Geo CS1 from Planet Eclipse. 

Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Paintball Pro

In this section we will cover almost every aspect of a paintball gun and how the sport is played to give you the edge out on the field.

Knowing more about all the components of the gun and different play styles will help make you a better player. You'll also be able to help newcomers to the game.

Know the different paintball play styles

There are a few different ways people play paintball and we will cover them all here.

It is good to know what type of play style you want to engage in, primarily to ensure you get a marker that is suitable for that specific styles needs. 

Woodsball

woodsball-paintball-play-type

If you enjoy the camouflage aspect of a natural forest setting, woodsball paintball matches will be right up your alley.

Sometimes referred to as hillball, bushball or woods paintball, woodsball is the first recognized paintball game format.

There are an infinite number of ways to combine woodsball with different scenario paintball variations, making it one of the most popular play styles around. 

Recreational paintball

recreational-paintball-play-type

Recball is basically everything other than competitive or tournament paintball.

If you are playing any style paintball for fun, then you are playing recreational paintball. Always remember to stay safe and have fun.

Speedball

speedball-inflatable_paintball_bunkers

Speedball is played on more open fields, indoors or outdoors, with smaller symmetrical playing areas with inflatable bunkers to provide cover for both teams.

Speedball games are usually fast paced and use a significantly higher amount of paintballs due to the play style.

Speedball was created to offer a more balanced and controlled way for tournament paintball to be played, as well as viewed by spectators.

The open play field makes players focus on providing covering fire for their team to make advancements while trying to keep the other team pinned down.

Scenario Paintball

scenario-paintball-play-type

Scenario-based paintball matches offer new and exciting variations of a traditional elimination paintball match.

A few of the most common scenario-based paintball games that are played include capture the flag, king of the hill, attack and defend, protect the VIP, and bomb the base.

The possibilities for scenario paintball matches are endless and new game styles continue to pop up all the time.

Tournament Paintball

tournament-paintball-play-type

Tournament paintball is regulated more than any other play style. There are both amateur and professional leagues that compete for the top prize.

Some tournaments can have large cash prizes. Players on each team have specific roles when playing tournaments. 

Traditionally there are three main roles: fronts, mids and backs.

The front players are on the front lines and have to be aggressive and agile. They often see the most action and traditionally get out more than the mids and backs.

The mid players will have to push and take the fronts' spots once they are eliminated. Mid players need to also relay information between the front players and the backs.

The back players stay fairly stationary during the entire match. They lay down covering fire, keeping their opponents pinned behind obstacles, and calling out enemy position changes during the match.

Two other positions include insert players and floaters. Both types of players provide support to their team and fill in positions as needed.

Stock Class Paintball

stock-class-paintball-marker

Stock class paintball is a very specific and uncommon play style, but we want to cover it for your knowledge.

Stock paintball guns have unique rules that players must abide by:

  • Guns must be pump action
  • Guns cannot hold more then 20 paintballs at any time
  • Guns must use a 12 gram CO2 cartridge
  • The magazine tube must be parallel to the barrel

If you are into saving paint and want a more old school play style, find a field that offers stock paintball matches.

Military Simulation

milsim-military-simulation-paintball-play-type

Also call MilSim, military simulation paintball matches are usually "mission" based and allow civilians to reenact military-based situations in paintball or air soft environments.

Sometimes the matches are objective-based where players need to complete a task or goal. Other times the matches are played as elimination or timed matches. The team with the most players left at the end wins.

Pump vs Mechanical vs Electronic

Paintball guns can be classified into three primary categories: pump, mechanical and electronic paintball guns.

We will cover each in detail so you can tell the difference and get the proper gun type for your preferred play style. 

Pump Paintball Guns

Pump paintball markers are designed for a unique play style and can only fire one shot at a time before you need to "pump" the gun to fire another round.

Playing games with pump paintball guns usually require more strategy and tactics compared to games played with mechanical or electronic guns.

The first paintball guns were all pump-based and games were played at a much slower pace than modern play styles.

If you want to test your tactics and play a more strategic game of paintball, get yourself a pump paintball marker. 

Mechanical Paintball Guns

Tried and true mechanical paintball markers are rock solid when it comes to dependability.

Mechanical guns are the most common paintball guns used by players worldwide. Mechanical guns are semi-automatic, allowing the player to shoot a single paintball every time they pull the trigger.

Having few moving parts and no electronics makes maintaining and cleaning these guns quick and easy.

Due to the less complex build, mechanical paintball guns tend to cost a bit less than their electronic counterparts. Mechanical paintball guns are great for beginners due to their basic construction and affordable price point. 

Electronic Paintball Guns

Electronic paintball guns are the newest and most advanced types of paintball markers available.

These guns are typically powered by an standard 9v battery. The firing mechanism is electronic so when you pull the trigger it is sending an electronic signal to the internal computer to fire the paintball gun.

Electronic paintball markers often have adjustable fire rates of semi-automatic, 3-shot bursts, and fully automatic settings.

These guns have opened up new play styles and have allowed the sport of paintball to grow and evolve over the years. Some of the newest electronic guns actually have an LED display where you can track stats, such as how many paintballs have been fired, fire-rate and more. 

Why Paintball Gun Weight Matters

Gun weight isn't the most important factor, but it is something to keep in mind. If you are playing in an area where the temperatures are very high, you may want to get a lighter gun to assist with your stamina.

Also, keep in mind your play style. If you like to hang out in the back and snipe people you can handle a heavy gun because you are not moving a lot. But, if you are a nimble front line player that needs to change direction quickly, you will want the lighter gun to improve your mobility. 

Different Barrel Types

There are many different types of barrels available. Some will shoot farther than others while some will be a bit more accurate, but not shoot as far. Do your research before making purchases to ensure the threading is the same and will work with your marker.

Different paintball barrel materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Ceramic
  • Stainless Steel
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Titanium
  • Brass

Final Thoughts

Now if you are just getting started you may feel a little overwhelmed. This is totally normal, just remember to be patient and do your research.

There are guns for all levels and types of play, and making a decision may be difficult. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email on our contact page. We are more than happy to help!