The Difference Between CO2 and HPA

So, what is the real difference between CO2 and HPA? (Paintball tanks full of CO2 versus paintball nitro tanks with HPA.) There are a number of differences, read on for a run down of the basics. Here we go:


What is CO2? Well, if you can remember all the way back to high school chemistry, CO2 is a handy little compound made up of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. Handy information right? Moving on now. Carbon dioxide tanks are the most common types of paintball tanks out there. You’ll almost always see beginners with them because of their convenience. There are tons of cheap refill stations for CO2 almost anywhere, (You can definitely find places to get more CO2 and HPA at any respectable paintball store or paintball field) and it’s a pretty universal process. However, one common misconception about these paintball tanks is the fact that the CO2 is actually stored within the tank as a liquid. The highly pressurized conditions in the tank allow this to occur.

Now, how does this liquid translate into taking shots? Well, whenever you take a shot with a CO2 powered paintball gun, the liquid comes out of the nozzle, evaporated, which is what provides the force to fire the marker. Unfortunately, the amount of power behind this shot will always vary, since the pressure in the paintball tank will depend on the temperature around it. This could make your next shot much stronger or much weaker. Additionally, if you’re really unlucky, liquid CO2 can actually get into your marker, which destroys everything, or kicks your paintball gun into fully automatic, which (while potentially amusing) is dangerous and bad.


So first off, HPA means high pressure air (pretty self explanatory eh?) Some people also refer to them as “paintball nitro tanks” or “N2”. (N2 just means nitrogen gas) In comparison to CO2, HPA paintball tanks are much more stable because the nitrogen gas never becomes a liquid, so the pressure changes aren’t as drastic. Because paintball compressed air tanks have regulators on them, which is what controlled the amount of air flow between the paintball nitro tank and your marker, the pressure of the gun is much lower and therefore consistent.

So why doesn’t everyone just use HPA right off the bat? Cost. When looking at CO2 and HPA paintball tanks, you’ll notice right away HPA tanks are quite a bit pricier than their CO2 brethren. In my experiences, paintballing at a local field, (Blitz) CO2 is actually more expensive in the long run. Sure, the HPA tank is more to start off, but you can get better deals on HPA and it lasts longer. There’s a variety of types of containers for HPA paintball tanks, but I won’t go into those just yet. Hope you learned something!

Source by Aaron B. Miller

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