Investing in the right equipment can make or break a player’s performance when they are on the field of play for any sport. Paintball is no exception. You need to get the very best equipment so that you can put your skills and to the best use in order to outperform your opponents and come out the victor.
Everybody understands the importance of investing in proper protective gear and the best paintball gun, but not many paintball players think about one crucial aspect of their equipment load-out: The paintball gun’s hopper. Investing in the best paintball hopper for your paintball marker is more important than you would think.
Also called a paintball loader, the hopper is something you attach to your paintball gun (also known as a paintball marker). It serves the same purpose as a magazine. It is the container which holds all the paintball ammunition and drops them into the chamber of the paintball marker. Compared to a magazine system, a hopper allows you to hold a lot more paintball rounds at the ready before you run out and need to reload again.
Whether you are a veteran looking to replace an existing hopper or a new paintball player looking to experience the game at a higher level, you will need to make sure you get the best hopper. Of course, with so many out there, it can get difficult to make the best decision.
If you are at odds with which is the best paintball hopper you should invest your money in, you are in luck. We have listed the best paintball hoppers your money can buy so you can make the best decision.
- The Best Paintball Hopper – At A Glance
- What Makes a Good Paintball Hopper?
- The Best Paintball Hopper – Comparison
- 1. Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Hopper – Best Overall
- 2. Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader – Best Firing Rate
- 3. Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader – Best For Efficiency
- 4. Empire Halo Too Paintball Loader – Best Budget Electronic Hopper
- 5. Proto Primo Paintball Hopper / Loader – Best Budget Hopper
The Best Paintball Hopper – At A Glance
What Makes a Good Paintball Hopper?
These are some of the best paintball hoppers you can get. Looking at the reviews of each one, you will understand that not all of them are made the same. This is why you need to do a comparison of the qualities each model boasts before you can make a decision that will be worth your while and money. Here are some qualities you need to consider when you want to decide what makes a paintball hopper worth the money.
Size and Weight
The most important factor is how big the hopper is and how much it weighs. This directly affects the maneuverability and the number of paintballs you hold at a time before you need to reload. These two qualities have to be balanced in order to give you a good experience of playing the game.
Level of Competition
You will need to consider the capabilities of a paintball hopper along with the level of competition you are facing while playing the sport. For someone who is a casual paintball player, an entry level paintball hopper equipped on a paintball marker will do a good enough job. In a more competitive game, you need something that gives you a superior performance so you can maintain an edge over your opponents.
Compatibility with the Marker
You need a paintball hopper that is compatible with your paintball marker. This is a very obvious fact but a lot of people tend to forget to look into this when they are out purchasing a paintball hopper separately.
The Best Paintball Hopper – Comparison
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1. Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Hopper – Best Overall
The very first entry on the list is our pick for the best paintball hopper. The Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Hopper is quite simply the best in the industry right now and they are a top choice for paintball players. In fact, a simple Google search for the best paintball hopper will land you on the page that talks about the many merits of this particular hopper.
The Virtue Spire is one of the most reliable paintball hoppers in the market and it constantly receives positive reviews from users. One of the most interesting things that will immediately grab your attention about the Virtue Spire is the overall design. This loader is sleek, comes in various colors and it doesn’t seem too unnecessarily bulky.
This is a compact paintball hopper but that does not mean it has a low capacity. With a capacity to hold at least 200 rounds at a time, the Virtue Spire is a pretty capable tool for everyone, from beginner to the intermediate-level players.
One of the most notable advantages you get with the Virtue Spire is the fact that it offers a very easy disassembly mechanism, courtesy of the built-in slide to unlock mechanism. You do not have to worry about the hopper jamming up on you because it has an anti-jam drive integrated into it.
A high capacity of 200 paintballs at a time, an anti-jam system that makes sure your rounds do not get caught up within the feeding mechanism, easy disassembly and low profile make the Virtue Spire an excellent option.
Other than all of these amazing qualities, the Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball hopper has another trick up its sleeve. This high capacity, 200-ball paintball hopper also features a flex cycle paddle. This paddle makes sure that the massive paintballs, which will pass through the hopper and into your gun, have a lower chance of breakage even in the rapid firing mode by channeling them into the firing mechanism smoothly.
The paintball hopper is durable and has a sleek design and low profile. It is also more than capable of providing the ultimate paintball playing experience. This is outright the best paintball hopper that we have seen.
One thing you need to prepare yourself for is the fact that this hopper is quite costly. This is a top-of-the-line product and you should expect to pay for its superior quality performance and capabilities. It is all completely worth the investment, but it may be too much for some people.
The Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Hopper manufacturers are confident about the durability and reliability of this product, including in the long run. That is the reason why they have placed a lifetime warranty on all of the units. Yes, it is that good.
- Smooth loading mechanism
- Long-lasting life
- Unmatchable reliability
- More expensive than most other hoppers
- Cannot claim warranty if you have a used unit
- Some of the units exhibit software issues
2. Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader – Best Firing Rate
Our second choice is another electronic paintball loader. The Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader is one of the best options that you can consider for an electronic loading mechanism and in our opinion, this particular model has something that sets it apart from the remaining products in the industry: Dye’s proprietary loader technology that the manufacturer has patented.
The patented loading system developed by the manufacturer allows the Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader to perform at an unbelievably impressive level. The loader is capable of supporting the best paintball markers to achieve firing rates as high as 30 paintballs per second. The excellent functionality and reliability, despite the high level performance, are impressive qualities of the Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader.
One of the most impressive departments is the efficiency. The Dye LT-R uses 3AA batteries for power and with one load-out of fully-charged batteries, it can provide a remarkable 80,000 shot count.
This gets even better. You do not need any tools to take care of the maintenance of the loader and this factor helps improve the time you need to assemble and disassemble it. With an overall ease of use, cleanup and maintenance by just unlocking the sliding locking tab, it also has a waterproof covering that protects the board. You can fine tune the settings to get the perfect firing rate and loading speed.
There is an issue. With such a high rate of fire, it is not surprising that the Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader is slightly prone to the issues of jamming right in the thick of the action. While it is never a big issue since all you need to do is turn it upside down and pull the unjam mechanism to unclog the loader, this can affect your performance in a high intensity situation and compromise your experience.
The product does come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but in order to find out the information you need about its warranty, you should contact the manufacturer itself. It is pretty easy since all you have to do is fill out a form regarding your specific model on this link from the Dye Paintball website.
- High firing rate
- Power efficiency
- Smooth loading action
- Prone to jam in intense situations
- Expensive for entry-level paintball players
- Malfunction can hamper performance
3. Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader – Best For Efficiency
Dye has made a solid reputation for itself when it comes to innovative technologies leading the way for the paintball industry when it comes to the loaders they manufacture. The Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader is on our list because this is the first of a new kind of paintball loaders. The patent pending design for the R2 electronic Loader by Dye feature’s the world’s first adjustable capacity mechanism. You can choose between 200 to 260 rounds without the need of attaching any additional parts or using makeshift tools to help you out.
It has a patent pending Shark Fin Jam release function which allows you to remove the jams without a lot of effort. It also provides an industry first Reload Alert System which notifies you if you have low ammunition left in the hopper and that truly helps the R2’s case of being considered as one of the best paintball hoppers available. The R2 also features efficient battery usage which gives you a 100,000 shot count for every new 3AA battery load-out and a low battery indicator so you’re never in the dark about how much more life it has left.
Jamming will be an issue with the R2 but their Shark Fin mechanism might keep your game from being compromised but this does provide good value for the money you will invest into it.
- Battery efficiency
- Low battery indicator
- Low ammo alert system
- Jamming is an issue
- A lot of moving parts to adjust size
- Heavier than many other hoppers
4. Empire Halo Too Paintball Loader – Best Budget Electronic Hopper
This is a paintball hopper which makes its way to our list of the best paintball hoppers, because it does not get better for beginners than the Empire Halo Too Paintball Loader. For those of you still learning how to play the game and trying to gain some experience of the game, you want to keep things as simple as possible so you can understand the basics of the sport and the Empire Halo Too Paintball Loader is the best paintball hopper to help you do that.
Affordable, simple to use and incredibly reliable, the Empire Halo too Paintball Loader also has an easy to use anti-jam feature which will come in handy especially for new players. You can rest assured that the paintball hopper will not jam up on you and you will get a consistent supply of paintball rounds exiting the barrel.
The only issue you will face is that this is not the easiest paintball hoppers to disassemble.
- Does not jam ever
- Easy to use
- Performance best suited to beginners
- Tricky to disassemble
- Does not feature the highest rate of fire
5. Proto Primo Paintball Hopper / Loader – Best Budget Hopper
The last on our list, and by far the cheapest and lightest hopper here, the Dye Proto Primo Paintball Hopper is held to be the best gravity-feed hopper available. It will suit those on a lower budget, as well as beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune while still figuring out if they want to commit to the sport.
Unlike the electronic hoppers featured above, there are no batteries or sensitive electronic components to worry about here – simply attach to your marker, load up 200 pellets and fire away!
You will find the firing rate much lower than some electronic hoppers – around 8-10bps seems about the limit. However, bear in mind many markers are only capable of firing around this number anyway – there’s not really much point in using the Rolls-Royce of hoppers with an entry-level marker.
One benefit of pairing this hopper with a lower-end, budget marker is the recoil of the more basic markers helps to load the next paintball – some of the higher-end markers with smoother action may actually struggle with this hopper (you may need to physically shake the marker to reload with a gravity-fed hopper if there isn’t enough recoil).
Overall, if you want a gravity-fed hopper, it would be hard to recommend any other model.
- Great value for money
- Easy to maintain
- No batteries to worry about
- Lower performance than electronic hoppers
- Only good for beginner level players
- Prone to chopping paintballs
Paintball is generally a very safe game and it is a lot of fun but you need to make sure that you take all the proper precautions to ensure a safe experience of playing the sport. The thing is that each and every aspect of the load out affects your performance. When it comes to the best paintball hoppers, you need to realize that using them exactly the way the manufacturer intended them is important to ensure the safety of your peers and yourself.
As a parting note, you should know that it is important to take care of the maintenance of all the equipment you use to make the best of your experience. This is why you should make it a point to clean the paintball hopper along with the rest of the equipment so that it does not jam up on you while you are in the thick of the action on the playing field.
You know our recommendations for the best paintball hopper you can get, but you also know about the qualities you need to look for in order to make the best possible buying decision. Have fun and stay safe!