What is the Best CO2 Tank Size for Your Paintball Marker? A Comprehensive Guide

  • Updated July 27th, 2023

When it comes to paintball, having a reliable and properly sized CO2 tank is crucial for optimal performance on the field. The CO2 tank provides the air pressure necessary to propel paintballs from your marker with accuracy and consistency. However, with various CO2 tank sizes available, choosing the right one can be confusing for both beginners and experienced players.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different CO2 tank sizes, their pros and cons, and factors to consider when selecting the best CO2 tank size for your paintball marker.

What is the Best CO2 Tank Size for Your Paintball Marker


Understanding CO2 Tanks and How They Work

CO2 tanks, also known as cylinders or bottles, store compressed carbon dioxide gas. In paintball, these tanks provide the air pressure required to launch paintballs from the marker’s barrel. When the trigger is pulled, the CO2 gas expands, propelling the paintball out of the barrel and towards the target.

CO2 tanks are available in various sizes, each denoted by its weight and capacity measured in ounces (oz). Common CO2 tank sizes for paintball markers include 9 oz, 12 oz, 20 oz, and 24 oz. The larger the tank, the more shots it can provide before requiring a refill.


Different CO2 Tank Sizes and Their Capacities

1. 9 oz CO2 Tank

The 9 oz CO2 tank is one of the smallest and lightest options available. It is often preferred by players seeking a lightweight setup for faster movements on the field. However, its small size means it holds less CO2, resulting in fewer shots before needing a refill. The 9 oz tank is ideal for players engaging in shorter games or those who prioritize mobility over shot capacity.

2. 12 oz CO2 Tank

The 12 oz CO2 tank is a popular choice among paintball players due to its balance of size and capacity. It provides more shots than the 9 oz tank, making it suitable for longer games and players who want a good compromise between shot count and weight. The 12 oz tank strikes a balance between mobility and air capacity, making it a versatile choice for various playing styles.

3. 20 oz CO2 Tank

The 20 oz CO2 tank offers a substantial increase in shot capacity compared to the smaller tanks. It is favored by players who engage in longer games or scenarios where frequent refills may not be easily accessible. While the 20 oz tank provides a higher shot count, it is bulkier and heavier, which can affect mobility during fast-paced gameplay.

4. 24 oz CO2 Tank

The 24 oz CO2 tank is the largest option commonly used in paintball. It offers the highest shot capacity, making it suitable for extended gameplay and scenarios where access to refills may be limited. However, the 24 oz tank is the heaviest and may impact mobility, especially during intense games that involve a lot of running and maneuvering.


Pros and Cons of Different CO2 Tank Sizes

1. Pros of the 9 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Ideal for players who prioritize mobility.
  • Suitable for shorter games or scenarios with frequent breaks.

Cons of the 9 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Limited shot capacity, requiring more frequent refills.
  • Not suitable for longer games or scenarios with continuous action.

2. Pros of the 12 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Balanced size and weight for versatility.
  • Provides a good compromise between shot count and mobility.
  • Suitable for various playing styles and game lengths.

Cons of the 12 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Still relatively limited shot capacity compared to larger tanks.
  • May require refills during longer games or intense scenarios.

3. Pros of the 20 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Increased shot capacity for longer gameplay.
  • Suitable for scenarios with fewer opportunities for refills.
  • Offers a balance between shot count and air capacity.

Cons of the 20 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Bulkier and heavier than smaller tanks.
  • May impact mobility, especially during fast-paced gameplay.

4. Pros of the 24 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Maximum shot capacity for extended gameplay.
  • Suitable for scenarios with limited refill options.
  • Ideal for players who prioritize continuous action over mobility.

Cons of the 24 oz CO2 Tank:

  • Heaviest and largest option, impacting mobility.
  • May be excessive for shorter games or scenarios with frequent breaks.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a CO2 Tank Size

Selecting the best CO2 tank size for your paintball marker involves considering several factors:

1. Playing Style and Game Length

Evaluate your playing style and the typical duration of the games you participate in. If you prefer fast-paced, short games, a smaller tank like the 9 oz or 12 oz may be sufficient. On the other hand, players engaging in longer scenarios or those who prefer continuous action may benefit from larger tanks like the 20 oz or 24 oz.

2. Mobility vs. Shot Capacity

Consider how much mobility you are willing to sacrifice for increased shot capacity. Smaller tanks offer better mobility and agility, while larger tanks provide more shots before requiring a refill.

3. Access to Refills

Assess the availability of refill stations on the field or at the paintball facility you frequent. If refills are easily accessible, a smaller tank may be more convenient. However, if refills are scarce or distant, a larger tank may be necessary to ensure you have enough air for the entire day.

4. Weight and Comfort

Factor in the weight of the tank and how comfortable you are carrying it during gameplay. Heavier tanks may lead to more fatigue over extended periods, affecting your performance on the field.

5. Budget

Consider your budget for paintball equipment, as larger tanks typically come with higher upfront costs. While smaller tanks may require more frequent refills, they are generally more affordable.


Final Thoughts:

Choosing the best CO2 tank size for your paintball marker involves finding the right balance between shot capacity, mobility, and game length. The 9 oz CO2 tank is lightweight and ideal for players seeking mobility and agility, while the 24 oz tank offers the maximum shot capacity for extended gameplay. The 12 oz and 20 oz tanks strike a balance between shot count and weight, making them versatile options for various playing styles.

Consider your playing preferences, access to refill stations, and budget when making your decision. Ultimately, the best CO2 tank size for your paintball marker will be the one that enhances your performance and enjoyment on the field, ensuring that you have the air supply needed to dominate the game and take your paintball skills to the next level.