Can You Use Oxygen for Paintball?

Can You Use Oxygen for Paintball? Today’s post will discuss these questions and more related quires.

If you play paintball, you would have bought a paintball gun, and owning a paintball gun, means that you would have at least once in a while experienced running out of gas in your tank.

Even if you are thinking of DIYing your refill or visiting a shop to buy a new tank, you should know which gas you intend to use.

The gas used in the tank is CO2 or compressed air as propellants for paint. Oxygen is a pure and highly reactive gas, so you should not use such highly reactive gas for paintball.

Why Isn’t Oxygen Used for Paintball?

As we have discussed, oxygen is a highly reactive gas. Tanks or cylinders can become explosive if a high concentration of oxygen is used.

You may have observed that hospitals carry pure oxygen tanks with extreme care. A rise in temperature or breakage of the tank can create seriously mishappens.

Also, if we use pure concentrated oxygen in the paintball gun, the oxygen can react fiercely to the grease and oil used in the paintball gun for maintenance and perhaps create an explosion that may harm you.

What Propellants Are Used for Paintball?

In paintball, a propellant is a compressed gas used to fire paint from your paintball gun. The compressed gas built the pressure to propel the paint with high velocity.

Propellants are of two types: Compressed air and CO2. Both have their positive and negative sides.

Compressed Air

Compressed air is the air that is pulled from the atmosphere, the air we breathe. Compressed air is also called High-pressure air (HPA), nitrogen, nitro, or N2.

Remember that atmosphere is a mixture of different gases, and nitrogen is present in the most significant percentage; many people think that the atmosphere is pure oxygen only, but in truth, oxygen is only a tiny percentage.

Many paintball players, especially the pro players, favor HPA over CO2 gas because HPA has more stable pressure than CO2. You don’t have to worry about inconsistent shots for a more extended period.

However, the negative side of HPA is that it is expensive. But if you consider the costs of HPA in the long term, investing in HPA is always a better choice because of its stable nature than CO2 gas.


CO2, or the carbon-dioxide, is a highly inert gas which means it is not as reactive as oxygen—making CO2 relatively safe to use in paintball as it does not possibly react to any substances involved in paintball.

All old paintball guns can accommodate CO2 as they were only made for CO2 until the compressed air went along.

The negative side of CO2 is that it causes inconsistency in firing shots. It also changes from liquid to gas when you pull the trigger of your gun. Also, the more you fire, the temperature decreases, and your firing accuracy will become inaccurate when the temperature decreases.

When firing fastly, the CO2 will have to catch the rate of your fire because of the temperature drops, which will fluctuate the pressure with your shots.

The fluctuations in temperature can cause the formation f dry ice around the muzzle of your gun, which means that you will double the cost of your maintenance.

The excellent point of CO2 is that its price tag is very friendly, which makes it a good option for beginners who want to try playing paintball.

How to Refill a CO2 Paintball Tank?

The excellent point of CO2 tanks is that you can find many stores that can refill them. But if you want someone else to do this work for you, then some local shops can offer CO2 refiling services:

  • Welding supply stores
  • Paintball stores and fields
  • Sporting goods store
  • Homebrew shops

If you want to DIY your CO2, you must have to invest in making a CO2 filling station at your home, but it is precarious to keep them in your home, so CO2 refills should be done by a professional.

How to Refill an HPA Paintball Tank?

HPA tanks have a downside; to fill your tank, you must visit a paintball store as there are no other accessible services for filling them.

The positive side of HPA tanks is that you can have a few options when you are DIY-ing your HPA tank refill. You have the following three options:

  • Refiling your HPA tank with a large scuba tank
  • By foot-pumps or hand-pumps
  • By electric air pump

Each option has its pros and cons.

The most suitable option is to refill your HPA tank with an electric air pump, which is also very expensive.

Manual pumps are the safest and cheapest option, but they can also be very much physically intensive.

Refilling your gun with a large scuba tank is unnecessary because now you will have two tanks to refill. Also, you will have an extra tank that requires hydro-testing. Yet it can still be an option.


In the end, paintball can become a dangerous sport if you use oxygen in your tanks. Therefore, oxygen should not be used as a paintball propeller.

It would be best if you went with the safe and commonly used propellers for paintball that are HPA and CO2. These two paintball propellents have been reliable for years and are safe to use.