Types of Propellants:
- CO2 - Most commonly used air source because it is cheap to
tanks and cheap to fill. New CO2 tanks generally cost approximately $15
for a 9oz, $17 for a 12oz, $19 for a 16oz, and $23 for a 20oz. The more
ounces of CO2 a tank can hold, the more shots you will get per fill.
One of the disadvantages of using CO2 is that it is actually in
super-cold liquid form while in your tank. Only a fraction of the CO2
is in gas form at any given time. When you fire, the gas is drawn into
your marker. When you continue to fire at a high rate, the tank gets
colder and colder until the liquid does not have enough time to change
to a gas, and you will experience damage or a freeze-up. Freeze-ups
cause your marker to malfunction for about 15 seconds. It can easily
damage most markers, with the exceptions of spyders, piranhas, and
tippmanns. Dick's Sporting Goods fills 20oz tanks for about $5. They
actually have a price range dependent on how many ounces of CO2 you
need. 19oz fills cost about $1 less than 20oz fills because they are in
different categories. Not to encourage lieing, but I usually say that
my tank has an ounce or two left in it so I don't get charged $1 more.
- HPA/Nitrogen - Very common among tournament players. Both gases are very consistent, causing greater overall accuracy. No matter how fast you shoot, most quality HPA/Nitrogen tanks will maintain a steady input pressure for your marker. HPA/Nitrogen do not cause freeze-ups, so they are considered much cleaner gases. They are always in gas form as far as paintball is concerned. The downside to HPA/Nitrogen is that the cheapest NEW tank you can find costs $63. I am afraid that listing a link is against ebay rules, so you will have to search around. HPA/Nitrogen tanks come in two different pressure settings. 3000psi, the lower of the two, is most common and normally costs about $90 less (cost of tank) than the other. 4500psi, the one commonly found in competition-level players, allows for more shots per fill. A 72 cubic inch (ci) 4500psi system will almost always yield more shots per fill than a 72ci 3000psi system. It usually costs $3 to fill a 3000psi system and $4.50 to fill a 4500 psi system ($1 per 1000psi).
- Aluminum - Heavier and cheaper. It's much more durable than the
other type of tank, but it cannot hold as high a pressure. Usually has
a 5-6 year period before the hydro date. Aluminum tanks commonly hold
- Carbon Fiber - Very light, very expensive. It's somewhat vulnerable to scratches and damage, so most people buy tank covers (about $8) to protect their carbon fiber tank. Carbon fiber tanks are the ones that can safely hold 4500psi.