How to Use a Compressed Air Paintball Tank

In the world of paintball, compressed gas is used to fire a paintball towards your opponent. The two most common types of gas are CO2 and HPA (high-pressure air or compressed air). Compressed air is the more common, cheaper, and cleaner of the two, but it can be very dangerous if the system is damaged or used improperly. If you are unfamiliar with HPA tanks, talk to a local expert or field manager. This article does not serve as a substitute for a professional.


  1. 1
    Inspect the tank. Most tanks have a "hydro" date somewhere on the tank. If the tank is expired, it is not safe to use, and most fields will not fill expired tanks. (To get the tank re-tested, search online for a local shop that can re-certify the tank) If the tank is good and not expired, inspect the O-ring near the screw in nozzle. It should not have any cracks or be flattened down. If needed, replace it––HPA-specific O-rings are very cheap at paintball fields.
  2. 2
    Install the tank. If the tank is not expired, and the O-ring is good, you are ready to screw the tank into the marker. Most tanks are standard threads (righty-tighty lefty-loosy), but it is very important to not cross-thread a tank. Line up the tank threads with the marker's regulator threads, and screw the tank in. Depending on the marker, you might hear a rush of air as you screw the tank in. This is normal-–keep tightening until the tank goes no further. If you still hear rushing air, then you have a leak somewhere in the marker that will need professional attention.
  3. 3
    Refill the tank. HPA tanks are refillable with the tank on the marker. On the side of the tank's regulator (the area between the part that holds air and the part that screws into the marker) there should be a small nipple. Go to any field with compressed air, and you can refill the tank. If you are unsure, ask.
    • HPA compressors are very expensive, and you don't want to be the person who destroys the field's system.
  4. 4
    When refilling the tank, connect the HPA hose to the nipple by sliding the coupler on the hose back, placing the hose on the nipple, and letting the coupler go. Then, depress the button or lever to start the flow of air.
    • Important: Do not overfill your tank. If you have a "3000psi" tank, fill the tank until the gauge on the side reads "3." The same goes for any other pressure tanks.
  5. 5
    Disconnect. When your tank is filled to the desired pressure, disconnect the HPA hose from the nipple, and you're ready to play. You can refill the tank as many times as you need throughout the day if the field allows you to.


  • Some markers have a valve which shuts off air to the marker. If you go to fire and the marker does not shoot, make sure that this valve is open.
  • Tanks are sometimes measured in "cc/psi" format. Often, you will see tanks that say "68/4500" or "48/3000." The first number is the cubic centimeters the tank has, and the second number what PSI that tank should be filled to.


  • Overfilling your tank can result in burst valves inside to rupture. If this happens, it can ruin the tank. If you overfill your tank, take it to a professional paintball shop/field.
  • Be careful when playing with a compressed air tank. Cracking the nozzle, regulator, or tank proper can turn your marker into a missile. Take extra care while playing.
  • Using lubricants to help screw in the tank may cause the marker to catch fire when dealing with the pressure of the air in the tank. Make sure that any lubricants you use are paintball-friendly and do not have a "flashpoint."

Article Info

Categories: Illustrations | Paintball