Whether you’re first starting out or you’ve been in the game for a while, choosing the best paintball gun for your playing style can be a bit of a daunting task.
Never fear! We are here to help you break your decision down into bite-sized pieces so that you can walk away knowing that you found a marker that suits your needs. If you’re lucky, you might even impress your friends on the field with your shiny new toy. Even better if they first see it moments before getting gogged!
The paintball guns that we’ll review below have received the most critiques and the highest ratings, so you know that they’ll give you that competitive edge needed to get ahead in this fast-paced sport. Plus, it’s nice to know that they’ve been thoroughly tested by the top players around. The top markers have been given our gold star of approval and have earned their spot on the homepage. If want to make an informed decision without researching for days on end, rest assured that you’re in the right place.
Top 5 Paintball Markers – The Best on Any Budget
|Our Rank||The Marker||Performance||Affordability||Our Vote|
Planet Eclipse ETEK5
DYE Proto Rize MaXXed
Tippmann 98 Custom
Buying Guide – How to Choose Your Paintball Gun
You just spent your weekend at a paintball retreat with your closest group of buddies. You had never played paintball before, but really enjoyed being out in the woods with your crew, shooting off paintball guns and pretending like you were carrying out a top-secret military mission. You can’t wait to go paintballing again.
But instead of renting paintball gear and accessories, you’ve decided to buy your own paintball marker and protective clothing, which is how you found us here at Best Paintball Gun Review. To start — we get it — trying to figure out which paintball gun is the best gun available for your budget can be tricky, especially if you’re fairly new to the world of paintball. That’s why we’ve designed this handy buying guide to help you find the right paintball gun for you and your unique shooting style.
Different Types of Paintball Guns
While there are a wide variety of paintball guns you can choose from, the most popular gun types for paintball newcomers are electronic guns, pump guns, and mechanical paintball markers.
Although electric paintball markers were once considered to be luxury paintball guns, there are now several manufacturers who produce affordable electric paintball guns. Electric-powered paintball guns are generally powered by a replaceable 9-volt battery or a rechargeable battery.
Besides the benefit that electric paintball markers are rechargeable, another advantage of choosing an electric paintball gun for your next paintball excursion is that it is very easy to quickly pull the trigger on an electric gun. Paintball experts compare pulling the trigger on an electric paintball gun to pressing the clicker on a computer mouse. The fast-twitch design of electric paintball guns means you can quickly splatter a buddy with a barrage of paintballs during your next speedball competition.
Pump-based paintball guns are for guys who prefer to shoot with a manual gun. Pump paintball guns have a shotgun-esque pump that needs to be cocked before you shoot it. Obviously, cocking a gun before you shoot it requires a lot more time and effort than clicking a trigger. Despite the added effort needed to operate a pump paintball marker, a pump-based paintball gun is ideal for guys who play paintball in a heavily wooded area. This is because pump paintball markers tend to be more durable than the other types of guns.
Easily the most popular type of paintball gun for recreational paintball players is a mechanical paintball gun. Mechanical paintball guns are often semi-automatic, and shoot one paintball per trigger click. This semi-automatic nature makes mechanical paintball guns easy to use, quick to clean, and not difficult maintain, which is why they are popular among rec league shooters.
Paintball Gun Reviews
The M2 is the product of the more than decade-old DM series from DYE Precision, one of the leading companies sport since nearly it’s inception. As a result the M2 is entirely tricked out with cable-free charging, two UL barrel backs, and even its own operating system – MOSair. The operating system allows for unparalleled access to tuning, performance data, and service reports. All of this is on top of the incredible features such as its beautiful ergonomic design, the ease of switching between firing modes, a top-notch pressure regulator, and the list goes on and on. The M2 absolutely reeks of high end.
The best way to fully understand the quality of the M2 is to try one in person. From the way it feels in your hands to how quietly and quickly it fires, there’s really no comparison. You can easily tear through a hopper of paint in no time (if that’s what suits your fancy), and if you need a little help with your trigger walking you can fully customize a firing mode to suit your needs. If there’s any question in your mind, just ask someone at your local field if you can try theirs. You’ll quickly feel the type of luxury you’re getting into. Simply put, this is the paintball gun you’ve always wanted.
Planet Eclipse ETEK5
If you’re looking for a high quality paintball gun but products like the DYE M2 are out of your reach, the Planet Eclipse ETEK5 is another option certainly worth checking out. Standing on the shoulders of Planet Eclipse’s high end marker the EGO LV1 (View on Amazon), the ETEK5 has inherited the basic ergonomic design and quality components. Of course, the high-end bells and whistles have been stripped down to provide a more affordable option. That said, the ETEK5 is still a light, durable, and smooth shooting.
One drawback of the ETEK5 over higher-end markers would be that it is a bit heavier, but this is to be expected with more fairly priced options. With a comfortable grip and trigger, this should be well suited for quick snaps and a rapid firing rate. If you are an avid woods ball player, there are a few camo options (View on Amazon) that will help you blend in a bit more (or perhaps stand out if you’re a speedball player!). This is an all around high quality paintball gun that will pack all of the power you’d ever need, while still maintaining a fairly reasonable price.
Empire Paintball Axe
The Empire Paintball Axe offers a high performance paintball gun at a very reasonable price tag. While it won’t afford you the luxuries of the higher end models, it has all the essentials – fast shooting, low profile, and easy maintenance. It’s quality is backed up not only by the vast number of players using it on the fields, but also by professional players using it in tournaments where the stakes are high.
It’s arguably not the most attractive gun out there, and the stock barrel could probably be upgraded. That said, a decade ago the paintball markers in this price range were had nowhere near as much to offer as the Empire Axe brings to the table today. It would serve as an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the sport, but doesn’t want to break the bank to get in the game. It’s also an excellent backup to keep on hand for a high-end marker because it will still give you everything you need as a fall back. Since it lacks the wide array of features available in today’s markers, there’s a lot less that can go wrong with this choice. For the price, the Empire Axe is pretty tough to beat.
DYE Proto Rize MaXXed
The Proto Rize MaXXed resides neck and neck in our ratings with the Empire Axe, and it pulls ahead slightly in performance whereas the Empire Axe has the slight price advantage. The Rize MaXXed works great out of the box, and it’s light, compact, and ergonomical. It shoots very smoothly and the trigger feels quite responsive.
The MaXXed comes equipped with the UL hourglass gripframe that first appeared on DYE’s DM series. Many people love the UL gripframe, but others are not as fond of it, so this is something to consider before purchasing. It’s best to hold one in your hands and see for yourself. We happen to be in the former camp – please excuse our slight bias in regards to this aspect of the review.
Another edge on the Axe, the barrel on the Proto Rize is relatively well designed. It also comes equipped with the hyper 3 regulator, which has been regarded as a quality component for years now. While it is slightly more expensive and the UL frame may not be for everyone, the Rise MaXXed has a lot going for it. If you like it, you’ll probably love it.
Tippmann 98 Custom
The Tippmann 98 Custom is the age-old standard. It has been long known for extreme durabilty and reliability. If all you need is a paintball gun that works, then this is the one for you.
You will not find anti chop eyes on this marker, but it’s probably not a big issue because it only has a single-finger mechanical trigger. As such, your firing rate will be limited and a loader is quite arguably unnecessary.
The main advantage is that these markers keep working through practically everything. We’ve seen them fall in brooks and still come out shooting. Little maintenance is required, though of course it’s recommended. Don’t forget that the lack of cutting edge features gives this marker a distinct price advantage, and it’s also a forgiving choice for someone just starting out.