Can You Use Compressed Air in a CO2 Paintball Gun?

Are you an avid paintball enthusiast looking to enhance your gameplay? The debate about using compressed air and CO2 in paintball guns has sparked numerous discussions within the community. The question “Can You Use Compressed Air in a CO2 Paintball Gun” often arises, leading players to explore the benefits, drawbacks, and safety considerations of these two pressure sources. 

Can You Use Compressed Air in a Co2 Paintball Gun

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of using compressed air and CO2 in paintball guns. We’ll address common queries, such as whether you can fill a CO2 paintball tank with compressed air, the impact on gun performance, and how to make an informed decision based on your preferences and gameplay style. Let’s dive into the world of paintball pressure sources and uncover the best choice for your paintball gun setup.

Can I Fill My Paintball CO2 Tank with Compressed Air?

Paintball players often wonder whether they can cross-fill their CO2 tanks with compressed air. While theoretically possible, experts recommend avoiding cross-filling due to safety risks. Cross-filling can lead to tank explosions, causing bodily harm, and negatively impacting your paintball gun’s performance. To ensure safety and optimal performance, it’s advisable to use the appropriate pressure source for your paintball gun.

Can I Fill My Paintball CO2 Tank with Compressed Air?

How to Properly Refill a CO2 Paintball Tank?

Here are some tips.

  1. Prepare the Equipment:
    • High-pressure air compressor designed for CO2 tanks
    • Appropriate compressed air fitting
  2. Attach the Fitting:
    • Connect the compressed air fitting to the CO2 tank’s valve.
  3. Drain Excess Gas:
    • Open the bleed valve atop the fitting to release any excess gas in the tank.
    • This step ensures accurate filling and prevents overpressure.
  4. Refill the Tank:
    • Start the high-pressure air compressor and adjust it to the correct pressure for your CO2 tank.
  5. Monitor the Fill Process:
    • Keep an eye on the pressure gauge to ensure the tank is being filled accurately.
  6. Prevent Overfilling:
    • Close the compressor once the tank reaches the desired pressure.
    • Overfilling can lead to safety risks.
  7. Safely Detach the Fitting:
    • Close the bleed valve and carefully detach the compressed air fitting.
  8. Safety First:
    • Always prioritize safety and precision during the refilling process.
    • Follow manufacturer guidelines and recommendations closely.
How to Properly Refill a CO2 Paintball Tank

How to Fill Your CO2 Tank with CO2?

For those looking to set up a home refill station, there are steps to follow for filling a CO2 tank properly. The process involves using a dual valve fill station, a CO2 tank, a scale, and other tools. Ensuring your tank is cold before refilling it is essential for the process. A detailed step-by-step guide can help you set up a safe and efficient refill station.

  1. Prepare Equipment:
    • Get a dual valve fill station, CO2 tank, scale, and wrench.
    • Attach the CO2 tank securely to the workbench with a plastic ring.
  2. Check Tank:
    • Verify the CO2 tank’s hydro test date.
  3. Empty Tank:
    • Attached to a 50-pound siphon tank.
    • Open the tank valve to release gas and empty it.
  4. Weigh Tank:
    • Place the CO2 tank on the scale, and zero it.
  5. Chill Tank:
    • Dispense 1-2 ounces CO2, release through purge valve to chill.
  6. Fill Process:
    • Open the bulk CO2 tank valve to start filling.
  7. Safe Fill:
    • Fill tank just below max capacity, about 1-2 ounces less.

Concerns With Filling a CO2 Tank With Compressed Air

Filling a CO2 tank with compressed air can lead to various issues, including shooting problems and the alarming risk of tank explosion. Using compressed air in a CO2 paintball gun may result in reduced fire rates or even complete gun stalls. Additionally, the tank explosion caused by the pressure of compressed air can pose serious dangers to you and those around you. Paintball tanks are engineered for specific gasses, and using the correct pressure source is crucial to avoid such risks.

The Best Way to Use Compressed Air for Your Paintball Gun 

While it’s generally not recommended to use compressed air in a CO2 tank, using compressed air tanks designed for the purpose is the way to go. Compressed air tanks offer consistency, accuracy, and long-range shooting capabilities. Filling a CO2 tank with compressed air can expose you to serious dangers. Therefore, switching to a proper compressed air tank for your paintball gun is the best approach.

Background on CO2 and Compressed Air

Understanding the differences between CO2 and compressed air is essential for informed decision-making. CO2 has been a standard pressure source for low to mid-range paintball guns, while compressed air offers advantages like consistent pressure, increased accuracy, and long-range shooting capabilities. Each gas has its benefits and drawbacks, making it important to choose the right pressure source based on your preferences and requirements.

Which Is Better? CO2 or Compressed Air?

Which Is Better CO2 or Compressed Air?

Deciding between CO2 and compressed air depends on your priorities. Compressed air offers higher accuracy and longer-range shooting, making it ideal for competitive play. On the other hand, CO2 is more affordable and lightweight, suiting players looking for casual fun. Evaluating your goals and budget will help you determine the pressure source that aligns with your paintballing objectives.

Here’s a simplified table summarizing the key factors when choosing between CO2 and compressed air tanks for paintball:

FactorsCO2 TanksCompressed Air Tanks
CostGenerally cheaperMore expensive
AvailabilityWidely available and pre-filledLess accessible
Skill LevelPreferred for beginnersPreferred for advanced players
Recertification FrequencyNot required as often (if at all)Needs recertification every 3-5 years
PerformanceReliable for most paintball gunsOptimal for advanced paintball guns
Winter PerformanceMay deliver inconsistent shotsConsistent performance

How Much Shooting Can You Do With Compressed Air vs. CO2? 

The number of shots you can get from a CO2 or compressed air tank varies based on the tank’s size and other factors. CO2 tanks offer a significant number of shots, making them appealing for extended gameplay. Compressed air tanks provide consistency and accuracy, but they may require a higher initial investment. Understanding the shooting capacity of each tank type will aid in planning your paintball sessions effectively.


In the world of paintball, understanding the differences between CO2 and compressed air tanks is essential for making informed choices. While compressed air tanks offer advantages like consistent pressure and accuracy, CO2 tanks are budget-friendly and accessible. However, attempting to refill a CO2 tank with compressed air is unsafe and can lead to serious consequences.

When choosing a pressure source for your paintball gun, prioritize safety, compatibility, and performance. Familiarize yourself with the specifications of your paintball marker and the recommended pressure source. Whether you opt for CO2 or compressed air, following manufacturer guidelines and using the appropriate tank type will ensure your paintball experience is both enjoyable and safe.

FAQs related to Can you use compressed air in a CO2 Paintball Gun

Here are some frequently asked questions related to compressed air in a CO2 Paintball Gun.

Can you refill a 12g CO2 cartridge with compressed air?

No, you cannot refill a 12g CO2 cartridge with compressed air due to the structural differences and pressure requirements between the two gasses.

How to convert a co2 paintball gun to compressed air?

To convert a CO2 paintball gun to compressed air, replace the CO2 tank with a compatible compressed air tank and adjust the regulator settings accordingly.

How much psi does a CO2 paintball gun tank hold?

A standard CO2 paintball gun tank holds around 800 to 850 PSI (pounds per square inch) when filled with liquid CO2, which turns into gas when fired.