What You Can Expect to Pay to Play Paintball

Paintball players in action
Peter Muller / Getty Images

Paintball can cost as much or as little as you are willing to pay. Similar to many other action sports, it can be relatively inexpensive, to begin with. The more involved you become in the sport, the more you can expect your costs to rise.

The costs of paintball can be divided into two categories: initial costs and recurring costs. Initial costs are the price of the equipment to get you started. Recurring costs are those that you'll have to pay each time you play.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid some of those initial costs, you always have the option of renting. This may be a good idea at first, especially if you're unsure that you'll enjoy paintball or be able to play often.

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Basic Pump Pack

Pump paintball gun

David Muhlestein

If you want the cheapest paintball equipment possible, go to your local big box retailer and purchase a basic pump player's pack.

For around $30-$50 you can come out with:

These guns work, but they're slow, not very accurate, tend to break paint in the barrel, and require you to constantly replace the small 12 gram CO2 canisters. The masks cover your face but they are quite uncomfortable.

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Basic Equipment

Stryker gun in packaging

David Muhlestein

If you are willing to spend $70-$100, you can purchase an entry-level semi-automatic or electro-mechanical paintball gun and all the necessary equipment to play.

While many guns come in a package with a hopper, mask. and tank, you can also by these accessories separately.

  • Masks start at around $20.
  • CO2 tanks start at around $12.
  • Hoppers cost about $5.

Some basic guns are non-upgradeable while others allow you to add expansion chambers, improved barrels, drop forwards, and other upgrades. You may also want to consider purchasing paintball-specific clothing from a thrift store or an army surplus store because this is a messy sport.

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High-End Equipment

high-end paintball gun

David Muhlestein

To customize your high-end setup, you can spend as much as you want on paintball equipment.

  • Professional level guns can cost as much as $2000, and you can invest that much again on additional gear.
  • Rather than CO2, most high-end equipment requires compressed air.
  • To achieve maximum firing speeds, you need a motorized hopper.

After your initial purchase, you can also buy upgrades and customize every aspect of your equipment from improved circuit boards to custom anodizing jobs. High-end clothing includes custom jerseys, specialized pants, and elbow and knee pads.

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The Paint

paintball gun amunition

David Muhlestein

The most obvious cost of paintball is the cost of the paintballs you shoot.

  • Cheap paint begins at about $30 for a case of 2000 rounds or about $10 for a box of 500.
  • Professional grade tournament paint can cost as much as $80 for a case of 2000.

Keep in mind that if you play at a professional field, you may be required to purchase field paint which can cost significantly more than the paint available at your local Wal-Mart. The faster your gun shoots, the more you will tend to spend on paint.

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The Air

paintball gun canister

David Muhlestein

Whether you use compressed air or CO2, you will need to refill your tanks. Many stores will refill compressed air and CO2 tanks for around $3-$6 depending on the size of your tank.

Alternatively, many people purchase their own scuba or large CO2 tanks and refill their paintball tanks themselves. While the initial cost of these tanks is significant, you can recoup the money with regular use.

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Field Fees

If you decide to play on a professional course, you must be prepared to pay for the privilege.

Field fees vary considerably from location to location, but typical prices are in the $10-$25 range. Many fields sell season passes or have reduced rates for members, so be sure to figure out what will be the most cost-effective way to play.

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Rental Equipment

If you only want to experiment with paintball, go to your local field and rent equipment for the day. On average, this will cost less than $30. They will set you up with a good, entry-level gun, mask, hopper, tank. and some paintballs. The entrance fee is often included in the price.

  • Many professional fields do require you to use field paint (paint bought at the field), so expect to buy what you shoot.
  • Some stores and fields will also rent equipment that you can take and play wherever you want. This is nice because you can purchase your own paint (usually cheaper than field paint) and you don't have to pay an entrance fee.