The internet paintball community is split on pretty much every issue. They disagree when it comes to the best marker, the best brand, and the necessity of certain pieces of equipment. Fortunately, they are split on some issues more than others, and there is less heated debate when it comes to the question of the best paintball loader.
Loaders, commonly known as “hoppers”, are essential in any paintball game and should not be purchased on the cheap. With a low quality loader, it is only a matter of time before you pay the ultimate price for your penny pinching ways (i.e being eliminated from the game).
Because players don’t spend much time passionately arguing with each other over the issue of hoppers, there are many potentially top models to choose from. We have gathered some of the most popular loaders on the market in one place and will be taking a look at them shortly. First, however, let’s discuss some common hopper matters.
Any loader worth your while will allow you to fit a large number of paintballs inside. A high capacity is of particular importance if you are a paintball novice, as you can expect to miss multiple shots due to your inexperience. More experienced players probably won’t be as concerned with capacity when searching for a loader as many prefer to carry their spare balls on their back. This allows them to minimise the amount of weight put on their marker.
Most loaders are made of some sort of plastic, so don’t waste your time searching for one which is impenetrable. That being said, hoppers which are made of clear plastic are usually a little on the weak side, so they should be avoided. If you choose to go with a cheap loader, you had better have a good grip as one drop will result in multiple broken balls.
Electronic or Gravity Fed?
Any new player will likely gravitate towards the electronic loader rather than the gravity fed models. If it’s electric, it has to be better, right? Well, that isn’t entirely true.
While an electronic loader can be more efficient than the gravity fed alternative, it can also cause a number of problems. Electronic models are prone to low battery life and malfunctions, so you might want to consider going with a more basic loader in order to avoid such an occurrence in the middle of a shootout.
It is worth to check the best paintball barrel too if you would like to play like a professional.
Now that we have covered some of the things you should take into consideration before settling on a loader, we can start talking about specific models.
|1.||Dye Precision Rotor||9.9|
|2.||Virtue Spire 200||9.7|
|3.||Empire Halo Too||9.5|
|4.||G.I. Sportz Paintball Pulse RDR Loader||9.4|
|6.||Empire Paintball Prophecy Z2||8.7|
|7.||Pinokio Loader Hopper PL 230/400||8.5|
|8.||Valken V-max Plus Motorized||8.2|
1. Dye Precision Rotor
If you were to go to a professional paintball player for advice on purchasing a loader, they would probably recommend the Dye Rotor. The Rotor has been the go-to hopper of tournament players worldwide for some time now, so you can be certain of it’s quality.
Most quality hoppers will have a decent loading speed, but the Dye Rotor goes above and beyond what even the most difficult of players would consider satisfactory. The Rotor loads at a rate of fifty balls per second, which puts it (and anybody who uses it) way ahead of the competition.
Much like the Virtue Spire, the Dye Rotor’s superiority means it is a great deal more expensive than other rotors. It should probably be avoided if you are a beginner, as any extra cash you have should be put towards getting yourself a quality marker.
2. Virtue Spire 200
The Virtue Spire remains one of the most popular hoppers around due, in no small part, to its versatility. Whether you are a grizzled paintball veteran or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Jamming is a big concern for a lot of paintball players. Those who have experience on the field have no doubt suffered the consequences of a hopper jamming at least once in their time. The Virtue Spire, however, is equipped with anti-jame technology, so you can play with confidence and shoot with certainty in even the most tempestuous of games.
The major drawback of this loader is the price, which usually goes well above $150. However, if you have that amount of money to spend on a loader, I say go for it. Though it may seem like a lot of money at first, you will get years of use from the Virtue Spire.
3. Empire Halo Too
Those who have triedout the Empire Halo Too have praised it for its efficiency, and it has been described as the perfect gun for anybody new to the game.
If you’re in the market for a hopper which you can use in speedball, the Empire Halo Too is the way to go. With a loading rate of 20 balls per second, you are unlikely to find a better hopper without bumping up your budget.
The Empire Halo Too should be avoided if you play a more physical style of paintball. Anybody who finds themselves taking a high quaintly of dives, rolls, or tumbles while on the battlefield should checkout other available hoppers, as the Halo Too is infamously fragile.
4. G.I Sportz Pulse RDR
The G.I Sportz Pulse RDR is a game changer, there is no doubt about that. A lot of paintball purists have criticised it for what they believe to be a needlessly complex design, but newcomers have fallen in love with it.
It’s rare for something as small as a hopper to have such an impact, but the RDR may just revolutionise the way paintball is played. Among its many hi-tech features, this hopper is fitted with a radar chronograph which allows you to monitor your balls feed, BPS, and FPS throughout the game.
While all that hi-tech stuff is great in theory, it does add quite a bit of weight to the hopper. If you aren’t carrying a whole lot during the game, this likely won’t be a problem for you. However, those who carry a secondary pistol or any other pieces of extra equipment really can’t afford to weigh themselves down any further, and so will have to either reevaluate their game plan or choose another loader.
5. Tippmann SSL-200
Tippmann have produced some of the greatest paintball equipment of all time, so it only makes sense that wee kickoff this list with a product from them. The Tippmann SSL-200 is an inexpensive but high quality electronic hopper which carries on Tippmann’s legacy of greatness.
The Tippmann SSL-200 is extremely durable, so it’s a great option for beginners who might be a bit fumbly when holding their marker. It’s also perfect for those who take part in woodsballl or find themselves taking multiple rolls and dives during a game.
In paintball, the faster you can do something the better. When balls are flying over your head and by your sides, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting for your hopper to do its thing. While the Tippmann SSL-200 is of an adequate speed for most styles of paintball, it is not advisable to use this loader for speedball.
6. Empire Prophecy Z2
Following up the Halo Too is another hopper from the folks at Empire. This Prophecy Z2 is quite a step up from the previous Empire entry on this list, and has proven to be reliable and effective on any field in any kind of game.
The Prophecy Z2 is another hopper which is equipped with anti-jam technology. The hopper utilises infrared sensors to reduce the risk of a jam occurring at an inopportune time (basically any time during the game).
Like any hi-tech hopper, the Empire Prophecy Z2 will add more weight to your marker than is advisable. If you are the kind of player who doesn’t move around all that much during a game, preferring to lie in wait for your prey to wander unknowingly into your shot, this is the ideal loader. However, it is should be avoided by those who like to remain active throughout the duration of the game.
7. Pinokio PL250/400
There are some paintball players who love the Pinokio PL250/400, and there are others who loath it with a passion usually reserved for serial killers and Nickelback. However, there is no denying the fact that it is the most unique hopper on the market today.
The Pinokio PL250/400 has an initial capacity of 250 balls. While that is a pretty impressive, it may not be enough balls for some. That’s where the detachable nose cone comes in handy. The cone is included when your purchase the loader, and when attached increases the capacity by 140 balls, bringing it to 390.
- High Profile
If you don’t want to make yourself an easy target on the field, it is best to stay away from hoppers with high profiles, and the Pinokio PL2500/400 certainly falls into that category.
Even if used without the detachable nose cone, this hopper has a high profile and may give away your location when you are trying to stay hidden during a game.
8. Valken V Max
This is one of the most popular hoppers on the market today, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Valken V-Max will allow you to fill, load, and shoot in no time at all, eliminating any inconvenient pauses during the game.
The Valken V-Max is durable without being bulky, which is a great feature in any piece of paintball equipment. Obviously, the hopper will be a little bit heavier once it is loaded, but it won’t add any great weight to your maker.
- Low Battery Life
If you decide to go with an electronic loader, you’re always going to be at the mercy of the battery. For that reason, it is essential to find one with a long battery life, so you can rely on it to perform throughout the game and not just for a couple of minutes at the start.. While it has not been a regular complaint, a number of players who have tried the Valken V-Max have complained about the fast draining battery rendering the hopper useless.