Is your best paintball hopper going nuts on the field, jamming the balls, isn’t feeding fast, not firing many balls per second, making a loud noise to tell your position to the enemy, or is it difficult to clean it after the battle?
We got the solution
After intense research, considering various factors of old and new models (gravity and electronic hopper), we have prepared a list of the top 8 precisely chosen paintball hoppers for beginners to experts. Every hopper in this list has positive feedbacks and has been tested in the toughest situations possible.
Let’s have a glance at top picks. Each hopper in this list is high-end and technologically advanced with proven durability.
Best Paintball Hoppers
The best paintball hopper is one that feeds fast and gives a swift firing rate. It must never jam during the heated battle. It should be made of durable and strong material like nylon or polycarbonate so that it won’t break easily like most cheap loaders out there.
The loader should be lightweight as well so that you won’t have to carry extra weight on the top of your marker. A loader that assembles and disassembles without tools is a lifesaver on the fields. Finally, the cleaning part is the difficult one. The best paintball loader allows easy cleaning without using tools to dismantle each part.
Virtue Spire IV Electronic
- 25 Balls Firing/Sec
- Link it with Smartphone
- IFI Bluetooth compatible Board
Empire Paintball Halo Too
- Sound Activated
- Auto Shut-Off
- 6 Different Microphone
Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic
- Lowest Profile
- True 200 Rounds
- Angle Indicator for flawless shooting
Gravity-Fed Paintball Hoppers Vs Electronic Paintball Hoppers
|Gravity hoppers||Electronic paintball loaders|
|These are cheap and can be found everywhere (paintball related stores)||Possess a large feed capacity. Some hoppers even have capacity inserter to increase the overall capacity.|
|These loaders are lightweight, and they won’t rattle while you carry them because there are no mechanical or electronic parts inside the hopper.||High-end hoppers like Virtue spire 3 shoots 20+ balls per second which is a frightening speed. Most electronic hoppers can be faster if coupled with compatibility guns.|
|No batteries, no motors inside. The shell uses the player’s movement or a little agitation to work.||Most electronic loaders will never jam on you. Nowadays they come with an anti-jam shark fin whose job is to stop jamming. Valken tournament hopper has an anti-jam sensor built in. choose whatever you like.|
|Normal gravity hopper will jam on you. It is simple, a large number of balls are trying to squeeze through a small hole. Constant movement is required for optimized performance.||Most of them run on 3AA batteries, but some loaders use 4AA batteries|
|Slow firing rate. Most of the guys rely on precision rather than speed nowadays, and I have seen top players playing with gravity fed hoppers. So it’s somewhat alright.||There is a tray inside the hopper that operates everything from feeding to sensing.|
|Usually, they possess a small capacity, but there are good paintball hoppers like “Proto Primo” which is fairly large with 200+ feeding capacity||They weigh more than gravity hoppers|
|Preferable for beginners to build their firing skills and delicacy with time.||Electronic hoppers are expensive.|
|Gravity loaders offer a firing rate of 8-9 per second which is fine.||From beginners to experts, everyone can use these loaders|
|The residual paint is easy to clean. You are cleaning a hollow shell.||Difficult to clean|
List of Top 8 Best Paintball Hoppers
|Paintball Hopper||Rating||Check Price|
|Virtue Spire IV Electronic||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Dye R2 Electronic||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Dye LT-R Electronic||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Virtue Spire Electronic||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Empire Paintball Halo Too||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Valken Paintball VSL||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
1. Virtue Spire IV Electronic Paintball Loaders/Hoppers Review
Virtue Spire IV is pretty much identical to its predecessor “Virtue Spire 3” in terms of profile, shape, and size. Though it is a bit pricy, the features and quality provided are second to none.
Spire 4 loader has the same one-click easy to remove the lid, a tab on the back to pop the back shell off, and they both (Spire 4, and Spire 3) uses the same speed feed. The 280 shells would work on the spire 4 as well.
Beauty on the outside:
With exotic colors, Spire IV comes with a chromatic line that matches the color of the Gun.
Spire III had a sticker that usually peels off during the battle, but the Spire IV loader has an injected or molded logo of the Virtue.
Inside of the Virtue 4 hopper:
The tray goes the same way with one push on the arrow. It has high quality pull-out magnetic drive cone. It is easy to clean the paintball loader after the match courtesy of magnetic drive cones. A spring ramp for smooth and jam-proof feeding.
There is an extra cord on the back of the tray near the batteries which is the “Plug-N-Play Virtue N-charge pack”. The connection piece is moved to a different spot.
The new IFI board:
IFI is a Bluetooth-compatible board that will connect with the Virtue Ace marker. They communicate with each other so that you won’t ever miss a shot. A good virtue paintball mask combined with these two will be a badass combination.
2. Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic Paintball Loaders/Hoppers
The Bunkerkings CTRL has industries very angle indicator that will guarantee you first shot every time. This loader has a low profile, sleek design, perfect balance, and rigid nylon body.
The Bunkerkings CTRL loader is a lot similar to its cousin Virtue Spire 4 with some vital changes in technology and accuracy.
Body and design:
The Bunkerkings CTRL loader has an incredibly low profile yet it is a true 200 ball round hopper. Hands down, this hopper has the lowest profile I have ever seen.
When this thing sits on top of your paintball marker, you can see everything crystal clear, unlike those loaders that sit up taller. The sleek design enables a lot better field of view while running, gunning, and sliding.
The lid is reinforced nylon and it won’t break even if explode dynamite on it. Just like the good old Virtue Spire 3 &4, the lid will come right off with a single push on the tab.
All crown speed feeds are compatible with it. You can also use The Bunkerking’s NTR speed feed which is also super cool.
Inside of the Bunkering’s CTRL hopper:
There is a tab on the back, pull that and the top shell will come right off. The rear and from spring ramps don’t come with this paintball loader, you have to purchase it separately.
The tray is magnetically attached to the bottom. Its tray is similar to Virtue spire 3. It runs on 3AA batteries or you can use the N-charge pack. Up to you.
The instructions and programming manual are printing on the board for our ease. The Drive cone has magnetic disassembly.
The angle indicator:
To address the elephant in the room and why The Bunkerkings CTRL is on the top paintball hopper list is because of the futuristic angle indicator.
Push the power button and you see that red light on a strip. The idea is The Bunkerkings CTRL wanted a standard tournament field view of (120 feet wide, 120 feet by 150 long).
So they made this angle indicator in Bunkerkings as a training option so you can what your angel is.
Based on the dimensions of the field, the light will turn to green. Not low not high, you will get the perfect angle to shoot the first ball.
- The Bunkerkings CTRL relentless jam-proof feeding
- It is soft on paint and can shoot brittle paintballs too.
- The overall weight is under a pound
- The interior is precisely designed to reduce the chance of brittle paint.
- This paintball loader has a G-force sensor to detect every shot.
3. Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader Review
With its dynamic and quick feed rates, low battery alert system, and light frame Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader is modern technology and a step towards advancement. So it is safe to say, Dye R2 is one of the best paintball hoppers. Dye R2 loader is a bit different in profile, but the basic functions are the same.
R2’s mouth is considerably larger (15-20%) than its predecessor which ensures lighting fast, bulk, effortless, and efficient loading.
Dye R2 loader has the industry's very first reload alert system. In this system, a red light will blink when the batteries are low.
Trust me it is a lifesaver in the heated battle. You don’t need to worry about your batteries amid play anymore. I find it helpful because I am one of those who hate to get shot.
The lid is made of polycarbonate which means it will is tough and rigid. It won’t break easily during a dive or slide. There is no longer a tab on the back, so it is easy to open the lid.
Dye R2’s lid is larger than before, and it snaps right off if you are going to put a new speed feed on it. I like this feature because before we had to push the pinout to make sure the pin doesn’t fall off.
Tab on back toggles in both directions. Sliding left, the Dye R2 loader will slide up and expand to a 260 round loader. The sliding right will allow you to open up the top. You don’t even need tools.
It is really easy to disassemble the R2 hopper. Slide the brackets forward and the motor pulls out. The 3AA will give up to 100,000 shots. It still has an ON/OFF button on the back, a counter reset button, and two DIP switches on the button.
One of them will shut the counter system off completely to avoid beeping, and others will turn the lights off which makes you an easy target at night.
4. Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Hopper/Loader Review
Dye LT-R Electric Hopper is pretty much similar to Dye R2 in size and shape at a lower price. There is a difference in the mouth (opening) and loading capacity, but that’s pretty much.
Dye LT-R is among low-profile paintball hoppers with a rigid body made of quality plastic. Disassembly is tool-less which is expected from a dye brand.
A simple slide of the tab and push of a button is all it takes to remove the top. The rapid feed, tool-less disassembly, shark fin jam release trigger, LED indicator, and adjustable torque make LT-R a real GEM at a fair price.
LT-R has standard mouth width like all other hoppers out there. It can shoot 30 balls per second with a capacity of 80,000+ paintballs on 3AA batteries.
You can’t just snap the lid off as we do with the Dye R2 to use the Speed feed. It is a bit complicated process in LT-R.
You need to pop that top off first, then undo some screws to that lid off.
Assembly and disassembly for both R2 & LT-R are pretty much similar, but access to the battery compartment of DYE-LT-R is relatively easier.
In R2, you need to get rid of that expansion lid first, then you will get to the batteries. So, kudos to the LT-R.
5. Proto Primo Paintball Hopper/Loader Review
Proto Primo is a standard gravity hopper/loader but it does have a little bit more technology to it. The main problem with standard gravity has always been jamming when you fill it with paint.
The paintballs above the bottom ones keep on pushing to clog the neck. Dye’s Proto Primo loader has a tray on the inside that separates the bottom paintballs from the top ones.
You can even feed them those mechanical auto shots, no jamming just fine. It is made of hard plastic. You can dive or slide all day, it won’t get damaged that easily.
Feed rates and capacity:
Feed rates of Proto Primo are better than any other standard gravity hoppers. You don’t even need to shake it like crazy, just a little tilt is all it needs. During the gameplay, players do move around a lot so additional tilting or shaking won’t be needed to run the paintballs from the feed hole.
It has 200 ball capacity which kinda alright for a standard loader. Feed rates are also smooth.
6. Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loaders/Hoppers Review
The best paintball hopper/loader list is incomplete without Virtue Spire IR which is elite at a very affordable price. Relatively similar to its predecessor with some noticeable changes like improvement in the shell quality.
Virtue Spire in this price tag is built to eliminate all the competition. It is quiet and super-efficient in its work.
Battery and shot capacity:
Virtue Spire Electronic loader is designed to give 200 balls (true capacity) feed capacity without ever pulsing on you. Powered by 3AA batteries, or Virtue N-charge battery pack.
The technology of its board is set powered by minimum power to batteries that will run longer.
Back cap and lid:
The entire shell is made of highly durable Nylon which is known for its elasticity and strong fibers. Just pop the lid open and install the crown speed feed.
There is a little tab, tap it and pop the lid off. Very easy and risk-free. Such an amazing feature for a lower-end hopper.
Inside of the hopper:
Virtue IR has an arrow beneath the back half. Just push it the way it points and the entire tray holding the sensors, motor, and batteries will come right off.
This loader can shoot all sorts of paint. The rotor has spring-loaded flexible fingers which are awesome for brittle paint. Those soft fingers are great for the tournament player.
So Virtue Spire IR is on the best paintball hopper list for a major reason and that is its never jams. Virtue has claimed that it will never jam on you, and I believe that because of the spring-loaded fingers.
Three IR sensors:
On the back of the tray, you can see 3 IR sensors whose function is to feed paint proactively rather than reactively.
So before you are already skipping paintballs and the paint is not feeding properly, IR sensors are already doing their job. They are constantly keeping your paint under their surveillance you won’t miss any shot.
The IR sensors are protected by polycarbonate which means: The tray will not damage easily.
7. Empire Paintball Halo Too Hopper/Loader Review
Empire Paintball Halo Too Hopper is a budget-friendly loader with all the necessary features needed for a top-notch paintball hopper.
Empire Halo Too is sound activated so you don’t need to worry about an eye system on the inside. When the hopper hears your gunfire, it is designed to push the paintball down through there. If you have a very large gun, you can turn the microphone down.
The default speed setting is 3. The settings will remain unchanged until you replace the batteries with newer ones.
With a 180 round capacity and 20+ ball firing speed, Halo is a good paintball hopper that can be used in tournaments without a doubt. Many of my friends are using it in tournaments.
Though it runs on 4AA batteries, it gives you 700-750 rounds before needing new ones.
It is made of polycarbonate so it is extremely difficult to break it. Without batteries, the weight is around a pound. It also comes with a 48ci 3000psi N2 Gas tank.
It is also compatible with the rip drive. Just make sure to get a drive for the Empire Halo Too because it is different from other post models.
Different settings of Empire Halo too:
It has 6 different speed settings as far as how fast you want it to feed. It has 6 microphone settings as well. Depending on the sound of the gun, you can change the microphone setting.
Speaking of guns, you should read our reviews on the best-rated markers of 2021
There is a setting for feed stack monitoring where it will continuously test the tension on the feed stack to make sure it is pushing the paint when it needs to.
Tool-less battery door:
This hopper runs on 4AA batteries. The newer models come with a tool-less battery door so you need to unscrew it to change batteries.
There is a little foam piece between the battery harness and the battery door. Don’t lose it otherwise the harness will rattle inside.
Pro-tip: People take the batteries out and inset a 9-volt battery up to it. Don’t do it. It doesn’t work properly.
8. Valken Paintball VSL Tournament Electric Loader
Valken Paintball VSL Tournament is a 68 caliber loader that can be converted into a 58 caliber loader. It also comes with an insert to give you a higher capacity of paintballs if you are a tournament player. You will get an extra 50 balls.
This one is a 250 round capacity hopper. Though it is not the fastest loader out there, nowadays precision is preferred over speed.
Inside of Valken Paintball VSL hopper:
There is a release on the back, pull it up, and push the tab underneath the release to remove the top section. There is a variety of speed feeds for the top.
The tray holding all the mechanisms will just come right off without any tool. Valken runs of 3AA batteries. It is an eye-activated setting so when you push the power button, the motor will pulse if there no paint.
The motor will slowly rotate until something block that eye sensor beam.
Switching from 68 calibers to 50 caliber
To undo the 68 cal. Tray, you just rotate it in the direction is allows you to rotate and get it out. See where pieces need to go. To put in the 50 cal. You need to place its tab on the hole at the bottom. Push it, then rotate it.
The high capacity insert:
The insert should be fixed on top of the tray without any trouble. It is just easy to fit the insert. Then put the top on and you got yourself some extra balls to feed.
Comparison Chart Of The Best Paintball Loaders 2021
Virtue Spire IV Electronic
[Mid-Level to Pro]
Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic
[Mid-Level to Pro]
Dye R2 Electronic
[Mid-Level to Pro]
Dye LT-R Electronic
[Beginner to Mid-Level]
Proto Primo Paintball Hopper
[Beginner to Mid-Level]
Virtue Spire Electronic
[Beginner to Mid-Level]
Empire Paintball Halo Too
[Beginner to Mid-Level]
Valken VSL Tournament Electric Loader
[Beginner to Mid-Level]
Honest Buyer Guide For The Best Paintball Hopper/Loader
Choosing the best paintball hopper is not easy. There are tons of loaders available in the market. Some are expensive, some are cheap, and some will never jam on you while others will prove to be a nightmare on the field. In the end, it depends on your level of play, and your gun.
Nobody wants their main equipment to go crazy on them in the middle of battle. So it is advised to choose a loader that is compatible with your gun instead of cussing the same old hopper every time you play.
We have provided a list of the 8 best hoppers, but you need to read this buying guide carefully for accurate information.
We will go with the basics, let us compare gravity fed hoppers with electric hoppers
Paintball Hoppers Depending On The Level Of Player:
There is no need to spend a bag full of money on high-tech gear. You are just starting your paintball career you need to go easy until you learn those pro skills.
Beginners must go for lightweight gravity paintball hoppers like Proto primo, or any low-budget and easy-to-use electronic loaders like Valken VSL if you are eager to use one.
Gravity loaders need no batteries or motor, just feed the ball and you will get a firing rate of 8-9 balls per second which is fine.Mid-level/Intermediate:
Learn some shooting, diving, and sliding skills, then opt for mid-level hoppers. The mid-range hoppers are not that expensive and advance in terms of technology, but you will develop steady shooting skills if you go up step by step.
Though we are labeling hoppers based on the player’s level, I have seen pro players playing with gravity loaders. It all depends on the skillset and precision, and the great way to achieve that is by going one step at a time.
Empire Halo, Virtue IR, and Dye LTR are mid-level hoppers with high-end technology.Pro-level:
Professional players can choose whatever they want due to their refined skills, but there are some top paintball hoppers like Bunkerking’s CTRL, and Virtue spire IV, III that are just awesome in terms of firing rate, battery life, sensors, low profile, and durability.
These high-end loaders are designed to nullify jamming, motor issues, and sensing issues.
Hopper That Is Compatible With Your Gun:
Though the majority of the industry is standardized these days, which means most of the hoppers should be compatible with all types of guns, but checking the compatibility in advance is always beneficial for optimal shooting performance.
Let me give the example of Virtue Spire IV which communicates with Virtue Ace marker. Both are highly compatible and precisely built so that you never miss a shot.
Size, Volume, And Weight Of The Paintball Hopper:
Hoppers should be lightweight, there is no debate around it. Though weight can fluctuate depending on the size of the loader but don’t opt for a heavier one because you are already carrying heavy paintball gear.
Pros can opt for heavier loaders with larger capacity, but beginners should practice with smaller units of 50+ ball capacity to develop steady hands.
Small units will carry around 180-200 balls and thus prove lightweight compared to 200-250 ball capacity loaders.
Low profile modern loaders like Bunkerking’s CTRL or Virtue Spire IV are lightweight, but they are expensive for a beginner.
Material And Durability Of The Loader:
Paintball hoppers are vulnerable to damage, and it is mostly caused by sliding, falling, tipping, or diving.
If you are not spending much and opting for a low-budget gravity loader, then you don’t need to worry about the hopper’s material, but if you are ready to spend some bucks, make sure to check the material of the shell and lid before purchasing.
The hard plastic is fine but plastic is plastic. It will break under stress or a hard fall. Nowadays parts of hoppers are Nylon which extremely strong and elastic. Let your chew the nylon, it won’t even sweat.
Polycarbonate material is also popular. Many high-end hoppers are made using this. Polycarbonate is strong, durable, easy to clean, and lightweight. Loaders made from polycarbonate are durable ones.
Speed Feed Compatibility:
Though 90% of the paintball hopper is compatible with speed feed for better and 2X faster refilling, but it won’t hurt to check if any hopper uses exclusive speed feeds.
Check The Firing Rate:
This depends on the level of your playing and how fast you are pulling the trigger. Ordinary gravity loaders offer a rate of 8 to 9 balls per second because they lack the electronic and mechanical parts need for a quickfire rate. Those models are fine for beginners.
Other electric hoppers can shoot up to 20+ balls per second which is a scary speed. Mid-range to pro-level players can opt for it.
Check the feed rate without speed feed. High-end hoppers offer fantastic feed rates. Depending on the level, high-speed feed rates are not advised for beginners.
If you want to sharpen your skills, go for Dye R2, or Dye LTR. They offer good feed rates. These hoppers are also being used in tournaments so don’t complain about it being a basic unit.
Efficient Anti-jam Mechanism:
Though all non-gravity loaders come with an ant-jam mechanism, some are more efficient than others.
You will see many pros on the field utilizing gravity hoppers without getting jammed. Their skillset is elite but beginners will get jammed like crazy and they will have to unclog the unit manually.
Hoppers like Virtue, Dye, Valken are excellent in anti-jamming. Electric hoppers have built-in sensors to push the ball without getting clogged. If you are into electric units, check out Valken VSL, and Empire Paintball Halo for a mid-range price. They won’t jam on you.
Style And Ease Of Use:
Nowadays loaders are made precisely so that they would match the color and design of your paintball marker. I like bunkersking’s CTRL due to its sleek and low profile design.
Virtue Spire IV pretty has chrome linings on the side which makes it highly colorful, shining, and easy to spot from miles away.
Hoppers are available in multiple colors. Choose one that suits your marker and gear. Evergreen colors like Camo and black have good resell prices in the market.
A unit that allows you to shoot at a good speed with a decent feed rate is the best paintball hopper for you. Ease of use is determined by large feed mouth, good battery life, quick switch lid, less jamming, and easy assembly and disassembly.
Warranty Of The Product:
Though brands like VIRTUE, DYE, and Valken are trustworthy, the warranty card makes us feel better about the product. I don’t know if the above-mentioned products provide a year-long warranty, but at least a 1-2 month warranty is essential before spending heavy money.
Sometimes it is difficult to find sufficient information to make a buying decision online. We have tried our best to provide accurate information and suggestions to save you from the trouble of going through the market.
The best paintball hopper is one that loads fast and shoots fast. No way around it. Make sure to ask for feed rates, loading speed, battery life, durability, and gun compatibility from the shop if you need a paintball hopper from an offline market.
We hope this article will help you. Share it with your other paintball maniacs like you me.
Thank you for reading it.
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