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Best Paintball Hopper 2023 – Top 8 Electronic and Gravity Fed

Hi Paintballers! Welcome to my best paintball hoppers review for 2023.

My name is Freddy. I’ve been playing paintball for decades and tested lots of different hoppers throughout the years. Last weekend I got my team to test and review our all-time favorites.

Here are our top paintball loaders.



Virtue Spire IV Electronic

VIRTUE Spire 4

  • 25 Balls Firing/Sec
  • Link it with Smartphone
  • IFI Bluetooth compatible Board



Empire Paintball Halo Too

Empire Halo too

  • Sound Activated 
  • Auto Shut-Off
  • 6 Different Microphone 



Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic

BunkerKings CTRL

  • Lowest Profile
  • True 200 Rounds
  • Angle Indicator for flawless shooting

That was the “too long; didn’t read” version. But what makes a good paintball loader?

Table of Contents

Best Paintball Hoppers

The best paintball hopper is one that has these features:

  • It has a fast feeding rate which maximizes your firing rate and gives you a better chance of hitting your opponents during a shootout. Electronic hoppers have a quicker feeding rate and are more reliable than gravity hoppers.
  • It does not jam. If paintballs get stuck in your loader, it won’t feed new ammo to your gun, and you’ll be a sitting target for your opposite team.
  • Durable and made from solid material like hard plastic or polycarbonate so that it won’t break easily during rough play.
  • Lightweight, so you don’t have to carry any extra weight on top of your marker, making it tiring to hold and aim.
  • It can be disassembled without tools if you need to change it or clean it quickly between paintball games or when you’re on the field.
  • Easy to clean old paint and debris. Any dirt in the hopper will increase the chances that paintballs get stuck or jam up the gun.

Virtue Spire IV Electronic Paintball Loader Review

This is the best high-tech hopper for the intermediate player

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Virtue Spire IV

Key features

  • Proactive feed logic board
  • Elite if used with Virtue Ace Marker
  • Tool-less tray disassembly
  • Spring ramp integrated with Dual LED reload indicator.
  • Molded/injected virtue logo
  • Chrome lining that matches the color of your marker
  • 25 balls per second firing rate
  • Plug & play virtue N-charge pack


  • Color: Six colors available
  • Technology: iFI Bluetooth compatible board
  • Jam proof feeding

Virtue Spire IV is identical to its predecessor, “Virtue Spire 3,” in 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 lid and a tab on the back to pop the back shell off, and Spire 4 and Spire 3 have the same speed feed and hold 280 paintballs.

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 Virtue sticker that eventually peels off with a lot of use, but the Spire IV loader has an embossed logo.

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, and it is easy to clean inside the hopper after the match due to the 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. (You can read more about paintball masks here).

  • Hinge-mounted shell with one-click removal of the tray
  • Magnetic drive code with removable flexible fingers
  • 24-25 paintball firing rate per second
  • Plug-n-play N-charge pack
  • IFI board with Bluetooth connection with Virtue ace marker
  • Link it with your smartphone
  • Relatively expensive than Virtue Spire 3

My Opinion:

Size, shape, toolless assembly and disassembly, speed feed integration, and profile are similar to virtue spire 3, but its advanced plug-n-play technology changes the game.

In addition, the Ace maker is meant to communicate with the Spire 4, but you can use this paintball hopper with any marker you want. It is the latest and most high-end loader on the market.


Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic Paintball Hopper

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Bunkerkings CTRL

This hopper has the best angle indicator

Key features

  • A true 200-round capacity hopper
  • Best profile in the market
  • Compact
  • Magnetic tray
  • Toolless assembly and disassembly
  • Reinforced nylon lid
  • Super heavy-duty parts
  • A programming manual sketched on the tray
  • Greenlight angel indicator
  • Compatible with all mechanical and electronic markers


  • Angle indicator
  • Jam proof
  • Strong body

The Bunkerkings CTRL has an angle indicator that guarantees you the first shot every time. This loader has a low profile, sleek design, perfect balance, and rigid nylon body.

The Bunkerkings CTRL loader is similar to its cousin Virtue Spire 4 with some vital changes in technology and accuracy.

Body and design:

The Bunkerkings CTRL loader has a shallow profile, yet it is a proper 200-ball round hopper. Hands down, this hopper has the lowest profile I have ever seen.

With this loader on top of your paintball gun, you can see everything crystal clear, unlike those loaders that are mounted higher. The sleek design gives a better field of view while running and shooting.

The lid is reinforced nylon, and it won’t break even if explode dynamite on it. Like the good old Virtue Spire 3 and 4, the cap opens with a single push on the tab.

All crown speed feeds are compatible, and you can also use 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. You have to purchase spring raps separately. The tray is magnetically attached to the bottom, similar to Virtue spire 3. It runs on 3AA batteries, or you can use the N-charge pack.

Other things worth mentioning are that the instructions and programming manual are printed on the board, and 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 a training option so you can know your angle, and based on the dimensions of the paintball field, the light will turn green when you get the perfect angle to shoot the ball.

Important details:

  • 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’s design reduces the chance of paint breaking and leaking.
  • This paintball loader has a G-force sensor to detect every shot.
  • It will never jam on you
  • Training with angle indicator develops muscle memory for perfect shooting
  • Guided programming menu
  • Actual 200-round capacity
  • Unbreakable Nylon lid
  • Low battery indicator
  • Toolless shell and tray
  • You have to buy spring ramps separately

My Opinion:

The nickname “King of hoppers” is fitting. The incredible angle indicator feature, coupled with a balanced design, gives a perfect shot every time we test it.

I strongly recommend it. Though it works well with all markers, couple this with a high-end paintball gun, and you’ll gun down your opponents in no time.


Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader Review

Has the best firing speed for pros

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Dye R2

Key features

  • 200-260 round capacity with 30+ balls per sec
  • Up to 100,000 shots on 3AA batteries
  • Easy loading with a 20% larger mouth
  • It comes with a low battery indicator
  • Shark fin with a jam-release trigger
  • The rapid lid release system
  • Polycarbonate lid
  • Lightweight


  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Firing rate: 30+ Bps
  • Feeding: Force-fed technology
  • Batteries: 3AA batteries
  • Alert system: Blinks red when the batteries are low.

With its dynamic and quick feed rates, low battery alert system, and light frame, the Dye R2 Electronic Paintball Loader is a testament to modern technology and a step towards advancement. It’s safe to say that the Dye R2 is one of the top paintball hoppers, and while it is a bit different than others in profile, the essential functions are the same.


R2’s mouth is considerably larger (15-20%) than its predecessor, which ensures efficient, lightning-fast bulk loading.


Dye R2 loader has the industry’s first reload alert system, in which a red light will blink when the batteries are low — A lifesaver during an ongoing game. You no longer need to worry about your batteries running out during a game.


The lid is made of polycarbonate, which means it is tough and rigid and won’t break easily during a dive or slide. The Dye R2 lid is more prominent than before, and there is no longer a tab on the back, so it is easier to open the lid.

Round capacity:

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 without needing tools.

The motor:

It is effortless to disassemble the R2 hopper. Slide the brackets forward, and the motor pulls out. The 3xAA batteries will give up to 100,000 shots before you need to change them. It has an ON/OFF button, and a counter reset button and two DIP switches.

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.

  • Polycarbonate Lid. Lightweight frame.
  • Largemouth: Easy to feed.
  • Expanded round capacity.
  • Low battery indicator
  • Rapid shooting
  • The noise on the reload alert system can be turned off.

A bit pricy than its predecessor.

  • Plastic parts might get damaged if used roughly.

My Opinion:

Dye R2 Electric Loader is better than its predecessor, and it is almost as easy as the old one to assemble and reassemble. A bit pricy, but you get what you pay for.

The nifty features, lightweight frame, capacity, and low battery alert system make it one of my team’s all-time favorite paintball hoppers.

People complain about its plastic parts, but I have found that it doesn’t make it any less durable. Compared to the old version, there is also a noticeable improvement as far as jams are concerned.


Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Hopper Review

A lighter and cheaper alternative to Dye D2

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Dye LT-R

Key features

  • 80,000 shots on 3AA batteries
  • Built-in anti-jam shark fin
  • Lightweight
  • Quick feed rate
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Low profile


  • 30 balls per second
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Capacity: 200
  • Tool-less disassembly
  • Adjustable torque.

Dye LT-R Electric Hopper is similar to Dye R2 in size and shape but 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 of quality plastic. Disassembly is toolless, as expected.

A simple slide of the tab and push of a button is all it takes to remove the top. The rapid feed, toolless disassembly, shark fin jam-release trigger, LED indicator, and adjustable torque make the 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 3xAA batteries.

The lid:

You can’t just snap the lid off as we do with the Dye R2 to use the speed feed, as it is a bit more complicated to do with the LT-R. You must pop the top off, then undo some screws to that lid.


Assembly and disassembly for both R2 & LT-R are pretty much similar, but access to the battery compartment of DYE-LT-R is more straightforward.

In R2, you need to get rid of that expansion lid first, and then you will get to the batteries. So, kudos to the LT-R.

  • Rapid firing with 200 ball capacity
  • The coated board is water resistance
  • Top-notch battery life.
  • Tool-less assembly and disassembly
  • Elite for a budget-friendly mask
  • Upgradable
  • Adjustable feed tension
  • Lightweight
  • Lid disassembly is difficult compared to Dye R2.

My Opinion:

Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Hopper is among the best paintball hoppers with its robust body, rapid firing rate, capacity, and all the other features you will get from Dye R2.

Dye LT-R loader offers the same features and toolless disassembly at a lower price and is your go-to choice if you can’t afford an expensive hopper. Many of my friends are using it and are very happy with it.


Proto Primo Paintball Hopper Review

This is the best gravity fed hopper

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Proto Primo

Key features

  • 200 ball capacity
  • It helps sort and funneling during the shoot for a consistent vertical feed.
  • Easy reloading
  • Clear spring lid
  • Low profile
  • Lightweight


  • Lightweight
  • Powered by minimum agitation
  • Fast feeding with responsive triggering

Proto Primo is a standard gravity fed hopper with some tech added to it. The main problem with the traditional gravity-fed hoppers have always been jamming, where paintballs get stuck and clog the neck.

Dye’s Proto Primo loader has a tray that separates the bottom paintballs from the top ones, which fixes the jamming problem.

The hopper is made from solid plastic so you can play rough for years, and it should still hold up fine.

Feed rate and capacity:

The feed rate of Proto Primo is better than any other standard gravity hoppers. You don’t need to shake it like a crazy person; a slight tilt is all you need for proper loading from the feed hole.

It has a standard 200 ball capacity, and the feeding is smooth.

  • Consistent feed
  • Budget-friendly
  • 200 ball capacity
  • Durable body
  • Easy to reload with the help of a spring-loaded lid
  • Low profile
  • Require little shaking to run the paint
  • $1 more for the black color.

My Opinion:

Proto Primo Paintball Hopper is for old-school guys who don’t do anything with batteries and circuits. Just a standard loader with constant feed, less jamming, and a durable body. I like this hopper because it is budget-friendly, one of the best paintball hoppers under $100, and I am vouching for it.


Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loader Review

This loader never jams!

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Virtue Spire IR²

Key features

  • Flawless feeding using three sensors
  • Never pulses
  • Anti-jam
  • High durable
  • Flexible rubber fingers can even brittle paint
  • Interchangeable lid
  • Install speed feed in only 10 seconds
  • Bright LED low power indicator


  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Capacity: true 200-ball capacity
  • Durability: back shell made from strong nylon

The best paintball hopper/loader list is incomplete without Virtue Spire IR, an elite product at a very affordable price. It is similar to its predecessor with some noticeable changes like improvement in the shell quality.

Virtue Spire eliminates all the competition. It is quiet and super-efficient in its work.

Battery and shot capacity:

Virtue Spire Electronic loader has a feed capacity of 200 balls and runs on 3x AA batteries or a Virtue N-charge battery pack, which powers the circuit board for a long time.

Back cap and lid:

The entire back cap and lid are elastic and firm but easy to open. Pop the top open by tapping the little tab and popping the lid off. Insert the crown speed feed for improved reliability, which is very easy and gives an immediate feature upgrade for a low-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 that gently feed the fragile paintballs, which any tournament player will appreciate.


So Virtue Spire IR is on the best paintball hopper list because Virtue claims that it will never jam, which has been our experience.

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 instead of skipping paintballs, IR sensors monitor your paint so you won’t miss any shots.

The IR sensors are in a polycarbonate tray which does not damage easily.

  • Actual 200 paintball holding capacity
  • Nylon shell
  • Budget-friendly
  • No jamming.
  • Zero Pulsing
  • Super easy assembly & disassembly
  • Spring-loaded soft fingers to shoot any kind of paint
  • Low battery indicator
  • Spring ramps and speed feeds are sold separately.

My Opinion:

Around the 100-dollar price range, I don’t think there is any better hopper/loader available in terms of technology and flexibility, especially if your money wallet is light. Many of my paintball player friends recommend it.


Empire Paintball Halo Too Loader Review

The best sound-activated hopper

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Empire Halo Too

Key features

  • Auto shut-off
  • Anti-jam drive
  • Low battery indicator
  • Ultra-quiet belt
  • Force-feed 20 BPS
  • Six different speed settings
  • Six different microphone settings
  • Flip-top sprung lid
  • Polycarbonate shell (strong as superman)
  • 4AA batteries


  • Weight: under a pound without batteries
  • Feeds 20+ balls per second
  • Compatible with speed feed
  • Capacity: 180 balls

Empire Paintball Halo Too Hopper is a budget-friendly loader with all the necessary features a top-notch paintball hopper should have.

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 pushes new paintballs down the loader into the barrel chamber. You can turn the microphone down if you have a big gun.

The default speed setting is “3” and will remain unchanged until you replace the batteries with newer ones.

With a 180-round capacity and 20+ ball firing speed, Halo is a reliable paintball hopper you can use in tournaments without a problem, as many of my friends are doing.

Though it runs on 4x AA batteries, it gives you hundreds of games before needing to replace them.

The hopper is made of polycarbonate, which is tough to break. It weighs around a pound without batteries and comes with a 48ci 3000psi N2 Gas tank.

It is also compatible with a rip drive; just make sure to get a compatible drive because this hopper differs from other models.

Different settings of Empire Halo Too:

It has six different feed speed settings and six microphone settings. You can change the microphone setting so that it activates when it hears the specific sound of your gun.

Speaking of guns, you should read our reviews on the best-rated markers of 2023. 

There is a setting for feed stack monitoring where it will continuously test the tension on the feed stack to ensure it is pushing the paint when needed.

Tool-less battery door:

This hopper runs on 4x AA batteries, and the newer models have a battery door, so you don’t need to unscrew anything to change batteries.

There is a little foam piece between the battery harness and the battery door. Please don’t lose it; otherwise, the harness will rattle during play.

Pro-tip: Some people take the batteries out and inset a 9-volt battery instead. Don’t do it, as it won’t work correctly and is unreliable.

  • Lightweight
  • It comes with a gas tank
  • Sound activated
  • Low battery indicator
  • Different settings for the microphone
  • Force-feed 20+ balls per second
  • Customizable
  • 1-hour auto shut-off
  • Heavier tank
  • Older models need tools to unscrew the battery door.

My Opinion:

Halo has a good firing speed with a 180-round capacity. One drawback is that it uses 4x AA batteries, but the battery compartment is outside the hopper, so you don’t need to disassemble it to change batteries.

Overall it is a budget-friendly model with sound activation that works. Most players find trigger-sound-activated markers annoying, but once you change the settings and get used to it, it’s pretty smooth and a fun playing experience.


Valken Paintball VSL Tournament Electric Loader Review

The highest capacity hopper

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Valken VSL

Key features

  • Capacity extender included
  • Powered on 3AA batteries
  • Quick switch lid
  • The eye sensor triggers a pulsing motor which is gentle on the paint
  • Tool-less assembly and disassembly
  • 50 caliber arm included
  • Anti-jam sensing technology built-in


  • Weight: 1.3 lbs.
  • Cal. 68 cal. And 58 cal.
  • Capacity: 250 rounds

Valken Paintball VSL Tournament is a .68-caliber loader that you can convert into a .58-caliber loader. It also comes with an insert to give you a higher capacity of 50 extra paintballs, which can be crucial if you are a tournament player.

Though it is not the fastest loader out there, it is a precise 250-round capacity hopper, and I prefer precision and reliability over speed.

Inside of Valken Paintball VSL hopper:

Push the tab underneath the release on the back to remove the top section, and you can insert a variety of speed feeds. You can take the tray off without tools and run on 3x AA batteries.

The Valken is eye-activated, so when you push the power button, the motor rotates until something blocks the eye-sensor beam.

Switching from 68 calibers to 50 caliber

To transform the .68 caliber tray into a .50 caliber, rotate the 0.68 caliber tray until it loosens, and then take it out. Insert the 0.50 caliber tray and place its tab on the hole at the bottom. Push it, then rotate it.

The high capacity insert:

The insert can easily be fixed on top of the tray. Put the top half back on, and you get extra balls to feed your gun.

  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to insert 50 cal. tray and high-capacity insert
  • Will handle soft paint
  • Rarely jams
  • Quick switch lid for easy loading
  • Consisting shooting
  • Not the fastest loader
  • No battery indicator

My Opinion:

It works excellent with reusable paintballs (reball). Run as many reballs as you want without the gun jamming.

Suppose your guns are of different calibers, and you want a consistent force-feeding and consistent hopper that you can use for any caliber. In that case, consider the Valken Paintball VSL Tournament Electronic hopper, as it is easy to use, expandable, and budget-friendly.


Comparison Chart Of The Best Paintball Loaders 2023


Virtue Spire IV Electronic


Virtue Spire IV Electronic


  • IFI Bluetooth Logic Board
  • Communicates with Virtue Ace Market
  • 25 Balls Firing Speed Per Second
  • Link it with Smartphone

 [Mid-Level to Pro]

Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic

Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic

  • Lowest Profile
  • True 200 Rounds
  • Angle Indicator for flawless shooting
  • G-Force Sensor

[Mid-Level to Pro]

Dye R2 Electronic

Dye R2 Electronic

  • 25-30 BPS Firing Speed
  • 20% Wider Feeding Mouth
  • Lightweight
  • 100,000 Shots on 3AA Batteries

[Mid-Level to Pro]

Dye LT-R Electronic

Dye LT-R Electronic

  • 80,000 Shots on 3AA Batteries
  • Easy disassembly
  • Budget-Friendly

[Beginner to Mid-Level]

Proto Primo Paintball Hopper

Proto Primo Paintball Hopper

  • Gravity Hopper
  • Spring Tray for Easy Shooting
  • Easy to Clean

[Beginner to Mid-Level]

Virtue Spire Electronic

Virtue Spire Electronic

  • Swift Feeding and Shooting Using IR Sensors
  • Never Pulses
  • Never Jams

[Beginner to Mid-Level]

Empire Paintball Halo Too

Empire Paintball Halo Too

  • Sound Activated 
  • Auto Shut-Off
  • 6 Different Microphone and Speed Settings

[Beginner to Mid-Level]

Valken  VSL Tournament Electric Loader

Valken VSL Tournament Electric Loader

  • 58 & 68 Caliber arms 
  • Capacity Extender 
  • Budget-Friendly

[Beginner to Mid-Level]

Buyer’s Guide: Best Paintball Hoppers

Info graphic of Best paintball hopper buyer guide
10 things to consider when shopping for a new hopper

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. Ultimately, it depends on your level of play and your gun.

Nobody wants their equipment to fail on the field. So it is advised to choose a loader compatible with your gun instead of cussing the same old hopper every time you play.

We have reviewed the eight best hoppers, but I advise you to read this buying guide to understand the basics of a loader and how gravity-fed paintball hoppers differ from 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. If you are a beginner, choose easy-to-use equipment until you learn intermediate and pro skills and can play more intuitively.

My team agreed that beginners should opt for lightweight gravity paintball hoppers like Proto Primo or any low-budget and easy-to-use electronic loaders like Valken VSL if they are eager to use one.

Gravity loaders are practical in that they need no batteries or motors, and they are much cheaper and intuitive for beginners since they require no training or practice. They feed the balls, and you will get a firing rate of up to 8-9 balls per second which is decent.


Once you have learned some shooting, diving, and sliding skills, you can opt for mid-level hoppers. The mid-range hoppers are not that expensive and advanced in terms of technology, but you will develop steady shooting skills and slowly improve over time.

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.


Professional players can choose whatever they want due to their refined skills. Still, top paintball hoppers like Bunkerking’s CTRL, Virtue spire IV, and III are fantastic in terms of firing rate, battery life, sensors, low profile, and durability.

These high-end loaders rarely jam up or have any motor or sensing issues.

Hopper That Is Compatible With Your Gun:

Though most types of paintball hoppers are standard .68-calibers these days, which means most basic hoppers should be compatible with all types of guns, it’s always best to check the compatibility in advance.

For example, the Virtue Spire IV can communicate with the Virtue Ace marker and is designed so well that you never miss a shot.

Size, Volume, And Weight Of The Paintball Hopper:

Hoppers should be lightweight; there is no debate around it. Weight can fluctuate depending on the size of the loader and its capacity when loaded. Batteries for electronic hoppers also increase weight. However, don’t opt for a heavier loader because you already carry heavy paintball gear.

Pros can opt for heavier loaders with larger capacities because they are strong enough to carry the weight when aiming, but many pros often prefer lightweight gear to move more effortlessly. Professionals also have great aim, so they don’t need to spray-shoot bullets to hit their targets. I recommend beginners practice with fewer balls in the hopper for a lighter weight to develop arm strength, good aim, and steady hands over time. Still, some of my friends disagree and say beginners should get used to total capacity weight from the get-go. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide.

Standard units will carry around 180-200 balls and are lighter than 200-250 ball capacity loaders.

Low-profile modern loaders like Bunkerking’s CTRL or Virtue Spire IV are lightweight but may be expensive for a beginner.

Material And Durability Of The Loader:

Paintball hoppers are vulnerable to damage caused mainly 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, check the quality of the hopper before making a purchase.

The hard plastic is fine, but plastic is plastic. It may break under stress or a hard fall.

Polycarbonate material is also popular, which many high-end hoppers are made of as it is strong, durable, easy to clean, and lightweight.

Speed Feed Compatibility:

Though 90% of the paintball hopper is compatible with speed feed for a 2x faster feed rate, it won’t hurt to check if any hopper uses exclusive speed feeds.

Check The Firing Rate:

The firing rate depends on your hopper, gun, and how fast you pull the trigger. Ordinary gravity loaders offer a rate of 8 to 9 balls per second because they lack the electronic and mechanical parts needed 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.

Feed Rate:

Check the feed rate without speed feed. High-end hoppers offer fantastic feed rates, but I don’t recommend them for beginners.

If you want to sharpen your skills, go for Dye R2 or Dye LTR. They are basic, offer high feed rates, and I often see them in tournaments.

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, but it requires elite-level skills. Beginners will get jammed a lot until they learn technique and gameplay. If your hopper jams, you have to unclog it manually.

Hoppers like Virtue, Dye, and Valken have excellent anti-jamming features. 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, and they won’t jam on you.

Style And Ease Of Use:

Loaders come in several colors and designs, so it’s easy to find one that matches your paintball marker. I like Bunkersking’s CTRL due to its sleek style and low-profile design.

Virtue Spire IV pretty has chrome linings on the side, making it highly colorful, shining, and easy to spot from miles away.

Hoppers are available in multiple colors, so choose one that suits your marker and gear. Evergreen colors like Camo and black also have reasonable resell prices in the market.

Ease of use means it has a large feed mouth, good battery life, a quick switch lid, infrequent jamming, and easy assembly and disassembly.

Note: A unit that is easy to clean and easy to maintain is easy to use.

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 products mentioned above provide a year-long warranty, but at least a 1-2 month warranty is essential before spending serious money. Consider a good return policy as well if you change your mind. I always buy from Amazon nowadays since they have fast shipping, and I have always found it easy to return products without giving me any headaches.

Gravity-Fed Paintball Hoppers Vs Electronic Paintball Hoppers

Gravity hoppersElectronic 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 capacityThey 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

Final Thoughts

I try to provide accurate information and suggestions to save you from buying a low-quality product.

Ultimately, the best paintball hopper is lightweight, loads fast, shoots fast, doesn’t jam, is easy to use and easy to clean.

If you buy a paintball loader from a sporting goods store, ask the seller for information about feed rates, loading speed, battery life, durability, and gun compatibility.

We hope this buying guide was helpful. Please share it with any other paintball maniacs you know.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best paintball hopper?

The best paintball hopper loads fast, shoots fast, never jams, never pulses, and is easy to clean. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Virtue Spire IV Electronic
  • Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic
  • Dye R2 Electronic
  • Dye LT-R Electronic
  • Proto Primo Paintball Hopper
  • Virtue Spire Electronic
  • Empire Paintball Halo
  • Valken VSL Tournament Electric

What is the best electronic paintball hopper?

These are the top 5 electronic paintball hoppers:

  1. Dye LT-R Electronic paintball loader
  2. Virtue Spire IR2
  3. Virtue Spire IV
  4. HK Army Speed Hopper
  5. Valken Paintball V-MAX Plus

Are Paintball Hoppers Universal?

Paintball Hoppers are universal in size, but most gravity hoppers can’t keep up with the firing speed of an advanced electronic paintball marker. You can use an electronic hopper with both mechanical and electronic paintball guns.

How long will 200 paintballs last?

On average, two hundred paintballs will last an hour for most players, and a long paintball session can last for 5 hours or more. Read more about paintball hopper capacity.

How To Clean A Paintball Hopper?

Cleaning a paintball hopper is easy when you use a brush to remove all the dirt inside the hopper. You can use a toothbrush and water to clean the hopper if you do not want to spend money on cleaning supplies.

What’s the difference between expensive and cheap hoppers?

Cheap paintball hoppers are very basic and less durable and tend to be gravity loaded and quite basic in their functionality. On the other hand, expensive paintball hoppers can be made out of lightweight metals, which makes them more durable, and might be electronic and accurate in loading ammo.

Can you use any hopper with a paintball gun?

No, you should always check to see which brands and guns the hopper is compatible with.

Can you put an electric hopper on a mechanical paintball gun?

Yes, but the feeder rate of the hopper will be higher than the gun’s fire rate. So it will not make the paintball gun fire faster but can make it load better and feel much smoother. Electric hoppers are battery-operated and must be charged or require AA or AAA batteries.

How do electric hoppers work?

An electric hopper allows players to fire paintballs at high speeds without reloading them manually.

How fast can paintballs be shot with an electronic paintball hopper?

The best electronic hoppers allow for a feeding rate and firing rate of up to 30 balls per second.

What are the benefits of using an electronic paintball hopper?

An electronic paintball hopper has several advantages: better accuracy, smoother, easy to use, less likely to jam, and low need for cleaning and maintenance.

Is there any way to have a paintball guns hopper anywhere but the top to use the scope?

A mag-fed hopper is a magazine that loads ammo like an assault rifle magazine and attaches below the barrel. But you may have to buy a mag-fed paintball gun like the Tippmann TMC Magfed.

How do you attach a hopper to a paintball gun?

Put it on top of the marker and screw the pinch bolt to fasten it.

How many paintballs can you shoot with an electric hopper before changing batteries?

Most electric hoppers can shoot 10,000 to 100,000 paintballs before changing batteries, depending on the batteries.