5 Best Paintball Hoppers Of 2019: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

This post was updated on: Wednesday, August 1, 2019

There are quite a few vital pieces of paintball equipment you’ll need to gather before you can step onto the field with confidence – and besides the more obvious things, such as the actual paintball marker and protective gear, no paintball setup is complete without a hopper.

5 Best Paintball Hoppers Of 2019: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 1

So, let’s use this opportunity to go over some of the best paintball hoppers together!

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  
Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loaders/Hoppers - Black
Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loaders Rating: 90/100 Click for Latest Deal
G.I. SPORTZ Level Loader, Black
G.I. Sportz LVL Level Paintball Loader Rating: 86/100 Click for Latest Deal
Virtue Spire IR Electronic Paintball Loader/Hopper - Black
Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loaders Rating: 81/100 Click for Latest Deal
Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader (Black)
Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader Rating: 79/100 Click for Latest Deal
Dye Proto Primo Paintball Loader Hopper - Black
Proto Primo Paintball Hopper Rating: 75/100 Click for Latest Deal

#5 Proto Primo Paintball Hopper

Proto Primo Paintball Hopper
  • 200 ball capacity
  • Primo loader helps sort and funnel as you shoot for a consistent vertical feed
  • Featuring a positive shelf designed to relieve pressure on paint balls

The Proto Primo is, by far, one of the best budget-friendly paintball hoppers on the market. So, if you’re a beginner looking to save a few bucks, this is an option worth considering.

We’re talking about a gravity-fed hopper here, so don’t expect any bells and whistles. That said, this one’s far from being “basic” – it has a few handy tricks up its sleeve that make it a “high-end option” in the low-end range.

Our favorite feature – and first of its kind, too – is undoubtedly the Primo loader with a positive feed shelf that helps relieve the pressure on the paintballs and allows them to move around a bit more easily. That, in turn, ensures consistent vertical feed at a rate of up to 8 paintballs per second and lowers the risk of jamming.

It has a 200-ball capacity, and at this price point, that’s more than impressive. It’s easy to reload, too, thanks to the transparent, spring-loaded lid.

And while it’s the best model in its category, it’s not immune to a problem most gravity-fed models experience – when it’s running a bit low on paintballs, it requires a bit of shaking around, to keep things moving.

Pros:

  • Primo loader ensures consistent vertical feed
  • Positive shelf relieves pressure on paintballs
  • Fairly decent feed rate
  • The capacity of up to 200 paintballs
  • Easy to reload due to the clear, spring-loaded lid
  • A perfect budget-friendly option for beginners

Cons:

  • Requires shaking when it’s running low on paintballs

#4 DYE LT-R ELECTRONIC PAINTBALL LOADER

Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader
  • Provides every style of player a loader that retains the quality performance that's needed to win at a price tag that's unmatched.
  • Patented DYE loader technology that fuses top-notch functionality with mind-blowing feed rates and reliability. Patented Rotor Force...
  • The LT-R sets standard for battery efficiency, powered by only 3 AA batteries allowing the hopper to get 80,000+ balls shot count.

Although not as budget-friendly as the previously discussed model, the Dye LT-R still falls in the reasonably priced range, which is why deemed it a suitable choice for intermediate-level players, as well as beginners who are looking to upgrade from a gravity-fed to an electronic paintball loader.

The unique, patented loader technology is what sets it apart from the competitors – and ensures excellent feed rates and consistency, too! Thanks to their signature rotors, it has a mind-blowing fire rate of more than 30 paintballs per second!

The battery life is pretty impressive – three AA batteries can power more than 80,000 shots in a single charge. It comes with a handy LED battery indicator, too. The Black-Ops feature lets you turn it off when you’re participating in low-light games, though.

Maintenance and disassembly are pretty much effortless, as they don’t require any tools. Oh, and did we skip the fact that it has a water-resistant coated board, too?

One issue we’ve experienced with the Dye LT-R hopper is jamming. Before you move on, know that you can quickly fix this by turning the hopper upside down and pulling the jam-release trigger. Still, it’s an issue worth noting.

Pros:

  • Rotor Force Fed Technology ensures a steady fire rate of 30 balls per second
  • 200-ball capacity
  • Adjustable feed tension
  • Features a jam-release trigger
  • Excellent battery life with an LED indicator
  • Maintenance and disassembly doesn’t require tools
  • Black-ops feature turns the LED indicator off
  • Lightweight, yet sturdy
  • Water-resistant coated board

Cons:

  • Prone to jamming

#3 VIRTUE SPIRE ELECTRONIC PAINTBALL LOADERS

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Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Loaders
  • [Built to Win] - Smaller, lighter, easier to use and more reliable than any other loader in its class
  • [Intelligent] - Proactive feeding using improved sensors to give a constant stream of paint
  • [Reliable] - Never pulses, never jams | Quiet and efficient | Peace of mind, rain or shine

No self-respecting round-up of the best paintball hoppers can go without at least one of Virtue Spire models! On that note, we’d like to introduce you to the Virtue Spire IR – a reasonably priced, high-quality electric hopper for beginners and mid-level players alike.

It’s relatively similar to its predecessor, so we figured it was necessary to point out the vital difference between the two – the noticeable improvement in the shell quality.

It’s been almost entirely redesigned, to address some of the most common durability issues the previous model had. The IR’s nylon back shell is not only sleek but strong and durable, as well. And while it’s sturdier, it’s still surprisingly compact and lightweight!

The unit’s capacity is around 200 paintballs, and it uses three IR sensors combined with a spring-loaded anti-jam drive to ensure that the balls keep moving at all times, giving you a steady feed rate of around 20 paintballs per second – all while remaining reasonably quiet. At the same time, the flexible rubber fingers are gentle enough to handle even the most brittle paintballs with minimal risk of breaking them.

It performs even better with a spring ramp and a Speed Feed attached, but unfortunately, these additions are sold separately – so, you’ll have to spend a bit more than you originally planned.  

Pros:

  • 200-ball capacity
  • Features sensors for continuous loading
  • No jamming or broken paintballs
  • Highly durable nylon back shell
  • Easy to disassemble and clean
  • Has a low battery indicator with alarm

Cons:

  • Speed Feed and spring ramp are sold separately

#2 G.I. SPORTZ LVL LEVEL PAINTBALL LOADER

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#2 G.I. Sportz LVL Level Paintball Loader
  • Easy to clean
  • Jam proof drive System
  • Super low profile

As we move up higher in the price range, it becomes increasingly harder (but not entirely impossible) to find models that truly stand out of the bunch – and the G.I. Sportz LVL is one such model.

The shell is made from high-impact nylon, and the overall design shows a strong focus on maintaining a low profile. It still holds around 200 balls per round, so it’s good to know that they haven’t sacrificed capacity to get that ultra-light, low profile design.

We loved the On/Off switch and the adjustable speed – you get to choose among three different speed levels, with feed rates going from 13 to 18 balls per second, depending on your needs!

The fact that it comes with a Speed Feed and an easy-swap rain lid is pretty cool in our book, too.

Be aware that this thing gets loud, though, especially at high-speed levels – it’s easily one of the loudest hoppers we’ve tested!

Also, it doesn’t come with batteries, which seems a bit silly considering that they included things like the Speed Feed in the offer. Anyway, we’re not trying to be nit-picky here; we’re just reminding you to buy a pack of AA batteries.

Pros:

  • Requires four AA batteries
  • Low-battery indicator with LED and alarm
  • Features a jam-proof drive system
  • Holds approximately 200 balls per round
  • Three adjustable speed levels
  • Lightweight, yet durable nylon body
  • Comes with a Speed Feed and rain lid
  • Features an On/Off switch

Cons:

  • Somewhat loud
  • The batteries are not included
  • Interior components feel flimsy

#1 VIRTUE SPIRE III ELECTRONIC PAINTBALL LOADERS

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Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loaders
  • Hinged Shell Technology | Higher 230 Round Capacity | Faster Jam Proof Feeding
  • Dual LED Reload Indicator with Alarm | Brittle Paint Performance | Improved Toolless Design
  • Toolless Tray Disassembly | 35% Smaller Spire Drive | Shock-mounted G-force Sensor | CPU-Optimized Motor Logic

The Virtue Spire III is a highly advanced, feature-rich electronic loader that will never let you down when it comes to performance – and easily one of the best paintball hoppers on the market, too.

One of the first things you’ll notice is how sturdy and well-made it feels, not only because of the material itself but because of the new hinged shell technology that turns the bottom, the back, and the top shell in a single hinge-mounted piece, as well.

It boasts an outstanding 220-ball capacity with an 18 balls-per-second fire rate, but it’s the actual driving force behind it – the combination of a shock-mounted G-Force sensor and a magnetically attached spire drive with rubber fingers – is what blew us away!

Plus, it has a handy reload indicator with dual LED and audio alarm.

We were thrilled to see a few advanced features thrown in there, as well, the most notable one being the option to link it to your smartphone through a special app, and keep an eye on your hopper at all times.

And while we like the idea of a hinged shell, we have our hesitations about the actual hinge – it’s still plastic, which means you’ll always be one wrong move away from breaking it.

Pros:

  • Sturdy hinge-mounted shell
  • Magnetically attached spire drive with removable flexible fingers
  • Shock-mounted G-Force sensor
  • Integrated back shell windows
  • Reload indicator with dual LED and alarm
  • Comes with a smart spring ramp
  • Can be linked to your smartphone
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • It’s expensive
  • The hinge may be a weak point

Things To Look For In The Best Paintball Hoppers

You need to be extra picky about your choice of the hopper – your performance in the field depends on it!

Gravity Load vs. Electronic

The two basic types of paintball hoppers are gravity-load and electronic – and yes, that’s the first choice you need to make.

Gravity-fed models are simple in structure, as they don’t require any batteries or motors – they utilize your movement to move the paintballs into position, which also makes them lightweight, budget-friendly, and perfect for beginners. However, that also means that they usually have a lower feed rate, and are prone to jamming.

Electronic models, on the other hand, employ a motor, as well as additional internal settings and features that work together to provide continuous, jam-free loading, sometimes at speeds of more than 20 balls per second. They do cost more, though, which is why we think they’re better suited for more serious, advanced players.

5 Best Paintball Hoppers Of 2019: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2

What’s Your Level of Competition?

The best paintball hoppers for professionals might not necessarily be well suited for beginners, and vice versa, so, the first thing we’d like you to do is access your level – and shop accordingly:

  • Beginner – If you’re an occasional, once-in-a-while player, your decision-making process should be rather simple. Whether it’s a gravity-loaded or an electronic model, look for an entry-level option – anything lightweight, easy to use, and affordable will do.
  • Mid-Level – If you’re a bit more skilled, but still don’t consider yourself a pro, a mid-range hopper might be your best bet. They cost more than entry-level models, but they do come with some advanced features that could give you an edge out in the field, and earn you some bragging rights. Check out sound-activated, eye-activated, and cyclone-activated hoppers, and you’ll see what we mean!
  • Professional – Lastly, if you plan on participating in serious competitions, be prepared to go all out – a high-end paintball hopper is a must. Not only do they have a higher feed speed rate and a more substantial capacity but are equipped with well-designed motors and sensors, as well, to provide consistent performance, prevent jamming, and ensure that nothing will go wrong.

Gun Compatibility

Do we even need to underline how important it is to have a hopper that’s compatible with your paintball gun? We sure hope not – but let’s give it a quick overview, anyway:

The good news is that the majority of the industry is standardized these days, which pretty much means that most hoppers sold these days fit most of today’s paintball markers. Still, it’s better to play it safe here, and not assume anything, especially if you own an older model.

One way to ensure that the two will be 100-percent compatible is, of course, buying both from the same brand. Alternatively, you can always contact the manufacturer directly, and ask them about the compatibility with the specific model you own.

Material

If you’re spending money it, you expect it to last, right?

One way to ensure your hopper’s longevity is to choose the materials wisely and find something that could withstand heavy blows and direct impacts without showing signs of wear and tear immediately.

Here are a few options:

  • Aluminum, which is a lightweight, relatively durable, and most importantly, affordable option.
  • Ceramic, which is pretty much the same as aluminum weight-wise, but it’s prone to breaking.  
  • Steel, known for its durability and minimal wear and tear, but way too heavy to be comfortable.
  • Polycarbonate fiber, which is the most popular option currently on the market, as it sums up all the best qualities of the previously mentioned materials – it’s lightweight, durable, and easy to clean and maintain.

As you can probably already tell, our money’s on the polycarbonate fiber hoppers!

Size and Weight (Plus Capacity)

Size and capacity are closely related – but so are size and weight. It’s a trifecta of factors that need to be addressed with care if you want to find what works for you.

Your paintball hopper size and weight can either be your friend or your enemy out in the field. You don’t want something that will only weigh you down, and in that sense, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Instead, you want something that is light enough to carry but can still hold enough paintballs for a complete round – or at least 50.

If you’re anything but a complete newbie, you’ll want a hopper with a capacity of at least 100 paintballs, to cut the time you spend reloading – and the most skilled of players should look into models with a capacity of up to 200 balls.

Luckily, making lightweight hoppers is a priority for most brands these days, so there’s not much room for error here – as long as you make sure that it doesn’t weigh more than a few pounds, that is. Keep in mind that the unit’s weight still depends on its overall size and capacity, though.

Rate of Fire

Lastly, the best paintball hoppers are the ones that can keep up with you – well, your trigger finger, to be precise.

We’re pretty much making a full circle here, as it all boils down to your skill level – the more experienced you are, the faster you’ll be on the trigger, and the hopper’s rate of fire should be, too.

For a beginner, a simple, gravity-loaded model can be enough. These don’t have any paintball propelling mechanisms built in, which means they have a slow fire rate of about eight or more paintballs per second – but they’ll work well if you’re not that fast yourself, and prefer to handle your opponents one at a time.

If, on the other hand, you’re somewhat of a pro, we highly recommend that you focus your attention on mid-range or high-end models that have a rate of fire of around 20 paintballs per second – or higher. You want something that will compliment your speed, not work against it.

5 Best Paintball Hoppers Of 2019: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 3

Final Thoughts On The Best Paintball Hoppers

You already know what our opinion on the matter of the best paintball hoppers is – the Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loaders are, by all means, an outstanding choice – and one “yours truly” uses in his paintball marker setup, too!

While we agree that the price tag might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no arguing that this is the best option the market has to offer right now. And in that sense, it’s worth every penny!

Let us know if you have any additional questions or wish to know more about a particular model – we’d be happy to hear from you!

Sale
Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Loaders
  • Hinged Shell Technology | Higher 230 Round Capacity | Faster Jam Proof Feeding
  • Dual LED Reload Indicator with Alarm | Brittle Paint Performance | Improved Toolless Design
  • Toolless Tray Disassembly | 35% Smaller Spire Drive | Shock-mounted G-force Sensor | CPU-Optimized Motor Logic

Last update on 2019-08-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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