Why Do Paintballs Cost Different Amounts?

Why Do Paintballs Cost Different Amounts?

Posted by Josh Silverman on 17th Aug 2020

The Price of Paintballs

The price of paintballs vary and you want to know why. Why are some paintballs $30 per case and some $45? The simple answer is the price on different brands and different models of anything varies. You can buy a hammer for $5 or a hammer for $50. You can buy a car for $10,000 or a car for $100,000. You can buy a pair of running shoes for $10 or a pair for $150. That’s just how it works. But there’s more to it than that.

What makes one paintball better than another paintball? There are many things to look at here.

The Fill

What’s inside the paintball has a lot to do with the cost. Paintballs made with PEG (also known as Polyethylene Glycol) fill are generally the best paintballs. PEG paintballs tend to be rounder, better performing, environmentally the safest, easiest to clean and generally more expensive than non-PEG paintballs because in almost every way, they perform better. PEG paintballs also have the best anti-freezing properties. Premium brands like Valken Graffiti use PEG.

Lesser quality fills like starch-based fills or oil-based fills are more difficult to clean off of your gun, your clothes and take longer for the biodegradable process to take place. Starch paintballs tend to leave a white powder substance on everything they break on, which takes longer and more work to remove. Both starch and oil fill paintballs break down the shell faster than PEG, shortening their shelf live as well.

Paintballs with brighter colored fills are generally more expensive than watered-down, dull colors. Color pigment costs money. The viscosity of a paintball fill is also important. Thicker fills are more expensive to manufacture than thin fills. Thinner fills with less pigment may shoot fine but they won’t mark your opponent nearly as wells as thicker, brighter fills that leave a mark a referee can see clearly from across the field during a game.

The Shell

The shell of a paintball is incredibly precise and difficult to manufacture consistently. The shell of a paintball is measured in thousandths of an inch and a couple of thousandths of an inch can be the difference between a paintball that easily breaks on target, or a ball that bounces. To achieve a perfectly round paintball with a shell that retains the same shell measurements around the entire circumference of the ball is a difficult, tedious task. Again, consistency and quality costs more than “hit or miss” production.


Anyone who’s played paintball for more than a day or two knows some paintballs shoot straighter than others. This is due to the high-quality materials used to manufacture higher-end paintballs, and the more exacting specifications to which higher-end, more costly paintballs are manufactured in order to create a paintball that is as round as possible, with as small a seam as possible. The rounder and more exact each paintball is, and the more consistent a run of paintballs is from ball to ball, will create an accurate paintball brand that shoots straight ball after ball, case after case, weekend after weekend and paintballs that perform at this level are generally more expensive. Brands like Valken Redemption Pro and Valken Graffiti are held to these high standards.

Low Run Paintball & Specialty Paintballs

Custom paintballs such as the American Flag paintballs, Valken’s UV/Zombie paintballs that glow in the dark, winter paintballs, Valken’s Striped Graffiti Paintballs and .50 caliber paintballs are made in much smaller quantities, with much more precision, quality control and care—and they cost more. Anything mass-produced will be less expensive than limited quantity runs—and the quality will suffer as well.

Packing & Shipping

Paintballs are shipped in climate-controlled trucks. Larger manufacturers of paintballs move more product and have more resources when it comes to packaging and shipping paintballs. Paintballs must be packaged carefully in order to ensure they are usable when a player opens a case – many manufacturers like Valken package paintballs with cardboard dividers inside each case to ensure each bag of paintballs is protected within, and all this packaging also has a cost attached to it.

What Is Your Goal?

If you are shooting a high-end paintball gun like an Eclipse CS2, Luxe or Field One Force you may want to consider putting a high-quality paintball through your high-quality gun in order to achieve the performance on-par with the money you’ve spend on your paintball gun. High-end paintball guns are tuned to shoot the very best paintballs consistently to achieve high levels of accuracy without breaking paintballs inside the paintball gun. On the other hand, if you have a gun like the Tippman Model 98, Spyder or the Valken Blackhawk, a mid-quality ball with a thicker shell may be recommended as these paintball guns run at a higher pressure and are a little rougher on each paintball as it is fired. The bottom line is this: whichever brand shoots out of your gun the most consistently and breaks on what you are shooting at will give you the best day of play. It’s not about cleaning broken paint from your gun all day, it’s about playing paintball and having fun.