With so many different companies making paintball markers, it can be hard to tell one brand apart from another if you do not know what each is known for and how they build their products. While any paintball marker from the companies on this list should perform well enough to handle most gameplay, some may handle better than others or represent a better starting option for new players. While these companies each receive a ranking, the truth is that I feel that most of them are about on par with one another, and could be somewhat interchangeable. Here’s my best attempt at ranking the top 10 brands of paintball guns.
Top 10 Paintball Brands by Rank
One of the most well-known and popular brands of paintball guns is Spyder. Most of their models sit at entry-level price points and have relatively simple internal and external components, making them great for those just getting started with paintball. However, their lack of higher-end models and poor upgradeability put them near the bottom of my top-10 list.
JT Paintball guns tend to come in at the extremes of the price spectrum, meaning that they make both top-end markers and ultra-low-cost variants. Their cheap stuff tends to break easily and have very few attractive features, and honestly, I’d rather use a slingshot than those guns. Their high-end equipment tends to be both reliable and accurate, but can be bulky and hard to repair.
Azodin paintball markers come in a variety of price points and feature sets, but share a few characteristics that make me like them. Their relatively small form factors make them ideal for close-quarters play, and the company tends to put nice finishes and appearances on both low-end and expensive models. I also like the feel of their trigger systems, and if you prefer a lighter and angular trigger, you probably will, too. However, the simplicity of their guns, combined with a lack of modularity, puts them only at #8.
7. Planet Eclipse
If you have the money for them, Planet Eclipse markers will do everything you need them to. These markers are made with super low tolerances and high-quality materials to provide the best in accuracy, versatility, and reliability. These guns see regular use in competition-level play. However, their prohibitive price points and very high upkeep requirements make them subpar for players like me who prefer more casual gameplay. Still, if you’re looking for a permanent upgrade, these might be your best choice.
Like Planet Eclipse, SP tends to make very expensive and very high-quality markers designed to be as accurate and reliable as possible. In my view, they have a slight edge due to their slightly easier maintenance and some very high-quality accessories and replacement parts. However, much like with Planet Eclipse markers, the high price points of SP products makes them less ideal for newcomers.
I like to call Valken the “budget at any price point” manufacturer. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level, mid-level, or higher-end marker, Valken probably has a model that represents the least-expensive option that you might consider. And that makes them worthy of being a top-5 brand in my book – unless you’re looking for competition-grade choices, Valken probably has something that might look good in your collection.
Of the “big brands” in paintball, Empire is probably the most expensive. Most Empire guns are in the medium or high price ranges, and can sometimes feel a little overpriced. However, thanks to the vast selection of products they offer, the high quality at which they are produced, and the easy-to-find support and replacement parts for most of their lineup, Empire should hold a strong place in any comparison of top paintball brands.
Tippmann is one of the most well-known names in paintball, and for very good reason. Their lineup of paintball markers includes entry and mid-level products that can come at a surprisingly good level of value and quality. Thanks to their larger assets and production facilities, Tippmann products tend to be reliable and easy-to-use as well as versatile in appearance and features. Prefer a military-style paintball marker? The entry-level Cronus (that I used to own) or one of their officially-licensed US Army paintball guns has you covered. Or, if you want a smooth and stylish colored metal finish, you can choose from several of those options, as well. However, if you’re looking for competition-level markers, you may have to set your sights elsewhere.
2. Tiberius Arms/First Strike
If you’re looking for a mag-fed paintball marker, there really is nowhere else to look – Tiberius Arms (also known as First Strike) has the best, most stylish, and most reliable mag-fed markers on the market. Although they can feel a bit pricey, it’s well worth it to have a reliable and durable platform for your milsim and woodsball play. Tiberius markers are also the best mimics available of real firearms, perfectly mirroring both handguns and rifles in their external appearance. Not even Tippmann’s licensed US Army markers (which use hoppers) can match that level of realism.
1. HK Army
When price is no object, and you’re ready to invest in the ultimate level of quality and accuracy, HK Army is the company to look towards. Each HK Army paintball gun costs 10-20x what a single Tippmann product might cost, and to most players, the value proposition is far from fair. For those who want the best accuracy, pressure control, reliability, and, well, EVERYTHING in a sleek and well-engineered package, HK Army delivers the best of the best. Don’t even think about buying one of these markers as a beginner player – you’re better off buying a budget option and learning the ropes, first.
Most of the major manufacturers of paintball guns have the level of precision and reliability required for a solid marker. Organizing these companies into a tiered list was pretty hard for me since many of them are so close together in repute and features. Grab a marker from any of these companies, and you should end up happy with your purchase.