Paintball Loaders and Hoppers
There are a number of different factors that can influence the performance of a paintball loader / hopper. The size of the loader, the amount of paintballs a hopper will hold, the feed detection mechanism and the speed or feed rate of the hopper.
Paintball Hopper Feed rates
When purchasing a paintball loader you need to make sure that you match the feed rate to your paintball gun. If a loader is too slow you will have problems as the marker is likely to miss shots (if it has eyes) or chop balls if the marker has no eyes. A loader that is too fast can also cause problems with crushing of paint and ball breakage. Many of the top end loaders now have adjustable speed settings.
Paintball loader size / capacity
This is the amount of paintballs that you can fit in a loader at any one time and varies from about 120 balls to 400 balls on some loaders. The most common size is about 200 balls which is a good balance. Small loaders are useful for tournament front players who wish to present the smallest possible target. Large loaders mean you have to fill up less often and are more normally used by back players and scenario players. As paintballs are normally filled into a loader from 140 ball pods a 200 ball loader is ideal as you can refill it when you still have 60 balls left in without wastage.
Paintball loader feed detection.
There are 3 main types of feed detection mechanism. 1. Eye detection which uses a brekbeam eye to see when the balls are falling and start the motor. 2. Sound detection – the loader contains a small microphone which tunes in to your gun and starts the motor as soon as it hears you start firing your gun. 3. Force fed – this type of loader keeps a constant pressure on the balls. All the different types above have associated benefits and limitations and opinion is still divided as to which is the best mechanism.