It’s possible to fill your HPA (high-pressure air) paintball tank at your nearest gas station, which may cause extra money and time but with ease. However, if you have an air compressor at home and you want to do it yourself, you must be aware of the steps on how to fill a HPA tank with an air compressor the right way!

Both hpa tanks and air compressors come with risks, and so I will present to you a safe, straightforward, and successful method for filling a HPA paintball tank with an air compressor.

Table of Contents

Equipment Required to Fill a HPA Tank with an Air Compressor

The equipment generally needed for filling a HPA paintball tank include:

Air compressor

The type of high-pressure air compressor you need to fill a HPA tank would be one like this Orion Motor below, which can comfortable reach the required pressures of the HPA tank.

HPA tank

If you don’t already have one, here’s an example of an aluminium HPA tank readily available on Amazon.

Hose

A hose like the one below would be ideal for this task as it has a gauge on it to monitor the PSI of the pressure going directly into the HPA tank. It also has a female thread which could easily connect to the nozzle on your air compressors outlet or an adapter between the compressors hose and this hose.

Adapter

If you have a female connection on both your air compressor hose and HPA tank (like in the examples provided) then it may be necessary to purchase a male to male plug to connect them together. You may, however, have a male to female connection already so this would not be needed.

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment you need on hand to complete this task will typically be a pair of safety gloves and safety glasses. I will provide you with safety tips further down this guide!

How to Fill a HPA Tank with an Air Compressor Guide

I will now provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to fill hpa paintball tank with your air compressor.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Fill a HPA Tank with an Air Compressor

  1. Inspect the HPA Tank

    First, before anything, you should inspect the HPA tank carefully and ensure there are no signs of leakage or damage. A leak will block your tank from filling and may even lead to a serious injury. If you tank has a leakage, do not proceed. Instead, you should contact an expert to repair it or replace it.

  2. Empty HPA Tank

    If your HPA tank is good to go, the next step is to release the tank of any air left inside it. Take the HPA tank to a well-ventilated area and open the air release valve and, within a few seconds it should release all existing air. It’s crucial to choose a well-ventilated area to ensure that the release doesn’t cause you any breathing problems.

  3. Setup Compressor

    Time to setup the compressor! Connect both nozzles from the HPA tank and the compressor with the air hose, using an adapter if necessary. Check all fitting to ensure that they’re compatible and secure to avoid leaks.

  4. Start Compressor

    Connect the compressor to its power source, or before this, ensure the batter is fully charged if the compressor is battery powered. Turn on the compressor and begin to slowly fill the HPA tank.

  5. Measure PSI

    You need to be able to maintain the proper PSI for the air that you require. If the maximum PSI of the compressor doesn’t match what is required in the HPA tank, you won’t be able to fill it with your desired air. During the filling process, keep an eye on the pressure gauges on both the HPA tank (if there is one) and compressor pressure switch to gauge when you have the right amount of air in the tank.

  6. Disconnect Compressor

    When you have filled the HPA tank, you can turn off the power supply or switch of the air compressor. And then remove the nozzle and hose to disconnect the HPA tank from the air compressor.

  7. Store HPA Tank

    Finally, find a safe place to store your HPA tank now that it is full. Avoid any open areas as they’re risky, so aim to place it in a secure area at home or close to the project.

A common mistake when filling a HPA tank too fast is something called a “hot fill”. This is when you push the lever or button too much and air just blasts from the compressor into your HPA tank, causing the pressure gauge to rapidly rise. The problem here is that the hot fill only appears to fill the tank, and as soon as you disconnect the HPA tank, the air will get hot and the gauge will drop down even if you’re not using it.

You don’t want this to happen as it can damage your paintball tank or cause you to overestimate the capacity of the tank. The last thing you want is for you to disconnect the HPA tank and within 15 minutes it is empty without you using it. To prevent this from happening, you should fill the paintball tank slowly.

Another important step to take that many people neglect, is to empty or drain your air compressor of any remaining air after filling your HPA tank. Failing to do so can be problematic, especially to the tank and the fill nipple. You can release the air in the lines via the pressure relief valve that’s attached to the compressor. Pushing on this will allow any left over air in the line to burst out with a loud “whoosh” noise.

It’s also necessary to drain your air compressor tank from time to time, most people recommend daily or after every use. For more information visit our How To Drain Water From Any Air Compressor Tank guide!

Below is a useful YouTube demonstration on filling your paintball tank at a compressed air fill station.

And another useful demonstration, slightly different to the one described in this article as the demonstrator uses a bucket of room temperature water to cool the compressor.

Filling a HPA Tank with an Air Compressor Safety Tips

It doesn’t matter where you filling your HPA paintball tank, whether that is at home with your own compressor or at the gas station. You should ensure that you follow safety guidelines to ensure nothing goes wrong, and you or your equipment ends up damaged.

A very important thing to note, is to not use oil or grease on the nipple of an HPA tank to lubricate it. Why? Well, during the filling process a lot of heat is generated, and this heat can warm those types of lubricants and lead to a fire. And nor should you store the HPA tank in direct sunlight or leave it in your boot when the surrounding temperatures are warm.

This is recommended for almost any paintball tank as it the pressure may increase and damage the tank itself. HPA tanks themselves won’t be over-pressurized, but the excess heat can lead to the regulator seals becoming damaged which is certainly avoidable. It’s advised that a tank cover or fabric bag is used to keep the tank safe from the environment whenever it is not in use.

During the filling process, the speed should be kept as slow as possible. If you tried to fill the tank too quick, you could undergo a loss of PSI. For instance, you may only end up filling your HPA tank to 2000 PSI when you aimed to fill it to 2500 PSI. Of course, if you were to fill the tank at a gas station then the store operators will be sure to keep you from this situation, but it’s crucial to remember if doing yourself at home.

A final important safety consideration is that HPA tanks have a hydro date which indicates when they were last inspected. It’s generally advised that the tank should be reinspected at least every 5 years to ensure good maintenance.

Various Types of HPA Tanks

When comparing HPA tanks with Co2 tanks, they are capable of being stored in far greater pressures as they have a lot less density. It’s typical to find HPA tanks which are able to hold upwards of 4500 PSI of pressurized air, compared to Co2 tanks which can hold up to around 1800 PSI. We have a separate article on How to Refill Co2 Tank with Air Compressor if you wish to learn more!

So, HPA tanks are available as either fiber wrapped or aluminium types. The fiber wrapped tanks are designed with carbon fiber formed into cylinders which makes them very lightweight and capable of being stored at high pressures. The downfall of these is that they are costly and aren’t so durable, especially when they undergo forceful impacts.

The aluminium tanks in comparison, are a bit heavier but are also available in smaller sizes which allows them to be more portable and ideal for light uses. They are cheaper than fiber wrapped tanks, more durable and can last up to 15 years when maintened appropriately. However, aluminium tanks can’t sustain pressures up to 4500 PSI, instead they’re capable of holding up to around 3000 PSI.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you fill a HPA tank at home?

To fill a HPA tank at home, you need to have the correct hose and adapters at hand to be able to connect your tank to a high-pressure air compressor. When they’re connected, you can turn the high-pressure compressor on and slowly fill the HPA tank. You should monitor the gauges on both the compressor and the tank to know when the HPA tank if full so that you can disconnect the hoses and switch the compressor off.

What kind of air compressor do I need to fill paintball tanks?

You need a small compact high-pressured air compressor in order to fill a paintball tank. Paintball tanks require around 3000-4500PSI depending on the type, and so the compressor must be capable of providing these pressures with ease.

Can I use a regular compressor to fill my paintball tank?

No, a standard air compressor won’t be able to fill your paintball tank because it won’t be able to reach the required pressure. Most regular air compressors have a maximum PSI output of around 180, while a paintball tank requires a minimum of 3000 PSI to fill.

How do you fill a air tank with a compressor?

To keep it short and sweet, when you hook the compressors hose to the air tank and the compressor is switched on, it will begin filling the air tank. The trick is to keep an eye on the pressure gauge so you know when to detach the hose and turn the compressor off when the air tank becomes full.


If you have any questions regarding how to fill a HPA tank with an air compressor, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!