Can You Use Old Paintballs? Everything Thing You Need to Know!

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You should keep in mind that paintballs have an expiration date. But after the expiration date expires, we don’t recommend using the paintballs.

Without further ado let’s get started.

So, can you use old paintballs? No  we don’t recommend doing that. The number one reason we don’t think it’s a good idea is because whenever the paintball reaches its peak age, it causes the paint filling to separate, which causes the shell to absorb the moisture. What usually happens next is the paintball begins to swell, and the balls are more prone to bouncing off the targets instead of splattering and covering them in paint.

With that being said, in this in depth article we will discuss everything you need to know about old paintballs including how long they typically last, how to properly store them and how to tell if the paintballs are bad.

What Problem Can Old Paintballs Cause?

can you use old paintballs


Usually paintballs that are left in storage for quite sometime tends to lose moisture and become smaller in size. If they’re wet, what you can do is clean and test them. If they break after being fired, then you can continue using them.


When paintballs sit for a long period of time, what usually happens is the paintball fills get separated, and the shells absorbs moisture over time. This normally causes the paintball to swell, which leads them to getting crushed easier and bounce a lot. You can’t expect the paintballs to shoot from the marker well either.


If the paintballs are not stored properly then what will happen is that there will some small divots on the sides of the balls, which will eventually increase breakage. These problems will not literally stop you from using your paintballs, but they will definitely decrease the usefulness of the paint.

The age of the paintball depends on a few factors such as the manufacturer, type if ball, and the batch in which they were created.

Some paintballs will become hard and you won’t experience any problem when they’re shot. Others will become extremely brittle. Also, you may notice that some paintballs will become soft and may even swell making it really difficult to properly fit into a paintball marker’s firing chamber.

Squishiness and Brittleness

You should keep in mind that the temperature, humidity and dryness can play a huge role in your paintball firing experience. Whenever the temperature is hot it tends to make the paintballs soft and squishy. When too cold they become brittle. And if they experience heat and cold on a regular basis, they will expand and contract, causing dimples and divots to occur on the balls.

Barrel Clog

You may notice that lower quality paintballs brands tends to become more fragile compared to higher quality ones as wetted paintballs dry. These less sturdy paintballs can sometimes break in the barrel and clog the gun.


Another thing we don’t recommend doing is to place paintballs in direct sunlight, as the UV rays can break them down over a period of time.

How Long Do Paintballs Really Last?

This is by far one of the most common questions asked by our readers. With that said, you can expect paintballs to last for a very long time, usually longer than the retailers claim. But, in order to make them last long you need to store them properly. Flipping them over regularly actually helps as well.

According to most retailers who sells paintball. A paintball’s shelf life is about three to four months. However, there are lots of paintball players who claim that they have used paintballs up to 10 months without having any issues. Also, many of them stated that paintballs become less likely to break over time.

If properly stored, paintballs can last as long as twelve months. In order to make this possible what you can do is stored the paintballs in its original packaging and refrigerated. This can help because refrigerated paintballs tend not to dimple.

We highly suggest that you test paintballs older than three to four months for proper breaking. You can do this by shooting at a tree located in your backyard. If the paintball you shoot doesn’t break, then you need to dismantle the rest.

How to Properly Store Paintballs

If you want your paintballs to last as long as possible then what you need to do is stored them properly. When storing them you need to keep in mind that they are perishable. Everything has a life span including paintballs, and they are biodegradable, so they will eventually break down over time.

When purchase your paintballs you’ll also get a instruction manual from the manufacturer listing ways on how to store on the package. However, not all packages that contain paintballs have storage instructions.

What we recommend doing is to store the paintballs in a dry, cool place and to rotate them over time. The dryness usually prevents the paintball from absorbing moisture and swelling when they’re in cool temperatures (50 °F to 70 °F; 10 °C-21 °C). Make sure to keep your paintball away from environments that have extreme temperature swing.

Keep stored in a plastic bag that’s is at least 5 millimeters thick. Having a moisture-barrier freezer bag in your posession to use would be ideal. You can also store the balls in tubes or pods that have a snug-fitting cap.

The containers should be kept closed. The more humid the environment, the more you will want to protect the balls from moisture. As mentioned earlier, excess moisture can decrease their ability to break upon reaching contact.

You should also try your best to keep the balls sealed, shaded from the sun, and shielded from the cold. As stated, too much heat can cause the gelatin shell to soften, which causes to ball to be deformed. The ball will even start to bounce more. In this condition, it is highly recommended that you don’t feed into the paintball marker.

It’s never a good idea to leave paintballs in the hot sun or a hot trunk.

When on the playing field, try to keep paintballs at a temperature of 60 °F to 70 °F (15 °C-21 °C). You should know that paintballs that get too cold will deform over a period of time, and no matter what you do or try, you can get it back to its regular shape.

This is why you must do everything in your power to prevent paintballs from getting much hotter than room temperature, or they’ll start to stick together. Paintball that get melted together are totally unusable, as they’ve lost the round shape required to load a paintball in a gun and fire it.

If you check Amazon you’ll notice that they offer pods that are ideal for storing paintballs. The pods are plastic containers that include a flip-open lid. They also come in a wide variety of sizes, including 10, 80, 100 and 140 round.

You even has larger pods at 150 that are known to be the most popular ones and are commonly used by players who participate in tournaments. Pod packs or harnesses are used to carry the pods when a player is competing.

How to Tell If Paintballs Are Bad

Take the time out to properly inspect your paintballs for dimples, soft spots a d shape. They should be perfectly round. If they appear to be deformed, then they won’t launch properly from the marker.

Feel the Paintballs – You should check your new paintballs correctly. Upon checking them, they should feel tough but not brittle. They need to be tough enough to be able to shoot from the marker as well as brittle enough to break when they hit their targets. If it is too strong, it won’t break and if it is too brittle, they won’t make it out of the marker.

Paintball Needs to Be Clean to Ensure Accuracy – If there is any form of broken paints, dirt, oil or substance on the shell, they will coat the barrel of the marker making it impossible to get a accurate shot when fired.


You shouldn’t take the age of your paintballs for granted and the reason for this is because they may develop problems over time making them unable to use.

Paintballs develop problems over time. As you can see hot temperatures plays a huge role when it comes to making the paintballs soft and squishy. If they get too cold, they could become brittle. Also, if they do experience cold and hot temperatures on a regular basis, they will expand and contract, causing dimples or divots to occur. Another thing is that if they lose moisture, they will decrease in size. While if they absorb moisture, they will get bigger in size.

Paintball lifespan is usually three months. If they are properly stored, you can expect them to last up to as long as a year.

Paintballs should be kept in a dry and cool place with temperatures ranging between 50 °F to 70 °F. You should properly store them in a plastic bag that is at least 5 millimeters thick or in a paintball pod with a tight-fitting cap. Try your best to keep them away from moisture and heat, as well as from direct sunlight.

Inspect new paintballs to see if they’re bad. Take the time out to inspect the paintballs for soft spots, dimples, and deformed shape. The paintballs should be tough enough so that they are able to shoot from the marker, but brittle enough to break when hit target.

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