Comparing Gel Blaster Vs Paintball Gun: Which is More Fun?

By Tavish Archer
Edited On

As an avid fan of real-life shooting games and recreational sports, I’ve played at several paintball arenas. I must admit – shooting away at each other with paintballs and winning the match offer loads of fun. More recently, however, I’ve also grown fond of gel blasters. These toy guns have come up as a much safer and more convenient alternative to paintball guns.

Personally, I find it too monotonous to pick and play only one all the time. Even though I’ve bought many gel blasters already, I still take part in paintball games too. But, if you are struggling to choose the right toy gun or game, I hope this article will help you make an informed decision by comparing gel blaster vs paintball and finding out their pros and cons.

Gel Blaster Vs Paintball Gun

First, Let’s Talk About Gel Blasters

To put it simply, a gel blaster is a toy gun that shoots hydrated polymer beads at high speeds. Gel blasters get their name from the gel-like composition and texture of the beads. Also available as splatter ball guns and Orbeez guns, gel blasters come in various styles and sizes, ranging from pistols to sniper rifles. Don’t worry, these toy guns are perfectly safe as long as you play responsibly.

Advantages Of Gel Blasters Over Paintball Guns

Gel blaster guns offer several perks over paintball guns. In fact, manufacturers came up with gel blasters primarily to get around the drawbacks posed by paintball and airsoft guns.

Less Messy: First and foremost, gel blasters are nowhere as messy as paintball guns. The whole concept of paintball comes from the ammo used in the latter – shells filled with paint that explode on impact. Gel blasters are simply soaked in water, and you don’t have to worry about stains unless you use colored water.

Hurts Less: Getting shot with paintballs not only hurts but also can also leave welts on the skin for days if the area isn’t covered with thick clothing. Gel beads are very soft and don’t hurt as much as paintballs.

More Eco-friendly: Another perk of gel blasters is their eco-friendly ammunition. The gellets are biodegradable and do not cause any major problems. While paintball shells are available in eco-friendly materials too, they are costlier. Many paintball brands make the outer shell with biodegradable gelatin but use oil-based fillings that are harmful to the environment.

Where Does Gel Blasters Lag Behind Paintball Markers?

While it’s true that gel blasters hold a number of advantages over paintball guns, they also fall behind in some aspects.

No Hit Marks: The whole concept of paintballs is to mark the target upon a successful hit. The clear splotch of paint helps make sure players can’t cheat. The wet spots left by gel balls are far less visible.

Lesser Range: On average, you can hit targets at a distance of 80 to 100 feet using a paintball gun. Most gel blasters have a range of 30 to 80 feet. Only certain models (particularly the sniper gel blasters) can reach 100 feet.

Poor Accuracy: It’s harder to shoot accurately with a gel blaster than with a paintball gun. This is simply because gel blasters shoot at lower FPS and their kinetic energy is lower than paintball. Keeping aside the wind factor, paintballs fly in a straighter path.

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Playing with paintball gun in an arena

Alternatively, Can Paintball Guns Help You?

As the name suggests, paintball guns are toy guns used to shoot dye-filled capsules known as paintballs. They’re typically air guns, i.e., they use compressed air or CO2 to fire the pellets. Upon impact, the capsule breaks open and splashes the surface with dye. Paintball gaming has been around for many years now, but it’s especially played in dedicated paintball arenas.

When Should You Prefer A Paintball Gun Over A Gel Blaster?

Paintballs do offer a couple of advantages over gel blasters too, such as:

Only Suitable For Outdoor Playing: Paintballs are much heavier than gel beads, which makes them less likely to be blown off their course by the wind. This gives paintball guns a distinct advantage when playing in windy conditions outdoors.

A Different Experience: Paintballing offers a different battlefield experience altogether. While it’s true that paintballs are messy, who doesn’t love to splash their friends with dye once in a while?

Easier To Mark Opponent: As I mentioned, paintballs mark the spot they hit with a small splash of dye and other harmless ingredients. This makes it easy to determine who has been hit and who hasn’t. When playing with gel blasters, thus can be a little difficult.

Disadvantages Of Paintball Guns Compared To Gel Blasters

Paintball guns suffer several shortcomings compared to gel blasters, especially when playing at home.

Harder To Clean Up: Cleaning up the space after a game of paintball takes a lot more effort than after playing with gel blasters or splatter ball guns. This is simply because of all the dye splattered over the place from the paintball shells. Gel beads are easy to sweep up from the floor and remove.

More Strict Rules & Regulations: You need to wear protective gear while playing with gel blasters and paintball guns. As long as you play responsibly and follow the rules & regulations, you should be fine. However, accidents do happen, and paintball guns pose a greater danger of serious injuries than gel blasters.

Also Read: Best Paintball Guns: Review And Buying Guide

Gel Blaster Vs Paintball Gun Comparison

Point Of DifferenceGel BlasterPaintball Gun
AppearanceSleek, realistic, colorfulSophisticated, stylish, unrealistic
UsesIndoor and outdoorOutdoor arena
AmmunitionSoft gel ballsPaintballs
Shooting Speed90 FPS to 250 FPSEqual to or less than 300 FPS
Shooting Range30 to 80 feet80 to 100 feet
AccuracyLess accurateBetter accuracy
Minimum Age Requirement9-12 years7-18 years
LegalityMostly legal except a few cities.More strict laws, rules and regulations.
Environmental ConcernBiodegradable & environment-friendlyNot eco-friendly
Price$30 to $200$50 to $2000

Related: Comparison Of Laser Tag, Paintball And Airsoft

Shooting practice with gel blaster

Factors That Differentiate Paintball Gun and Gel Blaster

1. Design And Appearance

Both these types of toy guns carry a stylish and sophisticated look. However, while gel blasters follow the design of real guns, paintball guns look a little different due to the hopper and compressed gas cylinder.

This gives the gel blaster a more streamlined and realistic appearance. Gel blasters are available in various designs– some are brightly colored and clearly appear as toy guns.

Also Read: Different Types Of Toy Guns

2. Different Uses

Of course, gel blasters and paintball guns have the same basic purpose – playing. Paintball, however, has already earned the status of a recreational sport far and wide. I feel gel blasters are a more casual version of it.

While paintball is typically played at dedicated arenas or outdoors, you can play with a gel blaster at home without having to worry about making a mess. In short, gel blasters are better suited for casual, indoor and outdoor gameplay, while paintball is better played outdoors or in an arena.

3. Type Of Ammunition

As I described earlier, gel blasters use soft, water-filled gel beads as ammunition. Made from a superabsorbent polymer material, these water beads expand to many times their size when soaked in water. Upon expanding, they gain a very soft and gel-like consistency. A properly hydrated gel ball required for a gel blaster have a size of 6-8 mm.

Did You Know?

Paintball guns use harder and bigger capsules filled with dye. Upon hitting a surface, the capsules break apart and release the dye on the spot. Paintball capsules are available in various sizes, although 0.68 inches (regular paintball) and 0.5 inches (low impact paintball) are the most popular ones. A 0.68 caliber paintball pellet weighs 3.00 grams, which is significantly heavier than a gel blaster ball.

4. Shooting Range

Paintball guns boast a slightly greater shooting range than most gel blasters. This is due to the difference in working methods and shooting velocity. While gel blasters don’t usually exceed 250 FPS, paintball guns can fire at around 300 FPS.

The shooting range of gel blasters varies from one model to another and can be anything between 30 to 80 feet. Paintball guns, on the other hand, have a shooting range of 80 to 100 feet on average. Some of the high-end gel blasters are more powerful and can have a similar range as paintball guns.

5. Accuracy

Generally speaking, paintball guns can shoot more accurately as their FPS rate is high. Gel blaster balls have a slower velocity, which means they cannot travel as fast as paintballs. This tends to make them veer off their intended flight path more easily.

However, as I mentioned earlier, strong winds can interfere with the accuracy of gel blaster and paintball pellets by forcing them to fly off course. Paintball capsules are more resistant to the effect of wind due to their weight and speed.

6. Minimum Age Requirement

Although there is no specific law about the minimum age requirement to use a gel blaster, it should be roughly 9-14 years, when kids are a bit matured and able to play safely. Low FPS gel blaster guns are safer for children as long as they’re properly geared up and play responsibly.

On the other hand, many states ban minors (under 18) from purchasing or even owning paintball guns. Children may be required to remain under parental supervision while playing with them. However, paintball age requirements vary from state to state. You should check out the paintball age limit in your area to know for sure.

7. Safety And Risk Factor

As I explained earlier, gel blasters are far less likely to cause injuries than paintball guns. Not only do gel blasters shoot at a lower velocity, but the ammunition makes a huge difference too. Especially if someone gets shot in the eye, the harder, bigger, and heavier pellets used in paintball guns will cause a lot more damage than a soft gel ball.

Important Note

As for other risk factors, brandishing either type of gun in public can potentially put you in danger if someone assumes it to be a real gun. Thankfully, colorful gel blasters are hard to mistake for real weapons, and paintball guns look different due to their CO2 tank and uniquely-shaped hopper.

8. Legality

Different states in the US have different laws regarding the purchase, ownership, and use of paintball guns and gel blasters. For example, in Pennsylvania, you’re not allowed to use a paintball gun against an individual not participating in a paintball activity or game.

You may also face criminal charges for any property damage you cause with a paintball gun. The possession and purchase of paintball guns by minors aged under 13 in Illinois and 18 in Rhode Island and New Hampshire are regulated by the law.

Gel blasters are legal almost all over the USA, and the laws are much more relaxed compared to paintball guns. As long as your gel blaster doesn’t resemble a real gun completely or at least has an orange tip, you should be fine in most states. However, some states are more stringent about gel blasters – such as NYC banning them altogether.

9. Environmental Concern

Paintballing usually has a more negative impact on the environment than playing with gel blasters. The polymer material used to make the gel beads are completely biodegradable and breaks down in a maximum of 8 to 10 years.

On the other hand, paintballs are often made of non-biodegradable materials and water-based dye that are not good to animals and the environment in general. However, you can purchase biodegradable paintball pellets, but they are more expensive.

10. Price Factor

Gel blasters are a clear winner when it comes to pricing. You can get decent gel blasters for around $50, whereas cheap paintball guns cost about the same. If you’re looking for a high-end gel blaster, $200 would be enough. Good quality paintball guns, on the other hand, can be as expensive as $70-$500.


Gel blasters are also more cost-effective in the long run due to inexpensive ammo. A pack of 10,000 gel balls costs only $10. For comparison, a pack of 2,000 paintball capsules will cost you anywhere from $30 to $75. You need the best quality gel balls.

So, Gel Blaster Or Paintball Gun : Which Is Better For You?

While I certainly love paintballing, I’d go with gel blasters if I were to buy a toy gun for real-life shooting games for casual purposes. Gel blasters are a far safer option compared to paintball guns and airsoft guns, especially for kids and teens. The price difference for the ammunition isn’t negligible in any way either. Especially if you plan to play indoors, you wouldn’t want to splatter the walls with paint, would you?

If you are more serious about playing shooting games and get a battlefield-like experience, feel free to get a paintball gun. As long as you have adequate safety gears and follow the rules, regulations and laws, you will be fine. If you still aren’t sure which one to buy, try out both at their respective arenas to see which one you enjoy more.

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Tavish Archer

Tavish Archer

Tavish Archer is a Recreational Gamer, Author, and Co-Founder of ThrilloGaming. He holds a degree in Sports Management from Mississippi College (MC), Unites States. His experience and proficiency in the field allow him to provide winning strategies, creative ideas, and expert advice.

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