How Long Do Paintballs Last and Guide to Properly Store Them

If you are one of those people who are new to paintball and still confused about some paintball related questions then stay connected with us as we share in depth guides based on our research and experience here. 

Today our topic is related to paintballs which is an important element of the game. The questions are, how long do paintballs last? Can they expire? How do you know if old paintballs are still good?

Average shelf life of paintballs is 3 to 7 months but you need to take proper care of them. Can we extend this period and how? Yes, we can extend this time to a year or more by storing them properly, oh you don’t know how to store them, don’t worry we will guide you here too. 

In our previous guide we informed you about the different types of paintballs so we assumed you are familiar with them. Different types of paintballs belong to different brands and are made of different ingredients and materials, so their shelf life is not the same. 

No one can tell you the exact life of paintballs, only an estimate, but we can tell you about the factors that can affect it and the things we have in hand and we can be adopted to extend their life.

According to customer reviews of retailers, paintballs have a shelf life of about three months. But some paintball players claim that they used paintballs for almost a year. However, they also acknowledge that paintballs become less likely to break over time.

Do Paintballs Really Expire?

Yes, the paintballs are going to expire within a certain period of time. But why? This is because paintballs are made from non-toxic, biodegradable materials. What is important in paintball is not really the shell but the actual paint that is inside. Ideally, the paint is biodegradable, meaning it has an expiration date.

As I said before, each paintball will be made differently, so they will all have a different shelf life. While most paintballs will begin to degrade after about 3-6 months, some paintballs can last a year or more and still perform well in most markers.

How to Tell If Paintballs Are Bad 

To tell if the paintballs are bad or not, you need to check for some obvious signs below.

  • Soft spots
  • Dimple
  • Shape

How to Tell If Paintballs Are Bad

They should not have these qualities but should be perfectly round. If they look pear-shaped or elongated, they will not fire properly with the marker.

If you are still not satisfied, another method is a drop test which you can do to see if the paintball is good or not. For the drop test, drop your paintball at an average person’s elbow height and if it breaks on the first or second test, the paintballs are good.

Paintballs should have various other elements, if they don’t then you can call them bad paintballs. 

  • Paintballs must be clean and hard (not brittle).
  • Contamination such as paint, oil, water, dirt or other substances must not be present on the shell, otherwise they will coat the barrel of the marker and cause false shots.

Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of a Paintball

Date of Manufacture

You may have noticed that your paintballs expire before 4-6 months, one of the reasons is the manufacturing date, you need to check it before paying the bill. It is important to check when it was manufactured, it must be fresh. If it was made last year, it is likely to expire.

Manufacturing dates are written on paintball bag packaging. If you did not notice when purchasing, try to remember when you bought it and count 4 months from there.


Yes, how you store your paintballs is a very interesting factor that greatly affects shell life. You must read the next section where we share details on how to store paintballs, if you follow it carefully you can extend their life. Most people think that the paint is enclosed in a shell so that we can release the paintballs anywhere, a big no you can’t.

If you follow only this factor, you can extend their life by six months. Protect them from sunlight, do not let them fall frequently or they may become defective.

Type of Paint Used

There are multiple types of paint, non-toxic and toxic. Different manufacturers use different paint so that is one of the reasons that not all paintballs will have the same expiration date. 

If the paint used is biodegradable and toxic, it will have a shorter lifespan. If the paint is non-toxic, they will definitely disappear, but they will take about a year which is good. So it is better to check all things first. 

Also Read:

Type of Paint Used

How to Store Paintballs for Longevity

Often, paintballs storage instructions are mentioned on the packages from where you can read them, if your package doesn’t mention it, don’t worry, we can help you out. 

There are a few basic rules that everyone should know, paintballs last best on cool and dry surfaces.

Best Conditions for Paintballs:

  • Temperature range 50° – 85°F
  • 40% – 50% maximum humidity
  • Keep them away from environments with extreme temperature swings

Ideally you can use plastic bags, pods, tubes and moisture-free freezer bags to store them. Also keep in mind, rotate the position of the balls once a week or every ten days, so that the paint does not freeze in just one place.

Paintballs can be severely damaged by UV rays because their shells are made of gelatin and cannot withstand hot and very cold temperatures, so pack the balls well to keep them out of the sun and cool places. To avoid damage, it is recommended to never leave paintballs in direct sunlight or in a warm trunk or freezer.

How to Store Paintballs on a Field

It is also important to take care of paintballs on the field during, after or before the game. 

What to do if the weather is too hot or too cold? If the weather is very hot, keep them in a cool place, under a tree, or in a normal-temperature car (use the car’s AC if necessary), or use a cooler with some ice packs, these are the options used by most players.

And if the weather is cold, you can keep the paintballs in the car with a heater so they don’t get exposed, or keep the heat pack in a cooler with a sealed bag of paintballs.

What Problems Can Old/Bad Paintballs Cause?


If you haven’t used your paintballs in a long time. So using them now can cause a number of problems, one of which is bounce as they absorb moisture over time causing them to swell and not come off the marker well.

Squishiness and Brittleness

You should store your paintballs in a place where the temperature stays the same, as high temperatures can make them soft and mushy and cold temperatures can make them brittle. And, if they experience heat and cold, they will expand and contract, resulting in dimples or dents in the balls.


Paintballs that get wet in storage lose moisture and possibly shrink in size. Clean and test them before use, if they break reliably you can use them.

Barrel Clogs

Less strong paintballs can break into the barrel and jam the gun.


Small divots on the sides of paintballs can increase wear and tear, reducing the effectiveness of the paint. Some paintballs will soften and swell slightly when stored in a humid place. Because of this they will not fit into the firing chamber of a paintball marker.

How to Discard Old and Broken Paintballs

If your paintballs are too damaged, you just need to discard them to save yourself more pain, as damaged paintballs can cause problems with your marker, loader, and barrel.

I wouldn’t recommend just throwing them in the yard because they can take a long time to decompose on their own.

You can mix all your paintballs with something along the lines of a 5 gallon bucket and soak them in water when they are completely accessible. Once they dissolve, pour the gelatin/dye infused liquid out into the yard

The Final Word

The shelf life of paintballs is three to seven months.

Paintballs should always be stored in a dry, cool place where temperature stays the same (50°F and 70°F).

Different paintballs are made from different materials so they have different shell lives, depending on various factors but one thing that extends their life is maintenance. You need to store them with proper care, protect them from extreme cold or hot temperatures, and humidity and keep them only in normal temperature places.

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I am a software engineer and also a paintball dye hard with a great vision about the safe promotion of paintball around the world. I am fond of buying different paintball guns and paintball masks for experiments and reviews on those for my users, for that purpose i made this website.

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