When purchasing accessories for your paintball gun, one of the decisions you will have to make is what type of paintball hoppers you prefer. There are two main types of hoppers, agitated feeders and those that are gravity fed. Your decision will be based on your budget and your experience.
Most beginners opt for gravity fed paintball hoppers. Gravity fed loaders are less expensive than agitated feeders and there are a few that are compatible with all paintball guns. However, it should be kept in mind that, by definition, gravity fed hoppers will only load as fast as the paintballs are able to drop. Another downside to such hoppers is that they are more likely to become jammed than agitated feeders. When a player fires too quickly, the balls tend to build up, jam and then block the hole, which stops the feed altogether. Shaking the hopper can fix the problem, but, especially for advanced players, such glitches take up too much time to correct. This is one of the primary reasons that agitated feeder hoppers were developed.
While agitated feeders are the more expensive option, advanced players almost always add this type of hopper onto their paintball gun. As far as dependability is concerned, there is no question that agitated paintball hoppers far exceed gravity fed hoppers. Agitated hoppers have a built in motor which is connected to a paddle that spins and breaks up the paintballs as they are fed through the hole in the hopper. In this sense, paintball hoppers with agitated feeders can make you a quicker shot. However, when the problem with paintball jams is not considered, there really is no difference in speed between the two types of hoppers. Of course, the jams inevitably slow down a player’s shooting capabilities.
While gravity fed paintball hoppers are fairly straightforward, agitated feeders come in different forms. For instance, there are less expensive agitated feeders that have a constantly spinning motor within them. So, whether or not the paintballs are jammed, the motor-run paddle will continue to spin. Other more advanced agitated feeders have a built-in sensor that can detect the gaps between paintballs, and will only spin when needed. These hoppers are far more efficient.
In the end, it depends on what you are willing to spend. If you just starting out, it might be wise to begin with lower cost accessories. You can then upgrade if you decide to play on a regular basis and wish to improve your game.