Do Paintballs Go Bad?

Do Paintballs Go Bad

Hey there, paintball enthusiasts! Whether you’re a seasoned player or just dipping your toes into the vibrant world of paintball, you’ve probably asked yourself at some point, “Do paintballs go bad?” It’s a valid concern, especially if you’ve got a stash lying around and you’re wondering if it’s still suitable for your next epic battle.

Understanding the shelf life of paintballs can save you money and the frustration of dealing with jams, misfires, or—worse—paint that doesn’t splat the way it should.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the lifespan of paintballs, from storage tips to tell-tale signs that your paintballs have seen better days.

How Long Do Paintballs Last?

You’re still here, so you’re as curious as I am! So, how long do paintballs last? Well, that can vary. A general rule of thumb is that paintballs are good for about four months to a year when stored under the right conditions.

But it’s more complex than sticking them in a closet and forgetting about them. The longevity of paintballs depends on multiple factors, like how they were stored, the type of paint used, and even the date of manufacture.

We’ll go into all those intricate details later, but for now, let’s say that proper storage is your paintball’s best friend for a long and fruitful life.

Do Paintballs Go Bad? – Where to Store Paintballs?

You might be wondering, “Okay, so they don’t last forever, but do paintballs go bad?” The short answer is yes, they do. Storing them improperly can lead to various issues that drastically affect their field performance.

If you’re investing time, effort, and money into your paintball experience, the last thing you want is to deal with duds.

So, where should you store these colourful little spheres? First off, keep them away from extreme temperatures. That means don’t leave them in your car’s trunk in the middle of summer or your freezing garage in winter.

An excellent, dry place like a closet or a dedicated storage bin can be ideal. Some folks even go the extra mile and store them in climate-controlled environments, which is fantastic if you’re committed to the sport.

How to Store Paintballs for Longevity?

For an extra layer of care, consider the following tips for storing your paintballs:

1. Original Packaging: Keeping them in their original container or bag is best to maintain shape and prevent contamination.

2. Avoid Direct Sunlight: UV rays can degrade the quality of the paint and shell.

3. Control Humidity: Excessive moisture can make the paintballs swell or become brittle, affecting their performance.

4. Regular Checks: Every so often, inspect your paintballs for any signs of wear, dimpling, or other deformities.

Do Paintballs Expire?

Ah, the age-old question: Do things really expire, or do they just become “vintage”? Jokes aside, when it comes to paintballs, yes, they pass. Although they don’t come with a stamped expiration date like a milk carton, their quality will degrade over time.

You might find that the outer shell becomes brittle, or the paint inside starts to separate. An expired paintball won’t have that satisfying “splat” when it hits its target; instead, it could fizzle out or even cause a jam in your marker.

Can We Use Expired Paints?


“So what if they’re a bit old? Can I still use them?” you might ask. Technically, you could, but should you? Using expired paintballs can have some serious downsides:

1. Inconsistent Shots: Expired paintballs can affect your accuracy, leading to shots that either curve unexpectedly or don’t break upon impact.

2. Gun Jams: Old, deformed, or brittle paintballs are likelier to break inside your marker, causing frustrating jams and potential damage.

3. Poor Marks: The paint in expired balls may also not be marked, which can cause disputes over whether someone was actually hit.

4. Safety Concerns: Brittle shells could break at high velocity, posing a risk to you and other players.

Understandably, you might want to save what you’ve bought, but the trade-offs can seriously affect your game and safety. Plus, nobody wants to be “that player” who keeps having to clear out their gun on the field. It’s not fun for you or anyone else involved.

If you’ve found yourself nodding along, wondering how to avoid the unfortunate fate of expired paintballs, don’t worry—we’ve still got plenty more to cover, including signs to look out for and how different factors can speed up the ageing process of your paintballs.

Indications That Paintballs Are Expired?

Alright, so we’ve established that using expired paintballs is a no-go. But how can you tell if your stash has gone wrong? No, they won’t start to smell funny or grow mould, but there are some clear signs to watch out for:

1. Dimpling: If the surface of the paintball is no longer smooth and has started to show small indents or “dimples,” that’s a red flag.

2. Brittleness: Try pressing a paintball between your fingers. If it cracks or breaks too quickly, it’s likely past its prime.

3. Stickiness: If the paintballs are sticky to the touch, this suggests the paint is leaking out, which is another sure sign of expiration.

4. Discoloration: Changes in the colour of the paint or shell could mean the materials are breaking down.

5. Shape: A misshapen ball won’t fly straight and could jam your marker, another sign that they’re not fit for use.

6. Separation: If the paint inside the ball has separated, you’ll probably notice a watery substance inside the ball, and the colour won’t mark as effectively.

Do Paintballs Expire Faster in Summer than Winter?

Climate and temperature can indeed affect how fast your paintballs go bad. Colder temps could help preserve them like your fridge does for food, but that’s not the case.

In the summer, combining heat and humidity can make paintballs swell, become soft, or even “sweat” out the inner paint. This messes with their aerodynamics and affects how they splat upon impact.

On the flip side, the cold weather of winter can make paintballs more brittle, causing them to break more easily—even before they leave your marker.

So, do paintballs expire faster in summer than in winter? The risks are different, but extreme heat and cold can speed up the deterioration process. The critical takeaway is to store your paintballs in a climate-controlled environment to ensure they last as long as possible.

How Long do Paintballs Last in Storage?

You’re still here, fantastic! That must mean you’re invested in keeping your paintballs in the best shape possible. So, how long can you expect them to last in storage? As we mentioned earlier, paintballs can last anywhere from four months to a year if stored correctly.

However, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Variables like the type of paint used, the storage environment, and the date of manufacture can all come into play.

If you’ve done everything right—kept them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight—you can reasonably expect them to last closer to the one-year mark.

Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of a Paintball

Date of Manufacture

The date of manufacture is like the birthdate for your paintballs. Generally, fresher is better. So, if you have the option, always go for a recently manufactured batch.


We’ve covered this extensively, but it’s worth repeating: proper storage is crucial. A well-preserved paintball is a happy paintball.

Type of Paint Used

Did you know that the type of paint in the paintballs can also affect their shelf life? For instance, some paintballs use oil-based paints while others use water-based. Oil-based paints tend to last longer but may have drawbacks like more demanding cleanup or even restrictions on some fields.

What Problems Can Old/Bad Paintballs Cause?


Old paintballs lose their perfect round shape and can become bouncy, meaning they won’t break upon impact as they should.

Squishiness and Brittleness

Too soft, they can break in your marker; too brittle, they’ll die before reaching their target. Neither is a situation you want to find yourself in.


Yep, paintballs can shrink over time. More petite balls can roll right out of the barrel or fly unpredictably.

Barrel Clogs

Expired or evil paintballs can break inside your marker’s barrel, leading to annoying and potentially harmful clogs.


Older paintballs may develop divots or imperfections that cause erratic flight paths, making your shots less accurate.

How to Discard Old and Broken Paintballs

If your paintballs have expired, you might wonder how to eliminate them. Most paintballs are biodegradable, so you can often safely dispose of them in the trash. However, you can also empty the paint and recycle the shells separately.

Some people even use them for non-paintball activities, like slingshot practice—ensure you’re following local laws and regulations.


So there you have it—everything you need to know about the burning question, “Do paintballs go bad?” Keeping tabs on your paintballs can make or break your game.

Store them well, check them regularly, and you’ll ensure that each shot counts when you’re out on the field.

Similar Posts