Paintball Gun Depreciation: Everything You Need to Know


I have been buying, selling, and trading all types of paintball gear for over 10 years and have noticed that some markers depreciate faster than others. 

To write this article, I filtered through 10 years worth of used gear posts on MCarterBrown, PBNation, and Ebay.  I even dug into some of the archived website information for Warpig and TechPB to fill in some gaps when information was hard to find.

I’m not going to say that my data is perfect.  Quite a bit of the information that was available has the valuable information deleted by the poster to prevent people from constantly contacting them.  Some of the sales could have also been sold at a lower price as many forum sales were done over private messages.

Just as a quick note, I only researched a few of the most popular guns on the market and based my information on how much the average was for that year.  I did my best to only use data for stock (or nearly stock) paintball markers by themselves to keep the yearly averages as accurate as possible.

Observations That I Found During My Research

Observation 1 – Buying a new high end tournament marker never makes financial sense. EVER.  You can expect to loose at least 35% of the value for your high end $1000+ paintball marker after just one year!  It doesn’t matter how hard you play with it, the used market value will drop heavily after the first year for most markers. 

The drop is even more drastic if the company releases a newer version every year.

Just to be clear, it isn’t foolish to buy new paintball markers and gear.  I do this all the time and there are some substantial benefits in doing so like manufacture warranty, no wear and tear, no unknown/unrepairable tinkering has been done, and no missing parts.  Plus, you probably have been saving up for this awesome marker that company XYZ just came out with and just have to have it (that is me multiple times).

Observation 2 – The rate of depreciation is increased if a new version of that marker is just released.  When a new version of a popular marker comes out, we see a steep drop in the resale value of the older model after the first year.  This keeps increasing if there are continuous releases of the same series, markers with the same bolt design, or similar niche being filled within the same company.

Observation 3 – The used marker is only worth what the potential buyers are willing to pay for it.  Lets not beat around the bush, ballers on a budget are looking for a good deal and are themselves the deciding factor in what the new average price is each year.  They are looking for a marker like the sweet gat you are selling and want to make sure they have enough money left over to hit the field with.

The used market fluctuates with how much the buyers are going to pay, so if enough people are only willing to pay 25% less than it can change the going rate for that marker. 

You may want a higher price than what is being offered, but if no one buys it then it just sits there.  Not only that, each month it sits there unsold it keeps slowly depreciating in value to the point where those lower offers become the new premium price after several months.

Observation 4 – High end, mid range and low end markers depreciate at different rates.  The more expensive gear that are $1000+ MSRP will depreciate at a faster rate than mid range and low end markers.  This also seems to be linked to players looking for a good deal as a player is more willing to pay $300 for an awesome mid range marker than $800+ for a high end luxury marker.

The low end markers may have a steep difference in price between the current MSRP and used markers but this is probably due to a few factors. 

Companies who manufacture lower end markers are not constantly releasing a new version every year.  Instead they make one solid platform and sell that model for several years.  After a while, the used market becomes flooded with this model and others very similar to it. 

This drops the used marker value down but it seems like the price plateaus out after several years to a consistent price range.

High End Paintball Marker Depreciation Rates

Of all the paintball markers on the market, a high end tournament grade paintball marker will depreciate the fastest.  After just one year of use (or just sitting in the box after being used once) they will lose between 35% to 50% of their initial value

So if your super sleek high end marker that originally cost you $1500, it may only sell for $750-$950 after just one year of you purchasing it.

Of course, there are a few outliers that don’t follow this trend.  These markers are usually somewhat niche and have very little to no competition in its class.  Two examples are the Dye DAM magfed marker and Bob Long/Field One MVP.  These markers still hold a high resale value in the used market due to the lack of similar gear on the market that can match the quality and technology that each marker offers.

Lets look at two different high end paintball manufactures, Dye and Planet Eclipse.  If you hit the field, there is almost a guarantee that you will see gear from one of these two companies out there with you.  They have been making paintball gear forever and their used markers can be found all over the place.

Dye Paintball Depreciation Rates

Starting off with Dye, the graphs below show the average rate of deprecation for the Dye DM9 to DM15 markers starting from 1 year after launch up to 10 years after launch. 

Keep in mind that when these markers were released, they were $1,400 to $1,500 new.  We can see that after just one year the average used value of the marker dropped down to 50%!  After just 5 years, that grand and a half marker is now only worth 25% of it’s initial value.

Planet Eclipse Depreciation Rates

Now lets look at another popular company that makes tournament grade markers as well, Planet Eclipse.  Like dye, they too followed a similar pattern of releasing a yearly model with their Ego paintball markers. 

Planet Eclipse ended the yearly model with the Ego 11, of which can be had for between $350-$450 after 8 years of being on the used market.

At the time of writing this article, PE has the LV1, CS1, and CS2 with all of their in between updates like the LV1.1 and CS1.5.  By doing this, they are simply saying that it is the same marker, but with a few minor tweaks just like what Dye is doing. 

I’m focusing on the newer generation of markers with PE compared to what I just showed with Dye, but the depreciation curve is very similar with the newer naming format as shown below. 

From what I am seeing, the used market for these markers will start to plateau sooner and have a higher used market price compared to the yearly naming scheme.

Mid Range Paintball Marker Depreciation Rates

These markers won’t have such a significant drop in value compared to their more expensive counterparts and tend to plateau out quicker unless a new variant becomes available. 

Mid range markers don’t usually have a yearly release and are comparable in technology to that of markers of a few years prior.  You will see a depreciation of 15%-25% from the initial purchase price after the first year.  Plus, since these markers initially costing less than half of a high end marker the monetary losses are much less per marker.

Empire Axe Depreciation Rates

Lets start off with the ever popular Empire Axe.  Nearly everyone in the sport has heard of this marker as it has been around since 2011 and is one of the most commonly suggested markers for players wanting to get a decent electro to hit the field with.  This marker was the go to mid range option for most any player wanting to get into competitive play or have an absolutely solid recball marker.

As you can see in the graph below, the Axe had a relatively low first year depreciation rate at 25% losses after the first year and had a solid plateau after 3-5 years.  The drop after 2015 was during the release of the Axe Pro and it has been dropping ever since with the release of the Axe 2.0 and the New SYX.

Planet Eclipse Gtek Depreciation Rate

Now lets take a look at the Planet Eclipse Gtek.  This absolute workhorse of a marker hit the paintball scene running and had what I would consider the same positive feedback as the Empire Axe.  Not only that, the Gtek only lost 25% of its initial value in the used market after the first year.

Now with the new versions of the Gtek like the 160R and markers that use the same bolt engine like the Etha 2, the used price is likely to keep falling at a slow rate.  I doubt it will have a massive drop in price due to PE releasing the Emek upgrade frame for the Gtek.  This upgrade gives the marker extra versatility as it can be run both as a mechanical or electro depending on the frame installed.

SP Shocker RSX Depreciation Rate

The last mid range marker we are going to look at is the SP Shocker RSX.  This marker is the new release of the original Smart Parts Shocker SFT/NXT.  At the higher end of the mid range tier, it comes standard with some excellent options right out of the box and is one of the lightest markers on the market at only 1.7 lbs.

This was released at the beginning of 2015 and by the end of the year was holding a solid 20% depreciation.  Even with being at a higher price than both the Axe and Gtek, it was holding a better depreciation rate than both those two markers and the high end markers themselves.

The RSX value is just starting to level out in the used market after the release of the XLS.

Low End and Beginner Paintball Marker Depreciation Rates

The basic beginner markers can fluctuate in value throughout the year as paintball is somewhat seasonal.  New players will jump into the scene once the weather is nice and purchase new and used gear to start playing with.  Then a good chunk of them will move on to better gear or stop playing and sell off their old gear to try another sport.

It is hard to compare deprecation rates in the used market for the low end gear for several reasons.  Some markers like the Tippmann 98 Custom have been around forever, have a highly saturated used market, usually have a wide range of upgrades on them, and have several iterations and updates down the line.  Not only that, since the price of the markers are much lower to begin with, a fluctuation of just $10 up or down is enough to change the average by 5% – 10% for that year.

Tippmann 98 Custom Depreciation Rate

Lets take a look at the Tippmann 98 Custom used market averages for each year.  Tippmann has released several versions of the 98C and the used market value is always fluctuating. 

The marker depreciation trend is still falling but at a very slow rate.  The bumps were just average fluctuations and can be attributed to new versions being released, new products being available for the marker, and just overall market competition.

Tippmann A5 Depreciation Rate

Looking at the Tippmann A5 graph below, you can see the used market value was pretty low in 2010 and has this massive spike in 2011 when the updated version came out. 

I debated about separating the pre 2011 and 2011 A5s but as you can see, the value leveled itself out and returned to the averages that we saw before its release.

Just like the 98 Custom, several other upgrades like magfed conversion kits and parts being made for the A5 caused some fluctuation in the market.

GoG eNMEy Depreciation Rate

The GOG eNMEy is a newer beginner marker that has become quite popular for a solid beginner or basic mechanical marker.  Lots of fields have adopted them as their rental marker of choice and most experienced players won’t hesitate to recommend one to a new player looking to get into the sport.

This marker has had several updates and revisions giving some slight boosts in value within the used market.  The marker was holding its place as the best basic mechanical marker for a few years and was holding a solid $95 used value for several years.

The massive drop shown in the graph below the end was probably due to GOG releasing the eNMEy Pro and Planet Eclipse releasing the Emek providing competition to the market.

What is My Paintball Gun Worth Today?

For those of you who are uncertain of the current value of your used gear, I have several ways to research what the current price is for your gear. 

My favorite and most accurate way is to search through the sold listings on Ebay and see what other people are paying for that item right now.  The other two ways that I research the value is by using forums and finding “blue book” values of the marker itself.

Using Ebay to Research the Value of Your Gear

The best way to see what the value of your gear today is by looking through Ebay’s sold listings.  This way, you can see how much people are willing to pay for gear similar to yours within the past 3 months and gather a more accurate asking price to prevent you from asking too little or too much.

You can also use this method to research how much you should pay for gear when shopping around.  This way you can prevent yourself from getting ripped off or properly determine how much you will be spending for a full setup.

Start off by going to ebay and typing in the gear you are looking for in the search bar.  After doing so, click the “Advanced” button on desktop or the “Filter button on the mobile app.

Desktop view
Mobile view

Then we are going to scroll down to the filters that we want.  On desktop we are looking for the “Sold Listings” checkbox and click search.  On mobile we want to select the “Sold Items” and “Completed Items” sliders then tap done.

Desktop view
Mobile view

Now, you should have filtered your search to only show sold listings and all the prices should be in green.  I would recommend sorting the results by last sold to get a more accurate representation of what is selling today.

Now, you should have filtered your search to only show sold listings and all the prices should be in green.  I would recommend sorting the results by last sold to get a more accurate representation of what is selling today.

Desktop view
Mobile view

Make sure to see what was sold with the item itself as upgrades, package deals and extra gear/parts can increase the sales price.

Using Paintball Forums to Determine the value of your gear.

The most popular and heavily used paintball forums that are active today are PBNation.com and MCarterBrown.com.  Both have users with extensive knowledge on the sport and know the general value of paintball gear off the tops of their heads. 

For more specialized forums, you can also use Automags.org and CustomCockers.com to find out more about Automags and Autocockers.

There are two ways to use forums to find out how much your gear, one is to actively search through the sales threads to see what people are asking for and offering.  The other is to post a thread asking others for an appraisal.

Using the forum search function and filtering the results to only show in one sub forum like the BST section will be the easiest way to just find posts about the gear you are looking for.  This way you can check out several posts to see what people are asking for and see what other people are actively offering for said gear. 

Make sure to pay attention to what comes with the package as some people are not willing to split the lot and want to sell everything all together.

You can also post up an appraisal request thread in the appropriate section.  Make sure to give accurate descriptions of what you have, working condition, appearance and add pictures if possible.

If you want a quick Imgur picture hosting tutorial, click here to check out the post I made on MCarterBrown.Opens in a new tab.

Using Paintball Blue Book Values to Determine the Value of Your Gear.

Blue book values are useful for determining the value of older and long discontinued gear that you don’t normally see on the market.  These do have a tendency to be unreliable for anything less than 10 years old and are best suited for gear that have already hit a steady value for the past few years.

The best one that I have found is on MCarterBrown and covers a bunch of long discontinued markers.  Click here to check it out.Opens in a new tab.

Paintzapper

Florida based paintball player with 20 years of experience playing everything from recball to 24 hour scenario events.

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