Where Can You Fill CO2 Tanks?

Different Uses for CO2 Tanks

A paintball gun is seen in the paintball competition at Spitfire Indoor Paintball during the World Firefighter's Games - Sydney 2012 on October 22, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Carbon dioxide or CO2 is filled by moving the compressed liquid form of the gas from a larger tank to a smaller CO2 tank. The key to filling the smaller tank is to find a store that stocks the larger tanks and has the appropriate equipment to fill the smaller tanks. The type and size of tank being refilled matters when seeking the most appropriate place to have it refilled.

Paintball Stores and Fields

Smaller tanks (from about 9 to 24 ounces) used for air guns, such as paintball guns, are a popular size for CO2. One of the best places to fill this type of tank is at a paintball store or a paintball field. Most stores and fields stock CO2 and have all the appropriate equipment to adequately fill without overfilling your tanks.

Sporting Goods Stores

Many local or national sporting goods stores often fill CO2 tanks for paintball guns. Sporting goods stores are easy to find and usually do a great job at filling tanks, though if you get an inexperienced person helping you, there is the risk that they will overfill your tank, which can result in a burst safety disk.

Many sporting goods stores also sell smaller prefilled canisters that can serve as great backups for paintball guns. These small canisters also can be found at most bicycle shops. Cyclists often carry them as a quick means to fill a bicycle tire.

Other Uses for CO2

Home-brewed beer continues to grow in popularity, and one of the ways to add carbonation to the beer is through forced carbonation. This process involves adding CO2 to kegged beer over an extended period of time, as opposed to using sugars to naturally carbonate the beer. These types of CO2 tanks are much larger than the smaller ones used in air guns, as they typically range in size from about 2.5 pounds to 20 pounds. Most any store that sells supplies for home brewing also should be able to refill CO2 tanks.

CO2 tanks also are used with a lot of home aquariums that maintain live freshwater plants. While plants can thrive in the proper conditions without additional carbon dioxide being added to the tank, their health and growth benefit greatly from aquarium setups that include the use of CO2. Because of this, many specialty aquarium shops also are equipped to refill tanks.

Fill Tanks at Home

If you use a lot of CO2, whether for paintball or some other hobby, it might be worth keeping a large tank at home along with the proper supplies to fill smaller tanks. This may save money in the long run, and it also might be more convenient.

Tank Exchanges

Much like with propane tanks, some stores that sell CO2 tanks also have tank-exchange programs that allow you to drop off an empty tank and leave with another prefilled tank. While this might be slightly more expensive than refilling a tank, it sometimes is also more convenient.