Most players prefer green gas or CO2 for their gas blowback airsoft guns, and many have both types of pistols, magazines, and rifles in their armories. If you haven’t used both, you may wonder which is better for your airsoft gun: green gas or CO2.
Green gas is better for your airsoft gun if it has plastic or polymer components, such as magazines, slides, etc. CO2 is better if you want faster shots, more powerful blowbacks, and reliable consistency. Carrying CO2 cartridges is easy, but using green gas is easier.
Apart from personal preference and suitability based on the type of airsoft gun you have, green gas and CO2 have several consequential differences on the field, including how reloading might affect your gameplay. Read on for a complete green gas vs. CO2 analysis for your airsoft gun.
Differences Between Green Gas and CO2 for Your Airsoft Gun
Green gas has been the more common choice for airsoft guns, especially among beginners. But that isn’t necessarily due to the superiority of green gas over CO2. Green gas has been around longer than CO2 cartridges for airsoft guns. That said, innumerable people are now using CO2.
There are many reasons why airsoft guns use CO2 and green gas, among others. Here’s a full comparison to help you decide which is better for your airsoft gun.
Green gas is basically propane with a few additives, such as silicone oil as the lubricant. If you have a tank of propane and an adapter, you can add a bit of silicone oil or another lubricant to make green gas at home. CO2 for airsoft guns is just compressed carbon dioxide.
While both green gas and CO2 are compressed in a can and canister or cartridge, respectively, the pressure at which these gasses are stored in the containers varies. Green gas is at around 100 to 115 psi, such as Elite Force and Valken. In contrast, CO2 is at ~800 psi, like Crosman.
The compression and composition of green gas and CO2 have consequential effects on how the two gasses perform, among other essential characteristics, which I elaborate on below.
CO2 cartridges are small and weigh significantly less than green gas canisters. For instance, the Crosman CO2 Powerlet Cartridges (available on Amazon.com) weigh only 12 grams (0.42 oz). Each CO2 cartridge is smaller than an airsoft gun magazine, so you can conveniently carry a few with you on the field.
Crosman CO2 Powerlet Cartridges:
In contrast, the Elite Force Fuel Green Gas (available on Amazon.com) for your airsoft gun is an 8 oz (~227 grams) canister that’s approximately 8 inches (~20 cm) tall. Such a can isn’t convenient to carry during an airsoft battle, especially for beginners or players that tend to pack a lot of essentials and accessories.
Elite Force Fuel Green Gas:
Similarly, the Valken Green Gas (available on Amazon.com) is an 8 oz (~227 grams) can comprising a propane and silicone mixture. But using an Elite Force or Valken green gas can on the field to refill a mag is relatively easier and quicker than loading a CO2 cartridge.
Valken Green Gas:
You can simply align the nozzle of a green gas can perpendicularly with the valve under a mag and hold the two pressed against one another for a few seconds until you hear a hiss. That way, you can continue to use the 40 ~ 60 recharges of a Valken green gas can rather conveniently.
Replacing a CO2 cartridge requires you to first remove the base plate of a mag, take out the old canister, and insert the new one. You must then tighten the canister to puncture the seal or until you hear a hiss to confirm that the CO2 cartridge is appropriately loaded into the mag.
This process can be simple for some and even straightforward once anyone gets familiar with the steps. However, you must replace a CO2 cartridge only after exhausting the one in your airsoft gun. How exactly can you tell how much CO2 you have left in the current cartridge? What you may have might be enough for a few more shots or not. This uncertainty is not convenient.
CO2 delivers a more consistent and stronger muzzle velocity, so you can expect around 400 fps or even faster speeds with many semi-automatic airsoft guns, subject to their specs. In contrast, green gas will likely max out at 300 fps. Even the best airsoft guns may not deliver ~350 fps.
Plus, CO2 has a better temperature tolerance, both cold and hot. Green gas doesn’t perform at its best when temperatures are higher than 90 °F (~32 °C) and lower than 50 °F (10 °C). The optimum range is 70 °F to 85 °F (21 °C to ~30 °C).
CO2 performs reliably at cold temperatures and up to 120 °F (49 °C). Also, CO2 cartridges don’t get colder as the gas depletes. Green gas tends to lose its power as your airsoft gun uses more of it, and the mag is depleted. Lastly, being weaker, green gas has a softer blowback than CO2.
You won’t store a CO2 cartridge in an airsoft gun. You must use the loaded gas in a mag before putting your airsoft gun aside. Once loaded and the seal punctured, CO2 cartridges will lose all the gas rather quickly. Sealed or unloaded CO2 cans can be kept and stored in a brand’s box.
Green gas canisters should be stored at optimum temperatures. Any airsoft gun with an empty mag should be refilled with some green gas before storage. Such mags should also be kept at optimum temperatures to prevent leakage and loss of pressure.
CO2 is ideal for airsoft guns with metal parts, but you may use this gas for sturdy plastic, or polymer mags, slides, etc. Green gas is suitable for gas blowback pistols, including semi-auto airsoft guns. However, green gas is unsuitable for full-auto airsoft guns, which require CO2.
The other compatibility factor is your airsoft experience and shooting skills. The strong blowback of CO2 may be a tad too much for beginners to endure, especially if the airsoft gun is a bit heavy in the first place. Green gas blowback is rarely a concern for most people, including beginners.
CO2 and green gas have different upfront costs, and the return on investment or the value of the two gasses depends on how many rounds you can extract per charge or cartridge. Hence, you need to calculate the cost per shot for a particular airsoft gun, mag, and other variable factors.
CO2 turns out to be marginally more affordable per shot. Green gas may cost you around 0.50 cents more per round. This difference in value may be bigger cold conditions when green gas is unlikely to perform as well as CO2 or even up to its characteristics in warmer temperatures.
CO2 is better for experienced shooters using powerful airsoft guns with metal parts. Green gas is more suitable for beginners and players using entry-level to mid-range airsoft guns. A full-auto gas blowback airsoft gun needs CO2. A few other differences depend on preferences and skills.