There is a long standing debate in the sport of paintball – which is better when it comes to speedball vs woodsball?

The truth is, they are both really fun, just in different ways, and I am here to deep dive into the ongoing debate!

I will show you the biggest differences between these paintball styles and why I think you should try BOTH.

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What is the Difference Between Speedball and Woodsball?

team of paintball players with marker guns and equipment

What is Woodsball in a Nutshell

Woodsball, also sometimes called scenario paintball, is a style of paintball, played in the woods, or a large defined outdoor area.

Each player fulfills a specific role, usually a military role, and the game is played according to a simulated battle situation or other scenario events.

I will get into the guns used for woodsball next, but in general, the guns used for woodsball are realistic, and designed to discharge one shot at a time.

The field structures are usually a mix of man-made and natural obstacles, bunkers, shelters, barricades and bases.

Many woodsball games accept new players as walk-ons, and you do not need to be part of an established team to get into the game. That’s why the vast majority of players start out playing woodsball, and if you are new, it’s probably where you will start.

Woodsball is a lot of fun, but some find the pace slow. That’s where speedball comes in.

paintball player hiding and holding marker

What is Speedball in a Nutshell

Speedball is a style of paintball played on a level clear field. All bunkers are inflated, and the field is the same on each side, so its fair for both teams.

Speedball fields tend to have a similar look and feel to them.

Speedball is competitive and very fast paced. Players blow through paint quickly, sometimes using several cases of paint in a day on the field.

It can be challenging for new guys to get into the game, because teams are generally already set up and you need to get on a team to play. It is similar to other competitive sports in that you need to “make the team” so to speak.

Speedball is super-fast paced, a TON of fun, and a real energy rush.


If you are new to speedball, get ready to get shot up, down and sideways. And always wear protection!

Speaking of protection, arguably the most important protection you need for paintball is a mask or goggles. Check out this list of the best paintball masks and pick one up today.

Woodsball Field vs Speedball field

man holding paintball marker and playing woodsball

Look and Layout of a Woodsball Field

Woodsball is played outside, generally in the woods.


Woodsball can be played in other terrains too, like the dessert, or even a field with man-made structures like a mock town and mock battlefields.

One thing I love about woodsball is that each field has its own look and style, they are all different.

Look and Layout of a Speedball Field

Speedball fields are smaller and more enclosed than woodsball fields. This allows the action to happen FAST because your enemies err… opponents have less place to hide.

The closed field of speedball also makes it easier to have spectators, so others can enjoy the game, without playing.

Speedball is played on a level field with large inflatable bunkers you can use to hide behind. The bunkers are set up evenly on each side, so it’s fair for both teams.

The thing is…

Virtually all speedball fields look similar, so that part can get tiresome.

Pace of a Speedball Game Compared to the Pace of a Woodsball Game

female player jumping and aiming marker on paintball player

Pace of a Woodsball Paintball Game

The pace of Woodsball paintball games is much slower than speedball. Players have more time to hide better, sneak around, even camp out for a while as they stake out the field.

Strategy is involved and if you have a good place to hide, you have time to think and plan. You also have time to re-fill and clean your gun, if need be.

Since the games move at a slower pace, they last much longer than the 5 to 15 minutes a speedball game lasts.

Pace of Speedball Paintball Games

Speedball is fast paced. It’s got speed in the name, so you know it’s moving like lightning.

The field is closed and your enemies are close, so it’s harder to hide for long. Games last for between 5 to 15 minutes, so that should tell you a lot about the pace. Rapid fire, baby!

One thing everyone agrees on, and adrenaline junkies know is speedball is an adrenaline rush!


The reason speedball is such an adrenaline rush is not only the speed, it’s also the fear of getting shot up, or the excitement of shooting up your opponent.

If you are new to speedball, you can pretty much guarantee you will get blasted and lumped on your first few games.

Woodsball Team vs Speedball Teams

Speedball Teams

Communication is of utmost importance for team in the fast paced speedball game. Speedball is competitive and played in a closed field. You need to coordinate plays and position with your team, just like you would with sports like football or basketball.

Speedball teams are usually made up of 3 to 5 players and the members work as a team, and are in constant communication using communications systems built into their masks.

Speedball teams tend to be exclusive, and it can be challenging to get on the team.

It’s hard to find a field with walk-on speedball games, so its usually experienced players who already have teams who play speedball.

Woodsball Teams

Woodsball teams are usually much larger than speedball teams, and it is easy to join a team as woodsball is more inclusive.

Each team member has their role to play, usually assigned based on military roles, or based on the scenario they are playing.

Most fields have walk-on woodsball games making it easier to get a chance to play.

Paintball team in action rainy forest

Level of Experience Comparing Speedball vs Woodsball

The truth is, most players get their start with woodsball. A new player is not likely to go on a tournament field and start playing speedball straight away.

For starters, a newbie will find that’s a good way to become target practice for more experienced players. Second, it’s hard for a newbie to get on an established speedball team.

So, speedball players are usually more experienced players.

But, donuts to dollars, I bet those experienced speedball players got their start in paintball playing woodsball.

Woodsball is pretty much open to all players, of all experience levels, provided they meet the age requirements, etc.

Guns for Speedball vs Markers for Speedball?

One big difference between speedball and woodsball is the guns and markers used for each. While technically you can use a speedball gun for woodsball, you would not want to use a woodsball gun for speedball.

The Best Woodsball Gun?

Typical woodsball guns include pump guns, mechanical guns, autocockers and milsim or tactical style guns.

The benefit of these guns is they shoot one shot at a time, so they use far less paint than an electronic gun. This is a better simulation of a real battle situation using guns that are not automatic weapons.

Woodsball guns can be had for pretty cheap too, which is why they are usually the rental guns in most fields.

The downside is many milsim or tactical guns are heavy, so carrying them around can be a drag, literally.

Check out this collection of the best woodsball guns if you are interested in playing woodsball.

The Best Speedball Markers?

Let me just say this:

Speedball markers can be used for woodsball, and most are set up to choose between blasting paintballs like a machine gun, or shooting one shot at a time. So you can use a speedball gun and still not waste paint, if you want to use it for woodsball.

Typical speedball guns are mid-level to high-end electronic guns that can throw paintballs rapid fire style.

If you are in the market for a speedball gun check out these goodies on this carefully curated list of the best speedball markers here.

Typical Speedball gun Empire Axe 2.0 being shot

Cost of Speedball vs Woodsball

Hands down, woodsball is less expensive in most cases.

For starters, woodsball requires less paint. Much less than speedball in most cases. You can get through a day of woodsball with 250 paintballs if you shoot careful.

A day of speedball can burn through a case or two of paint, and ain’t NOBODY careful with paint on the speedball field.

In addition to that, the gear for speedball is typically high end. Remember, speedball is a competitive team sport, with the gear, clothes, tournament fees and travel that go with it.

Speedball can get pretty pricy.

Through the history of paintball, a lot has changed.

And here we are now,