In the United States alone, 47 million households use propane for heat or gas grills. That is not counting businesses and other reasons why a family would need a propane tank. Propane has been around since the mid-1800s when a chemist named Marcellin Berthelot created propane, but it didn’t become a usable gas until the early 1900s.
A propane tank has an empty weight called a “tare” weight that you should check with a scale. A standard-sized propane tank is 20 lbs (9.07 kg) when filled fully. Put your tank on the scale for total weight, and then subtract your empty weight to determine how much propane is left in your tank.
The remaining article will explore propane tank sizes, the best places to fill your tank, tank exchange, and any other questions you may have regarding your propane tanks. Let’s get started, shall we?
What Are Propane Tank Sizes by Gallon and Dimensions?
Propane tank sizes and gallons vary by brand and company. Many companies make propane tanks. Because sizes and shapes can be different for each company and brand, it is difficult to determine the appropriate size for your home or grill just by first glance.
Propane tank sizes and gallons vary by brand and company. Please do your research and measurements before purchasing.
Here is a chart for general propane tank sizes and dimensions:
|Gallons of Propane
|1 – 1.2 Gallons(3.7 – 4.5 L)
|5 lbs(2.3 kg)
|12” X 8 ½” (30 x 22 cm)
|2.6 Gallons(10 L)
|11 lbs(5 kg)
|17 ½” X 9”(44.5 x 23 in)
|3.53 Gallons(13.4 L)
|15 lbs(7 kg)
|18” X 10 ½”(45.7 x 27 cm)
|4.6 Gallons(17.4 L)
|20 lbs(9 kg)
|18″ X 12 ¼“(45.7 x 31 cm)
|7 Gallons(26.5 L)
|30 lbs(13.6 kg)
|24″ X 12 ¼″(61 x 31 cm)
|7.7 Gallons(29 L)
|33 lbs(15 kg)
|26.7” X 12 ½” (68 x 31.75 cm)
|9.2 Gallons(35 L)
|40 lbs(18 kg)
|2½″ X 12 ¼″(6 x 31 cm)
|11.4 Gallons(43 L)
|50 lbs(23 kg)
|27 ½″ X 15″(70 x 38 cm)
|23.6 Gallons(100 L)
|100 lbs(45 kg)
|48 ½″ X 15″(123 x 38 cm)
|28.3 Gallons(107 L)
|120 lbs(54 kg)
|68” X 24”(173 x 61 cm)
|60 Gallons(227 L)
|250 lbs(113 kg)
|92” X 30”(234 x 76.2 cm)
|96 Gallons(363.4 L)
|420 lbs(190.5 kg)
|100″ X 37″(254 x 94 cm)
|400 Gallons(1,514 L)
|500 lbs(227 kg)
|5’ tall 10’ long(1.5 m tall and 3 m long)
|800 Gallons(3,028 L)
|1000 lbs(454 kg)
|5’ tall 16’ long(1.5 m tall and 5 m long)
|24,000 Gallons(90,850 L)
|30,000 lbs(4,536 kg)
|10’ tall 70’ long(3 m long and 21.3 m long)
The above sizes are only a general idea of what type of tanks are most common among propane customers. It is often that propane users have equipment specified for specific dimensions.
Many companies design and make propane tanks, so use your best judgment to decide what size and fit are best for your home or grill. Propane has weight, and you can calculate this by dividing 4.24 by the weight of your propane tank.
Where Are the Best Places To Fill Your Propane Tank?
Many places, such as Uhaul, Walmart, and other convenient stores, can refill propane tanks if you have a tank of your own. Not only can it be much cheaper to fill your tank, but you always have a container when you need it.
The best places to fill your propane tank include:
- Forklift Propane Exchange
- Propane Taxi
- Home Depot
Uhaul suggests that they have the most propane refill stations in the U.S. alone.
Using refill stations can be much cheaper than buying an entirely new tank when running low on your old tank. Supply issues are said to affect prices for the next few years at the very least, so keep that in mind when using any propane.
Most people who use propane regularly do not allow their tanks to get empty. If you were to buy a whole new tank, you might lose the propane left in your tank when purchasing a new container.
A company’s prices may vary depending on your needs and area.
Not only will prices vary, but in 2021 prices for propane have doubled. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, gas prices and natural gas prices have increased because of the lack of resources available.
How To Ensure That Your Propane Tank Is Filled Enough?
Safety is often a concern when filling your propane tank. Propane is highly flammable and, if used unsafely, could cause an immense amount of damage. It is always best to check your tank to ensure it is safe to fill before adding more propane.
To ensure that your propane tank is filled enough, you need a bleeder gauge that releases propane and allows companies who refill propane tanks to know when the tank is full and when to stop filling the propane tank. This bleeder gauge is a screw located on the top of your propane tank.
It requires a screwdriver to release the pressure so someone refilling a propane tank can check to see if a tank fills.
It would help if you always double-checked to make sure your tank has a triangle lid. That is to prevent overfilling. You can’t fill your tank if it doesn’t have one. Also, check for damage or dents to the tank itself. Old tanks are unsafe to use; check for an expiration date.
Your refill store will usually fill your tank to 80%, making room for expansion and keeping the pressure down. You can check this by weighing your tank and using math to check your numbers.
How To Tell If Your Propane Tank Is Running Low
Propane may be a gas, but it weighs 4.24 kg (9.35 lbs) per gallon.
When you notice your tank running low, you can determine how empty it is if you can measure it. Tanks usually measure around the tank size it says on the lever when unfilled. You would have to use math to figure out a load of propane versus the weight of your tank.
Propane tanks have a tare weight. You would need to place the tank on a scale for total weight and subtract the tare weight to determine the remaining propane.
If you allow your propane to remain under 20% filled, it could become a danger. It may also be unusable for you and your family. Not only is it hazardous, but it can emanate a foul odor that resembles rotten eggs.
That smell can also determine a low gas tank.
Most propane users recommend having a backup tank just in case you overuse your propane and become low. Running out of propane during a family event is something no one wants.
What Is a Tank Exchange?
Many propane users often opt out of refilling altogether, which can be time-consuming and costly. Because prices for propane and other gases are becoming more and more pricey, propane customers are finding better, more effective ways to use this clean natural gas.
Tank exchange is when a propane tank owner calls a tank exchange company and decides to switch an empty tank with a filled tank. Many companies, such as Uhaul and Walmart, participate in tank exchange. That method is cheaper and more practical than buying a new tank or even refilling an old one.
If you decide to buy new containers each time one of your old tanks is low, you are losing out on propane, money, and you end up hoarding propane tanks which take up space in the long run. If you decide to refill your tank, you must spend time going to the store or company that supplies your tank and waiting for a professional to weigh, replenish, and replace your propane.
Tank exchange is simple. You call Uhaul, and they take your tank size and order, and deliver your exchanged tank. You give them your old cylinder, so you do not have to refill, reuse, or keep an old tank.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Tank Exchange?
A propane customer has a few options when it comes to using propane tanks. You can refill them, exchange them, or buy new ones. Most people are on a budget and want the best prices for their services.
So what are the pros and cons of tank exchange? Let’s explore.
- Might be cheaper.
- Saves more time.
- Can be delivered.
- Companies don’t need trained employees.
- Large tanks don’t take up room on company lots.
- You may get an underfilled tank.
- The tank may run out faster.
- You don’t know where it came from.
- May come damaged.
The pros may outweigh the cons.
However, it is purely subjective and is up to the customer, which is better for their circumstances and wallet. If you can’t make it to the refill station, tank exchange may be the best option for you.
If you have the time and prefer your tank to another, refilling may work better for your situation.
Always check to see if your propane tank is safe. As stated above, there are ways to find how much propane is precisely in your tank and patterns for you to make sure you don’t have an underfilled tank.
The Benefits of Using Propane
Propane is a clean fuel. That means that propane does not leave residue or sludge after burning. It is environmentally friendly and can power just about anything. Propane is also easily accessible, whereas fossil fuels will someday run out and negatively impact mother earth.
Propane is abundant and will proceed to be for the foreseeable future.
It is convenient, especially with most companies providing container exchange and delivery. Propane tanks are refillable and don’t leave any marks on driveways or pavement, such as oil or gas.
Prices may rise due to the pandemic and other resources becoming unavailable. However, as time passes, companies and homes are becoming more and more environmentally aware. That may mean that natural gases will become more popular among businesses and residents.
Keep your propane tank clean, undamaged, and filled over 20%. That will reduce worry regarding safety precautions when using your tank for the BBQ or your home.
One great thing about propane is that it is one of the safest fuel sources. However, it can combust. While this is a rare occurrence, if it is handled properly, propane is generally safe for your family and pets.
When Should I Replace My Propane Tank?
Propane tanks are meant to last and generally do so if handled with care. Most tanks will outlive their expiration date, but it is illegal to refill a propane tank past its shelf life.
As a general rule, in the United States, propane tanks need replacing when damaged or after 12 years of use. In Canada, it is 10 years from the date of manufacturing. You may also want to replace your tank if you notice any cracks on the triangular valve on top of your tank.
That type of damage is dangerous and needs replacement as soon as possible.
Another way to tell is by the color of your flame. A healthy propane tank will emit a gentle blue flame. However, it might need replacing if your tank emits a yellow flame.
After 10-12 years, you should replace your tank. However, there are exceptions. If you have taken great care of your container, then you may consider having it re-certified for another five years. That could happen depending on the wear and tear of your tank.
For most people, a propane tank with a gauge like this one from Amazon is the way to go. That way, you can know exactly how much propane is inside the tank.
Propane tanks vary in size and usage, so you might want to research the sizes and dimensions of your tank before refilling, replacing, or using a tank exchange service.
There are extensive varieties of tank shapes. You’ll want to speak with a professional regarding how you will use your propane tanks and your setup before deciding on a purchase for your grill or your home.
Propane is clean energy, environmentally friendly, and completely natural. It is reasonably cost-efficient and will be around for many years to come.
For more, check out How Much Does It Cost to Fill a 20 LB Propane Tank?
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!