Let’s look at the cost of getting an empty propane tank, where to buy one, and how much it costs to fill them.
An empty propane tank costs anywhere from $30 to $1500, depending on the size, installation requirements, and quality. Smaller propane tanks with a 5-gallon (19 L) capacity cost around $30-$60, while larger 500-800 gallon (1,893-3,028 L) tanks can cost up to $1500.
How Much Should You Pay for an Empty Propane Tank?
While there is no fixed price for how much empty propane tanks cost, most propane tanks are sold within a specific price range. Propane tanks with higher quality material, better safety features, and a built-in pressure gauge will be more expensive.
Propane tanks used for barbecues or backup generators usually carry 5-50 gallons of propane and cost anywhere from $30-$500. Medium to large-sized empty propane tanks used for home heating, cooking, generators, and pool heating systems have a 100-1000 gallon capacity and cost $400-$2500.
This table details the standard price ranges of the various propane tank capacities.
|Propane Tank Capacity||Price Range||Where to Buy|
|5 gallons (19 liters)||$35-$80||Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Amazon|
|50 gallons (189 liters)||$300-$700||Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart|
|100-250 gallons (379-946 liters)||$400-$1000||Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart|
|500 gallons (1,893 liters)||$1000-$2000||Home Depot, Lowes|
|1000 gallons (3,785 liters)||$1500-$3000||Home Depot, Lowes|
Note that these prices are for new empty propane tanks and aren’t inclusive of installation charges. You’ll only need a professional installation if you buy a larger propane tank for powering home heating systems. Underground propane tank installation is usually more expensive, but many people prefer it for safety reasons.
Best Places To Buy Empty Propane Tanks
The golden rule of shopping for empty propane tanks is to always buy from a reliable supplier. Propane tanks can be dangerous if they aren’t tested properly, and shady suppliers may sell you defective ones.
Here are some of the best places to buy empty propane tanks:
Walmart is one of the best places to buy propane tanks, and they offer free delivery in many parts of the US. If you are a frequent shopper at Walmart, you can benefit from the many discounts the retail giant offers. They also provide longer warranties and have a money-back guarantee on propane tanks.
Home Depot is known for its range of quality products. Many of the best brands are available at Home Depot. They also provide a quality and performance guarantee on propane tanks. They also offer various discounts on large purchases, so be sure to check whether you qualify for any of these.
As the second largest hardware store in the US, Lowes is a favorite for empty propane tanks. They have a range of different propane tank brands and only stock authentic and quality products.
Lowe’s is also known for exceptional customer service, so you’re sure to find someone to help you out if the propane tank you buy doesn’t meet your expectations.
If you don’t have time to shop for propane tanks physically and want to get the best products at discounted prices online, try shopping at Amazon. You’ll find the largest collection of propane tank brands, like this one, and can have it delivered to your doorstep.
What Should You Consider When Buying an Empty Propane Tank?
When buying an empty propane tank, you should consider the warranty period, quality guarantees, safety features, and expected lifetime. Avoid buying a used propane tank unless you’re getting it through an exchange program and you use propane gas regularly.
Let’s take a closer look at what to consider before buying an empty propane tank:
Most reputable retailers, such as Home Depot or Walmart, will have a 2-3 year warranty on empty propane tanks. This warranty usually covers leakages; you’ll get a replacement if the tank gets damaged before the warranty period is up. Avoid buying a propane tank without a warranty, as this may mean the tank is low-quality.
When buying an empty propane tank, ensure it has all the required quality certifications. Certified propane tanks will have an expected expiry date, after which they will need to be inspected. Never buy a non-certified propane tank (even if it’s new), as it’s highly risky and illegal.
Expected Lifetime of the Propane Tank
Most propane tanks will last at least 20 years if they’re well maintained. However, you’ll have to service them yearly and have them recertified after 10-12 years. If you have a larger propane tank installed underground, it can last up to 30 years!
While all certified propane tanks are safe to use, additional safety features add to the usability of the tanks. For instance, some propane tanks have a built-in pressure gauge, which helps indicate when the tank is too full and when it needs a refill. Never fill the tank to more than 80% of its maximum capacity to avoid safety risks.
How Much Does It Cost To Fill Empty Propane Tanks?
Filling empty propane tanks costs $3-$4 per gallon. To estimate how much it’ll cost to fill your tank, multiply the price per gallon in your area by 80% of the tank’s maximum capacity.
You need to multiply the price of propane by 80% of your tank’s capacity (and not its maximum volume) because you can only refill a propane tank up to 80% full. So if you have a 500-gallon tank and the cost per gallon in your area is $3, a refill will cost you $1200 (80%*500＊3).
Can You Get Money Back for Empty Propane Tanks?
You might get money back for empty propane tanks, depending on their condition. If your propane tank is outdated, you will only be able to sell it as scrap metal. But if it still has a few years left of its certification, you can exchange it through Home Depot or Walmart.
Not all retailers will take empty propane tanks, especially if they’re older. But if you do recertification, you can salvage some cash from selling the propane tank.
Will Lowes or Home Depot Take Empty Propane Tanks?
Lowes and Home Depot won’t take back empty propane tanks. However, they allow consumers to exchange empty propane tanks for full ones through the exchange program.
You can save a few dollars on your empty propane tank this way, but it’s only for smaller propane tanks. Home Depot and Lowes don’t offer exchanges for larger propane tanks. So if your tank is on the larger side of things, your only option is to refill it or buy a new one.
Empty propane tanks can vary from affordable (for smaller tanks) to highly expensive tanks used for home heating systems. Fortunately, you won’t need to buy a new tank when it empties, and most propane tanks can last 10-20 years.
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!