Propane Tips – Refill vs Swaps and Extra Tanks

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Pictured: Worthington 303955 20-Pound Steel Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve via Amazon

Refill vs swap.  The capacity of the standard 20 lb propane tank is, well.. around 20 lbs.  Several years ago, some swap services started to underfill tanks.  For example, it’s my understanding that Blue Rhino fills to 15 lbs and Heritage Propane fills to 17 lbs.

For me, refilling a tank to 20 lbs is actually less expensive than swapping it out. For the purpose of comparison, let’s say that refilling and swapping are the same… $20 to swap and $20 to refill.  The fill costs you $1/lb.  If you’re refilling with a vendor that fills to 15 lbs, you’re paying $1.33/;b or 33% more.

When you refill your tank – You’re, generally, saving money,  You’re supporting a local business and saving yourself time because you don’t have to get propane as often.

Extra tanks.  I suggest having an extra tank (or two) of propane on hand.  Running out of propane mid brew is a bummer.  It is inconvenient and you can end up with a different beer than you intended because of the delay.  This can also be a money saving thing too if you refiller charges by the tank.  Since you don’t want to run out of propane on brew day, you may be more likely to swap or refill a tank that still have propane left in it.

Worthington 303955 20-Pound Steel Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve

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9 thoughts on “Propane Tips – Refill vs Swaps and Extra Tanks

  1. Aquia Pines

    Legally in Virginia (unless the Commonwealth Attorney has changed their opinion), a refiller can only charge for goods sold. If your propane tank is half full, they should charge half the price they charge for filling an empty tank.

    Reply
  2. Brian

    I have used the Blue Rhino tanks and always have problems with them. The regulator on my burner doesn’t seem to like them. The only reason I had one is because at one point I only had one tank. I tried to live on the edge one brew day and ran out of gas. The quickest thing was to run across the street and pick up a Blue Rhino. I had problems with it that day and also with the one I exchanged it for once that was empty. Since then I purchased a second tank and have no problems.

    Reply
  3. Monte

    The most cost effective method I found was to pick up a couple old tanks from Craigslist for next to nothing, then swap with Blue Rhino (remember to use their $3 MIR). Once empty I have them refilled at the local gas station.

    Reply
  4. Earl

    In San Diego, I recently bought a brand new King Cooker 20Lb tank with a valve cover and a fuel guage from Costco for 39.99. Just an FYI for people that live next to a Costco. They will have them inside around the patio and outdoor stuff.

    Reply
  5. Watts

    Having a second tank has been one of the better purchases I’ve made for brewing and grilling. No more worrying about running out of gas after the filling place has closed. BJ’s (and I would assume Costco/Sams too) refills tanks for by far the lowest price near me (about $13 bucks for a 20# tank)

    Reply
  6. Phil

    I only swap when the tank is out of date. Cost of having the tank recertification is more. . Always refill.

    Reply
  7. Matt P. Post author

    Here in New England, the cost is normally slightly higher for a swap out, and some of the companies are only filling to TWELVE Lbs!! BUT, if your tank is out of date, just do a swap out, and then go back to refills after.

    Reply
    1. paul

      Everywhere I’ve gone to get a refill has charged per lb rather than per tank anyway. Maybe this isn’t standard though

      Reply
      1. admin Post author

        That’s great! That way you’re not wasting anything if you refill before running out. The place I go, technically charges by weight, but practically speaking, it’s always the same price, so they really charge a flat fee.

        Reply

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