Propane Tips – Refill vs Swaps and Extra Tanks

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

  1. Andy

    Something you may want to note for those who are swappers wishing to start filling. The swap tanks (Blue Rhino in my case) are often rebuilt by the companies, so they can use quite old tanks. I recently took 2 Blue Rhino tanks to UHaul to fill, but they wouldn’t fill them, because the tanks were too old. I believe 12 years is the oldest they’ll fill.

    There’s a month-year stamp on the collar. If you want to fill, you should check that. If it’s too old, you may need to do one more swap, but just make sure you get a newer tank when you swap. Next time you can take them to get them filled.

    1. Chris

      To expand on Andy’s comment. Once a tank expires it has to be re-certified by hydro-static pressure test, same as a CO2 cylinder. The exchange companies, since they have a lot of cylinders, do this and then stamp the new date on the collar making it good for another 5 years (I think). It wouldn’t be economical for u-haul to bother owning that type of equipment or have employees spend time doing the testing. I pretty much keep the tank until u-haul won’t fill it, then do a swap.

  2. Edmond Medina

    The past weekend I had 2 tanks that need to get filled. One was about 3/4 empty the other completely empty. I took it to my local shop to get them filled. Totally cost was 32. Had I did a swap it would’ve cost me about $40 total and I would’ve probably got less gas. Yeah refilling them is way more economical.

  3. Jason

    The real savings is if you have natural gas connection at your house. Even if there weren’t any real savings the convenience factor is worth it alone.


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