How To Purchase a Propane Tank

How To Purchase a Propane TankPropane tanks are typically used for cooking, heating, and powering RVs, stoves, and grills. Whereas smaller appliances---such as camp stoves and torches---use propane cylinders rated in ounces, propane tanks power larger appliances and are rated in gallons. These larger tanks, also sometimes called cylinders, last longer than smaller tanks, providing weeks or months of power off of one refill. Propane tanks come in a variety of sizes and are typically filled with vapor propane.


Difficulty: Easy

Buying a Propane Tank

Things You’ll Need:
  • Appliance manual
Step 1
Consult your appliance manual to determine if you must purchase a certain kind of propane tank. Your manual will specifically state what type or size (if applicable) is necessary to power your unit.
Step 2
Pick the size you need if none is specified in your manual. Tank sizes range from smaller 20 lbs. (5 gallon) tanks to larger 120-gallon above-ground tanks.
Step 3
Find a provider near you that carries empty propane tanks and runs an exchange program. Many hardware and home improvement stores do this, but usually sell only 20 lbs. tanks. For larger tanks, visit a propane provider or tank installation company.
Step 4
Purchase an empty tank and have it filled at a refill station, or exchange the empty one you just purchased for a full one at an exchange station. Always have an associate help you with propane purchases for the first time to familiarize yourself with the procedure.
Step 5
To refill your tank once it is empty, take it to back to an exchange or refill station. Many gas stations and home improvement stores have either or both stations. Some are self-serve, requiring you to exchange the tank yourself. Others require some form of assistance.

Tips & Warnings

A larger tank doesn't necessarily mean less hassle. The larger the tank, the heavier it is. Choose one that will run your appliance for the longest time off the smallest tank possible for easy refills.
Always listen to store associates and follow directions at refill and exchange stations carefully.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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