Few people know i was a average propane filling maker in my high institution days at Taylor Hardware. Together a result, I understand a few things around tank tare weights (an empty tank"s weight) and other propane lingo.

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For the last 7 year I had actually my trusty Weber grill hooked right into a 500 gallon secret tank at the house in Taylors. When I moved earlier this year to an all-electric home I had actually to switch ago to a conventional 20 lb BBQ grill tank. I additionally considered 30, 33, 40, 60, and also 100 lb cylinders, to avoid refilling as often. I uncovered that new 30 or 33 lb cylinders are at least twin the price of a 20 lb, and finding lightly offered ones on Craigslist wasn"t happening.

I picked up a new 20 lb tank in ~ the home Depot for 29.97, minus 10% off competitors coupon and a 10% discount on a gift map purchased on eBay. (Costco sells tanks because that 28.99 compared to Amazon"s about $45). Now, where to to fill it?

A small About Propane Tanks

These "20 lb" tanks space designed come take up to 20 pounds the propane. Friend may get a lb or 2 less, depending upon the temperature of the tank and also surrounding air when the tank to be filled. Cooler = more propane in, hotter = less in. Tanks deserve to actually fit an additional 20% in the tank, but that extra space is designed for expansion as the temperature rises.

In an extremely cold winter climates, favor Canada, there may be an ext concern/rules around filling a tank to a finish 20 lbs. This is due to the fact that if you leave a tank exterior in an extremely cold temps, filled the tank when the tank is cold, and then lug it right into a hot basement/garage because that a space heater, the gas will broaden as the tank warms. With sufficient of a temperature increase, the tank"s pressure relief worth will release a little bit of gas. This would be less of an concern if the relief worth were bleeding to outside air.


All propane tanks have actually a "tare weight" or "T.W." stamped ~ above the collar the the tank. For a grill size tank you simply calculate the tare load + 20 lbs, and that"s just how much the tank must weigh when it"s full. Many 20 lb tanks have actually a tare weight of +/- 17 pounds when completely empty. This way a "full" propane tank have to weigh around 37 pounds.

There is likewise a month and also year ~ above the collar indicating the date the tank was made. Because that 20 lb propane tanks, you have 12 year from the manufacture date prior to the tank must be re-certified with a new date stamped top top it. The re-certification just adds 5 years before having to re-certify again. The cost and also inconvenience of re-certifying virtually always outweighs the price that a new tank.

Brand new propane tanks may come through air inside and need to be "purged" prior to the very first fill. Some more recent tanks, favor Bernzomatic, will have actually a sticker top top them saying they don"t have to be purged within 6 month of the to produce date.

Purging requires a one-of-a-kind adapter to enable a little amount of propane in. The pressure then pushes air the end of a one-way bleeder valve. Purging may include another $3-4 dollars to a brand-new tank, despite some areas don"t charge, especially if friend buy the tank from them.

The mathematics on Refills at Costco

Internet searches suggest the following:

1 gallon that propane weighs 4.2 poundsA "full" 20 lb cylinder should have 4.7 gallons or propane in it

I called around and also the neighborhood U-Haul location wanted $16 because that a refill. Ns remember Costco has actually a authorize for $9.99 refills. I believed I was getting a good deal, but it turns out i pretty much got no deal.


Costco in Greenville, SC is a little bit deceiving due to the fact that they first hand you a slip that states "20 lb cylinder". When you pay within the receipt claims "20lb PROPANE", and the filling publish out claims "Cylinder: 20S lbs." The just defense is that the filling publish out is honest and says "3.6 gallons". However, nobody knows off the height of your head the a propane tank is an alleged to have actually 4.7 gallons to be thought about "full". By saying 3.6 gallons, they space masking the reality that they placed in 75%. If they want to be upfront they"d to speak "we will placed 15 lbs the propane into this 20 lb cylinder".

This means Costco place in 15 lb of propane.

3.6 gallons / 4.7 gallons = 75% that the common fill.

or, said another way

(4.2 pounds/gallons) * (3.6 gallons) = 15 pounds

The indigenous on the internet forums is that the Blue Rhino and also AmeriGas similar exchange services placed in 75%, or 15 lbs.

If you perform the mathematics on Costco, it"s actually no a bad price. It"s in line, if no cheaper, than paying $16 for a full 20 lbs. Though, Costco"s use of the "20 lb" phrase is unfortunate. Ns think their an inspiration is to have actually a cheaper price, therefore members think they are getting a good deal. Plus, by only filling 75% they do members come back much more often, and also go inside to shop while they wait.

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ConclusionIf you"re trying to find the best price, owning a propane tank and also re-filling that is walking to be cheaper than making use of an exchange service. Together always, you pay a premium because that convenience.Ask just how much propane is going into the cylinder. There must be 20 pounds going in for full capacity.Weigh the tank once you gain home and it should be around 37 pounds. If that weighs 31-32 pounds climate you recognize they only put in 15 lbs that propane.Costco"s propane price is tho fair when you perform the math.Bonus - Weber Grills

I additionally assembled the grills at Taylor Hardware. Weber Grills were by far the ideal we sold. Reasonable care and a cover will conveniently give your Weber grill 10-20 years of life. You can buy various other cheap brands and also they will have actually steel parts that rust out in 2-3 years. You can buy a fancy looking stainless steel brand from residence Depot and also it will most likely not rust, however it will cook unevenly or the manage or wheels will break off and also you"ll be earlier to the store in 5 years for a new grill.

Bonus - next Burners

I likewise helped sell the BBQ grills. We sold a couple of with side burners, however we never ever pushed them. I recall countless conversations through customers who had paid more for a next burner in the past and never used it, regardless of their best intentions. Opportunities are that you will use the next burner once or twice, therefore don"t invest the money unless you room absolutely sure you"re walking to usage it