How Long Does A Small Propane Tank Last? Should I Refill It?

Propane is an odorless gas that you can store for use for camping or other outdoor activities. It is used as fuel for gas grills, BBQ grills, and portable stoves. It is available in tanks of different shapes and sizes. Tanks come with a tag on them to tell you how much propane it holds.

A propane tank is typically the size of a camping stove which you can easily store in a cabinet or apartment. These small tanks are regularly used for BBQ grills or camp stoves. A small tank of 2.1 pounds will last about 3 hours on high heat, which is enough time to cook dinner.

The average propane tank for a stove & grill will last between 7 and 10 hours, depending on the size of the tank. You can use a small propane tank for your propane grill with a capacity of 2.1 pounds for the cooking time that ranges from 2 hours to 4 hours. While larger tanks, such as those that hold 20 pounds, can last anywhere from 18 to 20 hours. Depending on the size of the tank, a small tank may take up to 10 hours of cooking time, but most users say it takes anywhere from 5 to 7 hours. So how long does a small propane tank last? Generally speaking, it’s about an hour for each pound.

What Is Propane?

Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that can fuel various appliances, cooking, engines, vehicles, etc. It is more widely used than other fuels because it starts quickly, burns cleanly, and creates more power. It is the cleanest burning among the significant fuels, leaving no residue in its exhaust stream. Propane gas provides long-lasting power, but it does come at a cost. Propane tanks are a portable fuel source for portable grills, camping stoves, and other outdoor needs. They are also frequently used in remote outdoor locations, such as camps, cabins, and other remote outdoor areas.

Types & Sizes of Propane tanks

Larger propane tanks are not only heavier, but they cost more to refill. For this reason, many people choose to use small propane tanks, which anyone can easily transport. Some small propane tanks are so small that they are the size of a soda can, while others are much larger. Depending on the heater’s type, the typical small propane tank can last anywhere from 6 hours to 4 days. Most people choose to use propane tanks that are 10lb (4.5kg) or 20lb (9.07kg). These sizes are standard and can easily be found in camping and outdoor equipment stores.

Sizes of Propane tanks
Sizes of Propane tanks

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Usage of Propane Tank

Usage is an essential factor to take into account when using propane tanks. A small one can last about 3-5 hours (depending on the type of grill), while a large one will provide about 18 hours of use. The propane grill also requires a refill before you can use it again. When using a large tank, the customer should consider how long it will take to fill the tank with propane’s amount. Propane gas grill tanks typically come with a gauge that displays the amount of gas in the tank. It means that the users can know whether or not they have enough propane for their usage needs.

How Long Will The Propane Tank Last if Used in Barbecue?

A small propane tank of 10lb, typically used for personal camping, grilling, barbecuing, can be last anywhere from 7 hours to 10 hours. The duration of the tank will depend on the type of equipment used, size, and amount of time.

Propane tanks are used for residential and commercial grilling. However, how long it will last when used for barbecue differs. There are many factors such as grill type (charcoal, gas, infrared), cooking temperature, and the weight of the food. A small propane tank of 10-pounds is typically good for about 10 hours of barbecuing with one tank. The 20-pound tank can last about 18-20 hours but depends on your cooking. A 20-pound tank gives you about 50% more cooking time.

Also Read: Large Propane Gas Grill

Should I Refill or Replace The Propane Tank?

Propane tanks are a popular choice for a backyard grill due to their convenience and low cost. Whether you use your propane tank for a barbecue or an outdoor stove, the size of your propane tank will determine how long it lasts. We do not recommend refilling the tank. It would be best if you replaced it with a new one. Otherwise, you will face problems like leaks & damage. We suggest getting the best propane tank from a renowned company.

Coleman Propane Fuel
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With a limited budget, you may want to consider refilling the tank. There is no difference between changing and refilling, but there are advantages. Suppose you’re going to refill the tank instead of changing the tank. In that case, you must first remember not to refill more than 85% of the total capacity. In addition to the above, you must release the pressure in the tank before refilling. To do this, you must open the triangular valve of the tank and release the gas into the air.

If you do not refill the tank to the proper level, the tank may leak or be damaged. Thus it will have to be replaced. You will be charged for the new tank. It means that you will pay more for the tank than for the gas.

Can I Repair a Propane Tank?

Many people believe they can fix a propane tank themselves at home. However, this is not the case and could cause serious injury to you and your loved ones. A quick google search will yield many articles that recommend against repairing a propane tank and reports that provide step-by-step instructions. You should always consult a professional before attempting any repair on your own.

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What Are The Safety Precautions For Propane Tanks?

A propane tank does not last forever! It isn’t uncommon for a tank to last for about one to two years. If you’re storing your tank outside and it can be exposed to the sun, it may reduce the life of your tank. The process also works in reverse; if you store your tank inside, take care of it, and don’t let children climb on it, the lifespan will lengthen. Be sure to check the date when you bought it. If the date is not very old and you have the receipt, then you will know that your tank is a little older, but it’s not a problem.

Propane Tank Safety Tips

You can change your tank every few months. The propane tank is filled with flammable material so that there is a chance of catching fire quickly when it comes in contact with flame. Sometimes you need to make sure your triangular valve is not open or loose. Because many times if it is open, it can come in contact with flam and catch fire. And You should always store these propane tanks in a cool place. If it is in the kitchen, store it in a wooden cabinet and if you use it with a grilling machine, keep it 3-5 feet away from the grill machine.


Propane tanks are the most common gas used for gas grills, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters. Many people might be wondering how long a small propane tank lasts. If you barbecue for less than an hour a day, a 5-pound tank can last about 24 days. A 20-pound tank could last up to 60 days. It is crucial to keep in mind that it varies depending on the grill’s size and how much it is used. If you have a barbecue party, the 5-pound propane tank approx will last 8-10 hours. And if 20 pounds, then 18 hours is the maximum. But that depends on the amount of cooking you do. If you cook only vegetables, it will consume less gas, but it will cost a lot more gas to cook it if you cook meat items.

Size of the propane tank matters because it affects the availability of propane for grilling and cooking. While all propane tanks are equal in size, each type of propane tank has its capacity to hold this gas. Therefore, you need to consider how long your cook will last before refueling.

Last update on 2022-12-18/Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Sebastian Hoffmann

I'm Sebastian Hoffmann, and I'm a chef. I live in Fulton, New York. And I like to cook using all kinds of kitchen utensils and food items. I keep discussing new cookware and recipes so you can benefit from my experience. I discuss all cooking utensils, indoor and outdoor grills, and appliances I use. I would also like to experiment with what kind of things would be delicious to use in cooking. If you have a strong desire to know about these and are a food lover, you have come to the right platform. Stay with us. Thanks.

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