Question about price points of 1 lb vs. 15 to 20 lb propane tanks, also storage in direct sun?

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Senior Cook
May 15, 2020
Prior Lake
My father in law says it's cheaper to buy 1 lb. propane tanks (for my new Blackstone) vs. buying the 15 to 20 lb tanks. Is this true? I always figured buying in bulk is cheaper.

Also on storing propane. The 1 lb are easier to store for us (shelves in the garage) and if I bought a 20 lb. it would be out in full sun exposure on our patio (as our garage is full of 2 cars and a chest freezer) with no shade whatsoever. I've heard they can explode/not work right if they get too hot, is this something I need to worry about? (I live in MN so the hottest it's ever gotten here is probably 100/110 F). Or would I buy a cover for it?
Why don't you call local propane suppliers and ask about prices? You can also ask them your other questions. Pricing may very widely and weather conditions certainly do.
Pricing is only answered by your propane company.

1 lb. can you can buy/refill your own tanks whenever you run out. (keep two on hand for when the other does empty)
10 & 20 lb. tanks you cannot easily transport nor move in an upright position - which they need to be.

Tanks are never filled past 70% (approx) - and this is due to compensate for expansion. If you hear of someone's tank exploding due to heat, I can almost guarantee that they stupidly filled their own tank bypassing the safety measures that are put in place to prevent that very thing from happening.

Again, your propane company can (and will) explain all that.

I've recently also heard that company's are filling tanks less to compensate for newer higher costs.

Drive past a farm with a 400 gallon tank in the yard - in full sun.
As I understand it, you shouldn't be storing propane indoors. It can leak. I think it's a question of fumes in an enclosed space could easily explode from a spark, like turning on the light. I might be mistaken.
As I understand it, you shouldn't be storing propane indoors. It can leak. I think it's a question of fumes in an enclosed space could easily explode from a spark, like turning on the light. I might be mistaken.

This is true. A one-pound tank is not a big deal, but a 20-pound tank is. Propane (unlike natural gas) hovers near the floor. If you have any kind of flame or spark source in your garage, such as a water heater (very common), and the tanks leaks. Boom.

Go to any store that sells propane exchanges, and you will see the tanks stored in cages outdoors. There will be signs on the doors into the stores saying "Do not bring propane tanks into the store." There is reason for that -- it's the law!.

As for propane tanks outside in the sun, that's not an issue. The tanks can take a lot more pressure than what they are actually filled to. You would have to overfill one significantly to have one burst, and it wouldn't explode unless there was a flame or spark nearby.

I keep two 20-pound propane tanks outside on my patio, 24/7/365. It gets really hot in Texas. There is no way I would store them in my garage. Back when I had a camper, the propane tank was outside on the trailer tongue -- again, required by law.

Natural gas piped into your house flows at VERY low pressure. The chances of a leak are very low, compared to a 20-pound LPG (propane) tank inside. LPG stands for liquified petroleum gas, which means that liquid gas is under very high pressure to remain a liquid in the tank.

Bottom line, keep your 20-pound propane tanks outside!

BTW, BAPyessir, I have a 20 pound LPG tank for my Blackstone, but I don't want to keep a bunch of 1 pounders around, and constantly change them. The little tanks are also more prone to leaks. I used them camping, and a few times took them off my camp stove, and had them not reseal. I had to set them outside far away from anything, and let them leak until empty. Total waste of money.

Here there are dates stamped on the tanks, and they must be replaced when the time is up. I believe it is the valve that is replaced. Which is done by propane companies.

My propane tank for my grill was on the patio, winter and summer. I used it all year. I actually never turned it off and in 20+ years never had a leak. With the exception of one time when the grill itself was disintegrating. LOL, instead of little individual tiny jets of flame the whole bar lit up - now that was an interesting meal!
Bought a new grill. Tank itself was still just fine.

But I do not recommend my method of use. There are reasons for those safety rules.
We have had leaks with propane, but they were most likely due to the gauge that was supposed to tell us how full the tank was.
I use my biggest one (20 Lb) I think almost exclusively. I keep one full smaller tank as back up.
I keep both on my porch where my grills are. They do get some afternoon sun.

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