Propane Tanks and Refills

Looking to pick up a propane tank and get it filled so I can use the propane forge (finally got paid again and can afford it lol). Someone mentioned at the committee meeting that buying them new at stores like grocery stores is expensive, relative to buying used tanks and getting them filled. Any advice on where to find used tanks, and where do I need to go to get them filled? I figured something like Facebook Marketplace for the tanks, but wanted to double check before I bought one to make sure.

Check on Facebook marketplace to see if someone is selling an old grill for cheap. Sometimes those come with the can still on there

or Craigslist

but Caveat Emptor of course.

I think Northern Tool and the big box home centers sell them, but might be no deal.

They sell them. But that’s like $50 to $60 for a new tank. Whereas refills are $17 to $25

Shouldn’t be a factor, but there was a change in the standard threads some time ago (>10 years.) Filling hte old style is now illegal. Just make sure you have the threads you need. You might still enocunter some on old grills in the wild.

Costco sells empties, but their prices don’t appear to be a deal. $50 for a 5lb, and $73 for a 30lb

You don’t find many of the old ones any more. Legal ones have to have an “OPD” and the valve turns will look like this:

If the turn looks like this, or is stamped “OPD” (or generally both), they’re fine.

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True enough, but when buying old grills there is some risk. Worth watching for.

In my experience, there aren’t a ton of savings to be had running around looking for a deal on the tank itself. (maybe if you buy used but I, personally, wouldn’t trust it unless you know the seller). A certified tank from Home Depot (my preference) , or a blue rhino seller should cost in the neighborhood of about $60 and come full.

After that, you can save a little by going to a place that fills onsite as they will be selling you the exact amount your bottle needs to be full, and you don’t waste any gas. On refills, the bottle exchange places (like home depot, etc.) are a little more for gas, and don’t give credit for partial fills, but the trade off is they’re insanely convenient.


I haven’t used it, but Blue Rhino will now deliver to your home…

Anyone tried it out, I’d love to know if they use Uber Eats to gitrdun.

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Buy the cheapest one you can find on craigslist/facebook and take the empty tank to any of the stores that do tank swaps and exchange it for a nicer looking one. It generally isn’t worth paying to re-certify old tanks as the cost of the replacement valve and inspection puts you close to the cost of a new tank, thus just swap it out at a tank exchange.


Thanks for all the feedback! I ended up finding a good deal on a used one that looks newer and in good shape on Facebook. Got lucky and it still feel like it has a bit of gas in it, good call :joy: probably going to stop by Uhaul and top if off this weekend. Hopefully my car is working by then, so I can finally get back in the shop :crossed_fingers:

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What I do: I’ve gotten the expired tanks free/cheap from people. After 12(?) years they can’t be refilled without recertification.

Take your cheap expired tank to an exchange at a grocery store and hand-pick a new tank. I’ve gotten never-painted-only-filled-once tanks at Kroger. The kids aren’t instructed to check manufacture dates (which are stamped on the handle) on exchanges and don’t give a single fook about outdated threads or OPV valves.

From then on, take your shiny new tank to UHaul, FerrelGas or an RV Park (I use Destiny in Corinth) for cheap(er) refills.

I’ve got 8 pristine tanks and I’ve never bought a new one.


Tractor Supply Company is another option (has been cheaper than UHaul for me in the past). I recommend calling ahead to make sure someone is on duty who is trained/certified to fill tanks.

Two tanks are better than one
You might also consider whether TWO tanks makes more sense. using a half-empty 20 lb tank on a two-burner forge is likely to frost over if used too long. A 2nd full tank, or two partial tanks which can be swapped out may make sense. Otherwise, starting with a topped-off tank is cheap insurance.

FWIW, I have three tanks which I have dedicated for my forge: all acquired for free off Craigslist and in some cases later swapped out for a newer tank at a Blue Rhino at the Walgreens near my house.

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For several years I did glass blowing in my backyard, starting with 20 pound tanks that I manifolded together, later going to 100 pound tanks after the smaller tanks kept freezing up as they got low. In fact a single hundred pound tank would freeze up in high humidity and somewhat lower temperatures. One catch on the refills that I ran into, if I recall correctly, is that U-Haul would only treat a 20 pound tank as though it were a fill from empty = standard charge. A bigger tank would be the actual amount put in. One risk with the larger tank is that some people won’t fill it unless you’re in a vehicle where it can stand up right after filling; i.e. pick up or station wagon, Can’t lay it down.

That’s just sound practice. Unless it’s a tank built for horizontal mounting (like a forklift tank, which still requires mounting in proper orientation) the overpressure vents aren’t designed to operate properly except in the upright position.