How Much is Propane Tank for Grill: The Cost of Filling a 20LB Propane Tank

People love to barbecue, especially if the weather is perfect for outdoor picnics and celebrations. The smell of cooked meat sizzling on the hot grill, forming that delicious crusty exterior and producing a juicy, tasty steak can really make any gathering a huge hit. While most people will probably use charcoal or briquettes to get that traditional grilling feel and smell, there are still a lot of people who will choose to use the convenience that their gas grill provides.

Gas grills run on gas as opposed to charcoal fueled ones. It is considered to be more efficient and easy to use since you basically do not have to light a bunch of charcoal to get the grill going. Instead of trying to manually light a fire and waiting for the briquettes to burn up to the right temperature to cook meat, you can just twist the knob to turn the gas burners on and you can start grilling those yummy steak in no time. Although, charcoal does impart more depth of smokiness and flavor to grilled food, the efficiency of grilling with propane gas overlooks this minor difference.

Naturally, using a gas grill will require its owner to be familiar with using a propane gas tank especially when it comes to fully utilizing it and then knowing the basics when it comes to having it refilled or replaced. Just like any griller who has to know how much charcoal or briquettes is needed for a certain cook time, any gas grill owner should know the cost of using a propane tank.

It is obvious that a gas tank will not be full forever. This is why some grillers have their gas grills connected to the natural gas pipeline that runs through their property to save from having to worry about running on empty while cooking or having to replace a tank regularly. However, for those who love grilling outdoors and not just in their backyards, a propane tank is key.

How Long Does a Propane Tank Last While Grilling?

In order to understand how often and how much it will cost you to use a propane gas tank for grilling, you have to know how long it lasts in a cook out.

A medium-sized grill running on high heat usually requires 2lbs of fuel per meal therefore, a 20lb propane tank will provide 18 to 20 hours of cooking time. However, for a larger grill, you will burn through that much propane in as little as 10 hours.

So, if you often grill and in high volume, the frequency on which you will need to have your gas tank refilled or replaced will be more often than what you might anticipate. So, if you are planning on a long event or if your barbecuing beyond the weekend with a lot of guests, it is always a good idea to have a few extra tanks on standby. This will save you money and time of going out to refill a single tank as well as will ensure your cooking is not disrupted or put to a sudden halt because you ran out of gas.

How Much Does a 20lbs Propane Gas Tank Cost?

Owning an empty propane tank will probably cost you about $35 to $60. Of course, this will depend on the brand, features and quality of the tank. It is also significant if you buy one with a built-in gas meter gauge since this will greatly help you when it comes to refilling or checking how much fuel you have in your tank. Getting a propane tank with this feature will cost your another $20 on top of the base price.

These tanks can be bought in big home improvement stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes etc… You can also order online on Amazon and have it delivered straight to your doorstep.

How Much Does Refilling a Gas Tank Cost?

Most gas grills will require a 20lb propane tank and refilling this will cost around $14-$20. Usually you will pay a refill cost of $3-$4 per gallon. Since a 20lb tank can hold around 4.7 gallons of propane, it will cost you about $14.10 for the whole thing. (Computation: 4.7 x $3 = $14.10)

However, there are other factors that might affect the price of having your propane tank refilled and will cause the price to fluctuate.

  • Air Temperature – Rising temperatures can cause your propane tank to expand. This will lessen the space inside your tank.
  • Space Inside the Tank – Refilling cost will vary especially if you have your tank refilled when it is not fully empty.
  • Supplier’s Term – There are some suppliers might charge you the cost of a full tank but only refill it with 15lbs instead of $20. 

There are also those who participate in an exchange tank program. This is usually offered by big home improvement stores wherein they charge you around $20 plus tax. They also offer deals occasionally. However, most experts will tell you that getting a refill instead of exchanging your tank will save you around $8 more.


If you opt to refill your own propane tank, you will probably be spending around $3-$4 per gallon while if you choose exchanging, it will be around $5-$6 per gallon. The downside of getting into an exchange program is that they only fill the 20lb tank with 15lbs of propane meaning, you get charged a full tank of propane but not getting what you paid for.

Most people might choose to ignore this difference because getting your tank exchanged will take lesser time than to actually have to wait for your old propane tank to get filled. But, it is up to you if you want to be in control of how much you’re getting from a refill or if you want to trade it for convenience.

Owning Your Own Propane Gas Tank

It will probably make more financial sense to buy your own propane gas tank if you frequently use propane. You will end up paying less per gallon when you fill up on propane as well as saving some money when you refill it if you have propane left over in the tank upon refill.

However, if you do not need propane as much, you can probably benefit more with using the exchange program and not pay the cost of buying your own tank.

TIPS on REFILLING Propane Gas Tanks

  • Do Not Over Fill – Keep in mind that a propane tank should have extra room to give way to temperature changes. You should not allow your 20lb tank to go beyond its 20lb capacity even if it has an extra 20% space. Once you let your propane tank get too full and the temperature changes, it could cause the pressure relief valve to release some of the propane.
  • Beware of Sales – There will be instances when suppliers will or might advertise promos and sales with refilling and offer a full tank of gas propane for a certain price. However, you have to be wary of what these suppliers meaning of the word “full”. It might appear cheaper but in the end you might just be paying for lesser gallons rather than your gas tank’s full capacity.
  • Exchange with Empty Tank – It can be tempting to exchange your gas tank even when it is not entirely empty however, you are actually burning more money rather than saving. Ensure that your tank is fully drained before you go on an exchange program.

At the end of the day, using gas propane tank for your grill will definitely lead you to shelling out money. However, it is advisable to spend some free time waiting for your tank to be refilled rather than burning money just so you can grab a tank and go. You should want to be in control when it comes to refilling your gas propane tank rather than taking what you can get from an exchange program.

Always opt for a good propane tank with a meter gauge so you have a clear, honest view of what you are buying and investing your hard earned money in.

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