"> '); Refilling 1 lb Propane Tanks | A Complete Cost Analysis – Go Midwest Fishing

Refilling 1 lb Propane Tanks | A Complete Cost Analysis

Do you use a lot of those one pound propane cylinders? Are you sick of paying five dollars or more per tank? I found a way to drastically reduce the cost, and you never have to run to the store again to buy more tanks.

The answer to your problem is to refill your own tanks using a Propane Refill Kit. It is easy, safe and legal. The best part is, it only costs $0.81 per tank refill!

I did a complete cost analysis comparing disposable tanks against refillable tanks. The results were amazing! Keep reading to discover how many refills you can get from a 20 lb tank, and the secret to finding the cheapest propane.

Watch the video below to see exactly how this system works

How Many Refills Can I Get

I conducted an experiment where I had a completely full 20 lb propane tank, and an empty 1 pound tank. I refilled the one pound tank until the 20 lb tank ran out. How many refills do you think I got?

Conducting refill test

I only had two refillable bottles, so after filling them up, I had to find a way to quickly empty them. I found a way that worked great. I connected it to a Weed Dragon!

Using the Weed Dragon

This is basically a flame thrower used to kill weeds. I could empty a 1 lb cylinder in a matter of minutes.

After repeating this process over and over, I finally had my answer. I got 17 full bottles plus one 6oz bottle. Now lets break down how much it cost.

Watch me do the experiment here

Cost To Refill A 1 Pound Propane tank

Now that we know how many tank refills we get, all I had to do is divide that into the cost of a 20 pound tank. Your final cost is going to depend on how much you paid for your full 20 pound tank.

Where I get my propane

I got my tank for $12.99 at a local gas station. To be optimistic, lets divide $12.99 by 17.5 refills. That will give us $0.74 per refill. Now lets be more realistic and look at a more conservative number. We will discard that half bottle and call it an even 17 refills. The 20 pound tank was actually $13.82 out the door with taxes added on. That brings us to $0.81 per refill. That’s still a great price!

Menards tank exchange

What if you paid more for your propane? The next cheapest place near me to buy propane is at Menards home store for $15.82. That will bring your cost to $1.28* per refill. The gas station down the street was selling it for $21.99. That makes it $1.52* per refill.

* Cost adjusted for actual fill rates. See “The secret to finding the cheapest propane,” at the bottom of this post.

Local gas station
Store$ 20 lb Tank$ 1 lb Refill
Gas Station #1$12.99$0.81
Gas Station #2$21.99$1.52
Refill Cost Chart

Cost Of Disposable One Pound Tanks

The cost of one pound tanks can vary greatly depending on where you buy them. The cheapest place I found them was Walmart. They sell them in four packs for $7.37. That’s $1.84 each. The most expensive was actually on Amazon for $46.64 each!

Here is a cost breakdown chart for disposable tanks

Store$ 4 Pack$ Each
Northern ToolN/A$4.49
Disposable tank costs

Which One Should You Choose?

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that refilling your own tanks is much cheaper. I understand that many people like to refill the green disposable tanks. You can even buy an adapter to do so. I’ve tried doing that myself.

The label clearly states that is is illegal to refill the disposable tanks. I also realize that most people probably don’t care, and that I’ve never seen anyone actually get in trouble for it.

What I like about this Propane Refill Kit is that it is so easy and safe to use. Unlike the disposable kind, it is easy to fill full every time. The bottles are made out of heavy duty metal to take the stress of being refilled over and over again.

I don’t recommend many products because I have to truly believe in it before feeling comfortable telling someone else about it. I’ve used this kit for over two years now, and I love it.

No more being stingy with my propane bottles. I have many appliances that use them, including coleman lanterns, camp stoves, little buddy heaters, torches, and bug foggers.

When I’m on a camping trip, I usually have a 20 pound tank with me, so all I have to do is bring the refill nozzle with. That way I can refill my one pound tanks whenever they get empty. No more running to the local gas station who can charge $8 or more per tank because you have no other choice.

The Secret To Finding The Cheapest Propane

There are two ways to get your propane tank refilled. You can get a new tank at a propane exchange place, or have your existing tank refilled.

The propane exchange tanks are very convenient, but if you want to pay less for your propane, look for a place that will refill your old tank.

propane refill station

This is where I refill my 20 pound tanks for only $12.99. It is cheaper than all the propane exchange places around, and they actually put 20 pounds of propane in the tank. ( I questioned them about this and watched them weigh it) This one is located at a gas station near my house. It doesn’t take long to fill either. If the station is busy, sometimes I have to wait for the attendant to come out, but its worth it.

Now lets discuss the propane exchange stations. Most people think they are getting a 20 pound tank of propane, but they are not. If you look at the the fine print, you should see the actual net weight of the tank posted nearby. Most stations only give you 15 pounds.

The gas station below brags, “WE FILL ‘EM FULLER!” Take a close look at the net weight. They fill them to 17 pounds, which is better than the 15 pounds most do, but they also charge you a lot more for those 2 extra pounds.

At least at the place where they refill my existing tank, I am right there watching them fill it while the tank sits on the scale. I can see that it indeed has 20 lbs of propane in it, and it costs much less than the exchange tanks which contain less propane.


I think it is a no-brainer. Buy your propane from a refill station, not an exchange place. Then get yourself a Propane Refill Kit and start enjoying your propane burning appliances once again.

I hope this gave you some new information that will make your outdoor experiences that much better. Check out the other articles on this blog which are packed full of great information.

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