How Long Does a Grill’s Propane Tank Last?

Written on: October 17, 2022

Keep track of your fuel levels, so your barbecue isn’t interrupted

propane tank refill delaware Nothing puts the brakes on a great fall cookout like the flames unexpectedly going out on your propane grill. If you’re one of the 61 percent of American grillers who count on propane, you know it produces a clean, powerful, precisely adjustable flame. But an empty propane cylinder doesn’t help when you have burgers or hot dogs to grill.

As Delaware’s go-to propane delivery company, we know about portable propane tanks and can tell you how long your cylinder will last, plus a few tricks to measure how much fuel is left in the tank.

Choosing a portable propane tank for your grill

The most common size of a propane tank is 20 pounds, also known as a 5-gallon tank. There are also 30- and 40-pound portable tanks that can be used for individual propane appliances like barbecues and patio heaters, but 20-pound cylinders are by far the most popular. You can generally find this size at gas stations, big box shops, and hardware store exchanges. These cylinders are also compatible with virtually all portable propane tank refill stations.

A 20-pound propane cylinder is easy to carry and transport home. When transporting and storing these containers, ensure they’re upright, and never leave them in a closed car. Always keep them away from flames or spark-producing appliances.

Calculating the number of cooking hours per cylinder

If you’re cooking on a medium-sized grill, one 20-pound tank of propane should last between 18 and 20 hours. However, if you have a larger grill, it can go through 20 pounds of propane in 10 hours or even less. Using a medium-sized grill on high heat, you’ll burn about one to two pounds of fuel per meal — approximately eight to 10 cooking sessions per tank.

Knowing how much fuel is left in your portable tank

Here are three tried-and-true ways to confirm how much fuel is left in your propane cylinder.

 Weigh your propane cylinder.  • Near the neck of your cylinder are two weight markings. One is the Tare Weight (TW), telling you what the cylinder weighs when empty. The other is Water Capacity (WC), telling you how much fuel it can hold.
 • Weigh your cylinder and deduct the TW from the weight. That tells you how much propane is left!
 Use this hot water trick.  Pour a bucket of hot water down the side of your propane tank. Then, run your palm down the side of the tank until the metal turns cool. Liquid propane absorbs heat, so the tank becomes cold at the fill line.
 Buy an external tank gauge.  You attach external gauges between your propane cylinder and your grill’s connection. Some of these gauges have analog dials that tell you the percentage of fuel remaining. Others have digital readings that tell you both the percentage and your remaining cook time.

With this knowledge, you can be confident that you have the propane you need for your next cookout!

Are you looking for a propane company that you can depend on? Contact the Delaware Propane team to become a customer today!