How long does a propane tank last on a grill

Before you start grilling, you need to know how much fuel is in your propane tank first. This way, you can prevent mishaps like running out of gas or undercooking your food.

The lifespan of your propane tank will depend on how big it is.  Residential propane tanks weigh somewhere from 500gallons to 100gallons. However, you can find smaller propane tanks of up 10 20 pounds sold for super small and modest outdoor barbeque with small appliances meant for small crowds. Propane tanks that hold 1000gallons are, in most case, meant for commercial use.

20 pound or 500-gallon propane tanks are very common for grilling. The smaller ones are used to make modest meals like individual barbeques.

On a medium-sized grill, a 20-pound propane tank will last you about 18 to20 hours of continuous grilling. However, on larger grills, the same 20-pound propane tank will only last you about 10 hours of cooking.

Signs that your propane tank needs a refill

Your propane tank feels light

Grilling propane tanks are small, which makes them quite easy to pick up.

For this reason, it is easy to tell when the propane tank on your grill I slow on gas. When filled with gas, the propane tanks are quite heavy.  You might even struggle a little bit when it comes to moving the propane tank from the car to your backyard or grill. The reason why the propane tank is so heavy is because it is filled with liquid propane and also because of the weight of the metal tank itself.

After some use, you should begin to notice a difference in weight of the propane tank. The tank is so much easier to lift and carry around because the liquid propane has been used up.  If it feels light, it could be an indication that the propane gas is about to be depleted and it is time for a refill.

You can use a gauge

If you have a gauge for your propane tank, it will be easy to tell when you are out of gas. The gauge shows an approximate level of the propane inside the tank.  With a gauge, you will be able to monitor the tank levels as you use the propane on your grill

Sadly, most grilling propane tanks do not come with a gauge. However, you can install one on the tank if you need to. Gauges come in a variety of makes, including analogue ones that let you measure the standard levels and modern ones that allow you to monitor the level through your smartphone or some other device.

The flames sputter while you are grilling

Propane-powered grills require a steady propane supply in order to work properly.  When your propane tank is full, you will notice that it is easier to light up the grill.  The grill lights up immediately when the propane tank is full.  If the propane gas in the tank is used up, you will notice a spluttering slow flame when you turn on your grill. If it is unclear, take a few minutes to carefully look at the flame, if you notice the mentioned signs, it might be time to refill your propane tank.

You have been using the grill for a while

This is an obvious sign that you need to refill your propane tank. If you have had a couple of barbeques with your grill, consider refilling the propane tank before the next use. To refill, you will need to take the tank to your propane provider. This also gives you a change to get an expert to inspect the tank for any damage so you won’t have safety issues while grilling.

Your grill won’t light

This is the clearest sign and easiest way to tell that your propane tank is completely empty and needs refilling.   If there is any fuel in the propane tank, you should be able to get a flame started on the grill.

If the propane tank is empty, your grill will not light up. Another way to know that the tank is empty is to listen to the sounds in the fuel line. Propane tanks with gas produce a silent hissing sound when you turn on the grill.

How to tell if you need to replace your propane tank

propane powered grill

Propane tanks last between 10 o 12 years depending on the manufacturer.  You can find the tank’s expiration date at the bottom of the tank of at the handle where the tare weight is indicated.  However, this all depends on where you are from.  In some places, the tanks are re-qualified by a professional and this can add up to 5 years to your propane tank’s lifespan.

if you have been using your tank for 10 years or more, you need to replace it.  Propane tanks with dents and rust should not be refilled. Instead, purchase a new propane tank as rusty, dented ones are dangerous and could cause a serious flame while you are grilling.

Final word

Using a gas-powered grill is very convenient. However, you need to refill your tank every time it runs out for an easier grilling experience. You also need regular maintenance and inspection of the propane tank to create safe grilling conditions for you.  Knowing how much propane you have left or how long the propane tank lasts will save you the trouble of having to get a refill in the middle of a grill or barbeque.


Is it safe to use a propane grill?

Yes, propane tanks are generally safe to use. with proper handling and care, you can be sure that the propane tank will not cause you any harm. Look up all necessary precautions to create a safe environment while it is in use.

What do I do when my propane tank is full and my grill won’t light?

Check for connection issues to make sure everything is properly attached.  Check the hose attachment, the connector and the valve. If the issue persists, contact your grill and propane gas provider for solutions.