Our propane exchange review is an in-depth look at the cost and all other factors to consider when filling your propane tank. When your propane tank is empty and you need to get it filled you normally have two choices. The propane exchange found outside most hardware and grocery stores and some gas stations, or finding a place that will fill your tank. So, should you use a propane exchange?
Most of the time the propane exchange is much more convenient as with every convenience you end up paying more for it and in this case it is a lot more.
Propane prices including tax as I write this part of the propane exchange review:
Exchange : $24.53
20lb. Tank Fill : $24.55
The prices look competitive at first glance right? You need to look a little closer at those numbers.
The 20lb tank fill is 20 pounds of gas (some places leave room for expansion) so it is $1.22 per pound. While the exchange you only get 15lbs. that is 1.63 a pound. That is 32% more just for the convenience and you’re getting less propane. So essentially you will end up paying $29.34 for the same amount of propane from the exchange.
You may think that you do not have to drive as far to exchange your propane tank. You also have to consider that eventually you will have to make an extra trip to the exchange verses filling station.
In either case you will normally have to wait for someone to exchange or fill your tank. Filling it only takes a few minutes. So that is a wash.
While often tucked away finding a propane filling station is as easy as Googling the word Propane. As an added bonus they are typically run by a small locally owned business. Normally you will find propane exchanges at large chain retailers.
Propane Exchange review: The Purchase
Pictured above is my receipt for one propane tank exchange and one tank fill with a total price difference of $3.59. It just happened to work out that I had an expired tank and the fill was only 16 pounds.
Which is another valid point:
If your tank has leftover gas you will not be charged for the full 20 pounds because you do not need it. This tank still had 4 pounds left in it and it was unusable. So I only paid for 16 pounds and had a full 20 pounds tank that should last 25% longer.
Important notes about the Propane Exchange:
The two main players in the propane exchange game have been accused of collusion (for dropping the amount of propane in the tanks) by the FTC.
One company that owns some of these exchanges are beginning to use a proprietary valve that only they can fill.
When I began writing our propane exchange review I thought I would be a basic math thing. I was aware that the tanks became lighter over the years but had no idea of the collusion accusation. Then when I learned of the proprietary valves this article became very interesting.
The propane exchange does have its uses though:
Your tank runs out in the middle of a cook and you can get back before your grill cools down.
If your tank begins to rust or show some wear. Tanks at the propane exchange are well taken care of and a new empty propane tank will cost you almost $50.
You need propane after the filling station has closed.
If any of the above happen to you by all means use the propane exchange.
It is also important to note that a few years back the propane exchange used to fill the tanks with 18 pounds of propane. Not the 15 pounds they are currently using now. So be on the lookout for even shorter filled tanks coming soon.
They will occasionally go on sale for as low as $18 making it much more worth your while.
As always our propane exchange review
Is unsolicited and un-sponsored which is to say. We go to the store and pay full price for our propane. We receive nothing from the Propane Exchange or anybody else in return for writing this review.
Want to know how much propane you have left? Read this
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aka Sultan of Sizzle
I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
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