Propane Tank Refill vs. Propane Tank Exchange: A Personal Observation

Propane Tank Refill vs. Propane Tank ExchangeMaybe it is the first time in a while that you have decided to use your grill. I use mine quite a few times during the warmer months.  So you take the cover off of your grill and go to turn on the propane only to discover that your tank is empty, or nearly empty. You are now left with the decision of what to do:  get your propane tank refilled or take it down the street to the convenience store and exchange it for a new one.

Your tank is a few years old, as well, so that compounds the question as to whether to drive across town to get it refilled or to just hit the local convenience store propane exchange location. The fact your tank is a few years old means it has been exposed to the harsh elements 24/7 for all that time like freezing cold, scorching days, rain, and wind. If you are like me, you are also dealing with the issue of that second empty tank sitting on the ground just below the deck that’s been sitting there for who knows how long, with the inside of the valve exposed to all kinds of things like dirt, insects, and all kinds of nasty debris. “Is that tank even safe to refill,” you ask yourself. Does the overfill protection device still work or is it broken?  Could the tank be overfilled and be dangerous?

Okay, you are reading a blog post on a propane exchange website, so naturally it’s going to push propane exchange, right?  Well, yes and no.  Our parent company, Disanto Propane, also provides Propane Tank Refill at their locations, as well as installing propane tank refill facilities at retail outlets in their service areas.  So there are advantages to both.  But I’m just writing this from my own personal experience so for those who like Propane Tank Refill because you get more propane in your tank at a cheaper overall price, I get it.  But here is my thinking on this.

This past Labor Day we were getting ready for a cookout and I knew my propane tank was near empty.  I was going to drive across town (20 minute drive) and get it refilled.  Then I looked at the tank.  It was rusty, the paint was peeling off of it, and when I got it unhooked from my grill, the inspection date on the tank we really out of date.  Plus, I had to go to the store, get a haircut, and go to the post office and mail a package to my niece for her birthday.

And I really did have a spare empty tank sitting down on the ground by my deck and when I looked at the valve on the top of the tank, I really did wonder if spiders and squirrels had gotten in there and if I did get that tank refilled, would the valve be safe.  I really didn’t feel like taking those kinds of chances.  Plus, there was a Mighty Flame propane tank exchange location about five minutes drive from my house instead of a half hour drive across town.  So I could spend half an hour in the car and get 18 lbs of propane for about $12, or I could go just down the road from my house, get 15# of propane for about $20, and have a clean, inspected, safe propane tank and get on with my errands and still get back in time to fire up the grill before everybody showed up.

Propane Tank Refill is Cheaper

When it comes to propane tank exchange vs. propane tank exchange, I think it’s pretty universally recognized that refilling your propane tank is cheaper than a propane tank exchange.  But in the city where I live, there are three propane tank refill locations that I’ve been able to find and about 90 propane tank exchange locations of various brands. (The propane tank refill location I used to go to closed when that gas station was sold). So propane tank refill locations are getting scarce in my neck of the woods.

But there are growing number of propane tank exchange locations popping up, which make this option more easy and appealing than ever before. So while refilling might save me money, you may find yourself spending that extra cash on gas driving to a store that offers tank refilling.  Doing a quick propane tank exchange for me over Labor Day weekend was so fast I couldn’t believe it.  I was in and out of the convenience store in less than five minutes.  Usually when I had my propane tank refilled, it was anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of waiting. Plus I also picked up soda and potato chips while I was there.

Propane Cylinder Exchange: Buying Convenience

These days, it is rare to visit any major retail location and not see the steel cages that contain propane exchange tanks. The bottom line in this is that when it comes to propane tank exchange what you are buying is convenience and peace of mind.  Yes the tank typically contains 15 lbs. of propane. But it is also safety inspected, freshly painted, filled properly, the overfill protection device in the tank works as advertised, and you can get on about your business with a minimum of bother.

For me, that makes my cookout day a whole lot less stressful. Let’s face it, when you run out of propane nothing can be more frustrating and if you are having guests over, now you leave them waiting even longer to enjoy your grilling mastery.

Propane Tank Refill vs. Propane Tank Exchange: What to Do?

So as you look at that empty tank pondering your decision to refill it or exchange it, those are my thoughts.  Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever go back to refilling my propane tank.  The advantages of using a nearby propane tank exchange location is just too great.