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Propane Tanks

Propane Tanks vs Cylinders: Making the Right Choice

cylinders forklift

Propane is stored in containers that come in multiple shapes and sizes for a wide range of applications. It can be tough to understand the difference between propane tanks vs cylinders because both store propane.  

In order to help Pinnacle Propane customers better understand the difference between tanks and cylinders, this article will explain the variations in these propane storage options in order to help them make the right choice. These differences include their advantages and disadvantages, safety tips, cost overviews, and environmental aspects.  

It is important to understand propane storage options so you can choose the right propane tank for your home or business. Continue reading to learn more about tanks vs cylinders.  

What is the difference between propane tanks vs cylinders?

Both propane tanks and cylinders are designed to hold liquid propane, which means that the container will be pressurized. 

Propane tanks are built to American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards and are commonly used to supply propane fuel to homes or businesses. Typical standard propane tank sizes for residential range from 250 gallons to 1000 gallons, which is perfect for grilling, heating homes, and running appliances. Larger tank sizes beyond 1000 gallons are available for business applications. Depending on a business’ needs and propane applications, they might use tanks that are multiple thousands of gallons. Bulk tanks can be installed horizontally above ground or underground by professional suppliers like Pinnacle Propane.  

Department of Transportation (DOT) propane cylinders are often called stationary or exchange service cylinders. They are smaller in size than tanks and are installed vertically as opposed to horizontally. These cylinders come in a range of sizes from two pound cylinders to 20+ pound cylinders. They have multiple applications such as fueling grills, outdoor heaters, RVs, or warehouse equipment such as a forklift. 

Pros and cons of propane tanks

Using propane to fuel your home energy needs is one of the best decisions a homeowner can make for a number of reasons. Propane is clean-burning, safe, cost effective, and widely available. When you use a tank for propane storage at your home, you conveniently have your energy source on your property. Here are some pros and cons of propane tanks:

Advantages and disadvantages of propane tanks

One of the main advantages of propane tanks is their comfort and convenience. Having a larger tank at your home, typically 250, 500, or 1000 gallons in size, means you have access to propane for longer. And Pinnacle Propane will monitor your tank levels with our Telemetry technology, so you don’t even have to worry about your propane levels. We will do that for you and schedule deliveries when you need them.  

Another advantage of propane tanks is their cost. Although a con is their upfront cost, the cost of purchasing propane in bulk is cheaper than cylinders.  

As was just mentioned, the main drawback of propane tanks is their installation. Propane tank installation requires upfront costs and our professional team will need to determine where to install your tank, either underground or above. Although above ground tanks can be unsightly, they are cheaper to operate than underground tanks.   

Pros and cons of propane cylinders

Propane cylinders are convenient and have a number of applications like traveling with propane, grill outside, or fuel an outdoor heater. While Pinnacle propane does not directly sell propane cylinders, here is a convenient retailer tool to find the nearest gas supplier to you. Below are some pros and cons of propane cylinders:

Advantages and disadvantages of propane cylinders 

One of the top advantages of propane cylinders is their size. They take up little storage space and are portable, so they can be used at home or on the road. They also stand up to cold temperatures and can provide heat in outdoor areas where you need to work or enjoy the porch.  

Installing and refilling propane cylinders is easy. Simply follow the instructions on the cylinder to hook it up to your gas grill, heater, or RV. When it comes time to have your propane cylinder re-filled, simply bring it to your nearest dealer and exchange it for a full tank.  

One of the disadvantages of propane cylinders is their usage. They do not contain as much propane as larger tanks, and it can be difficult to monitor their usage and their fill levels without a gauge. Also, not all the propane in a cylinder is usable. Up to 15% of the propane in a cylinder is not usable due to loss of pressure, so you will be returning that propane along with your exchange.

Uses of propane tanks vs cylinders

Propane is one of the most versatile fuels on the market. Propane tanks vs cylinders are two storage options that will cover the majority of uses for propane in the United States. 

Propane tanks can be used to:

  • Heat homes
  • Heat water

Fuel appliances like dryers or ovens

  • Cooking
  • Heating pools
  • Fueling backup generators

Propane cylinders can be used to: 

  • Grill
  • Heat patios
  • Fuel forklifts

Fuel agriculture equipment

  • Go RVing
  • Run camping grills  

Tank vs cylinders

When it comes to propane tanks vs cylinders, it is important to decide your usage needs before deciding which to purchase. Undoubtedly if you have the physical space, propane tanks are the better propane storage option because they are cost effective and more efficient. However, if you just need to power your outdoor grill or are going on a camping trip, then propane cylinders are the easy and convenient way to go. 

Safety and cost of propane tanks vs cylinders

Both propane cylinders and tanks are highly rated for safety. Both are made to engineering standards put forth by the Department of Transportation and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. However, there are always safety concerns when you are dealing with a combustible fuel. Here are some safety tips when using tanks and cylinders: 

  1. If you smell rotten eggs, then there might be a propane leak.

  2. Call 911 immediately if you suspect an issue with your tank or cylinder.

  3. Always use your propane tank and cylinder according to their intended use.

  4. Store propane cylinders properly outdoors and out of direct sunlight

  5. Monitor propane tanks by conducting regular inspections

safety tips using propane gas

Propane tanks vs cylinders vary in cost for a number of reasons. Propane tanks need to be rented and installed, which carries with it costs related to the size of the tank. The price of propane is released by the supplier according to the current state of the market. 

Propane cylinders are priced depending on their size and the price of propane at the time. Pinnacle Propane is always upfront about the cost of our products and are happy to answer any questions you may have about propane and its cost to you. Contact us 972-444-0300. 


Propane tanks vs cylinders is easy to understand if you remember the applications of both. Tanks are stationary and used to fuel homes or businesses. Propane cylinders are portable, small, and used outdoors to fuel gas grills or heaters. Hopefully now propane customers can not only tell the difference between tanks vs cylinders, but can also choose the right storage option for their needs. 

Pinnacle Propane provides everything you need from your propane company.