How to use the Propane Calculator
Ever wondered how long a 1 lb, 15 lb or 20 lb propane tank will last you?
The problem with this question is it depends on what you’re using it for. For example, a large BBQ will demand more gas than a small propane camping stove.
That’s why I decided to make this simple calculator to get a more accurate idea. It’s not perfect but will give you a very good estimate.
- Find out the BTU rating of your appliance and enter this into the first field. They are usually on the box or you can find them on the brands website.
- In the 2nd field enter the size of your propane tank or cylinder.
- The 3rd field will tell you how many BTU hours you have in your propane tank.
- The 4th field will give you an estimate of your burn rate in hours.
How long does a 1 lb tank last
For Example; If you wanted to know how long a 1 lb cylinder would last using the Coleman Triton Series 2-Burner Stove.
It’s rated for 22,000 BTUs (11,000 each hob) so I enter that in the first field with 1 lb of gas in the 2nd field.
The calculator estimates 0.98 hours of burn time. On their product page it estimates a 1 hour burn time so that’s pretty close.
They say it gets a total of 22,000 BTUs of cooking power. That’s using both hobs at the same time on full power. In reality you probably aren’t going to use max power the whole time. So make sure to take that into consideration.
How long does a 20 lb tank last
In this example we’ll be using a medium sized popular BBQ with a 20 lb tank of propane.
The Char-Broil Classic 405 uses 32,000 BTUs for it’s main burners so we will use that number in the calculation.
We get 20.50 hours of burn time from the calculator.
Why it’s important to know how much fuel you’ll need
There are a number of things you might need propane fuel for such as BBQs, camping stoves or heaters.
If you decided to go camping for a few days and prepared some hot meals to cook, it could be a bit of a disaster to run out of gas. It’s possible to use a campfire or boiling water depending on the equipment and food you have but it won’t be as easy.
I can’t think of something more annoying than running out of gas in the middle of cooking a BBQ. You’ve prepared all the food, heated the BBQ up and started cooking then the flames go out. It’s not exactly a dangerous situation but one that can be avoided if you keep track of your gas usage.
If you are camping in cold weather and need a heater to stay warm enough. Running out of gas could be a huge issue. I’d probably over estimate the amount I needed just in case.
You might need the gas to run appliances in your RV. Unfortunately this is something you’d have to test out yourself as there are to many variables to know how long the gas will last.
Does propane go bad or expire?
One of the common questions I’ve seen is “does propane gas have a shelf life?”.
No. Propane itself doesn’t go bad when stored properly as there isn’t anything inside the tank to react to. The limitation is the tank it’s stored inside.
The main concern is usually rust. As this could cause a leak or hole. The best cylinders can typically last over 30 years.
It’s important to regularly check your tank for rust or leaks.