In this post, I will go over how long the average 20lb propane tank lasts on your smoker, as well as what factors can affect those numbers. I also have some general tips that you may want to follow to make the most out of your purchase. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Tank Capacity – How Long Will It Last?
A 20lb propane tank will last roughly about 4 hours of constant use. Every smoker is different, so your time may vary depending on the size of your smoker and the intensity of the heat. I also recommend using an extensive amount of hickory wood to get that smoky flavor you want out of your food. This is one more thing that will affect your overall burn time.
Costs of Propane
Now that we have established how long a 20lb propane tank will last consider the cost.
A 20lb propane tank can run you anywhere from $14 to $ 30 depending on where you live, but I recommend staying at the lower end of that spectrum for maximum savings. This may vary depending on the area.
General Tips for Saving Money on Propane
Purchase Your Propane Tanks: This is one of the most important things to remember when saving money. If not, you will constantly shell out $5-10 every time you need to fill up your smoker. Most smoke shops will rent these tanks out for $5-10 per month, which can add up. I recommend the Mr. Heater brand for its extreme durability and reliability.
Clean The Burner Assembly: This is a common problem with many smokers, but you will want to clean out the burner assembly before or after each use. The excessive amounts of ash and debris that build up in there can have a negative impact on your burn time, so be sure to keep it clean.
Consider Maintaining Your Smoker: Many people don’t think about maintaining their smoker, but this is something that you should consider. For instance, if you are not using your smoker for a few months, make sure to blow out the ash pan with an air hose. If you don’t, you will have a lot of ash and debris to clean out when you start using it again.
Purchase A Cover: If you’re not using your smoker for extended periods, I highly recommend getting a cover for it. This will help keep out dirt, debris, and moisture to ensure it stays in excellent condition for when you need to use it. There are plenty of covers out there, so use your best judgment when deciding which one to buy.
Measure the Burner: This is something that I learned from Dr. BBQ himself, but it is vital to determine how much wood you are using. More typically used wood types are relatively cheaper than other types, which can give you some ideas for your next smoker if you get tired of smoking once in a while.
Use A Pressure Tank: If you are camping or tailgating with your smoker, consider using a pressure tank instead of the propane tank. This will allow you to cook longer without having to worry about refilling your tank.
Use Electricity: This may be controversial, but I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use propane. If you’re in a pinch and don’t want to go through the process of filling up a tank, try using electricity instead. There’s an indoor model out there, and it does a great job at smoking all types of meat.
Is It Better to Refill the Propane or Exchange Tank?
In most instances, it is better to refill your propane tanks as opposed to exchanging them. The reason for this is because most propane tank exchanges will not give you a full 20lb tank. In most cases, you will only receive a roughly 15lb tank.
Also, there is always a chance of an error on their part and ending up with a different size tank than what you pay for. Many stores take advantage of this and give you the first tank to fill up only. If you try to exchange it, they will refill it smaller and charge you for the second full tank.
As you can see, refilling your tanks is much cheaper and more reliable than exchanging them, especially if you plan on using your smoker for an extended time.
It is important to remember that this post is based on averages. Every smoker is different, which can significantly affect the amount of time your tank will last. It all depends upon your consumption patterns and how you maintain your smoker and propane tank. Also, this is only based on the average fuel consumption rate. If you smoke for a longer time and smoke way more than what is recommended, I recommend buying a larger fuel tank to ensure you won’t run out of fuel before your food is done cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: How does a 20lb tank compare to a 10lb tank?
Answer: If your smoker is smaller and produces less power, the 20lb propane tank will last approximately 2.5-3 hours, while the 10lb propane tank will only last about 1-1.5 hours.
Question: What is the approximate cost of a 20lb propane tank?
Answer: The average cost of a 20lb propane tank is $20-$30, depending on where you live. Some stores charge $14, while others will give you $30. Just keep in mind that the higher the price, the lower the quality.
Question: Do I need a rubber hose for my 20lb propane tank?
Answer: You will not need a rubber hose unless a smokehouse or grill with a long air tube system.
Question: Is it better to have a 20lb propane tank or a 10lb tank?
Answer: This depends on the size of your smoker and the amount of power you produce. A 20lb propane tank will last approximately 4 hours of constant use.