A question I regularly get about Outfitting one of our home-built tent trailers is, Should I add a refillable propane cylinder or use the small disposable ones?

Cost of Disposable versus Refillable Propane Cylinders 1Cost of Disposable versus Refillable Propane Cylinders 2

For me there are two primary considerations, cost and reducing waste.  The cost difference is straight forward to quantify, the value of reducing waste is a personal choice.

In my area propane is going for $3.25 a gal at the local gas station.  Measurement of propane is by weight, not volume.  1 gal of propane is 4.25 lbs or 68 oz.  So, it works out at $3.25 a gal,  it is $.048 an oz.

Around here you can pick up the Coleman 16.4 oz disposable cylinders of propane for $2.95 ea.  If propane is $.048 an oz, you’re paying $.79 for the propane and $2.16 for the cylinder that you throw away.

A DOT/OPD 5 lb refillable cylinder and appliance hose runs about $66, $46 for the cylinder and $20 for the hose.  So, if you’re throwing away $2.16 with the purchase of every disposal cylinder, financially you’ll break even after purchasing 30 cylinders.

So you decide which makes the most sense for you.

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