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How long does a 1lb. propane tank last?

I can’t find a recent discussion to attach this observation to, so I started a new one. From time to time there is a discussion of torches, tanks regulators and hoses. I usually find myself replying that I work everyday in my shop using my Meco, Little Torch and EZ Torch on 1 lb. refillable propane cylinders and an O2 generator. I initially went to this type of system to get the hazard of high pressure tanks out of my cellar shop. I hoped that I would not be giving up too much capacity doing it. Most of the time someone questions how long a 1 lb. cylinder of propane will last. I just refilled my tanks. I always put the refill date on the tanks. Before cleaning it off yesterday (10/27/19), the previous refill date was (7/4/19). I am in my shop almost everyday using my torches to anneal, solder and cast and have decided that almost 4 months is more than enough time to justify using 1 lb. tanks. I regularly solder and anneal 8 gauge wire and cast 40 - 50 gram ingots. As far as I can tell, I have not given up any capacity and have a much safer shop in return. Just an observation…Rob


Hey, Rob,
Thanks for that info on 1lb propane tank length of use…I have the same system that you do, except using an old US made Hoke torch…I might add that I bought a Shnozzle propane refill adapter to refill the 1lb tank from a 20lb tank. These adapters are about $8 to $10 and you can google to find the instructions for how to refill the tank. In a nutshell, you can get the tank about 80-90% full again without taking a lot of time to squeeze in the last 10 to 20%. You put the 1lb tank in the freezer and the 20lb tank in the sun first as the temperature difference aids the filling (you can read about it on line if interested). At about $1 per pound of propane in the 20lb tank, refilling that tank at U-haul, you save a couple of bucks per 1lb refill…or just buy new ones and use the time to make more jewelry. You also keep a few 1lb tanks out of the landfill by refilling…hope this helps some other obsessive saver out there. -royjohn

royjohn…Great summary of the economics of using refillable 1 lb. tanks. Mine are from flame king ( They sell a refill system and refillable tanks for about the same prices as you post. I refilled old disposables for a while, but became unsure of their long term safety, so I bought “certified” refillables. This all works for me. Thanks…Rob

About 18 months ago I “retired” and opened a small shop in my home, offering regional trade repairs.
At first I used my 20# tanks and calf high O2 tanks, but this being our home I decided to try an Oxygen generator with 1# tanks. (Right after that decision I stumbled on a generator for free. Timing …)
I just looked and in well over a year I have only used 3 full 1# camping cylinders.
Of course, my doing roughly 1/2 of my work with the laser impacts the use of gas, but I do quite a bit of torch work, and those “replaceable” cylinders seem to Last!