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What Size Propane Tank Do I Need? (Read this to find out!)

Updated: May 2

A trend is emerging - more and more Americans are deciding to buy their own propane tank.

Why is this?

Because when you own a propane tank, you no longer experience the limitations of leasing a tank from a particular company.

No longer beholden to one company's leasing restrictions, you can now shop around for the best propane prices, dodge pesky fees, and even add some customization to match your property aesthetics.

So what’s holding you back from purchasing your own propane tank?

For many people, it’s all the questions they have about the different tank sizes:

  • How big is a 500-pound tank?

  • Is a 150-pound tank enough for my home?

  • How much will it cost me to get my tank refilled?

At Affordable Tanks, we understand that it isn’t comfortable making a purchase with so many questions. That’s why we’ve written this article addressing the most common questions about propane tank size.

In the end, you’ll have the information you need to make a good decision and a wise purchase!

Let’s get started!

Common Propane Tank Sizes

Propane tanks are measured by their weight - how heavy the tank is when it is full. The propane within a tank is measured in gallons.

In other words: if you want to know how much propane a tank holds, the gallon number is more important than the weight number.

For tanks over 420 pounds, however, this rule changes, and propane tanks are measured strictly in the amount of propane they hold.

Many people also want to know the actual dimension in feet and inches of propane tanks. So, let’s take a look at common sizes and their dimensions.

propane tanks are measured by their weight when the tank is full

20 lb propane tank

Twenty-pound tanks are quite common, though they are never used to heat homes. They are most commonly used to fuel an outdoor grill or for other small home projects.

  • 18 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter

  • Holds 5 gallons of propane

100 lb propane tank

These tanks are still most commonly used for cooking but are also used as fuel sources for gas dryers.

  • 48 inches tall and 18 inches in diameter

  • Holds 25 gallons of propane

420 lb propane tank

Tanks of this size are primarily used as fuel for hot water heaters, fireplaces, or home appliances but, since they are still relatively small, are rarely for whole-home heating.

  • 54.5 inches tall and 30 inches in diameter

  • Holds 96 gallons of propane

(Note: Any tanks exceeding 120 gallons cannot be kept directly against any building. The 420-pound tank would need to be stored at some distance from your home.)

250-gallon propane tank

The 250-gallon container is our first tank that is horizontal instead of vertical. These tanks can support appliances and are sufficient for heating systems in modestly-sized homes.

  • 7 feet 10 inches long and 30 inches in diameter

  • Holds 200 gallons of propane

250 gallon tanks are vertical

500-gallon propane tank

These tanks are primarily used for providing power for a central heating system. Once filled, they can usually supply power to a home for a half year (depending on the home’s square footage).

  • 9 feet 11 inches long and 37.5 inches in diameter

  • Holds 400 gallons of propane

1000-gallon propane tank

Now we are getting into the large fuel containers. 1000-gallon tanks are used almost exclusively for large industrial and commercial projects, though they are sometimes used for home heating.

  • 16 feet long and 41 inches in diameter

  • Holds 800 gallons of propane

1000 gallon propane tanks are used for industrial purposes

How Long Will Propane Heat My Home?

Space is only one of the significant considerations when it comes to propane tank size.

You don’t want to have to purchase propane every couple of weeks, so you also need to consider what size of tank you need to last you a while, ideally six months to a year.

Several factors influence how long a tankful of propane lasts:

First, what are you using the tank for? If you are using propane only to heat your home, it will last longer than if you are using it for heat plus power to appliances.

Second, how big is your home? A bigger home requires more energy to heat and, therefore, uses propane more quickly.

Third, how efficient is your home? Homes that are well insulated and have quality windows and doors require much less heat energy since they lose heat to the outdoors.

While we can’t answer those questions for you, we can share some key propane usage statistics.

  • An average home furnace burns 500-1,200 gallons of propane per year.

  • An average homeowner uses between 200-300 gallons of propane per year for hot water.

an average home uses a 500 gallon propane tank

That means an average-sized family living in a moderate house that uses propane for heating and hot water probably wants a 500-gallon propane tank.

But everyone has slightly different needs, and that means slightly varied amounts of propane for each household. Just ensure you know how much propane you need per year, and choose a tank that you won’t have to fill up more than once or twice per year.

(For a more detailed look at this, read our blog: Buying A Propane Tank - The Ultimate Guide).

Costs To Fill A Propane Tank

And the final question: how much will you pay to fill up various sizes of propane tanks?

This question is difficult to answer because propane prices fluctuate between suppliers, geographic areas, and seasons of the year.

In general, though, the price of propane hovers around $2.00 - $2.75 per gallon. Companies offering refills may charge as much as $3.25 - $4.00 per gallon.

If you own a propane tank, the process gets simpler.

Call around and ask propane suppliers what their propane prices are. Then multiply that number by the number of gallons of propane your tank holds.

The result is a number close to the amount you will pay each time you fill up your propane tank.

shop around for the best propane pricing when you own your own tank


If you are ready to buy a propane tank in Southeast PA, contact us here at Affordable Tank Services by calling 717-548-3926. We'd love to get you started on the process of purchasing your own propane tank.

We offer a variety of tanks for sale as well as ongoing tank services. If you are uncertain which tank size is best for you, just give us a call. We provide free estimates and advice for each unique situation. When you are ready to install your propane tank, we are only a call away!

Experience the freedom of finding the best propane pricing and customer service in your area by having Affordable Tank Services install your complete propane setup.

We look forward to hearing from you!

affordable tank services sells and installs propane tanks

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