Are Used Propane Tanks Worth Anything?

When it comes to hosting a barbecue summer party, there’s nothing better than a propane gas grill to kick off the fun. But what are you supposed to do with your propane tank when it runs out of propane? Can you sell it? Or if you come across an old propane tank just laying around, can you trade it in?

While most used propane tanks aren’t worth anything, you might get a few dollars by selling them as scrap metal. You can also save money by refilling your tank instead of discarding it, as long as it hasn’t expired. If you just want to dispose of it, call a local recycling company for guidance. 

Let’s see what empty propane tanks are worth, whether you should exchange or refill a tank, and the steps you should take for proper disposal, so you can get the most bang out of your buck without harming the environment.

Are Empty Propane Tanks Worth Any Money?

A row of propane tanks in an industrial yard in shadow

The answer to this question depends on the condition, size, and certification status of your propane tank. Remember that most tanks aren’t worth much, but you can sell the tank as scrap metal and earn a few dollars from the sale. 

If your tank is old and doesn’t have a safety feature that prevents propane gas from escaping when you open the valve without connecting the tank to an appliance, it probably won’t be worth anything. It’s better to take your tank to a local propane supplier and ask them to value it.

Generally, a used grill tank will only fetch a quarter, while 14- or 16-ounce propane tanks will get you only a few cents as scrap.

Any tank bigger than a small camping propane bottle has some value. Even if you have an outdated large tank, you can repurpose it into a barbecue grill storage tank, if its condition allows it. And if the tank’s too far gone, you can always sell it as scrap metal as well. 

Should I Sell or Reuse My Empty Propane Tank?

In most cases, you won’t be able to get any money for empty propane tanks. And in the instances you do, it’ll only be a few dollars at most, as we described. 

However, you’ll be able to save money if you refill your empty propane tank instead of buying a completely new one. The saved money will quickly add up and end up being more than what you would get from the sale of a used, empty propane tank.

Also, you’ll only have to pay for the propane you use if you get the tank refilled. You won’t lose any of the propane left in the tank (as is the case with an exchange), and you’ll be able to take it back home for use.

Still, if you plan to refill your tank and use it for a long period of time, make sure you consider the tank’s expiration date, which is usually stamped near the handle area. 

Is Exchanging an Empty Propane Tank a Good Idea?

Propane tank at a house

Some people believe that exchanging an empty propane tank at their local gas station or grocery store is cheaper than refilling one. In fact, some people are unaware of the fact that U-Haul and other propane suppliers can refill their tanks, giving them a much better deal. 

Let’s look at some of the reasons why refilling a tank is preferable to exchanging one: 


On average, exchanging a propane tank costs about $5.75 per gallon. On the other hand, most refill companies charge less than $3.99 per gallon.

Contains More Propane

If you exchange your propane tank, you’ll only get 15 pounds of propane for a 20-pound tank. So, along with paying more for an exchange, you’ll also get less propane in an exchanged tank when compared to a refilled one. 

Refill companies and propane suppliers top off propane tanks, so you’ll get as much fuel as your tank can safely hold. The extra 25% means you’ll get around four more hours of burn time. 

Faster and More Convenient

Exchanging a propane tank is not as easy as dropping off the tank and getting a new one. In fact, you’ll need to go inside the location, stand in line with other customers, and wait for someone to give you access to the propane tank cage. 

On the other hand, refilling your propane tank is incredibly quick and convenient. If you’re refilling the tank at a U-Haul location, you won’t even need to leave your vehicle. Just pull up and an attendant will meet you outside. You can also pay with a credit card at the pump. 

Where Can I Get Rid of Empty Propane Tanks?

If you don’t want to refill your empty propane tank and just want to get rid of it, you can try to sell it as scrap metal for a few dollars, as we’ve discussed, or you can simply dispose of it at one of your local recycling plants.

Recycling programs vary significantly according to where you live, and each program has different rules about how and where you should recycle empty propane tanks.       

Make sure you contact your local recycling company to check whether they accept empty tanks in curbside bins, have any special collection days that may accommodate tanks, or can provide any information about nearby recycling centers that might accept them.           

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