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Cheap Source Of Propane? Answered

When I got a new can of propane, for my torch, it was $9. At wally world, it was $4. Then, when I went to get a can of cooking stove propane from the camping department (at wal-mart), I notice that the tank was $3. After getting home, I noticed that the threads were exactly the same, and that the torch head would screw onto the neck of the "camp propane" bottle. So, as anyone would do, I fired it up, and it worked! Of course, it would shut off it you tilted it too far, but what the heck! $3 for a can of propane. But then I thought "Why is this so cheap, and why haven't I heard of this before? Is ther something wrong with this? Will I blow myself up?!?!?! Anyway, I'm all for saving $2, or $6 (depending on where I go), so is this actually a reasonable way of saving money?

So what I'm asking:
-Is this way safe? I haven't fired it up since, in case it did something bad.
-Why is it so cheap to but it that way, and so expensive to buy regular tanks?
-Has anyone else done this?

If anyone can help, it'd be appreciated.

25 Replies

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abadfart (author)2010-05-27

its ok to use them thats what i use  

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Punkguyta (author)2007-10-14
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John Smith (author)Punkguyta2007-10-14

?

So what I'm asking:
-Is this way safe? I haven't fired it up since, in case it did something bad.
-Why is it so cheap to but it that way, and so expensive to buy regular tanks?
-Has anyone else done this?

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Punkguyta (author)John Smith2007-10-14

Well it should be safe if the threads match up fine, but I would use some pipe tape to be sure. The reason they are so cheap is A.) There's not really that much propane in one of those little cans compared to a BBQ propane tank. B.) The tanks for a camping stove are a bit cheaper because the tanks are thinner than those for torches because the manufacturer assumes that it will be sitting stationary. Not standing upside down and welding with it where ya may drop it. (NOTE) Another chance would be safe to say that they might have been dropped in the back room and "quietly" brought up to the shelf.

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toysareforboys (author)Punkguyta2008-04-21

Absolutely DO NOT use "pipe tape" on the threads. The threads have NOTHING to do with the seal/preventing a leak, they are only there to hold the nipple on your torch head secure, centered and into the nylon seal bushing in the propane tank.

And, to answer your question, yes, it will work fine. Provides a nice stable base for soldering, etc., compared to the skinny torch tanks. Used them for years and never had a problem.

-Jamie M.

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John Smith (author)Punkguyta2007-10-14

Okay, thanks, that is what I guessed.

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jtobako (author)John Smith2007-10-14

I haven't had a problem with it. And, the camping tanks are 16 oz instead of 12 oz (last I checked...). Short, squat tanks would work better (be more stable) in a camping setting where long thin tanks might fit better in tight spaces of home repair. You might skip the camping fuel if it's more expensive, but if you need it for home repair, you don't have a choice.

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John Smith (author)jtobako2007-10-14

Okay, so you are saying youve done it without problems (not to say nothing could happen)? Good.

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barbesj (author)2008-02-01

Thanks for asking the question John!!! I just got the coleman tank too, but then hesitated to hook it up for fear I'd blow us up. Good to know it works fine.

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Goodhart (author)2007-10-15

If, by torch, you mean one of those type that is often used to scorch and remove paint, or solder copper pipe, I personally didn't even know they made "special tanks" for that. The little tank I use for my hibachi I also use for a light duty torch.

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-15

I was saying at Wal-Mart, these (the tank in the picture) were more expensive than these.

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-15

sorry, I don't see anything at the second link except "hosted by Anglefire"

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-17

Oh, I don't know what happened. It was a picture of a green Coleman brand propane tank for lanterns and small propane cook stoves.

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-17

If both contain propane and have the same fittings, I would think they would be interchangeable. Maybe it is the brand name that makes the difference ?

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-17

Well, I didn't know,and that was the purpose of the thread.

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-17

I am not absolutely positive.....but I know I have used either one for a soldering torch. As far as I know, propane is propane. If it were butane, it might make more of a difference...

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-17

Thanks. I think everything is cleared up now.

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gmoon (author)2007-10-17

Yeah, I've got some buddies that still insist on using propane-fired camping gear (vs white gas, my preference.) Sometimes I'm enlisted to buy & carry the tank (the 'chubby' type.) I've never noticed they are cheaper, but that's probably true. Since you never pack in a half-full tank, after each trip they get shuffled into the workshop for use with the torch.

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gmoon (author)John Smith2007-10-17

Response not plain enough?

Yes, the fittings are the same, I've been moving my torch back and forth between the two bottle types for years....

Video of my bernzOmatic-type torch and coleman bottle.

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John Smith (author)gmoon2007-10-17

No, the response was perfectly clear, I just didn't have anything to say, and wanted to respond that way you'd know that I saw the response. Oh, and thanks for the video.

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Mr. Rig It (author)2007-10-15

Harbor Frieght. com sells this neat little adapter to let you safely and leagally refill those campstove. hibachi grill tanks it is only $19.99. You could probably refill your regular torch also, since the threads are the same as the campstove tanks. Here is the Link

Hope this helps

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jtobako (author)Mr. Rig It2007-10-17

PITA though. Doesn't fill the bottle all the way, and the 'new' overflow protection mandated on smaller tanks means that you can't get any liquid into the bottle. Don't forget, the tank has to be up-side-down for the liquid to get into the smaller tank...

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westfw (author)2007-10-15

If you want to save really big bucks, I've seen a hose that will let you connect fixtures designed for disposable propane tanks to one of those refillable 25lb tanks... Bulk propane will run about $20 for a full 20lb, IIRC. I don't know why the torch propane would be so much more expensive than camping stove propane. Last time I bought a cylinder, I recall it being slightly cheaper, but not nearly so dramatic as you report.

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