Fill Station vs. Exchange – Pros and Cons

February 22, 2023 / Back to Blog

Your gas grill tank is empty. You have steaks marinating in the fridge. There’s no way around it. You need propane. In this circumstance, you essentially have two options – Go to a propane fill station or go to a tank exchange. In this article, we’ll explore some pros and cons of each, so you are ready to go when it’s time to grill.

The Basics

Fill stations are locations like a propane supplier or hardware store that will fill your existing propane tank on site through a larger store vessel at their location. Tank exchanges are usually located at gas stations or convenient stores and allow you to turn in your tank for one that is full.

The Propane

Grill tanks at exchanges are filled with 15 pounds of propane. This is less than their max capacity but is the most they can be transported with, per law. Fill stations fill your propane tank to its maximum capacity – 20 pounds. The 5 extra pounds will get you about 5 hours of extra hours of grill time compared to the 15 pounds from the tank exchange.

The Cost

Exchanges tend to be more expensive than fill stations. This means you typically get 5 less pounds for more money. Next time you are at the pump, take note of the price at the exchange. Then give your local fill station a call and ask for pricing. You’ll be surprised.

The Convenience

While the fill station is your best option from a capacity and cost standpoint, the convenience of an exchange is its biggest pro. There are more than likely a greater number of exchanges available than fill stations, since they are often times located at gas stations or pharmacies. Exchange locations tend to also be open longer hours and over the weekend compared to a fill station, so if you need a tank immediately and quickly, a visit to the exchange will be your best bet.

The good news is you probably have an abundant supply of grill tanks available when you need it. If you plan a little and want to save a few bucks, visit a fill station. If life happens and you need one now, try your local exchange. Learn more about safe transportation tips and how to measure what’s left in your grill tank in our other articles.