Skip to content

How Long Does a Coleman Propane Tank Last? [EXPLAINED]

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, I’ve come to rely on Coleman’s high-quality outdoor accessories, with their propane tanks being one of my top choices. Perfect for camping trips, road adventures, and various outdoor gatherings, Coleman propane tanks are indispensable for powering grills, barbecues, and even space heaters.

Coleman offers propane tanks in a range of sizes to suit your needs (see all available options HERE).

These versatile tanks are designed for use with tabletop grills, propane stoves, torches, lanterns, outdoor camp stove ovens, heaters, and other portable propane appliances.

Their compact design makes them easy to transport, while their eco-friendly nature means they are less polluting and toxic and safe to carry.

Of course, as practical and efficient as Coleman propane tanks are, they won’t last indefinitely. Eventually, you’ll need to refill or replace your tank. So, how long does a Coleman propane tank last? This article aims to answer this question and provide valuable insights into this essential piece of outdoor equipment.

Keep reading to learn more.

How long does a Coleman propane tank last?

The most commonly used Coleman propane tank – the 16.4oz or 1lb small tank – will last for two hours when used with a small 75,00 BTU stove with both burners on high flame.

A 16.4 Oz propane tank contains roughly 22,000 BTUs.

To estimate the duration of a 16.4-ounce propane tank when used with specific equipment, simply divide 22,000 (the approximate number of BTUs in a 16.4-ounce tank) by the equipment’s hourly BTU consumption.

I have developed a simple calculator that you can use to calculate your burn time for any specific tank with your camping equipment. Try it below.

Propane Tank Duration Calculator

Apart from a cooking stove, the Coleman Propane tank can be attached to different kinds of equipment like a heater, lantern, camp oven, etc., and depending on which equipment you use it with, you will get different burn times.

The below table summarizes the burning time of a small 16.4 oz Coleman Propane tank when used with different equipment.

Common Camping Equipment16.4Oz Propane tank run time
Coleman Propane Lantern13.5 hours
4000 BTU Space Heater 3 hours
3000 BTU Outdoor Camp Stove Oven7 hours at 350-degree Fahrenheit
Coleman 2-Burner Fold N Go Propane Stove2 hours over high flames
Weber Q 2200 gas grill1 hour and 48 minutes
1lb (16.4oz) Coleman propane tank use time with different types of equipment

Types & Sizes of Coleman Propane Tanks

Coleman Propane tanks or cylinders come in different sizes and capacities. You can select one based on your usage and need. (check all options here on their Amazon)

The most common one used for outdoor activities is the 1lb or 16.4Oz canister. It weighs 453g and is ideal for carrying along with you on a camping trip. It can be found in single or multiple packs with a refill cylinder.

11Ib and 5lb are also available in the market. These small propane tank sizes are called cylinders. 5Ib is less in diameter than 11Ib, but the height is the same.

The large-size tanks come in 100Ib, 40Ib, 30Ib, and 20Ib capacities. (I have written a detailed article about how long does a 20lb propane tank last)

This table summarizes the further details of different tanks.

Coleman Propane Tank SizeDimensionsWeight
100 Pound 15×48 x15 inches177 lb (filled)
40 Pound 12 x12 x29 inches68 lb (filled)
30 Pound 12 x12 x24 inches52 lb (filled)
20 Pound 12 x12x18 inches31 lb (filled)
1 Pound (16.4Oz)8.6 x4 x3.88 inches1.13 lb (filled)

Determining the Propane Level Left in Your Tank

When using a propane tank for cooking or heating during outdoor activities, it’s natural to wonder how much gas is left in the tank and if a refill will be needed soon. It might be difficult to measure if your tank doesn’t have a pressure gauge.

Fortunately, there’s a simple trick to check the propane level in your cylinder, regardless of its size. All you need is a cup of warm water.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking the propane level in your tank:

  • Step 1: Heat a cup of water to a moderately warm temperature. It doesn’t have to be boiling, just warm enough to create a noticeable temperature difference on the tank’s surface.
  • Step 2: Slowly pour the warm water over the side of the tank, ensuring that the water flows evenly from top to bottom without losing contact with the tank’s surface.
  • Step 3: Place your hand on the top of the tank’s surface and gently slide it down, paying attention to the temperature of the metal surface.
  • Step 4: The surface of the tank will feel warm where it is empty. However, as you move your hand down and reach the area with the remaining propane, you’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature. This cooler area indicates the current propane level in your tank.

By following these steps, you can quickly and easily determine how much propane is left in your tank, helping you plan for refills as needed.

How to Make a Propane Tank Last Long?

When you are out there in the wilderness, you would want your fuel tank to last the longest. No one likes to be left without heat on cold nights.

Here are a few useful tips that can help you better utilize your propane tank. By using these hacks, your tank can last longer. These are very simple and easy to implement.

  • Pre-cook and vacuum seal your food at home and use your campsite propane tank just to reheat them.
  • Cook the food in small portions, as large portions consume more energy and time.
  • Bring just add water meals to cut down cooking time.
  • Turn the heat off when you are not utilizing the heater.
  • Always clean the nozzles and connecting pipes (if any) before using the tank.
  • Use equipment with better burn rates (higher efficiencies) to maximize tank usage. Some equipment burns more fuel to produce the same amount of BTUs.
  • Each time you connect a manual grill to your Coleman propane tank, it wastes a small amount of propane gas. To prevent this, use a grill with auto-ignition.
  • Keep your thermostat down 10-15 % and shut off the heat when you are not around.
  • If the weather isn’t very cold, use warm clothes & quilts to keep yourself warm instead of a space heater. You can also put up a nice campfire.

Can You Refill Coleman Propane Tanks?

It’s far more economical and environmentally friendly to reuse the same propane tank or canister again and again instead of buying a new one every time.

When your smaller tank runs out of propane, you can refill it from a larger cylinder. The good news is that refilling a smaller propane cylinder is easy, and you will be back to cooking (or whatever you were doing) in no time.

You can refill your smaller Coleman tank from any larger propane cylinder. All you need is a standard propane refill adaptor (like this one) that you can get from any hardware store (or order from Amazon here).

Follow the following simple steps to refill your Coleman propane tank from a larger cylinder.

1. Position the cylinder correctly

Place the larger tanks on the hard supporting surface safely. Make sure it is upright and in a stable position.

2. Connect the adapter

Screw the propane tank refill adapter on the large refill propane cylinder nozzle. It must be hand-tight. Make sure the main tank valve is turned off before you screw in the adaptor.

3. Connect the empty tank

Screw the Coleman propane tank on the propane cylinder. Keep it in a stationary position. You don’t need to use any tool to tighten the smaller tank in. A hand tight will do just fine.

4. Invert the cylinder & tank upside down

Invert the connected tanks. The large tank (refiling propane cylinder) must be over the small tank (Coleman propane tank). Although the transfer occurs due to pressure difference, inverting the larger cylinder on top of the smaller one speeds things up a bit.

5. Open the valve on the larger tank

Open valves, and you will hear the pressure transfer between the cylinders (for some reason, it’s very satisfying to listen). Usually, it takes 5-6 minutes for the tank to fill. But it is completely safe to leave it longer. The transfer will stop when both cylinders are at equal pressure.

6. Shut the valve and disconnect the filled tank

Once the smaller tank is full, you can shut the valve and remove the tanks from the adapter.

PRO TIP: Trapped air reduces the volume of the cylinder while refilling. To remove the trapped air and fill the cylinder completely, remove the smaller tank from the connector, use a screwdriver to bleed some air by pressing the nozzle and reconnect with the cylinder and continue refilling. For 16.4 oz, doing this once midway through refilling is enough.

If you appreciate a video tutorial, the below video is very helpful

Do note that while you can refill the smaller disposable propane tanks from the large tank, it is illegal to transport these refilled tanks across state lines in the US.

The US Department of Transportation suggests disposing of these small tanks and buying new ones. But as long as you are not transporting them across state lines, you should be fine.

How Long Are Propane Tanks Good for in Storage?

Proper storage of propane tanks is crucial to ensure their longevity and maintain safety. While propane itself has an indefinite shelf life, the tanks in which it is stored have an expiration date that must be taken into consideration.

To maximize your propane tank in storage, keep the following points in mind.

  1. Expiration date: Propane tanks have a manufacturing date stamped on the collar, which is typically valid for 12 years from the date of manufacture. After this period, the tank must be inspected and re-certified by a professional to ensure it is still safe for use. If the tank passes inspection, it can be re-certified for an additional five years.
  2. Storage conditions: To maximize the lifespan of your propane tank, store it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight and heat sources. When storing propane tanks, make sure they are in an upright position to prevent any potential leaks. Read my detailed guide about storing propane tanks during and after camping.
  3. Tank maintenance: Regularly inspect your propane tank for signs of damage, rust, or leaks. If you notice any issues, consult a professional for guidance on whether the tank can be repaired or if it should be replaced. Additionally, ensure the valves and connections are in good condition and free from debris or dirt.
  4. Proper disposal: If your propane tank has reached the end of its usable life or is no longer safe to use, it’s essential to dispose of it properly. I have written a complete guide about propane tank disposal that you can read.

By paying attention to the expiration date, storage conditions, and maintenance of your propane tank, you can ensure it remains in good condition and safe to use for as long as possible.


Coleman propane tanks are one of the essentials for any outdoor activity, be it camping in wood or just a simple backyard barbecue party. You can get the tank in different sizes that can last from 1 hour to several hours, depending on the size, usage, and equipment connected to it.

Coleman Propane Tank – FAQs

u003cstrongu003eHow to connect propane tank to Coleman road trip grillu003c/strongu003e?

To connect the Coleman Roadtrip grill to the Coleman propane tank or canister, you can use any compatible regulator adaptor. You can find one very cheap off the shelf in your local hardware store or get one from Amazon easily.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is a Coleman propane tank made ofu003c/strongu003e?

The Coleman propane tank body is made of u003cstrongu003eStainless steelu003c/strongu003e to make it corrosion-proof. Stainless steel construction also makes it strong enough to store high-pressure gas inside.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the price of the Coleman Propane Tank?u003c/strongu003e

The price of the Coleman propane tanks depends on their size. The greater the size, the greater will be the price. The prefilled 1 lb (16.4Oz) Coleman propane tank price is around $12. The per-gallon price for other propane tanks is around $4 per gallon.

u003cstrongu003eDo Coleman propane tanks have an expiry date?u003c/strongu003e

Yes. Every Coleman propane tank has an expiry date written on it. If unopened, the tank can have a shelf life of up to 7 years. After you open it, the gas should be used within 2 years before you need to vent and refill it.

u003cstrongu003eWhere to store Coleman propane tank?u003c/strongu003e

The ideal place for keeping the Coleman propane tank is a well-ventilated area. The temperature should be room temperature. Avoid placing the propane tank near direct sunlight.

16.4 oz propane cylinder how long does it last?

A standard 16.4 oz or 1 lb propane cylinder will last for u003cstrongu003etwo hoursu003c/strongu003e if used with a 7,500 BTU stove on full flame.

how long does a propane tank last?

A propane tank made from galvanized steel will last for up to u003cstrongu003e30 yearsu003c/strongu003e if taken care of properly. The outer surface of the tank is painted to repel moisture that can otherwise induce corrosion and weaken its structural integrity.

Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page

Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page