How Long Does A Propane Tank Last For A Fire Pit

Are you planning to get a propane fire pit and wondering, how long does a propane tank last for a fire pit? Then I’ve got you covered.

A 20-pound propane tank will normally last 4 hours at its maximum output. However, with a modest flow of gas, it can go up to 9 hours. The tank’s actual lifespan is determined by elements such as its BTU rating, flame intensity, and temperature.

One of the most popular options for outdoor warmth and enjoyment is propane fire pits. They offer a warm, comfortable environment as well as a lovely flame that may be customized to your tastes. 

I’ll explain how long a propane tank lasts for a fire pit and what influences its consumption and duration in this in-depth article.

How to Calculate How Long a Propane Tank Will Last

 You must first comprehend how much propane your fire pit consumes each hour. BTUs are the units used to measure this.

 The heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit equals one BTU. Fire pits with higher BTU ratings will consume more fuel. 

After that, you need to find out the tank’s capacity. A  20-pound can hold up to 4.7 gallons of liquid propane.

To calculate how long a propane tank will last for a fire pit,  divide the total BTUs of the tank by the BTU rating of the fire pit.

  • The ambient temperature and wind speed influence the quantity of fuel required to sustain the optimal flame.
  • Fire pits with a big size require more propane to fill up the space with heat.
  • The quality and condition of your propane tank and regulator. The older and dirtier it is t, the less efficient it will be.
  • Aso, the brighter you set your flame, the more gas your fire pit will consume.

That is why, it is necessary to keep an eye on your propane tank level regularly.

How Long Will A 20lb Propane Tank Last On A Fire Pit

Depending on the BTU rating of your fire pit, the tank can last for different amounts of time.

The table lists some examples of how long a 20-pound propane tank will last on a fire pit with different BTU ratings.

Table 1: Propane Tank Lifespan Based on Flame Intensity and BTU Rating

BTU RatingFlame IntensityEstimated Tank Lifespan
30,000HighApproximately 14.3 hours
30,000MediumEstimated time varies
30,000LowEstimated time varies
40,000HighApproximately 10.8 hours
40,000MediumEstimated time varies
40,000LowEstimated time varies
50,000HighApproximately 8.6 hours
50,000MediumEstimated time varies
50,000LowEstimated time varies
60,000HighApproximately 7.2 hours
60,000MediumEstimated time varies
60,000LowEstimated time varies

Note that the formula used for the tank duration is dividing the total energy which is 430,000 BTUs by the fire pit’s BTU rating to estimate the approximate time of the tank.

Of course, the estimated values mentioned are only approximate and based on continuous usage of the fire pit on maximum output. However, if you use it on low or medium settings, your tank’s lifespan can be extended significantly.

How to Check the Level of Your Propane Tank

To check the level of your propane tank, use a gauge attached to the valve.

Another easy method involves pouring hot water over the side of the tank and feeling where it gets cold. The cold spot indicates where the liquid propane level is inside the tank. 

You can also weigh your tank and then deduct the tare weight (the weight of the empty tank) from the total weight. 

If the tank weighs 37 pounds and the tare weight is 17, the remaining propane in the tank is 20 pounds.

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 You can then divide this by the BTU rating of your fire pit to determine its lifespan.

What Size Propane Tank Do I Need For A Fire Pit?

The size of the tank you need for a fire pit depends on these 2things:

  •  how frequently and for how long do you use your fire pit
  • The BTU rating of your fire pit

Generally, larger tanks last longer and are more expensive & heavier.

A 20-pound propane tank is a convenient option for fire pits. However, a larger one can save you money in the long run.

 If portability is your priority, consider a 5 or 10-pound tank, but keep in mind that they are less durable and more expensive. To avoid running out of gas, connect your fire pit to a permanent fuel connection from your house. 

Propane Tank SizeUsage FrequencyAdvantagesDisadvantages
20-poundRegularHeavier, requires professional installationLimited supply, higher cost
5-poundInfrequent, PortablePortable, suitable for campingLimited capacity, higher cost
10-poundInfrequent, PortablePortable, higher capacityLimited capacity, higher cost
Larger TanksFrequent, PermanentLonger duration, cost-effectiveHeavier, require professional installation

However, this option necessitates professional installation and may not be accessible in every region.

Do Gas Fire Pits Use A Lot Of Propane?

The answer to this question depends on how you define “a lot”. Compared to other outdoor appliances, gas fire pits do not use a lot of fuel. 

A patio heater utilizes roughly 40,000 BTUs per hour, compared to the normal gas grill’s 20,000 BTUs. On the other hand, a gas fire pit typically requires 50,000 BTUs per hour, which isn’t much more than a patio heater.

Gas fire pits actually require a lot more propane than their other counterparts (that burn wood0. A charcoal fire pit typically produces 30,000 BTUs per hour, compared to 60,000 BTUs from a wood-burning fire pit. 

ApplianceBTU RatingApprox. Fuel Consumption (BTUs/hour)
Gas Fire Pit50,00050,000
Patio Heater40,00040,000
Gas Grill20,00020,000
Charcoal Fire Pit30,00030,000
Wood-Burning Pit60,00060,000

Using gas fire pits is preferable to those that utilize wood/charcoal. They are more environmentally friendly, cleaner, and safe. Additionally, they don’t produce any dangerous embers and smoke that can

Is 50 000 Btu Enough For The Fire Pit?

For some folks, 50,000 BTUs hit the sweet spot. This is a solid choice for a gas fire pit and gives you a decent flame and heat output.  Beyond just warmth, it delivers a delightful environment for your outdoor space.

However, it is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Some people crave a bit more drama and dazzle from their fire pit. If you’re all about making a statement with a larger, brighter flame that’s visible from afar, consider a fire pit with a higher BTU rating

On the flip side, maybe you’re seeking a more subdued and intimate vibe. In that case, a lower BTU rating might suit you. 

A smaller, softer flame can create a relaxing environment, perfect for unwinding after a long day. Plus, it’s eco-friendly and easy on your wallet, using less propane and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

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The bottom line? There’s no one “perfect” BTU rating – it’s all about what suits your tastes and needs. 

Pros and Cons of Propane Fire Pits

These fire pits are an excellent addition to your backyard, providing warmth and charm. However, they have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them:

Pros of Propane Fire Pits

  • Easy to use: The operation is quite simple; connect to the fuel tank, turn on the valve, and ignite the flame with a push button. 
  • Clean and safe: They do not produce any smoke, or ash that can cause fire hazards. Additionally, they do not leave any residue or odor on your clothes/furniture. 
  • Versatile and stylish: Propane fire pits come in different sizes, shapes, and materials to fit any style and area. You can customize it with accessories for unique effects.
  • Portable and convenient: They are portable and can be easily stored, making them a great option for the backyard, and camping. You do not require a permanent structure or location.

Cons of Propane Fire Pits

  • Expensive and limited. They are more costly than wood-burning and charcoal pits. Apart from that, they have a limited supply of gas that can run out unexpectedly.
  • Artificial and noisy. They lack the natural crackling sound, pleasant burning smell, visual appeal, and realism of wood-burning l fire pits.
  • Dependent and regulated. They rely on the availability and accessibility of propane gas. You need to have a reliable source nearby in case you run out of gas. 

Final Thoughts On “How Long Does a Propane Tank Last for a Fire Pit”

In conclusion, understanding how the life span of your propane tank will last for your fire pit depends on several factors that affect its consumption and duration. 

The BTU rating, intensity of the flame, temperature, and wind speed all play significant roles.

A 20-pound propane tank can last between 4 and 9 hours depending on usage and real-world conditions.

Before making a decision, it’s important to consider your personal preferences, budget, and needs. Take the time to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each fire pit type.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about “How long does a propane tank last for a fire pit”. 

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