What is the Difference Between Propane and Butane?

If you have at any time had a BBQ, gone camping, or experienced an out of doors heater, you have most likely utilised propane and butane before. A lot of folks use the two names interchangeably simply because each are employed in comparable settings.

Every single of these gasses is a gentle hydrocarbon gas called liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In some purposes, the LPG can be a mix of both of these gasses. Although propane and butane are chemically related, they have ample refined distinctions that make them perfect for specific uses.

This post explores every single of these gasses and how you can explain to the difference. It’ll also consist of some beneficial tips on when every of them is utilised.

Overview of Propane:

1 of the major variances in between propane and butane is their boiling points. Propane’s boiling level is -42° C (32° F), which tends to make it a great fuel for out of doors use in colder climates.

Although it’s stored in canisters in liquid type, you simply cannot odor, see, or taste it when it’s gaseous. This is one particular reason that it’s unsafe because it is harmful to breathe. That is why they incorporate something called mercaptan to give it the characteristic smell you expect from all-natural gas.

An additional enormous reward to propane is how cheap it is. Even with a decline in oil costs, propane remains an reasonably priced gas, which is why some people transform their previous pickups to propane.

two propane tanks in hardware
Image Credit: PxHere

Propane for BBQs

You are most likely reading this write-up due to the fact it is BBQ time, which can make feeling. Following all, propane is employed for a lot of BBQs. This gas is a excellent selection if you live in a colder climate and you like to grill all 12 months prolonged. In addition, it provides quick lighting, and it reaches its max temperature quite swiftly.

When to Use Propane

Here are a few of the best applications for propane:
  • BBQ
  • Heating and cooling
  • Water heaters
  • Fuel for engines
  • Great for lower temperature use outdoors
  • Huge reduction in emissions compared to oil
  • Large bottle size
  • Efficient energy source
  • Not typically in easy-to-transport containers

Overview of Butane:

When crude oil is processed in petrol, kerosene, or diesel oil, butane is extracted in modest amounts during the distillation. Due to the fact it is extracted in more compact quantities than when propane is processed, you are going to normally uncover it becoming utilized in scaled-down applications.

Also, since of their a bit distinct chemical properties, butane is typically far more perfect in modest programs like lighters. This is mostly owing to their decrease boiling level and vapor pressure at place temperature.

The flip aspect to this reduced boiling position is that butane becomes considerably less than perfect at any time there is a possibility of it being used in lower temperatures. Because it remains in liquid sort, and there will not be sufficient force.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Butane for BBQs

As pointed out over, if you are arranging to BBQ in colder temperature, butane is not the proper option. Nonetheless, if you are hunting for a gas that lights instantly and reaches its max temperature nearly as quickly, the butane is well worth thinking about. Specifically because it truly burns considerably much more successfully than propane.

When to Use Butane

Here are a few of the best applications for butane:
  • Portable heaters
  • Camp stoves
  • BBQ
  • Refrigerant
  • Gas-powered torches
  • Lighters
  • Lower toxicity
  • Often cheaper than propane
  • Burns more efficiently than propane
  • Doesn’t perform as well in the winter
  • Can be harder to get

Size of Storage

Propane tanks arrive in a variety of sizes ranging from 20 lbs . (lbs) to 1,000 lbs. The measurement of the tank will increase as the pound goes up. For reference, the twenty lb tank is typically 18″ tall x 12″ in diameter, and the 1,000 lb tank is 5′ extensive x 16′ extended.

Butane, on the other hand, has a considerably broader spectrum ranging from tiny eight-ounce containers for backpackers up to dual 33 lb tanks in a household setting for heating.

gas tanks
Image Credit: ulleo, Pixabay

Price Comparison

There is no actual concrete response for price since the price relies upon on numerous factors, these kinds of as the price of crude oil, offer in which you are, and the size you’re looking for.

Equally propane and butane are offered in several measurements of containers. If your only thing to consider is the greatest value, butane is normally less pricey. But the flip aspect is that it can at times be more difficult to get.

When to Use

A fast chart for reference:

When to Use Propane When to Use Butane
BBQ—year-round BBQ—no cold weather
Heating and cooling Portable heaters
Water heaters Camp stoves
Fuel for engines Lighters and Torches
In-home heating In-home heating


There is no one-measurement-matches-all response for which gasoline you ought to be employing. They are so similar, however their distinctions make them ideal for specified situations. Regardless of whether you are hunting for alternative gas for your vehicle or you just want to grill some burgers on the BBQ, get a appear at the ideal fuel for each and every.


Featured Picture Credit rating: Virrage Photos, Shutterstock