How to Buy a Gas Bottle or Canister

The way you buy gas is often dictated by the amount you’re purchasing, whether it is stored in a bottle or canister? Therefore buying gas can be divided into two groups:

  • Small Quantities – You often purchase the gas in a canister (which is usually disposable).
  • Large Quantities – You may rent the container (bottle or cylinder) and pay for it to be filled with gas.
The Different Gas Bottle Types and Sizes
The Different Gas Bottle Types and Sizes

When you purchase something these days, you often try and compare the different suppliers, brands etc. There are often ‘smokescreens and mirrors’ which can make it difficult to compare ‘like for like’ with the different brands. Hopefully this article can point you in the right direction when buying gas…

How to Buy Bottled Gas:

So, the first thing is to decide how much gas you want, and how often you’ll use it. For the larger gas bottles the size of the gas bottle (volume) and the pressure it’s stored at (the pressure dictates how much gas is stored in the bottle) are key factors, (as well as cost).

The Size of Gas Bottle or Canister?


Small Gas Bottles & Canisters:

Smaller gas bottles are fairly straight forward to purchase if they are disposable. You need to decide on…

  • The type of gas needed.
  • The size of the container (volume).
  • Whether you throw it away (recycle) when empty.
An old Butane/Propane Mix Gas Canister
An old Butane/Propane Mix Gas Canister

Large Gas Bottles:

For larger gas bottles, a lot of the decision making comes down to the type of gas and the size of bottle (cylinder) required.

Each supplier will often have their own different sized bottles and rental agreement (if purchasing gas in larger quantities). So how do you compare?

The size of gas bottle (and where you buy it from), may be dictated by a number of factors:

The Refill cost:

The refill cost is often dictated by the volume of gas. Note that:

  • The smaller gas bottles (often disposable) may have different volumes of gas in relation to their size.
  • Whereas with bigger gas bottles (cylinders), the size normally relates to the volume of gas.

The Rental cost:

There are three types of gas bottle rental I know of. These are often dependant on the size of bottle (cylinder) and their usage:

  1. A Monetary Deposit – A one time payment, but it may be:
    • Refundable.
    • Partially refundable.
    • Or, non refundable.
  2. Time Period Rental – Short (e.g. Yearly or monthly).
  3. Time Period Rental – Long (e.g. 10 years).

The Volume & Pressure:

The volume of gas is often advertised by the size of the bottle. But this doesn’t tell you how much gas you will get. The actual volume of gas will be dependant on the pressure used to fill the bottle. For instance:

You have:

  • The bottle size (water capacity).
  • The pressure (usually in Bar).

This will give you the actual volume of gas supplied…

Table Illustrating how the Volume of Gas is Dependant on Pressure:
Gas Bottle Sizes – The Actual Volume
Gas Bottle (Cylinder) Parameters
Bottle Size
Argon137 9.5 1.32
230 20 4.78
300 20 6.06
Note how the volume changes as the pressure increases…

From the table, you can clearly see the how the volume of gas supplied changes with the bottle (cylinder) pressure.


An Argon Gas Bottle (Cylinder)
An Argon Gas Bottle (Cylinder)

How heavy (tall) is the cylinder (bottle)?

  • Can you carry it?
  • Will it fit where you want to store it?
  • Do you intend to use a trolley?
  • Is it going to fall over (a big health and safety issue!).

Your Usage:

  • How much gas are you going to use?
  • How long will it last?

Not easy to answer, as everyone’s usage is different? However, you can often take a petty good guess:

  • Look at what other people use?
  • How is it advertised?
  • Ask the supplier for advice.

You could calculate it, but if you are unsure on the size of the bottle you want, you will probably be guessing at the figures needed to calculate it. So if unsure, always ask for advice.

And the most important question of all…

  • What happens if I have the wrong size bottle. How do I change it?

Hope this info helps…

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