propane for propane smokers

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Aug 5, 2009
how much propane do propane smokers need to do the job how long will a basic cylinder of propane last (one of the little blue rhino cylinders) I was thinking about getting a propane smoker for the times when I just don't want to fire up the wood smoker
There are alot of variables which will determine how much a smoker will use. I have a Smoke Vault 24 and a GOSM 3405GW (smallest, 14" D x 16" W x 34" H).

The efficiency of the design (including horizontal w/side fire box vs vertical), modifications, ambient temps, wind, precipitation, wet or dry water pan, amount of food on the grates, amount of smoke chamber ventilation and target chamber temperature all come into play when considering fuel consumption.

My SV24 is approx. 2/3 higher chamber/cooking grate capacity than my GOSM, has a 24" chimney and mod to close the lower intakes (to improve efficiency and less grate variations) but, it burns the same amount of fuel and in most cases less than my GOSM. I ran a turkey fryer burner in my SNP 40" (horizontal/sfb) with a full tuning plate mod for over a year, and that rig was a total hog for fuel, using almost 1lb/hr @ 225 grat /chamber temps.

I recently had just under 60 hours run time in moderate weather with my SV24. My GOSM with only an exhaust vent mod (bent tabs on the flat vent damper/disc) would run about 40 hours on average.

Most any average size vertical propane smoker should get at least 35-40 hours per 20lb tank.

If you're looking for relatively trouble-free and easy operation with portability (no utility needs), and low cost fuel, gassers can't be beat. Oh, find a local LPG distributor to get your tanks filled. The propane tank exchange outlets are a total rip-off, charging between $20.00 and $25.00 (or more, depending on where you live) for a refilled tank, plus a deposit for the first time around. I pay around $10.00-$11.00 to fill a completely empty tank.

Another thing about exchanges , I guess they are still only putting 15 lbs in them , because the display near me got a new sign that says something like "20 % more for free . Our tanks have 17 pounds ! " I had kind of forgotten about that but I remember they all seemed to start putting only 15 pounds in them instead of raising prices some time ago .
So I've found this method to be great in keeping an eye on my propane usage.

Take a look at the tank and you should see something that says TW - That is the tank weight of an empty tank.  Weigh the tank and subtract the tank weight.  That will give you your propane weight.  Dividie that by 4.23 to get your gallons of propane.  Then multiply that by 91500 that will give you your BTU's remaining.  You will need to know your burner rating in BTU then you can divide by that to give you the hours remaining.  Example

TW - 17.2

Current weight - 22

Propane weight - 4.8 LBS

Gallons of propane (weight /4.23) 1.134752

BTU remaining(gallons *91500) 103829.79

Hours remaining (BTU remaining / burner rating, in my case 15000) - 6.92 hours

I hope this helps.  I strung this together from posts here and some more research on Wiki-pedia

I also write on my tank with the approx # of hours remaining as I weigh it after I'm done smoking.  I also keep a spare but at least I'm ready to go roughly when the tank runs out .
I keep spare tanks when I plan on using my big smoker, better safe than sorry...

Now I have never even tried to figure that one out. I have 3 grills and 3 smoker and about 6-7 tanks so I always have tanks around. If one run out just grab another one. Now the guys at the gas store like seeing me every couple of weeks for I will fill atleast 3 up maybe twice a month. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads