New or used co2 tank

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Summa_Brewologica

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I called up a local gas supply place and they will sell a 20lb co2 tank for $140. It would then cost about $25 to refill. All their tanks are used, though. They did say all their co2 tanks are for beverage use.
The LHBS has 5lb tanks brand new and filled for $100.
The gas place will refill the tanks or swap them so I don’t have to go to the LHBS for that even if I buy a tank from them.

Would one recommend just paying the extra $40 and having a ton of co2 even if the tank is used? I only have three or four kegs going at a time so this would last for so long.

EDIT: I currently have one 5 lb tank. Looking for another one as a backup or just go for bulk and buy a 20 lb one for not much more than the cost of a new 5 lb tank.
 
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rgregoryirving

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I wouldn't be concerned at all regarding used tanks as they all have certification dates, no gas store should be filling a tank past it's certification date. most will probably recertify them for you (for a fee) and that I think just involves an inspection of the tank.

I bought a used 5lb tank online for ~$60 and I just exchange it at a local gas supply store--this also helps make sure I'm always getting an 'in-date' tank and I don't have to worry about getting mine recertified.
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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I wouldn't be concerned at all regarding used tanks as they all have certification dates, no gas store should be filling a tank past it's certification date. most will probably recertify them for you (for a fee) and that I think just involves an inspection of the tank.

I bought a used 5lb tank online for ~$60 and I just exchange it at a local gas supply store--this also helps make sure I'm always getting an 'in-date' tank and I don't have to worry about getting mine recertified.
Yea I guess I should have worded all that better. I have a 5 lb co2 tank but would like to have either another 5 lb as a backup or just cut to the chase and grab a 20 lb as a buy in bulk kinda thing and keep my current 5lb as a backup. One is new and $100 the other is used, $40 more, and huge. It’s only $10 more to get the 20 lb refilled or swapped.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I suspect my first experience matched others. I purchased a nice shiny new aluminum tank, and the gas place just did swaps. So sometimes I would come home with a decent looking aluminum tank, and sometimes a beat up steel one. My tank just sits beside my fridge in the basement, so I don't care much how it looks.

Keep in mind that if you are not swapping your tank, you will have to have it recertified every 5 years. The cost and time for this will vary. From what I hear, one place charges around $15 and it takes several days.

I would definitely go for the larger tank. Most of the expense with filling is the labor and equipment needed. Prices might have changed, but the place where I get refills charge $22 for 5#, then the price goes up only $5 for each 5# lager tank. So my 15# tank only costs $32 to fill (vs $66 to fill a 5# tank 3 times). A larger tank means less trips to get refilled.
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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I suspect my first experience matched others. I purchased a nice shiny new aluminum tank, and the gas place just did swaps. So sometimes I would come home with a decent looking aluminum tank, and sometimes a beat up steel one. My tank just sits beside my fridge in the basement, so I don't care much how it looks.

Keep in mind that if you are not swapping your tank, you will have to have it recertified every 5 years. The cost and time for this will vary. From what I hear, one place charges around $15 and it takes several days.

I would definitely go for the larger tank. Most of the expense with filling is the labor and equipment needed. Prices might have changed, but the place where I get refills charge $22 for 5#, then the price goes up only $5 for each 5# lager tank. So my 15# tank only costs $32 to fill (vs $66 to fill a 5# tank 3 times). A larger tank means less trips to get refilled.
I’m leaning toward that. They said it would be like $25 to refill. I still have gas in my 5 lb tank and I’ve had that for like a year and a half.
 

Deadalus

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I had two 5# tanks, one I got as part of a package buy. It was good to swap out and to have one for travel but I really wanted a bigger tank to avoid having to go get them swapped out. So I watched FB Marketplace for quite some time and finally got a 20# for $40 last weekend. It has gas in it too, not sure how much! I only have the option to swap them anyway but it'll be a lot cheaper with the 20#. And you don't have to worry about recertification. The 20# is a pretty big tank, I need to measure it to see the diameter because it looks to be the size of a keg. I also want to put a nitro beer tank in so I think I will probably run a port from outside into my keezer for the 20#.
 

Carolina_Matt

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I'd recommend trying to do what Deadalus did. Buy a 20 lb tank, but shop around. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find a used tank for well under $140 on craigslist or fb marketplace.
 

odie

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get a used tank on CL or FB. Then just take to gas place for swap/fill. An honest gas place will just swap you out regardless of the tank date.

recert is factored into the gas cost and they should handle the certs when needed. recert costs average out fairly for all customers and the gas supplier. My local Praxair does this.

The local Air Gas does not so you actually get cheated even though the refill price is the same.

Nothing more sleazy than bringing in a newly recert tank and getting an almost expired tank in trade.
 

IslandLizard

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Another vote for @Deadalus' way.
Most tanks are exchanged/swapped anymore, not filled on the spot while you wait. Call around for the best pricing on swaps/fills, it may vary more than you'd think.

The problem with owning and re-filling the same tank is that some day your tank will need hydro testing at $25-35, plus a week turnaround or so. Swapping removes that issue from the equation. Most tanks I've gotten in swap looked fine (always aluminum). Make sure to swap aluminum for aluminum, and not end up with some old heavy rusty steel clunker in return for your nice aluminum one. They've tried that on me once when they were out of aluminum ones. I just went to their other (swap) location, plenty aluminum ones in their yard.
 

Deadalus

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Weigh it and subtract the TW (tare weight) number (should be stamped somewhere on the top curved part of the tank) and you’ll know exactly how much you have.
Now that you mention it I have idly read that before and obviously that's as far as I got. Thanks!

Looks to be on my propane tanks too.

Didn't feel like looking for a tape measure because I know the three of them aren't where they are supposed to be but the 20# is slightly smaller in diameter than a ball lock keg, no more than an 1" I'd say and definitely shorter by a few inches. Might not fit on the hump without a collar. (Sorry I already looked for the tape measures the other day, none are even in the usual places they end up when they aren't in my tool bucket.)
 

camonick

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Looks to be on my propane tanks too.
That’s correct. It’ll be stamped on the top ring where the handle is on those tanks. Those tanks are also filled by weight. And this is totally off topic, but whenever you exchange a tank from Blue Rhino, Amerigas, etc. you’re getting shorted on product. Those 20# bottles are meant to be filled with 20# of liquid gas and still have 15-20% headspace. Most of those companies only put 15 pounds in their tanks.
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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I had two 5# tanks, one I got as part of a package buy. It was good to swap out and to have one for travel but I really wanted a bigger tank to avoid having to go get them swapped out. So I watched FB Marketplace for quite some time and finally got a 20# for $40 last weekend. It has gas in it too, not sure how much! I only have the option to swap them anyway but it'll be a lot cheaper with the 20#. And you don't have to worry about recertification. The 20# is a pretty big tank, I need to measure it to see the diameter because it looks to be the size of a keg. I also want to put a nitro beer tank in so I think I will probably run a port from outside into my keezer for the 20#.
The problem with this is I have looked on Craigslist. I don’t have a Facebook and never will so I can’t check there. I haven’t seen a tank or even much homebrew stuff in over a year on Craigslist. Getting it from the gas place might be my best option unfortunately.
 

camonick

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The problem with this is I have looked on Craigslist. I don’t have a Facebook and never will so I can’t check there. I haven’t seen a tank or even much homebrew stuff in over a year on Craigslist. Getting it from the gas place might be my best option unfortunately.
Use the word “keg” or “kegs” in your search bar… you’ll start to see kegs, CO2 tanks, regulators and faucets.
 

Beermeister32

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Funny, I’ve had welding tanks you swap out for years and didn’t care a bit what big heavy clunks they were or what they gave you.

I get into brewing and want to keep and refill MY clean and lightweight aluminum tanks. No swaps please!
 

HB2 HughBHomeBrew

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$140 for a 20lb tank sounds pretty good to me - and local so not trying to get it shipped from CL or eBay or whatever. And agree with the other posts - you're going to be swapping anyway.

I bought my own shiny new aluminum 20# about 2 years ago. Pre-COVID I could go to the gas plant and they filled it for me. Now they don't do that - just swaps at the retail gas store so my shiny one is gone. Oh well. But as others said, with swaps you avoid worrying about the re-certifying and all.
 

rallenhall

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I began years ago with a new, shiny 10# tank, only to find that all local vendors swapped tanks and no one handled 10 pounders. Went to a 5# for awhile before a friend brought me a 20# tank from the scrap yard. The 5 is now the backup/travel tank. One word of caution ... a CO2 leak is potentially more expensive with a large tank.
 

odie

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And this is totally off topic, but whenever you exchange a tank from Blue Rhino, Amerigas, etc. you’re getting shorted on product. Those 20# bottles are meant to be filled with 20# of liquid gas and still have 15-20% headspace. Most of those companies only put 15 pounds in their tanks.
what happened was LPG prices suddenly spiked unexpectedly. It was 20+ years ago. And instead of jacking the exchange prices that everyone was used to...they just short filled to keep the price same to what the customer was used to and not cause people to freak out or lose business to the other guy that was short filling for the "old price". It was a HUGE jump, not a gradual increase in price, thus the short fill.

They never went back to the full fill afterwards. Whom ever does first will lose business to the short fill guys because the customer will think they are getting over charged and not read the weight label.

most people shop by total price, not price per unit. If one company charged more for a full tank they would soon lose business to the other company charging less for a short fill because consumers are stupid.
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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I began years ago with a new, shiny 10# tank, only to find that all local vendors swapped tanks and no one handled 10 pounders. Went to a 5# for awhile before a friend brought me a 20# tank from the scrap yard. The 5 is now the backup/travel tank. One word of caution ... a CO2 leak is potentially more expensive with a large tank.
Yea that would suck. I’ll have to do some thorough leak tests.
 

drjayray

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I have a 20lb, two 5lb, and a 2.5lb in cycle running 4 keggers at 2 houses. It’s kinda like my 8 propane tanks. Refill when in date and swap out when recert needed. Try and get aluminum tanks as the steel kinda rust at bottom and stain flooring as you are swapping them around. I have an Airgas account for my welding tanks so they let me trade in out of date tanks. Get any cheap used tank you can find on Craigslist or fb marketplace or offerUp. Also look into any local fire extinguisher company nearby as they refill and test tanks cheaper and use food grade co2 usually. I’ve seen a newly certified, freshly red painted, and filled 5lb co2 tank for $75 at the fire extinguisher place. Just change those ball lock gas post washers, use keg lube/ice cream machine lubricant, and only use the white plastic co2 washers between tank and regulator a few times or you be leaking co2. Keg on!
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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I have a 20lb, two 5lb, and a 2.5lb in cycle running 4 keggers at 2 houses. It’s kinda like my 8 propane tanks. Refill when in date and swap out when recert needed. Try and get aluminum tanks as the steel kinda rust at bottom and stain flooring as you are swapping them around. I have an Airgas account for my welding tanks so they let me trade in out of date tanks. Get any cheap used tank you can find on Craigslist or fb marketplace or offerUp. Also look into any local fire extinguisher company nearby as they refill and test tanks cheaper and use food grade co2 usually. I’ve seen a newly certified, freshly red painted, and filled 5lb co2 tank for $75 at the fire extinguisher place. Just change those ball lock gas post washers, use keg lube/ice cream machine lubricant, and only use the white plastic co2 washers between tank and regulator a few times or you be leaking co2. Keg on!
When you say gas post washers you mean the gaskets on the posts? Like the o ring?
Amazon a good place for those plastic regulator washers?

I went with the 20 lb tank from the welding place. Something like $26 for swaps. It’s food grade. Also aluminum. It should last me a pretty ridiculously long time.
 

crazyjake19

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Looks like you've sorted it out, but a 20lb tank for your main tank is the way to go. I do that, plus a 5lb for a backup if I run out on the weekend, or for dispensing at parties/events. All my tanks are used and I would never bother buying a used tank. I just swap mine out and never have to worry about having a tank re-certified. No one sees the tanks but me, and I couldn't care less what they look like.
 
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Summa_Brewologica

Summa_Brewologica

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Looks like you've sorted it out, but a 20lb tank for your main tank is the way to go. I do that, plus a 5lb for a backup if I run out on the weekend, or for dispensing at parties/events. All my tanks are used and I would never bother buying a used tank. I just swap mine out and never have to worry about having a tank re-certified. No one sees the tanks but me, and I couldn't care less what they look like.
Completely agree. I have a 5 lb backup too. I bought it from the LHBS a while back because I didn’t know of anywhere else to get them and didn’t know any better. It was new and expensive. This 20 lb is used and just got it’s recertification. It looks just fine to me. Now that I got it I don’t think I would ever buy a new tank again. It’s convenient that the LHBS has them so I’m not trying to imply that they are wrong for charging what they do. They send them off and get them filled and all that. But now I know what I know…can’t ever go back.
 

McMullan

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I like to treat CO2 tanks like underpants when buying, personally. And if you've got a mate who reckons "CO2 is CO2" he's a binary numpty. But you already knew he was a binary numpty, didn't you?
 

drjayray

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When you say gas post washers you mean the gaskets on the posts? Like the o ring?
Amazon a good place for those plastic regulator washers?

I went with the 20 lb tank from the welding place. Something like $26 for swaps. It’s food grade. Also aluminum. It should last me a pretty ridiculously long time.
O-ring exactly. They get chewed up clicking on off the gas post connector and just the tiniest tear will slowly leak all your co2 out.
I get my white plastic ?nylon regulator/tank washers at Airgas but any supplier will do.
20lb is great as last a long time and can have lots to force carb or push sanitizer through lines to clean/descale after keg kicks and you rinse out keg with some hot water to clean the beer lines out.
 

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