Camping and tailgate grills, torches, and lanterns all can use compact gas cylinders.
My favorite brands are Bernzomatic and Coleman. Read on to find which will work better for you.
Choosing a Propane Cylinder
The fuel stored in either brand of cylinder is the same. Both will burn just the same.
However, there are some other differences that might matter to you.
Coleman uses slightly larger 16 ounce cylinders compared to Bernzomatic’s 14.1 ounces.
Is storage space is a concern? If you’re keeping several tanks on hand, Coleman will take up less room for their overall capacity.
Similarly, if you only have room for one cylinder, Coleman tanks will go a bit further.
You’ll notice from the photos that Coleman cylinders are shorter and wider while Bernzomatic are taller and thinner.
Here are the specs:
- Coleman: 3.88″ diameter x 8″ tall
- Bernzomatic: 2.94″ diameter x 10.64″ tall
The valves which connect the tanks to your equipment are identical, but the shape might matter to you.
Personally, I prefer Bernzomatic cylinders for torches and other hand-held uses.
I think you’ll find the Bernzomatic canisters more comfortable to grip your hands around for long periods of time.
For stoves, the dimensions aren’t likely to make much of a difference.
For lanterns, I think Coleman is better. The shorter cylinders make the lantern a bit more stout and less likely to be tipped over.
The cheapest way to buy propane canisters is in a physical store like Walmart.
Whether you buy in-store or online, you’ll save some money going with a multi-pack of two or more if you need them.
Both Bernzomatic and Coleman are priced very similarly.
Coleman usually comes out slightly cheaper due to the 1.9 ounces of extra capacity per tank.
Refilling and Recycling
First off, never attempt to refill these propane cylinders.
Even if you know a guy who managed to do it, they aren’t designed for it.
Not only is it dangerous, but if you’re caught transporting refilled cylinders you could face a large fine and/or jail time.
Fortunately, these cylinders are a lot cheaper than the 20 pound tanks used with full-size grills and RV’s. Though you can’t refill them, it doesn’t cost a lot to keep a few on hand.
Since you can’t refill them, what do you do with the empties?
Here are the steps for safe disposal:
- Empty the cylinder by connecting it to your device and running it until the flame stops.
- Do a search for “Propane Tanks” at Earth911.
- Call the recycler to describe your cylinder(s) and confirm they will accept them.
- Prepare the tank as required. You may need to puncture the canister and label it “Empty” first.
- Bring cylinders to the recycler during their open business hours.
Both Bernzomatic and Coleman make great propane cylinders.
Prefer the higher capacity of Coleman canisters? Like the narrower dimensions of Bernzomatic tanks? Those differences could help you make your choice.