ELGAS Knowledge Hub

Home 9 SWAP'N'GO Blogs 9 Everything About BBQ Gas

Everything About BBQ Gas

23 Jun, 2023 | SWAP'N'GO Blogs

In this article:

BBQ gas composition, names, cylinder sizes, uses and more...

BBQ gas can be either propane or butane that is supplied in a gas bottle with a regulator. BBQ sizes include 13kg and 5kg cylinders in the UK whilst Australia has 8.7kg and 3.7kg gas cylinders. In addition to BBQ, it can also be used in a out door/ patio heater.

Composition in Different countries

Composition varies across countries. It could be butane or propane-butane blends (gas for barbecues). Type of gas for a BBQ (gas for barbecues) is just propane in Australia and the USA. In NZ, gas for a BBQ is a propane-butane blend. In the UK, you can purchase patio gas as either propane or butane gas for a BBQ.

Can BBQ gas be made of butane gas instead of propane gas?

You can use butane instead of propane as long as the ambient temperature is above freezing. If the temperature drops below freezing the butane will stop vaporising and you will have no usable gas.

Goes by different name

In the UK, BBQ gas can also be referred to as “Patio Gas”. Patio gas is propane, but they also sell butane gas in Patio Cylinders. Other countries also have different names for it. In Australia, it is also called called Camping Gas. In the USA they just refer to the vessel instead of the gas, so it is a “Propane Tank”.

What is it Used For?

It is utilised in numerous different applications, including many that are far from barbecuing and the patio. The common factor is the need for a small and/or portable fuel source. Common residential uses include gas BBQ, patio heaters, pizza ovens, smokers, spit roasters, outdoor fire pits, gas lights, and mosquito traps, as well as caravans. There are also some that are a bit more exotic, like outboard motors, lawn mowers, bird scaring canons, and more. The small gas cylinders can have commercial uses, including portable generators, floor polishers, blow torches, soldering, industrial burners, jewellery melting and moulding, small kilns, flame weeders, floor sanitisers for livestock enclosures and various other applications. In major emergencies, like floods, cyclones, earthquakes and other natural disasters, people use patio gas for generators, cooking, hot water, heating and more.

How Does it work?

Gas for a BBQ (patio gas) is stored under pressure, as liquid gas is liquid in cylinders. Almost all of its uses involve the use of the gas vapour, not the liquefied gas. It turns back into gas vapour when you release some of the pressure in the gas cylinder by turning on your gas appliance. But first it must go through a gas regulator.

What are BBQ Gas Regulators?

They are used to regulate the pressure at which the gas is delivered from the gas cylinder to the BBQ or other appliance. These regulators typically come equipped with an attached gas hose that connects to the BBQ. The regulator screws directly into the gas cylinder whilst the gas hose screws into the appliance. The standard BBQ regulator type in Australia is a ‘POL’ regulator which has a male connector (reverse or left-handed thread) that fits into a ‘POL’ valve on the gas cylinder. Other countries use other valve and regulator types.

What is BBQ Gas cylinder Testing?

BBQ gas cylinders must be inspected periodically for safety and re-certification. In Australia, the testing period is 10 years and the test date is permanently marked or stamped on the cylinder, however, the testing period can vary by country. The gas cylinders are subject to internal and external inspection for rust and any other damage. Physical testing, including pressure tests, may be required depending on the type of gas cylinder and the country where tested. Only approved testing facilities are authorised to test and re-certify gas cylinders and tanks.

Renewable vs Climate Friendly gas

Most people would think that a renewable fuel, like charcoal, is more eco-friendly than gas for a BBQ. However, when it comes to charcoal versus Gas for a BBQ (patio gas), the climate friendly choice is not what you may think. Biofuels do not always result in a smaller carbon footprint than the fossil fuel alternatives. The problem with charcoal is that it emits almost 3X the amount of CO2 that is produced when you use gas for a BBQ. This is harmful because CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. To produce charcoal, you heat wood in a kiln. However, the usable output of charcoal is only around 20-35% of the original input. The remainder of the wood turns into gas and is emitted into the atmosphere. In contrast, BBQ gas energy yields are greater than 90%. The fact that you cannot simply turn a charcoal grill ON and OFF increases the problem. Charcoal fires need to be started ahead of time and then take time to burn themselves out. Gas for a BBQ (patio gas) is just a much more efficient fuel for cooking.

Does a gas BBQ need coals?

No, a gas BBQ is fueled by the gas alone.

In a nutshell

BBQ gas is a safe, versatile and portable energy source. It is also easy to use, transport and refill. But most of all, gas for a BBQ (patio gas) helps make outdoor activities more enjoyable.

New Residential LPG customer?

New Business LPG customer?

Existing ELGAS customer?