Propane or butane – what gas to use?

Many motorhomers and caravanners ask the question – what gas should I use, propane or butane? How do I know the difference between propane or butane?

Without too much technical information, propane and butane have different boiling points. The boiling point is the temperature at which the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stored in the cylinder will “boil” and turn to gas. For butane, this temperature must be at least two degrees Celcius. At temperatures lower than this, the stored LPG with not “boil” and thus not turn to gas.  If the stored LPG does not turn to gas, the result is your cooker won’t work!

Propane however “boils” at a much lower temperature. As a result, even if temperatures in the gas locker are below zero degrees Celcius, the stored LPG will still boil and thus turn to gas, providing power for your on board appliances, making propane ideal for winter use. When choosing between propane or butane, given that propane will work all year round in winter conditions, then this seems a more logical choice for the motorhomer or caravanner.

So how do I tell if my gas cylinder has propane or butane in it?

Generally speaking, propane cylinders are a red/orange colour and butane cylinders are blue in colour. There may be exceptions though, so check with your local supplier.

Are there any other differences that may help me to decide whether to use propane or butane?

There are differences in the efficiencies of the two products. In simple terms, butane is generally more efficient. For example, let’s say a small cylinder of propane would boil a pan of water for 10 hours. The same quantity of butane would be about 10% more efficient and so boil the same pan of water for 11 hours. This is a very basic comparison and does not allow for experimental error and so on, but demonstrates the term “efficiency”.

Propane or butane – the cost?

There may also be differences in cost. For example, the Calor website today shows a 13kg propane cylinder available to exchange for £25.49. That’s roughly £1.96 per kg. A 15kg cylinder of Butane was today mentioned on the Calor website at £32.49, so that is £2.16 per kg, so in this example, butane is about 10% more expensive per kg, but remember it burns about 10% more efficient too!

I use propane as I find this to be suitable for all year round use. Even during the bitterly cold winter of 2010 – 2011, the propane delivered the goods!

Also, when considering propane or butane you should check that your regulator is suitable for the product used.

 

 

 

 

 

No Responses

  1. Pingback: propane or butane - Page 2 - MotorhomeFun December 30, 2013

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Austria Belgium France Germany Italy Luxembourg Mountain passes Spain Switzerland U.K.
New Year at Lake Garda
New Year at Lake Garda

A very must last minute event for us but New Year...

Bad Krozingen spa
Bad Krozingen spa, Germany

Warm weather with unbroken sunshine is our passport to visit the...

Waterfalls Italy
Cascata delle Marmore – the Marmore Waterfalls

The “Cascata delle Marmore” (Marmore waterfalls) are adjacent to our present...

Camper stops Campsite Reviews
Aire de camping-cars Saint Die
Aire de camping-cars Saint Die

A relatively new motorhome stopover, the Aire de camping-cars Saint Die...

Southport Pleasureland motorhome parking
Southport Pleasureland motorhome parking

It’s late November and it’s sub zero outdoors. The sun is...

Camping les portes D'Alsace
Camping les portes D’Alsace

In a convenient location close to the A4 Paris-Strasbourg motorway, the...

Alde How to... Toll free routes
Starling Bank fee free debit card
Starling Bank fee free debit card

The Starling Bank fee free debit card is like a well...

The cost of a longer motorhome holiday
Our toll free routes

By popular demand, here is a summary of the toll free...

Pet passport
Pet passport scheme – Sydney’s travels!

In recent weeks, the “Voyager” has received many enquiries about Sydney,...

400 watt mini heater

Many camperstops and campsites overseas have much lower ampage available than...

Twin door fridge motorhome
Dometic RMD 10 series refrigerator

Our new Kon-tiki 675 features a Dometic RMD 10 series refrigerator....

Electric hot plate in a motorhome?

With the refurbishment of our Scania Irizar coach nearing completion, one...

Thule Omnistep not working

Sincere apologies for the timing of this post! Our Omnistep stopped...

Company Reports Ferry good days out My motorhomes
Detached retina surgery
Detached retina operation!

What, you may ask, does a detached retina operation have to...

2019 Swift Kontiki
Swift Kontiki 675 – review

The Swift Kontiki 675 is a six berth motorhome from UK...

Coach motorhome conversion
Belt and braces maintenance for our coach conversion

You are possibly wondering why things have been so quiet on...