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Our Costs with a Propane Grill

Our Propane Grill

My husband received a 4-burner propane grill for his birthday in July from his very sweet family and we have gone grilling crazy!  We use it 2-3 times minimum every week and I just realized that the propane tank probably doesn’t last forever.  🙂

Most people around us in Houston seem to own one propane tank and pay $20 or less to have it refilled or exchanged when it runs out.  We were going to do that too except, wouldn’t it be completely inconvenient to run out while we’re in the middle of cooking?  I don’t want to have to go to CVS or Lowe’s or Home Depot in the middle of a potluck.  So, I bought another $48.50 tank.

Propane Grill Cost

As I signed my little credit card receipt, I realized that I didn’t even think twice about it.  Mr. BFS and I decided that a second tank would make more sense and I bought one.  I never even thought, “but it’s $50!”

At first, that worried me.  I don’t want to get complacent with our money.  Then I thought, what is the use of saving as much as we do and living on one salary if we can’t buy things that make sense when we want them?  So, there is where I am right now.  I like that feeling actually.  🙂

It also got me to thinking how much the propane is going to cost us every year.  We currently use the propane 2-3 times a week for 10 minutes or so each time.  We also used it for one big potluck to grill tons of chicken breasts for 45 minutes.  It isn’t empty yet, so our tank is lasting us at least 3 months.

If we only refill or exchange our tanks from here on out, that is $20 every 3 months or $80 a year.  The hamburgers, fish, and steak we’ve been having totally tastes like it’s worth an extra $80 a year.  Woot for propane grills!

Propane Grill versus a Charcoal Grill

Before anybody asks, yes, I prefer the taste of charcoal, but charcoal doesn’t heat up in 5 minutes or less and cook the whole meal in 10 minutes or less.  Well, at least our little charcoal grill doesn’t.  We also wanted a larger grill in case we ever had another long-term power outage like after Hurricane Ike.

We didn’t have any grill for those 8 days and all of the meat in our freezer went bad.  Altogether, we tossed out at least $200 worth of food that week while waiting for electricity again.  I also found out that I am in love with air conditioning and am surpremely bitchy without it.  Poor hubby…

Anyway, do you own a grill?  Propane or charcoal?  Which do you prefer?

21 thoughts on “Our Costs with a Propane Grill”

  1. Annie Jones

    We have both charcoal and propane grills. My husband and I both prefer the flavor from a charcoal grill hands down, but we haven’t used it since we got our gas grill this past spring. It’s just so much more convenient to use the gas grill. Not to mention that a gas grill will make it easier to continue grilling year round, and as you mentioned, will give us the opportunity to cook during a power outage.

    I think next spring we’ll start using both grills again, using charcoal for quick cooking things like burgers, chicken breasts, and thinner steaks, and using the gas grill for thicker steaks, bone-in chicken and other meats that require a longer, more consistent cooking time.

  2. Nicole

    We JUST ordered a propane grill (Weber Genesis) from Amazon yesterday. We found when we were staying at a place that had a gas grill with a house hookup that we used the grill a lot, whereas we hardly ever use the charcoal grills at our HOA. I have heard that you can add woodchips to the gas grill to get a smoky flavor but we have not experimented with this yet.

  3. Jackie

    Ok you’re making me hungry with this. We have a little charcoal grill but rarely use it, pretty much for the reasons you mentioned — it takes so long to make a meal that way. I was eyeing an electric grill a while back, which really appealed to me because of course that could be used on the kitchen counter. But I’m not sure how much we’d use that either. Sounds like you’re getting good use out of your grill though, and it’s good for emergencies. We do have a little propane camping stove we could use in case of an emergency, so I’m not worried about that part.

  4. BruceBucks

    Hey I am new to following your blog, but I thought I would chime in real quick. Even though the propane is expensive, it does encourage you and your man to eat at home more often. Plus BBQing food tastes amazing. I think paying for the propane making perfect sense even though it does cost you a little up front. Thanks for the great post.

  5. Crystal @ BFS

    @Annie Jones, burgers on the charcoal grill are the absolute best but we just cannot get off our lazy butts and fire up the coals, lol. Hope you get to enjoy both next spring!

    @Nicole, we haven’t tried adding woodchips yet either. Let me know how it works out if you ever get around to it!

    @Jackie, I thought about getting one of those camping stoves but my in-laws beat me to the punch, lol. I do think that our grill is one reason we stopped eating out so much, so I am really happy with it. 🙂

    @BruceBucks, you are spot on! We were eating out 4-5 times a week and now it’s 1-2 times max. The grill helps a lot! Plus, it doesn’t heat up the house suring a Texas summer, which is sooooo nice. 🙂

  6. Squirrelers

    When I actually had a grill, it was a propane grill. I thoroughly enjoyed grilling outside, it was fun for me. Maybe it’s the hidden caveman in many guys, but I like taking food and cooking it over the flame.

    Thought the grill was propane, I do have to say that I like the taste of charcoal-grilled food better. Something about that taste that’s just a bit better than propane. However, for me, the convenience ultimately wins out, and propane is a good compromise. That will probably be the direction I go with my next grill purchase.

  7. Crystal @ BFS

    @Squirrelers, did your last grill give out on you? Convenience usually wins out at my house too. 🙂

  8. frugalscholar

    WE used our little propane stove post-Katrina, I’d like to start again–for Asian cuisine. We eat very little meat or fish.

  9. Car Negotiation Coach

    I love the propane grill! We use ours every couple nights too.

    I also opted for two tanks for the same reason. One thing I did this year is attach one of those fill-gauges (about $10) to the line so I can see how much I have left in the tank. It works great, and if I got that first I may not have needed the extra tank….although it’s still very handy if you’re having people over and you’re grilling for a long period of time.

  10. Newlyweds on a Budget

    we definitely do the propane thing. it’s much faster!

  11. Molly On Money

    We have a grill but I can’t stand to run go empty on the tank so I plumb it to our main propane tank that we heat the house with.

  12. Money Reasons

    Grill, yes!

    I’m propane all the way. Quick and easy, yet the food still hits the spot!!!

    We’ve been talking about getting another propane tank too. It’s makes sense to do so!

    Enjoy it 🙂

  13. retireby40

    We have a propane grill now because our condo does not allow charcoal. 🙁
    I don’t grill that often so I only have one tank and if it runs out in the middle of a cooking session I will need to bust out the old George Foreman grill. 🙂

  14. Lauren

    If you use natural gas at all in your house, you can convert your grill to use that and not have to worry about the tanks at all. You do have to contact the gas company and put a little converter on the grill.

  15. Everyday Tips

    We are propane! We also have a backup tank, but I think it is because someone gave it to us. I learned the hard way to have a backup tank!

  16. Mike - Saving Money Today

    I too prefer the taste of charcoal but it’s just not convenient if you grill a lot like I do. I also have two tanks and always keep one filled up just in case one runs out in the middle of grilling up a beer can chicken!

  17. Crystal @ BFS

    @frugalscholar, I never thought about non-meat or corn items…yum.

    @Car Negotiation Coach, I was thinking of getting a fill guage instead, but even if I knew it was low, I’d want a week or two to get around to running errands (I build up a list before making runs).

    @Newlyweds on a Budget, quick and tasty is the way to go. 🙂

    @Molly and Lauren, we don’t have propane or natural gas at our place, but those ideas are ingenious if we did!

    @Money Reasons, I’m hoping the second tank helps us out since we do host a big potluck every month or two.

    @retireby40, that’s a good plan when it’s not a lot of food. No reason to spend $50 if it wouldn’t be worth it to you. 🙂

    @Everyday Tips, it’s nice to know that it wasn’t a silly idea. When did your tank go out?

    @Mike, now I am starving. I’ve never made beer can chicken but it sounds delicious.

  18. Mike - Saving Money Today

    It’s delicious! You should try it…I posted about it awhile back.


    PS – if you have gas in your house you can have the gas company run a line to your backyard and hook it up right to your grill. You’ll never run out and no more cans to lug around!

  19. Crystal @ BFS

    @Mike, I printed your recipe, yum! Yeah, we don’t have a natural gas line, so it’s two tanks for us, lol.

  20. Sandy L

    I have a Weber too. Love that grill and the propane tank seems to last forever. We do have an extra one too but not on purpose. We didn’t realize the grill came with one already.

  21. Crystal @ BFS

    @Sandy L, I think that’s a happy mistake to make, lol. I’m surprised how long our current tank is lasting! If it makes it 2 more weeks, that’s 3 1/2 months!

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