Does Lowe’s Fill & Exchange Propane Tanks in 2024? The Ultimate Guide

If you’re firing up the grill or heading out on a camping trip this season, you may be wondering – can I get my propane tanks refilled or exchanged at Lowe’s?

The short answer is yes for exchanges, but no for refills. In this detailed guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about getting propane at Lowe’s, including:

  • How propane tank exchanges work and typical costs
  • Step-by-step instructions for exchanging a tank
  • What types and sizes of tanks Lowe’s will exchange
  • Why Lowe’s doesn’t refill tanks, and where to get refills instead
  • Propane tank safety basics
  • Tips for transporting, storing, and maintaining propane tanks
  • Ways to save money on propane tank exchanges

Let’s dive into the details!

Does Lowe’s Exchange Propane Tanks?

Yes, you can absolutely exchange empty propane tanks for full, ready-to-use tanks at Lowe’s. This exchange service is available at all Lowe‘s stores that sell propane.

Instead of refilling your existing tank, an exchange means you simply swap out your empty tank for a full replacement tank filled with propane.

Exchanging tanks is fast, convenient, and avoids the wait time of getting one refilled. But it does come at a slightly higher cost than a standard refill.

On average, exchanging a 20 lb propane tank at Lowe‘s costs $19.97 as of 2023. With tax, the total exchange price is generally $21 to $22 depending on your location.

Let’s compare the typical cost of exchanging a tank at Lowe’s versus getting it refilled:

Retailer Exchange Price Estimated Refill Price
Lowe‘s $19.97 N/A
Walmart $19.97 $14.97
Home Depot $19.97 $15.97
U-Haul N/A $16.49

As you can see, exchanges cost $3 to $5 more per tank than refilling it yourself elsewhere. But the convenience is hard to beat!

Now let’s walk through exactly how to exchange a propane tank at Lowe’s.

Step-by-Step: Exchanging Propane Tanks at Lowe‘s

Exchanging a propane tank at Lowe’s is fast and straightforward:

  1. Bring your empty propane tank to any Lowe‘s location that sells propane tanks. Look for the blue Rhino display cages outside the store entrance.

  2. Find a Lowe’s employee or head to the Customer Service Desk and let them know you need to do a propane tank exchange.

  3. Pay the exchange fee at checkout. This is typically $19.97 plus applicable sales tax for a standard 20 lb grill tank exchange. Keep an eye out for any discounts or coupons to save money.

  4. Hand your empty tank to the Lowe‘s employee and they will provide you with a filled, ready-to-use Blue Rhino propane tank in exchange.

  5. Secure the replacement tank carefully for transport and you‘re all set! Be sure to transport upright and prevent any tipping/damage.

And that’s it – you‘ve just saved yourself the hassle of refilling your propane tank yourself. Pretty convenient, right?

Next let’s review what types and sizes of propane tanks Lowe’s will exchange.

What Tanks Does Lowe’s Exchange?

Lowe’s will exchange any standard 20 lb steel propane tank that has a Type 1 OPD safety valve. This includes the common 14" x 18" cylindrical propane tanks used for barbecue grills, portable stoves, and some heaters.

The tanks do not need to be original Blue Rhino branded tanks purchased at Lowe‘s. They will accept any old, rusty, or damaged 20 lb tank as long as it has the correct OPD valve.

Larger 30 lb and 40 lb propane tanks cannot be exchanged at Lowe’s. For these larger tanks, you’ll need to visit Blue Rhino’s website to find an authorized propane tank exchange location near you.

Lowe’s will not exchange non-standard propane tanks like 1 lb Coleman-style camping cylinders or RV/motorhome propane tanks.

Let’s take a closer look at the key features and specifications of the common 20 lb propane tanks that Lowe‘s will exchange:

  • Capacity: Approx. 20 lbs or 5 gallons of propane
  • Dimensions: 14” diameter x 18” high
  • Valve type: Type 1 OPD safety valve
  • Materials: Powder-coated steel tank
  • Typical uses: Grills, portable stoves, patio heaters, mosquito foggers

The OPD valve is a key safety component that helps prevent leaks and overfilling. The replacement tanks from Lowe’s will always be equipped with this crucial valve.

Now that you know the basics of propane tank exchanges at Lowe’s, you may be wondering why they don’t offer refills…

Why Doesn’t Lowe’s Refill Tanks?

Lowe’s does not refill propane tanks on-site for a few reasons:

  • Lack of proper equipment – Safely refilling propane tanks requires high-capacity compressors and filling systems that Lowe’s locations are not equipped with.

  • Higher profit margins – Exchanges typically cost $3 to $5 more than refills, so Lowe’s makes more money with exchanges.

  • Safety concerns – Refilling propane tanks carries an inherent risk if done improperly. Lowe‘s avoids potential liability by only offering exchanges.

  • Vendor agreements – Lowe’s has an exclusive deal with Blue Rhino for propane tank supply and exchangess. Their contract may prohibit refill services.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over 5.7 million U.S. households use propane as their primary home heating fuel. With so much demand, propane refilling requires specialized high-volume equipment not practical for Lowe‘s stores focused on retail sales.

For do-it-yourself refills instead of exchanges, you‘ll have to visit stores focused on propane sales and distribution. Let‘s look at where you can get propane tanks refilled…

Where To Get Propane Tanks Filled

To save a few dollars per tank, get your propane cylinders refilled instead of exchanged. Here are some top options for propane tank refill services:

  • U-Haul – $16.49 per 20 lb tank refill (2023 prices)
  • Ace Hardware – Refill prices vary by location
  • Costco – For members only. Prices from $14.99 – $16.99 per 20 lb refill.
  • Walmart – $14.97 for 20 lb refill with in-store purchase
  • Tractor Supply – Everyday low propane refill prices from $15.99 – $18.99 per 20 lb

Many local gas stations, hardware stores, and farm supply stores also offer propane tank fill services seasonally or year-round. Rates are often lower than the major chains.

When getting tanks refilled, be sure to confirm the retailer‘s OPD valve inspection protocols. Some locations have self-serve propane pumps with minimal safety checks.

Okay, now that you know where to get propane tanks filled or exchanged, let‘s go over some key propane safety basics.

Propane Tank Safety Tips

Propane is a safe, clean-burning fuel when handled properly – but the pressurized gas does carry risks like flammability and explosion if mishandled.

Here are some top safety tips for transporting, storing, and maintaining propane tanks:

  • Never keep propane tanks indoors or in enclosed spaces
  • Transport and store tanks securely upright to prevent tipping
  • Check for damage, leaks, or rust before refilling/exchanging tanks
  • Keep sources of heat, sparks, and flames away from tanks
  • Avoid overfilling tanks beyond the rated capacity
  • Let newly refilled tanks sit outdoors for an hour before use
  • Close tank valves firmly after each use to prevent slow leaks
  • Be sure to use fuel additives like Stabil if storing propane long term
  • Do not attempt to repair or modify tanks yourself
  • Exchange dated tanks that are over 12 years old

Always put safety first when handling propane! The minor savings of refilling your own tank versus exchanging isn‘t worth the risk of using damaged or outdated equipment.

Speaking of savings, let‘s go over some tips to save money on propane exchanges specifically at Lowe‘s.

Saving Money on Propane Exchanges at Lowe’s

While less economical than refilling, propane tank exchanges at Lowe’s offer speed and convenience. Here are some tips to save money on exchanges:

  • Watch for sales around major holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day when tank exchanges are more popular.

  • Ask the Lowe’s associate if any current promotions or discounts are available on propane exchanges.

  • Check Lowe‘s weekly ads and monitor the website for coupons. Exchange deals can drop the price to $12.97 or lower.

  • Buy multiple propane tanks at once if you need more than one. Lowe‘s may offer a bulk pricing deal.

  • Consider exchanges for immediate needs, and refills for your backup tanks to save money long term.

  • Join Lowe‘s consumer loyalty program for exclusive email discounts and propane coupon offers.

  • Pay attention to the tank‘s OPD valve status when exchanging – make sure it‘s intact with no damage or corrosion.

Following these tips will ensure you get the best possible propane tank exchange price at Lowe‘s.

The Bottom Line

While Lowe’s doesn’t offer propane tank refill services, they do provide a convenient tank exchange program at over 2,000 locations across North America.

Exchanging a propane tank costs a few dollars more than refilling it yourself, but saves you time and hassle. Now that you know what to expect with Lowe‘s propane tank exchanges, you can quickly swap an empty for a full tank for your next barbecue, camping trip, or outdoor project.

I hope this guide gave you a full overview of propane tank exchange policies and procedures at Lowe‘s stores. Please reach out with any other questions!

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