Propane vs. Butane Torch: Which Is Best For Heating?

Propane Vs Butane Torch

Having a gas torch is an important tool when it comes to heating something to a desired temperature. Many projects around the house make use of a torch, things like soldering copper pipes, loosening bolts, and removing air bubbles from epoxy finishes.

We’re gonna help you figure out, which kind of gas works better for your situation, propane, or butane.

The main difference between a propane and butane torch is the heat and bottle quantities. Propane torches tend to have higher heat settings and bigger torch bottles than butane ones. Butane torches are more compact and used on softer metals. Both are precise and versatile tools with their advantages.

These torches can be used for many projects around the house. Plumbers use them to sweat in pipes, also, machinists use them to heat bolts, to remove a nut that is stuck.

You will no doubt, find yourself needing to use a propane, or butane torch, at some point. We’re going to show you how they work, and the differences between them.

Propane Torches

Propane torches are the most common of these two, for construction projects. They can weld metals, solder metals, and sweat pipes. It is dangerous to use inside and can be damaging to your health. This torch is best used outside, with plenty of ventilation.

Propane gets almost twice as hot as butane. This makes propane a better choice, for welding metals together and soldering. Propane torches get up to about 3,600 degrees.

It burns hotter than butane but is also a dirtier fuel. You will want to consider what you are using these torches for, to make sure it’s the right choice for you. You will be able to heat metals much faster, with a propane torch. The two are not that different. They both can do, almost the same number of tasks.

Butane Torches

The butane torches don’t get quite as hot as the propane torches, they burn at 2,600 degrees. They still get hot enough to do almost everything that a propane torch can do. Butane is a cleaner fuel, that produces less carbon monoxide. The butane torch has a smaller flame, than the propane gas.

The gas on a butane torch is cleaner, but can still be dangerous to your health. If you are doing a large project, use it outdoors if possible. Butane, cannot work in extra cold temperatures. The boiling point of butane is around 30.2°F. The gas will not work in lower temperatures. Propane’s boiling point is -43.6°F.

Uses for Torches

Torches can be used in many home improvement projects. They can also be used in other ways, such as jewelry making, wood burning, and cooking.

Main uses for torches:

  • They can be used to weld certain metals. Both torches, burn at a hot enough level to melt and heat, different types of metal.
  • They are commonly used for soldering metals. Solder is used to join things together, such as wires, and circuits, with melted soldering metal.
  • You can heat bolts that have stuck nuts, to remove the nut. Sometimes when a screw gets stuck, heating it, will loosen the nut enough to remove it.
  • Torches are often used in plumbing projects. Plumbing requires you to sweat pipes, and join metal fittings, these projects use torches.

Butane is used in cooking since it burns cleaner. Many chefs use butane torches, or propane torches, to sear meat. They low butane torch is used to brown the tops of pastries and more.

Butane works great when joining pieces together for jewelry. It works best with soft metals, such as gold, silver, and copper.

Propane can be used on alloy-type metals. Alloy is easier to melt. The propane torch may be able to get hot enough to melt some metals, that a butane torch cannot.

Pros and Cons Propane Torch

Propane torches have their pros and cons. There are many advantages to using a propane torch, such as the high heat, and large tanks.

Pos of using propane:

  • Propane torches are great for sweating pipes, and heating metals. You can weld certain types of metal with a propane torch.
  • The propane torch can be used in colder temperatures. This can be important if you live in areas where it freezes.

Cons of a propane torch:

  • The gas is dirtier than a butane torch and should be used outdoors. Both gasses put off a heavy odor, that can be dangerous. If you are indoors, make sure to have ventilation.
  • Propane isn’t hot enough to weld all metals. Most welders use MAPP gas, or acetylene, for welding metals together. They burn much hotter than propane or butane.

A propane torch has a few advantages over a butane torch. However, both gasses will be able to handle many projects.

Pros and Cons Butane Torch

While butane does not reach the same heat as propane, it does get hot enough to do many of the same things.

Pros of using butane:

  • They are compact. Butane torches usually have smaller bottles, than propane torches. They can get to some places that require a smaller setup.
  • Butane burns very clean. Both the gasses are alkane, and safe to use for heating or searing foods.

Cons of a butane torch:

  • It cannot be used in freezing temperatures. Butane‘s boiling point, will not allow it to work below freezing.
  • Butane torches burn slower. They burn cleaner, but also, at a slower pace. This is a disadvantage in some situations.

Butane is a great gas to use. Their torches are better for smaller projects, that do not require a hotter temperature.

Both torches can be used in kitchens to sear meat. Butane is used to carmelize sugar on pastries, and to sear meat.

When to Use One Over the Other

You will want to make sure you are using the best torch, for your project. If you are welding metals together, you will want to use a propane torch. Propane burns nearly a thousand degrees hotter than a butane torch. Butane is hot enough to weld soft metals, such as aluminum.

Butane is more portable, so you will be able to use it in areas that you could not get a propane torch, and tank into. Jewelry makers can make use of both gases. It may be advantageous to have the propane for most metals, and butane for softer metals.

Also, butane can be a great gas for thawing frozen pipes since it burns slower, and has a lower temperature. Propane torches can be used with a flame-spreading tip, allowing it to burn at lower temperatures.

Always wear protective glasses, and thick gloves, when using either of these torches for large projects that require soldering, or welding. Butane must be stored in a dark cool area. Propane can be stored anywhere that does not get extremely hot.

Related Questions

Is it safe to cook with gas torches?

Both torches are safe to cook with. Propane gets hotter and cooks faster. Propane has a more smokey type of flavor. The butane is great for searing meat, and browning sugar. Make sure you are cooking in an area with ventilation.

Are they explosive?

Liquid propane is not explosive, but when released as a gas it is flammable. Both propane, and butane, are combustible if exposed to a flame. Pressurized gases can be dangerous, as well as explosive, so always use them with caution.

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Chad Kilpatrick

I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.

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