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Old 01-10-2011, 08:57 AM   #1
tpolley
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Default best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

i'm looking to buy an acetylene cutting outfit. whats the best way to get the tanks? should i rent them, should i buy them new, should i buy them used from craigslist and have them filled at the welding supply, or buy them used and exchange them like a propane tank?

i don't need big tanks. i won't be using alot of gas. i'm half tempted to buy one of those kits that comes with the torch, small tanks and the carrier.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

The real small tanks are a pita because they run out more often and this always happens when you're using them. When you own tanks you have to drop them off and come back and get the same ones after they've had a chance to fill them so now you see you project being delayed. They'd be good for a 2nd set you had to take on location or for back up but I'd get the medium sized ones.

You have to check locally to see how it works where you are. Typically you need to have your tanks inspected annually or every 2 years which costs $$$ unless you are renting and that is included (you drop off and pick up a different set each time).

I've owned the mid sized ones and it worked ok for me but if you use them lots renting is probably the best. Check local suppliers like Harbor Freight as they may be set up to sell and fill tanks. Buying off craigs list means you may have to pay for an inspection right off and it's not that cheap.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:15 AM   #3
tpolley
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

if you rent, do you have to pay a monthly or yearly fee or do you just pay when you exchange, wether you exchange every few months or every few years?
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

You can usually pickup up a kit used from CL. Depending on the seller, they might even include a cart, decent regs and torches. Expect to pay around $200 - $300 depending on size of tanks, level of fill, brand and size of torches.

If you do got the CL route, make sure they are private cylinders (meaning no company markings on the cylinders), when it comes time to fill, they usually just exchange them. My welding gas supplier will let me upgrade to a larger size tank during trade-in, by just paying the difference in tank sizes, ie, they sell a 100cf tank for $120 and a 150cf tank for $140, they just charge me the $20 difference, plus the cost for a fill on that tank, many times the larger fill is just a couple of bucks more than the small tank.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Get the HF kit that comes with the tank, hoses, torch and carrier. If you're starting out, it's much easier to take the empty HF tanks to your welding supply and exchange them for filled owner tanks.

I searched around for a good amount on CL but in the end, I was paying very close to the same for brand new equipment that I would for the used stuff on CL.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Buy some on Ebay/CL/whatever, then go to Tractor Supply Company and buy into the program. If you bring tanks you own, they let you pay 20 bucks plus the cost of the fill and you now OWN them (in their program). Anytime you need an exchange you go right to the store and switch out your tank. No worries about certs as you get a different tank everytime.
They are now limited to the med to small tanks, no big 120+cu ft anymore due to some lawsuit. Seems LWS want you to pay to lease/rent and they did away with that cost.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Where I am renting is an annual fee then you pay for the gas each time you fill the tanks.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

This really depends on you local welding supply. I bought used tanks from people I know and estate auctions. The LWS never asked anything or checked the date as long as they had the right sticker on them. They just rolled out a full tank for me to load in my truck.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Do your homework (and the math). I bought my tanks thirty years ago and am 'way ahead of that leasing game.

Here's how it works around here: You are limited in the size, of tanks, that a home owner can purchase. The acetylene supplier maintains the tank and it is a straight exchange (plus some $$) for a filled version. The 02 tank needs re-certification every TEN years and that is your responsibility (costing anywhere from $25 to over a hundred). Depending upon the supplier, they can fill yours while you wait, or exchange the tank. A good supplier will give you an equal (or better) date on your tank if it is an exchange.

If you go the used route, be absolutely sure that you can get them filled and that you have a clear title to those tanks. A company receipt is prefered, a scribbled note from an individual may carry no weight. Be sure that the party selling those tanks can offer proof of ownership.

Can't stress the proof of ownership thing......over the last 30 years I have outlasted many suppliers, and have been asked for proof a couple of times when approaching a new one. Mine were purchased from a long gone company, but always had what they wanted to see.

These are my tanks and last time I checked, were the largest available to a home owner to purchase. From my experience, you don't want smaller tanks, unless you have no room.



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Old 01-10-2011, 02:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

It depends on your Local Welding supply and also how much you are gonna use them. I would never buy the Little bottles because Its Hit or miss how much/long i use mine and i dont want to quit mid stream and run to town. I have a Lifetime lease on my bottles which entailed me buying the bottles around 13 years ago and now i just exchange when there empty. Its really not a big deal to haul the bottles to and from, you need to check with your local laws on what is required but mainly they have to be secured and have the top caps on. I would check with your Local Welding supply, Weigh the costs associated with both options and make your decision.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Talk to the guy behind the counter at the welding supply about buying a used set. Those guys must have a truckload at thier homes. I paid 60 dollars for one 80 for the other and have been exchanging them for years. It's a racket.

The small bottles are great for doing little jobs roadside but they don't last long and are expensive to fill according to what you get.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Every company is different but here are some things to consider.

I bought my tanks from Air Gas. It is not worth it to rent them in my opinion. With in 2-3 years I would have already paid as much just to buy a tank. So if you plan on having the tank more than a year don't rent.

The way it works was I paid to buy a tank and when it's empty I take it to air gas and they give me a different tank, no inspections to deal with.

Also I have read that some places will not fill the harbor freight tanks so make sure you call and ask before buying them.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott37300 View Post
Every company is different but here are some things to consider.

I bought my tanks from Air Gas. It is not worth it to rent them in my opinion. With in 2-3 years I would have already paid as much just to buy a tank. So if you plan on having the tank more than a year don't rent.

The way it works was I paid to buy a tank and when it's empty I take it to air gas and they give me a different tank, no inspections to deal with.

Also I have read that some places will not fill the harbor freight tanks so make sure you call and ask before buying them.
This was how it broke down here also, It was cheaper to buy the tanks and if i recall i bought both for around $200 (13 Years ago) and there is NO inspections to deal with and its a Exchange basis and to boot so its Fast. I just wish the Exchange price was stuck at 1998 Price points.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

I use a local Tractor Supply. A bit expensive to buy, but when I run out at 6pm on a saturday night or sunday morn (when I'm working on MY stuff) I can go get more. They use "THOROUGHBRED" and its an exchange program, you buy a set of full tanks, then just exchange the empties for full ones for a reasonable amount. I get all my welding gas from them cause , like I said, they are open late and on the weekends.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

TSC sucks donkey balls.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

I have an Airgas and a TSC near me. Which would be the better route? Airgas seemed a little expensive, but they are the biggest/only LWS in the area.

Do these same rules apply to argon tanks?
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

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Originally Posted by TAftw View Post
I have an Airgas and a TSC near me. Which would be the better route? Airgas seemed a little expensive, but they are the biggest/only LWS in the area.

Do these same rules apply to argon tanks?
Its best just to call each individual place and check there Prices and Requirements for Each.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Bought mine second hand. Just make sure the hydro test is up to date and that they're not rentals being sold. Get a receipt that confirms both these things and hold onto it until after your first refill.

The tiny tanks will cost you almost as much to refill as the big ones. Long term, you're paying a lot to save a little. I would get 80s at least.

Then, don't store them in an enclosed space or near sparks. Acetylene goes 'boom' in a big way.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:50 PM   #19
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

I went with TSC tanks for my oxy/act torch and the Ar/CO2 for my MIG welder. Works well for me as there are several TSCs in my area and I don't ever have to worry about having tanks inspected/date-checked/pressure tested. The initial "buy-in" was a bit pricey compared to some used-tank options on CL, but knowing I'd be able to get a tank exchanged at 5:00 pm on a Sunday was worth it.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: best/cheapest way to acquire oxygen/acetylene tanks

Better off buying the tanks instead of renting them.Go through one place that has changed names a few times,first it was Apex then Mitler and changed names again,now Praxair.
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