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What’s Cheaper: Propane or Natural Gas?

Outdoor fireplaces are a great way to add warmth and ambiance to your backyard or patio. When it comes to an outdoor fireplace, you may be wondering whether a propane or gas fireplace is cheaper.

Propane Outdoor Fireplace

Propane fireplaces are popular within homeowners who want the convenience of a fuel source that is easy to transport and store. Propane is liquified petroleum gas that is stored in tanks and often delivered to homeowners. Propane also carries the name “lp gas” or “LPG.” The average cost for a gallon of propane in the state of Ohio is $2.71 as of March 2023.

Flames In Gas Rock Fireplace propane vs natural gas

The cost of operating a propane fireplace can depend on a variety of different factors, including size of the fireplace, efficiency and how often you use it. Propane has a lower energy density than natural gas, which means it takes more propane to produce the same amount of heat as natural gas.

Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace

Natural gas fireplaces are popular within homeowners who have access to natural gas. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is delivered to your home via pipeline, getting a pipeline installed can cost roughly $600. Again, the average cost of natural gas can vary depending where you are located and how much you use, the average cost in Ohio per therm is $1.05 as of June 2021.

The cost of operating a natural gas fireplace can depend on the same factors including size of the fireplace, efficiency and how often you use it. Natural gas outdoor fireplaces are cheaper than propane outdoor fireplaces because natural gas has a higher energy density.

What is the cheapest option?

So what’s cheaper: propane outdoor fireplaces or natural gas outdoor fireplaces? Both options are great for wanting to keep warmth and style within your outdoor living space.  When it comes to operating cost, natural gas is generally cheaper than propane. Both can come with installation fees such as the delivery of a propane tank or a gas line being installed. Overall, natural gas fireplaces are the cheaper option, but there are other factors that can come into play.

Is it Worth Switching from Propane to Natural Gas?

The switch from propane to natural gas depends on a few factors including location, cost of fuel and the availability of natural gas in the area. If natural gas is cheaper and readily available, then you should consider the switch. Natural gas is also a “clean-burner” which means that it is better for the environment. If you already have a propane outdoor fireplace, the switch to natural gas can be more pricey due to installation prices so it may not be worth the investment. The overall decision to switch from propane to natural gas will depend on your budget and personal circumstances.

Gas Fire Under Pan propane vs natural gas

What are the Disadvantages to Propane?

Although propane is easy to transport and convenient, it does have a few disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that propane is more expensive than natural gas. Propane has a lower energy power, meaning it takes more propane to produce heat.

The ongoing cost of propane can also add up, because they’re stored they need to be regularly filled adding to the cost and maintenance. Propane is also extremely flammable, which means it is at risk of explosion if it is not handled properly.

Which is Better for Cooking: Propane vs Natural Gas

When it comes to cooking both propane and natural gas are great options. Propane is often preferred for outdoor cooking because it is easily portable and can heat up quickly. Along with this, you are able to have temperature control.  Natural gas is often preferred for indoor cooking because it has low emissions and pollutes while having a clean burn. Again natural gas is less expensive than propane and is delivered through a pipeline so there is no need for refills or tank storage.  In the end, the decision is 100% up to you, your budget, setup availability and overall personal circumstances.

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