To the uninitiated, propane may seem like just propane. All of it is the same, right? But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are actually two kinds of propane that are commonly known as high-pressure propane and low-pressure propane. Understanding the difference between the two, when to use one versus the other, and so on can help you get a better grasp on the two and how to implement them into your life.

What Is Low-Pressure Propane?

Low-pressure propane burners don’t have quite the range or ability to regulate gas intake that a high-pressure burner does. Low-pressure propane burners are able to regulate gas intake to 6 ounces per square inch or so while their high-pressure counterparts are able to regulate gas from anywhere between 1 and 60 pounds per square inch. That is quite a difference in gas intake.

This is important because the difference as far as intake will determine that burner’s usage: is it an indoor or outdoor burner? If a burner is rated for outdoor use, it should absolutely, under no circumstances be used for indoor purposes.

Camp stoves are a common high-pressure burner. They do not control gas intake or carbon monoxide emissions in the precise way that a low-pressure or indoor-rated burner would and can be extremely dangerous for the health and wellbeing of anyone in the room.

Understanding when to use each type of burner is important because it can keep you from making a decision that can be of great danger to your health and safety.

When to Use a Low-Pressure Burner

It should be restated that low-pressure burners do a much better job of controlling the carbon monoxide emissions that are produced by the burner. This means it is okay to use it in enclosed spaces without putting yourself or others at great risk.

In areas that don’t have access to natural gas lines or a natural gas pipeline network (or just prefer gas), a low-pressure propane burner would be a great option. It provides the gas that you need without having to worry about excessive emissions.

Restaurants, hotels, and resorts that are located on islands or in really mountainous regions will commonly make use of propane for their kitchens. Even better, low-pressure burners can also be used to fuel some griddles and grills or even smokehouses as well.

The smokehouse acts as a shield and can protect and insulate the burner from cold and wind; the same goes for the steel housing that comes on outdoor griddles. This means that you need less propane to burn since it is not being constantly blown out by the elements.

Low-pressure burners also allow you to get greater life out of your propane. If you need less propane to cook a meal – either due to the shield or type of burner you are using – it will go a longer way and you won’t have to spend the money on replacing it as often.

This might not seem like a big deal, but if you cook with natural gas on a regular basis or don’t have access to that natural gas pipeline, this can be a cost worth worrying about.

When to Use a High-Pressure Burner

If you are cooking outdoors and deal with very cold temperatures, high winds, or a lot of humidity, a high-pressure burner is the way to go. This is because they provide a lot more propane for the burner and they work in a very simple way.

The high-pressure regulator of this type of burner allows for more propane to reach the burner. When this happens, that results in a much hotter flame. A high-pressure burner makes for great use in outdoor settings, especially if you have an outdoor grill in an area with inclement weather.

The downside to high-pressure burners are two-fold. The first is that you will also likely go through a lot more propane at an accelerated rate. These types of burners don’t have the fine control that a low-pressure burner does, meaning you will use more propane in a shorter order.

Another thing to consider is that high-pressure burners have to be used outdoors. They are not safe for use in contained spaces, limiting where they can be used. You absolutely should not run an outdoor burner indoors because it can be incredibly dangerous to the health and wellbeing of anyone inside.

So, the next time that you look for propane, consider where you will use your burner the most and how often you intend to use it. This will dictate whether you need a low-pressure burner or one with a bit more burning power.

Just be cognizant of where you plan to make the most use of your burner so that you can choose the right space for it.


I have a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies...I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.

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