Propane vs. Acetylene

When considering fuel gasses to be used with Oxygen, for welding, cutting & heating metals, there are a few common choices. Acetylene is common, but LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gasses) such as Propane, MAPP, and others are a good alternative.  There are a few distinct differences that must be factored in before deciding.

PROPANE (LPGs):  For cutting, heating, brazing & soldering

  • SAFER! Propane is far less volatile than Acyt., and is safer to use, handle & store.
  • Propane is less expensive than Acyt. The higher Oxygen consumption can offset cost savings, but good technique can reduce the over use of Oxy.
  • Lower burning temp. (5000- 5400) puts heat focus outside of the cone area, increasing the working distance. This can make it easier to use, especially when cut quality is not as much of a concern.
  • Less focused heat makes it better for area heating than Acyt. Pre-heating, Brazing & Soldering are easier to control and faster over larger areas

ACETYLENE:  For cutting, heating, welding, brazing & soldering

  • Hotter localized temperature makes welding possible & cutting speed faster.
  • Higher flame temp (5600-6000) reduces Oxygen consumption.
  • Cleaning action provided by higher temp. makes it the only gas alternative for Qxy-Fuel Welding.
  • Hotter temp puts heat focus at the tip of the flame cone, making working distance much closer. This can be hard to manage without practice and experience, but it improves overall cut quality.
  • Acetylene can rapidly expand at high pressure and combust/explode, making it very dangerous to use.