Welding Tanks : A Beginners Guide [2021]

Whether you have just started with welding or have been welding for a while, you will need welding tanks with all the processes.

But what exactly are welding tanks?

Welding tanks are the containers used to store the welding gas or shielding gas for your welding processes such as TIG and MIG.

Each process has its own specific ratios of welding gas required and hence have designated welding tanks.

In this article, we are going to look at why welding tanks are important, how to choose the correct welding tank for yourself and my top 3 recommendations.

Welding Tanks
Welding Tanks of Different Sizes

Importance of Welding Tanks 

If you are new to welding you might not know how big or small of a welding tank you really need.

As already discussed they are used to store the shielding gas. 

Majorly Argon, CO2(Carbon Dioxide), and Helium are used as shielding gas, These are used in order to keep the weld clean from environmental contamination.

These welding gases are stored above atmospheric pressure in a container with a typical shape of a cylinder with flat bottoms i.e the welding tank. 

At the top of the tank, there are welding regulators that help in regulating the amount of gas that is supplied through the nozzle.

For TIG(Tungsten Inert Gas), only Argon is used and for MIG(Metal Inert Gas) a mixture of 75% Argon and 25% CO2 is used. 

All the processes which utilize argon gas for welding are called argon welding.

It is extremely important to use welding tanks to store the welding gas which in turn is important for the quality of the welds you produce. 

Besides that it is very important to keep track of the gas left in the tank, and how long the gas will run out of the welding tank.

Welding Tank Specifications

If you are a hobby welder who is quite familiar with MIG and TIG processes, you will most likely require the 40cf, 80cf, or 120cf tanks. 

The size of the tanks is usually measured in cf( cubic feet) and is based on the type of usage. 

However, it is advised to use a bigger tank i.e 120cf so as to avoid the hassle of replacing the tanks and refilling the gas.

You will be needing refills regularly, but with larger tanks, you will be only required to refill rarely. Hence, it is better to go with larger tanks if you are not tied down by your budget.

Welding Gas Tanks Valves
Welding Gas Tanks Valves

Of course, there are huge welding tanks as well. Those are used for major projects in industries. For hobby welders, those tanks are very excess and may not even require 1/10 of the total gas present in those gigantic containers.

Other specifications are laid out in the table below. 

Size40 cf (V)80cf (Q)120cf (D)
Height22 in.35 in.45 in.
Diameter6 ¾ in.7 ¼ in.
7 ¼ in.
Empty Weight24 lbs
47 lbs

58 lbs
Full Weight28 lbs
56 lbs
71 lbs
Full Pressure
2015 PSI
2015 PSI2015 PSI
Welding Tank Specifcations

I tried my best with the specifications from many different manufacturers. Please note that there might be certain small changes you may notice with the specifications of the actual tank you are looking to buy.

Before deciding the tanks, you must also take into account your local gas supplier, whether they can refill the particular tank that you have in mind, and what is best according to them, as you will be needing them if you are going for refills with smaller welding tanks.

Keeping Track of Your Welding Tank

One of the most important things that you must take care of is keeping track of the gas in your welding tank.

Lack of gas can cause serious environmental damages to your weld and can hinder the quality of the weld produced causing long term issues as well.

If you are new to welding, you may not notice when the welding tank is empty and hence it is very important to keep track of them from the very start of your career.

To keep track of your tanks, there is another term you should know i.e flow rate.

So what exactly is the flow rate?

The rate at which the welding gas flows through the nozzle into the weld pool per hour is known as the flow rate of a welding tank.

This typically lies between the range of 10cf to 40cf per hour. Most of the welders prefer it to be an average of 20cf to get a clean weld. Cf stands for cubic feet.

With the flow rate and the volume of the tank, you can calculate exactly how long your gas or welding tank will last using the following formula.

              Total Gas Welding Time (hours) = [Tank volume (cf)] / [flow rate (cfh)]

Taking the largest tank into account and the average flow rate i.e 20cf per hour, we get the total time:

Welding Time= 120cf/20cfh = 6 hours

The point to be noted the result with the actual calculations may vary and is dependent upon various factors such as the temperature of the room, welding regulators, specifications of the welding tank, etc.

Welding Tank Mobile Cart Options
Welding Tanks Taken For Refilling

How to Accurately Determine the Gas Left?

We already discussed how important it is to keep track of your welding tank.

You don’t want to leave the welding project you are working on mid-way because of lack of gas. 

There are few attachments with the tank by which you can calculate how much gas is actually left in the tank such as:

  • Welding regulators
  • Pressure Gauges
  • Flow Gauges 

Here’s the deal:

You’ll need to note the pressure and flow gauges reading when you first start welding.

If the full cylinder starts with 2000 psi, note it down for future use. After the weld session and the reading shows 1000 psi you can easily estimate that around 50% of the gas remains in the tank.

As the gauges get close to zero, you will have a rough idea that it is time to refill or replace the tanks

Thus, you can use pressure and flow gauges to determine how much gas you have left in the tank.

However, gauges can not be always trusted as gauges do not drop at a consistent pace. With temperature dropping suddenly the pressure inside the tanks may drop as well.

With gauges, it is advised to always take the reading in natural yet consistent temperatures. 

Apart from using gauges, there are a couple of small hacks  that you can use listed below:

  • Who’s the Hottest?
  • Tank Weight
  • Making Notes

Who’s the Hottest?

Pardon me for such a wrong name, I am by no means the inventor of this method, however, I used this name in my golden days of youths.

Basically, this is a hot water test, you will be pouring hot water from the top of the welding tank and check for any temperature changes. 

The part where the temperature is changed is empty. This can be used pretty accurately with measuring your tanks.

Welding Tank Gauges
Welding Tank Gauges

Refilling A Welding Tank

So you have got an idea how to check how much gas is left in your tank.

Now:

You emptied your tank completely, moreover need to refill it as soon as possible and get back with welding.

The best way to refill a tank is via getting the tank to a welding supply and they will do the job for you. If you are a beginner this must be the way you should resort to.

They will take your tanks if it is in good condition and give back a replacement with a new one.

If you are working on a heavy project you can even get multiple tanks according to your needs, so that you can reduce the hassle of running back to the welding store and getting the only tank that you have refilled.

Now:

You might be thinking how long does a welding tank last?

Well, the time period will differ from welder to welder and is based upon the projects they will be working on.

Typically, welders who are working with argon welding, their tank can last anywhere between 10-15 years.

With the calculation of 20cf tanks, you may get a return of 2.5 to 3 hours, however when working with welding projects in real life the same can last up to 2 to 3 months

Best Welding Tanks 

As a beginner in the world of fabrication, I was lost in so many options available to me in welding tanks and made so many bad decisions before finally finding the winner in each category.

In the case of welding tanks, being one of the most important parts of welding, It is very important to choose the right one for you.  

I tried to come up with these top 3 best welding tanks with my best knowledge. 

Without any further ado, let’s check them out:

1. 80 cu/ft 75% Argon 25% CO2 Welding Gas Cylinder Tank CGA 580 – FULL

This welding tank tops my list as it has all the must-have features you are looking for. Specifically made for beginner-friendly MIG Welding, the tank is filled up to 2,015 psi. 

It meets all the industry level standards and has the optimal capacity of 80cf. Accompanied by a regulator you get yourself a complete setup to work with your welding projects. 

The only con with the tank is you can’t use it for the welding processes which require only argon.

CHECK AMAZON

2 40 cu ft 100% Argon Welding Tank CGA 580

The second on my list is strictly a 100% Argon welding tank ideal for all the welding processes incorporating only argon as the shielding gas such as TIG.

Coming with a CGA 580 outlet, this is the very best for TIG welders who are just starting out or the welders who want a portable welding tank. 

The 40 cf tank can let you weld seamlessly for more than 2 hours. However, some find it too small and hence being the only con to this tank.

CHECK AMAZON

3 MC Steel Acetylene Cylinder 10 cu ft

Last but not least on my list is the MC steel acetylene cylinder fitted with a CGA 200 valve. This welding tank is perfect for acetylene and oxy-fuel welding projects. 

However, this tank has only a capacity of 10cf which is a turn off for some welders while for others eases out the portability issues they are having.

CHECK AMAZON

So that ends my top 3 best welding tanks. As opposed to giving you many options with their reviews I decided to only give the top 3 to further ease out the selection process for yourself.

How to Transport my Welding Tanks?

You also will be needing a cart for transporting welding tanks which have some strict standards to be followed as well. Below I have listed the best mobile care options for your welding tanks.

Milwaukee Hand Trucks 40875 Two-Tank Welding Cylinder Truck

This is the best option if you are looking for mobile cart options with your welding tanks. It sports a capacity of 500 pounds and can hold up to 2 tanks at a time.

The cart has a strong metal build fitted with 2 16 inch wheels to ensure that there are zero portability issues for the welder. With the product, it should be noted that there is no support for the cylinders and hence pose a risk for falling.

CHECK AMAZON

Welding Tank Safety

As a beginner, you might not be that careful with your processes and welding tanks, yet it is very important.

Welding tanks pose many risks and if not dealt with certain precautions the aftermath may be lethal.

There are some key points that you must always have in your mind while dealing with your tanks:

  1. Store your tanks in a cool place at a consistent temperature away from sunlight and other direct heat sources.
  2. The tanks must be always upright.
  3. The valves must have a protective cap over them
  4. Although welding tanks nowadays are corrosive-proof it is still advised to keep them away from corrosion sources such as water, snow, and ground.

Conclusion

I hope all the information in this article was helpful to you in finding the right welding tank size. 

You can now directly jump into your projects without any second thoughts by getting one from my list of best welding tanks or any welding tank of your choice. 

Remember to always wear your protective gear and get yourself a welding umbrella or tent if you are working outside.

Happy Welding!