What Size Oxy Acetylene Tanks Should I Get?

Written By: Liam Bryant

Reviewed By: Russell Egan

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The ideal size of oxy-acetylene tanks depends on your intended use and frequency. For infrequent or small-scale projects, consider portable B or MC tanks. For regular or larger-scale work, larger tanks like 60 to 80 cubic feet for oxygen and 40 to 60 cubic feet for acetylene are more suitable.

Oxy acetylene tanks, including torches, are an important fuel source for welding machines. These tanks include oxygen and acetylene, a very hot fuel gas. The tanks contain two important gases that combine to create a hot fuel. Having enough oxy acetylene on hand ensures you can get the job done.

You should get the right size oxy acetylene tank to have enough fuel. Choosing the right tank can be overwhelming when you look at the range of sizes available. Think about the amount of gas you plan to use for your project and the space you have to store these volatile tanks.

Here is your complete guide to different sizes of oxy acetylene tanks.

oxygen welding gas bottle

What Size of Oxy Acetylene Tanks Are Available?

The sizing charts of oxy acetylene tanks differ from country to country. There are even different sizing conventions for the United States and Canada. 

There are ten different oxy acetylene tank sizes available in the United States. In order of increasing height, they are:

Oxy Acetylene Tank SizeDiameterVolumeWeight
MC4 inch10 cubic feet12 pounds
B6 inch40 cubic feet22 pounds
WQ6.6 inch60 cubic feet30 pounds
37 inch75 cubic feet41 pounds
WC7.5 inch100 cubic feet60 pounds
WS/WL8.3 inch140 cubic feet80 pounds
48 inch150 cubic feet78 pounds
WK12 inch285 cubic feet220 pounds
WTL12.5 inch350 cubic feet200 pounds
512 inch350 cubic feet189 pounds

The shortest tank, according to the United States size chart, is the MC tank. This tank is 13.2 inches high and has a maximum capacity of 10 cubic feet of gas.

The largest tank is the 5 tank. This tank is 51 inches high and has a maximum capacity of 350 cubic feet of gas. Unless you are purchasing oxy acetylene tanks for a massive workshop or factory that relies on this gas to fuel welding torches, you will probably never need this much oxy acetylene. 

Just because a tank is the tallest or widest does not mean it has the biggest capacity. The tank with the biggest capacity is the WTL cylinder, which contains 390 cubic feet. Before buying a tank, you should carefully look at the dimensions and match them to the demands of your project. It’s not as simple as assuming that the tallest or widest will have the greatest gas capacity or necessarily be the best for you.

Acetylene Cylinder Sizes in USA

How Heavy Is an Oxy Acetylene Tank?

Besides the height and gas capacity, another important dimension to consider for the tank you are getting is the weight. 

How heavy an oxy acetylene tank is will depend on the size tank we are talking about. For example, the smallest tank will only weigh about 7 pounds. Meanwhile, the 5 tank weighs about 189 pounds.

The 5 tank is not the heaviest size of oxy acetylene tank you can get. The WK acetylene tank is shorter than the 5 tank but is the widest on the list. That makes it the heaviest, at a whopping 220 pounds. 

How Much Does a Tank of Oxy Acetylene Cost?

The cost of a tank of oxy acetylene will vary depending on the size you are getting. This makes sense because you will obviously pay more money to get more gas. 

Small tanks, such as the MC, only cost about $50. Most of the bigger tanks clock in at around $300. That is about six times the price of the small tanks, although you are getting much more gas per dollar.

An important question is how much a tank of oxy acetylene compares to other common fuel methods. A tank of oxy acetylene is less expensive than a similar amount of plasma fuel. Although a tank of oxy acetylene is more expensive than a tank of propane, it is also more efficient, so it will last longer.

How Much Oxy Acetylene Will You Use?

How much oxy acetylene you will use can help you determine how much you need to buy. You want enough oxy acetylene on hand to fuel your entire project; otherwise, you’ll be met with an empty tank mid-weld.

The answer to how much oxy acetylene you will use depends on a few factors, including:

  1. The thickness of the metal
  2. The intensity of the flame
  3. The type of welding (heavy metals or emittive fluxes)

The flow is measured in liters per hour, or L/hr. The lowest is about 70 L/hr, while heavy-duty projects can have a flow of over 800 L/hr. Here is a table that can help you determine how much oxy acetylene you will use and which filters to use for your helmet.

Due to the many factors affecting oxy acetylene flow, it’s difficult to say how much oxy acetylene you will use. When in doubt, go to a supply store and explain what you are working on to the workers. They can give you personalized advice on what type and size of tank to get.

Another Factor Affecting Which Size Tank to Get – Storage Capacity

Obviously, when shopping for an oxy acetylene tank, you need to think about how much you are using for your project. Another factor is your storage capacity. Oxy acetylene is a very volatile gas. You must follow special procedures to store your tanks, including storing them upright with their valved caps screwed on tightly. Don’t get a tank so big you don’t have anywhere to store it in your workshop.

What Is Oxy Acetylene Used For?

Although oxy acetylene is a volatile fuel, its many uses make it a popular choice. Here are some of the many uses:

Oxy acetylene works with different welding tools, including torches. It gives you more control over the heat, making it ideal for thinner metals. It produces a hotter flame than other gases, making it ideal for melting steel if you don’t have access to welding equipment more powerful than a torch.

Final Thoughts

If you have a welding torch, oxy acetylene is an important fuel source to have on hand. In the United States, this fuel comes in tanks of ten different sizes that differ in height, weight, and gas capacity.