Difference Between Camping Butane and Propane (With Table)

There are a lot of compounds in the Alkane family. Propane and Butane are amongst the initial members of their family. While Butane has a molecular formula of C4H10, Propane stands for C3H8. Not only this, Propane and Butane differ a lot in their molecular weight too.

Camping Butane vs Propane

The difference between Propane and Butane is that Propane has a lesser boiling point compared to its successor. It is easier for Propane to convert from liquid to gas even at a low temperature of -45ºC. When stored in a closed container as a liquid, Butane exerts a lower pressure than Propane.

Propane is the third member of the Alkane family, with a molecular weight of 44.1 g/mol. It is a colorless gas with a smell of faint petroleum at room temperature. Propane as a liquified gas is used in households for cooking purposes. Other applications of Propane include its use as an autogas in vehicles.

Butane acts as the fourth member of its family. It has a molecular weight of 58.12 g/mol and acts as a blender for gasoline. When combined with other hydrocarbons, it serves as liquified petroleum gas in cylinders. Butane also works as a feedstock in the production of Butadiene and Ethylene.

Comparison Table Between Camping Butane and Propane

Parameters of ComparisonButanePropane
Boiling PointIt has a boiling point of -1 °C in its standard form.    Due to its low boiling point of -45°C, it can convert from liquid to gas even in very extreme cold conditions.
Molecular Formula and weightIt is the fourth member of the Alkane family, represented by C4H10. Its molecular weight is 58.12 g/mol.  Propane stands as the third member of its family with a molecular formula of C3H8. Its molecular weight is 44.1 g/mol.
Butane is used as a fuel in cigarette lighters and as a gas in aerosols.

Propane is used as LPG for exterior purposes. It also works as a fuel for vehicles and ships.
Behavior in Cold ClimateIt has a higher boiling point that hinders its ability to vaporize at lower temperatures.Propane with its lower boiling point can vaporize even at extreme cold conditions. This makes it a better option for camping stoves in cold climate.
Behavior in Warm weatherWhen considered at equivalent temperature, its vapor pressure is lower in comparison to Propane. This feature of Butane makes it better for camping stoves in hot conditions. It is also inexpensive and easy to carry.Propane lies slightly on the expensive side and is heavy to carry in bulk.

What is Camping Butane?

It is the fourth member of the Alkane family, with a molecular weight of 58.12 g/mol. Butane, also known as n-butane, is a gas at room temperature that is highly flammable. It has no color, easily liquefiable, and can be vaporized easily at room temperature.

The highly flammable nature of Butane makes it an excellent option for cigarette lighters as a fuel. The IUPAC name of Butane is Methylpropane and comprises one isomer, known as Isobutane. In Butane, four carbon atoms are linked to ten hydrogen atoms through branches.

Butane also acts as a solvent to extract fragrance from other substances. The eco-friendly nature of Butane makes it a great option as a coolant for refrigerators. Butane torch works a fuel for cooking and camping stoves. It is easy to identify Butane leaks as it releases a foul smell when mixed with hydrogen sulfide.

Filtration removes the contamination oil from Butane that is commercially available in the market. Butane is said to be denser than air and has Butanium as its conjugate acid. Though Butane is less hazardous, it can lead to unconsciousness, drowsiness, and temporary memory loss, if consumed directly by the human body.

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What is Camping Propane?

Propane is a compound with three carbon atoms that are attached to 8 hydrogen atoms through branches. At room temperature, it is a gas but is convertible into liquid when compressed. It is an odorless and colorless gas under normal circumstances. Propane is a very weak acid and has Propanium as its conjugate.

The third member of the Alkane family was found in 1857 by Marcellin Berthelot. When natural gas is put together with petroleum, the by-product is Propane. Isopropane, an isomer of Propane, is used as a refrigerant and has almost zero side effects on the ozone layer.

One of the most vital applications of Propane is in the field of domestic cooking and industrial purpose. Due to its lightweight, it is easily transportable to areas that lack pipelines of natural gas. With such a low boiling point, Propane is the ideal choice for gas stoves in colder climates.

Propane also functions as a fuel in automobiles and ships in the ocean. It creates almost no pollution compared to other fossils that operate as fuel. When Propane is liquified at a low temperature, it acts as an extraction material for animal fats and vegetable oils.

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Main Differences Between Camping Butane and Propane

  1. Propane exerts higher pressure than Butane, which makes it a better option to be used for LPG gas stoves. It is also a good-to-go option for exterior purposes.
  2. Butane is more flammable and gives more output when compared to the same volume bottle of Propane. It makes Butane a good option for camping stoves and Barbecues.
  3. While Butane is preferred during summers due to its lower vapor pressure, Propane is a better choice for colder climates. Butane does not vaporize below 0.4°C, making it unable to be used as a fuel.
  4. As Propane vaporizes slowly when suppressed to low temperatures, it is a better option to be stored in a container for a longer duration than Butane. 
  5. When it comes to trekking, adventure, and hiking in cold weather, Propane is favored for cooking stoves.


Propane and Butane are both members of the Alkane family but differ a lot in their uses and sustainability at different temperatures. While Butane is a better option for warm weather, Propane is mostly used in cold climatic conditions.

As Butane can be easily liquified and carried in large volumes, People in the USA go outdoors in the summers and use it for camping purposes to enjoy the moments with their loved ones. Butane is also less expensive when compared to Propane for practical uses.

The difference between both these gases is decreasing substantially. Due to Butane’s unavailability in colder climates, Propane is widely used now for trekkings and campings in cold conditions. Propane is slightly expensive compared to Butane in the market.

Last update on 2021-04-10 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API