Before Buying an Argon Tank on Craigslist [Watch Out For]

By Bill Byers / December 8, 2019
Argon Tank Craigslist Title Image

Buying a Argon Tank on Craigslist

You’re looking for a pre-owned Argon gas tank.

And you’re about to do a search on Craigslist.

But you don’t have that much money to spend. And you want to be sure to buy a good high pressure tank.

The last thing you want is to make a mistake. And your cheap tank on Craigslist to cost you more than you bargained for.

Or worse turn out to be a complete dud.

What are the things to check? What should you watch out for?

Read on and find out.

Does that Argon Tank Look Really Cheap on Craigslist?

One of the reasons a compressed gas cylinder looks cheap on Craigslist is that it’s a stolen tank.

Compressed gas bottles disappear out of company storage cages. Off the back of lorries. Or end up not returned to the company leasing or renting them out.

Just ready to be sold to you and the unwary.

But how do you tell?

Here are some ways.

Quick Checks to Make before you Buy that Argon Tank on Craigslist

1. Does the Argon tank you’re looking at have a ring or collar around the neck of the bottle?

Argon Tank Ownership Marks
Argon Tank Ownership Marks

Does it have a company name? Or mark? Or manufacturers name on the collar?

Does the ring say rental?

All tell tale signs telling you to be wary.

2. Check for a Manufacturers name or mark on the Argon tank itself.

You’ll see in the picture above an Argon gas tank with a collar.

The collar has the owning company name on it. And what’s more the company stamp on the cylinder itself. 

This is not what you want to see. Why?

It means that a company owns this Argon bottle.

At best it could mean you’re locked into one gas supplier for refills for that Argon tank.

Is that supplier in your county?

And if you take a chance. And take that tank somewhere else to get it refilled you could find they refuse to.

Or worse your Craigslist bought Argon tank gets confiscated. And returned back to the company that owns it.

3. What’s the last testing date stamp?

While you’re looking your Craigslist Argon tank over. Make a note of when it was last tested.  Not sure how to do that?

Click on the link here to read an article telling you all about it.

Check the date stamped on the tank. You’ll want to buy an Argon gas tank that is inside its testing date. Why?

Because you won’t find a reputable compressed gas dealer to refill an out of test cylinder.

And because if you buy an Argon gas bottle out of its testing date then you’ll have to pay for a test.

Do you know the price of testing an Argon tank around your home?

What if your chosen compressed gas tank doesn’t pass the test?

Your gas cylinder testing company will take your Argon gas tank away from you if it fails testing.

These are all things for you to point out to the seller when you’re negotiating on a price.

Or use as your reason to pass this Argon tank on by. And look at the next one.

4. How Does the Argon Gas Bottle Look?

When you’re looking to buy your Argon Tank. Does it look clean and well maintained?

Rust marks?

You’ll want to check that there’s no rust on the bottom of the bottle.

Or damage around the cap valve.

Do the valves look good and will turn?

Any signs that someone tried to grind off any manufacturers marks?

An Argon gas cylinder should last tens of years if well maintained. A poor maintained tank is a reason to pass on by and look at another one.

5. Is there a Data Sticker on the Argon Tank?

Argon Tank Data Label
Argon Tank Data Label

You need a clear data sticker on any Craigslist Argon gas tank you’re looking to buy. 

Why?

A data label is the only way to know what gas is or was inside the compressed gas cylinder.  It could have anything in there.

Flammable gas, dangerous gas.

Even if you’re told the tank is empty its not worth the risk.

And you won’t get your new Argon tank filled without one.

Some other things to think about before you buy that Argon Tank on Craigslist

Who are the Compressed Gas Suppliers in your Area?

And what size of Argon bottle will they refill?

You’ll find it’s worth your while checking what you’ve available to you locally.

And before you buy your own tank.

Where are your compressed gas suppliers?

Will they fill up the size of tank you’re looking to buy?

Some local welding suppliers will only refill their own rental tanks.

Or they may swap tanks. Take your carefully chosen and bought empty Argon tank and swap it for one they have that’s full. And its bye bye to your tank. Because some other customer will get your Argon tank when they fill it.

Or they’ll fill tanks but their policy is to only refill customer owned tanks of certain sizes.

If you’ve bought a large Argon tank on Craigslist you might find you can’t get your tank filled in your district.

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Buying on Craigslist versus Renting Argon Tanks for MIG Welding

You’ll want to take some thinking time.

Go through the pros and cons of buying your own compressed gas cylinder. Compared to renting or leasing a cylinder.

When you buy your Argon Tank

You buy the tank so you own the tank. Sounds obvious but this also means;

1. You pay for the safety test. Either a Hydrostatic or Ultrasonic test when it’s due. It’s at your cost.

The Hydrostatic Test What to Know

A Hydrostatic test is done every 5 years. Or every 10 years for bottles with a star on them. 

The test involves testing the compressed gas bottles for strength and for leaks. Usually the test also involves a visual inspection for any obvious damage. 

The compressed gas tank is filled with water under pressure (sometimes oil is used) . The tanks are often immersed in water that is calibrated to show any change in the volume of water. A change means that there is a leak or pressure loss.

2. The Argon bottle is yours. Any issues with the tank that means you can’t refill it means you need to buy a new one.

3. You can use as little of the Argon gas as you like without on going rental costs.

4. Owning your own compressed gas bottle can be a good idea. Because the value of bottles rise in price over time.

5. When you buy you need to think about the price of the Argon tank – sure. Plus the cost of the refills per cubic foot. Plus taxes for that refill and HAZMAT charges.

6. When you own your Argon gas tank and when you take your Argon tank for a refill. Will you have to wait to get your tank back? Or do you have to come back if they are busy?

If you’ve travelled a ways driving back to get your tank will be a real pain.

7. Some places swap your bought empty Argon tank for a filled one.

Will the swapped tank be the same size?

It’s worth checking these things out for your town or district.

You may not be happy waving goodbye to your carefully chosen and bought tank. For some battered up tank that’s smaller than yours.

8. Can you Refill your 125cf or 150 cf Argon Tank?

Some places get really funny about it. And won’t fill a customer owned Argon tank over 125 cubic feet in capacity.

So if you decide to own a large bottle can you get it refilled where you live?

What is the policy of your LWS (Local Welding Suppliers)?

Some treat 125 cf or 150 cf Argon tanks as rental tanks only.

When you Lease or Rent Your Argon Tank

1. Leasing or Renting means that the company you get your Argon tank from owns the tank. And they do the tank testing when it’s needed.

2. You’re on a monthly or yearly charge for as long as you have the tank. 

3. And if you weld using Argon only sometimes. Or not for six months you still pay. And this means for you a tank of Argon can get pricey for occasional use.

4. There are no upfront costs for the Argon tank.

5. Refills can be cheaper and quicker. Because it’s normal for rental or leasing companies to swap out your tank for a full one.

6. Ask, because you may need to pay a deposit on the bottle. If you do it’s worth finding out how much it is.

7. But you don’t have to worry about buying a stolen tank by accident.

Buying an Argon Gas Tank at Auction

You can also find Argon gas bottles sold at auctions. Check out the companies going out of business in your area. They may sell off their Argon tanks.

You should think about going through all the checks outlined at the beginning of this article before buying.

Is your chosen tank is in good condition? Do the valves look fine and work? And has your Argon tank an Argon gas data label?

You should watch out buying an Argon tank from a company that’s been taken over. Or bought out by another company as those tanks could have transferred ownership.

And shouldn’t be for sale at all.

Argon Gas Tanks on Amazon

Here’s some research on your behalf. Interestingly you can buy Argon compressed gas tanks on Amazon.com.

Here’s a table with the sizes sold.

You can click on the links and go through to Amazon to check the prices for yourself.

All these Argon gas tanks have CGA 580 stop connections on the valve. You need this for Argon gas so that you can connect and use the right regulators and hoses.

It’s worth comparing them to the prices on Craigslist.

And the price you see Argon tanks going for locally where you are.

*Disclosure: The following table contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through these links should you decide to buy.

Argon Gas Tank Size in Cubic Feet

On Amazon

20 CF Argon Tank size

40 CF Argon Tank size

60 CF Argon Tank size

80 CF Argon Tank size

125 CF Argon Tank size

150 CF Argon Tank size

And you’ll find options for the Argon tanks to be supplied full or empty.

Check what the situation is in your area for the refill of customer owned tanks if you’d like to get one.

And when you can get a good deal on Argon gas where you live. Then this may well be an ideal option for getting an Argon gas tank of the right size delivered.

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