We purchased the large (10kg) Safefill Refillable Gas Bottle, which holds 19.5L of LPG and are delighted with it!
Safefill is a gas cylinder which is designed to be refilled by the user at LPG pumps, which are to be found on an increasing number of petrol station forecourts.
We bought ours primarily to save money on gas, however there are a number of other benefits, which I detail below;
The Main Benefits of Safefill over Traditional Cylinders;
- Money Saving – The Safefill has already saved us several hundreds of pounds on gas. LPG prices vary but our last refill cost us in the region of €8. Our previous 2x 6kg Calor bottle cost around £30 each plus a deposit. The extent of your savings will depend on the local price of gas, your usage (and how often you forgo EHU – which is a saving in itself) but by most reckonings that I have seen on the web, you should break even in 8-10 refills. However, cost saving is not the only benefit!
- Safety – The Safefill is probably safer than traditional metal gas cylinders. See ‘Is it Safe?’ below for details.
- Ease of Checking Levels – The transparent bottle means that you can see exactly how much gas you have left.
- Never Leave Home without a Full Gas Bottle – fed up of needing to change your gas bottle in the middle of cooking breakfast? You can refill a part-full Safefill to make sure that you have plenty of gas for your trip!
- Availability of Gas – Calor is not available in Europe, however LPG is widely available (see below for how to locate LPG filling stations in the UK and Europe.)
- Lightweight – if you are concerned about nose weight or payload in your caravan, the Safefill cylinder is significantly lighter than a metal cylinder – and you don’t need a spare. Our large cylinder weighs 5kg empty; approximately half the weight of an equivalent steel cylinder.
- Small cylinder; 3.4kg empty & 8.4kg full
- Medium cylinder; 4.1kg empty & 11.6kg full
- Large cylinder; 5kg empty & 15kg full
- You Don’t Need a Spare – since refilling stations are widely available and you can see how full your cylinder is, you don’t need a spare, which saves space and weight.
- Portable – when not in use in your caravan, you can use the Safefill with other compatible outdoor items, such as a gas BBQ or patio heater. I have heard anecdotal evidence of someone converting a generator for use with LPG!
Practicalities of Using a Safefill Refillable Cylinder
- Will the Safefill fit in my Gas Locker?
- You will need to check the cylinder dimensions on the Safefill website against the dimensions of your locker, since locker sizes vary. I have, however, seen reports that the 10kg Safefill will fit in lockers that may not accommodate the larger Calor cylinders.
- Our gas locker did require some minor modifications to the fittings that hold the cylinder in place. We bought our Safefill from our dealer, who kindly made the modifications to the locker FOC – and gave us a 10% loyalty discount on the price of the cylinder!
- Is it Easy to Find Refilling Stations? – We tour full time and have travelled extensively throughout Europe for the last two years. We have rarely had a problem either finding LPG or refilling in the countries that we have visited. As we plan to go further afield, however, is worth noting that LPG is not available in some countries, such as the Stans and North Africa.
- UK – To find petrol stations who supply LPG, see Get LPG or LPG MAP. (LPG MAP also offers a download of LPG stations for your SatNav.) LPG Refillable Bottle Stations and My LPG EU list sites known to allow filling of refillable bottles.
- Europe – To find petrol stations throughout Europe which supply LPG, see My LPG EU. The site is kept up to date by users and lists refillable cylinder-friendly sites across Europe.
- Worldwide – LPGStations shows the number of LPG stations in each country and allows you to plan your LPG route.
- If you Have a Problem Refilling
- Safefill states on its website that ‘not all forecourts will allow you to fill Safefill bottles’ (although we have rarely experienced a problem refilling on a forecourt.)
- Safefill has been around for a few years now and “The Red Guide” (Petrol Filling Stations Guide to Managing the Risk of Fire and Explosion) sheet 26 was updated in 2017 to include refilling of User-Owned Cylinders on Forecourts. This should increase acceptance of refilling by forecourts. Click here to go to the Safefill website, where you will find the ‘Red Guide Amended’ button which links to a pdf published by the Petrol Retailers Association. This details the changes and how the industry body worked with Safefill to ensure safety.
- However, if you do have a problem, the Safefill website gives details of Safefill refilling retailers.
- European Adapters – no adapters are required in the UK, however your will need to buy a set of European adapters with your cylinder if you intend to travel to Europe. We have used the adapters and found them very straightforward. Click here for a country by country guide to LPG filling and adapters.
- What is LPG? – Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG consists mainly of propane along with propylene, butane, and butylene in various mixtures. Click here to find out more.
- Will LPG Work in the Cold? Yes! I asked Safefill the question about LPG composition because caravanners tend to use propane in cold weather. Liquid propane turns into a gas at -42°C so is suitable for use in both winter and summer. If you took your caravan to the South Pole, the average temperature is -49°C, so your LPG gas supply would stop working!
- Propane vs Butane – butane vaporises at a much higher temperature than propane – about freezing point – so liquefied butane will not produce gas at temperatures lower than about +5°C. The heat generated by burning propane and butane is the same according to some sources; more according to others! Butane is generally a little cheaper than propane and there is some evidence that it is more efficient ie same amount of gas will burn for 9% longer, although this is only true if it is sold by volume. By weight, propane has 5% more energy content! In conclusion, propane a good choice for caravans! (For more information, see Butane vs Propane.)
- What is LPG Called in Other Countries? – LPG is also called ‘Autogas’, ‘Propane’ or GPL (Gaz de Pétrole Liquéfié in France) or GLP (Gas Licuado de Petróleo in Spain.)
Is it Safe?
Safefill states that its cylinders “have an unmatched safety record.” A Safefill cylinder should be as safe – if not safer – than its metal counterparts. The safety features are as follows;
- Automatic Overfill Prevention – prevents refilling past 80%.
- Additional Back-Check Valve – prevents leakage if you accidentally forget to close the valve after filling.
- Tamper-Proof Fittings – only allows gas to exit when connected to an appliance.
- How Strong is the Cylinder? Safefill cylinders withstand a burst pressure that is twice as high as their steel counterparts and because they will not BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion), the risk of explosion, in case of fire, is eliminated.
- What Happens if the Cylinder Catches Fire? – the construction materials are designed to allow the LPG to leak out gradually ensuing a controlled flame if the cylinder were on fire. As stated above, unlike a metal cylinder, the Safefill cylinder will not explode.
- Re-Certification – as with most cylinders, current guidelines require re-certification after 10 years.
- General LPG Safety Advice
- Always keep your cylinder in an upright position.
- Do not drop your cylinder as this can cause damage to the bottle and valve.
- Never change or store cylinders in the presence of naked flames.
- Never store or use below ground level, as any leakage will collect at low levels.
- Storage should be well ventilated, preferably outdoors.
- Don’t use tools to operate bottle valves.
- Check hoses regularly. Ensure the cylinder is properly secured with hose clips. If hoses are damaged or showing signs of wear, replace them (using hose of correct quality).
Do I Recommend Safefill?
That will be a resounding… YES!
Safefill kindly gave me permission to use their images of the gas cylinders because I am abroad without the caravan, so I couldn’t take my own photos!
I have no connection with Safefill and purchased my Safefill cylinder with my own cash. Like all of my reviews, what is written here is completely independent and based entirely on my own experience of the product.
Other refillable gas cylinders are available; I can’t comment on these or compare them to Safefill as I have no experience of using them, however prior to purchasing a refillable cylinder, I did research extensively. I chose Safefill as the preferred option and am 100% happy.
Obviously, it is ultimately your responsibility to check all guidelines and follow correct operating instructions to ensure safe use of LPG and the Safefill cylinder.
For further product reviews, caravan tips and advice, see the Tips section of my blog.
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