Whether you enjoy grilling or welding, you know that the gas you choose is important. But what do you know about the different gases available? Most people prefer MAPP gas or propane. The problem is that the choice is guided more by habit than by awareness of what each type offers. If you want your next purchase to be an informed decision rather than a thoughtless habit, here’s what you need to know about MAPP gas versus propane.
What is MAPP gas?
Before examining the advantages and disadvantages of each type of gas, it is important to understand what each gas actually is. MAPP gas is made by mixing methylene propadiene and liquefied petroleum gas. It has a wide range of industrial applications, including welding and soldering. It is also popular with cooks who typically use it for grilling, barbecuing and fires.
What is propane gas?
While MAPP gas is not a name that many people outside the industrial and restaurant sectors are familiar with, propane is a name that we all know. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and refining and is derived from the same family of liquefied hydrocarbon gases as butanes, propylene, butadiene, butylene and isobutylene. Although its combustion temperature is lower than fuels such as gasoline and coal, it is affordable and clean, making it a popular choice for generators, outdoor heaters and grills.
What is the best choice?
When given the choice between MAPP gas and propane, most people choose propane. But in many cases, the decision is influenced by the fact that propane is the more familiar of the two. This does not mean that it does not offer some unique advantages. For starters, the low combustion temperature gives the cook more control over the final product. As venchas.com points out, it is also compatible with copper soft solder tubes, making it a popular choice in industrial settings. At the same time, MAPP gas has many advantages of its own. While propane’s low combustion temperature gives cooks more control over their food, propane has a habit of leaving a lingering aftertaste – something MAPP gas manages to avoid. Its ability to reach 3700 degrees Fahrenheit makes it the preferred choice for fire pots. There is no doubt that each type of gas has a number of advantages. But which one has the most?
Mapping gas versus propane
MAPP gas may be more expensive than propane, but do the benefits outweigh the cost difference? Or is propane the winner?
- Cooking – One of the main selling points of MAPP gas is its high combustion temperature. While propane has a maximum temperature of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit, MAPP gas can reach temperatures of 3,730 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that MAPP gas cooks food much faster. For cooks who want to cook steaks and meats quickly, it is a natural choice – which may explain why it is regularly used by some of the world’s best chefs. An added benefit is that MAPP gas leaves no gas odor or residue on your food, which is often the case with propane gas. But while MAPP gas cooks food faster, some people prefer the lower combustion temperatures of propane, which offer more control over the cooking process. With MAPP gas, you can cook a steak faster, but the risk of overcooking the meat is greater. While professional cooks can handle high MAPP gas temperatures, others may struggle.
- Price and accessibility – In addition to efficiency, price is another important element. As My Backyard Life explains (mybackyardlife.com/mapp-gas-vs-propane/), propane is the favorite of many for the simple reason that it is so inexpensive. MAPP gas is much more expensive by comparison.
- The same is true for affordability. Production of MAPP gas in North America effectively ceased in 2008. Most gases labeled MAPP are substitutes (commonly called MAPP Pro Gas) made from propylene and trace amounts of propane. They can be hard to find, which is why many people mistakenly choose propane.
- Safety – When using fuel that can burn at temperatures above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit, safety is obviously an important issue. Propane has long been used for cooking. Because it burns at a lower temperature than MAPP gas, it offers more control for those without experience in handling such a hot flame. In industrial applications, other metals are less likely to melt (MAPP gas can easily and quickly burn off metals in its path), reducing safety risks.
- Industry – As Hunker explains, MAPP gas has traditionally not been considered ideal for welding steel because of its high hydrogen content. The high combustion temperature also made it dangerous for brazing. Since MAPP gas was replaced by MAPP Pro, the situation has changed. Because MAPP Pro Gas heats the propeller faster than propane and at a higher temperature, it is considered a better option than propane (although for safety, a specially designed burner is recommended). With the addition of oxygen, the flame of MAPP Pro-Gas can burn at 5200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for cutting and welding steel.
Both MAPP gas (or rather its substitutes) and propane are popular choices in industrial and cooking applications. Which is better… depends. For experienced cooks who can work in extreme temperatures, MAPP gas is often considered the preferred choice. It cooks faster, brings meat to perfection and leaves no gas odor. When brazing copper pipes and cutting and welding steel, MAPP gas stands out from the competition because of its high combustion temperature.
However, none of this means that propane does not have its unique appeal. For starters, it is cheaper and more affordable. In addition, many inexperienced cooks or hobby cooks prefer to have better control over the cooking process on propane. At the end of the day, there is no clear winner. It all depends on your experience and preferences. If you are looking for a cheap, readily available gas that offers excellent control and safety, choose propane. If you are an experienced person who needs speed, you will probably prefer MAPP gas. Both gases have their uses – it’s just a matter of choosing which gas works best for you.
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