When it comes to stove fuel, two of the most popular are, without a doubt, natural gas and propane.

While many people think of these two types of gasses as synonymous, there are actually a few big differences between these fiery titans.

are natural gas and propane interchangeable

Are Natural Gas and Propane Interchangeable?

Natural gas and propane are not interchangeable. While they both generally serve the same purpose, the two are not interchangeable.

A gas stove designed for natural gas can only be used with natural gas and vice-versa. Companies do include conversion kits with their stoves though so some can be easily converted to use either.

In order to understand why natural gas and propane are not interchangeable though, we need to first define what both are and point out their differences.

What are natural gas and propane and what are the differences between the two?

Natural gas is a mixed gas (made up of 70% methane, along with propane, butane, and ethane) that is found underground.

It is non-renewable, non-toxic, odorless, colorless, and highly flammable.

To make it into the fuel that we use on a daily basis, the natural gas gets combined with crude oil and then processed to remove the propane, butane, and ethane.

Natural gas burner

It then gets a (harmless) chemical smell added to it in case of leaks. If there is a leak, natural gas is lighter than air so it will concentrate up towards the ceiling.

If you smell that sulfur, you get out of the house and call a technician immediately.

As you can see, propane is a by-product of the natural gas refinement process (as well as crude oil refinement).

It has most of the same qualities as mentioned above for natural gas, but it is generally stored in a compressed liquid form. Propane also receives that added harmless chemical smell.

If there’s a leak with propane, propane is heavier than air so it will concentrate down towards the floor…which makes it a little more dangerous.

Just like a natural gas leak, if you smell sulfur, leave the house immediately and call a technician.

What happens if you use propane on a natural gas stove?

A big thing that people need to understand about propane vs natural gas is that natural gas is a much lower pressure gas than propane, and propane burns much hotter.

So, what happens if you try to use propane on a natural gas stove without going through the proper conversion process?

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Appliance malfunction
  • Giant flames, and soot
  • Higher risk of propane leaks
  • Higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by Incomplete gas combustion
  • Possible explosion and subsequent loss of property and limbs.

Not great side effects, if you ask me.

Read more about what happens when you use propane on a natural gas stove here

Is it possible to convert a natural gas stove to propane?

If you really want to make the switch from a natural gas stove to propane, it can be done with professional assistance…in most cases.

However, you must check the label to make sure that your stove can be used with different types of gas because not all of them can make that swap.

Sometimes, if an appliance is able to be converted it will come with a conversion kit as part of the package. This has started to become limited to stoves purchased as “new” though, so keep that in mind.

Either way, you will want to trust this conversion to a gas appliance technician.

Reasons to convert a natural gas stove to propane

Propane Gas Tank

There are definitely some strong reasons that people want to make the switch from natural gas to propane, from environmental reasons to efficiency and cost.

Below we dive into detail on just a few of these:

Propane is considered a “green fuel” by most

Propane’s eco-friendly pre-and post-combustion. It does less damage to the atmosphere than natural gas, which is mostly methane…which is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas pollution.

Propane also runs less of a risk of carbon monoxide buildup than natural gas, though there always remains some risk in the instance of equipment malfunction.

It requires less propane to cook than it does natural gas, which means fewer emissions overall.

Propane is more energy efficient.

You get double the energy from the same number of units, so while propane is a tad more expensive on a per-unit basis, you get twice the bang for your buck.

As per the U.S. Energy Information Administration in March of 2019: the average cost of natural gas vs propane (when you go through and equal out the same amount since they are sold in different units) is $4.31 per 1,000 cubic feet and $27 per 1,000 cubic feet, respectively.

However, you have to use twice as much natural gas as you would propane to do the same jobs, so in the long run, propane becomes less of a cost concern…if your home’s climate and energy needs will work best with propane.

Propane can be stored in tanks which gives you better flexibility

Propane gas tanks

If prices get a little higher, you can try to space out and time your deliveries.

You can also shop around for the best price per tank when those prices fluctuate or switch your delivery provider easily if you’re unsatisfied with the service.

With natural gas, you are stuck and locked into whatever price your natural gas company tells you since it’s supplied through underground pipes directly into your home.

There are other benefits to switching, of course, but these tend to be the biggest reasons people switch over from natural gas stoves to propane.

How much does it cost to convert a natural gas stove to propane?

The big question on everyone’s minds: how much will it cost to convert from a natural gas stove to propane?

Well, that answer will vary. It could cost you as little as $15 for a conversion kit or as much as $300 for all of the parts.

You also need to factor in the cost of getting a professional out to do the actual conversion which could run you between $150-$300.

The safety aspect of having a professional handle the job is well worth the potential cost, in our humble opinion.

Another thing to remember is that you should ONLY purchase conversion kits from certified sellers.

You could even ask your natural gas provider if that is a service that they offer, as some companies will help you make that switch for free.

Read more about how much it costs to convert a natural gas stove to propane here


While natural gas and propane can be used for the same purposes, they are not interchangeable.

Trying to just switch between the two without properly converting the appliance can cause some serious physical danger and risk.

If you want to make the switch from natural gas over to propane, you need to make sure that the appliance can handle being switched to another type of gas and then let a professional handle the job…unless you happen to be a gas appliance technician.