While Acetylene has long been considered the industry standard for many cutting procedures, the prevalence of LPG has become more prominent in recent years.



Gas Cutting is a common process in welding – particularly for cutting thick steel – with Acetylene and LPG (Propane) the two most commonly-used fuels (when combined with Oxygen).  



And although either fuel can be used for cutting various materials, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with both.



To help make it easier, we’ve summarised the pros and cons of using Acetylene and LPG for Cutting and Welding in the section below.



ACETYLENE (WITH OXYGEN) 



Benefits:

    • Acetylene is known to produce the hottest flame for both Oxy Welding and Cutting purposes

    •  Extreme heat pierces materials quickly

    • Can be used on job-sites without the need for a power supply

    • Versatile material which can be used for welding

Challenges:

    • Produces rough results when welding which can require extensive clean-up

    • Expensive to purchase

    • Highly unstable with safety implications due to naked flame

    • Strict storage and transportation measures need to be followed

PROPANE/LPG (WITH OXYGEN) 



Benefits:

    • Easy to obtain and affordable

    • Highly stable material which is less likely to cause flashbacks and backfiring.

    • Can be used for cutting, brazing and heating.

    • Clean material which burns without soot or carbon unlike other fuels

Challenges:

    • Produces a lower overall temperature than Oxy-Acetylene

    • Can not be used for Gas Welding as flame produced interferes with molten metal

    • Less concentrated flame which makes piercing slower

    • Difficult to light and set compared to acetylene and more skill is needed to control it.

SUMMARY



While Acetylene and LPG (combined with Oxygen) can both be used for cutting purposes, only Acetylene can also perform welding functionality.



Furthermore, Acetylene burns at a higher temperature (3130C) compared to LPG (2700C), allowing it to pierce metal more quickly.



The big advantage of LPG is that is a much cheaper material which is easier to obtain and its overall stability provides additional safety benefits.