Steel vs Plastic Oil Tank; Which one is best?

October 2, 2020
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Do you need to buy an oil tank for your property and don’t know where to start?

It’s most likely that you are looking to update an existing tank, or have designed your own custom home and are looking for ways to subtly include a tank within your plans. Either way, it’s a big purchase that you don’t want to get wrong.

So where to start?

One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy a plastic or steel tank. This may seem like a small variable on first impressions but there are a lot of options out there and many things to take into consideration.

Nowadays, most modern oil tanks are made with recyclable polyethylene, a hard wearing plastic that won’t rust or require painting. However steel tanks still have their place and do have their own advantages.

To make life easier for you, we’ve listed a few of the main cons and pros for each material below.

Steel oil tanks

Pros for buying a steel oil tank

  • Steel is highly durable and long lasting. They are UV resistant and can withstand extreme weather. They also fare better than plastic when it comes to accidental damage.
  • They have a higher security level than plastic. A steel tank is much harder to drill through than a plastic tank, so is great for minimising risk of fuel theft.
  • A high quality steel tank from a high quality supplier can offer great external and internal resistance to corrosion
  • They are priced very competitively compared to plastic tanks
  • Quality steel tanks tend to have a longer lifespan than plastic

Related – How do I check my Heating Oil Level? A Guide to Avoid Unnecessary Excess Costs?

Cons for buying a steel oil tank

  • Steel tanks are much heavier than plastic, this can offer better security but it means it is much harder to move around compared to plastic, if you want to move the tank’s location.
  • Cheaper quality steel tanks are prone to rust and corrosion
  • Steel tanks can be vulnerable at welded seams

Plastic oil tanks

Pros for buying a plastic oil tank

  • A plastic tank is easier to install due to its lighter weight. They are also cheaper to install and can be moved more easily if required
  • Plastic is an insulator so external heat is slower to transfer into the fuel inside, providing better protection
  • As it is made of plastic, it does not rust
  • Plastic tanks are seamless and are therefore less vulnerable to corrosion and oil leakage
  • Plastic tanks are available in a wider range of shapes and sizes, meaning that there are more options for your potential installation site, allowing you to keep the unit as discreet as possible.

Cons for buying a plastic oil tank

  • They can be weakened over time if exposed to direct sunlight
  • Less security as plastic is easier to drill through
  • More vulnerable to accidental damage
  • Plastic tanks are less easily recycled than steel

Related – Heating Oil Tanks; Which one is best for your home?

In summary

So there you have it – a comprehensive list of the pros and cons for each type of tank.

As you can see there are benefits to each kind of tank, but also negatives so your decision should really come down to what will suit your individual property. One of the biggest factors is location and whether you will need to move the tank over its lifetime.

If after reading this you’re still unsure which type of tank is for you why not arrange to speak to one of our specialists here at Carnegie Fuels who can talk through your requirements and reassure you on your decision. We supply both types of tanks and we’re more than happy to be your sounding board to help you be 100% confident in your purchase.

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