MAPP Gas vs Propane: Is One Better Than the Other?

The main variation between propane and MAPP gas is that MAPP is a combination of different gases while propane only contains propane molecules.

Although I was taught to handle cooking torches in culinary school, I was only really introduced to this tool at my first restaurant job. Up until then I was only familiar with propane-based ones, but I soon learned that some used MAPP gas torches as well!

In the post below, I will explain what each gas is and outline their main differences as well. Let's begin!

What is MAPP Gas?

Not a lot of people are familiar with MAPP gas as it was largely used for commercial purposes. Due to this, I would first like to get you familiar with what it is:

The full title for MAPP gas is Methyl Acetylene Propadiene Propane. It is a fuel gas that consists of propyne, propane, and propadiene. The main thing to know here is that MAPP gas burns at up to 5300 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Now, you may be wondering:

Did they stop making MAPP gas?

You would be correct, they did! The original MAPP gas cylinder isn't available on the market anymore. The sole plant producing MAPP gas discontinued production in 2008. The fuel gas that is available these days is a MAPP substitute.

The substitute is essentially a stabilized liquefied petroleum gas with a high propylene content.

MAPP Gas vs. MAP Pro

Now, if you are looking into MAPP gas, you will inevitably come across MAP Pro. This gas is only made up of propylene and propane molecules. This is becoming increasingly popular for soldering and other purposes as it burns very hot and is cheap to produce.

Can it be used for cooking, though?

Yes, MAP Pro can be used for cooking but it is largely used by top chefs at major restaurants. This gas is highly flammable. While it can be a great benefit while cooking foods at high heat, it can also be very dangerous to handle.

What is Propane Gas?

Just to make sure that all of our bases are covered, lets quickly dive into what propane gas is as well.

Propane is a relative to natural gas - a hydrocarbon gas that can exist as a gas or liquid. In its liquid form it is known as liquefied petroleum gas or LP gas. It can burn up to 3623 degrees Fahrenheit.

Propane gas is quite popular on the barbecue scene - it is estimated that around 47 million households in the US use it to fuel their outdoor grill.

MAPP Gas vs. Propane Gas - Breaking It Down

Here is a comparison of the two gases:

Which Burns Hotter?

As you can see from the numbers above, MAPP gas burns hotter - significantly more. This is one of the reasons that it is chosen for high heat applications and can be the preferred option to cook food. It cooks food much faster, hurrying up the cooking process.

Of course, this isn't always a good thing. The more delicate ingredients in your dish will need to be cooked at a lower temperature over a longer period of time. Using MAPP gas for such cooking can cause these ingredients to char.

However, when it comes to getting a good sear on my meat, I do prefer MAPP gas.

Which is Better for Food?

Well, I would say that MAPP gas wins again and is the better alternative to propane gas. This is because it burns cleaner and doesn't give off any noticeable flavor while cooking.

Technically, propane is an odorless gas as well. However, authorities add a substance known as mercaptan that can make it smell like rotten eggs. This is simply a safety precaution to let you know if the propane gas is leaking in your home.

When grilling, these gas odors should burn off and leave the food without any additional taste. Many do still complain about a chemical flavor, though.

Which is Easier to Cook With?

Well, this is all down to preference or what you are looking for from your fuel gas. If you want to fire up your gas grill and cook with higher heat, then MAPP gas is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are all about control over the temperature, then propane gas is the better choice.

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When considering convenience, you also have to think of which gas is easier to get ahold of. In this category, propane gas is the obvious winner as it is so readily available. Unlike propane, MAPP gas is meant for industrial purposes and may not be as easy to get ahold of.

On top of this, propane is the cheaper option. If you enjoy everyday grilling or do it quite often, then it would make more financial sense to rely on propane.

Which is Safer?

When choosing a gas for grilling purposes or for a cooking torch you need to consider safety concerns. So, MAPP gas vs. propane gas, which one is better? As propane burns at a lower temperature it can be considered the technical safer option.

Still, it should go without saying that both propane gas and MAPP gas are incredibly dangerous. As such, they should be safely stored and properly handled. Always keep your wits about you while you are using either gas.

Which is Most Commonly Used for Torches and Gas Grills?

Well, when it comes to restaurants, the usage is pretty evenly split, although propane may have a slight advantage. Once again, it all depends on what the restaurant specializes in. If they focus on seared foods or dishes cooked at higher temperatures, then they will automatically choose MAPP gas.

If you are thinking about home use, then propane would undoubtedly the most common option.

Can MAPP Gas Be Used in a Propane Torch?

This is not a question that you want to ask the masses. This is because you will often find at least a handful of people that will argue that you can use MAPP gas in a propane torch.

I would respectfully disagree and advise you not to mix and match here. As already mentioned, one of the main differences between MAPP gas and propane is that MAPP gas burns quite a bit hotter. A propane torch may not be equipped to handle this heat and the experiment could backfire.

If you don't want to risk life or limb, I would suggest only using a torch with the recommended gas.

Can You Use MAPP Gas on a Propane Grill?

This all depends on the grill that you are using. Check the manufacturer's instructions to determine if you should be using a particular type of gas. Most grills, though, should accommodate both. In this case, it is possible for you to substitute propane with MAPP gas.

Remember, though, that MAPP gas burns hotter. This means that you will need to watch the temperature and pay close attention to the grilled food, particularly bread and vegetables. Otherwise, you may end up with charred bits.

MAPP Gas vs. Propane - What Should You Use?

This is a decision that you are going to need to make by yourself. The right gas for you will depend on what you are looking for in a cooking gas. This could be heat or control - you need to decide. Then, select the one that meets your requirements best of all.

So, there you have it - all that you need to know about MAPP gas vs. propane gas. There is quite a bit to consider here and there are certainly some scientific aspects that you have to consider. The more that you learn about these fuel sources, though, the better equipped you will be to decide which one works for you. Thus, this bit of homework will be well worth the effort!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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