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How Long Does A SCUBA Tank Last?

   October 27th, 2022   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

How Long Does A SCUBA Tank Last?

Find out the answer to ‘How long does a SCUBA tank last?’ and more by checking out the article below!

Whether you’re new to diving, or an experienced pro, you probably have a lot of questions about the sport and the equipment that goes with it.

For starters, there’s a lot of equipment a SCUBA diver needs: fins, gloves, masks, and tons of breathing apparatus. Most importantly though, your breathing tank. 

Some common questions we hear about SCUBA tanks include:

  • How long are scuba tanks good for?
  • How long does a scuba tank last?
  • Can you make it last longer?

Those are great questions – and the answer is a bit complicated. 

If you want the quick answer, the average SCUBA tank will last 20 years, and let you breathe for a bit less than an hour at a time, before it needs to be filled.

Factors That Affect Dive Time: 

Imagine if someone asked, ‘How many people fit into a car?’. How would you answer that?

This question is very similar. Just like cars, different SCUBA tanks have different features and capacities for different uses. There are a variety of factors that can change how long a SCUBA tank lasts:

Body Size

Bigger people need more air. If you are much larger (in height or width) than your partner, you’ll find that your air goes a bit quicker than theirs. 

If you want to find how long your SCUBA tank will last, you can measure your air intake to find your Respiratory Minute Volume, which will allow you to calculate how you compared to the average diver. Not sure what size SCUBA tank to get? This handy SCUBA tank size chart will help you pick the right tank for your needs.

Breathing Rate

How long does a tank last with a diver? That depends on the diver’s experience.

Whether it’s nerves, excitement, or lack of endurance, rookie divers often use more air quicker than experienced divers, who can keep themselves relaxed, and their breathing steady.

Dive Depth

The deeper a dive, the faster the tank is depleted. This happens due to the increased pressure compressing the gas, the deeper you dive. That said, a tank can last longer in shallower water.

Tank Volume

The standard SCUBA tank is the 80 cubic foot one – but that’s not the only kind. 

Some divers prefer smaller tanks, while more experienced divers, or those looking for longer dive times, might go for larger ones. Different sizes will affect how long your SCUBA tank is good for. If you aren’t sure what type of tank you have, take a look at the markings on the side. This tank reading guide will tell you what they mean.

Tank Condition

An older, battered tank might have issues with leaking, which can change how long your tank will last underwater.

Most SCUBA tanks last for about 20 years, as long as they’re properly cared for and inspected. If you have a steel tank that is properly maintained, it could last over 50 years. 

Gas Mixes:

How long are SCUBA tanks good for? That depends what’s in them. There are a few different gasses that SCUBA tanks can be filled with. 

While you might think of a SCUBA tank as an oxygen tank, there’s actually other gasses mixed in – just like the air we breathe every day. For different types of dives, there’s actually a few different types of gasses that the tanks are filled with.

Air (Around 21% Oxygen)

This is the air you breathe every day. When you think of diving packages, at hotels and resorts, this is what your tanks will be filled with. It’s cheap and easy to get – so it’s a no-brainer for most uses.

Unfortunately, we can’t just use this air for everything, since it contains nitrogen. This nitrogen gets more and more toxic, the deeper you take it – so plain air is only used in recreational diving down to around 130 feet  (40 meters).

Nitrox (22% – 40% Oxygen)

Nitrox is the next stage up – it contains more Oxygen than regular air. 

While you might think that the tank would last longer – you’d be mistaken: Nitrox tanks last the same amount of time as plain-air tanks. 

Nitrox is best for repetitive shallow diving, so you can dive more without building up nitrogen levels.

Trimix (Around 20% Oxygen)

Trimix is similar to Nitrox, but with an important difference: it contains helium. By removing more of that pesky nitrogen, and replacing it with helium, you lower the danger of nitrogen in the tank.

These tanks are more expensive, but allow you to dive deeper than either of the other two. Unfortunately, these tanks will go faster the deeper you get.


If you were wondering how long does a SCUBA tank last, now you know!

Are you ready to get into the water? Make sure to check out our guide to getting open water certified. We’ve also got some amazing wetsuit deals for your next dive, you don’t want to miss it!

Jett Hayes is an outdoor enthusiast; hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and SCUBA - he worked at a dive center in LA for three years, assisting with equipment, lessons, and more. He's also a digital marketer, helping small businesses get big results since 2018. If you're interested in Jett's work, check out his website.

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