Looking to buy a used scuba tank from Craigslist or Ebay?

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BE CAREFULL! There is soooo much old crap that divers as well as non divers are trying to unload

Just last week I bought a steel tank from someone I though I could trust... guess what?   I got Screwed :-(
Steel tanks sell from $150 to $250 mine cost about $175
it was out of Hydro and didn't have air... so before I sent it to Hydro, I looked inside...
just to find a ton of rust & black goop! ......

If I'm lucky (I'm not always lucky) I may be able to tumble it clean & salvage it... if not, its just expensive scrap iron

You are taking a HUGE risk in buying a tank that needs Hydro.
Instead, offer the seller to pay for the cost of the hydro in addition to the sale price if it passes...
Let him take the chance that it may fail hydro, or fail Visual on account of excessive rust or pits

DON'T even consider it if it has no air.... cause moisture could have gotten in & cause a ton of rust...
or corrosion in the case of aluminum tanks

Even if it has air in it, that doesn't mean that the tank is in good shape.
Case & point: I bought 11 tanks from someone on CL (could of been someone on ebay or some of the scuba forums)
where 4 of the tanks were steel 120s. They looked good, had air in them, and had been o2 cleaned.
They were out of hydro by a few years...

I didn't do anything with them for about 4 months. Then, I decided to send them to hydro. I opened them up to do a visual, and ...
to my surprise found a lot of surface rust on the bottom & on the walls. (see pics below)
What a bummer! I paid a good chunck of money for these rust buckets :-(

On the bright side, these can be tumbled clean, but thats an additional expense on top of the cost of hydro...
I'm just LUCKY that they were not pitted (from the rust) beyond serviceability.

I can't emphasize it enough, that buying a used steel tank is really risky. Even if it has air or if it's in Hydro,
it could still have a lot of rust in it and/or pits deep enough to condemn it.
Have it checked out before you buy, (I'll do that for free for you) or get some sort of money back guarantee.

With aluminum tanks... stay away from tanks made before 1990
Luxfer & Walter Kidde were using a bad aluminum alloy that had a tendency to crack
(refereed to as Sustained Load Cracks ) and some of those cylinders have ruptured causing
property damage as well as death in a few cases...

Actually, the tanks can be used, but must be thoroughly inspected for cracks at least once a year
(twice a year wouldn't hurt) and should be drained to only a few hundred psi for long term storage

Many shops wont fill pre-88 tanks
I know of a few that will in S. Fl. but most won't

They never used the problematic alloy

Same as with steel tanks, don't buy "out of Hydro" tanks or tanks that are empty (no air at all)
You never know if they are going to pass Visual or Hydro
Also, look for excessive rust & pits specially around the boot, as that may fail the visual inspection & be condemned.

Buying tanks from a Pawn Shop
I see pawn shops selling old ratty ass tanks for practically the same price as new ones...
Ons shop on Craigslist listed tanks for $125 that I think were out of Hydro... WTF????
That not a good deal, not even close. Even if they were IN hydro.
A Brand New tank is about $150. plus tax
Why should you pay almost that much for some old rat's ass tank that's probably out of Hydro....
We sell nice looking tanks (Professionally stripped & repainted, with New Hydro, VIp & Filled for around $100

About buying old tanks Specifically Luxfer Pre 1988 or Walter Kidde:
Other than the fact that Pre -1988 tanks had a problematic alloy -6351- (does not apply to Catalina Cylinders)
that would eventually develope "Sustained Load Cracks", and could rupture causing severe injuries or death,
Age on a tank doesn't really matter.

A 20 year old thank that has a fresh hydro & VIP is every bit as good
as a Brand New tank. The only difference is purchase price.

If you're looking or a cheap tank on Craigslist or Ebay, be aware that many of the tanks for sale -specially on CL- are Pre-88 tanks.
THESE ARE SCRAP. Nothing more! NOBODY will fill it.

Here are a few links on CL of such posting.



This guy is asking $120 for a piece of aluminum scrap, (worth about $10 in scrap)

All pre-88 tanks - Scrap, nothing more.

These are just a few of the ones I bookmarked.
If the posts have been removed, see "How to Identify Pre-88 tanks below.

How To Identify Luxfer Pre 1988 or Walter Kidde tanks:

Let's start with Walter Kidde tanks.
Notice in the picture below (the yellow tank) how the shape of the crown and neck are different
from other tanks. If you see one of those, STAY AWAY from it.

There are WK tanks that look like luxfer or Catalina tanks.
Look for the name Luxfer or Catalina on the crown.
Walter Kidde tanks have a faint "WK" on the crown.

If you do end up with a pre 88 tank that you plan on using, click HERE to see who will fill those tanks

Hope this helps you be aware of the pitfall of buying used tanks...
Not that all tanks are bad, there are some honest sellers out there....

Question is: Do you feel lucky?

If you need good used tanks, from someone you can trust, visit our
Aluminum tanks page or Steel tank page