Left 4 Dead Wiki

The Oxygen tank is an explosive weapon found throughout the game, although it is less common than gas cans and propane tanks. Unlike the latter, which bursts instantly when struck by gunfire, the oxygen tank will vent gas for a period of time before exploding. Thus, an oxygen tank is, in effect, a delayed-action time bomb. An exception exists in the case of a hit from a shotgun, in which instance the tank will explode instantaneously.

Oxygen bottles can be picked up with the Use key (default: "E" for PC or "X" for Xbox 360). There is no inventory space for this weapon and so a player toting an oxygen tank cannot shoot but can still melee. Like the other thrown items, this weapon is usually found during Crescendo Events and the finale, but it can be found around some parts of the middle maps.

The oxygen tank deals the same damage as a propane tank. When shot, the escaping gas makes a high pitched hissing noise that serves as a warning to clear the immediate area. Its slim profile, dull green colouration, low light conditions and the fact that it lies flat when dropped makes it a very difficult target to see and shoot beyond medium ranges: particularly when a Horde is helping to block the line of sight.

The oxygen tank is relatively common in The Hospital, The Train Station, the farmhouse of the finale in Blood Harvest, the Runway Finale and in ambulances throughout the game.

A blast will kill all common infected close enough to the center of explosion.


  • Since the Last Stand Update, the noise of the oxygen tank leaking before the explosion will attract nearby common infected. This makes the oxygen tank way more useful in Left 4 Dead 2 than in Left 4 Dead. This includes worker infected, who are supposed to be unable to hear sounds.
  • In some situations, the delay will be a problem, as the human-controlled Special Infected will see you triggering the oxygen tank and can avoid the blast.
  • Oxygen tanks are best used as defensive weapons deployed at choke points when preparing for a Horde or Crescendo Event.
  • Like any explosives, oxygen tanks should not be dropped or fired close to teammates engaged in a fire fight. Any player close enough to hear the telltale whistle of escaping gas must quickly pull back to avoid being hurt in the impending blast. If a survivor is too close to the explosion, they 'd suffer a 1.5-seconds stun.
  • Oxygen tanks need a direct shot to be triggered. As noted above, they are sometimes difficult to see and shoot in the heat of action.
  • When retreating from Infected or getting into the rescue vehicle, oxygen tanks set up ahead of time are good at stumbling a Tank or decimating a threatening Horde at the critical moment. The oxygen tanks can stun a Tank for 3 seconds if he is close enough to the center of explosion. The damage dealt will be low, close to 20 even if the boss is in the center of explosion. Same applies to the explosions of propane tanks & pipe bombs. Boomers killed close to the Tank will apply the same stun as well, but will not damage him.
  • If a Witch is attacking a player, an extreme measure is to deploy and detonate an oxygen tank next to her. This will inflict a great deal of damage on her and she will be pushed away from her victim. While the explosion will harm the victim, this will be less than that inflicted by the Witch's sustained attack.
  • If an oxygen tank is unintentionally punctured and you hear the hissing sound, you can still pick it up and it will revert to its normal, undamaged state.
  • Throwing it by pressing the "fire" key while holding it in front of an incoming Smoker's tongue will stop the threat.
  • A hit from a shotgun will instantly trigger a blast.


If you throw an oxygen tank at a survivor in an elevator (Left 4 Dead 1 only), that survivor will fall through the elevator floor, instantly killing them.

Also, if you throw one at an elevator door, it will disappear, and when you arrive on the floor that elevator takes you to, you will see an explosion.


  • Of all the usable items in Left 4 Dead, the oxygen tank is the rarest.
  • While it is assumed that the tank contains oxygen there is no in-game proof that it does aside from the fact that it shows up commonly in ambulances, hospitals, and bedsides. The green bottle color is generally, but not exclusively, used to contain inert gases such as helium or neon. Medical oxygen bottles are usually either painted black or black with a white collar. However, there is no universal color code for gas bottles, and the color of any given gas bottle cannot be used as a definitive indication of its contents.
  • Industrial and medical gas bottles are specifically designed to resist point-loaded impacts and it is unlikely that one would be reliably punctured by a pistol bullet, shotgun pellets or even a commercially loaded, small-caliber rifle projectile comprising a soft lead core and thin copper jacket. The self-same gas bottles also feature anti-explosion, fire-safety features such as a valve collar that melts and releases the bottle's contents or a 'blow out' aperture that operates when the internal gas pressure rises above a prescribed level. A gas bottle that lacks this type of safety feature (e.g. an early model scuba tank) is more likely to blow out its capping valve than it is to rupture explosively. On this basis, the actual contents and design of the in-game Oxygen Tanks remain conjectural.
  • If you shoot the oxygen tank and then pick it back up it won't explode even if it is leaking. This applies when it is ignited as well.
Primary Weapons
Tier 1 Chrome invert.png Chrome Shotgun / Pump invert.png Pump Shotgun / MP5 Invert.png MP5 / Mac10 invert.png Silenced Submachine Gun / Uzi invert.png Submachine Gun
Tier 2 Ak invert.png AK-47 / Scar invert.png Combat Rifle / M16 invert.png M-16 Assault Rifle / SIG Invert.png SG 552 / Auto invert.png Auto Shotgun / Spas12 invert.png Combat Shotgun / AWSM Invert.png AWP / Hunting invert.png Hunting Rifle / Steyr Invert.png Scout / G3 invert.png Sniper Rifle
Special Tier Grenade launcher inverted.png Grenade Launcher / M60Icon.png M60 Machine Gun
Secondary Weapons
Sidearms Pistol inverted.png M1911 Pistol / Deagle invert.png Magnum Pistol / Pistol inverted.png P220 Pistol
Melee Weapons Bat invert.png Baseball Bat / Cricket invert.png Cricket Bat / Crowbar invert.png Crowbar / Axe invert.png Fireaxe / Pan invert.png Frying Pan / GolfClubIcon.png Golf Club / Guitar invert.png Guitar / Katana invert.png Katana / Knife Invert.png Knife / Machete invert.png Machete / Baton invert.png Nightstick / Icon pitchfork inverted.png Pitchfork / Icon shovel inverted.png Shovel
Special Tier Chainsaw invert.png Chainsaw
Other Weapons
Grenades Bile invert.png Bile Bomb / Molotov inverted.png Molotov Cocktail / Pipebomb invert.png Pipe Bomb
Upgrades L4D2 ammo explosive.png Explosive Ammunition / L4D2 ammo incendiary.png Incendiary Ammunition / Laser sight HUD invert.PNG Laser Sight
Fixed Weapons MMG Icon.png Heavy Machine Gun / Minigun icon.png Minigun
Usable Items Explosive Barrel HUD invert.png Explosive barrel / Fireworks icon.png Fireworks / Gas canister HUD invert.png Gas can / Oxytank icon.png Oxygen tank / Propane tank icon.png Propane tank
Special Items Cola.png Cola / Gnome icon.png Gnome Chompski
Featured in both games / L4D1-exclusive / L4D2-exclusive (Counter-Strike weapons / PC-exclusive)