RV propane tank gauges and sensors may not be the most exciting feature of your rig, but they’re still important to the RVing experience.
You’ll probably appreciate hot water for showers and a functional stove or oven for cooking. You’ll likely want your RV refrigerator to keep your food and beverages cold. You might want to use your RV’s heater when it’s cold overnight.
But if your propane tank level monitor gives you the wrong information about the fuel level and you run out of propane, none of those things will be available.
That’s why we’re covering RV propane tank level sensors in today’s post. Before heading out on your next trip, make sure your RV propane tank gauge/level indicator is telling the truth.
- 1) What Is an RV Propane Tank Gauge?
- 2) Are All Propane Tank Gauges the Same?
- 3) What If I Don’t Have a Propane Tank Gauge?
- 4) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What Is an RV Propane Tank Gauge?
A propane tank gauge for RV use is the same as any propane tank monitor. Its job is to monitor the propane level in an LP tank so you’ll know how much propane is left in the tank at any given time. Pretty straightforward (but important) concept.
Properly working propane tank gauges let you know when it’s time to refill your LP tank. But they also keep you from heading out to a propane station to refill a tank that’s already full or partially full… but the gauge is telling you it’s empty.
As RVers, we know there are many things we need to check before we head down the road. A propane tank check should be quick and easy… and accurate. If our monitoring system is up to par, we should be able to see our LP level at a glance.
That should reassure us that our RV fridge, stove, water heater, etc. will have the propane they require to function throughout our trip.
As we noted in our post How Long Does a Propane Tank Lask When RVing?, RV appliances use varying amounts of propane. If you’re wondering about specific appliances, you can also check out our posts How Much Propane Does an RV Fridge Use? and How Much Propane Does an RV Furnace Use?
Are All Propane Tank Gauges the Same?
No. Several types of propane gauges are on the market, and each works differently. Also, propane tank gauges are rated for different-sized propane tanks.
For example, if you’ve got a 40 lb LP tank, you’ll need a gauge that’s rated for a tank that size. On the other hand, a standard RV propane gauge will be fine for a 20 lb tank like those you see mounted on the front of a travel trailer or a home barbeque.
Some gauges are installed inline. These work by detecting the pressure the tank is supplying. The pressure decreases as the level of liquid goes down. Other RV propane tank level sensors mount on the outside of the tank and use other methods to determine the level.
Let’s take a look at the different types of RV propane tank gauges and an example of each.
An inline gauge screws onto the tank — between the tank and the regulator. This type of gauge uses a needle and a colored scale to represent the levels from Empty to Full.
An inline gauge uses three colors, making it easy to see roughly how much propane remains in the tank. The needle moves as the propane is used, from green to yellow to red. Many people refill the tank when the needle gets into the yellow area of the gauge because when it hits the red (low), the tank is near empty.
This is a universal inline propane tank gauge:
- Easy-to-read indicator shows when your propane gas tank is low
- Dual, type 1 OPD valve connection
An upgrade to this type of inline gauge is one with a GasStop safety device, which offers protection in the event of a catastrophic leak. The GasStop device detects a sudden leak and stops the flow of propane for safety.
- 100% PROTECTION - GasStop is a must-have safety device that protects families with RVs that have propane systems on board. Its automatic emergency...
- CONVENIENT PRESSURE INDICATOR - Effortlessly monitor pressure levels in your propane tank to prevent gas runouts when you need it most – no...
Magnetic sensors or stick-on gauges are the easiest to install, but they’re also the least accurate type of propane tank gauge. Attached to the tank using a magnetic mounting or adhesive tape, they provide a rough idea of the amount of propane in the tank. (You’ll notice that the reviews aren’t all that great for this type of LP gas level indicator.)
- Package Contents: you will receive 2 pieces of gas level indicators, the sufficient quantity and simple designs can satisfy your various decorating...
- Size Information: magnetic gas level indicators measure about 10 x 6.3 cm/ 4 x 2.5 inches, small and lightweight, easy to store and take with you on...
An acoustic/ultrasonic gauge uses sound to detect the level of the liquid propane in the tank. This type of gauge tends to be very accurate but must be installed correctly to work properly. There are two different types of acoustic gauges. One is permanently installed, and the other is portable.
Permanently Installed Acoustic/Ultrasonic LP Level Sensor
A permanently installed acoustic propane tank gauge gets mounted magnetically underneath the tank and constantly monitors the tank level.
A good example of this type of propane tank sensor is the Mopeka tank sensor. The Mopeka Pro Check Sensor is a wireless propane tank sensor that attaches to the underside of the tank using strong magnets. The sensor connects to your smartphone or tablet through a mobile app, providing real-time updates on your tank’s propane level.
These work on all common steel propane tanks with capacities from 20lb – 420 lbs.
- WIRELESS PROPANE GAUGE - This digital propane tank gauge is an essential tool for anyone who enjoys outdoor cooking or using propane-powered patio...
- EASY TO INSTALL - Our propane tank gauge effortlessly attaches to the underside of your propane tank through powerful magnets. It can be secured in...
With the Mopeka system, if you have 20, 30, or 40-lb propane tanks, you can opt to add a dedicated monitor panel. This wireless LED gauge display mounts inside the rig on your dash or control panel and gives you a constant reading of up to two propane tanks.
- WIRELESS PROPANE MONITOR - Conveniently mounts insides your dash/control panel and can read the level for 2 propane tanks. Perfect accessory for your...
- WORKS WITH APP - The LED display and sensors works simultaneously with the Mopeka Tank Check App or the Mopeka Gateway. Our sensors can work with an...
If you’d like to use a Mopeka system with two propane tanks, you might want to buy the kit designed for two tanks and a monitor.
- Product type :FUEL PUMP
- Package dimensions :1.524 cm L x12.192 cm W x20.574 cm H
If you want a magnetic wireless gauge and your RV already has the Lippert OneControl system, you can get the Lippert Propane Tank Sensor. This integrates with the Lippert OneControl app via Bluetooth and can send notifications directly to your smartphone or tablet.
Like the Mopeka system, Lippert’s wireless tank sensor mounts magnetically to the bottom of your LP tank. Note that this system is optimized for vertical-standing steel LP tanks.
Portable Acoustic/Ultrasonic LP Level Sensor
A portable acoustic propane tank level sensor doesn’t always stay in place. Instead, when you want to check your propane level, you press the gauge onto the tank in various places to see where the liquid level is. When you’ve detected the level, you remove it from the tank until the next time you want to check the propane level.
The Truma LevelCheck is a portable acoustic/ultrasonic LP gas tank sensor. It works by touching it horizontally to the gas cylinder at a 90° angle.
If the LED light is green, there’s LP gas present at that level in the cylinder. If not, the light turns red. So you can touch the Truma LevelCheck to the cylinder at different levels to see how much propane remains in the tank.
LevelCheck works on all steel and aluminum LP gas cylinders 8 to 14 inches in diameter. However, it’s unsuitable for plastic gas cylinders, refillable gas cylinders, gas tanks, or butane cylinders.
- EASY TO USE - LevelCheck measures the filling level of gas cylinders simply and reliably using ultrasound. Attach Truma LevelCheck horizontally to the...
- MULTI-PURPOSE – This Truma gas level indicator is suitable for much more than just the campsite or a barbecue. You can also use LevelCheck to check...
The last type of propane tank gauge is a weight or scale gauge. With this type, the propane tank sits on the scale to be weighed to determine the amount of propane inside.
This one works wirelessly, giving you the tank reading via an app on your smartphone or tablet. It’s appropriate for 20, 30, or 40-lb propane tanks.
- ALWAYS HAVE PROPANE READY: Don’t worry about running out of propane again! With this digital gas indicator, you can track and monitor the levels of...
- WEIGHS & MEASURES MOST GAS TANKS: Get the most accurate measuring of weight! Track and monitor the gas levels of most propane gas tanks.
What If I Don’t Have a Propane Tank Gauge?
Although a tank gauge is recommended and much easier overall, there’s also a way to check how much propane is in your tank without using a gauge at all.
For more on this simple trick, see our post on how to check tank levels without a gauge or watch Peter demonstrate it in our video:
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