Touring around the country in your RV is a real pleasure but requires you to take a fair amount of kit with you. To maintain your comfort, you will need a source of fuel and propane gas is the most popular choice amongst RV owners. An RV propane regulator should also be top of your list.
Propane gas is transported in tanks that can be strapped safely to your RV to prevent them from moving around. You will need to connect these tanks to your gas appliances such as heaters and grills and this is done via a rubber hose. However, the pressure that the gas leaves the tank may not be suitable for your appliances. Also, there needs to be a safety cut-off in case there is a leak. This is why a propane regulator is needed.
There are several different types and they have different features so you should take some time to choose the right one for you. To get you started, check out our guide to the best RV propane regulators.
The Best RV Propane Regulator
A superbly versatile and useful bit of kit for controlling the propane gas supply in your RV and is rated for 30,000 BTU. This model will connect to two propane gas tanks. There is a useful auto-changeover system that will switch from a tank that has run out of gas to the second reserve tank without you having a disruption in your supply. The empty cylinder can be switched for a full one and the regulator will switch back to it when the reserve tank runs out. You can replace empty cylinders without disrupting the supply.
It comes with an indicator that changes color when a tank needs to be refilled. You can use it on any RV that has dual propane tanks. The inlets for the regulator are 1/4″ SAE inverted flare and there are two 12-inch pigtail hoses that will connect to two propane tanks. The outlet is a 3/8″ National Pipe Thread female connector pipe thread. Thanks to the double stage design, this regulator will maintain a constant gas pressure even when the demand changes.
Two 12-inch pigtail hoses
Useful auto-changeover system so you don’t have a break in supply
Color indicator when tank needs refilling
Double stage design to cope with changes in demand
- BrandFlame King
- Weight 2.38 pounds
This is a two stage RV propane regulator that will switch your supply to a reserve tank without experiencing a disruption in your supply. This model has a maximum inlet pressure of 250 PSI and the inlet connector is a ¼ inch inverted flare. The outlet connection is a Female National Pipe Thread of 3/8 inch.
There is a green/red indicator that shows you clearly when the gas supply is running low and you need to start looking for a replacement. This regulator complies with the RVIA, UL and NFPA standards and has a raw zinc and powder coated exterior finish.
Switches to reserve tank with no disruption
Inlet connector is a ¼ inch inverted flare
Raw zinc and powder coated exterior finish
- BrandMarshall Excelsior
- Model MEGR-253
- Weight 2 pounds
Just what you need for your RV that has a hookup for a dual propane tank. The primary cylinder will have a capacity of 210,000 BTU/hr and the reserve cylinder has a capacity of 130,000 BTU/hr.
You will get to enjoy a constant gas pressure as the regulator will automatically change from an empty tank to a new one. Then you can replace the empty tank and, when needed, it will swap back.
Because there is a double stage design, it will allow you to have a constant gas pressure even when the demand for gas fluctuates. The inlet is a ¼ inch SAE inverted flare whilst the outlet is a 3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread.
Regulator for RV for RV with dual propane tanks
Double stage design for constant gas pressure
Inlet is a ¼ inch SAE inverted flare
Outlet is a 3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread
- Weight 1.35 pounds
Here we have a heavy duty model two stage propane regulator with a pre-installed POL tank connection fitting inlet and a horizontal vent. A smooth and consistent flow of gas to your appliances is guaranteed thanks to the integral first and second stages.
The outlet of the regulator is a 3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread. It has an 11″Water Column pressure and a BTU/hr capacity of 160,000. It is fully compatible with the Camco 59843 20″ Pigtail propane hose connectors and will connect to a 20 pound or 30 pound propane tank that has ACME threads.
Heavy duty model two stage propane regulator
Smooth and consistent flow of gas
3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread outlet
BTU/hr capacity of 160,000
- Weight 9.6 ounces
With this auto-changeover propane regulator, you will be able to hook up to propane tanks to your RV and ensure that you never run out of gas. It will automatically switch from the empty tank to the full one and there is a handy indicator that tells you when a tank is becoming depleted. When you have fitted a new tank, you just flip the supply lever and it resets the indicator. Then you can remove and replace the empty tank so that it can be refilled. It has been set at the standard low pressure for propane which is 11″ Water Column.
The regulator has an overall height of 6 ¼ inches and is both durable and easy to use. You can use it instead of any existing automatic changeover regulator and it can be used on all models of RV as well as travel trailers and pop up campers. The wheel mounting screws are not included but you do get two 15 inch ACME inverted flare pigtails.
Handy indicator tells you when a tank is becoming depleted
Includes two 15-inch ACME inverted flare pigtails
262,500 BTU’s per hour capacity
Adjustable gas pressure
- Model GR-9994
- Weight 2 pounds
This regulator meets the relevant UL, NFPA and RV standards . It is a two stage propane regulator that automatically transfers to a reserve cylinder when the primary cylinder runs out of gas. It will fit all standard propane tanks and has a maximum inlet pressure of 250 psi. The inlet connection is a ¼ inch female inverted flare and the outlet connection is a 3/8 inch female National Pipe Thread.
It has been finished with a raw zinc and powder coat finish and has an indicator that is easy to read and changes from green to red when the tank needs to be refilled.
Meets relevant safety standards
Maximum inlet pressure of 250 psi
¼ inch female inverted flare inlet
Finished with a raw zinc and powder coat finish
- BrandMARSH EXCEL
- Model MEGR-253H
- Weight 1.6 pounds
Here we have a high capacity propane regulator that has a limit of 345,00 BTU’s per hour that is very easy to operate and durable. It will connect to two propane tanks and change over when the one is empty. There is a color indicator that will change color when the tank is depleted. As you flip the supply lever the indicator is reset and you can remove the empty tank.
It has a standard inlet fitting which is a ¼ inch SAE inverted flare whilst its outlet is a 3/8 inch National Pipe Thread female fitting. It has a dual stage design and will maintain a constant gas pressure even when the demand is fluctuating. The device has been set to a standard low pressure of 11 inch Water Column. The gas pressure is adjustable and it has a pressure tap. The height of the regulator is 7 ¼ inches and it is suitable for any RV as well as travel trailers.
Limit of 345,00 BTU’s per hour
Maintains constant gas pressure
Overall height of 7 ¼ inches
- Model GR-9984
- Weight 1.98 pounds
A simple propane regulator that will not break the bank and can be used with most wall mounted heaters and log sets as well as the gas stove in your RV. It is a 2 stage propane regulator and therefore delivers a consistent gas flow to your appliance.
It has a 3/8 inch female pipe thread outlet and a ¼ inch female pipe thread inlet. You will get a low pressure output (200,000 BTU maximum flow) that is both steady and smooth and has an excess flow safety device. The regulator is fitted with a soft nose POL standard tank connection and a horizontal vent.
Two stage regulator for constant gas flow
3/8 inch female pipe thread outlet
200,000 BTU maximum flow
Soft nose POL standard tank connection
- BrandMr. Heater
- Weight 1.1 pounds
If you simply need to connect a free-standing propane gas bottle to a grill or any other appliance in your RV that needs only low-pressure, this is the propane tank regulator that you need. It can maintain a constant propane pressure of 11″ Water column and delivers gas at a rate of 200,000 BTU/HR.
For connecting it up, the inlet to the regulator is a ¼ inch female National Pipe Thread and the outlet is a 3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread.
Maintains a constant 11″ Water column pressure
¼ inch female National Pipe Thread inlet
3/8 inch Female National Pipe Thread outlet
Delivers gas at 200,000 BTU/HR
- Weight 11.2 ounces
Best RV Propane Regulator Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying an RV Propane Regulator
It is important that you don’t rush in and buy the first RV propane regulator that you come across as they all have different features. Here are the main things that you should consider before you make your purchase.
- Price. This will depend on your individual budget. Most models are fairly cheap and you will only have to spend tens of dollars. The more expensive devices have additional features or have a much higher BTU limit so you need to decide if this is something that will actually be useful for you.
- What is it made from? Propane regulators need to be durable. Most are made from aluminum, raw zinc, brass or stainless steel and some have powder coating. The better models can be expected to last for around 15 years. A propane tank regulator that has a description of “heavy-duty construction” is likely to last for longer and will stand up to corrosion.
- How easy is it to install? The installation of an RV propane regulator should be something that you can do yourself. Therefore, it may be best to choose one that is simple to fit. Some models of automatic dual propane regulators do not come with mounting hardware and that can cause difficulties if you are inexperienced. It is also preferable if the RV gas regulator comes with all of the tools and parts that you will need to fit it. This saves you several trips and a lot of time-consuming research!
- Capacity of the regulator. Every RV propane regulator comes with a specific BTU capacity. This is an indication of the amount of gas that the regulator will allow to reach your appliance. The higher the BTU value, the more gas will be let through. Regulators with the higher BTU values cost more money. Therefore, you need to balance the BTU value that you need with your budget. If you get an RV gas regulator with too low a BTU value, your appliance may not receive enough gas to work at all. Most RV owners find that anything over 50,000 BTUs is acceptable for most appliances.
- Protective cover. Check if the RV propane regulator comes with a cover. This is very useful and provides protection from rain which can lead to corrosion. Buying a separate cover ends up costing you more and can be difficult. You may have to do a lot of research to find one that fits.
- Automatic change over. This is a useful feature if your RV has space for two propane tanks and you spend long periods of time away from stores where you can refill them. Propane regulators that have an automatic change over will connect to two propane tanks and change over when the one is empty. There is usually a color indicator that will change from green to red when the tank is depleted. When you flip the supply lever the indicator is reset and you can remove the empty tank for refilling.
Why You Should Use an RV Propane Regulator
A propane gas regulator is an essential part of your kit in your RV and it is important that you have one. Here are the main reasons why.
- Reducing the propane gas pressure. Propane tanks contain a lot of gas and it has been forced into them under great pressure. Therefore, it is released from the tank at great pressure too when you connect it up to an appliance. The problem here is that many appliances in your RV simply cannot cope with gas under such a high pressure. This is why it is so important to have a regulator.
- Coping with variations in demand. Some regulators can help your gas supply to cope with variations in demand. Sometimes, you will need just a small flow of gas, for example, when you just have one small burner lit on your camping cooker. At other times, you could have several large burners lit and therefore need more gas. A propane gas regulator is able to supply a constant pressure of gas to all the burners even when demand fluctuates.
- Maintaining safety. Most regulators have a bypass mechanism. It is basically a piece of plastic which shuts off the propane supply from the tank when there is no pressure in the hose. This can happen if there is a leak or if a grill burner has been left on for too long. It is a useful safety mechanism.
- Switching propane tanks. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of gas when you are preparing a meal in your RV. If this happens late at night or if you are far from a store it will mean that you get no hot meal. Many RV owners overcome this by investing in two propane tanks and a camper propane regulator that can detect when one tank is empty. It simply switches to the reserve tank without you experiencing any disruption in supply.
Different Types of RV Propane Regulators
Not all propane regulators are the same so it is important that you select one that will suit the appliances that you are using and that has the features that you will find useful.
Propane regulators have different pressure capacities and gas appliances have different pressure requirements. Therefore, you need to choose the regulator that your grill or other appliance needs. Some RV owners have to use more than one regulator to improve efficiency. The capacity of a regulator is measured in BTUs, therefore you need to check out the BTU value for the appliance that you are going to use with the regulator. Anything below 100,000 BTU per hour would be classed as a low rate.
Here are the main types of propane regulator that you will come across.
- First stage regulators. These are also sometimes called low BTU regulators or single stage regulators. They tend to be used with small propane gas cylinders and are great for RV appliances such as camping stoves and outdoor grills. They are installed at the propane tank and then connect via a hose to the service valve. You will find that they have a large BTU capacity which could be anything up to 200,000 BTUs. Its job is to regulate the fluctuating tank pressure and deliver the gas at a low pressure to another regulator. Therefore, it is just there to make sure gas is delivered at the right pressure for a second stage regulator to do its job. Obviously, it is important that the first stage and second-stage regulators are matched and compatible.
- Second-stage regulators. These are found downstream from a first-stage regulator and they will decrease the tank pressure to maintain safety. It cuts the pressure down before the gas reaches the appliance. Therefore, the outlet pressure is low. Most two-stage regulators are rated at 175,000 BTUs and they are mainly found on commercial appliances or high-end RV grills that are approaching commercial quality. If you have a built-in appliance, you will need to use a stainless-steel flex hose rather than a rubber hose because it is safer.
- Integral twin stage regulators. This is the most common type of propane regulator and the one that you are most likely to use in your RV. They are sometimes called inline twin stage regulators or dual propane regulators and you can use them with multiple appliances. It is not a good idea to use them if there is a long distance between the appliance and your propane tanks as the pressure will decrease too much for the appliance to work. In this case, you should choose a two-stage system.
- High-pressure regulators. These are less likely to be used in an RV. They are used when very high pressure needs to be regulated. You will find that they are recommended for fryers which have a high demand and are not recommended for grills.
Best RV Propane Regulator FAQ:
Q: What is a propane regulator for RV?
A: When you are out on an adventure in your recreational vehicle (RV) you often have cooking, lighting or heating appliances that need to be powered by propane gas. This is a portable gas that is stored in tanks on board your RV. When the tanks are empty, they can be removed and refilled.
You cannot simply connect the tank to your gas appliance, instead you need a propane gas regulator or gas pressure regulator. This is a metal device that controls the flow of propane gas from the tank and lowers the pressure so that it is suitable for RV devices.
It also has a role as a safety barrier to protect the appliance from the high pressure of the propane tank. This makes it an essential component of propane gas system in your RV.
Q: How does a propane regulator work?
A: The primary purpose of a propane gas regulator is to control a high-pressure gas stream before it reaches your RV appliances. It looks a little like a silver flying saucer! The gas pressure limit of the regulator is usually given in the device specification.
It reduces the pressure using a rubber diaphragm which has been attached to the interior of the metal case of the regulator. There is also a pressure spring which presses up against the rubber diaphragm and helps it to work effectively.
The force of the spring against the diaphragm creates a back pressure which pushes against the flow of the gas out of the propane tank and slows it down. The back pressure therefore reduces the pressure of the flow to a rate that appliances in your RV can cope with. Some propane gas regulators can only deliver gas at one pressure and this will be given in the specifications. Others can be adjusted and there may be a removable cap so that the interior spring can be swapped for another one. You may need different pressures for different appliances. For example, some larger outdoor cooking ranges that have several burners may need gas under a greater pressure to work properly.
Q: How do I connect a propane tank to an RV?
A: It is a relatively simple and safe process to connect a propane tank to an RV as long as you follow some simple steps. Here is what you should do.
- Step 1. Have a good look outside your RV to determine whether the tanks are attached horizontally or vertically.
- Step 2. Source your propane tank(s) from a store or gas station and place it in the cradle of your RV. This is the metal compartment that secures the tank safely and stops it from moving around.
- Step 3. Next, you need to fix the hose using a propane connector onto the propane tank at the nozzle. When you have done it, double check that the connection secure.
- Step 4. Before you proceed any further, tie the straps of the tanks and connector in place. It is very important that propane tanks stay secure and in place as you are moving around.
- Step 5. Find the valve on top of your propane tank and turn it to the right to start the gas flowing. Listen carefully for any type of hissing noise at this stage. If you do hear a noise, it indicates that the hose is either not connected correctly or has a hole in it. Turn off the gas again and rectify the problem.
Q: How do I install RV propane regulators?
A: This is a job that you should be able to do yourself as no specialist knowledge is required. However, if you are unsure about anything relating to safety you should consult a professional.
You will not need any specialist tools and whatever you need will be included with the camper propane regulator when it arrives. Every regulator is different and will have different connectors so it is important that you check compatibility before you start. The basic process is to fit the regulator using connectors between that tanks and the appliances. Each regulator will come with detailed instructions and it is important that you follow these carefully.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best RV propane regulators is rated for 30,000 BTU and has a double stage design. It has an auto-changeover system which switches from an empty tank to a reserve tank without you having a disruption in your supply. The empty cylinder can be switched for a full one and the regulator will switch back to it when the reserve tank runs out.
It has an indicator that changes color when a tank needs to be refilled. The inlets for the regulator are 1/4" SAE inverted flare and there are two 12-inch pigtail hoses which will connect to two propane tanks. The outlet is a 3/8" NPT female connector pipe thread.
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