How to Check the Level of Gas in a Propane Tank

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Summer is finally approaching, and it is time to give an appropriate cleaning to your grill. It’s always amazing to have the first backyard cookout of the season. However, you might be thinking about how to make a right estimate about the propane left in the tank of the grill. You don’t want to find yourself standing in front of your grill, apron on, and spatula in hand only to find that you are running low on propane.

Determining how much propane you have left doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a little knowledge and know-how, and you will be able to salvage your cookout.

There are a lot of easy methods you can use to check the level of propane you have left in the tank. We have a few of these methods listed in detail below so you can learn how to check the level of gas in a propane tank.


Hot water

The most convenient method to check the level of gas in a propane tank is with the help of hot water. To use this method, you need a hot cup of water. That cup of water then needs to be poured down the side of the tank. When done, touch the tank and start feeling the area on the tank where it starts to become cool. This is going to be your level of propane. Isn’t it extremely simple?

Using Weight Scale

A lot of people try to determine their propane level just by picking up their propane tank. However, it is very hard to make an accurate estimation, even if you have been dealing with propane tanks for years. We recommend instead to use a weight scale.

First, you have to find the tare weight of the tank. It is usually written on the handle so that it can be found easily. Also, check out the water capacity – that is the weight of the tank with maximum propane filled in it.

Once you find this information, weigh the tank using the scale and subtract the tare weight from it. For instance, if your calculated weight is 23 pounds and the tare weight is 17 pounds, it means you have 6 pounds of gas left in the tank.

Cooking Time

If you are a mathematical type of person, then this method will be the right one to go to. Keep in mind that one-gallon propane gas can create the energy of nearly 92,000 BTU.

Find out the rating of your grill, i.e., BTUs per hour, so that you can divide the energy by it. Using this, you can find the number of hours you can cook by using one-gallon propane gas.

Once you find out the number of hours, multiply it by the number of gallons in the tank. It will let you know how many hours your grill can cook. It is just a rough estimation but still very beneficial for tracking cook times.

Buy a Gauge

Another way to check the level of gas in a propane tank is by investing in a tank gauge. You can choose from several different kinds. A gauge helps give you a more precise idea rather than just an estimation of how much propane gas is left in your tank.

Inline pressure gauges can be installed between the gas line and cut off valve on the tank. This propane tank gauge provides you with an accurate reading of the pressure and tells you when the tank is low, full, or empty.

An analog propane scale is another gauge and works very similarly to how a luggage scale works. The weight of the tank is already tared. All you have to do is slip the hook through the handle of your tank, pick up the tank, and read what the gauge says about your remaining gas level.

Digital propane tank scales are another option. They weigh your propane tank and then give you an easy to read, digital readout of your remaining cook time and the percentage of gas left in the tank.

Detecting a Gas Leak

If you find yourself running low on propane more than usual, then you may have a gas leak. Checking for a gas leak is easy. Simply apply soapy water, or a leak detector solution to the propane tank’s cylinder valve and its regulator outlet connect. You then need to open the cylinder valve very slowly. If you have a gas leak in your propane tank, you will begin to see small bubbles forming.

Never Run Out of Propane

Finally, never risk running out of propane again. Sign up for a propane delivery service so you can have fresh propane cylinders delivered. Simply go online and search for a propane delivery service in your area. You can then order replacement tanks or additional tanks.


Which of these methods are you going to try to calculate the amount of propane left in your tank? Don’t forget to tell us about your experiences in the comment section. It is always better to check the level of propane in your grill before your cookout, so you don’t find yourself coming up short.

Happy cooking for the upcoming season!

Eric Arnow