How Much Gas Is Left In My Propane Grill Cylinder?
Memorial Day is coming up, and even though this year’s celebration might be a little more low-key than usual, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a delicious flame-broiled meal on your propane grill – as long as you have enough fuel in your BBQ cylinder to get you through the cookout.
How will you know that for sure, considering your propane cylinder doesn’t typically have a built-in gauge?
Run your hand along the side of the tank and feel for a cool spot.
The top of the cool spot is the fill level of the propane cylinder (it’s cool because liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch).
Weigh the tank. Most propane grill tanks come with two numbers stamped on the handle – the water capacity (“WC”) and “Tare Weight” (TW – the weight of the tank when it’s empty). Most grilling tanks weigh about 17 pounds when empty and hold about 20 pounds of gas.
To measure how many pounds of propane are left in your tank, simply weigh it on a scale and subtract the TW number. For example, if a tank weighing 27 pounds has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left – a little more than half a tank.
Install a gauge. External propane tank gauge options include:
Inline pressure gauges, which are installed between the grill’s gas line and the cut-off valve on the tank;
Analog propane scales, which are pre-set to take your tank’s TW into account; and
Digital scales, which provide a readout of important data such as remaining cook time and gas fill percentage. Some can even be synced to your smartphone.
Pick the gauge you like (your local hardware store probably has them; you can also find them online) and give it a go!