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Old 06-01-2011, 09:40 PM
Marconi N. Cheese Marconi N. Cheese is offline
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How well do propane grill gas guages work?

I'd like to know you experience with these devices. I know there are at least two types, strips and dials. I'm considering one but don't want to spend the money if they are bunk. I'm leaning towards the dial type fwiw.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:01 PM
Daylate Daylate is offline
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Just about the most accurate and reliable guage I know of (and definitely the cheapest), is a teakettle of boiling water. Just pour the hot water onto the top of the tank and wait about 10 seconds. Then, using one of your fingers, start feeling the tank from top to bottom. Above the level of the propane, the tank will be quite hot, while below that level it will be cold. It's easily possible to tell the level within a quarter of an inch using this method.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:03 PM
Daylate Daylate is offline
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As to your question about the accuracy of the gages, I have a 300 gallon tank out in back, with a gage on it. I've checked the volume of propane in the tank, using the method I spoke of in my above post, and found it to be very accurate.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:14 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Same here, a gauge on a 100 gal tank, seems to work pretty darn well
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:15 PM
inkling inkling is offline
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My propane tanks have a tare weight stamped on them. I weigh the tanks and subtract the tare weight to tell me how much propane I have. Obviously, this is not terribly useful for anything larger than a grill tank, but it's easy and accurate.

Crap, that reminds me I need to buy propane before Saturday or risk running out.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:18 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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The dial type you add inline with the hose are next to worthless. They are a pressure gauge. If there is any liquid propane left at all, then the pressure is determined by temperature, not by the amount of fuel remaining.

The liquid crystal sticker strips work well, but you have to pour a cup of hot water down them to get a reading.

A few tanks have float based gauges built in, which work fine, but such tanks are not common.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:31 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Third type: scale. That's what my Weber has. Empty tanks -- despite the tare weight -- are more or less the same weight. Hang them on a spring scale full of gas, and the needle is low. As the gas is consumed, less gravity on the spring raises the tank. It's never let me down.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:49 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi N. Cheese View Post
I'd like to know you experience with these devices. I know there are at least two types, strips and dials. I'm considering one but don't want to spend the money if they are bunk. I'm leaning towards the dial type fwiw.
The strip gauges work on the same principle as Daylate's by-feel method: the liquid propane draws heat away from the skin of the tank faster than the gaseous propane, making it easy to identify the top of the liquid based on how rapidly the two parts of the tank surface cool down.

However, heating a pot of water and dragging it over to the grill seems like a tedious thing to do, and in the end I really have no idea how long "half a tank" or "a quarter tank" of propane will last. How many meals will I get out of that? Dunno.

My solution? I always have a backup tank of propane stored nearby. Tank on the grill runs out? No problem, no "ohshitohshitIgottagotothestoreandgetmorepropanetofinishcookingthesesteaks" while your party guests start trashing your house. Just swap it out with the new one in about a minute, and then you can go to the store and replace the empty tank when it's convenient, and set it off to the side for the next time.
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2011, 10:26 AM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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In my experience they work qiute well.
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