How to Check the Level of a Propane Tank

Written by sharon sweeny
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Never run out of propane in the middle of your barbecue again. It's easy to tell how much propane is left in your propane tank. One of the methods below will quickly and easily let you determine how much propane is left in the tank. You have to decide for yourself whether or not it's enough to cook your food.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Estimate the amount of propane remaining. Lift tank by its handle and collar a few inches off the ground. Swing it from side to side gently, then stop. You will feel the propane sloshing around. Estimate how much propane is left in the tank.

  2. 2

    Attach a liquid crystal sticker. Place on the side of the tank. These liquid crystal stickers are like mini-thermometers and measure the temperature difference of the tank, which indicates where the level of propane falls. Follow manufacturer's instructions. You can get these at home improvement stores or some retailers that sell refilled propane tanks.

  3. 3

    Determine the weight of the tank. Printed on the collar of the tank near the valve is a figure that tells how much the tank weighs when empty (it is sometimes abbreviated as T.W., or "Tare Weight"). Generally, a propane tank sold as a 9.07kg. tank weighs 5.22kg. when empty. Weigh the tank and subtract the tare weight to find out how much propane it contains. For example, suppose the tank currently weighs 83.9kg. To determine the amount of propane remaining, subtract the tare weight of 52.2kg. from the current weight of 83.9kg. In our example, the amount of propane remaining is approximately 3.18kg. or less than half of the capacity of the tank.

  4. 4

    Do the hot water test. This is the simplest method. If you pour hot water down the side of the tank, you can feel a temperature difference when you place your hand on it. The tank will feel cold up to the level where the propane is. Above that, the tank will feel hot where it contains only air.

Tips and warnings

  • Never open a propane tank to check the propane level inside.

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