Best RV Propane Regulator (Top 3 Picks in 2021)

Propane is a convenient fuel source that allows campers to ride in comfort, providing a way to heat showers and operate gas-fueled appliances like a stove, furnace, and fridge.

However, when not used properly, propane can quickly become very dangerous. In order to safely operate a propane system, you must use a high-quality propane regulator.

Today, we’ll take a look at our top three picks for the best RV propane regulators of 2021, along with some critical information about these products.

RV Propane Regulator Comparison Chart

DescriptionAwardPrice
Editor’s Choice Flame King Propane Gas Regulator Flame King Propane Gas RegulatorBest OverallSEE PRICE »
Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane Regulator Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane RegulatorBest ValueSEE PRICE »
Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto RV Propane Regulator Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto RV Propane RegulatorHonorable MentionSEE PRICE »

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Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

  • Best Overall

The Flame King Propane Gas Regulator is a two-stage automatic changeover regulator that includes two 12-inch pigtails, making it perfect for RVs and trailers that have dual propane tanks.

This best-selling product is easy to use, maintaining consistent gas pressure even under heavy use and changing demand. It supplies propane to your appliances without interruption and even automatically switches over to your reserve tank when the first is empty.

The Flame King makes it easy to install not one, but two propane gas tanks – meaning less frequent tank refills for you and your family on long road trips and camping expeditions. It comes with a color indicator, which lets users know when a tank is empty.

Overall, the installation of this regulator is very simple and takes very little time. With just four rotations per tank, you can hit the road with a sturdy and reliable connection.

User Manual

Flame King Propane Gas Regulator User manual

Specifications

  • Rated for: 190,000 BTU/hr
  • Inlets: ¼” SAE inverted flare
  • Outlet: ⅜” NPT female pipe thread
  • Dimensions: 7” x 4” x 4”
  • Stages: Two-stage design
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Two 12-inch pigtails to connect two propane tanks
Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

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Camco Vertical Two-Stage Propane Regulator

  • Best Value

RVs come with a lot of equipment and expenses, so any item that can give you great value is one to keep handy on your list. The Camco Vertical Two-Stage Propane Regulator is our choice for best value because it gives you everything you need for a great price.

The Camco model is a simple design that features integral first and second stages. This ideal setup allows for a smooth and consistent flow of propane to your appliances, so you’re never left hanging with weak power.

In order to use this setup with more reach, you can use it in conjunction with Camco’s 20-inch pigtail propane hose connectors. You can also purchase this regulator in three versions: horizontal mount with POL, horizontal mount without POL, and vertical mount.

And if there’s any confusion about the type of pigtail and connection to use, check out this video which will help clear the air.

Which propane pigtail do I buy? Camco Explains

Not only does this regulator promise a good flow, but it’s easy to adjust. All you have to do is unscrew the eye-catching blue cap and turn the outer washer to adjust the pressure.

User Manual

Camco Vertical Two-Stage Propane Regulator User manual

Specifications

  • Rated for: 160,000 BTU/hr
  • Inlet: ¼” female NPT
  • Outlet: ⅜” female NPT
  • Outlet pressure: 11” water column
  • Available mounts: Horizontal with POL, Horizontal without POL, Vertical
  • Warranty: 1 year
Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane Regulator

Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane Regulator

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Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto Regulator

  • Honorable Mention

Some products you come across are just worth mentioning, and that’s how we feel about the Marshall Excelsior. This two-stage automatic regulator stands strong among its competitors, offering raw zinc, powder-coated finish to help it stay tough against the elements.

The automatic feature is highly convenient, as it automatically redirects the gas flow once your primary tank is empty. You won’t have to worry about switching it over yourself, which means fewer interruptions while on vacation.

The green indicator changes over to red when your cylinders are empty, so you don’t have to constantly check on your tank pressure.

Not only is installation simple, but Marshall Excelsior Company offers over 40 years of experience and high-quality manufacturing for excellent pricing.

User Manual

Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto Regulator User manual

Specifications:

  • Rated for: 225,000 BTU/hr
  • Max inlet pressure: 250 psi
  • Inlet: ¼” female inverted flare
  • Outlet: ⅜” FNPT
  • Stages: Two-stage regulator
  • Warranty: 5-year limited
Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto RV Propane Regulator

Marshall Excelsior Two-Stage Auto RV Propane Regulator

Price:
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Important RV Propane Regulator Information

A well-informed consumer is a smart consumer. The more you know about a product, the better a decision you can make. And when you’re dealing with something as volatile as propane, it’s a really great idea to learn a little bit about this critical component ahead of time.

Use a Two-Stage Propane Regulator

In order to properly regulate your propane’s pressure in your RV, you must use a two-stage propane regulator. When propane is stored in a tank, it sits at very high pressure, so you can’t just use it straight into your appliances.

A two-stage regulator is designed to bring the fuel from the tank to lower the pressure. From there, the second stage of the process transfers the lower-pressure propane to your various appliances.

Your regulator’s goal is to bring the pressure from as high as 250 psi down to between 10 and 15 psi. This makes the propane safe to use, especially in a confined space.

Keep the Vent Clean

On a two-stage propane regulator, you will find that each stage has its own little vent. The first vent on the first stage is very small – so small that you might miss it. The second vent is a bit larger and easier to find.

It’s critical that you maintain these vents by keeping them clean and clear of debris. If the vents get clogged up at all, the regulator will not be able to function as it should. The vents allow the regulator to do its job of releasing pressure, so anything stuck in them could be a problem.

If possible, on your regulator and with your setup, try to keep both vents pointing down. This will help them work better, and it will help keep debris from getting caught.

Keep Your Regulator Covered

In order to get the most out of your regulator, you should always keep it covered. Most newer recreational vehicles should come with plastic covers already installed specifically made to protect regulators.

However, older models or used vehicles could be missing one or come with a damaged cover, so you may have to purchase a new one.

A propane regulator cover is a purchase you will want to make quickly, as it serves to protect the regulator. A cover is ideal for protecting your equipment from damage, especially in severe weather.

Replace it Regularly

A high-quality propane regulator should last you a good 10 to 15 years, especially if you take good care of it by keeping it covered, clearing out the vents, and wiping it down every so often.

However, when the time comes, it’s essential that you replace your regulator. Because propane is highly flammable, it’s simply not worth the risk of letting an older regulator go unattended.

Even if your regulator seems to be working fine and looks like it’s in good shape, you should still replace it after its suggested timeline has come to an end. It may look nice and new on the outside, but there’s a good chance the inside components have worn down over time.

Like we already said – it’s just not worth the risk. Replace the regulator consistently to avoid any serious issues down the line.

Safety First

Whenever you’re working with propane, you should always be conscientious of any odd smells that waft through your rig. Luckily, propane is a gas that comes with a very distinct and noticeable odor. If you can smell your propane in your RV, that means that there’s a problem somewhere.

The smartest and safest thing you can do when you smell propane in your RV is to shut off the propane tanks as soon as you realize it. You should also flip all of your appliances off and extinguish any kind of flames in the area. Open all the doors and windows of your camper to get some airflow going.

Tip: You shouldn’t rely on smell alone to identify a propane leak. Instead, invest in an RV propane detector. Check out our reviews of the best RV propane detectors to help keep you and your family safe.

It’s not until you’ve done all of the above that you should further investigate the problem. Safety is always the most important step you should take – you can always fix the problem once everyone and everything is safe.

Along those same lines, safety is critical in the installation process as well. In order for a regulator to do its job, it must be installed properly. The installation process isn’t a particularly difficult one, but if you have any doubts about your skills, you should hire a professional to help you out.

Once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A proper installation can guarantee peace of mind during a fun family trip.

Important Features

When you’re purchasing a crucial piece of equipment like a propane regulator, there are definitely a few features you want to keep in mind. Some of the most important from the buyer and user perspective are the following:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Capacity
  • Automatic change-over LP regulator

Price

At the top of our list, and probably yours as well is the price. There’s a balance to be found when deciphering the price of a product. On the one hand, we all have budgets that we would like to stick to. On the other hand, you don’t want to go for the cheapest product you can find.

Because regulators are so vital to your RV’s safety and functionality, you’re going to want to land somewhere in the middle on pricing. That said, most propane regulators are pretty cheap anyway, so the price likely won’t be too much of an issue in this instance.

Quality

It’s also important to go for a high-quality product made from sturdy and durable material. Most regulators are made of aluminum, zinc, stainless steel, and brass. Any one of these options will serve you well – and for a long time.

Capacity

Your regulator’s capacity will be measured in BTUs, which stands for British thermal units. You can typically expect that the higher the BTU rating, the higher the price will be. However, most RVs do not need a BTU higher than 50,000.

Change-Over

The best kinds of regulators have automatic change-over. This feature allows your regulator to draw propane from the primary tank first. Once the primary tank is empty, it will automatically switch over to the secondary tank.

It’s highly convenient to have an automatic change-over regulator, as you won’t need to worry about changing it manually when things stop working in your RV. Auto changeovers allow for consistent flow with no interruption to your plans and a longer stretch of propane use.

Likewise, these same regulators often come with color indicators that let you know with a quick glance when you have an empty tank.

Types of RV Propane Regulators

There are a few different types of RV propane regulators, which can make purchasing one for the first time feel a little overwhelming. Let’s take a look at these types and what makes them differ from one another.

First-Stage Regulator

A first-stage regulator implements a single cylinder of propane and is often used for small appliances such as a gas grill or a camping stove. They are also often called single-stage regulators or even low-BTU regulators.

First-stage regulators connect from the propane tank to the service valve. When using a first-stage regulator, you must also use a second-stage regulator. These two pieces of equipment work together to get the job done.

The first-stage regulator will compensate for varying tank pressure, delivering propane at ten psi or less. Then comes the second-stage regulator’s job.

Second-Stage Regulator

Second-stage regulators work differently from first-stage pieces in that they do not minimize tank pressure. Because of this, it’s critical that you install them downstream of the first-stage regulator. Otherwise, the RV propane system won’t function properly.

A second-stage propane regulator takes the lowered pressure propane supplied by the first-stage regulators and decreases it even more to working conditions for the appliances at hand.

While the first stage of propane is measured in psi, it’s measured in inches at this stage. The goal of the second-stage regulator is to get the pressure down to around an 11” water column – or whatever is appropriate for your appliances.

Integral Twin Stage Regulator

An integral twin stage regulator is most likely the kind of regulator you will be using in your RV or camper. You may also see them called inline twin stage regulators or dual regulators.

The reason these regulators are commonly found in RV’s is that you can use them to distribute your propane to multiple appliances.

Rather than installing a propane take and its regulators to every single appliance in your RV, you can use one tank and attach it using a dual regulator.

High-Pressure Regulator

High-pressure regulators give their purpose away right in their name: they are used with high gas pressures and are designed to handle heavy-duty regulating.

There’s really no use for a homeowner or an RV user when it comes to high-pressure regulators. They are most frequently used in commercial locations that handle high levels of propane pressure.

RV Propane Regulator Troubleshooting

Safety is our number one emphasis when it comes to working with propane. Sometimes issues will arise, as with any kind of appliance or equipment. The most important thing you can do is stay safe during troubleshooting.

It helps to know what some of the potential issues you might run into are, so we’ll take a look at a few common troubleshooting steps for RV regulators.

My Regulator is Leaking

A leak in your regulator can quickly become a very serious problem. You will know that your regulator is leaking because you will be able to smell the propane gas. Likewise, you may also hear a hissing sound, which indicates high-pressure air escaping.

First, keep in mind what we mentioned earlier: safety is key. Before you start tinkering with anything, you need to shut off all of your appliances, clear the RV, and open the doors and windows.

From there, the first thing you should try is tightening the regulator as much as possible. This is really the only fix you can attempt. If your regulator is still leaking after you’ve tightened it, it’s a clear sign that you need to buy a new one.

My Appliances Are Not Starting

Since your RV appliances are powered by your propane, it’s possible that the problem is connected to your regulator. However, this isn’t always the case. The problem could be stemming from anywhere along the line, such as your RV propane not flowing at all, so make sure you check all the possibilities.

Do a thorough inspection of your regulator to make sure it’s not leaking and it’s functioning properly. If it is working properly, the issue is likely deeper than that. You may need to take your rig into the repair shop and get a professional opinion.

Checking the Pressure

In order to check your RV propane regulator’s pressure, you will need the help of a gas pressure manometer. This product is considered a specialty tool used by professionals, so there’s a good chance you do not have one.

Leave this job for the professionals. They have the proper tools and the know-how to check the pressure safely and accurately.

Other Issues

When it comes to your propane regulator, one of the best things you can always do is turn to a professional for help. Safety is a huge concern when you’re dealing with propane, and a professional may be able to solve a problem that you can’t in a safer way.

With that said, there are few problems that can’t be solved by simply purchasing a new regulator. These pieces of equipment are generally pretty inexpensive, so it’s not a huge hassle to buy a new one – and it’s usually easier than fixing whatever is wrong with the old one.

RV Propane Regulator FAQs

Many RV owners researching propane regulators come up with similar questions they need to have answered. We’ve made your search a little bit easier by listing some of those common questions and their answers below.

What is the best RV propane regulator?

The best RV propane regulator may vary depending on someone’s preferences, but we have found it to be the Flame King Two-Stage Propane Gas Regulator. This automatic change-over regulator is super easy to install, offers a consistent flow of propane, and even looks good.

At a fair price, you can’t go wrong. With 190,000 BTU and a zero-interruption cylinder refill, RV owners will most certainly be happy with this product.

Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

How do you know if a propane regulator is bad?

There are a few signs you can look out for to tell if your regulator has gone bad. One sign is a continuous hissing sound. This sound indicates that your regulator is leaking. The smell of propane can also indicate a leak as well.

If your propane-powered appliances are not working, that is another sign that your regulator may not be functioning properly.

While you can often tell if your regulator is bad from the outside, the item can also break internally. The only way to tell if this is the case is to have a professional check your regulator. Or simply replace it.

How do you install RV propane regulators?

The installation process will vary based on the brand you’ve purchased, along with your propane setup on your RV. The best options you have are to follow the specific product’s directions closely or consult with a professional to have it installed.

Below is a general example of how to install a typical regulator:

  1. First, remove any existing regulator already in place.
  2. Perform one of the following: a travel trailer installation or an RV basement installation.
    1. Travel Trailer Installation: Attach the new regulator to the mounting bracket. Drill new holes if necessary and secure the regulator with its included screws. Attached the Pigtail end to the regulator’s inlet. Attach the gas piping to the regulator’s outlet.
    2. RV Basement Installation: Install the POL with the male pipe thread to the regulator’s inlet. Connect the outlet to the gas piping of your RV. Attach the regulator to the cylinder’s inlet by tightening the POL to the gas cylinder valve.
  3. After completing steps A or B, double-check your work and ensure the regulator is installed properly. The vent should be facing downward.
  4. Use the included leak detector, if applicable, to check each joint and connection for gas leaks.

How do you adjust an RV propane regulator?

Your propane regulator comes with an adjustment screw that’s very easy to locate and use. Simply remove the cap to identify the adjustment screw. The regulator will make it easy by marking which direction will increase pressure and which will decrease. Follow the instructions and turn the screw to adjust your pressure accordingly. Replace the cap when you are finished.

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