Best RV Propane Regulator (Top 3 Picks in 2023)

Propane is a convenient fuel source powering many RV appliances like the water heater, stove, furnace, and fridge. However, propane can also be very dangerous!

So to help safely operate a propane system, you must use a high-quality propane regulator.

Below we look at our top three picks for the best RV propane regulators, along with some important information about these must-have devices.

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
Flame King Propane Gas Regulator
Flame King Propane Gas Regulator

The Flame King Propane Gas Regulator is a two-stage automatic changeover regulator that includes two 12-inch pigtails, perfect for RVs and trailers with 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
Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane Regulator
Camco Vertical 2 Stage Propane Regulator

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 the 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.

To use this setup with more reach, you can use it 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.

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
Marshall RV Propane Regulator
Marshall RV Propane Regulator

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 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

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How to Replace an RV Propane Regulator

After purchasing a new regulator, you’ll need to replace the old one with it. The installation process will vary based on the brand you’ve purchased, along with the propane setup on your RV.

Tip: 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 regulators 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. Attach 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.

Important RV Propane Regulator Information

Use a Two-Stage Propane Regulator

You must use a two-stage propane regulator to properly regulate the propane pressure in your RV. 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 in the first stage is 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 release pressure, so anything stuck in them could be a problem.

If possible, 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

To get the most out of your regulator, you should always keep it covered to protect it from damage, especially in severe weather. 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.

Camco 59344 Two Stage Regulator Cover

Camco 59344 Two Stage Regulator Cover

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Replace it Regularly

Check the regulator’s lifespan in the owner’s manual and replace it when that time is up. They typically last 10-15 years with proper care. Because propane is highly flammable, it’s simply not worth the risk of trying to get a few extra years out of it. Replace the regulator when suggested 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 with a distinct and noticeable odor. If you can smell propane in your RV, 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 your appliances off and extinguish any 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 can always fix the problem once everyone and everything is safe.

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

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 purchasing a crucial piece of equipment like a propane regulator, there are a few features you want to keep in mind.

Price

Regulators are so vital to your safety and your RV’s functionality that you don’t want to go the cheap route. That said, most propane regulators are affordable (less than $50), so the price likely won’t be much of an issue.

Changeover

Automatic changeover allows your regulator to draw propane from the primary tank first and, once empty, automatically switch to the secondary tank. Plus, they often have a color indicator that lets you know when you have an empty tank.

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 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. However, most RVs do not need a BTU higher than 50,000.

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 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, you must 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 regulator you will use in your RV or camper. You may also see them called inline twin-stage regulators or dual regulators.

These regulators are commonly found in RVs because you can use them to distribute your propane to multiple appliances.

Rather than installing a propane take and its regulators to every 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 for 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 some of the potential issues you might run into, so let’s 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 can smell the propane gas. Likewise, you may also hear a hissing sound, indicating high-pressure air escaping.

First, keep in mind what we mentioned earlier: safety is key. Before you begin, 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 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, the problem may be connected to your regulator. However, this isn’t always the case. The problem could stem 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 ensure it’s not leaking and functioning properly. If it is working properly, the issue is likely deeper than that. You may need to take your rig to the repair shop and get a professional opinion.

Checking the Pressure

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 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 a 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

What Is the Best RV Propane Regulator?

The best RV propane regulator may vary depending on preferences, but we have found it to be the Flame King Two-Stage Propane Gas Regulator. This automatic changeover 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.

How Do You Know if an RV Propane Regulator Is Bad?

You can tell a propane regulator is going bad if you hear a continuous hissing sound or smell of propane, indicating it’s leaking, or if your propane-powered appliances are not working. A malfunctioning changeover is another sign.

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 it. Follow the instructions and turn the screw to adjust your pressure accordingly. Replace the cap when you are finished.

How Long Do RV Propane Regulators Last?

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 regularly.

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