What Size Are RV Propane Tanks? (Helpful Guide)

Size always matters especially when you are camping in the great outdoors away from civilization. Then you need some of the larger propane tanks available to heat your RV, cook your food and so on. Getting the right sized propane tank for your RV does matter.

What size are RV propane tanks? The good news is that RV propane tanks can vary in size. That means you can carry the right amount of propane with ease. The most common RV propane tank sizes are the 20 and 30 pound tanks. The 20 pound tank is also known as the 5 gallon tank.

To learn more about the different sizes of propane tanks, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you need so you can make a wise decision for your propane needs.

Standard and Average RV Propane Tank Size

Depending on the type of propane tank you buy and the type of RV model, RV propane tanks come in a variety of sizes. There are two types of propane tanks- the ASME or American Society of mechanical Engineers, and the DOT, approved by the Department of Transportation.

Each style of propane tanks make the common 20, 30 and 40 pound tank for RVs. The only real difference between the style of tanks available is how they are attached to your RV.

The ASME approved tanks are permanently mounted to your RV’s frame. This means you have to drive your RV to the station that offers propane for refueling. The DOT type tank i snot permanently attached to your RV.

This means you can remove them,put them in your car, or other vehicle, and drive the tanks to the refilling station. If you are at a campground and see that you are running out, talk with the campground management.

If the they do not have a refilling station on site, they should be able to direct you to the nearest one.

How Many Gallons in an RV Propane Tank

The key figure when trying to work out how much weight you are putting into your propane tanks is 4.2. That is how much an individual gallon of propane weighs.

While it is called a 5 gallon tank, the 20 pound propane tank usually holds between 4.5 to 4.7 gallons of fuel. This measurement is only about 80% of the tank’s capacity. The reason for not filling it all the way to the top is to allow for gas expansion.

Wen full, the 20 pound tank will weigh around 36 to 36 pounds and run a 7500 watt generator for roughly 10 hours at a time. The 30 pound propane tank holds about 7 gallons of propane and it usually supports your furnace, fridge, burners and water heater.

When it is full, it weighs roughly 48 to 54 pounds. The more common propane tank is the 40 pound model. It will hold about 9.4 gallons of propane and weigh in the neighborhood of 58 to 71 pounds.

The full weight will depend on the weight of the tank when empty.

Horizontal RV Propane Tank Sizes

Whether you mount vertical or horizontal styled propane tanks, the most common size for both versions will be 23, 30 and 40 pounds. There are larger sizes made but they are not practical for RV use.

They are also not practical when trying to haul the extra weight down the road. You would lose a lot of fuel mileage by installing the larger tanks on your RV or placing it in the bed of your pick up truck.

RV Propane Tank Weight

The standard way to tell how much your propane tank weighs is to look on your propane tank. Besides the expiration date, there should be 2 letters and 2 numbers stamped somewhere on the tank.

These letters and numbers tell you how much the tank weighs empty. Then once you have that figure, you just need to add the size of the tank to it and you will get the full weight of the tank.

For example if the stamped letters and numbers read TW20 then the tank weighs 20 pounds when empty. Add 40 pounds if you have a 40 pound tank and the weight would equal 60 pounds.

Are RV Propane Tanks Different

While the metal construction material is the same between all propane tanks, there are some subtle differences between them. For example, the DOT tanks are not attached permanently to your RV while the ASME version is.

Another difference is that many propane tanks stand vertical while others are designed to sit horizontally. A final example is that some ASME tanks may have a propane gauge built into their system.

It will all depend on who makes the tank and how expensive it is.

What is Propane Used for in an RV

Believe it or not, propane, over electricity, is one of the most vital ingredients used on your RV. It runs so many different appliances and accessories, RV camping would not be the same without it.

When you turn on your propane tanks, you are powering a variety of items inside your RV. The first and probably most important appliance would be your water heater. Then it helps your fridge keep your food cool.

On top of that, you can run your furnace, and stove burners. Just about every vital appliance in your RV needs propane. Then when the power goes out or you are boon docking, you can use propane to run your generator.

Propane may be the life blood of RV camping.

Some Final Comments

Carrying extra bottles of propane is not a bad thing. You never know where you will be when you ruin out of the fuel. Now that you know more about propane tanks, you can make the right decision for you and your RV.

When it comes to the importance of propane, you need to be like the boy scouts and be prepared. You can be conservative with your propane use and burn only about 1000 BTUs per hour. That will get you about 90 hours per gallon of propane.

But it is difficult to maintain that constant use so check your tanks regularly to make sure you have enough to last you for awhile.

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