RV Propane Tanks – Four Five is better than Two Sevens – Don't understand? Read on!
Editors Note: Open Range RV is a part of Highland Ridge RV.
Propane tanks or propane cylinders are one thing you might not think too much much about.
But one thing I REALLY, REALLY liked about our OpenRange 399 BHS is that we had FOUR (4) twenty pound tanks or 5 gallon propane gas tanks instead of the usual RV complement of two (2) seven gallon tanks.
Normally the 7 gallon tanks are the standard propane tank size for an RV.
The 5 gallon propane cylinders are the same tanks used in your barbecue grill, so I'll refer to them as “BBQ style”.
The main reason I like the smaller BBQ style tanks is that I can get them virtually anywhere.
I've seen complaints about RVers saying “I do not want some old greasy BBQ tank in my RV“. I can agree with these complaints, but most of the tanks I get have been just fine.
The convenience of finding emergency propane in the middle of the night, in my opinion, far outweighs the possibility of a dirty tank. I can summarize the convenience of the BBQ tanks in one picture :
Easily Finding RV Propane Refills for the 5 gallon / 20 pound Tanks
So, while the rest of you are driving around looking for someone to fill your 7 gallon/30 pound propane tanks, which usually require finding a propane filling station, I simply go to Home Depot with a credit card at any time of the day and get propane from their self-serve kiosks.
I can also get the little 5 gallon / 20 pound LP tanks at almost any store in the world (Walgreens, HEB, Randalls, etc.). The convenience factor is incredible.
The other reason I like having 4 of the 5 gallon tanks (4.7 gallon actually, but allow me to round, ok?) is that our RV carries 20 gallons of propane when full, and I refill after using 10 gallons.
If you have the standard RV complement of two 7 gallon (30 pounds) then you have 14 gallons of propane and you refill your bottle after using 7 gallons.
The extra 6 gallons of propane means I'm making less refill stops and having less little “out of propane” emergencies.
You do have to haul around two smaller/lighter tanks each refill, but that is no big deal. Truth be known, the 20 pound tanks are easier to lift.
Managing Multiple Propane Tanks in an RV
One more note worth mentioning is that I keep two of the four 5 gallon propane tanks on all the time, not one at a time. The valve system in the RV will show the pressure in one tank, but take propane from both. I always keep two ON and two OFF so that I know when to refill. When one side goes empty, I disconnect them, then open the other side so I'm basically flipping sides all the time and never run completely out.
I explain how I manage this propane system here: RV Propane Tank Tutorial Video
If you'd like to find a really nice set of how to articles about RV Propane click on this link.
The OpenRange 399 BHS has 2 LP tanks on the drivers side and two tanks on the passenger side pictured below :
Propane Tank Sizes and Dimensions
Finally, I'll show the differences between the OpenRange 20 pound / 5 gallon LP/Propane bottle and the standard propane tank size for RV use 30 pound / 7 gallon LP/Propane bottle.
These diagrams are here for reference since I explained earlier why I like the OpenRange setup. Plus it is always very, very handy to have the dimensions for these.
Check the RV52 Big RV Parts Database for Propane Cylinders!
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