Looking to replace or purchase a propane pigtail for your RV and not sure which brand or version is best? As full-time RVers, we know how important it is to protect yourself and your family by taking great care when it comes to the propane systems in your recreational vehicle. We also know that propane systems in RVs can be a bit anxiety-provoking! Based on our experiences and mishaps, we break down what to consider before purchasing and how to find the best RV propane pigtail, including factors like features, durability, quality of materials, and cost.
About RV Propane Systems
When it comes to RVing, the safety and functionality of your propane system are critical to ensure that you are not left with dangerous propane leaks or without the use of your precious RV appliances that use propane.
Propane pigtails and propane hoses differ from other hoses that you might find in an RV (such as water hoses) as they are specially designed to be compatible with propane appliances. They have additional safety features built into them, including higher-quality materials and fail-safes (more on this below).
Propane leaks can lead to death or explosions and are certainly not something to take lightly. At the same time, there are ways to safely have these systems in your RV.
Having good quality RV propane fixtures can give you and your family peace of mind!
Main Components of An RV Propane System
- RV propane pigtail hose: comes out of the propane tank and connects each tank to the regulator (the silver hoses and brass fittings seen on our RV propane tanks in the picture above)
- Propane Regulator: Serves at the connection between the propane pigtails, propane tank, and supply hose to the rest of the RV (the white box with a black knob in between the RV propane tanks)
- Main supply hose: Takes propane from the regulator to the rest of the RV’s propane appliances when they are run (the black hose running down from the white propane regulator)
Our DRV fifth wheel has dual 40-pound propane tanks with an auto-changeover feature in our regulator to pull from the full tank once the first tank becomes empty. We also have a quick connect fitting to which we can easily attach our Blackstone Griddle when cooking outside of our RV.
about the RV propane pigtail
An RV propane pigtail is a flexible hose that connects the propane cylinder or propane tanks to your propane regulator and the rest of the propane system in the RV. This is an essential link that helps the flow of propane between your RV’s propane tanks (typically 30 or 40-lb dual propane cylinders in larger travel trailers and fifth wheels or one or two 20-lb tanks in smaller travel trailers) and the various propane appliances in your RV.
The most common propane-powered appliances you can expect to find in an RV include water heaters, stoves, ovens, and your furnace.
Propane pigtail primary function: safely and efficiently move propane from the propane tank to the propane-powered systems throughout the RV via the propane regulator and main supply hose
RV Propane Components Design & Fittings
Choosing the right propane pigtail hose for your RV will depend on exactly which type of fitting you have.
This is important to note before purchasing any pigtail, regulator, or hose, to ensure you will have the right fit!
The biggest factors include: whether the fitting is male or female and how big it is (1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 3/8 inch, etc.).
A quick rundown of the types of fittings common to RV propane systems:
- POL Fittings: Come out of the inlet on the inside of your RV propane tank
- Type 1 Fittings: Identifiable by the knobs, similar to what you would expect to see on your backyard BBQ fittings, which connect to your RV propane tanks
- The ends of these type 1 fittings will then either be inverted flare fittings (which come in different sizes: 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch) or male inverted flare fittings, which will be 1/4 inch
- The other end of the hose away from the knobs (Type 1 fitting) attach to your RV propane regulator
- RV Propane Regulator: Regulators will have an inlet and outlet, dictating the flow of propane. These will have either a 1/4 inch NPT fitting or an inverted flare fitting, which is attached to the main supply hose for the RV
- Main Supply Hose: Either a 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch connection between the regulator and the camper propane systems
- Quick-Disconnect Fittings: This is an auxiliary hose that allows you to easily tap into your propane reserve for things like portable propane fire pits, gas grills, or outdoor cooking stations
- 1″-20″: Hose typically used for smaller propane accessories (smaller grills or firepits) that often attach to the small green bottles of propane
Once again when it comes to RVs, size matters!
Fittings can come in male or female versions, as well as different sizes and diameters, making it a bit tricky to know if you are getting exactly what you need for your specific RV!
More of a visual learner? Check out this video by Etrailer showing the different RV propane fittings:
RV Propane System Materials
RV propane pigtails and propane hoses can come in a variety of materials including rubber or braided stainless steel, and often have solid brass fittings.
Braided stainless steel will be higher quality and longer lasting, while rubber will often be the cheaper option but can fall victim to dry rotting that will hurt the hose’s integrity.
The material itself is important, as is the type of fitting available to make the attachment to the propane tank and the propane regulator. There is no close enough when it comes to your RV propane, they must be a perfect match!
In addition to the propane pigtail that helps the flow of propane from the tank to your RV’s appliances, your RV will also have some form of propane regulator to help maintain consistent pressure of propane as it travels across the camper away from the tank itself.
There are generally 2 types of regulators, a single-stage regulator, and a two-stage regulator.
Single-stage regulators reduce the pressure of propane in a single step before it reaches your appliances. This is typically simpler and less expensive and is most suitable for basic propane appliances where precise pressure control isn’t crucial. An example appliance would be a small camping stove where you have the burner on full blast to cook.
Keep in mind that as the propane reserve in your tanks depletes or lessens, the pressure can become more variable and less reliable. Constant gas pressure is the best for both the safety and performance of your RV appliances.
Two-stage regulators offer a step up in performance compared to single-stage by offering more consistent and precise propane flow. This is accomplished by a two-chamber system that reduces the propane pressure in two stages.
This means you can have consistent propane flow even as your reserves deplete (which is especially helpful if you like consistently hot showers or a larger stove with controllable and consistent heat for cooking).
Our two-stage regulator means cooking in our RV feels more like cooking on a gas range in a typical home than a camp stove, which we love! We spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, but as we live full-time in our RV we do prefer the finer things and a more “glamping” feel.
Safety Features in RV Propane Pigtail Hoses
We have encountered many RVers throughout our travels who are fearful of their RV’s propane system and opt to not use it all.
While this is of course a deeply personal choice, if you plan to boondock for more than a day or want to avoid the increased costs of all-electric RVs, it is important to learn how to safely use the propane systems in your RV.
Luckily, there is good news! RV propane pigtail hoses are equipped with various safety features designed to prevent potential hazards and ensure peace of mind while enjoying your travels.
We hope the information on safety features and how to check for problems with your propane pigtails will help you feel more confident about your RV’s propane systems so that you can make the most of your adventures without the added cost or power draw of electric-only systems.
Two important safety features you’ll often find in these hoses are thermal protection and excess flow protection.
Thermal Protection: Guarding Against High Temperatures
Thermal protection is a crucial safety feature that shields your RV propane system from extreme temperatures. Propane is sensitive to heat, and exposure to high temperatures can cause it to expand rapidly, potentially leading to pressure buildup within the hoses. This pressure buildup can compromise the integrity of the hoses, leading to leaks or ruptures, which can be…really bad.
To counter this risk, RV propane pigtails and hoses are constructed with materials that can withstand elevated temperatures. They often incorporate specialized coatings and insulation that act as barriers, preventing excessive heat from affecting the hoses. This thermal protection ensures that the propane flow remains stable and safe, regardless of the external temperature conditions.
Excess Flow Protection: Preventing Sudden Surges in Gas Flow
Excess flow protection is another critical safety feature found in many RV propane pigtail hoses. It’s designed to prevent sudden surges in gas flow that could occur in the event of a hose rupture or detachment. These surges could potentially lead to dangerous situations, such as fires or explosions.
Excess flow protection devices work by automatically detecting a significant increase in gas flow beyond the normal rate. When such an increase is detected, the device triggers a valve to close, limiting the flow to a safe level. This rapid response can significantly reduce the risk of accidents by minimizing the release of propane and preventing any potential ignition sources from coming into contact with the excess gas.
Enhancing Safety and Peace of Mind
These features collectively provide a multi-layered approach to preventing dangerous situations related to propane usage in your RV. Whether you’re parked in a scorching summer location or navigating through cooler regions, these safety mechanisms work to maintain a stable and secure propane flow.
When selecting RV propane pigtail hoses, we recommend choosing models that specifically come equipped with both thermal and excess flow protection (most do and you will see it specifically listed). These hoses offer better protection against potential risks.
Best RV Propane Pigtail Hoses & Accessories
Some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the best RV propane pigtails include high-quality materials and the ability to have both excess flow protection and flow management for consistent propane pressure.
In this simple buying guide, we explore the various options on the market and their pros and cons to help you find the best RV propane system components for your RVing needs.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Check your RV’s specific fittings and sizes before purchasing. The items on this list may give you an idea of what products you might consider for your shortlist, but make sure whatever you ultimately end up purchasing matches your specifications
RV Propane Pigtails
Longads Stainless Steel Braided RV Propane Hose
These are high-quality RV pigtail propane hoses with a tank gauge level indicator. This gauge allows you to monitor and approximate LPG fuel levels without removing the tank. Solid brass fittings provide secure, airtight connection and braided stainless steel is durable for long-term use.
2 Tank-2-Stage Auto Changeover LP Propane Regulator for RV
Complete set! Braided stainless steel propane pigtails and 2-stage regulator with auto changeover function that allows you to hook up 2 propane tanks and switches automatically between them when one is empty. This RV propane regulator comes with excess flow protection and an automatic shut-off valve, which helps prevent leaks and other safety hazards
Flame King 2-Stage Auto Changeover LP Propane Gas Regulator With Two 12-Inch Pigtails For RVs
A budget set for RVs with dual propane tanks. Automatically switches from primary to reserve tank when the primary is empty. The double-stage design maintains constant gas pressure under changing demand and conditions. The cheaper option with rubber pigtail housing instead of braided stainless steel
Propane Supply Hose
Quick Disconnect Fitting
Some RVs will have a quick disconnect line running to the door side of your RV for convenient use of outdoor appliances.
12ft RV Propane Quick Connect Hose with Elbow Conversion Fitting for Blackstone
Converts 17-inch or 22-inch Blackstone portable Griddle to allow connection to the low-pressure system on your RV. We love being able to quickly connect our Blackstone in our patio area, without having to worry about using a spare tank or lugging our 40-pound tanks around.
How to install a propane pigtail in your travel trailer or 5th wheel
Follow these steps for easy installation of your RV’s propane pigtail to ensure optimal gas flow for all of your RV’s propane needs:
- First, ensure that the gas supply is completely turned off.
- Remove the old pigtail by unscrewing the Type 1 fitting from the propane cylinder or tank.
- Use gas line thread sealant tape around the fitting before securing it to your propane tanks for added security against leaks! This tape will be yellow to signify that it is a gas line!
- Attach to the new cylinder by gently screwing the new RV propane pigtail onto the tank’s outlet valve. Make sure the connection is snug, but not overly tight.
- Once you believe the new propane hose is securely attached, turn the gas supply back on.
Check for leaks: An important step to make sure everything is installed correctly! (and also avoid the mind playing tricks on you but starting to wonder… is that propane I smell!?)
A great way to check for leaks is by using soapy water. Simply mix some soap with water and place it around the area where the tanks attach to the propane pigtail and hose and see if any bubbles appear. This would be a sign that you do in fact have propane leaking from the fixture.
READ MORE: How To Check For Propane Leaks In Your RV
Here is the sealant tape we use to ensure a tight fit:
When to replace a propane Pigtail hose
If you are an RV owner, you are most likely familiar with the idea that consistent maintenance and repairs just come with the territory.
Your RV might be able to take you away from work for a while, but you can’t really take the work out of RVing!
It is important to periodically inspect many parts of your RV, including your propane pigtail and hose. Over time the hose integrity could become compromised, potentially leading to gas leaks.
As a rule of thumb, keep your nose aware of any smells of propane while you are near your RV’s propane tanks or when any of the propane systems are in use.
Things to look for when taking proper care of your RV propane hoses and fixtures: signs of cracking, fraying, or damage and/or the smell of propane around your tanks’ compartment
Propane is often a key component to RV camping and successful RV travel. Moving beyond just knowing how much propane you have left in your tanks, RV owners should pay special attention to their propane systems, including their RV propane pigtail and propane hoses to ensure that their system is running properly and most importantly, safely!
It is also important to keep in mind that in some places, such as if you are putting your RV on a ferry or going through a tunnel, you will be asked to shut your propane off.
Having a good level of knowledge about your systems, how they work, and how to keep everything in safe working order is a must-have skill for RVing!
Additional Components For Your RV Propane System
A few more tips to keep in mind, from one RVer to another!
Fulfilling Travel Tip: If you do have 2 propane tanks in your RV, consider using a system where you only plan to use 1 tank. For us, we like to always have our back tank full, refilling our front tank when it becomes empty. This is not always possible, depending on how close we are to a propane filling station, but is great for ease of only taking out our front tank and always having a backup if we need it! (Such as when you get caught in a surprise snowstorm, for example).
Always know your propane supply. You don’t want to run out of propane in the middle of cooking or at night when the temperatures are cold! An empty tank is no good.
Mopeka Pro Check Sensor – Wireless Propane Tank Magnetic Sensor Level Indicator
This digital propane tank gauge is great for having a more accurate reading than the basic gauges that tell you full, low, or empty which you might find attached to some RV propane pigtails. The Mopeka tank sensor connects to your phone through a mobile app, providing you with real-time updates on the propane level.
Propane Leak Detector
All RVs should come with one installed. Make sure it is up to date and always in working order! Test frequently and replace when it is needed. You can get just LPG detectors, but we have always opted for a propane and CO combo detector for added protection:
Ready to continue building your RVing confidence? Check out these other helpful tips & resources:
- Ultimate RV Maintenance Checklist (By Full-Time RVers)
- Expert RVers Reveal 33+ Best Camper Hacks & Tips
- RV Tips 101: Education Guide for Beginner RVers
- How To Clean Sensors in RV Holding Tanks: A Full Guide
- What Does An Inverter Do In An RV? A Complete RV Power Guide
- The Best Apps For RVing: Proven Reliable Resources