Got Gas? - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Got Gas?

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Photos by the author
Keeping tabs on LP-gas levels in cylinders found on almost all towables is made simple with the Truma LevelCheck — and it’s backed by German engineering and quality control.
Propane is a vital source of energy for just about all travel trailers and fifth wheels — and most motorhomes — and when you run out unexpectedly, you’ll have to do without until you can get to a re-filling station. That usually means no heat on a cold winter morning, maybe no hot water and, of course, limiting cooking meals to the microwave or barbecue (which may be reliant on hookups).

If you have a motorhome, you can check propane level on a remote monitor or, at the very least, via a gauge built into the tank. Unfortunately, most towables have no such gauge, leaving owners to monitor levels using unconventional methods like pouring hot water over the cylinder and running a hand down the side looking for a cold spot.

Not very convenient.

Granted, some cylinders have gauges — but most are not very accurate.

Trailers fitted with dual cylinders have an automatic switchover regulator, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll know when one cylinder runs out, leaving the other in service long enough to get the empty cylinder filled. Rather than waiting until one cylinder is empty to determine propane supply, however, you can use a Truma LevelCheck device to monitor levels as often as you wish, circumventing surprises.
close view of a gauge atop an LP-gas cylinder
Most trailers are fitted with one or two LP-gas cylinders; very few have gauges like the one shown here. For the most part, these gauges are not highly accurate and simply provide relative LP-gas level. Without a level monitor, owners usually have no idea how much propane is in the cylinder once it’s in use.
a hand holds the Truma LevelCheck device
Truma’s LevelCheck allows the user to establish the level of propane in any vertical cylinder. This device is engineered and built in Germany and locates the LP-gas level via ultrasound. This particular device has been kicked around inside a drawer for many years and even though it shows signs of surface wear, it still works perfectly.
Unlike common — and less accurate — scales that require removal of the tank in order to weigh it and then engage in a bit of mathematics to ” guesstimate” remaining fuel, the Truma “gauge” uses ultrasound to accurately detect LP-gas levels in a cylinder. It’s a product of German engineering and manufactured by Truma, a company that specializes in super-efficient and reliable instantaneous hot water tanks and HVAC systems. Locating LP-gas levels is accomplished by simply resting the end of the LevelCheck against the outside cylinder wall and watching for a green light, signifying there’s propane at that point. If the light turns red, there’s no LP-gas at that point, so you’ll continue to check multiple locations — up and down — until the light turns green, and that’s the level. It doesn’t get any easier. (The LevelCheck is not designed for use on composite and horizonal cylinders.)
the Truma device is pushed against the sidewall of an LP-gas cylinder with a red light illuminated on the device
the Truma device is pushed against the lower sidewall of an LP-gas cylinder with a green light illuminated on the device

To find the LP-gas level in the cylinder, the Truma device is pushed against the sidewall. If a red light is illuminated, there’s no propane at that level; when the green light glows, the device has discovered how much LP-gas remains in the cylinder. This cylinder is just about empty.

In true Truma fashion, the LevelCheck feels sturdy and has a surprising amount of heft to the housing. There’s even an LED light built in to help with close work in dark quarters like checking the regulator switchover sight gauge (that changes from green to red when the cylinder in service at the time is empty). LevelCheck operates on a 9-volt battery, which lasts for many years. My LevelCheck has been tossed around in a drawer for many years, and although it shows scratches and wear marks, it still works perfectly. Truma sells the LevelCheck on its website ( for $72.79 or you can find it on Amazon for the same price.
a hand holds the Truma device, pressing a button to activate the LED flashlight
An LED flashlight is built into the working end of the LevelCheck. It’s not very bright but can help read the regulator switchover sight gauge — among other uses — at night.
the LevelCheck with the back cover removed showing the 9-volt battery
The LevelCheck is very well built and feels substantial in your hand. The back plate that provides access to the 9-volt battery has a screw to make sure it doesn’t come loose inadvertently. This battery has been service for many years.
LevelCheck is one of those devices I rely on to monitor propane levels frequently, and it really comes in handy when checking the 20-pound cylinder for the barbecue. Running out of propane while cooking a steak will certainly ruin your dinner plans — and no one likes a cold shower.
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