How Much Grill Time Is Left In My Propane Tank?


propane grill monitor new jerseyThere’s still plenty of summer left here in southern New Jersey, which means there’s still lots of time to get out and grill.

Whether you’re doing a quick weeknight dinner or a mess of burgers and dogs for a cookout, you need to know that your propane BBQ grill tank has enough propane to get that food on the table.

A 20-pound propane tank (the standard size for propane grill canisters) typically provides between 18 and 20 hours of grilling time for an average-sized grill. But that number can change: if your grill is larger, for example, it will burn fuel more quickly. The same is true if you if you run your grill at full power (all burners running on high) rather than something less than that. Most propane BBQ tanks don’t come with a propane gas gauge, so you can’t rely on that method to know how much propane is left in your propane BBQ grill tank.

The good news is we have some other simple ways for you to figure that out.


If you want a low-tech, safe and easy way to see how much propane you have in your propane BBQ tank, this is the one for you. It’s three simple steps.

  1. Fill a small bucket with warm to hot water.
  2. With your propane BBQ tank upright, pour the water down the side of the tank.
  3. Immediately run your hand down that side and feel for a cool spot.

Where you feel the cool spot is where the fill level of your propane BBQ tank is.


Look at the handle of your propane BBQ tank. There should be two numbers stamped on it. One of them is for water capacity (“WC”) and the other is for tare weight (“TW”), which is the weight of the tank when empty. Most propane BBQ grill tanks weigh around 17 pounds when empty and can hold about 20 pounds of propane. Here’s how weight can show you how much propane you have left:

  • Put the scale on a tank and note the weight.
  • Subtract the tare weight number.

The number you get is how many pounds of propane you have remaining in the propane BBQ tank.


If you want to stay on top of how much gas is in your propane BBQ grill tank, an external gauge is a good investment. You can find one at most home improvement and hardware stores, or you can buy one online.

Here are some types of external gauges:

  • Digital propane scales will display a digital readout of your propane BBQ tank’s fill percentage, and can also give you an estimate of how much cooking time remains in the tank. And some even have apps so you can track your propane levels with your smartphone!
  • Analog propane scales are pre-set to weigh your propane BBQ tank, taking the tare weight into account.
  • Inline pressure gauges are instilled between the grill’s gas line and the cutoff valve on the propane BBQ grill tank. They measure pressure to determine how much propane is in the tank.

Don’t forget, when you need propane for your grill, come to one of our Lil’ Hank’s Tank Exchange locations throughout southern New Jersey! Contact us today to find out more.