How to test gas bottles

How much camping gas

If you use gas for your cooking, there is always the problem of knowing how much gas you have remaining and not running out whilst you are away camping. Here we have outlined 4 methods showing how to test gas bottles, shown in order of our recommendation.

1) Pressure gauges.

Gas bottle pressure gauge

You can buy gas bottle regulators that have a built in pressure gauge.
Typically they cost about £10 delivered from eBay. They fit directly onto your gas bottle in place of your current pressure regulator and display the gas pressure inside the bottle. Over time, the pressure will drop and indicate how much gas you have remaining.

This is probably the most accurate way to keep an eye on your camping gas levels.

>> Price up a pressure gauge on eBay

2) The weighing method.

Weigh gas bottle

This is arguably the most accurate method after fitting a pressure gauge. All you need is some info that we have outlined below and a cheap hand held scale.
All gas bottles should have an empty bottle weight on them. We currently have a small Calor 4.5kg gas bottle, which has an aluminium disk around the neck with numbers stamped on it.

On this bottle bottle 12 and 10 are stamped on the disk (see photo).  This means 12lbs and 10oz, converting that to kilograms is 5.73kg.  Now if we add 4.5kg (of gas) to 5.73kg (empty bottle weight), a full 4.5kg gas bottle should weigh 10.23kg.

Gas bottle weighing scales

We purchased a cheap digital scale from eBay, these are typically used for weighing hand luggage before going on aeroplane flights. We weighed our bottle and it came to 8.38kg, so now we can establish how much gas we have left.

Our total weight is 8.38kg and we have to remove 5.73kg (empty bottle weight), that leaves us with the weight of the gas which in this case is 2.65kg.

Our new bottle had 4.5kg of gas in it, and we have 2.65kg of gas remaining.

>> Price up some scales on eBay – 
You can also use them for weighing other stuff too.

3) Magnetic gas bottle level indicator.

Gas bottle level indicator

We have purchased on of these from eBay to test, they don’t cost much.
They apparently work my measuring the temperature of the gas bottle whilst it is being used.

As the gas bottle is used, the liquid turns to gas and the gas cools the bottle more than the liquid. So basically the gas bottle level indicator measures the temperature of the outside of the bottle. As the gas is used, the indicator should show how much gas you have remaining.

>> Price up these magnetic indicators on eBay

4) The Hot Water method.

PLEASE DON’T BURN YOURSELVES – This is probably the simplest method of testing how much gas you have left. The principle is the same as the bottle level indicator mentioned above. Whilst the gas bottle is being used, poor some hot water down the side of the gas bottle and then with your hand feel for where the side of the bottle changes from cold to warm. This is the level of the gas you have remaining.

Here are a few more photos for your reference that you may find informative.

Weight of gas bottle
4.5kg Butane Calor bottle showing the weight of the empty bottle – 12 LB 10 OZ

FLOGAS camping gas bottle

Empty gas bottle weight
FLOGAS empty bottle weight (in KG)

Here are some other products that you might find useful;

1 Comment

  1. Anthony
    16th June 2018

    The pressure in a gas bottle will not reduce until all the liquid gas has vaporised. The pressure only changes with temperature (lower pressure when it’s cold) otherwise. So pressure gauges can’t tell you how much gas is left, until none is left. They are useful, though, for spotting leaks in the gas pipework: with everything that uses gas turned off, open and then close the bottle valve. The pressure should stay up, and only decrease very slowly over some hours.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top