New Technical Review of BBQ Propane Tank Gauges Helps Consumers

Share Article

Product Innovation Ltd has recently reviewed and evaluated the different technologies offered to consumers and discovered that the most popular solution is not as effective as others.

Propane Level Monitor

Propane GasGenie

Installed this last week and grilled this weekend. Simple to install and it does the job! Played the tone, and I knew I had enough time to finish those steaks!

Running out of propane in the middle of grilling is a problem experienced by most of the 43 million regular gas barbecue users in the US. Product Innovation Ltd has recently surveyed the most popular products on offer and found that the results are far from obvious.

Consumers naturally look for a solution in the form of some sort of level gauge to attach to the propane tank. There are several different types of product on offer. But some are based on a technology that means that the warning time is very short: Often too short to finish cooking what is on the grill.

The most commonly used technologies are based on pressure, weight, tank wall temperature and a temperature/time combination. Most of the products that fall into one of these categories rely on the user to remember to check the gauge before cooking starts or soon after.

Peter Frank, director of Product Innovation Ltd (a UK electronic sensor development Company), says ‘After a tip off from a major US grill manufacturer we realized there was a gap in the market for two reasons: The pressure gauge types can only warn just before the gas tank is completely empty, and all the existing methods did not actively warn the user when the gas is getting low. They need to be checked either before or shortly after grilling starts. This is just when they are busy doing other things. That is why we invented the Propane GasGenie’.

The biggest seller is the pressure gauge and it is easy to see why. The general public assume that the more gas you push into a tank the higher the pressure will be. So they buy it only to find that they still run out of gas. They check the gauge and see that it has dropped down to zero or nearly zero and believe that they did not notice in time that it was declining before the gas ran out. So they try once more with the refilled tank, only for the same thing to happen again.

The reason for this is that liquid propane, like most gases that liquefy under pressure, does not vary its pressure according to the volume of liquid in the tank. So a full tank and a nearly empty one will show the same pressure. It will only start to significantly decline once the liquid is all gone. And at that point there can only be a few minutes at best before the tank is empty.

Of the other methods weight is potentially the most accurate. The scales measure the combined weight of gas and the metal tank so the accuracy depends on knowing the empty weight of the tank. But when you swap out the tank it is not certain that the new tank will have the same empty weight as the old one. The user also has to remember to weigh the tank regularly.

Temperature strips can also work, although they are prone to interference from direct sunlight. And again you need to remember to check some minutes after the grilling has commenced. Before that they cannot give a reading.

The only product that actively warns the user in time to finish grilling is the Propane GasGenie - propane level indicator. It uses a patented time/temperature ‘signature’ to recognize both when the grill is switched on and when the gas is getting low. And then it flashes LED lights and plays a short tune to attract attention. It typically starts to warn when the tank gets down to around 20% of its capacity: So in plenty of time to finish grilling and choose when to get the tank refilled. ‘It acts rather like the low fuel warning light in your car’ says Peter Frank.

The Propane GasGenie is available from Amazon.

About Product Innovation Limited

Product Innovation Ltd is an established New Product Development consultancy specialising in inventing and developing new products, mostly electronic sensors, for manufacturing companies. The company has been in business for more than 25 years and in that time has been involved in a wide range of new products many of which have worldwide patents. Visit for additional information about Product Innovation Limited. More information about Propane GasGenie can be found at the following site:

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Peter Frank
Follow us on
Visit website