Which gas is best to use in a caravan?

What type of gas should you use in your caravan and why?

Which gas is best to use in a caravan?A question that is often overlooked when buying your first caravan “what is the best gas to use in a caravan?”. Let’s get down to discussing your options and deciding which one to use.

What are the options?

Nice and simple, there are two choices:

* Propane (red cylinder) – a by-product created during the processing of natural gas and the refining of petroleum
* Butane (blue cylinder) – a highly flammable hydrocarbon gas that is a constituent of petroleum

What are the differences?

That’s right! Most caravan gas powered appliances are designed to operate using either propane or butane, but what’s the difference?

Facts about propane:

* Propane has a higher calorific value which means that it burns hotter (your kettle will boil faster using propane)
* Propane is lighter than butane – A 6kg propane cylinder’s comparable butane cylinder weighs 7kg
* Propane is cheaper than butane
* Propane can operate in temperatures as low as -46 degrees C meaning it can be used all year round

Facts about butane:

* Butane gas will not operate at temperatures less than 2 degrees C meaning it can only be used in the Spring and Summer
* Butane is less toxic than propane and also burns cleaner
* Butane is heavier than propane (as we already discovered above)
* Butane is more expensive than propane (again, we already covered this)

Propane gasSo which gas should you use?

And the winner is…

Weighing up all of the facts about propane and butane gas from above and looking at it from a caravanner’s stand point it has to be propane. It has a few solid advantages that will make your caravanning experience better all around. If you use propane over butane you will spend less, be able to pack more, not strain your back as much lifting it into the locker and use it all year round.

What else do you need to know?

One more thing to add is that you need to make sure you have the correct regulator or hose (depending on the age of your caravan) for the gas you are using. Caravans built before 2005 will generally be fitted with a removable regulator, this may easily be changed for either a propane or butane regulator. Caravans built after 2005 will be fitted with a bulk head regulator for which you must change the hose to suit the type of gas you are using.

Summary

I hope this has helped to answer your question about which gas to use in your caravan. Drop me a line below it helped you out and ask any further questions you might have.

Thanks for reading!

23 thoughts on “What type of gas should you use in your caravan and why?”

  1. We have been using butane in our caravan but due to pan bottoms etc going black on the cooker was advised to change to propane. The butane was lasting approximately 2 weeks and 2 days. We changed to propane last week and the same size bottle has run out after 6 days so doesnt this make propane alot more expensive

  2. Pingback: 20 Caravanners speak out: "What I wish I knew before buying my first caravan" | How 2 Caravan

  3. Can i really use either gas in my caravan? My caravan was sold to me with a butane cylinder and I want to swap for propane now the weather has turned cold. It has the usual hob and truma heater, plus a cramer oven. Do all the appliances work with either gas? I’m concerned as I’m aware you have to change the jets in a household gas cooker.

  4. Hi, we use propane, 19kg bottles. With the cold weather we can go through one in a week. This then gives a problem of getting refills regularly. I’ve been advised to fit an upgrade kit which allows four 19kg bottles to be fitted. I am though worried wether the regulator will take four cylinders – it’s a 2014 caravan (static). Also I’ve been told I don’t need to employ a gas safe plumber to fit the kit as its outside of the regulator.
    Views?

    Thanks

  5. We’ve just bought a static caravan and were asked if we wanted to use a cylinder gas or mains gas. Can you tell me which is the cheapest please

  6. Could i use a caravan hob in my kitchen at home, i ask this as i live in a very small cottage with limited space

  7. Hi Josh,
    We have just bought our first caravan and it didn’t come with a gas bottle. Our problem is we don’t know what connections we need as in connectors pipes ect…..

    1. Hi Allan,

      Congrats on your first caravan purchase.

      The connections required will really depend upon how old your caravan is. In around 2005 the industry switched to using a fixed bulk head type regulator; if you have one of these you will just need to get a “pigtail” hose suitable for which ever type of gas you decide to use. If its older than 2005 it likely won’t have he bulkhead and so you will need a regulator, gas hose and jubilee clips, these again are propane or butane specific.

      I hope this helps.

      Josh

  8. Zequek Estrada

    I didn’t know that propane was better to use for your caravan than butane. They basically seemed like the same thing to me. This minor detail sounds like it’ll make a noticeable difference.

    1. I have always used propane in tents, trailer tents and caravans. I use it because of its low temperature performance compared to butane and it is lighter than butane when in liquid form.
      It has a hotter flame so is more efficient than butane and propane does not have the sickly smell like butane when it is lit.

  9. I just bought my first caravan built in 2001. It has a butane regulator. I’m going away tomorrow for my first night away to try things out. Should I change my fittings to propane? Bearing in mind I’m in my early 60s, female and will mostly be on my own so don’t want anything too heavy.

  10. Hi Pat,

    Congrats on your first caravan purchase!

    As you can see from the above points propane is preferable over butane. But please bear in mind the cost of changing your regulator and potentially gas hose too.

    The weight difference is roughly 1kg in propane’s favour.

    Hope everything goes well and that you have a great times

    Josh

    1. You seem to have several facts wrong, if you read the Calor web site you will find that butane is in fact the higher calorific value and weight for weight gives more heat and so calorie for calorie works out cheaper

  11. I currently have a propane ca lot gas fitted with a serfs type regulator. But I have a large propane cylinder from Bt with a clip,on fitting from Homebase. -any idea what fittings I would need.

  12. Josh
    Is there a quick simple adapter I can screw on to my propane regulator in my Swift Conquror so I can fit a French propane bottle if my UK bottle runs out ?

  13. Hi we have just purchased a bailey se avallon 93 year which is better please butane or propane and how do you store over winter as the caravan is sited please

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