High & Low pressure propane cookers - What are the differences?

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Fire Starter
Original poster
Apr 9, 2007
Can someone explain to me the differences of a low pressure propane cooker and a high pressure propane cooker? I've seen two cookers on-line, one using low pressure and the other using high pressure and wanted to know what are the specific differences?
I think I found my answer from the following website - http://www.tejassmokers.com/gasregulators.htm:

Propane Regulator Valve , Hose Assembly Sturgis brand propane gas regulator for high pressure propane tank regulation . Preset (10 psi or 20 psi) or Adjustable pressure regulators (0-20 psi is the norm or 0-30 psi or 0-60 psi for circumstances where higher gas volumes are required).
If yoursource of propane is a propane bottle (tank) then you are probably using high pressure.
Low pressure is natural gas (or sometimes propane in a trailer home or RV in which the gas has already been adjusted to a very low pressure at the propane source).
Preset low pressure propane regulators are set at 6 ounces. Natural gas pressure in most areas is 10 ounces and does not require a regulator of this sort.

With all of that explained, which is the better method for smoking using propane?
Propane burners come in high or low pressure also.

The BTU rating of a cooker does not specify the heat output produced by the burner but the amount of gas forced out the orfice. That being said - heat is directly proportional to the amount of fuel output. Just like your gas kitchen stoves.

High pressure burners force out more propane through the orfice at a time than do Low pressure propane burners but are not as efficent so you'll get more heat but use more fuel to produce that heat than you would using a low presure burner.

So ... if your boiling 10 gallons of wort to brew beer or water to boil crabs or oil to fry a turkey, this could translate into several additional minutes to come up to temperature with a low pressure cooker. In a smoker I would expect this to be realtive to smoker size although I can not come up with any formulas or tables to calulate this.
Well I have always heard propane burns cleaner. Since all is use is wood I really couldnt tell you the diffrence. I do know that propane runs 12 ounces of water colum and natural gas runs 3.5 ounces of water colom.so that must be your high and low.
Exactly Shellbellc! That is why I asked the question. I called the King Kooker company to ask the question about the difference and more or less, just as DeejayDebi said, more BTU=more fuel used. I also asked the customer rep at King Kooker, is the high pressure cooker wider? Because on their website the photo of it gives the impression that it is wider, like the dimension of the GOSM Big Block. But the customer rep told me that the high pressure cooker and the low pressure cooker (like Shellbellc's) are the same dimensions. I was about to buy the high pressure cooker because it looks wider than the low pressure.
Here is the link to the King Kooker website: http://kingkooker.com/smoking.php

King Kooker Outdoor Low Pressure Smoker with 38" Smoking Cabinet

King Kooker Outdoor High Pressure Smoker with 30" Smoking Cabinet and Cooker
Shell -

Which one did you get the high pressure or the low? They don't seem that big but we have the cold to contend with as well - so I was thinking high pressure for that reason.
So the high pressure cooker is smaller than the low pressure cooker? That doesn't make sense what's the logic behind that?

DeejayDebi, I believe Shell bought the low pressure smoker... which is the larger of the two.
I think I may just have to grow a bigger ECB I really love the smoke it makes just wish I didn't have to curl up my ribs and briskets till they shrink.

The difference between high pressure and low pressure LP is this. High pressure is rated in PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. This is like the pressure in your car tire. The typical high pressure regulator is set around 10 PSI.

Low Pressure LP is rated in inches of water column (in WC). The typical rating for low pressure LP is around 10.5 - 11 inches WC.

Water column is determined by this. Take a U shaped container. put water in the container until the bottom is filled on both sides. Mark this point 0. On one side put a ruler on the container. Now you have what is called a graduated cylinder.

On the other side blow air down until it pushes the water up the graduated cylinder to the 11" point. The amount of pressure it takes to do this is 11" WC. Less than the amount of air in a balloon. Less than one stroke on a bicycle pump. Not much pressure another words. Natural gas is about 3.5" WC. Damned near no pressure.

Don't know if this will help or not, but that's what the difference is.
Great Explanation Rodger, I think I actually understand that.

Could have used a teacher like you in high school!!
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads