What is an RV Water Pressure Regulator?
An RV water pressure regulator is a small device that lowers the water pressure before it enters your RV’s plumbing system. These devices are usually very small – only a few inches long – but don’t let their size fool you. They do a big job, and they are essential for protecting your recreational vehicle’s plumbing system.
Most water pressure regulators fit as standard size hose, and they screw on to the spigot with no problems. These are “easy to install” – screw it on and then screw your hose onto the other end. If you have a good one, it’ll automatically do its job.
RV water pressure regulators look very similar to each other. The main differences lie in superficial features such as the size, color, material that it’s made from, etc. However, don’t let this trick you into picking any water regulator or the cheapest water regulator. Just because they look the same doesn’t mean they’ll perform the same.
How Does an RV Water Pressure Regulator Work?
The mechanics of an RV water pressure regulator are fascinating. You have this tiny device that drops water pressure down by 50 percent or more. How can this small device be more powerful than all that rushing water?
Inside the RV water pressure regulator, there multiple small parts. They are:
- Throttling stem
These parts are tiny. It’s safe to call them micro parts. When water comes from the water supply, it enters the water pressure regulator through the inlet. From there, the water flow is split and rushes around the left and right sides of the seat and into the throttling stem. Think of the seat like a fork in the road, and the throttling stem like a tunnel.
The springs work to keep the throttling stem area open for the water to flow through. The throttling stem is attached to the diaphragm at the other end, and as the water rushes toward it, the pressure of the water causes the springs to compress, and the springs press on the diaphragm to close it. It will close just enough to limit the water pressure to the desired level. When the water comes out of the outlet, the pressure has been significantly reduced.
As you can see, an RV water pressure regulator might be small, but it has a complex system inside to limit water pressure. Every single piece must work, or the water pressure regulator won’t be any good to you.
Why You Need a Water Pressure Regulator for Your RV
If you plan to use the water in your RV (and we’re pretty certain you will), you need a water pressure regulator. There is no getting around it if you plan to use city water hookups as your go-to water source. City water is commonly anywhere from 100 to 150 PSI (pounds per square inch). RVs are only designed to handle somewhere in the area of 50 to 60 PSI. If you use city water without a water pressure regulator, it will be like sending a tsunami to your sink to get a glass of water.
Water pressure that is too high can cause a lot of damage to the plumbing system in your RV. It can cause cracks, leaks, and eroding of pipes. Your pipes could burst, or it may cause a noise commonly referred to as “water hammer.” If you hear it, you’ll know. It’s loud and unsettling. All of this can be prevented and give you peace of mind with a great water regulator.
Types of RV Water Pressure Regulators
There are three types of water pressure regulators: standard (sometimes called in-line), high water flow, and adjustable. All three types are technically in-line regulators. They perform differently.
The high flow water pressure regulator is just as the name states – a higher flowing product. In other words, it allows a higher PSI than the standard. Typical high-flow models allow between 50 PSI and 60 PSI, while standards allow between 40 and 50. High water flow regulators are not recommended for older RVs.
Adjustable water pressure regulators are also just as the name states. These can adjust anywhere from 0 PSI up to an insanely high PSI, usually about 160. While the flexibility is nice to have, you must be careful with these, so you don’t accidentally set the pressure too high.
RV Water Regulators – Key Features to look out for
The main feature you want to look for is pressure and flow. Standard regulators will be between 45 PSI – 50 PSI. High-flow regulators will be between 50-60 PSI. Adjustable regulators will be between 0-160 PSI.
RV Water pressure regulators are made from three types of material: plastic, brass, or stainless steel. Occasionally, you may find a regulator made from copper (rare). Plastic water pressure regulators will be bargain buys. They won’t last as long, but they are good for people on a budget or people who won’t use them very often.
Copper is a great metal that won’t rust or corrode, but it’s softer than steel, so it may lose shape, meaning that it might not last as long. Brass is also softer than steel, but it’s harder than copper. Like copper, it won’t rust or corrode. Stainless steel is the most durable material, and although it’s “stainless,” meaning it resists rust and corrosion, at some point in its long life, it will eventually give in. Don’t worry. It will be a long time before that happens.
In short, stainless steel is the most durable choice. Plastic is an economical choice. Brass construction is a great choice also.
Water pressure regulators will be labeled as lead-free or low lead. Obviously, the lead-free regulators are ideal, but even these may have a tiny percentage of lead. According to the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) and the Community Fire Safety Act, lead-free is defined as less than .25 percent lead.
Low-lead regulators may have slightly more than .25 percent lead, but not much more. If you’re concerned about this, stainless steel is genuinely lead-free.
Some water pressure regulators include a screen filter that helps to filter debris out of water. This isn’t necessary, but it is extra protection to make sure you have clean drinking water.
Best Water Regulators for RV’ing Reviews
KepooMan Water Pressure Regulator
The KepooMan water pressure regulator is an adjustable regulator made from lead-free brass water pressure regulator. It has excellent features, and it’s known to be very durable. On top of that, it works well in extreme weather, so it’s suitable for many different seasons and environments. The working temperature range is 14°F to 248°F (-10°C to 120°C). This means it could even handle boiling water (although that would probably never happen).
The water pressure regulator has all the great features we discussed earlier. It adjusts from 0 PSI up to 160 PSI and has a built-in gauge so you can be sure about the pressure. It also has a screen to filter out any debris that might be in the water. This water pressure regulator is reliable and is perfect for protecting your delicate plumbing system.
- Great in extreme temperatures.
- Pressure gauge is oiled to reduce friction.
- Powder-coated screw is easy to turn.
- Oil can sometimes leak a little bit.
- At extremely low temperatures, the gauge is sometimes a little bit off.
Camco 40143 Plastic Water Pressure Regulator
Best RV Budget Choice
The Camco 40143 is a budget-choice water pressure regulator that may not be as durable as others but gets the job done. It’s made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic, which automatically makes it completely lead-free. It drops water pressure levels down between 45 PSI and 50 PSI.
We like the two grooved handles on the side of the regulator. This makes it easy to grip while screwing it on or off. The blue color is also lovely and bold – when storing it, it won’t get lost in a sea of metal parts. You’ll be able to spot it quickly. Out of the budget water pressure regulators, this is a great choice.
- Interesting, bold blue color.
- Grooved handles for easy handling.
- Very inexpensive.
- Tends to leak.
- Will crack in cold temperatures.
Valterra A01-1122VP High Water Flow Brass Water Regulator
Best High Flow Regulator
Valterra is a company that is well-known and recognized for its commitment to producing quality products. This high water flow rate model is just what you need to kick your water pressure up a notch. It consistently keeps the water pressure between 50 to 55 PSI. It’s made of high-quality brass and is lead-free, as indicated by the orange cap (exclusive to Valterra).
The regulator has a screen to filter out debris from the water. The screen is not stainless steel, but it still does a fantastic job of filtering out those unwanted particles. The body of the water pressure regulator is designed with a textured surface all around, so you’ll have a good grip when screwing and unscrewing it. Overall, this is an exceptional product.
- Easy-grip textured surface.
- One-year warranty.
- Screen is not stainless steel.
- Leaks a little from the swivel.
Valterra A01-1124VP Regulator/Gauge Combo
Most Accurate Gauge
Here we have another Valterra regulator because their products are amazing. This water pressure regulator is a standard one. It drops the pressure between 40-50 PSI. Like the previous one, it’s made from high-quality, lead-free brass, but this one has a built-in gauge.
The gauge on this regulator is one of the most accurate built-in gauges you’ll find. It’s not oil-filled, but it still works great. We also like that this has a textured body for easy installing. Lightweight, dependable, and easy-to-handle sums up this water pressure regulator. It upholds Valterra’s high standards in quality so that we would recommend this to anyone looking for an affordable water pressure regulator.
- Highly accurate gauge.
- Textured body.
- High-quality brass.
- Gauge is placed in a spot that makes it difficult to grip the body of the regulator.
- No screen.
Camco RV Brass Inline Water Pressure Regulator
Camco proves that a brass regulator can come at a budget price. This tiny little regulator delivers a performance that a regular-sized regulator does. It’s made of lead-free brass, and it’s an excellent value for the price.
The water pressure regulator is standard and reduces the pressure down to between 40-50 PSI.
It has a textured midsection to make it easy to screw onto the spigot. It also features two small wing-shaped handles that make it easy to remove it from the spigot. It’s an elementary water pressure regulator that’s easy to use and effective.
Keep in mind that it’s, tiny so keep an eye on it because it could be easy to lose.
- Textured mid-section.
- Wing-like handles for easy removal.
- High-quality brass material.
- No screen.
- Easy to misplace it.
Twinkle Star RV Water Pressure Regulator Valve
Best RV Water Pressure Regulator for Safety
Brass models with gauges are very popular, so it’s no surprise to see another brand with this type of regulator. What sets the Twinkle Star water pressure regulator apart from the others is the fact that it comes with a stainless-steel screen. This is preferred since the screen will be subjected to a lot of water. You won’t have to worry about it rusting.
Like most adjustable water pressure regulators, this one goes from 0 PSI to 160 PSI. The gauge actively tells you the pressure level, so you don’t have to worry about overpowering your RV’s plumbing. We love the fact that it’s lined with leak-proof PTFE tape. This is a unique feature that most other manufacturers don’t include. The gauge is also designed so that it’s explosion-proof in case the regulator ever fails, and the water pressure becomes too powerful.
There are some small design-related things we would change about the regulator, but nothing that has any effect on the quality and longevity of the device.
- Stainless steel screen.
- Adjustable to your perfect PSI.
- Explosion-proof gauge for extra safety.
- Lined with leak-proof tape.
- No red on the gauge to indicate danger zone.
- Need a Phillips screwdriver to adjust pressure.
Valterra A01-1117VP Brass Lead Free Adjustable Water Regulator
Best RV Water Pressure Regulator
There is a reason that this Valterra regulator is pricey. That reason is quality. This is one of Valterra’s most heavy-duty water pressure regulators. It’s built like a tank, yet it’s easy to use. This regulator is a great investment, which is why we named it as the overall best RV water pressure regulator.
One of the best features is the nut on the top that you use to adjust the water pressure. You will need a flat-head screwdriver to turn it. However, it’s powder-coated for an easy grip and to prevent rusting. Other great features include a screen, lead-free brass, and an excellent built-in gauge.
This gauge also does not have red to indicate danger, but we can overlook that due to its impressive build. If you want a leak-free, durable, heavy-duty water pressure regulator, you’ve found one.
- Lined with leak-proof tape.
- Powder-coated top to prevent rusting.
- Gauge is in a good spot – not in the way.
- Screen is not stainless steel.
- Expensive compared to others.
Last update on 2020-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API