If you want to learn about running a water pressure regulator for your RV, you’ve hit the information jackpot!
I think everyone should use an RV water pressure regulator, a broken pipe in the RV will really ruin your vacation, and put a huge dent in your pocketbook!!
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about what to look for in a great RV water pressure regulator. We will teach what the right type of regulator is for your rig and who makes the best products.
You will find out if you even need an adjustable water pressure regulator for your motorhome and much more.
We also evaluated the top manufacturers of fresh-water RV hose fittings and regulator devices and came up with the best RV water pressure regulators below the guide.
Guide To RV Water Pressure Regulators
A little later on in this piece we are going to share with you our picks for the top five RV water regulators. When making our choices we took a lot of things into consideration, based on our own RV’ing experiences and the opinions of other RV’ers and boondockers from RV forums and e-commerce website reviews. There are some basics however you should keep in mind when shopping for the right model for your rig – and your water usage while in it – that we’d like to share more about right now.
What's the right type of regulator for your rig?
One of the first choices you’ll need to make is whether you will be shopping for an inline water pressure regulator or an adjustable one. We explained the basic differences earlier, and this is a choice that should be made based on your RV, the way you like to travel, how often you travel and even the age of your RV.
If you tend to hit the same campgrounds every year, and those campgrounds regulate their water pressure at the source (which some very modern campgrounds do) or prefer dry camping adventures then the simplicity offered by an inline water pressure regulator may be all you really need. If, on the other hand, you tend to hit a new campsite every time you head off on an RV adventure or spend most of your camping time hooked up to city water then an adjustable model may be a better choice.
Do remember that even the most advanced adjustable RV water pressure regulators do have to be adjusted by hand, which will add an extra step to your camp set up and if yours is an older RV although an adjustable model will allow you to set the psi higher most experts agree that keeping it at 45-50 at most is the best way to extend an older RV plumbing system’s useful life.
The gauge that comes with adjustable regulators is also a handy feature because it’s going to allow you to troubleshoot your system to let you know if the problem is in your city water pressure, or if it’s in your RV pressure.
All of the models that you will see featured on our list are crafted using brass. You will see other options, including stainless steel and even plastic. We however, prefer brass. It is more expensive than plastic but far, far more durable and while stainless steel is tough and resists rust well it is not as well suited to water applications as brass is.
Check the gauge
If you are going to opt for an adjustable RV water pressure regulator – which many people do decide to do – then the gauge is a very important component. It’s the thing that will prevent you from setting the psi too high if you decide that you need to increase the pressure a little to improve water pressure. If it does not work properly, or is hard to read, the chances that you will make a mistake that cancels out all the good a water regulator does by introducing over pressurized water yourself!
This is why the adjustable ones are best, because you can test it, and adjust it, if there is a problem.
Some gauges are oil filled, and that is a good thing. The oil helps to keep the internal workings of the gauges from wearing out due to internal friction, something that allows it to function better and last longer. An oil filled gauge is not a must though, but an easy to read one is!
Ease of installation
If an RV water pressure regulator is very hard to install onto the city water outlet, or it’s hard for you to attach it to your drinking water hose the chances that you will do so properly are significantly decreased.
This is something however it’s very hard to determine just by looking at the picture on the box or at a photo in an online listing. In this case, take the time to read some reviews and even solicit opinions from fellow campers as to which models are the easiest to install and make use of.
Everyone looks for good customer support, but in this case you need to opt for a device that comes with good support if something seems to be wrong, as a faulty water pressure regulator can do a lot of damage by itself.
This was something we kept in mind when making our choices for our Top Five list. We know that no water pressure regulator will last forever, especially when it is used often, and that eventually they do have to be replaced. But it is comforting to know that if something does go wrong the manufacturer of your device stands behind it and is willing to help.
The primary manufacturers of water pressure regulators for RV’s include Valterra, Camco, and Watts. Price is usually at least a small factor whenever you buy anything. However, when it comes to things like this, devices that will protect part of the considerable investment we all make in our rigs – and it’s usually an ongoing investment at that – then opting for bargain basement alternatives just to save a few dollars is probably not the best idea.
The fact is that the RV water pressure regulators we have chosen for our list are all very reasonably priced for what they offer, and our budget choice, which is a great basic option for those who don’t make use of city water that often, is usually priced at $15 or less, so all that protection will cost you no more than a few cups of fancy coffee. Adjustable models are priced between $50 or $60.
The 5 Best RV Water Pressure Regulators
How we made our choices: As RV enthusiasts who are always learning we took both our own experiences and testing and the opinions of other RVers across several e commerce platforms and RV forums to make our choices for this top five list.
In choosing our ‘winner’ we opted for the best choice for the average RVer in terms of performance, durability and price. All the options featured here are well worth considering though.
Renator M11-0660R Water Pressure Regulator w/ gauge
As simple as it looks this RV water pressure regulator offers a big bang for your buck and out of all the (many) options we’ve looked at and tested it takes our top spot.
The reason for this is the fact that the Renator M11-0660R Water Pressure Regulator simply ticks all the right boxes. It’s fully adjustable up to 160psi, has the lowest lead levels of any regulator on the market – a tested maximum of 13% lead, way lower than .25% NSF requirement.
The brass construction adds durability and rust resistance and the gauge is oil filled, which helps reduce internal component friction which increases the useful life of the regulator overall. It is compatible with all types of US water sources so no matter where you roam when you get to your chosen campsite you should have no problems hooking up to the shore water supply.
In terms of function, we – and other RV owners who have purchased and recommend the product – found it easy to install – always a plus – and that it did an excellent job of maintaining a steady water pressure when hooked up to the shore water supply. It’s backed by a company that offers exceptional customer service and the price is very reasonable for the level of functionality you get. Overall a great RV water pressure regulator and our winner.
Rvaqua M11-45PSI Water Pressure Regulator w/ Gauge
In many ways this RV water pressure regulator is very similar to our top pick. It too boasts a brass construction and has a pre-oiled gauge to aid longevity. It’s adjustable to 160 psi. It also has almost the same very low tested lead level – just a few micro percentage points higher than our top pick but still well under the regulated maximum.
This device has an explosion proof plug. Should the water pressure be very high it will stay in place and prevent water from spraying everywhere. It’s also usually priced at a few dollars less than our Editor’s pick.
There is, however, one very good reason why we chose the Renator RVC water pressure regulator over this one; ease of installation. This device is a little trickier to install. If an RV water pressure regulator is not properly installed it won’t function properly. And while this device comes with instructions it is just harder to put in place. For experienced RVers and those that are ‘handy’ though, this is an excellent choice as well.
Valterra A01-1122VP High Flow Brass Water Regulator
If you are more of a dry camper, and don’t hook up to city water very often, you may not want to spend very much on an RV water pressure regulator that won’t be called into action very often. If that’s the case for you then the Valterra A01-1122VP High Flow Brass Water Regulator is certainly an option you should consider. Not recommended for older RV’s.
While this regulator is usually priced some $10-$12 less than the other options on our Top Five this is very functional for the occasional user. It’s brass construction gives it good longevity and it’s a great choice in low pressure situations and it can regulate water to 50-55psi very efficiently.
It should be noted however that this is not a good choice for use with older RVs. If your plumbing -and your rig – are a decade old (or older) to best protect its plumbing system we’d recommend opting for one of our other picks. You should also note that this model will not reduce pressure when the inlet pressure measure less than 50 psi.
Many of those who have purchased this model and tested it out in the field love how easily it installs and how lightweight and portable it is. They were also pleased with how well it performed in low pressure situations and how durable it is, with several reviewers having used it for several seasons with no leakage issues and no rusting.
In terms of lead protection the Valterra A01-1122VP High Flow Brass Water Regulator meets the .25 NSF requirement and it is backed by excellent customer service, another big plus.
Camco 40058 RV Adjustable Water Pressure Regulator – Lead-Free Bilingual Brass
As people become more familiar with the ‘RV life’ they realize that some people have been traveling for a long time, and really know their stuff. They are the kind of folks you’ll find at most campgrounds, the ones who are always ready to help out if newer RVers run into trouble and have become experts at maintaining their rig themselves.
If you are one of these people then you no doubt already have an RV water pressure regulator you make use of on a regular basis. But if you are looking to replace an older one, then the Camco 40058 Adjustable Brass Water Pressure Regulator is an excellent choice. This protects your equipment and prevents hose failure, helping to prolong equipment life.
Manufactured by one of the best known names in the RV equipment and supplies business we say that this is a great choice for seasoned campers because it is more of a challenge to install. Comes factory preset to 45psi. It does however offer pretty much everything you could want in a higher end RV water pressure regulator, including fantastic durability.
The device meets – and exceeds – all the state and national lead standards and will regulate water pressure to 60psi very efficiently. We also personally love how clear the gauge is, great if you don’t happen to be in the best light and the fact that the filter screen is hardier than many others. Others who have made use of this device also liked the fact that it’s backed up by great customer service.
AECOJOY Water Pressure Regulator w/ Gauge
To round out our list of the Top 5 RV water pressure regulators we’ve chosen another very versatile option in the AECOJOY Water Pressure Regulator. It’s an excellently constructed brass regulator that can regulate up to 160 psi and is oiled to reduce internal friction and wear and tear.
The device is relatively easy to install and can be used across all standard US water sources.
Users who have owned one for some time do sometimes report that it is prone to developing small leaks after extensive use but were still pleased with the ‘service’ it provided them with before needing to be replaced.
Water Pressure Regulator for RVs: FAQ's
If you are new to the concept of water pressure regulators for use in RV’s you may still have some questions about them, and that’s understandable. To help, we’ve compiled an FAQ that attempts to answer some of the most common of these questions as clearly as possible.
What is PSI?
We’ve talked about PSI a lot so far, but not everyone is too sure what it actually is. PSI stands for pounds per square inch and sometimes – usually outside the USA – it’s also written in its longer form PPSI.
This is a measure of pressure and it applies not just to water but also to air, and as such is referred to when discussing car tires and the like. But it can be very variable, especially when it comes to water systems.
In an ideal world every water system would be set at the ideal PSI. But that’s very hard to do.
Most campgrounds make use of a city water supply they don’t even control and while a few do practice water regulation themselves at the source many still don’t. This means that a campsite may pump water at as high as 150 psi, a level that can seriously damage a RVs plumbing system and even, in some cases, lead to a flood.
What should the water pressure be in an RV? Between 45 to 55 psi, settings above 60 PSI are not recommended and the great thing is that many of the recommended water pressure regulator in our top five come factory preset at 45 PSI.
I only rarely make use of campsites and city water, so would an RV water pressure regulator just be a waste of money?
If you honestly never intend to hook up to city water then maybe it would. But that is rarely the case for any RV enthusiast. Even if you love going off grid a lot there are times when a stop at a campsite – and a foray into civilization – can prove a welcome relief. As it really does only take hooking up to a water source that is operating at a high PSI once to do serious damage to an RV’s plumbing then it is still a good idea to at least keep a basic RV water pressure regulator on hand in a drawer someplace just in case you do decide to make a campsite stop.
I know how to measure my tire pressure. Is there a way to measure the water pressure of a city water hook up at a campsite?
Actually there is, although it’s a little time consuming. You can purchase a meter that can be hooked up directly to the supply you are thinking of using and it will show you what the PSI is. This is a separate device to your RV water pressure regulator though, and that is sometimes confusing to some.
Some people mistakenly believe that the value shown on the gauge of their adjustable RV water pressure regulator is the psi of the supply. That’s not the case. The value is the psi the water will release into your RV at, the safe regulated level, but it does not represent the level of water pressure coming out of the source.
If you make use of a good water pressure regulator there really isn’t a need to measure the PSI of the supply itself, unless you have reason to believe it is so high that even that device won’t be able to handle it, but that is very rare. However, a water pressure testing gauge is fairly inexpensive, so if you want to invest in one for extra peace of mind then there is no harm in doing so.
Someone told me that RV water pressure regulators are hard to adjust. Is that true?
The vast majority of these gadgets – including all of those featured on our list – adjust by simply turning a screw with a flat head screwdriver. It may be hard to adjust if you don’t have the right screwdriver, or if the screw has become too tight. To stop the latter from happening spray it with a little WD40 occasionally to help keep it free moving without being too loose.
Do water pressure regulators really save water?
They do. If the water pumping into your sink as you do the dishes in your RV’s kitchen is flowing at a higher pressure than is ideal then far more of it will go down the drain than is really necessary. The same is true of when you take a shower. In addition, pounding your pipes on a regular basis with high pressure water will wear them out before their time.
Is there one standout manufacturer in the RV water pressure regulator market?
That’s a matter of opinion, and, if you ask, you’ll get a lot of different answers, because RV enthusiasts tend to develop loyalties to certain brands.
For the purpose of our top five list, which we will be coming to in a moment, we did not evaluate based on manufacturer, but on the overall function, quality and value of the individual device we were testing. There are some ‘names’ that are bigger than others, but that is not always an automatic guarantee of the highest quality.
Don't Let Too Much Pressure In Your RV's Water System
When connecting your RV’s water hose to a campgrounds water supply outlet it’s important to not let too much pressure in your system or it could burst your pipes leaving you with a big mess to clean up. Investing in an inexpensive water pressure regulator will allow the right amount of pressure in to your system with out restricting your water flow.
Hopefully you now know enough about water pressure regulation, RV water pressure regulators and what to look for to be able to go shopping for one with confidence. We wish you happy shopping – and happy showering once you have that new RV water regulator in place – and maybe we’ll see you out on the road sometime. Happy trails!