Aviation fuel testers are objects that few of us think about very much. However, for private pilots, these testers play a crucial role in aircraft safety.
One of the things a tester can do is check the fuel type. Checking the fuel type is essential because aircraft require specific fuel types, usually Jet A or 100LL.
These testers can also check for contaminants that make fuel less efficient. The most common pollutants affecting fuel include water and random debris.
I’ve sampled the best aviation fuel testers and selected the best five from the group. I think it is essential to understand the different types of testers before buying.
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What are the types of fuel testers?
- Fuel sampler cups – This type of fuel tester is compact and economical, consisting of an acrylic cup with a rod. These testers work best with single-sump aircraft.
- Gas analysis test separator (GATS) jar – This type of fuel tester is environmentally friendly because it allows training to remove non-petroleum contaminants.
- Multi-sump fuel tester – This tester is perfect for multi-sump aircraft. I think this type makes it easy to save time because multiple dumps are no longer necessary.
The five best aviation fuel testers I reviewed are the following:
- best aviation fuel tester with a built-in screwdriver, SmartSF Aviation Fuel Tester with Screwdriver
- best short fuel tester, ASA Short Fuel Tester
- best fuel sampler cup-style tester, ASA Fuel Testing Cup
- best GATS jar-style tester, Aviation Specialties GATS Jar
- best multi-sump fuel tester, Innoquest, Inc. Multi-Sump Aviation Fuel Tester
1. SmartSF Aviation Fuel Tester with Screwdriver
The SmartSF Aviation Fuel Tester with Screwdriver is one of the most important parts of a pre-flight check. The inclusion of the screwdriver makes this tester easier to use.
One of the things I found most helpful was how flexible the fuel probe was. Flipping the probe depending on the sump style makes everything much more accessible.
2. ASA Short Fuel Tester
The ASA Short Fuel Tester is one of the most compact testers I’ve ever used. I think the 4 in length makes it easier to store in almost any pilot bag.
There are Phillips and slotted screwdriver heads to make the tester’s use more manageable. I think that this tester has what it takes to work well for traveling cross-country.
Another feature I found helpful was a color-coded octane chart. The probe fits petcock and pin fuel drains, making this a versatile choice.
3. ASA Fuel Testing Cup
The ASA Fuel Testing Cup is the best option I’ve found for single-sump aircraft. I also found the price impossible to beat, which always makes a difference.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this tester was how few spills I had to deal with. Another great feature was the fact that this tester was durable enough to withstand drops.
4. Aviation Specialties GATS Jar
The Aviation Specialties GATS Jar enjoys a reputation for being the industry’s only environmentally-responsible fuel tester. This feature greatly appeals to me as a person interested in sustainable products.
A filter allows fuel to drain back into the tank while leaving water behind. I like being able to pour the water onto the ground without worrying about fuel contamination.
This tester can also filter out particulate contamination. Octane recognition is easy with this tester, another benefit I found helpful.
5. Innoquest, Inc. Multi-Sump Aviation Fuel Tester
The Innoquest, Inc. Multi-Sump Aviation Fuel Tester is one of the best, most durable multi-sump testers I’ve found. One of the best features of this tester is not having to dump out the samples in between uses.
I found the tester having a strainer particularly helpful. Anything that helps avoid spilling fuel on the ground is always beneficial.
What is an aviation fuel tester?
A fuel tester allows pilots to inspect fuel, ensuring it is contaminant-free and the right fuel type. Sometimes these devices are called fuel checkers or fuel sumpers.
How is water found in aviation fuel?
There are several methods for detecting water in aviation fuel. However, the most common type of detection involves using a fuel tester.
How do you test aviation fuel quality?
A fuel tester is the best way to check fuel quality, as well as check for contaminants and water.
What contaminant is most common in AvGas?
In any aviation fuel, water is the most common contaminant. Entrained or suspended water is common. Free water takes the form of tiny droplets that settle in the fuel tank.
What contaminant is most common in all types of aviation fuel?
Water causes the most contamination in aircraft fuel tanks. One of the worst threats from water is corrosion in the fuel system components. When temperatures drop, this water can freeze and obstruct many of the parts.