Low-cost tubular digesters have been implemented in several developing countries. One of the problems reported from field surveys is that biogas generation that does not meet the user’s expectations. This report provides two reasons for the discrepancy between the biogas generation rate estimated in the design phase and the actual rate measured after construction, due to a lower final hydraulic retention time (HRT). The hydraulic retention time is normally determined from the liquid volume calculated from the cylindrical shape of the bag and not from the trench dimensions. The result is a reduction in HRT of 6%–51%, depending on the dimensions of the trench recommended by various authors. Another factor that is not normally considered is the influence of the biogas pressure on the liquid level inside the digester which negatively affects the liquid volume of the digester, reducing HRT by as much as 15%.