Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Good value, light, easy to clean.
Cons: Not as big a cook surface or as fast a boil time as other stoves.
Best Uses: Camping trips with 1-4 people a few times a year.
The Coleman PerfectFlow is one of the best values in two-burner stoves. It performs well, has reasonable BTU burner output, is light, and is very easy to use and transport. We think of it as the perfect stove for 2-4 trips a year, for 2-4 people, for 2-4 days. It gets our Best Buy award.
If you want a stove with more BTUs, better simmer control and a larger cook surface, we highly recommend the Camp Chef Everest or Standsport Outfitters Series (the stoves are nearly identical). These stove are $50-70 more expensive but much higher performing in our test.
If you want the ultimate in group cooking and burner output, get the Camp Chef Pro 60.
Check out our full Camping Stove review where we compare top camping stoves in side-by-side tests.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Time To Boil
This stove is in the middle of the pack for boiling time. It is not nearly as fast as the Camp Chef Everest or Pro 60. But it's no laggard, either. As long as you are not boiling water for 10 people's coffee and oatmeal, this stove performs well. It has two 10,000 BTU burners which, while respectable, is only half the Camp Chef Everest BTU output.
There are high expectations with the name like PerfectFlow. It does seem to have better simmer control than past models we have tested. However, the lowest simmer setting is not nearly as low as GasOne or the Camp Chef Pro 60. This is not the ideal stove for extended periods of cooking on very low heat.
The model we tested did not come with the InstaStart. So you need to keep a butane lighter handy. We recommend one with a long handle so you can light under a pot if the flame blows out. The InstaStart model will run you another $10-15, which we think is generally worth it as long as it lasts. We read a lot of reports of finicky InstaStart mechanisms. However, we have the auto-ignite button on our Coleman Grill Stove InstaStart and it has never failed us.
This is an ideal stove for 1-4 people. If you have more than 6-8 people, we recommend a bigger stove like the Camp Chef Yukon. Between 4-6 is a tough call. Due to the windshields and lid, you can't fit very big pots on this stove. By comparison, the Stansport or Everest have more cooking area and better accommodate large pots.
If you are going to cook for more than four people for more than a few days, we highly recommend an attachment hose (typically $20) to connect a five-gallon propane tank to your stove. Read why in our Camping Stove Buying Advice article.
Ease of Setup
This is one of the easiest stoves to set up. The wind screens pop out and are secured in seconds. It has a one-button latch that makes it fast to set up and put away. However, we have read reports that over time this plastic button can fail and the stove pops open. We have not punished our stove enough to find out if this is an issue. This handle means you don't have to touch the metal on the stove if you get the version with the InstaStart.
This stove has the same minor annoying problem as many compact two-burners: no place to conveniently store the propane regulator when traveling. You can put it under the grill plate, but then it rattles around. So you need to bring a small rag or camp towel to wrap it in. But if the towel is too big, then the lid won't close.
Another issue with the regulator is that it sticks out eight inches, which takes away more of your cooking space. This is a problem with just about all the two-burner stoves we tested. Only the GasOne is really compact, along with the free-standing models like the Camp Chef Pro 60.
Ease of Care
Easy grate removal makes for easy cleaning. There are no sharp edges, which makes it easy to get out the grime.
This stove is among the most wind-resistant we tested due to the bomber wind shields. It's easy to create a nearly wind-free environment when facing the back of the stove to the wind. The only downside is that the bobby pin attachments for the wind screens seem to quickly loose their spring. We have not had the wind disengage the wind screen yet, but it seems like a possibility.
This stove has a relatively small pack size and is very light weight. The kids can help you unpack this one from the car where as most other stoves are bigger and not as easy to carry. It is the only stove we tested with a generous carry handle built into the stove.
The Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart 2-Burner is the same stove with an auto-ignite button for an extra $20. You can also check out the Coleman Grill Stove InstaStart for $110 or the Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner, $120.
We highly recommend the Coleman Hose and Adapter, $27, for connecting this stove to a 5-gallon propane tank. Find out why in our Camping Stove Buying Advice article.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 31, 2012
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