The Best Camping Stove Review

We took nine of the top camping stoves and put them in side-by-side tests in both our gear lab and campgrounds across the Western US. We looked for which stove was best for small groups as well as families. We found a number of surprises: the BTU rating alone does not tell you how fast it boils water, the simmering ability of stoves varies widely, and its not just price that determines quality. Below we go into detail on what is the best camp stove for each application. Be sure to see our complete Camping Stove Buying Advice for a detailed look at how to buy a camp stove.

See also our related Backpacking Stove Review.

Read the full review below >

Review by: Chris McNamara and Devin Chance May 2, 2012

Top Ranked Camping Stoves Displaying 1 - 5 of 9 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #7 #5 #2 #1 #8
Product Name
GasOne
GasOne
Read the Review
Video video review
Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner
Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner
Read the Review
Video video review
Stansport Outfitters Series
Stansport Outfitters Series
Read the Review
Video video review
Camp Chef Everest
Camp Chef Everest
Read the Review
Video video review
Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner
Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner
Read the Review
Video video review
Editors' Awards    Best Buy Award  Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award   
Street Price $22
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$50
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$66
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Varies $110 - $121
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $90 - $120
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50% recommend it (1/2)
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100% recommend it (2/2)
Pros Incredible simmering, inexpensive, light, easy to findGood value, light, easy to clean.Boils water fast, great size for most camping situations: not too big or small, great wind protection.Powerful burners, generous cooking area for a compact stove, good flame control.Powerful burner, great wind protection, easy to find fuel
Cons Boils water slowly, can be hard to find butane canisters, no wind screen, you burn through lots of fuel cans (lots of waste)Not as big a cook surface or as fast a boil time as other stoves.We wish the propane regulator was built in or at least more convenient to store.Propane regulator rattles around when stored inside the stove.Difficult and time-consuming to start, hard to turn completely off, left burner can never burner hotter than right.
Best Uses Very short camping trips for just a few people, side stove to bigger stove during big group trips, home cooking, emergency use.Camping trips with 1-4 people a few times a year.Most camping situations for 2-6 people. Cold or warm weather.Most camping situations: cooking for 2-6 people for 2-6 days.Ideal stove for nostalgic campers who want liquid gas or camping in extreme cold
Date Reviewed Apr 02, 2012Mar 31, 2012Apr 16, 2012Apr 04, 2012Mar 31, 2012
Weighted Scores GasOne Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner Stansport Outfitters Series Camp Chef Everest Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner
Group Cooking - 15%
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Time To Boil - 25%
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Cooking Simmering - 20%
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Ease Of Set Up - 10%
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Ease Of Care - 10%
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Wind Resistance - 10%
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Packed Size - 10%  
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Product Specs GasOne Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner Stansport Outfitters Series Camp Chef Everest Coleman Dual Fuel 2-Burner
Total BTU (from manufacturer) 7,000 20,000 50,000 40,000 14,000
Number of burners 1 2 2 2 2
Top material stainless steel
Packed Size (inches) 13.5 x 3.5 x 11.5 21 x 4 x 14 23.5 x 4.25 x 13.5 23.5 x 4.25 x 13.5 24 x 8 x 17
Weight (pounds) 3.3 10.8 12.11 12.9 10
Cooking surface dimensions (inches) 9 x 10 10 x 17 10 x 20 10 x 20 10 x 16
Avg Boil Time 5:00 4:50 2:30 2:30 3:30
Fuel Type Butane Propane Propane Propane
Piezo Ignitor Yes Optional Yes Yes No

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



Group Cooking
Click to enlarge
we really loved the folding side tables on the campchef pro; they were always in use and are easy to clean with a towel or sponge if they get dirty.
Credit: Devin Chance

The runaway winner for best stove for group cooking is the Camp Chef Pro 60. It has the biggest grilling surface, is self-supporting, has sturdy side trays and powerful burners. This stove frees up valuable table space and does the cooking wherever is most convenient or wind-protected. Right behind it is the Camp Chef Yukon, which is the same stove without the side trays (you can buy them separate for $60). Also, the Yukon does not have built in legs. Instead, you have to carry them in a separate bag and attach them. Not a big deal, but we much prefer the built-in legs on the Pro 60 that have the added benefit of keeping the stove at a comfortable height.

One big benefit the big Camp Chef Stoves is their big burners their flames were like mini camp fires. When we were too lazy or not able to have a camp fire, our group could circle around the stove and roast marshmallows. This does not work with the compact two burners that have a big lid, are usually set up on a table, and have relatively tiny-sized burners that do not congregate the group.

The best more compact two-burner stove is a tie between the Camp Chef Everest and Stansport. Neither has nearly the cooking area of the Pro 60, but they have much more cooking area than the typical compact two-burner stove. They are also easy to clean.

Time to Boil
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The powerful 30,000 BTU burners on the Camp Chef Pro 60 stove
Credit: Devin Chance

Four stoves all boiled water about equally fast: The Everest, Pro 60, Yukon and Stansport. All boiled a liter (about a quart) of water in two and half minutes with 55 degree water in 55 degree temps. If we had to choose a water boiling champion it would be the Everest or Stansport just because they boiled water faster once it got windy. The Coleman Duel-Fuel also boiled water surprisingly fast, despite its low BTU numbers (7,500 compared the the Pro 60's 30,000). It taught us that its not just about BTUs.



Simmering
Most of the stoves we tested had difficulty simmering as well as a home gas stove. In general, we found that camp stoves do a great job at operating at full blast and not as well at simmering at very low heat. The one exception is the GasOne, which had incredible flame control at low heat. Because it is so light and cheap, we recommend bringing one along on a camping trip if you do feel like cooking for extended periods at low heat. It also helps spread out the cooking and allows two people to help out.

Ease of Setup
The GasOne was by far the easiest stove to set up: press the safety lever and turn the flame control to the auto-start position. That's it. Most other compact two-burner stoves were less easy than the GasOne and about equally easy among themselves. You need to attach the propane regulator and then attach the propane. The big self-standing stoves are not hard to set up, but they are heavy, require selecting the right location, then carrying the propane tank.

Ease of Care
The easiest stove to care for is the Bayou Double Burner. There is no pan under the burners to keep clean. Everything falls to the ground. The other stoves all require occasional cleaning of the metal under the burners. Not a big deal. But it is the type of job nobody ever volunteers for and we found our same food crumbs made it on multiple camping trips.

Wind Resistance
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The wind screens in action in Joshua Tree. We Attached our big propane tank to the Coleman PerfectFlow and noticed it increased its boiling speed by 10-20%.
Credit: Devin Chance

All the compact two-burner stoves were about equally wind resistant. They have good-sized lids that can block the main wind source with generous side wind shields. The big free standing stoves were not as wind-resistant and we often found the flames blowing out if we had the flame at a low level. The upside of the big free-standing stoves is that you can move them to a wind protected spot (against a boulder, behind a tree, next to the car). With the compact two-burner stoves, you have to generally put them on a picnic table that is not protected from the wind.

Packed Size
By far the most compact stove is the GasOne. It is almost light enough to take on a short backpacking trip. Next up was the Coleman PerfectFlow that is not only light and compact, it has a built-in handle that makes it easy to transport. The Everest and Stansport are compact but not light. The big free- standing stoves take both a lot of space and heft to move around. The upside is that they have a lot of storage space in the actual stove (if it is clean yeah, right) for the propane regulator, camp towels, lighters, etc.

The Bottom Line
There are two winners of best camping stove because both stoves are nearly identical: The Camp Chef Everest and Stansport Outfitters Series. Both stoves had incredible burners that boiled water noticeably faster than the typical two-burner stoves we were used to. They have generous cook areas for a compact table-top stove and had good simmer control. Which one should you get? Both are so similar that we have to say, get the one you can find at the best price.

The Best Buy award goes to the Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner. It did not perform as well as the two stoves above, but it works adequately, is light, and can often be found for less than $50. It is very easy to transport and perfect for a few camping trips a year and for groups of 2-4.

The Top Pick award goes to the Camp Chef Pro 60, which is the best stove for group cooking. Got a group of eight or more? This is the stove to get. When we brought this stove with big groups, we never bothered to pull out the compact two-burner stoves.

To see a list of all of our favorite camping gear, check out our Dream Camping Gear List.

Chris McNamara and Devin Chance
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