The Best Camping Stoves of 2017
Campground chefs, if you're looking for a camping stove, you picked the right site. We evaluated 50+ top stoves before testing the 11 best head to head. We assembled a team of veteran camp cooks and green rookies to try out each model over the course of three months. From car camping to backyards to road trips, each product had to prove itself in cook-offs and boiling tests. We went through dozens of eggs, pounds of bacon, and scores of breakfasts and dinners to find out which ones truly simmer, handle large and hungry groups, and resist gusts of wind. Whether you're recreating Top Chef behind your RV or keeping the budget low next to your tent, this in-depth review helps you identify the right stove for you and your camping crew.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Updated August 2017
To keep your camp stove flames burning through the rest of Summer and into Fall, we updated this review mid-2017. New to the stove pack is the Gas One GS-3000, which takes over as our new recommendation for budget camp chefs. It's the easiest model we tested to transport, a cinch to clean, and sets up in seconds. And a heads up on our Editors' Choice winners: the Stansport 2-Burner and Camp Chef Everest. The Stansport edged ahead in scoring, but it was too close to call just one The Best. Also, the Stansport may be discontinued soon, so grab it while you can.
The Stansport 2-Burner joins the reigning champion for two years running, the Camp Chef Everest, in winning our Editors' Choice Award. It was an incredibly close score, with the Stansport performing a smidge better in our simmering test, 5,000 more BTUs per burner. But, both this and the Everest are great which is why they both get top honors. The Stansport handles fine tuning and low cooking like a boss, boils quickly, and fights back against windy conditions. Across the board, the Stansport landed at the top of the group, with high scores in every category we tested. Recently, Stansport announced that this stove will be discontinued: get it while you can or nab the Everest.
Master of the simmer
Quick to boil in wind or none
Minor difficulty turning the ignitor
Read Full Review: Stansport 2-Burner
Also One of The Best
Camp Chef Everest
For four years running, the Everest has been an Editors' Choice winner. This year, it's no longer the highest scoring stove because the Stansport is a little better at simmering and has more BTU's. That said, the performance of these stoves is so close and excellent, we give them both top honors. Note that the Everest is sometimes listed by its model name as the Camp Chef MS2HP.
Performs in windy conditions
No hot spots
Umm Can't find one!
Read Full Review: Camp Chef Everest
Best Bang for the Buck on a Tight Budget
Gas One GS-3000
Our new Best Buy winner is the Gas One GS-3000. It knocks the Coleman Butane Instastart from its perch as our former winner with speedier boiling times, less weight, and easier care and transportation. It just has a single burner, but you can buy three of them before you spend the amount of the cheapest dual-burner in this review. This model is fully capable of any single-pot meal you have on your mind to put in your stomach, so don't let its tiny price tag fool you. In a field of fierce competition, this model holds its own, scoring at the top of the group in packed size, ease of care, and ease of set up. It lacks protection from the wind and is not intended to be used for large groups, but using it in addition to another two-burner stove grants you an affordable way to have three stove tops going at once. It costs only $31, and it's worth every single one.
Great flame control
Price is right
Lightweight yet sturdy
Lacks a windscreen
Poor performance of butane canister in freezing conditions
Read Full Review: Gas One GS-3000
Top Pick for Group Cooking
Camp Chef Pro 60
The Pro 60 was the largest stove we tested, so it's no surprise it took the win for group cooking. With powerful burners that can be finessed down for extremely low simmering, combined with a windscreen and oxygen regulators for combating the breeze, as well as two large side tables that fold out for prep space, it's almost like you're cooking indoors in a real kitchen. The tradeoff for all this luxury is a hefty price tag and the fact that the stove weighs a whopping 47 pounds and has a bit more involved setup. However, if you find yourself on large group camping trips often and you have the capability to set up and stay a few days, this could very likely be the stove for you.
Fold-out side tables for prep
Requires five-gallon propane tank
Has pieces that do not pack into the stove
Read Full Review: Camp Chef Pro 60
Top Pick for Expandability
Eureka Spire LX
We needed a special award for the clever Eureka Spire LX. As far as fun added features that are available for the stoves we tested, this one takes the pancake. The Spire LX boasts a JetLink accessory port that allows the chef at hand to either connect another Eureka stove or a JetBoil and run it all off the same fuel source. No more waiting around for water to boil before you can start breakfast in earnest. With this setup, you can do it all quickly and easily, with a stove that performed well across the (test metric) board.
Good wind resistance
Easy to clean
Ability to attach another stove or JetBoil
Carrying handle is shallow and uncomfortable
Read Full Review: Eureka Spire LX
Analysis and Test Results
There are several important questions to consider before buying. In a nutshell, you will want to start by considering whether a car camping stove (like the ones in this review) or a backpacking stove will better suit your needs. You should also think about how many people you typically need to cook for, how often you camp, and what the conditions of your favorite camping locations are (elevation, wind, etc.). Addressing these questions will significantly improve the likelihood of being satisfied with your purchase. For a more in-depth look into these matters, check out our Buying Advice article.
Before diving into our Best-In-Class review, here's some additional information on the scoring criteria we used to evaluate each stove. Each performance metric was weighted based on importance in our effort to calculate the final scores. For example, the most important metric, "Time to Boil," has a weighting of 25 percent, while the metrics we've determined to be less important, like "Packed Size," are only weighted 10 percent. Weighting aside, breaking down the metrics in this way helps you decide which categories are most important to you and which product will ultimately best meet your needs. Simmering, wind resistance, group cooking, ease of care, and ease of setup were among the additional metrics we based our testing on.
Time to Boil
Time to boil was the most heavily weighted metric we used to rate the products in this review. Generally speaking, the more power a model has, the better it boils, and the more efficient of a cooking experience one would (hopefully) have. What became apparent during our boil test, however, is that BTU ratings — surprise! — weren't everything.
We had a tie for first place between the Stansport 2-Burner and the Camp Chef Everest. Both stoves boiled a quart of 60-degree water in two and a half minutes and a quart of 50-degree water on a breezy day in three and a half minutes. The Stansport 2 Burner has two 25,000 BTU burners and the Everest has two 20,000 BTU burners. Despite the fact that the Camp Chef Pro 60 has 30,000 BTU burners and the Stansport Outdoor Stove boasts 35,000 BTU burners, they just couldn't boil as fast (though the Pro 60 was close if there was no wind present).
The large 5" burners on the Pro 60 and the 5.5" burners on the Stansport Outdoor were surrounded by so much cooking surface area that they were much more easily affected by the wind. The flame is also physically farther away from the cookware on those big stoves. The compact design of the Stansport 2-Burner and the Camp Chef Everest made a difference with wind protection, allowing for much faster boil times.
The slowest contender in the boil test was the Coleman Butane Instastart. With only one 7,650 BTU burner and no wind guard, this didn't come as much of a surprise. A simple aluminum windscreen would greatly help the efficiency of this model. It's a cheap addition that would easily fit inside the handy case that comes with the stove. And it's worth mentioning that despite this stove coming in at the bottom of the pack for this test, it still boiled a quart of 60-degree water with no wind in just 5 minutes and a quart of 50-degree water on a cooler, breezier day in 7.25 minutes. The Coleman Triton and the Gas One also struggled to boil water efficiently and came in near the bottom of our fleet.
All our boil tests were conducted at elevations of just over 5,000 feet.
Often overlooked in favor of BTU power, simmering ability significantly contributes to the usability and functionality of a camping stove. The ability for a stove to be proficient at low heat also means better fuel efficiency, which equates to more bang for your buck over the long term. In the simmering category, our Editors' Choice, the Stansport 2-Burner, took the win, just barely beating out the reigning champ, the Camp Chef Everest. The flame power on this Stansport is impressive for its compact size, with only 5,000 fewer BTUs per burner than the giant Camp Chef Pro 60. But unlike the larger models we tested, the Stansport 2-Burner was able to tame down its power and simmer with finesse and grace. We were able to slow cook sauces and fry eggs easily and with confidence, much like you would on a gas range at home.
The stove with the poorest simmering capability by far was the Coleman Hyperflame Fyrecadet. This stove ran hot hot hot! We were a bit surprised by this because you can turn the flame down very low (to the point it's hard to tell if it's even still on), but the stove still cooks hard and fast. It also didn't seem to ever cook evenly, despite the wide sturdy burners. During one testing session, we tried to cook raw sausage patties and ended up with a hard char on the outside of raw meat and a pan so burnt it required an extended soak to get clean.
When it comes to cooking for a crowd, bigger is better. So it's no surprise that the Camp Chef Pro 60 was our clear winner in this category. With two large 30,000 BTU burners and a fold-out prep table on each side, there's by far enough space and power on this stove to meet all your cooking needs. The cooktop over the two burners is a continuous grate, making it easy to shuffle around pots and pans of any and all sizes.
The grate is also tight enough to accommodate very small cookware like a Bialetti (a small stove-top coffee maker) or a tiny pot. The side trays are what sets this stove apart for group cooking, as they provide invaluable space for prep, and storage while cooking. If you find yourself frequently camping and cooking with large groups, this stove is highly recommended. Otherwise, the weight, size, and price of this model probably don't make sense, and you should go with a more compact design.
Another group cooking option is to use an affordable one-burner like the Coleman Instastart or Gas One models, along with a compact two-burner of your choice. This allows two or more people to cook at once and will likely take up less space in your vehicle during transport. By itself, the single burners scored the lowest in the group cooking category. But with prices right around $30, they make a fantastic addition to own, and you won't end up paying hundreds of dollars to lug around a giant stove. If you have a bigger group, bring it; if you don't, you can leave it at home!
The Eureka Spire LX is another compact option with lots of potential for group cooking. With the additional purchase of a JetLink Accessory Hose, you can hook up another Eureka stove and run both of them off the same fuel source, literally doubling your available cooking area. You can alternatively purchase the Luna Satellite Burner that allows you to attach a JetBoil. Neither of these is a cheap option, however, with the JetLink hose retailing for $39.95, and the Luna Burner for $59.95 (not including the JetBoil Flash itself).
Ease of Setup
While car camping stoves are typically much easier to set up than their backpacking counterparts, some are more user-friendly than others. We chose the Coleman Butane Instastart and the Gas One GS-3000 as the winners in this category in no small part because the directions for how to get them up and running are printed right on the lid. This makes it super easy for a new user to be able to jump in and help out if needed. And all these two stoves require for setup is placing the butane canister in the fuel compartment correctly, flipping a switch to lock it into place, and then turning the knob all the way past high to self-ignite. Very fast and easy.
A close second in this category was the Primus Kinjia. The Kinjia was the only stove we tested that had an already attached fuel hose; this stove required no fussing with screwing a metal elbow into place, which is nice, especially if you have cold fingers! It comes with a special stand to prop up the fuel bottle at the correct angle after you screw it into the hose. The nice thing about this is that you can set the fuel bottle wherever you'd like within the bounds of the hose. The potential issue is that it's a separate and important piece that could get lost.
The size of the Camp Chef Pro 60 made it the most involved stove to set up. It has multiple parts that come separately (propane hose, leg stabilizer, and windscreen) and it's big and bulky. The 47-pound stove has to be flipped over to fold out and secure the legs. The manufacturer recommends tightening the hose for the propane tank with a wrench, which isn't included. On top of this, we had an issue with one of the barrel nuts (that connects the side tray table) falling out. Reattaching this barrel nut requires not one, but two Allen wrenches. There is a lot to potentially contend with here. If you want a stove of similar size that's much easier to set up, consider the Stansport Outdoor Stove instead.
Ease of Care
Most good car camping stoves are engineered with the assumption that they are going to get filthy and that you aren't going to want to do anything about it right away. What this means is that they tend to be pretty low maintenance and easy to clean. That said, we did notice some big differences between the various models. By far the most low-maintenance stove was the Stansport Outdoor Stove. Its construction is such that beneath the cooking grate only the burners stand in the way of food hitting the ground. So when, inevitably, food flies out of your skillet, it will hit the ground instead of collecting at the bottom of your stove. This aspect could potentially be seen as a negative if you're camping in a place like Yosemite, where the less food to hit the ground, the better. Additionally, the entire stove is painted black, the most filth friendly color.
The Camp Chef Pro 60 was one of the most involved models to clean. Unlike the Stansport Outdoor, there is a thin metal sheet beneath the cooking grate and burners that prevents food spills from landing on the ground. Food bits accumulate here until you unscrew a special hook on the left side and remove the grate (it cannot just be lifted out like most two-burner stoves). Once you've done this, everything is accessible and easy to clean, but it's a bit of a pesky step.
At the bottom of the pack for Ease of Care was the Primus Onja. While this stove is cute as a button, it has lots of bells and whistles that do not appear to be as durable as we would have liked. The base of the stove is covered in black fabric that, though removable via tons of Velcro, is bound to get messed up and possibly burned, given enough time. On top of that, there is a removable shoulder strap and a non-removable packing strap that holds in an oak cutting board — a cool feature for sure, but both of these things get dirty and stretched out quickly, as well as often being in the way. Finally, the paint around the burners is white — after our very first use, the paint was irreparably burned black from the heat of the burners.
Wind resistance is tricky to test, as you can't exactly order up the same wind for every cooking experience. And when it does crop up, it can significantly interfere with the performance of a stove. Even the smallest bit of wind can drastically affect a flame and its efficiency. What became clear to us in assessing this metric is that, despite the 60-70,000 BTUs available on our bigger models, wind resistance suffered due to a lack of adequate wind protection from, primarily, the significant amount of physical space between the cookware and the burners. Our top two performers in this category, the Stansport 2-Burner and the Camp Chef Everest, had the essential balance of high BTUs (50,000 and 40,000 respectively), as well as a compact design.
The Coleman Instastart and Primus Onja struggled in this department. These are the stoves with the lowest BTUs, no windscreen, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise. One of the tests we gave the stoves to attempt to measure wind in a more controlled manner, was to set up a box fan 24 inches to the side of each stove, and run it continuously on low — while trying to boil water. The Instastart took a whopping 21.5 minutes to complete the task, and we gave up on the Primus Onja after 27 minutes and waning fuel.
At least in the case of the Coleman Instastart you could supplement your own windscreen, but with the funky tall and narrow design of the Primus Onja, this isn't nearly as feasible. Others that struggled with this test were the Coleman Triton, clocking in at 15 minutes, the Gas One GS-3000 at 13 minutes, and the Stansport Outdoor at 9.5 minutes. All of the other stoves made it through the box fan test in 8.5 minutes or less, with the Camp Chef Everest and Stansport 2-Burner hardly being phased, taking only 15 to 60 seconds longer than without the fan (remember, however, that the fan was set up on the side — results would be different for wind coming from the front, or wind that was constantly changing directions).
Our winners for packed size were the first the Gas One model, then the Coleman Instastart and the Primus Kinjia, as noted in the chart below.
The Gas One packs up the smallest (14 x 12 x 3.5 inches) in its handy plastic case and weighs the least (4.1 lb). Instastart comes with a similar lightweight plastic suitcase, measuring 14.25 x 12 x 4.5 inches, while the sleek and slim Kinjia design is a mere 18.5 x 11.75 x 3.5 inches. All have obvious, accessible handles and are just plain easy to store away in your car and carry around.
No shocker, the giant Camp Chef Pro 60 scored the lowest on packed size. Disassembled, this stove's dimensions are 33 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches. The windscreen and leg stabilizer do not pack inside the stove, so these items have to be transported separately. Add in the fact that this stove weighs 47 pounds, and you don't have the most easily transportable stove. But hey, you'll burn off a few calories lugging it around before you cook all that food.
There are many different accessories to go with camp stoves, from cookware to griddle attachments. Some that we recommend looking into are the Camp Table with Legs 32 and the Camp Chef Two Burner Carry Bag. A camp table can come in very handy if you are planning on cooking up an awesome meal away from the comforts of a picnic table. And a carrying case helps keep everything compact and in one location, while also keeping it all protected.
Check out the Camp Chef Deluxe Outdoor Oven or the Stansport Steel Outdoor Stove and Oven if you want to bake cinnamon rolls or cookies while the rest of your meal cooks (no, we're not kidding!), as well as the various grills and griddles available from Camp Chef that you can add to the top of the Camp Chef Pro 60.
As mentioned above, Eureka has some very cool accessories, namely the Jetlink Hose and the Luna Satellite Burner, add-ons that allow you to hook up another stove or a JetBoil and run it all off the same fuel source.
The Coleman Hyperflame Fyrecadet trademarked Swaptop design allows you to unclip the burner grate it comes with and replace it with any other Swaptop accessory, such as the Coleman Roadtrip Swaptop Cast Iron Griddle. And Primus makes some lovely, though not cheap, utensil sets such as the Primus Campfire Prep Set and the Primus Campfire Cutting Set.
With an extensive assortment of camp stoves on the market to choose from, making a final decision about what type to buy is no easy task. Deciding how many burners you want, whether you want a free-standing or table top design, what potential accessories you may want to add to your set upů All these choices depend on the number of people you plan to camp with and cook for, the available packing space in your vehicle, the cookware you plan to use, and your basic needs as a camp chef. Hopefully, our thorough testing will help you sort through the options and find the stove that is best for you and your needs. If you still need guidance on how to choose, please read through our Buying Advice article.
— Penney Garrett
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