Optimus Crux Lite Review
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|Pros||Lightweight, affordable, easy to use||Ultralight, fuel efficient, affordable, quick to boil even in wind||Good at simmering, simple operation||Tiny, light, cheap||Simmers well, easy to set up, inexpensive|
|Cons||Relatively fuel inefficient, slow to boil in wind, average simmer ability, no auto-ignitor||A bit loud, possibly less durable pot stabilizers||No piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil, bulky, somewhat heavy||Small burner head, poor wind performance, not great fuel efficiency||Slow, heavy, fuel inefficient|
|Bottom Line||A low-fuss, affordable, and lightweight backpacking stove for summer backpacking trips in milder weather||This affordable and fuel-efficient canister stove is also tiny and ultralight, perfect for your next backcountry adventure||This standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky and a bit heavy in your pack||A shockingly small, ultra lightweight, and straightforward backpacking stove at an impressively low price||This inexpensive, heavy, and bulky stove takes a while to boil, but simmers reasonably well|
|Rating Categories||Optimus Crux Lite||Soto Amicus||Primus Essential Trail||BRS-3000T||Coleman Peak 1|
|Fuel Efficiency (25%)|
|Simmering Ability (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Boil Time (15%)|
|Specs||Optimus Crux Lite||Soto Amicus||Primus Essential Trail||BRS-3000T||Coleman Peak 1|
|Category||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister||Small Canister|
|Essential Weight (stove or stove + integrated pot only)||2.7 oz||2.79 oz||4.5 oz||0.9 oz||6.5 oz|
|Trail Weight (stove, fuel, pot)||14.81 oz||14.92 oz||16.63 oz||12.63 oz||18.63 oz|
|Wind Boil Time (1 liter, 2-4mph)||7:54 min: sec||6:30 min:sec||10:10 min||14:45 min:sec||>15 min|
|Boil Time (1 liter)||4:35 min: sec||3:52 min: sec||5:30 min:sec||5:13 min:sec||7:08 min:sec|
|Packed Weight (stove + all accessories)||3 oz||3.5 oz||4.5 oz||1 oz||6.5 oz|
|Dimensions||2.8" x 2.2" x 2.2"||3.9" × 0.7" × 6.5"||4.3" x 2.4"||2" x 1.2" x 1.3"||5.1" x 5.5" x 4.3"|
|Fuel Type||Isobutane, propane||Isobutane||Isobutane||Isobutane||Isobutane|
|Additional Included Items||Storage bag||Stuff sack||None||Stuff sack||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Crux Lite is a lightweight, affordable, and fairly compact canister stove for backpacking in good weather.
The Crux Lite ranked in the middle of the pack for our fuel efficiency tests. The boil time for our wind test was slow (see below for a discussion of the boil tests) and consumed a lot of fuel. In the wind test, the Crux Lite used 0.9 ounces of fuel to boil 1 liter of water with a boil time of 7 minutes 54 seconds in the presence of constant 2-4 mph "wind" produced by a box fan. In the no-wind test, it used 0.5 ounces of fuel to boil 1 liter of water with a boil time of 4 minutes and 35 seconds in a windless environment. The average amount of fuel consumed during these two tests was 0.7 ounces, making it less fuel efficient than the majority of the ultralight canister stoves in our review.
Without the included stuff sack, the Crux Lite weighs 2.7 ounces; with the sack, it weighs 3 ounces. The Crux Lite is lighter weight than its auto-igniting counterpart, the Optimus Crux, however, you will have to carry a lighter or matches to ignite the stove. This weight difference of an added lighter is inconsequential between the Crux and the Crux Lite, as we would still recommend carrying a lighter and/or matches with you as a backup, as auto-ignitors can deliver inconsistent performance.
The Crux Lite was among the top half of stoves in terms of simmering ability. The knob has minimal rebound, so you can dial the stove down sweet and low. The one thing that barred the Crux from earning higher marks is that it has a relatively small burner head, so it didn't effectively diffuse heat when trying to do any more complex cooking than simply boiling water. That said, if you are looking for a lightweight stove to make simple backpacker's meals and coffee, this stove gets the job done.
Ease Of Use
The Crux Lite is among the easiest stoves to use in our review. Simply screw the stove onto a canister, open the regulator, light it, and start cooking. The regulator knob is large enough to use with thin gloves but folds down nicely for storing the stove in your pack.
Akin to similar stoves, the regulator has to be opened a 1/4 turn for the lever to be flush with the stove body. This means you will always want to close the regulator before attaching it to a fuel canister unless you like wasting fuel. Unlike the heavier Optimus Crux, the Crux Lite does not have an auto-ignitor, so you will always need to carry a lighter with you. We don't see this as a deal-breaker, though, because auto-ignitors can be somewhat finicky.
Even with a high-output 12,000 BTU burner, the Crux Lite had only an average boil time in our boiling tests. To evaluate boiling capacity, we test how long each stove will take to boil 1 liter of water in a whistling kettle with and without wind. For the wind test, we boil one liter of water in the presence of 2-4 mph "wind" from a box fan, as measured by an anemometer. In the wind test, it took 7 minutes and 54 seconds to boil one liter of water with the Crux Lite. Then we ran the test again in the absence of wind, sheltered inside our "lab" (aka our garage); in this test, it took 4 minutes 35 seconds to boil one liter without wind. The average boil time over both tests was 6 minutes 14 seconds, which is 1 minute 42 seconds slower than our top contender.
Should You Buy the Optimus Crux Lite?
While other stoves deliver better fuel efficiency, boiling speeds, and simmering ability, the Crux Lite does well enough across the board to merit serious consideration. If you want to save some money while still striking a balance between weight, size, quality design, and simplicity, then this stove is a worthy contender. Beyond the metrics we test for, Optimus is a reputable company that has been designing quality stoves for over 100 years.
What Other Backpacking Stoves Should You Consider?
For the same price as the Crux Lite, you should check out the Soto Amicus, which is a more fuel-efficient and faster boiling option that comes with an auto-ignitor. For top performance at nearly double the price, we can easily recommend the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe. It performs well across most metrics and has one of the fastest boil times while shockingly also being one of the best stoves for simmering. Finally, if money is no object, and you would prefer a stove that is fuel efficient and handles well in the wind, we recommend the JetBoil MiniMo.
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