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Optimus Crux Lite Review

A low-fuss, affordable, and lightweight backpacking stove for summer backpacking trips in milder weather
optimus crux lite backpacking stove review
Credit: Optimus
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Price:  $45 List
Manufacturer:   Optimus
By Mary Witlacil ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 10, 2022
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 21
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 5.0
  • Weight - 25% 8.0
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0
  • Boil Time - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

While the Optimus Crux Lite is not the best stove in our review, it does strike an excellent balance between affordability, weight, and performance. It is a straightforward and easy-to-use canister stove that can boil water fast enough for most backpacking applications. While it had an average performance in our fuel efficiency, boiling, and simmering tests, it is more affordable than many of the top-ranked stoves in its class. If you are looking for a simple, compact, and lightweight stove for backpacking — without breaking the bank — this could be a decent option for you.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Affordable
Easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Relatively fuel inefficient
Slow to boil in wind
Average simmer ability
No auto-ignitor

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, affordable, easy to useUltralight, fuel efficient, affordable, quick to boil even in windGood at simmering, simple operationTiny, light, cheapSimmers well, easy to set up, inexpensive
Cons Relatively fuel inefficient, slow to boil in wind, average simmer ability, no auto-ignitorA bit loud, possibly less durable pot stabilizersNo piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil, bulky, somewhat heavySmall burner head, poor wind performance, not great fuel efficiencySlow, heavy, fuel inefficient
Bottom Line A low-fuss, affordable, and lightweight backpacking stove for summer backpacking trips in milder weatherThis affordable and fuel-efficient canister stove is also tiny and ultralight, perfect for your next backcountry adventureThis standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky and a bit heavy in your packA shockingly small, ultra lightweight, and straightforward backpacking stove at an impressively low priceThis 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%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
2.0
3.0
Weight (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
5.0
Simmering Ability (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Boil Time (15%)
5.0
7.0
4.0
2.0
1
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
Piezo Igniter? No Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Crux Lite is a lightweight, affordable, and fairly compact canister stove for backpacking in good weather.

Performance Comparison


optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - the crux lite is a great option for fast and light missions in the...
The Crux Lite is a great option for fast and light missions in the backcountry.
Credit: Jared Ross

Fuel Efficiency


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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - while the stove produced a lot of heat, and performed well in the...
While the stove produced a lot of heat, and performed well in the field, it had average performance in our fuel efficiency tests.
Credit: Jared Ross

Weight


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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - the stove packs down almost as small as our lighter. with a...
The stove packs down almost as small as our lighter. With a lightweight titanium pot and small fuel canister, we hardly noticed it in our pack.
Credit: Jared Ross

Simmering Ability


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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - the crux lite simmered decently, but where it truly shined was with...
The Crux Lite simmered decently, but where it truly shined was with boiling water quickly for coffee or simple meals.
Credit: Jared Ross

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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - the regulator knob curves around the stove body when stored away...
The regulator knob curves around the stove body when stored away, but when folded out it is large enough that we never struggled to use it.
Credit: Jared Ross

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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - this stove packs down small and even comes with a burly stuff sack...
This stove packs down small and even comes with a burly stuff sack to protect your hands if you need to break down the stove before letting it cool.
Credit: Jared Ross

Boil Time


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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - in the "lab" this stove had sluggish boil times, but in the field it...
In the "lab" this stove had sluggish boil times, but in the field it always got our water boiling quick enough that we hardly noticed the difference.
Credit: Jared Ross

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.

optimus crux lite backpacking stove review - the crux lite isn't our top performing stove, but it gets the job...
The Crux Lite isn't our top performing stove, but it gets the job done for fast and light trips in the backcountry.
Credit: Jared Ross

Mary Witlacil
 
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