Primus Lite+ Review
Cons: Heavy for its volume, frustrating control knob
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lite+ walks a strange line between being fresh and new and stuck in the past. With just a few improvements, this could be a great stove but, as it stands, it feels pretty average.
The Lite+ is pretty darn fuel-efficient for an integrated canister stove, a category known for fuel-efficiency. In our windless test, it sipped just 0.2 ounces of fuel to bring 0.5 liters of water to boil, just behind the others of its kind. In our 2 - 4 mph test, it used the same amount of fuel, significantly less than the competition! We think this is due to the way that the burner head and piezo igniter are recessed in the overall burner design.
With a 14.1-ounce trail weight, the Lite+ is on the heavy side for integrated canister stoves. This is especially true considering that it's only available with a 0.75-liter pot, so its weight is not an apples-to-apples comparison with the other integrated stoves we tested, most of which have 1-liter pots. Its small size does mean that it takes up less space in your pack than stoves with 1-liter pots.
The Lite+ is ok at simmering. While we got the flame quite low, it felt like the valve had a bit of "spring" in it, returning to a higher level once we let go of it. This made getting the flame low more time-consuming than it needed to be.
Ease Of Use
This stove has some of the best pot and burner mating of the integrated canister stoves we tested. Instead of the typical dimple and groove design, there's a wire integrated into the burner that firmly grips the pot. We were never worried about picking this stove up when it was running.
The piezoelectric igniter lit the stove on the first try about 50% of the time. It did eventually light every time, though sometimes that took 6 or 7 pushes.
The handle on the pot cozy of the Lite+ flips over the lid and hooks on the other side. Combined with the included cord, it makes hanging this stove really easy. This is the only stove in our review that comes with all the odds and ends necessary to hang it, a nice touch in a big wall or alpine setting.
Our testers were surprised by the tiny and old-fashioned control knob. Wire control knobs have been on the scene for over a decade and are found on every other stove in our review that wasn't made by Primus. Backpackers need to be attentive when using the Lite+ because once it becomes a volcano of boiling water, it's difficult to turn it down without scorching your fingers.
The Lite+ had uninspiring boil times. It spent 3 minutes and 31 seconds bringing 0.5 liters of water to a rolling boil in windless conditions and 4 minutes and 37 seconds in our 2 - 4 mph wind test. If these numbers seem a lot lower than those of the other stoves in our comparison chart, remember that this pot has a lower capacity, and so we used less water in our test. Other stoves were tested with a full liter of water.
We don't think this stove is a bad value. However, we also don't think it's a great value. Stoves that are lighter or perform better cost less.
The fuel efficiency, pot/burner mating, and simple hanging system of the Primus Lite+ seem like advancements that other stove companies should be watching. Some of its other attributes, however — like its weight and the tiny control knob — are blasts from the past that we were surprised to see. It's not a bad stove, but our testers were underwhelmed when they compared it to other integrated stove offerings.
— Ian McEleney