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Primus Omnilite TI Review

An otherwise fancy stove with a crucial weak link.
Primus Omnilite TI
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Price:  $200 List | $145.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Relatively light, simmers well
Cons:  Requires lots of maintenance, expensive
Manufacturer:   Primus
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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40
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 19
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 3
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 1
  • Time To Boil - 10% 3

Our Verdict

For a liquid fuel stove, this contender is reasonably fuel efficient and fairly light. It also simmers well, once the regular liquid fuel stove fiddling was accomplished. However, the pump cup, made of leather, was a continual source of problems for our testers and cast a shadow over the stove's better attributes. The Primus Omnilite Ti comes off as pretty advanced at first, but it has an old-fashioned Achilles heel.


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Primus Omnilite TI
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Primus Omnilite TI
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $145.97 at Amazon$64.95 at Amazon$69.95 at REI$99.95 at REI
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$49.95 at REI
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Pros Relatively light, simmers wellLightweight, works in the wind, great piezo lighter, very stable for small canister stoveWorks in the wind, great for simmering, best of the bestCompact, light, fast boil time, stable, insulated potLightweight, easy to use, good at simmering, piezo igniter
Cons Requires lots of maintenance, expensiveNot the most fuel efficient, pot supports pack up separately from stoveUnreliable piezo igniterSmall pot size, not versatileA bit heavier and bit pricier than the competition
Bottom Line An otherwise fancy stove with a crucial weak link.This lightweight stove is easy to use and will boil water when it's breezy.This simmering champ can also perform in the wind.This basic model still has all the frills, and is a great value if you want to boil water immediately.This stove does everything well.
Rating Categories Primus Omnilite TI Soto Windmaster MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Jetboil Flash Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0
Fuel Efficiency (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Weight (25%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Simmering Ability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
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1
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
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7
Time To Boil (10%)
10
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3
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
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3
Specs Primus Omnilite TI Soto Windmaster MSR PocketRocket... Jetboil Flash Snow Peak...
Category Liquid Fuel Small Canister Small Canister Integrated Canister Small Canister
Trail Weight 11.5 oz 3.0 oz 3.0 oz 12.3 oz 3.0 oz
Wind Boil Time (1 L, 2-4mph) 9:02 min:sec 7:24 min:sec 7:20 min:sec 5:18 min:sec 15 min
Boil Time (1 liter) 8:11 min:sec 4:42 min:sec 3:39 min:sec 4:10 min:sec 5:53 min:sec
Packed Weight 27.7 oz 3.5 oz 3.5 oz 15.7 oz 3.9 oz
Dimensions (inches) 4.5 x 3.6 x 2.2 in 4.7 x 3.9 x 3.6 in 3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 in 4.1 x 7.1 in 4.2 x 2.6 in
Fuel Type White gas, kerosene, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane
Additional items included Multi-tool with cleaning needle, windscreen, heat reflector, 0.35L fuel bottle, burly storage bag Stuff sack, pot support Stuff sack 1L pot, canister stand, plastic cup Plastic case
Piezo Igniter No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Primus is a stove company with a long history that pioneered many early backpacking stove innovations. While the Omnilite Ti makes some improvements but doesn't deliver in a few key areas, including the pump.

Performance Comparison


Priming the Primus. The responsive control valve made it easy to avoid flare-ups with this stove.
Priming the Primus. The responsive control valve made it easy to avoid flare-ups with this stove.

Fuel Efficiency


In our no-wind test, the The Omnilite Ti used 0.6 oz of white gas to boil 1 liter of water. In our 2 - 4 mph wind test this stove used the same amount of fuel.

Primus versus the fan. Note that getting the tightest windscreen wrap (for best performance) means trapping the valve control in with the burner.
Primus versus the fan. Note that getting the tightest windscreen wrap (for best performance) means trapping the valve control in with the burner.

Weight


The Omnilite fared well against other liquid fuel stoves in weight. Its trail weight is 11.5 oz (326 grams). It weighs about the same as most other liquid fuel stoves, though it has one of the more complicated feature sets. The lightest stoves we tested were the small canister stoves.

The Omnilite burner  windscreen  and reflector fit in our 2.5 liter pot with room to spare.
The Omnilite burner, windscreen, and reflector fit in our 2.5 liter pot with room to spare.

Simmering


The Omnilite is one of several liquid fuel stoves that are designed to simmer better than their brethren. We used it on an expedition to make pancakes and also to thaw frozen chicken before turning the stove up and frying it. While it certainly does simmer, and does so more easily than the other liquid fuel stoves, it does not simmer as easily or well as a small canister stove. If simmering is important on your backpacking trip we recommend any of those stoves.

Ease Of Use


The pump cup of the Omnilite is made of leather. Rubber is the more modern material found in the pump cups of all MSR liquid fuel stoves. Our testers had problem after problem getting the leather pump cup to do its job and pressurize the fuel bottle sufficiently. We first discovered the issue after a day or so of use. The pump cup was misshapen and we had to reform it. It required regular attention after that. This was a big disappointment, we really wish Primus would replace it with a rubber pump cup.

The troublesome leather pump cup could not hold its proper shape.
The troublesome leather pump cup could not hold its proper shape.

We did grow fond of the quick and easy deployment of the legs of the stove. There was no wrestling the legs into place as with some of the other models. The pot supports are among the biggest in our review. This stove comes with an 11 oz Primus fuel bottle. The stuff sack that comes with the stove is spacious and made of very heavy duty material. The Omnilite can burn white gas, automotive fuel, diesel, kerosene, and also isopropane canister fuel.

The 7 inch spread of these pot supports accommodate all cookware.
The 7 inch spread of these pot supports accommodate all cookware.

Boil Time


The Omnilite was one of the slower stoves in our boil time test. Though we don't think differences in boil time of a minute or two are particularly important, this stove is a bit slower than the liquid-fuelled competition.

The angled shape of the cutout in the windscreen does not allow for good coverage without covering up the valve control. Our testers think making a square shaped cutout is an ideal DIY project for this stove.
The angled shape of the cutout in the windscreen does not allow for good coverage without covering up the valve control. Our testers think making a square shaped cutout is an ideal DIY project for this stove.

Value


Our testers are not convinced this stove is a good value. Its multi-fuel capability gives it some good versatility, But there are other liquid fuel options that sport the same versatility for less. Heck, for the list price of this stove you could purchase a good liquid fuel stove and a good small canister stove (on sale).

Conclusion


The Primus Omnilite Ti has good simmering capability, is fairly light, and its multi-fuel capability makes it versatile. It could be the best liquid fuel stove in the review except for its old-fashioned and finicky leather pump cup, which makes the most basic function of a backpacking stove - heating water - difficult.


Ian McEleney