Hands-on Gear Review

Primus Omnilite TI Review

Primus Omnilite TI
Price:  $200 List | $146.84 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Relatively light, simmers well
Cons:  Requires lots of maintenance, expensive
Bottom line:  An otherwise fancy stove with a crucial weak link.
Editors' Rating:   
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Boil Time (1 liter):  7:03 min:sec
Trail Weight:  11.5 oz
Packed Weight:  27.7 oz
Manufacturer:   Primus

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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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ian McEleney

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 24, 2017

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Primus is a stove company with a long history that pioneered many early backpacking stove innovations. While the Primus 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


The The Omnilite Ti used 0.7 oz of white gas to boil 1 liter of water. The top liquid fuel stove, the Whisperlite used 0.6 oz. The Jetboil Flash led this category, using only 0.2 oz of isopropane canister fuel to bring 1 liter to boil.

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.

In our 8 - 10 mph wind test this stove used only slightly more fuel (0.8 oz), beating the MSR Dragonfly (1 oz) and again falling just behind the Whisperlite (0.7 oz).

Weight


The Omnilite fared well against other liquid fuel stoves in weight. Its trail weight is the same as the Whisperlite, though it has the more complicated feature set of the heavier Dragonfly. The lightest stoves we tested were the MSR Pocket Rocket 2, JetBoil MiniMo, and Snow Peak Gigapower, as can be expected.

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 (and the Dragonfly) certainly do simmer, and do so more easily than the Whisperlite they do 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, especially the Primus Classic Trail or the MSR PocketRocket.

Boil Time


The Omnilite was one of the slower stoves in our boil time test. The Whisperlite was slightly faster and the Jetboil MiniMo was much about three minutes faster.

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.

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 fist discovered the problem after a day or so of use. The pump cup was misshapen and we had to reform it. It required regular attention (more so than the Whisperlite or Dragonfly) 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 the Whisperlite or trying to keep them folded up as with the Dragonfly. The pot supports are tied with those of the Dragonfly for the biggest in our review. This stove comes with an 11 oz Primus fuel bottle and seems to be compatible with MSR fuel bottles. 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.

Best Applications


This stove is best suited for longer expeditions and melting snow. Want something less finicky than a liquid fuel stove? Try the Editors' Choice award-winning MSR Pocket Rocket 2. Want a white gas burner with a legendary reputation? Look at the MSR Whisperlite.

Value


Our testers are not convinced this stove is a good value. It multi-fuel capability gives it some good versatility, but we think most backpackers would be better served by a slightly more specialized and far less expensive option.

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

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Most recent review: May 24, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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