The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Soto Windmaster Review

This lightweight stove is easy to use and will boil water when it's breezy.
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Price:  $65 List | $64.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Light, works in the wind, great piezo lighter
Cons:  Not the most fuel efficient
Manufacturer:   Soto
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 18
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Simmering Ability - 25% 8
  • Time To Boil - 10% 7
  • Ease Of Use - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Soto Windmaster is a superb small canister stove. It's relatively light and has a piezoelectric igniter that works every time. The big pot supports work well with lots of cookware. It simmers well. And should the wind pick up while you're slaving over dinner, fear not, it lives up to its name. There are more fuel-efficient choices in our test, and we wished that the control valve had a bit more resistance, for fine adjustments. We also didn't like having to put on and take off the pot supports. That said, our testing team would still happily take this stove on our next backpacking trip. This model is only bested by the PocketRocket Deluxe from MSR, which is

more efficient with fuel and simmers better.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Soto is not yet as widely known as some of the other brands in this test. However, the Windmaster has been around for a few years and is distinguishing itself as a very high performing small canister stove. Part of its appeal is its performance in the wind. It must be getting noticed because the burner head of the just-released MSR PocketRocket Deluxe looks almost the same…

Performance Comparison


The Windmaster was a favorite that scored just behind the lead stoves.
The Windmaster was a favorite that scored just behind the lead stoves.

Fuel Efficiency


The Windmaster is nothing special when it comes to fuel efficiency. It burned 0.5 ounces of fuel bringing one liter of water to boil in calm conditions. In our 8 - 10mph wind test this stove used 0.8 ounces of fuel to boil one liter of water. The most fuel-efficient stove in our test is the Camp Chef Stryker 200; it used 0.3 ounces with no wind and an impressive 0.4 in front of the fan.

The Windmaster was about average in our fuel efficiency tests.
The Windmaster was about average in our fuel efficiency tests.

Weight


Most of the small canister stoves in our review fall in the 2 - 3-ounce range for weight. The Windmaster is no different, weighing in at 3 ounces (85 grams) for the burner and 4Flex pot support. The included stuff sack adds another 0.5 ounces. It weighs the same as the PocketRocket Deluxe.

Weighing the Windmaster.
Weighing the Windmaster.

Simmering


Simmering is something that anyone who's cooking more than a freeze-dried meal needs. Small canister stoves are generally pretty good at simmering, and so is the Windmaster. Our testers found it could be turned down quite low. So low that it is easily blown out by any disturbance in the ambient air! We would have liked a little more resistance when turning the control valve — a detail that gave the Deluxe an edge. That stove and the Primus Classic Trail were the best simmerers in our review.

A 4 ounce fuel can  lighter  pot grip  burner  and pot support fit snugly in this 1 liter pot.
A 4 ounce fuel can, lighter, pot grip, burner, and pot support fit snugly in this 1 liter pot.

Ease Of Use


The Soto Windmaster is easy to use. Our testers don't like keeping track of parts and prefer stoves that require as little assembly as possible, so we don't like having to put on and remove the 4Flex pot support. Nevertheless, the pot support is big and sturdy and easily handled cookware larger than 1 liter.

The big pot supports on the Windmaster work well with all but the biggest cookware.
The big pot supports on the Windmaster work well with all but the biggest cookware.

The piezoelectric igniter on the Windmaster works every time. We took several trips with this as our only stove and never took a lighter out of our backpack. We wish the piezo on the PocketRocket Deluxe were this good. Our Top Pick Integrated Canister Stove, the Jetboil MiniMo is tied with the Stryker for easiest to use.

The very reliable piezo igniter.
The very reliable piezo igniter.

Boil Time


The Windmaster has respectable boil times. With no wind, it boiled a liter of water in 4 minutes and 10 seconds. In front of the fan blowing 8 - 10 mph it was still able to boil a liter of water, albeit in 8 minutes and 43 seconds, which is impressive. For the first time in our testing, this year we have two small canister stoves that can bring a liter of water to a rolling boil in the wind, this stove and the PocketRocket Deluxe.

Best Applications


The Windmaster is a good stove for all sorts of backpacking trips. Its low weight and reasonable packed size make it a good choice for lightweight trips. Conversely, the big and supportive 4Flex pot supports give it some versatility for group trips or hikers who use a variety of cookware.

The Windmaster burner  4Flex pot support  and storage sack.
The Windmaster burner, 4Flex pot support, and storage sack.

Value


Though it is one of the more expensive small canister stoves in our test (at $65), we think the high performance of the Windmaster makes it a good value. However, we like the PocketRocket Deluxe a bit more, and it's only $5 more.

Conclusion


We like the Soto Windmaster. The solid piezo igniter and pot supports make it easy to use. We wish all the piezoelectric igniters in our test were this reliable. The gourmet cooks amongst us also appreciated the ability to simmer with this unit. However, it was this stove's performance in the wind that impressed us the most. The Windmaster was the first small canister stove we used that could boil water in front of our test fan. Then the PocketRocket Deluxe came along (with a very similar looking burner head) and edged this stove out in a few key areas.

We reached for this stove when we wanted a quick hot drink.
We reached for this stove when we wanted a quick hot drink.


Ian McEleney