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Coleman Classic Review

This is a simple and straightforward two-burner that provides everything you need for basic meals at a very nice price.
Coleman Classic
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $70 List | $43.88 at Amazon
Pros:  Affordable, fuel adaptor threads on easier than other stoves, windscreens are adjustable, compact dimensions
Cons:  No auto-ignition, lower BTUs, small burners prone to hot spots
Manufacturer:   Coleman
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Time to Boil - 25% 7
  • Wind Resistance - 25% 6
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Ease of Care - 10% 7
  • Portability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Coleman Classic is a simple, functional stove available at a very comfortable price. It didn't blow us away in any one category, but it did perform steadily and predictably — an essential trait for any piece of gear, but especially the thing that helps you get coffee and a hot meal. It boils water fine, blocks the wind, and simmers sauces admirably. On top of that, it's simple to set up, lightweight, and packs down to a compact size. We also love the adjustable windscreens, which allow you to widen the cooking surface a bit to accommodate a larger pan. All in all, this is a great no-frills option for the budget shopper, which is why it gets one of our coveted Best Buy awards.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Coleman Classic
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Coleman Classic
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $43.88 at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$124.95 at REI
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$99.99 at REI
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$99.99 at Amazon
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Pros Affordable, fuel adaptor threads on easier than other stoves, windscreens are adjustable, compact dimensionsDurable, wind-resistant, powerful, even cooking, auto-ignitionEfficient, durable, compact, has auto-ignitionNon-slip rubber feet for leveling, large cooking surface, durable metal latches instead of plasticGreat simmering ability, freestanding, legs are removable, powerful burners, tons of cooking space
Cons No auto-ignition, lower BTUs, small burners prone to hot spotsPlastic latches on frontCooks hot, ignitor is sometimes finickyStruggles with the wind, not super powerful, on the heavy sideNo auto ignition system, does not operate on 16oz propane canisters, wind puts out burner easily
Bottom Line This is a simple and straightforward two-burner that provides everything you need for basic meals at a very nice price.This has been an Editors' Choice for more than six years.This compact and well-functioning stove boil quickly, is easy to care for, and won't break the bank.This stove is pretty standard, but does provide a large cooking surface and useful non-slip rubber feet for keeping it level, no matter where your camp kitchen ends up.With high BTUs, a large cooking area, and removable legs, this freestanding stove offers a lot of options for big groups and chef-minded camp cooks.
Rating Categories Coleman Classic Camp Chef Everest GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 Eureka Ignite Plus Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
Time To Boil (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Wind Resistance (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Simmering Ability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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7
10
0
7
10
0
5
Ease Of Care (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Portability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
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6
10
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3
Specs Coleman Classic Camp Chef Everest GSI Outdoors... Eureka Ignite Plus Camp Chef Explorer...
Weight (pounds) 9.8 lbs 12.3 lbs 9.8 lbs 12.0 lbs 30.6 lbs (19.2 lbs without legs)
Total BTU (from manufacturer) 20,000 40,000 20,000 20,000 60,000
Boil Time (1 quart of water, wind from a box fan) 6.25 min 3 min 5.5 min 6.25 min 5 min
Boil Time (1 quart of water, no wind) 4.75 min 2.5 min 4 min 4.75 min 3.75 min
Cooktop material Aluminized steel Nickel-coated steel Nickel-chrome steel Plated steel Cast aluminum
Packed Size (inches) 21" x 13" x 3.5" 23.5" x 13.5" x 4" 21.4" x 12.9" x 3.8" 23" x 12.8" x 4" 32.75" x 14" x 7.75" (height not including legs)
Cooking surface dimensions (inches) 18.75" x 10.5" 19" x 9.5" 17.5" x 9.5" 20.5" x 9.5" 32.5" x 13.75"
Burner/flame diameter 3.5" 3.5" 3" 3" 5"
Distance between burners (center to center) 7.75" 12" 11" 12" 13"
Windscreen? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Piezo Ignitor? No Yes Yes Yes No
Number of burners 2 2 2 2 2
Type of Model Tabletop Tabletop Tabletop, foldable Tabletop, foldable Freestanding
Fuel Type Propane Propane Propane Propane Propane - large 20# tank
Mfr. Model Number 2000020943NP MS2HP 56012 2572195 EX60LW

Our Analysis and Test Results

While the Coleman Classic isn't fancy or feature-rich, it does everything you need a stove to do in a timely and proficient manner. It doesn't have the highest BTUs or boiling times, but for the price, this little gem can satisfy a lot of campers.

Performance Comparison


This simple stove did a great job with every test we threw at it.
This simple stove did a great job with every test we threw at it.

Time to Boil


This stove had one of the slower times for straight-up boiling, finishing a quart of water in 4.75 minutes. But, as discussed in the next section, compared to other models, it was on the faster side with wind present.


Good choices were made in the design process of this stove, allowing it to remain relatively consistent through all manner of weather variations. Despite just 10,000 BTUs per burner, its compactness helps to pack a little punch. If speed is a priority for your boiling needs, however, one option is to pair the Classic with a rapid-boiling backpacking model like the JetBoil MiniMo.

We boiled water in all manner of vessels and conditions in order to determine the best models.
We boiled water in all manner of vessels and conditions in order to determine the best models.

Wind Resistance


Wind resistance is admirable on this little trooper, though a breeze does make simmering a bit more challenging.


Many stoves in our review have a vast difference in time between boiling water on a calm day versus a windy day, but not so with the Classic. This model impressed us with its ability to still function in the wind. We gave each model a box fan test, setting a running fan 24 inches to the side while boiling water. This contender finished the test in 6.25 minutes — just 75 seconds more than without the fan. This isn't stellar, but it's decent.

The Classic has windscreens that can adjust wider to accommodate larger cookware - a small feature that is quite useful.
The Classic has windscreens that can adjust wider to accommodate larger cookware - a small feature that is quite useful.

Simmering Ability


Simmering with this stove is pretty great, though getting down super low presents a bit of a challenge, especially on windy days.


When cooking one pancake at a time, this stove is fabulous — two or more reveals a hot spot in the center of the pan, a pretty typical issue for stoves with small burners. While compact stoves such as this one can fit larger pans, they generally aren't able to heat them evenly. And while making scrambled eggs is fine if you babysit them, if you try to walk away, you'll find that even the low setting on the Classic is a bit high. There also isn't a graphic on the dial to represent flame settings (low to high), but in our experience, these graphics are rarely very accurate on camp stoves. All in all, this model is decent, but not the best.

When cooking one pancake in the center of our skillet  everything was perfect. But using the edges of a larger pan showed that little burners struggle with heating larger cookware evenly.
When cooking one pancake in the center of our skillet, everything was perfect. But using the edges of a larger pan showed that little burners struggle with heating larger cookware evenly.

Ease of Set Up


Just like the other compact two-burners in our review, setting up this stove is simple and straightforward.


While the Classic is pretty much the same as any other stove of this type, the fuel adaptor is noticeably easier to attach to the stove body than many of our other tested models. We also like the windscreen set up, which involves slotting bobby pin-shaped connectors into the stove body. This allows the use of slightly larger pans because you can widen the flaps.

For the most part  if you've set up one camping stove  you've set up them all  but we appreciate that the fuel adaptor on this model is easier to screw in then many other contenders in our review.
For the most part, if you've set up one camping stove, you've set up them all, but we appreciate that the fuel adaptor on this model is easier to screw in then many other contenders in our review.

Ease of Care


Once again, this is as simple a stove to care for as any other one like it.


The top cooking grate is removable to allow full access to the drip tray underneath. There's a hole to nest the fuel adaptor when storing, creating a recess that may collect food bits over time, but nothing major. Wiping down this model after use is fast, and due to its simple design, there isn't much care necessary beyond keeping it clean.

Cook  make a mess  eat delicious food  clean (or not)  repeat!
Cook, make a mess, eat delicious food, clean (or not), repeat!

Portability


Weighing 9.8 pounds with dimensions of 21 x 13 x 3.5 inches, this is a compact stove that can easily fit in all kinds of vehicles.


While we appreciate the low profile of this stove, none of the compact two-burner models are obscene in their weight or packed size. Portability probably won't be a make-or-break issue for most campers. For obvious reasons, though, the single-burner options are much lighter and more comfortable to carry, and the freestanding stoves are a bear to haul around. The Classic hits a sweet spot right smack in the middle.

Pack it up  grab the handle  off you go!
Pack it up, grab the handle, off you go!

Value


The Classic is cheap at full retail price, and online retailers often have it for even cheaper. While it wasn't the best in any of our tested categories, it holds its own and performs consistently. Because of this, we awarded it our Best Buy for a Two-Burner Award. If your camp needs are simple, this is a good model to explore.

One thing of note, however: our model did arrive slightly damaged, with a bent burner and drip tray. It did not seem to affect performance in any way but does make us wonder about the level of quality control practices in place for these inexpensive Coleman models.

For straightforward camp meals and smaller groups  this stove is a great budget option.
For straightforward camp meals and smaller groups, this stove is a great budget option.

Conclusion


Some people need their camp stove to have large dimensions and high BTUs. If that's you, there are many impressive options to read about throughout this review. However, a lot of us just need something to scramble eggs, heat soup, saute veggies, and boil water for coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. If that sounds more your pace, this budget stove is a great option and should serve you well.

Yum! That was a good breakfast - thanks Coleman Classic!
Yum! That was a good breakfast - thanks Coleman Classic!


Penney Garrett