Hands-on Gear Review

Coleman Classic Review

The Classic is a simple and straightforward two-burner that provides everything you need for basic meals at a very nice price.
Coleman Classic
By: Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2018
Price:  $80 List  |  $45.89 at Amazon - 43% Off
Pros:  Affordable, fuel adaptor threads on easier than other stoves, windscreens are adjustable, compact dimensions
Cons:  No auto-ignition, lower BTUs, small burners can cause hot spots
Manufacturer:   Coleman
64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Time to Boil - 30% 6
  • Wind Resistance - 25% 6
  • Simmering Ability - 15% 6
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Ease of Care - 10% 7
  • Portability - 10% 8
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Best Buy Award

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 boiled water fine, blocked the wind, and simmered our sauces. On top of that, it's simple to set up, lightweight, and packs down to a compact size. We also loved the adjustable windscreens, which allowed us to widen the cooking surface a bit to accommodate a larger pan. All in all, we felt that this was a great no-frills option for the budget shopper which is why we awarded it one of our coveted Best Buy awards.

However, if you want to keep costs down even more, consider checking out our other Best Buy winner, the Gas One GS-3000. This single-burner option performed well across the board and retails for only $31. If one burner doesn't seem like it will be enough, you could get two Gas One's and still be ahead of the game.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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While the Coleman Classic isn't fancy or feature-rich, it did everything we needed it to do in a timely and proficient manner. It didn't have the highest BTUs or boiling times, but for $80 (or often much less) this little gem satisfies 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 our slower times for straight up boiling, finishing a quart of 60-degree water in 4:50 and 50-degree water in 5:10. But, as discussed in the next section, compared to other models it was on the faster side when any wind was present.


Good choices were made in the design process of this stove, allowing it to remain fairly consistent through all manner of weather variations. Despite just 10,000 BTUs per burner, the compactness of this model helped it 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. The affordable Coleman Classic performed quite decently but wasn't the winner.
We boiled water in all manner of vessels and conditions in order to determine the best models. The affordable Coleman Classic performed quite decently but wasn't the winner.

Wind Resistance


Wind resistance was admirable on this little trooper, though we did notice that a breeze made simmering a bit more challenging.


Many stoves in our review had 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 1.25 minutes more than without the fan. This isn't stellar, but it's decent. For comparison, our Editors' Choice winner, the Camp Chef Everest, completed the challenge in 3 minutes flat.

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 pretty great, though getting down super low was a bit of a challenge, especially on windy days.


When cooking one pancake at a time this stove was fabulous — two or more at a time revealed a hot spot in the center of our 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. Making scrambled eggs was fine if we babysat them, walking away showed us 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 was decent, but not the best. If simmering like a pro is a high priority for you, take a look at the Everest or the impressive freestanding Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner.

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 was simple and straightforward.


While the Classic is pretty much the same as any other stove of this type, the fuel adaptor was noticeably easier to attach to the stove body than many of our other tested models. We also liked the windscreen set up, which involved slotting bobby pin shaped connectors into the stove body. This allowed us to fit slightly larger pans than those that fit on other stoves. Both of these features are also seen on the Classic's cousin, the Triton Plus.

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 removes to allow you to clean the drip tray underneath fully. 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 easily fits in all kinds of vehicles and bike trailers.


While we appreciate the low profile of this stove, none of the compact two-burner stoves are obscene in their weight or packed size. Therefore, portability shouldn't be a deciding factor among such models for most campers. For obvious reasons, though, the single-burners are much more lightweight and more comfortable to carry, and the freestanding stoves are a bear to haul around.

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

Best Applications


The Coleman Classic is best for small groups of 1-4 people and simple meals. This stove doesn't have the BTUs or dimensions to handle a whole lot more than that. But, if your cooking needs are easy and your wallet is light, this model satisfies most needs at a low price. For people who don't camp often, this might be all you ever need. Serious foodies might not be stoked on this model, but most campers will get good use out of this model.

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.

Value


The Classic is only $80, and online retailers often have it for even cheaper (we've seen prices as low as $43). While it wasn't the best in any of our tested categories, it held its own and performed consistently, time after time. 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.

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 up 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

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Most recent review: May 3, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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