Over the last 9 years, we have hand-picked, purchased, and rigorously tested over 30 unique camping stoves. For this update, the top 14 have been analyzed and ranked to determine the best of the best. From one-pot-magic and sauce-simmering marathons to wind-resistance trials and boil tests, we put each stove through a ton of cookoffs in the great outdoors. When testing, we assess each model for efficiency, performance, and function — taking note of how easy each one is to set up, use, clean, and transport. We have rated each to help you determine the best option for all your culinary camping needs.Related: Best Backpacking Stove of 2021
Best Camping Stove of 2021
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|$151 List||$260 List|
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|$189.95 at Amazon|
|Pros||Large cook surface, powerful, burly, impressive wind resistance, built to last||Three burners, snug windscreen, fast boil time, easy setup, powerful burners||Low profile, lightweight, auto-ignition levers are easy to use, handy carrying case and handles||Wind-resistant, powerful, even cooking, auto-ignition||Compact, flexible fuel hose, easy to clean, excellent simmer|
|Cons||Heavy, bulky, spendy||Awkward and sharp carrying handle, average wind resistance||Very pricey, not the most wind resistant||Unreliable burner regulators, plastic latches on front||No windscreen, fuel stand is separate and could get lost, attachment for fuel hose is flimsy|
|Bottom Line||A durable, wind-resistant stove that features powerful output but also impressive simmering abilities and easy maintenance||A well-designed and powerful 3-burner stove, with easy setup and a relatively trim design||Excellent performance meets compact design with this impressive model, a folding two-burner that fun to use||A high-performing stove as long as the burner regulators don't fail||Slim and sleek, this stove is small but beautifully built and it simmers like a dream|
|Rating Categories||Camp Chef Everest 2X||Outfitter Series 3-...||Jetboil Genesis Bas...||Camp Chef Everest||Primus Kinjia|
|Time To Boil (20%)|
|Wind Resistance (20%)|
|Simmering Ability (20%)|
|Ease Of Set Up (15%)|
|Ease Of Care (15%)|
|Specs||Camp Chef Everest 2X||Outfitter Series 3-...||Jetboil Genesis Bas...||Camp Chef Everest||Primus Kinjia|
|Weight (pounds)||13.97 lbs||7.77 lbs||7.4 lbs w/bag, 6.4 lbs stove alone||12.3 lbs||8.1 lbs|
|Total BTU per burner (from manufacturer)||20,000||25,000||10,000||20,000||10,200|
|Boil Time (1 quart of water, wind from a box fan)||3.5 min||7 min||7.5 min||3 min||8.5 min|
|Boil Time (1 quart of water, no wind)||3 min||3.25 min||4.5 min||2.5 min||4.25 min|
|Cooktop material||Nickel-coated steel||Stainless steel||Nickel-plated steel||Nickel-coated steel||Painted steel|
|Packed Size (inches)||27 x 15.5 x 8.25||23" x 12.75" x 4.3"||9.75" x 4.5" (11" x 6" in carrying bag)||23.5" x 13.5" x 4"||18.5" x 11.75" x 3.5"|
|Cooking surface dimensions (inches)||21" x 9.5"||19.5" x 9.5"||8" x 8.5" (each burner)||19" x 9.5"||17.25" x 6"|
|Burner/flame diameter||4.75"||4.75" (outer burners), 3.25" (middle burner)||3.5"||3.5"||2"|
|Distance between burners (center to center)||12.25"||7" (outer to middle), 14" (outer to outer)||10.5"||12"||9"|
|Number of burners||2||3||2||2||2|
|Type of Model||Tabletop||Tabletop||Tabletop, foldable||Tabletop||Tabletop|
|Mfr. Model Number||MS2HP||212-300-50||GNST||MS2HP||P-350111|
Best Overall Camping Stove
Camp Chef Everest 2X
The Everest 2x is a fresh take on the classic, award-winning stove. Only this time around, Camp Chef upped the ante, making a beefier cousin to the original model. It has a larger cook surface, a nearly seamless windscreen, and excellent simmer ability, despite having an impressive 20,000 BTUs per burner. They even improved upon the previously flimsy latches. With a fast boil time and functional Piezo auto-igniter, this stove is sure to impress even the most discerning camp chefs.
The drawbacks with this stove are fairly negligible unless space, weight, or price are a concern. The revamped Everest 2x is among the bulkier and heavier tabletop propane stoves we tested. It is also fairly spendy; however, it is comparable in price to the other top performers in our review, so we think it is worth it — especially for how durable and wind-resistant it is. If your car camping rig can accommodate a slightly bulkier stove, and you're looking for a powerful companion that will simmer like a boss, then this stove might be the one for you.
Read review: Camp Chef Everest 2X
Best Bang for the Buck on a Tight Budget
Gas One GS-3000
The Gas One GS-3000 is capable of slaying any single-pot meal you're craving, so don't let its slim price tag fool you. This competent single-burner has excellent simmer control, is easy to care for, and is ultra-portable. It's also the lightest model we tested. This stove has just one single burner, but you could buy three of them for almost the same cost as the cheapest dual-burner we tested. In a competitive field, this stove holds its own, scoring at the top of the pack for portability, ease of care, and ease of setup.
The Gas One lacks wind protection and requires butane as its fuel source. Butane may prove more difficult to find than propane, which is widely available. The Gas One is also not as practical as a two-burner stove when cooking for large groups, but using it with another two-burner stove is an affordable way to have three flames at once. This stove is cheap but worthy and would be a great backup stove for a van-lifer or a stand-alone single-burner for the rest of us.
Read review: Gas One GS-3000
Great Value for a Two-Burner
There's nothing special about the simple and straightforward Coleman Classic. It performs well across all metrics and does so at a thrifty price. You can often find it for sale at online retailers for almost half its full retail price. We love the adjustable windscreens, substantial wind resistance, and its convenient packed size. Even with the smaller dimensions, this stove boasts one of the largest available cooking areas of the compact two-burners we tested.
The Classic lacks an auto-ignition system, and getting a perfect simmer is slightly trickier than on some of the other models we tested. The small burners are prone to creating hot spots in the center of larger pans, which is a common trend in small-diameter heating elements. While we enjoy many features of this model, it is not the best we tested. However, it does provide everything you might want out of a camping stove without breaking the bank.
Read review: Coleman Classic
Best 3-Burner Stove
Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner
Even without three burners, the Stansport 3-Burner Stove would be a review team favorite. The snug windscreen improves on a design that has proved somewhat fickle with other stoves. It sets up easily, boils water fast, has two 25,000 BTU burners and a third burner with 10,000 BTUs in the middle. All three burners simmered well, and this stove was among the fastest in our water boiling test. Couple all of this with a Piezo auto-igniter, and you have a powerhouse of a stove, with or without the bonus third burner.
The carrying handle on the underside of the Stansport 3-Burner requires you to carry it vertically rather than horizontally like other stoves — a design innovation that made the stove more awkward to carry. The handle is also rather sharp and digs into your hand while carrying. Despite the snug fit of the windscreen, this stove also performed fairly average in our box fan test. If you look past these fairly minor flaws, it is an impressive all-arounder that can keep up with complex dinner plans or even the fairly average desire to make coffee at the same time as you cook a scramble and make roasted potatoes or bacon.
Read review: Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner
Best for Portability
Jetboil Genesis Basecamp
The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp is stylish, collapsible, and straightforward. Jetboil was very thoughtful and intentional when designing this stove. It is easy to assemble, whether on flat or off-camber ground. It simmers better than many in-home electric ranges and could be lightweight and compact enough for some backcountry expeditions. The Genesis also features the Jetlink accessory port to link with other Jetboil or Eureka-brand stoves to use the same fuel source simultaneously. This stove provides an enjoyable cooking experience while taking up a fraction of the space and weight of a traditional two-burner model.
For most folks, the steep price tag is the main deterrent with this stove, so the Genesis may not be an ideal option for those on a budget. Beyond the price, the plastic windscreen can be inconsistent. On windy days, you can expect to wait longer before enjoying your hot tea or miso ramen soup. These concerns aside, the Genesis is pretty awesome. It's perfect for car campers, van-lifers, and basecamp chefs concerned about space and weight. If the price tag doesn't deter you, scoop up this gem of a stove.
Read review: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp
Best for Group Cooking
Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
The Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner is a professional-feeling, freestanding stove that offers great cooking options at an approachable price. We love the flexibility of the removable legs — use them when you're in a field or the desert and remove them if you have a table or tailgate. The powerful burners are fantastic for cooking up large meals quickly, but they still simmer with ease, and the grate allows for both small pots and large pans. We cooked some perfect eggs and pancakes on the Explorer, all for less money than some of our small, compact models.
The open and exposed design of the Explorer allows the wind to have a larger impact on its efficiency. The burners are far away from your cookware, and gusts of wind can sneak in and extinguish the flame. Because it lacks an ignition feature, you have to move your cookware to relight. The cooking grate also has some generous gaps, so if you prefer to make coffee with a tiny stovetop espresso maker, it may be incompatible with this stove. Additionally, this stove is heavy and, in our experience, prone to rust if left outside. While a big setup like this isn't for everyone, if you've dreamed about having a chef-style gas range for car camping without spending a fortune, this is a great option to consider.
Read review: Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
Why You Should Trust Us
Our camping stove testing team is a solid crew of experienced car campers, foodies, and folks who love to play camp chef. This review is headed up by Mary Witlacil, an avid outdoorswoman who would always choose a dish seasoned with a little bit of trail-spice (aka dirt) over a Michelin five-star meal, especially if it means falling asleep under a blanket of stars. After spending years bike-touring and traveling, Mary traded in her bike cleats and passport for a trad-rack and a pair of climbing shoes. She has spent years dialing in her backcountry cooking scene, from deluxe multi-course car-camping meals to prepping expedition meals for multi-week backpacking trips. This gal loves playing outside almost as much as she loves cooking outside. You'll find her romping around the Western US, climbing cracks and perfecting her backcountry culinary skills.
Our team of accomplished campers and van-lifers isn't just reheating canned soup. These adventurous eaters bring all sorts of fresh food to campsites and trailhead parking lots, making everything from ramen with powdered miso to elaborate multi-course feasts. They went to high altitudes, cooked in lousy weather, and lived out of cars and tents for months to analyze the best camping stoves available.
Related: How We Tested Camping Stoves
Analysis and Test Results
Over the course of months, we tested the stoves in our lineup head-to-head to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Our reviewers weighted each testing metric based on its importance for the function of the stove. For instance, our review heavily weights the parameters for time to boil and wind resistance because these functions speak to a stove's ability to perform well in outdoor settings. By contrast, our review team maintains that portability is somewhat less critical than stove performance, which is why we weighted this metric less. Despite being weighted less heavily, we still evaluated each stove's portability in case this is one of the more crucial variables for you to decide which one to buy. The additional metrics used to determine each stove's overall score include simmering ability, ease of setup, and ease of care or clean-up. We distinguish between different testing criteria to enable you to make an informed decision based on each model's strengths and weaknesses.
Related: Buying Advice for Camping Stoves
The world of camp stoves includes an incredible amount of options across a wide price range. Thus, it's essential to consider the value of the product you are purchasing. Attributes and features that are essential for one person may not matter to someone else. If all you care to eat while camping is ramen or mac and cheese, then an efficient and lightweight single-burner is perfect. But if camping season means a big group of friends and multi-course gourmet meals, then a larger freestanding two- or three-burner stove makes sense if the cost works within your budget. We know that price is a major determining factor when choosing what model to buy, so finding something that strikes the essential balance between stellar performance and a fair price is key.
While the Coleman Classic did not earn the top marks in our tests, it is sufficient for most car campers, and the price tag makes it an alluring option. If you want to go big, the Camp Chef Explorer is large, powerful, and surprisingly affordable. The GSI Selkirk 540 is another example of a stove that strikes a good balance between affordability and performance. However, if you just want a single-burner for one pot-meals or boiling water and don't mind slower boiling speeds, the Gas One GS-3000 is a great butane stove at a fraction of the cost of other stoves in our review. Between performance and cost, only you can decide which aspects to prioritize.
Time to Boil
Time to boil and wind resistance are our most heavily weighted metrics. Theoretically, the more power a stove has, the better it boils, and the more efficient you can be when you slay your camp feast. What became apparent during our boil tests, however, is that BTU ratings aren't everything.
To test boil time, we time how long it takes for each stove to boil one quart of water in a no-wind environment. The reigning champion in this test is the Camp Chef Everest which boiled a quart of water in only 2.5 minutes on one of its two 20,000 BTU burners. There was a two-way tie for the silver medal, both of which boiled a quart of water in just 3 minutes without the presence of wind. The first is another stove with two 20,000 BTU burners, the Camp Chef Everest 2x, and the other is the Stansport 3-Burner with two 25,000 BTU burners and a third 10,000 BTU burner (we tested its boil time on one of the 25,000-BTU burners). Even though all our large freestanding models had 30-35,000 BTUs per burner, they could not boil water as efficiently. Some of them came close, but only without the presence of wind. We'll go into more detail below, but there is an apparent correlation between reliable wind resistance and faster boil times, which is why these are the two most heavily weighted metrics in our review.
The large 5" burners on the Camp Chef Pro 60X and the Camp Chef Explorer are surrounded by so much open space that they are noticeably more affected by the wind. The flame is farther away from the cookware on big camping stoves such as these, so despite having the highest BTUs, they didn't win all the boil tests — though, for the most part, they did perform quite well. The impermeable burner design of the Everest and the Everest 2x made a clear difference with wind protection, allowing for faster boil times regardless of the circumstances.
As noted above, lower BTUs don't necessarily result in slower boil times if a stove boasts well-crafted wind resistance and the burner sits close to your cookware. However, the combination of less power and poor wind resistance or lack of a windscreen did lower ratings in this category. Slower boil times may not matter to you if you tend to boil water in a separate device like a Jetboil or if you prefer to simmer your dinners and don't care about a raging flame. We heavily weighted the metric for boiling time because a faster boil generally means quicker meals, faster coffee, broader versatility, and more efficient fuel use. However, the importance of this metric depends on your cooking style and preferences.
We conducted all of our boiling tests at elevations of 5-7,000 feet using either an enclosed tea kettle or a stainless steel pot with a lid, with one quart of 70 degrees Fahrenheit tap water.
Wind resistance is tricky to test, as you can't call on the weather gods to deliver the same rate of wind for every cooking scenario. Despite this, we consider this a critical metric to consider alongside boil time because it can greatly impact the stove's performance. If a stove doesn't have sufficient wind protection, even the smallest breeze can affect output. This change in output can take an otherwise pleasant cookout and turn it into a frustrating and inefficient disaster.
To test this metric in a controlled manner, we tested boil times in the same garage, but this time we positioned a box fan 24" away from each stove. Then, we put the fan on the lowest setting and timed how long it took to boil a quart of 70-degree water in the presence of "wind." While this test cannot directly replicate the variability, intermittence, and multi-directionality of wind gusts in the real world, it does give us insight into how each model performs in the presence of constant wind. When scoring this category, we also considered our real-world experiences cooking on windy days at camp. What is abundantly clear is that high BTUs don't necessarily correlate to faster boil times. By contrast, stoves with comparatively lower BTUs that feature tight, well-sealed windscreens and burners situated close to the cooking grates did much better in both our wind resistance and boil tests. This is most evident with the freestanding models that boast 30-35,000 BTUs per burner but provide little-to-no wind protection. These stoves need to crank out much more power to compete with the compact models that feature better wind resistance. Because of how low the burners sit below the cooking surface on these models and the subsequent physical space left open around the flame, they tend to struggle in windy environs.
Our top performer in this category is the Everest. It has the essential balance of higher BTUs — 20,000 per burner — and a smart, compact design. With nearly seamless windscreens and 20,000 BTUs per burner, the Everest 2x also performed impressively well in both the box fan test and cooking at windy campsites. There is a reason this stove has become a review-team favorite. Another stove that fared surprisingly well in this category is the Selkirk 540 — despite only having 10,000 BTUs per burner, it did well in the box fan test and in the field, which is a testament to good design and implementation.
Unsurprisingly, models that don't come equipped with a windscreen had considerable trouble. We also noticed that the powerful freestanding models did great with the constant "wind" simulated in our box-fan test, but when used at windy campsites, these stoves struggled to resist breezes that could circulate from every angle and direction. Real wind challenged these stoves because they have an open, airy design around the burners, which means wind can swoop in and extinguish the flames, requiring (potentially constant) relighting.
When a stove design lacks wind resistance, there is little you can do aside from using your vehicle as a wind shelter or building up a wind barrier with rocks. However, in certain cases, you can make a windscreen from an aluminum bake dish or purchase a basic aluminum windscreen like the kind that comes with a backpacking stove. This is a great way to up the efficiency of the single burner butane stoves in our review like the Gas One GS-3000 or the Eureka SPRK+. These windscreens are inexpensive, lightweight, flexible, and are a great way to increase your stove's performance on windy days.
In our box fan test, most of the stoves in our review boiled water in 7 minutes or less, but there was a significant difference between boiling times with and without the fan. The Everest and the Everest 2x had the least variability between the two tests, each taking only 30 seconds longer with the fan than without it. The Pro 60X also did well in the fan test, adding only 1 minute to its time. However, it's important to consider this in conjunction with how the Pro 60X performed in the real world, where wind would extinguish the flame multiple times in a single cooking session. The Selkirk 540 also did notably well in the fan test, adding only 1.5 minutes to cooking time in the simulated test but proving far more wind resistant than the Pro 60X in the field.
People often overlook a stove's simmering ability in favor of BTU power, but this metric is a critical aspect of a camping stove's functionality. In the simmering category, the models that performed the best included the Everest 2x and the Stansport 3-Burner. Other noteworthy mentions include the Everest, Explorer 2-Burner, and Eureka SPRK+ Butane. The flame power on all but the SPRK+ is impressive (at 20,000-30,000 BTUs per burner). Even more impressive is how these stoves proved nimble enough to deliver a consistently low flame for simmering rice, sauces, or delicately cooked scrambled eggs. The Everest 2x and the Stansport 3-Burner had better simmer control than some electric ranges in home kitchens.
Even if you don't plan to cook fancy detail-oriented meals, simmering is a crucial metric to consider. A stove's ability to be proficient at low heat also means better fuel efficiency, which equates to more long-term bang for your buck. If you need a lower flame and your stove can't simmer, you'll rage more quickly through your fuel canisters or propane tank. You'll also have fewer scorched pans and more flexibility in timing if you can achieve a good simmer. Maybe you have a curry that's way ahead of your rice — a low simmer allows you to keep a dish warm without overcooking while you wait for your rice to cook. Other models that impress us in this category are the SPRK+ Butane and the Genesis Basecamp. These stoves performed admirably in this category, owing to their lower overall power output. However, simmering is not necessarily a make-or-break category for most people. If you decide to go with a stove based on other metrics and still need to simmer, you can always use a heat diffuser to create distance between the flame and your cookware. A heat diffuser could be a great option for the Selkirk 540 when you want to cook rice or dial back the temperature on a stew.
Ease of Set Up
While car camping stoves are easier to set up than their old-school liquid fuel backpacking counterparts, some are more intuitive than others. The easier the product is to use, the more likely you will be to use it. The clear champions in this category are the single-burner butane stoves — the SPRK+ and the GS-3000 — because the directions for use are printed right on the stoves, and there are fewer steps to get your stove in action. Such easy access to directions makes it super easy for a new user to jump in and help out if needed. For setup, place your butane canister in the fuel compartment, flip a switch to lock it into place, and then turn the knob to self-ignite. Super fast. Super easy.
The Primus Kinjia also garnered top marks in this category because this is the only compact 2-burner we tested with a pre-attached fuel hose, so no fussing with screwing a metal adapter in place. It also comes with a unique stand to prop the fuel bottle up at the correct angle after you screw it into the hose. A benefit of the system is you can then set the fuel bottle in a different location as long as it's in range of the hose. A potential issue is that it's a separate piece that can get lost.
The Genesis Basecamp is another notable model in this category. To set up this stove, simply unfold it, attach the fuel line, press the convenient auto-ignition levers, and you're ready to go. We appreciate the design of the fuel line because the fuel adapter threads are visible and are much easier to sync up. This design is a vast improvement on stoves with a recessed adapter port where the fuel adapter pairs with hidden threads. Instead of blindly threading the adapter into the port, the two attach visibly, which reduces the likelihood of cross-threading. The only reason this cleverly designed stove didn't score higher for ease of setup is that the windscreen attachment is somewhat unwieldy.
If you're in the market for a low-fuss freestanding stove, the Explorer 2-Burner is worth checking out. While not as easy as a small compact model, the legs are optional on this stove, so if you have a table or tailgate, setup requires nothing more than attaching your large propane tank to the hose and lighting the giant burners.
Ease of Care
Most manufacturers of car camping stoves recognize the stoves will get filthy and that most campers will not want to do anything about it while in the field. As such, nearly all the stoves in our review are pretty low maintenance and easy to clean. That said, there are some noteworthy differences between the various models.
Of the stoves in our review, the Explorer 2-Burner requires the least maintenance because it has fewer parts to contend with and is black (the most filth-friendly color), making care and cleaning super easy and straightforward. Secondly, the burners are the only obstacle between food and the ground. The freestanding bottomless design ensures food or grease buildup is a thing of the past. However, when using this stove, you have to be extra-vigilant to pick up any food that falls on the ground to ensure you aren't leaving a food trail to attract critters, bugs, or bears. If you prefer a freestanding stove with a drip pan, the Pro 60X could be an option. That said, it is one of the trickier models to clean. There is a thin metal sheet beneath the cooking grate and burners that prevent food spills from landing on the ground. Food bits accumulate here until you unscrew a special hook on the left side and remove the grate, which cannot just be lifted out like most compact two-burner stoves. Once you've done this, everything is accessible and easy to clean, but it's a pesky step. However, if you want a big stove and prefer to clean a drip tray over picking things up off the ground, this is a fair tradeoff.
Many of the other compact models in our review scored well in this category. Most of them are built to meet similar maintenance goals, and cleaning is as easy as lifting off the cooking grate to wipe underneath. However, on most models, the drip tray is not removable, or there are holes in the drip tray where food and grease can fall beneath. The SPRK+, Kinja, and Gas One GS-3000 are easy to maintain because you can fully remove the drip pan to clean every internal component. The Selkirk 540 ranks high for having a sealed drip-tray with a removable grate, making it easy to clean and easy to avoid having food fall into the unreachable zone beneath your burner.
A key function of a car camping stove is portability. However, not all camp stoves are equally portable. They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and weights. Portability won't matter for some, but for folks with smaller cars or space constraints in a built-out van or truck, this is a critical element to consider. Storage space is an important consideration, but you also want to keep in mind usable burner space, which will ensure you have enough space to use your favorite pots, skillets, or other accessories.
Both the Gas One GS-3000 and the SPRK+ scored favorably in this category due to their compact, lightweight design and because they both come with a plastic carrying case. The GS-3000 weighs just 4.1 lbs and is 14" x 12" x 3.5", while the SPRK+ weighs slightly more at 4.94 lbs with its plastic carrying case or 3.49 lbs for just the stove, and it is only slightly less compact than the GS-3000 at 15.3" x 13" x 3.6".
Another review team favorite is the Basecamp, which measures just 9.7" in diameter and 4.5" high by itself, or 11" x 6" in its handy carrying bag. The storage bag includes a pocket for stashing the fuel adapter, and the flexible plastic windscreen wraps around the interior perimeter of the bag. Bag or no bag, transportation with the Basecamp is a breeze; after folding the stove, there is a handle on the bottom that tucks away when not in use. The cherry on top is that it weighs a mere 7.4 pounds, bag and all, making it a ridiculously lightweight option for a two-burner car-camping setup.
While they did not earn top marks in this category, the Everest and Eureka Ignite Plus are worth mentioning here. Both are wider than all the other compact two-burners in our review by at least two inches. You probably won't be too upset by sacrificing a couple of extra inches of storage space in the back of your rig. However, you will probably notice the extra cook space on these ranges when you want to use your largest cookware to whip together a big group meal. The windscreens on the Ignite Plus are also shaped to provide some extra width, a detail we appreciated.
With a prolific array of car camping stoves to choose from, picking a model to buy is no easy task. First, you need to decide how many burners you want. Then, whether you prefer a freestanding or tabletop design, and what camping cookware or accessories you need to perfect your camp kitchen. Each of these decisions depends on available space, the cookware you plan to use, and how many people are cooking. Hopefully, our rigorous testing and thorough review will help you sort through the options to find the stove best for you, your budget, and your appetite.
— Mary Witlacil