LAST UPDATED: October 13, 2019
Best Camping Stoves: Prepare a Dish Anywhere
Cook all your favorite meals in the great outdoors with these powerful camping stoves
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON October 13, 2019
If you are planning a camping trip, you don’t have to live off nuts, dried fruit, and canned food the entire time. You can bring the comforts of home to the great outdoors by purchasing one of the best camping stoves. They allow you to cook and heat up meals quickly and conveniently. We list some of the top camping stoves to consider before setting off into the wilderness.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Camping Stoves
- Portability: Camping stoves are designed to be taken anywhere and placed on any non-flammable flat surface. Most fold up small and are easy to take along on a camping or road trip, even a tailgate party.
- Variety: You no longer have to stick to roasting hot dogs on a stick while enjoying nature. Anything you can cook on a stove at home can be cooked on a camp stove.
- Convenience: Camping stoves are easy to start, easy to use, and easy to clean. They run on butane or propane, so you don’t have to rely on having dry wood and a fire pit for a campfire to cook dinner.
Types of Camping Stove
Backpacking style camping stoves offer the ultimate in portability. These small burners screw on top of a fuel cell and provide plenty of cooking power for backwoods expeditions. Most are capable of using several types of fuel cells, so finding a backpacking stove that works for you should be easy.
Stand-style camping stoves are an excellent choice for heavy use at a semi-permanent site. Comparable to a BBQ grill in its setup, a stand grill is at home at a tailgate party or in a campground while cooking meals for several people at a time. They usually feature an open-top style, so cleaning them is simple.
Tabletop versions of the camping stove are self explanatory. These versions often pack up into the size of a briefcase, and are placed on flat surfaces like a picnic table or rock. Some manufacturers market collapsible stands to accompany these stoves, making them ideal for a range of scenarios.
Coleman was founded in 1900 and is headquartered in Chicago, Ill. The longtime camp gear supplier produces a wide variety of products for outdoor enthusiasts, and offers several camping stoves including this Coleman Portable Bottletop Propane Camp Stove with Adjustable Burner.
This Cache Valley, Utah based company has been around since 1990. Camp Chef produces a complete line of products for the outdoor cook, making it possible to produce a meal on par with any indoor kitchen. Check out this Camp Chef Pro60X Bundle.
Another Utah company, Blackstone Products in Logan was founded in 2005. They also produce a wide range of products for cooking in the great outdoors. Products like this Blackstone Single Burner Camp Stove are an ideal addition to the campsite.
Camping Stove Pricing
- $50 and under: This range includes mostly single burner, backpack-style stoves, but some double burners can be had. They’re smaller and more portable and offer flexibility for getting off the grid.
- $50 to $100: There are lots of choices in this range, from high-tech backpackers to powerful tabletop styles. You’ll also start seeing stand-type stoves in this range.
- $100 and up: Tailgate party, here we come. Once you break the $100 mark, stand stoves and tabletops come with more bells and whistles for convenience and ease of use.
Variable Flame Output
It’s important that the stove that you choose has the ability to control flame output. You won’t cook a steak at the same temperature you’d cook pancakes, so having the ability to alter heat output is key. Most stoves regulate temperature by use of a valve but make sure your choice comes with quality valves that allow accurate adjustments.
Most stoves have the ability to run on butane and butane-propane mixes, but some may only fasten to certain bottles or fixtures. It’s important to get a stove that allows flexibility when selecting fuel because you could find yourself in a situation where only one type is available. If your stove is fuel-type-specific, you may be out of luck.
Outdoor kitchens can be as customized and personal as their indoor counterparts. Having a stove from a company with a wide range of products and accessories available for it may be important. Accessories like stands, tools, and modular add-ons are a nice feature if your stove’s manufacturer can support them.
- Safety: There are a lot of products available that may appear affordable at first. It’s important to consider how well these products are made and if saving a few dollars is worth it. Our recommendation is to purchase from a well-established company that has a history of making quality products so you know they’ll be as safe as possible.
- Intended Use: Stand-style stoves are excellent for a seasonal campsite or the aforementioned tailgate party. They aren’t convenient for a backwoods hunting trip or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. A backpack style would serve better for those applications. Think of what you intend to use your stove for the most, and choose the right style.
Best Camping Stove Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove is our Best Overall pick for camping stoves. The Explorer is a stand-style stove in a compact design that allows for increased portability.
The stove offers 60,000 BTUs and variable heat output. Portability and capability are the Camp Chef’s main focus. The Camp Chef Explorer features detachable legs, making it a stand-style with lots of flexibility. Also, the built-in windscreen protects the food and flames on breezy days. It also features heat controls, so dialing in the proper temperature for a post-hike meal should be quick.
The Explorer has some downsides, however. Its legs feel flimsy. That’s not great when you’re flipping burgers for a large party. Also, a lot of the hardware is plastic, and the hose is rubber, causing some users to feel the build quality is lacking. We’re guessing these were sacrifices made in the name of portability.
This portable stove comes in two pieces. You mount the base on the bottom of a 16.4-ounce propane cylinder and then attach the burner to the top.
A regulator with an on/off control knob helps you control the 10,000 BTU burner. The base of this stove has tip-resistant feet that create a diameter of 7.5 inches, which makes the stove stable and secure while cooking. The flame control on this stove is exceptional. You can turn it low to create a gentle simmer or on high for a rolling boil.
Unfortunately, this stove has a problem with leaking gas. Some of the plastic parts may not fit perfectly onto the propane tank, which can lead to leaking gas even when the valve is in the “off” position. To check this, you need to buy a propane cylinder, since one doesn’t come with the stove.
Next is the Coleman Gas Camping Stove, which features a classic design and is the original tabletop-style camping stove. It produces 20,000 BTUs of heat, has two separate burners, and folds up easily.
The Coleman Camping Stove has some nice built-in features. When the stove unfolds, it provides a windbreak on three sides. It also features pressure control technology to increase performance if the weather doesn’t agree with your culinary plans. The grills are chrome plated for easy cleaning, and the large cooking surface accommodates most cookware.
Although the Coleman comes with pressure control technology and individually adjustable heat controls, the controls are very touchy and make dialing in the proper temperature a challenge. Also, considering its large footprint for a tabletop stove, it probably would’ve benefited from some type of leveling system. As it’s built, you’ll have to deal with your eggs and pancakes running to one side of the pan if your campsite isn’t level.
You will notice Coleman on our list a few times because the company understands how to design high-quality camping stoves and gear. Its PowerPack Propane Stove comes with a single burner capable of holding a 12-inch pan.
The stove releases plenty of heat and produces 7,500 total BTUs of power. Coupled with its pressure-control technology, the stove delivers constant heat outdoors. Minus a strong wind gust, you should be able to cook with the stove without any issue outside. It runs up to three hours on a 16.4-ounce propane cylinder and is constructed out of a chrome material, so it’s strong and sturdy.
The major thing you should worry about is the propane cylinder, as it is not included with the stove. It’s also only 16.4 ounces, which means its three-hour runtime is quite short. Also, there is no flame control so you can’t simmer anything.
Coleman’s Portable Bottletop Propane Gas Stove is similar to our previously-mentioned model, but it’s a bit stronger. The stove is capable of producing up to 10,000 BTUs and comes with a pressure regulator that helps it maintain consistent performance in windy conditions.
The small single burner is able to hold an 8-inch pan and is completely adjustable. Another benefit is its weight. As it is designed to be carried with you on your journey, you can easily stow it away in a camping backpack. This also means it is easy to use and setup and doesn’t require any extra setting up. All you do is screw in the propane tank and you’re ready to cook.
Alternatively, one negative feature of this stove is the size of its propane tank. Like our other choice, it too is small and will run out in a few hours. As far as the adjustability of the burner goes, even the lowest setting may be considered too high for some.
If you prefer camping on your own or don’t need to cook for a lot of people at the campsite, Etekcity’s stove is for you. While it isn’t a large camping stove by any means, it is certainly powerful.
It’s constructed out of a lightweight aluminum alloy combined with stainless steel so it can withstand high temperatures and pressure. It’s also completely collapsible and foldable so you can easily carry it around with you. The portable stove can hold pans up to 7 inches. You can even adjust the flame for quicker heat times or to let your food simmer. The other great thing is it comes in a pack of two and includes a convenient carrying case.
As far as downsides go, due to its small size, it will heat up quickly but will take time to cool down. Be careful when packing it away and make sure it has cooled off. It also has a small base and larger pots and pans may slide off more easily.
With a name like Everest, you know that Camp Chef’s 2 Burner Stove is going to be able to handle any camping food you throw on it. The best feature about this stove is its double-burner stove that puts out a total of 40,000 BTUs; that’s 20,000 each burner. It’s large enough to fit two 10-inch skillets on it as well.
It’s lightweight and weighs just 12 pounds. Plus, with the attached carrying handle, it's easy and convenient to lug around your campsite. It’s also equipped with a three-sided wind barrier to reduce the amount of wind that reaches the burners. And as far as the propane tank required to run it, you can fit a 1-pound cylinder without an issue.
On the downside, many users have claimed it arrived damaged. There were dents and dings on the bottom of the stove. You will also notice the price is a bit higher compared to other models and the latches aren’t the strongest and feel weak and cheap.
Coleman returns with its 7,650 BTU single-burner camping stove. It’s simply designed so you can easily start cooking in an instant, it can fit a large 10-inch skillet, and it lasts a little more than an hour on one tank. However, one of the best features is its adjustable flame so you get more precise temperature control.
It’s constructed out of a porcelain material that is easy to clean, with an aluminum burner that won’t rust. You also get a carrying case that increases its portability as it isn’t the smallest of stoves. However, it does come with a small propane tank—only 8.8 ounces—and doesn’t include any type of wind barrier or blocker.
- Be careful when cooking with flames outdoors. Keep the stove away from anything flammable and off the ground if possible.
- Stay near the stove to monitor it while it cooks and heats up your food. This will ensure that your food is not over or undercooked.
- Put the stove somewhere away from the tent when you are done using it. The smell may attract animals.
Q: How do I clean a camping stove?
A: Wait until the stove is completely cold, the flames are off, and the propane is disconnected. Then take a wet rag or cloth and wipe down the burners and stove. You can either let it air dry or use a dry cloth to dry it.
Q: Do I need special cookware for a camping stove?
A: It depends on the type of stove you purchase. The majority of stoves will be able to handle standard cookware like pots and pans, while smaller, more compact ones will require or come with their own special hardware.
Q: How much propane does a camping stove use?
A: It varies. Those that feature more burners will use more propane, while smaller ones will use less. It will also depend on how long you cook. They generally all use a smaller propane tank, and the hose is rated to fit a certain size of tank and regulator valve.
Consider the Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove if you want a large camping stove capable of cooking all sorts of meals.
There’s also the budget-friendly Stansport Single Burner 10,000 BTU Propane Stove, which is very stable with excellent flame control.