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Do you like hiking and camping off the grid? Looking for a way to cook without electricity? Then you should read up on camping stoves. Many outdoor fans are thrilled and don’t want to miss their camping stove. But what are the different types and how can you find the best camping stove for you?
In our Gas Stove Test 2020, we show you the best and most practical devices of the different categories in detail. Also, we give you important information about the functionality and tips on safety. Whether you choose a gas cooker with an external gas supply, a cartridge cooker, or a special gas cooker, with us you will find the best gas cookers on the market.
The best foldable camping stove
The Compact Foldable Stove from Soto is a compact gas stove for camping and trekking. It is unusually light at 160g, has 3,260 watts of burning power, and can be mounted on any standard gas cartridge. With a classic cartridge of 250g volume, it can provide up to 1 1/2 hours of heat for cooking.
The special feature of this gas cooker, however, is the retractable pot support, which allows the smallest possible packing size. Thus, the product finds comparatively uncomplicated even on long tours in trekking backpacks place.
The gas stove with the best price-performance ratio
The gas cooker corresponds in size and weight to the usual dimensions of a single-flame cartridge cooker of this design. Due to the slightly larger housing with the dimensions 34 x 25.5 x 11 cm, it has, unlike the much smaller top stoves, more stability.
At 2200 watts, it achieves a boiling time of around 5 minutes. This performance is combined with an appealing consumption of only 160 g of gas per hour. The Campingman uses screw-in cartridges.
The best camping stove as a stool cooker
The gas stove from wehmanntec is 40 cm long and wide, and 18 cm high. It is equipped with piezo ignition and also with an ignition safety device. The burner diameter is 18 cm and it has a power of 10.5 KW.
The scope of delivery also includes 1.5 meters of hose and a 50 mbar pressure regulator. The gas stove has a consumption of about 760 grams per hour.
The best camping stove with high power
The Campingaz Camp Bistro DLX is a simple but reliable gas stove. The easy-to-use tabletop stove flaunts 2200 watts of power with piezo ignition. The flame can be regulated individually. A robust stainless steel pot holder is included.
The gas cooker measures 37 × 29 × 13 cm. The gas consumption is about 160 g/h. An included pot holder offers space for pans and pots with a size of 12 to 26 cm. The manufacturer clearly states that the appliance must not be used in closed rooms.
The best camping stove with an effective windbreak
The gas stove from LATTCURE has high efficiency and still saves energy. It has multidirectional folding storage including a storage box. It is ideal for camping, barbecuing, hot pot, or outdoor gourmet cooking.
It has a built-in electronic ignition, an effective windbreak, and a unique honeycomb fire plate.
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a gas cooker
Decision: What types of gas stoves are there and which one is right for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between three different types of gas cookers:
Each of these types differs in design and handling according to the area of application and need and brings individual advantages and disadvantages with it.
Depending on the intended use, a different type of gas cooker is suitable for you. To make a selection, we recommend that you think carefully about how you want to use your stove. First of all, two questions are important:
In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of gas cooker is best suited for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to all of the above-mentioned types of gas cookers and clearly present their advantages and disadvantages.
What is a gas cooker with an external gas supply and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Gas cookers with a hose usually work with larger gas bottles via an external gas supply. The center of gravity is lower here than with the cartridge variant. The gas cooker with the supply line is thus more stable overall.
Such camping stoves are often multi-flame and are used in stationary camps or base camps. They are often enclosed in a kind of metal case, which provides more robustness. This makes them easier to transport and the opened case can act as an integrated windbreak. The removable pot support makes cleaning easier. The large gas cylinders ensure a longer burning time.
If you want to cook for several people, you should choose a multi-flame gas cooker with an external gas supply.
What is a cartridge stove and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Gas cookers that are operated with gas cartridges are also called top-mounted cookers. The cartridge is also the base of the stove. The cartridge is both the advantage and disadvantage of this type of gas stove.
Due to the increased center of gravity (by placing it on the fuel container), the stability of the cartridge stoves is worse. In particular, the use of large pots can be problematic. However, various manufacturers offer an additional stand to solve this problem.
Some manufacturers now also have a type of hybrid gas cooker in their range: although these are cartridge cookers, the fuel containers are attached via a hose connection. The hybrid uses the advantages of both types: more stability due to a lower center of gravity and less weight due to the use of lighter cartridges.
Which special camping stove are there and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
There are various special forms or special gas cookers that we do not want to deprive you of. Special gas cookers are usually a little more expensive, but of course, have their own special appeal.
The so-called system cooker belongs to the gas cookers with cartridges. It is a complete set consisting of a stove and a pot. This is the manufacturers’ response to the problem of stability.
The system cooker usually optimizes fuel consumption using an integrated windbreak. With system cookers, the actual gas cooker can often be stowed away in the matching pot for transport. It is therefore also particularly space-saving.
The stool cooker mainly works with an external gas supply and is available in different sizes. This gas stove got its name from its four (sometimes three) legs. In fact, it looks like a small stool – but we don’t recommend using it as such.
The big advantage of the stool cooker is certainly that it is available in very small sizes. Thanks to its firm stand, you can still cook in larger pots and pans.
For lovers of Asian dishes, a special wok gas burner could be interesting. To anticipate: There is a special wok attachment for “normal” gas stoves. Wok gas burners also usually belong to the cookers with external gas supply and have feet for more stability.
The special feature of the wok gas cooker: the enormous power (up to 20 kW). This will please the wok enthusiast – but also brings certain risks with it: Due to the oil or fat in combination with fire, it can lead to flash flames.
After our excursion to Asia, another trip to the Iberian Peninsula: The paella gas burner or ring gas burner. This gas stove already looks a bit different from its ring shape.
The manufacturers promise here the particularly even heating of a large area due to the shape and size of the flame. The paella gas cooker is also often offered with high legs and a matching paella pan.
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate gas cookers
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate gas cookers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular stove is suitable for you or not.
In the following paragraphs, you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
When buying a gas cooker, the first thing you should be clear about is how and where you want to use your cooker. Your personal intended use is absolutely crucial for all other purchase criteria.
Do you want to cook for other hikers and cyclists at a base camp? Should the gas stove guarantee you a hot coffee on the second day of the festival? Or does it have to be as handy and small as possible in your backpack to keep you strong in case of emergencies?
The number of hungry mouths also plays a role in this consideration. You can feed two people with a small, 1-burner gas stove and a handy pot. For a larger group, you should think about multi-burner versions.
Size/dimensions of the camping stove
The size of your gas cooker plays a particularly important role alongside its weight when it comes to your outdoor activities. Bulky, unwieldy stoves are a nuisance when packing.
The situation is somewhat different when it comes to planning your camp kitchen. But even there, we are interested in how much space you have to plan for. The dimensions will give you a clearer picture and help you choose the right gas cooker. However, you should bear in mind that the volume of a suitable cooking pot may have to be added.
System cookers usually offer the option of stacking cookers and pots inside each other, thus saving even more space. With an integrated windbreak and cookware, you don’t have to worry about the storage space you need in your luggage. The specified dimensions correspond to your complete, mobile outdoor kitchen.
The same applies to weight as to dimensions: when planning your luggage, every gram suddenly weighs a ton. If, on the other hand, you just want to use your gas cooker in the garden, the weight is of secondary importance. A certain dead weight can even provide more stability.
By the way, the manufacturers’ specifications usually refer to the weight of the stove without cartridges (or even gas cylinders). Depending on the amount of use and the duration of your trip, you will have to add the weight of additional fuel containers. To save weight again, you can try to research the availability of gas cartridges for your destination country in advance.
Type of cartridge used
It may be important for you to know in advance what type of gas cartridge your favorite will use. However, there are now also numerous adapters that allow you to use different gas cartridges and switch depending on your needs.
Of course, the manufacturers recommend that you only use the appropriate brands. You should not throw this advice completely overboard. Especially cheap knock-offs will not make you happy – with or without the adapter. Weak flames and insufficient pressure are only two of the possible consequences. Since the prices are not very high anyway, we advise you to pay more attention to performance.
Regarding the above-mentioned availability of the required gas cartridges in your holiday country, a small digression:
Roughly speaking, gas cartridges are cheaper and the most common. However, French manufacturer Campingaz claims that its CV valve cartridges are also available in more than 110 countries. A rough rule of thumb: Campingaz in French-speaking countries, Coleman in English-speaking countries, and Primus in Scandinavian countries.
The watt (W) or kilowatt (kW) rating is how the supplier describes the power of your gas stove. The more watts, the more effective the cooking power.
A gas cooker with high output can therefore bring water to the boil more quickly, but it also consumes more gas. So you should always evaluate the power in combination with the consumption. A cheap camping stove usually has less power – 500 watts is the minimum.
Manufacturers usually give you consumption as the amount of gas used in grams per hour. The gas consumption also indicates the burning time of your gas cooker. This is important for you to know what supply of gas cartridges you need to plan for your adventure.
The catch? You can’t take the values given by the manufacturers as an absolute guideline. There are too many external influences that can change this value considerably. These include, for example, the gas cartridge used and its pressure, but also wind and weather can drive up the consumption of your gas stove.
So, just like us, you shouldn’t choose consumption as your only decision-making tool. However, in conjunction with our other important buying criteria, the value offers you a good indication of the quality of a gas cooker.
Boiling time for 1 liter of water
The time it takes your favorite to bring 1 liter of water to the boil is the third element of our power-consumption calculation. Theoretically, the following applies here: The higher the power in watts the faster the boiling time. If your dish is cooked faster, that also means less consumption. So you see: All three points are connected.
Unfortunately, the same applies here again: external influences change the values that the manufacturers have obtained, so to speak, in the dry run. Wind and altitude, but logically also the initial temperature of the water influence the stopped time. You can also influence this yourself by using a windbreak and the right cooking pot.
The boiling time is usually 3-5 minutes. This does not make a big difference. However, it can also be 8 or 9 minutes. This requires much more patience and eats up your gas supply in no time.
Extra features and functions
By extra equipment and functions of your gas cooker we mean, for example, the presence of an integrated piezo ignition, but also whether a pot or a windbreak is included in the scope of delivery.
The piezo igniter uses what is known as the piezoelectric effect. In short, it involves the generation of electrical charge when a crystal surface is deformed. In conjunction with metal contacts, this creates a spark that glows blue and ignites the gas.
A gas stove with piezo ignition, i.e. electric ignition, works “at the push of a button” and is a very safe method. Without piezo ignition, the gas must be ignited “by hand” using a match, lighter, or special gas lighter.
The windscreen is one of the most important accessories of a gas stove. It is absolutely recommended when used for outdoor activities. Made of heat-resistant material, it protects the flame and guarantees the consistent performance of the gas cooker.
Depending on your needs, it may also be important for you whether the stove comes with a matching container for quick and easy storage. Some system stoves also offer practical thermocouples that keep your coffee warm longer or protected handle elements to prevent burns.
This criterion is not about the temperature of the flame that your gas stove can reach, but about the ambient temperature at which you want to use your gas stove. This is an important purchase criterion, especially about the cartridges that can be used.
The stability should be another purchase criterion for you. No one is helped if your ultralight, foldable gas stove regularly folds up unintentionally under your pot by itself. Unfortunately, stability is also the hardest feature to control when buying online.
The weight of the stove and the way it is built allow you to draw some conclusions about its stability. Does the stove have stable legs? Is the stove’s center of gravity very high because it is placed directly on a cartridge?
We advise you to give your decision the final touch by browsing through reviews and comments. Use the experiences of other buyers or simply ask yourself.
Can you heat it with a camping stove?
You can turn your gas stove into a heater with a special attachment. You can find a heating attachment for as little as 20 euros. Make sure you use the right gas mixture or gas cartridge if you want to use your gas stove in cool regions. Without a flame, even the best attachment won’t heat!
Can you toast with a camping stove?
Yes, there are toasting attachments available from various suppliers so you can enjoy your bread as usual. The toast attachment is also suitable for packing buns.
Alternatively, there is a kind of camping oven for homemade rolls or casseroles. In general, there is almost nothing that is not available: Wok attachment, grill attachment, griddle, fish roaster, and, and, and. You just have to have the right backpack in your cupboard!
Can you use a camping stove inside?
That depends on the type of gas stove. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications. The ignition safety device is mandatory indoors! For appliances used indoors, a gas pressure reducer specially designed for this purpose is also used.
When cooking with gas indoors, you should always ensure that there is sufficient fresh air supply. The following applies in particular: Do not leave gas cookers unattended! If the flame goes out, it must be ensured that no more gas escapes. You must also make sure that the gas cooker has a safe stand and that there are no flammable objects in the vicinity.
Which recipes are suitable for cooking with a camping stove?
So you’re about to buy a gas cooker and now you’re worried that you’ll have to make do with reheated ravioli and tinned soup for days on end? Not at all.
In theory, you can cook anything on your gas stove that you would cook at home. On the road, of course, it’s a little more difficult logistically. But if we assume that getting the necessary food is not a problem, preparing your 4-course meal on a single-burner gas stove is only an organizational challenge.
Dishes with rice, couscous, or pasta are somewhat easier: These side dishes can swell off the stove after boiling while you prepare a delicious vegetable stir-fry. Even easier, of course, are stews.
This doesn’t sound very appealing at first – but it can be delicious and varied. You can find inspiration on the internet or in special outdoor cookbooks.
Can I take the camping stove with me on the plane?
Basically, it is forbidden to take flammable liquids and gas with you. You are therefore not allowed to take gas cartridges or even gas bottles in your hand luggage or checked suitcase.
Theoretically, you are allowed to carry a gas stove with an empty fuel tank or without a gas cartridge in your checked baggage. Attention: No gas cartridges, no half-filled fuel tank!
The tank must be empty. Many airlines also specify how such camping stoves must be transported and packed. Please contact the respective airline beforehand to avoid problems.
How many degrees does a gas stove reach?
The temperature your gas stove can reach depends mainly on the gas mixture used. A propane-butane mixture can theoretically reach 1925 degrees. However, because of the adjustable flame size, a gas stove does not usually reach this temperature.
When cooking, you could measure between 800 to about 1500 degrees at the core of your gas stove’s flame, depending on external conditions.
Can I build a windbreak for a camping stove myself?
If you are not completely untalented, you can build a windbreak for your gas cooker yourself. You can find simple instructions on the internet, for example using wire and particularly thick aluminum foil.
You should pay attention to the flammability of the material. Various manufacturers also offer windbreaks for around 10 euros.
Can I use gas bottles instead of gas cartridges?
With a certain regulator, it is theoretically possible to use gas cartridges instead of gas bottles. Quasi as an emergency solution. However, with larger gas cookers (for which large gas bottles are intended) the pressure and the gas quantity of the cartridges are usually not sufficient, because the consumption is higher.
An example: A 2-burner gas stove with a gas consumption of 400 g/h would only work for about 30 minutes with a gas cartridge of just under 200 g. Also, the pressure is not enough for an “emergency solution”. Also, the pressure is not sufficient for a “decent” flame. Technically possible, but economically not reasonable.