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We turned up the heat on stoves from all of the top brands to determine the best camping stoves for 2024. Whether you're a car camping pro or just getting started, we've got you covered.

Camping and food go hand in hand, especially when car camping affords you the luxury of a two-burner stove. This year, we tested a few new stoves and retested many previous top picks. With years of combined experience with camp cooking, we used our collective knowledge to narrow down the best camping stoves available today.

A good camp stove should fire up quickly, provide a steady stream of heat to get things rolling, and be able to dial it back for precision work like simmering or sauteing. There are other details about your camp cuisine to consider as well, such as the number of hungry hikers you’re looking to feed, and whether you’ll only need a raw flame or the sizzle of a griddle to whip up some chow.

For each stove in this comprehensive review, we considered design, ease of use, BTUs, windy weather performance, simmer control, weight, cost, and boil time. On the surface, these stoves all have a lot in common, but each has unique features that stand out for specific uses. We’ve been testing this camp cookware for multiple seasons, and to date have fired up nearly 20 different stoves in order to sniff out the best for your next camping trip.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys that we’d suggest to anyone looking to get into a camp stove for the first time. At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide. We have also assembled a list of frequently asked questions and a comparison chart that can help guide your decision. 

Editor’s Note: We updated this guide on October 20, 2023, to include additional information on our testing practices, the different types of camping stoves, as well as to ensure that our selections are still current.

The Camp Chef Everest 2X ($190) replaced the older Mountain Series Summit model from this brand. The Everest is definitely as high-powered as its predecessor (if not more so), with two 20,000-BTU burners, an auto-igniter, and a redesigned burner area and exterior.

Although the Camp Chef Everest has some of the strongest burners we tested, it still simmers well. And with the new burner and surface design, you get a few more cubic inches of cooking space for the same weight.

Gear Editor Mallory Paige lives in an off-grid cabin and has been using the Everest 2X as her family’s primary stove. After cooking up to three meals a day on it for over a year, the stove has held up impressively well.

The striker still works, and the mix of high output settings and good simmer control meets the demands of any cook. From quickly boiling water at high altitudes to carefully toasting pine nuts, it does it all. This stove roars to life for heavy-duty use, but is delicate enough for finer cooking. The only negative we could rustle up was the weight and bulk.

At 20,000 BTUs per burner, this stove has power to spare compared to standard ~10,000 BTU burners like the Eureka Ignite, and while we typically find this to be enough to cook more camp meals, we can’t complain about having more knob to turn if needed. The build is stout, and some may consider the 10-pound GSI Selkirk 540+ to be a better all-arounder. For a stove that’ll do most anything, however, it’s hard to ding the Everest.

The previous contender for the best overall stove, the Camp Chef Summit 2-Burner Camp Stove model, also had impressive heat output, but we had issues with the striker (and the price tag). Now after multiple years of unfailing service, we found the auto-igniter on the Everest 2X to be much more consistent, and the redesign adds features that make it our overall best camping stove.

The simplest option on the list is also one of our favorites. As a tried and true model that meets the basic demands of car camping, it’s been a go-to choice for our staff over the years.

The Coleman Cascade Classic Camp Stove ($100) might not have all the fancy features of the others on the list, but it’s hands down the most bang for your buck out of all camp stoves on the market. The windscreens do the job, and the flame pattern can be set from a simmer to a roar. It weighs just under 12 pounds, which isn’t much more than most more expensive options.

For as low as $75 on sale, you get two 10,000-BTU burners in a classic, trusted design. We cooked up plenty of meals on the Coleman Cascade Classic and appreciate how simple it is. The simmer control knob is a bit rough, which was one of the few downsides we could sniff out.

For the money, we reach for the Cascade Classic almost every time, but budget-hunters may also consider the Eureka Ignite or the Primus Profile. The former can be had for just $25 more, slides in at close to 2 pounds lighter than the Cascade Classic, and sports taller windscreens. That said, the stove still puts out the same claimed heat, but lagged behind the Coleman in our tests to boil water. Alternatively, the Primus does bump up the output to 12,000 BTU burners, but demands $40 for it, and we found cooking performance to be nearly identical.

If you’re camping on a budget, or want an extra two burners for large meals, the Coleman Cascade Classic would be a great addition to your outdoor kitchen setup.

This stove impressed us from the get-go for two main reasons: the compact design and functionality. The Kovea Slim Twin ($145) was almost completely redesigned a few years back, with two 10,500-BTU burners, short and sturdy legs that work well on a variety of surfaces, adjustable windscreens, and an incorporated piezo igniter.

When we tested an older model of the Kovea Slim stove, we had issues with the leg supports — they were thin and wobbly. Additionally, the burner design required two separate propane cans. The simmer control wasn’t ideal for delicate dishes, and the price was a bit high for a camping stove with that many issues.

Overall, Kovea made tons of great updates, and the effort shows. When folded up, the stove itself is a scant 2.5 inch thick, which is a very impressive metric. The lid is also completely removable, which allows for many different sizes of pans and skillets to be used. Compared to the only other full-size lightweight stove in our testing, the Primus Kinjia, the Slim Twin lives up to the name when it comes to thickness, but is a bit larger in the other dimensions, including about a pound and a half more heft. In the end, it’s the addition of windscreens on the Slim Twin that pushes this stove over the Kinjia, which struggled with stiff winds while cooking.

The only downside would be that a propane adapter doesn’t fit inside the stove for storage. Weighing in at less than 10 pounds, the Twin Slim is a fantastic improvement on the old model, making it one of the best compact camping stoves of 2024.

This camping stove comes with not one but two cast iron attachments for grilling and cooking on a griddle. Trust us, the Coleman 3-in-1 ($210) aspect is awesome. Thanks to the versatility, you can use two burners like any other camp stove, or one burner and a grill, or one burner and a griddle.

What we loved most about this stove in testing was its durability, heat output, and simmer control. The windscreens were even adequate for 20-30 mph winds. All of the features offer a quality feel, and it can cook just about anything.

The quality of the cast iron was also on par with more expensive options (though the cast iron components do make the stove fairly heavy). Still, the Coleman 3-in-1 (a two-burner stove, grill top, and griddle) weighs less than the only other camp griddle we tested, the Camp Chef Versatop. One somewhat glaring error, however, was the short windscreens that this stove incorporates. Not only do taller windscreens limit heat loss, but they also cut down on the grease splatter that a griddle can emit. Build up those walls, Coleman!

Hybrid stoves like the 3-in-1 generally lag behind straight-ahead camp stoves in popularity, but can be an excellent way to divide up cooking space for a number of dishes. The main tradeoff comes when sharing cooking space with multiple pots or pans and not being able to remove griddle attachments, such as on the Camp Chef Rainier 2X. Thankfully the Coleman is modular, and while the Rainier is a bit cheaper, this ability — plus hotter burners — keeps the Coleman 3-in-1 in the top dog spot for hybrid stove options.

If you’re a fan of cast iron, or simply want an all-in-one option that performs well in every category, the 3-in-1 is one of the best camping stoves you can buy.

Read Review: The Classic Camp Stove Gets a Modern Makeover: Coleman 1900 3-in-1 Review

While full-fledged stove systems might get all the glory, counting out a good single burner would be foolish, and the Eureka SPRK+ Camp Stove ($65) is just that: one heckuva good single burner. 

The utility of a single burner is that it can be used as either a cooking solution for a couple of campers, or added into a camp kitchen as an additional burner for more dishes. During our testing we did this often, and to great applause — nothing is better than having all your food come out hot at the same time.

The SPRK+ is a slightly souped-up version of the SPRK Camp Stove ($48), and bumps up the BTUs to 11,500 over the standard 10,000. We found this to be more than enough to heat up even our burliest cast iron pans, and easily stir-fried veggies or cooked steaks.

Other single burners like the Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner lag behind this output, and while that stove has the edge on packability, the SPRK+ relays a sturdiness that we trusted more to hold up in the long run.

It is important to note that the SPRK+ is a butane stove, which while not quite as popular as propane, is still available in outdoor stores or online. It’s also lighter weight than propane. The canister slots into an integrated space on one side of the square stove body, with no screwing in required. We found in practice that a single canister will net about an hour of run time.

The stove has a three-sided wall that’s perforated and reaches a couple of inches high, which is meant for wind protection. However in testing, we found the screen to lack influence, and an impromptu shield was needed.

This is unsurprisingly given the lean design, but something that did need to be addressed to make it through dinner. Perfect for a quick and simple dish, or whipping up another side, the Eureka SPRK+ Camp Stove adds a lot of versatility to your camp kitchen.

Suitable for your next tailgating event (or family reunion), the Camp Chef Explorer 14 ($150) sports a generous cooking surface area — a full 14 x 32 inches — and has the heat to back it up. The two burners put out a cumulative 60,000 BTUs, easily the highest of any stove we tested. When bringing big stock pots to a boil is on the menu, the Explorer 14 is up for the task.

Not lightweight by any means, the Explorer 14 is the cookout battle station of choice for anyone looking to feed a lot of people. The twin burners are fueled by a propane canister that you’re unlikely to want to carry in a backpack, so best to think of this as a close-to-the-vehicle cooking setup. Besides the burners, there’s not much more to this stove, with a simple tube frame, a good enough windscreen, and unfortunately no piezo-ignition.

We will note that the stove packs down smaller than expected, with all legs and windscreens detaching for travel. Likely the most exciting component of this stove is its family of cooking surface accessories — spanning from griddle tops to BBQ boxes to pizza ovens. This flexibility greatly increases the dishes on the menu, and will also cost you some extra cheddar.

The realm of free-standing camp stoves is a comparatively lonely one, with Camp Chef also making up most of the “competition” with other higher-end stoves like the Pro 14 ($300) or Pro 60X Deluxe ($320). Both of these stoves add on extendable shelves, adjustable (and foldable) legs, and piezo-ignition, but are still built around the same two 30,000 BTU burner heads as the Explorer 14.

There’s a weight penalty, too, for moving up to the bigger stoves, with the Pro 14 weighing around 50 pounds, and the 60X Deluxe clocking in at almost 60. Compared to the 30 pounds of the Explorer 14, we see little reason to bump up.

We first tested our Explorer 14 at a family-style Dungeness crab boil, and this is exactly the type of stove for an event that aims to feed many. If you’re looking to set up the full mobile kitchen, this stove is up to the task.

Small but powerful — the Primus Kinjia Camping Stove ($210) brings a light footprint to your camp kitchen and is perfect for those who want a capable stove but don’t want to renovate their campsite in the process.

With a base area of 19” x 12”, the Kinjia slides into spots where other stoves in our testing simply couldn’t, and isn’t much the lesser of a stove for it. The twin 10,200 BTU burner heads are sized more similarly to those on backpacking stoves but still performed admirably in our cooking tests. 

Where the Kinjia really shines, we found, was in the detail work.

Simmering is a breeze with this stove, and making more delicate dishes like omelets, fish, or crêpes can be whipped up with ease. There’s no ignoring that this is just one good-looking stove, too. The black stove body is accented with brass rivets and topped off with a wood-trimmed handle that adds a bit of class to your next cookout. 

When it comes to fueling, the Kinjia takes an interesting approach with a metal propane canister stand that stands alone from the rest of the stove. This holds the fuel bottle at what we imagine is the optimal angle, but in reality, it was just another loose piece we feared losing track of. We also lamented over the lack of windscreens, but have gotten pretty good at building up DIY walls instead.

The Kinjia is undeniably a compact stove, but there are a few others to consider when camp kitchen real estate is in high demand. For $70 more, the unique Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove System folds both burners together to cut down on space, but has slightly less powerful 10,000 BTU burner heads.

Single-burner options like the Eureka SPRK+ and Snow Peak Home and camp Burner are both a good bit cheaper at $65 and $120, respectively. However, you do miss out on the ability to cook two things at once. Most lightweight camp stoves leave out windscreens, and their inclusion in the Kovea Slim Twin edged it to the top of the heap when compared to the Kinjia.

It’s tough to deny the packed size of the Kinjia, however, and if you don’t need the overbuilt quality of something like the Camp Chef Everest 2X, the Primus Kinjia is an excellent solution.

Read Review: Smaller Than the Best, Lighter Than the Rest: Primus Kinjia Camp Stove Review

Newly updated, the GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540+ Camp Stove ($150) bumps up the BTUs from an original 10,000 to 14,000, greatly improving this stove’s performance in our cooking tests.

While it doesn’t blow any other stove out of the water, the Selkirk 540+ does its job admirably – easily boiling water or sautéing veggies for any camp meal you can dream up. Twin metering knobs provide a smooth output and twist a full 720 degrees, offering up great fidelity to fine-tuning your perfect stirfry, and the piezo ignition was strong right out of the box.

Our testing has shown that higher BTU output is connected to worse fuel efficiency, however, and indeed the Selkirk was thirstier than the typical 10,000 BTU stoves like the Coleman Cascade Classic or Eureka Ignite.

We also greatly appreciated the stainless steel stove basin and easy-to-remove grate for when the time came to clean up. After a few quick swipes, our stove was clean and ready to be put away. Some stoves harbor more nooks and crannies, but there’s no such issue here.

The windscreens, while of ample height, unfortunately leave a bit of a gap between the base of the stove and the grill supports, meaning that wind had a pesky tendency to skirt around these walls and interfere with the flame pattern. Careful setup can help alleviate this, and it’s something to be mindful of when arranging your camp kitchen.

A jack-of-all-trades type of stove, the GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540+ hit the high points in our testing, and would make an excellent stove for anyone who needs a stove that just plain works.

While not technically a stove, a griddle can bring a lot of joy and simplicity to outdoor cooking. The Camp Chef VersaTop ($190) has a nonstick cooking surface with a wide 18,000-BTU burner underneath, plus a grill accessory.

The unique part about the VersaTop is its versatile design. With separate attachments, you can cook on a flat top, grill, or even bake bread inside. You just pull off the cooking surface, place it on another, and start cooking.

While quite heavy (24 pounds), the size and weight make you feel like a real chef. During a previous GearJunkie campout, our editors had a blast cooking breakfasts, sandwiches, and large helpings of stir fry on this stove. The 17″ x 18″ cooktop of the VersaTop is much more spacious compared to other hybrid camp stove options, including the Coleman 3-in-1’s twin 13″ x 11″ griddles, and Camp Chef Rainier 2X’s 14″ x 9″ aluminum top, and we found the raised backsplash of the VersaTop better suited for piling on food and cutting down on splatter.

Of course, going with a dedicated griddle will mean that you’ll need a lean on another single burner for any of your boiling needs, but we’ve found that adding a Eureka SPRK+ to the kitchen when cooking on the VersaTop makes for a perfect duo. You’ll also need to take care of the flattop as your cooking surface is integrated into the stove body, and scorching can be a real pain to get rid of.

At $190, you’ll need to calculate how many killer breakfasts you’ll need to turn out to justify the expense, but if you’re a griddle savant and don’t mind the extra weight in your rig, the VersaTop might be the best camping stove for you.

One-burner stoves serve a lot of cool purposes. They’re great for those short on space, ideal for solo campers, and work great for building out vans or off-road vehicles. And as the name implies, they also work for home cooking.

Snow Peak’s Home & Camp Burner ($130) has all the compactness and intricacy of origami, with the durability of a two-burner camp stove. Snow Peak is known for its minimal, highly compact designs, and this burner is no different — it completely folds into itself (to about the size of a 32-ounce Nalgene).

Simply open the top, slide out the legs, and engage the locking pin to swivel the burner out onto any surface. Then slide in a butane gas canister. While minimal, we didn’t experience any durability issues, and would expect this stove to hold up well to extensive use.

This is one of the only butane-fueled stoves on our list (the other being the Eureka SPRK+), which highlights the relative supremacy that propane has on the camping stove scene. While it’s not difficult to get, it may not be as universal as going with a propane stove. Compared to other single burners like the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp, the Snow Peak exhibits origami-like collapsibility that makes it easily the most compact on our list.

At such a small size, the Home & Camp Burner is ideal for in-vehicle cooking. With no included attachments, you’ll need to add your own windscreen in blustery weather. If you ride solo often, or are looking for a quality camping stove that’s equally capable and compact, look no further.

The Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove ($125) is an exceptionally well-rounded camp stove. It performs well time and time again. The classic, functional design packs up well, has acceptable heat regulation, and sipped fuel in our efficiency tests with its twin 10,000 BTU burners.

The wind panels block wind reasonably well (but not great if you notice the gaps), and it has excellent simmer control. It may look similar to cheaper options, but the materials feel more trustworthy than our bargain pick the Coleman Cascade Classic. On par with options higher on the list, it weighs just 10 pounds and takes up similar picnic table space as the GSI Selkirk 540+ and Kovea Slim Twin stoves.

One of the most novel features of the Ignite is its capability to be chained to other Eureka or Jetboil stove systems, with what the companies call JetLink. This hose system allows you to connect your separate burners and run them from one propane source, which we found killer for basecamp situations or when you want to whip up a meal to feed an entire family.

While perfectly functional, we found that this stove simply doesn’t excel in any one particular area. It does all the things a camp stove should do, but when compared to others, its performance just doesn’t stand out. Compared to the Coleman Cascade Classic, the Ignite does weigh almost 2 pounds lighter, but didn’t quite match the heat output that the Coleman could muster. For an added $25 it’s close to a wash in our books, but having that extra heat keeps the classic Coleman stove higher on our list for now.

The Ignite has proven to be highly durable, with little to no lapse in function after extended use, and it looks great in action. Despite its lack of exceptional features, it’s still one of the best camping stoves for the price. And if you love everything about the Ignite, but find yourself needing a bit more cooking room, consider the Ignite Plus ($160), a plus-size range that accommodates large skillets and adds a few inches between the burners.

The Primus Profile 2-Burner Stove ($140) has a clean design and classic appearance. With a moderate heat output of 12,000 BTUs per burner, it works great for almost any meal you can conjure.

The piezo ignition striker is easy to use, and it has a slightly larger cooking area than other stoves we tested. This allows you to get larger pans on it, though the larger the surface area, the longer it takes to generate adequate heat.

While it performs well in almost all facets of cooking, our flames blew out multiple times while testing, which means it’s not ideal for windy climates. The dials function well enough to simmer, and it’s also on the lighter side for two-burner stoves, weighing in at under 12 pounds.

This is another stove that works great, but simply doesn’t stand out in any specific category. The Profile is an all-around performer with no frills, and would work well for anyone who wants a little extra cooking space in a classic design.

The Genesis Basecamp Stove ($400) from Jetboil brings one of the more novel (if not genius) designs to the classic camping stove. It functions with a clamshell design that unfolds to display the cooking surface. And underneath each burner is a place to chain additional burners.

“Where the Genesis really shows through is its simmering ability. The burner knob can be spun in four full rotations from the lowest to the highest setting, and each slight movement of the knob makes fractional adjustments to the flame,” we wrote in our full-length Jetboil Genesis review.

This stove system packs up small, and with the ability to chain additional burners, you can turn this system into a full-fledged kitchen for large groups at a fraction of the packed size. It’s quite expensive, but the technology backs it up, and it also comes with a lightweight pot and pan.

If you’re cramped on space or want to tote a two-burner system into the backcountry, the Genesis could be the best camping stove for you. While the foldability isn’t necessary for the average car camper, it’s truly one of the most versatile setups we’ve tested.

Read Review: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove System Review: The Benchmark of Car Camping Stoves

You wouldn’t head out into the backcountry with an untested backpacking stove, and while the stakes might not be as high while camping, it’ll certainly put a damper on the evening should things fizzle out. Luckily we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and thanks to our crew of outdoors enthusiasts we’ve field-tested the entire spectrum of camp stoves, from compact single burners to brew up your coffee, to full-blown mobile kitchens that’ll feed 10 people with ease.

Managing Editor Mary Murphy is a multisport athlete, and it wouldn’t be off-base to claim that camp cooking is also one of those sports. From her outpost in Denver, she assembled our initial slate of 12 camp stoves in 2021 and dreamed up our boiling and simmering testing regimen to ensure each stove was tested on an even playing field.

Senior Editor Nick Belcaster has experienced the entire backcountry culinary spectrum, from cold-soaking ramen noodles on months-long thru-hikes to whipping up full-course meals for groups of friends while car camping, and his time on the hot side has earned him the title of honorary grill master among his camping compadres. Based in Washington State, Belcaster continues to test the latest and greatest in camp stoves on forays into the mountains and out to the coast — typically in something a bit more casual than chef’s whites.

Besides just boiling water, we cooked meals on each of the camp stoves for this review (including mac and cheese, sautéed veggies, meats, rice, and more). We also conducted boil and simmer tests — a consistent way of comparing stove performance. We believe this provides a good understanding of each stove’s technical cooking capabilities. And finally, as the green canisters started to pile up, we tallied our fuel consumption to figure out the relative efficiency of each stove.

When we test a camp stove, we’re also looking at the big picture, and we pay special attention to functional differences in ease of use, packability, weight, and availability of fueling. All told, we’ve put close to 20 different stove systems through our ringer, and have come up with a pretty good understanding of what makes a great camp stove the center of your outdoor kitchen.

We subjected each propane stove to a substantial boil test. We boiled 1 L of water with the same GSI pot and lid on each stove. Before each test, we made sure the pot and water were at the same temperatures as in prior tests. We also checked the water occasionally to note when it began to boil.

Different air temperatures and altitudes will boil water differently, so we tested all of these stoves at the same altitude. Don’t buy one of these stoves and expect it to boil water at these specific times; instead, use this as a rough guide as to which stove heats the most effectively and gets the hottest. Some stoves might have faster boiling times, and others might have better simmer capabilities.

To test how well a stove could simmer, we tested the knobs and saw how low the flame could go while still remaining active. We also placed a hand above the flame and lowered it to see how close we could get before it got uncomfortable.

The closer the hand could comfortably get (measured in inches), the lower we found a burner could go. Why does this matter? You don’t just want a stove to have hot and very hot settings; sometimes you need less flame to cook on a low simmer.

We also tested each of the dials to see the range of control they allowed. The higher the degrees of rotation, the more you can turn the dial and change the heat output.

Generally, the higher the better, as this lets you clearly know if you’re cooking on low, medium, or high. Some knobs are also marked with high and low settings to indicate the range.

This list is for car camping stoves. If you want to eat hot food while hiking or backpacking, check out our review of the best backpacking stoves. Or, if a good char is your thing, our gear guide of the best portable grills. Otherwise, read on as we break down the nitty-gritty details of camping stoves.

Camping stoves can be broken down into two main groups, and deciding what kind of camp cooking you’re aiming to do will help you narrow in on which stove is better for you. The vast majority of camp stoves are stand-alone remote fuel stoves, which differentiate themselves from backpacking stoves by not relying on the canister to support the stove. Weighing right around 10 pounds and packing down efficiently to be stowed away, these stoves are best placed on a camp or picnic table, with their outboard fuel canisters supported.

Freestanding stoves, on the other hand, are the large group cookers, and are totally self-supporting with adjustable legs that both make them easier to stand at while using, but also bulkier and harder to move around. These models typically have higher outputs in order to handle boiling large pots for things like crab boils or stews, and the 30,000 BTU Camp Chef Explorer 14 is an excellent example. Freestanding stoves typically are fueled by the larger 20-pound propane canisters.

If you spend more than 2-3 months out of the year camping — even if you are a single household — we’d recommend going for a two-burner camping stove. Two burners mean you always have the option of cooking with a pot and pan or, for instance, making one entrée alongside a vegetarian or kid-friendly option, and you avoid the musical chairs of attempting to have everything hot at the same time.

Not to mention, two-burner stoves are the standard. However, for those wanting something different, there are now many single-burner (and even a few three-burner) options on the market. For larger groups, consider a three-burner such as the Coleman Cascade 328, which sports 28,000 BTUs across the cooking surface. Also, remember that not all two burners are built the same. The 30,000 BTU output of the Camp Chef Explorer 14 is a one-way ticket to boiling large stock pots, while the lighter-duty 10,000 BTU stoves that are more common will struggle to accomplish this quickly.

Another easy way to augment the number of burners available is to add a single-burner type stove, like the Eureka SPRK+ or Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner, into the mix. We’ve often utilized combos like this to churn out pasta and sauce, while our sous chef whips up a hot side. Chainable stove systems like the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp or Eureka Ignite are another excellent way to add additional cooking surfaces, and cut down on the number of propane bottles you need to lug around. Compared to bigger three-burner units, the beauty of a chainable system is that you can leave components behind if you’re going solo or don’t need to cook that much.

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. Basically, it’s a measurement of energy and, in the case of camp stoves, heat. A gas range stove you’d find in a home has about 6,000-8,000 BTUs per burner (on average), and for the curious, a single BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Lower BTUs generally mean lower-heat cooking (good for simmering and light cooking uses). While higher BTUs (anything above 10,000) indicate high-heat cooking (great for meals with longer cook times and essential for being able to boil lots of water quickly). The flame pattern that a burner head puts out will also have an effect on heat transfer, but BTUs are a relatively clean way to compare stoves to one another.

Most camp stoves today hover around the 10,000 BTU mark, which for almost all cooking purposes is a perfectly functional amount of heat. It balances the fuel efficiency well, and will still boil a pot of water in a reasonable amount of time. Stoves like the Coleman Cascade Classic, Kovea Slim Twin, Primus Kinjia, and Eureka Ingite all put out around this amount, and all worked admirably in our testing.

Bumping up the BTUs can certainly speed up the cooking process, especially when it comes to bringing water to a boil. The GSI Selkirk 540+ and Coleman 3-in-1 both pump out around 12-14,000 BTU, and were able to bring a liter of water to a boil in less than 4 minutes 30 seconds. This increase in performance does come with a cost, however, and in high-performance 20,000 BTU stoves like the Camp Chef Everest 2X, fuel consumption will take a hit. Consider bringing along multiple gas canisters when cooking with these higher-power options.

Usually, when you go camping, you’re there to enjoy the outdoors. And yes, that also means enjoying hanging around camp and eating good camp food. One of the most essential criteria for a camp stove is its ability to boil water.

Some stoves can boil in 3 minutes, while others take as long as 10 minutes. The stove that boils the fastest marks a great stove, but doesn’t necessarily make it the best. If you are looking for certain features, say a lightweight stove or one with an igniter, you may have to sacrifice some boil time.

In our testing, it was no surprise that the 30,000 BTU powerhouse Camp Chef Explorer 14 was hot to trot right out of the gate and boiled a liter of water in less than 3 minutes. Following that were the higher-end BTU stoves, including the Camp Chef Everest 2X, the GSI Selkirk 540+, and the Coleman 3-in-1. Interestingly, the glut of stoves with around 10-12,000 BTU shook out with a wide variance of times, and can likely be attributed to their burner size and shape. Bringing up the rear was the budget Coleman Cascade Classic, which took a full 7 minutes to boil.

All the stoves we reviewed were able to efficiently light/start, heat, and reach a rolling boil in 8 minutes or less.

We did a whole test on simmer control because, as we’ve mentioned, boiling water isn’t everything. In order to enjoy a good chef-quality camp meal, you want to be able to boil, but also bake, sauté, fry, simmer, grill, and more. We measured the simmering range on the flame of each burner/stove to see how they stacked up.

The pattern of the flame that the burner head puts out also has a good bit to do with how well a stove will simmer. Small burners like those present on the Primus Kinjia concentrate the heat in one area, and you’ll need to continue stirring to keep food from burning, or use cookware that dissipates heat, such as cast iron. This was one of the reasons we loved the Camp Chef Everest 2X so much, which has broad burner heads that distribute heat evenly and make for fuss-free simmering.

Think about how often and under what conditions (such as in cold weather) you’ll be using your stove. The more you expand your horizons to travel, the chances of harsh weather and wind will increase. Knowing whether or not your stove can hold up in windy weather isn’t something you want to learn on a 10-day camping trip on the blustery New England coast.

Camp stoves aim to protect themselves from the wind in three ways. The first is windscreens, which typically are attached to the lid of the stove and are deployed by folding them out. This creates a three-sided barrier from gusts that might otherwise attempt to snuff out your flame. Windscreens aren’t often very adjustable, so you’ll want to aim your stove with the lid pointing into the wind.

The second method to block wind is by recessing the burners into the stove pan. This is fairly prominent on stoves like the Primus Kinjia or Coleman Cascade Classic, but noticeably absent on the GSI Selkirk 540+, which likely contributed to that stove’s lesser ability to avoid being blown out. The final barrier against wind is only seen on the Camp Chef Everest 2X, and those are small metal dishes that surround each burner. These made the Everest extremely resistant to being blown out.

If you live somewhere windy, you can also ensure better stove performance in wind and cold by investing in more BTUs.

The majority of stoves on this list (as you can tell by the images) use one-pound propane canisters. However, a few, like the Snow Peak Home & Camp, use butane fuel. While it varies based on how long you take to cook your meals and what setting your burner is on, a one-pound propane canister generally lasts about three or four meals, or about 1 hour of cooking time. If you’re headed out for a weekend, we recommend packing a few canisters, as multiple meals can start to chew through them.

Propane is generally considered an all-weather cooking fuel, but will start to get finicky as the temperatures drop. You can help safeguard against this by keeping your canisters in a warm place before cooking, and tucking them back away when you’re done. Butane, on the other hand, doesn’t do so hot in the cold, and we don’t generally recommend it for shoulder season cooking.

In our testing, we timed each stove for how long it would run on a single 16-ounce propane canister and found that in general the higher the BTUs, the thirstier the stove and the quicker it would burn fuel. At full-blast, the Camp Chef Everest 2X will always find the bottom of a canister before the 10,000 BTU stoves, and because of this we always recommend only running your stove as hot as you need to cook on.

While traditional one-pound propane canisters are single-use, you may consider investing in a refillable propane tank like the Gas Growler from Ignik ($150), which will allow you to refill your camp canister from 20-pound propane tanks. This can greatly simplify your camp cooking needs and keeps disposable tanks out of the landfill. Or, if space is at a premium, the Flame King 1-pound refillable bottles offer the same convenience, at the same size as the single-use tanks. Take note that generally all camp stoves use a screw-on adapter that accepts 16-ounce canisters, but adapters can be purchased for running off bigger tanks.

Weight is one of the biggest differentiators between the stoves on this list. However, these stoves are built for car camping, so you won’t really be carrying them too far. If you know you want a capable and strong two-burner, weight might not matter as much as other features.

What matters more is the packed size. There’s only so much space in your car or truck or at your campsite, so compact stoves like the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove or the Primus Kinjia can make a difference. 

Check to see if the stove packs down into a case, has a cover, and how the fuel line and grill can be stored. Is it all stored together? Do accessories take up more space? These are all factors to consider for your unique preferences and needs.

Strikers, also sometimes known as auto-igniters or piezo igniters, are buttons that expel a spark using electricity to ignite a stove. (It’s a process similar to the button that ignites the pilot light on your stove at home.) Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of using some high-quality piezo igniters, and seen the sadness of realizing that your built-in striker has bit the dust. Know that different qualities of piezo igniters exist, and that generally you get what you pay for.

Other strikers that provide a spark can be flint or metal. We always opt for a camp stove that has an integrated igniter — as long as the igniter works consistently, this is the best option.

The last option for lighting your camp stove is the good ol’ fashioned match. However, matches can be wasteful and fragile, and not all are waterproof or can stand up to harsh weather. You can always bring flint or some matches as a backup method.

Think about who you’re cooking for. Is your group size usually one to two people, three to four, or a larger family? Also, consider what you’re cooking.

Do you make a lot of one-pot meals, or do you like sautéing, simmering, slicing, dicing, and baking when outdoors? Do you want to invest in these features down the road? Or do you want a stove with a compatible grill top, or a stove big enough for say, a dutch oven?

Finally, consider your budget. If you see a stove on sale for less than the others, we recommend jumping on it.

Small can mean compact, or in the case of camp stoves, slimmer and lighter. Each of the stoves on this list is designed with some form of portability and compactness in mind.

If you are tight on space and looking for a truly small stove to stash away in your camp kit or vehicle, we’d recommend the Eureka SPRK+ (a one-burner option) or the Kovea Slim Twin (a slim and more budget-friendly two-burner).

By far, the best stove for families is the one that will fit your family’s needs. That being said, we’d recommend a stove that’s sturdy, versatile (can cook multiple meals), and easy to clean.

You can’t go wrong with any of our top picks, but the Camp Chef Everest 2X stands out for peak cooking performance and durability. The Coleman Cascade Classic Camp Stove, on the other hand, stands out for budget-friendly, simple, and durable use. Both are durable options that should last for years of family gatherings.

Both butane and propane have their pros and cons. Both are pressurized gasses — gas that is compressed and stored as a liquid. Butane tends to perform less well in colder weather. Propane canisters can come in all types of sizes (a better variety to suit a wider range of needs).

It’s important to take note of what climate you’ll be using your camp stove in most. Also, propane is fairly easy to access — you can find it in a big city, in rural towns, even in general stores near state or national parks.

Does the stove have a fuel line adaptor to accommodate different types of fuel? Only a few stoves on the market can run on multiple fuels (Coleman even makes one that runs on gasoline), but the majority are designed for solely butane or propane.

Backpacking stoves are very small single-burner units that can fit in a backpack (even the palm of your hand). Their weight is measured in ounces. Camping stoves, however, are used at “base camp” when you are car camping, truck camping, visiting National Parks, or traveling between.

Camp stoves are bigger and heavier (average 8-14 pounds), and they’re made to be set on a tabletop, truck bed, picnic, or camp table, converting your camp into a camp kitchen.

Now that you’ve got all the info, it’s time to go camping, get cooking, and enjoy the great outdoors!

First, consider how you plan on using your camping stove. Someone who is looking to make a near-fixture of their camp stove in a van build-out is likely to have different requirements over someone who only needs to boil water during weekend camping trips. If you are in the first camp, look into your more substantially built stoves, such as the Camp Chef Everest 2X. For more casual use, consider the Coleman Cascade Classic.

Then, think about the types of meals you are looking to brew up. More substantial or complicated meals will require more cooking space, as well as potentially more heat output. Look for a twin burner stove with at least 10,000-BTU output if you’re the camp chef of your friend group. We find the Coleman 3-in-1 to be a versatile stove that is ready for any type of meal.

Finally, consider if you might ever utilize your stove in a hike-in capacity. There are a number of lighter camp stoves on the market, such as the Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner or Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove, that make packing them into camp a much easier chore.

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Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie. She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder. Mary also serves as the leader of AllGear Digital’s DEI Committee.

Hailing from the hemlocks and hanging mosses of Washington State, Senior Editor Nick Belcaster is an adventure journalist following threads of stories across the West. Cruelly stolen from the alpine swales of rural Wisconsin at a young age, Nick made do ascending the snows and granite of the North Cascades while completing a journalism degree. A long stint on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 codified a life bent on sleeping on minor slopes and picking devil’s club out of his shoes.

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Best Camping Stoves of 2024 | GearJunkie

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