Camping stoves are a tradition amongst outdoor enthusiasts. The classic one-burner stove has made its way into the memories of anyone who enjoys being outdoors.
Preppers looking for alternatives in case of an emergency can find utility and reliability in uncertain times and can find their solace in one of these stoves.
Butane canister stoves have been used widely for a long time. Fuel is widely available and is convenient enough to have a stocked supply that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
The same can be said for carrying a few butane canisters with you on a camping trip as they are easily packed away in your bag.
If you’re new to the butane stove scene or are just interested in some of the best butane stove products, this is the guide for you.
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What To Look For In A Butane Stove?
Here are some tips to help you figure out what butane stove will work best for you.
No two stoves are built alike and as long as you understand a need versus a gimmick, the search for your stove will be simple.
A butane stove that has no safety features shouldn’t be purchased. As with any type of stove, there is the potential for danger, even when you’re careful.
Butane in a can is under a lot of pressure and if anything were to malfunction, it could mean an explosion.
An automatic shut-off feature is necessary and is present on almost every butane stove.
Once there is a pressure issue with the canister, the stove will immediately shut off. This is great if you’ve somehow inserted the canister incorrectly and some of the gas leaks out.
If you can find it, having an auto-shutoff feature for accidental knocking is also a plus. This stops the stove from working if it’s accidentally kicked or knocked off a surface.
Ignition locks are another good feature to have. For those who leave their canisters in their stove while storing (which you shouldn’t do), this can save you a lot of fuel and your life.
These locks are in place so that you have to do a specific action to start the stove or prime the gas.
Some butane stoves include what’s called an auto exit feature. Whenever the stove is turned off it’ll automatically eject the butane canister so that there is no chance of it starting up again and potentially causing a fire or incident with anyone near it.
How your butane stove is designed and what materials were used in its construction are important for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the materials made will determine how heavy your stove is and that is important because it makes you decide what you’re going to use that stove for.
Going backcountry camping? A heavier stove can be a pain in the butt if you’re doing a long hike. A lighter stove means less weight on the trail, and ounces do matter when hiking.
This might mean you have a little less power in terms of BTU, but you’re probably not cooking gourmet meals on a hiking trip.
If you’re into car camping or living out of your vehicle, then a larger stove might be the right choice for you since they often have additional safety features included in them.
Most stoves have an enamel coating over either steel or aluminum.
The enamel is there to help with cleaning the stove and staving off the rust that may accumulate over the years. Aluminum is lightweight but steel is more durable.
Power for a butane stove is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and is an indication of how much heat a butane stove will push out. Lower-end stoves will reach about the 7000 BTU mark and higher-end stoves can be more than 10,000 BTU.
This doesn’t matter if you are just boiling water for dehydrated meals or having coffee and tea. However, if you’re looking to cook some fancy meals, stick with the higher BTU.
The nice thing about most stoves is that they have an adjustment knob to help you regulate the heat so you don’t scorch your food.
There are a lot of butane stove models that come with an adjustable flame.
Not only will that give you the variable temperature for various kinds of cooking, but adds to the fuel efficiency of the stove itself.
Quality of Life Features
Innovation is a key to the technological evolution of a product and most either revamp a current way of thinking or enhance what is already there to add functionality.
Butane stoves have come a long way and some brands have introduced cool features for their stoves.
Dual fuel-burning stoves are a cool feature that opens up the versatility of butane stoves. The first fuel is, of course, butane, but the secondary fuel source is propane.
Both are readily available fuels and you’re bound to find one of them. Having propane as a fuel option is nice because you can get larger tanks that can last you far longer than the little butane canisters.
Windscreens are another feature that can provide functionality in a situation where the stove may not work. Some stoves include a windscreen that acts to block the wind from blowing out the stove.
Companies can accomplish this by adding a ridge, or lip to their burners while others have the burner itself recessed into the housing.
The 12 Best Butane Stoves On The Market
Gas ONE 7650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove
|Lightweight for the size
|Weak BTU rating compared to other models
|Comes with a carry case
Gas ONE is a company known for reliability. This stove is lightweight at just over 3lbs and is a great backup in an emergency.
It pumps out 7650 BTU/hr which makes it great for cooking smaller meals. An added carry case is included for easy transportation. It has a steel drip pan for any messes caused by cooking.
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Chef-Master Butane Countertop Stove
|The flame adjustment knob is sensitive
|High BTU Output
This butane stove has a high output of 12,000 BTU/hr while being fuel-efficient. This makes it ideal for camping trips with meals that need more cooking time.
There are a variety of intensity adjustments for the burner, with some people saying it may be too touchy. It doesn’t come with legs for it to sit on so you will have to prop it up on something.
Coleman Single Burner Portable Butane Stove
|Wind baffle included
|1.5 hours of runtime on a canister
|Simple to use
The Coleman single burner stove is a classic camping staple. With no-frills, it’s designed to just heat things and do some light cooking.
This model has been tested for decades and has an extremely long life thanks to the aluminum frame and porcelain-coated grate. If you’re looking for tried and tested reliability, this stove is for you.
GasOne Emergency Gear Camping Mini Butane Portable Gas Stove
|Lightweight and portable
|To small to keep butane canister in the unit for storage
|Porcelain drip pan for easy cleanup
|No matches or lighter needed for startup
GasOne made this stove for easy portability which means that it is light, just over 2lbs. It’s on the list because of the portability factor and reliability in emergencies.
It has a low heat output of around 7100 BTU which is a testament to its size.
If you need to make dinner or boil water in a pinch, then a unit like this is beneficial. If you’re cooking heavy meals that require a lot of heat there are better options.
Martin Outdoor Heavy Duty Portable Butane Stove
|8000 BTU of heat output
|A little heavy at just over 5lbs
|Adjustable fire settings
|Carry case can break with the wrong fall
This is a versatile butane stove that can handle small and large cooking tasks.
The key takeaways from this unit are that it’s powerful, can be adjusted based on what you’re cooking, and is good in inclement weather.
The Martin Outdoor butane stove has what they call an air cooling design and windscreen to protect your flame from going out.
Safety features include an auto-shutoff mechanism if there is too much pressure from the canister.
GasOne GS-8300 Compact Butane Camp Stove
|A unique, compact design
|The flame is exposed to the elements
|High BTU output for its size
|No spark needed, auto ignition
Probably needless to say, this is a cool stove. It folds out from a really small form factor and it only weighs 32 ounces or 2lbs.
It features a steady support system that feels comfortable when you put a pot on it. This stove is made for the camper who wants to do some traveling but doesn’t need a bulky stove.
Iwatani Cassette Grill Slim II
|Still a bit heavy at over 3lbs
|70 minutes of continuous burning time
iWatani is a Japanese-based company that makes camping stoves. They’ve gotten a foothold in North America with their butane stoves gaining popularity because of how slim they are.
The Slim II provides a modest amount of power, ample enough to boil some water. If you’re looking for a reliable stove that can be carried with you into the backcountry.
Camplux Dual Fuel (Propane & Butane) Portable Camping Stove
|Butane canisters can be tricky to lock-in
|Easy to maintain
Camplux makes a butane/propane stove which is a great feature to have in a portable stove. This means you have the option of using both propane and butane to use it.
It’s a gamechanger in the sense that if you can’t find one fuel, you have the option of using the other.
This kind of stove is ideal for people who travel a lot or don’t want to carry butane canisters with them everywhere.
SHINESTAR Dual Fuel Camping Stove
|Dual fuel capabilities
|A little heavy at over 4lbs
|Includes propane regulator hose
|Stable build quality
Another dual fuel stove for those who want more choice. Shinestar claims you can get 10,000 starts with the automatic ignition feature which is a plus.
You can also boil 4 cups of water in about 5 minutes using this 7800 BTU stove. Safety features include safety shutoffs, a canister ejector, and a safety lock for accidental use.
CanCooker Portable Stove
|The case is a bit small for stove and propane hose
|Steel alloy build
|8,000 BTU Butane
|10,000 BTU Propane
CanCooker has created a quiet stove, considering the BTUs they pump out. Having a steel build makes the burner durable, but also heavy.
If you are into truck camping this is a great option to use on your tailgate. The electric ignition ensures that you can always start it, even without a match or lighter.
Suntouch Portable Gas Stove
|Loading the butane canister can be tricky
|The stove ejects the canister after the stove is turned off
An inexpensive option that provides some features that expensive stoves don’t include. An auto exit feature for the canister once the stove is off is not seen in many other stoves.
A built-in windshield increases fuel efficiency by protecting the flame from wind. If you’re looking for something that works well and won’t break the bank, check this one out.
GAS ONE 10,000 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove
|10,000 BTU output
|An expensive unit compared to others
|Small form factor for portability
If you want a powerhouse single-burner stove, look no further. One of the highest ratings on a butane stove out there, 10,000 BTUs will make cooking and boiling tasks easy.
It is only 13 inches at its longest point and 12 inches across making this a great stove to use off-grid or packed in your truck.
Frequently Asked Questions
Butane stoves always put off a little carbon monoxide. It is unavoidable even if you have optimal ventilation.
Since the carbon monoxide levels from the stove are considered to be quite low, using them indoors in an emergency should be fine for your health.
Butane and propane are excellent fuels to use with your camping stove. Propane works in all temperatures and at any altitude but is the heavier fuel of the two.
The weight is noticeable on a hiking trip so keep that in mind when you’re choosing fuels.
Butane is a great fuel for specific conditions. The butane canister may have trouble firing at higher altitudes while propane will still work fine.
Propane will start to have issues working at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Manufacturers generally recommend you stay below 5000 feet for the stove to work properly.
If the temperature gets too cold then butane has a hard time with vaporization and won’t be able to start. Propane typically stops working around -40 degrees Fahrenheit while alcohol will work even below that.
Most canisters have a tare weight on them and you can weigh the canister to see how much is left.
However, most campers and outdoor enthusiasts will do the tried and tested shaking method to get a feel for how much is left in the canister.
Some stoves use butane a lot faster than others so it’s always good to have a spare canister on hand when your current one is at about halfway. This gives you a good buffer so you’re not stuck without fuel for your stove.
Manufacturers have warnings on the canister stating that they could explode if under extreme pressure or heat.
You’ll be hard-pressed to come across someone who hasn’t left a canister in their car at one point or another and they have come away alive from it.
While it’s not a good idea to leave one in your car on a hot day, there is no reason to panic if you accidentally did.
If you’re a fan of lightweight traveling then a butane stove will be the best option for you.
Not only are they comparable to propane stoves in terms of power, portability, and versatility, the fuel is readily available and easy to pack away.
As an emergency prepper, these are great little stoves to have tucked away in case of a power outage or some other situation where you can’t use your primary mode of cooking.
They are inexpensive which means getting more than one won’t hurt. The fuel is light and small enough that you can keep a steady supply on hand.
Perrin is an adventure guide and naturalist currently living a nomadic life in the Canadian wilderness. His education and expertise is in wilderness survival and wildlife tracking. He enjoys teaching people about the outdoors and has managed large groups on expeditions.
With several accredited certifications, including being a wilderness first responder and a leave no trace expert, Perrin believes it is important for all of us to reconnect with the natural world.