We tested the best camping stoves from Coleman, Camp Chef, Kovea, Snow Peak, and more for this review. Read on to see how each performs and which stove came out on top.
Camping and food go hand in hand. And nothing makes camp cooking enjoyable like a good stove. This year, we tested several new 2020 stoves and many models from previous years. We also have years of combined experience with camp cooking, and all of that knowledge went into this review.
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 at the heart of it, each stove is different. And most importantly, each stove in our top picks performs the best for specific uses and reasons.
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.
The Best Camping Stoves of 2020
Best Overall: Kovea Slim Twin Propane Camp Stove ($130)
This stove impressed us from the get-go for two main reasons: the design and functionality. The Kovea Slim Twin was almost completely redesigned this year, 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. It weighs 10 pounds.
When we tested last year’s model of the Kovea Slim Twin stove, we had issues with the leg supports (they were thin and wobbly), burner design (it required two separate propane cans), simmer control, and price ($190). Overall, Kovea made tons of great updates this year, and the effort shows. The 2020 Kovea Twin Slim is a fantastic improvement.
Pros: The Kovea Slim is a good price, and its slimness is great for those who like camping but don’t have a lot of storage space. It performs well and offers all the basic features (plus a spiffy auto-igniter so you don’t have to carry matches).
Cons: The only con we have with this stove is that it’s so slim, the propane adapter doesn’t fit inside the stove for storage. We recommend labeling it or attaching a leash, carabiner, or clip to the adapter so it can be stored with the stove.
Runner-Up: Camp Chef Everest 2X ($130)
The Camp Chef Everest 2X replaced the older Mountain Series Summit model from this brand. The Everest is definitely as high-powered (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 the strongest burners we tested, it still simmers well. And with the new burner and cookspace design, you get a few more cubic inches of cooking space for the same weight.
Last year’s Camp Chef Summit 2-Burner Camp Stove ($150) model had impressive heat output, but we had issues with the striker (and the price tag). This year, we found the auto-igniter to be more consistent.
Pros: The Everest produces strong flames and works well in windy conditions. Its burner design evenly spreads out heat, and the windscreen tabs stay secure with exterior locks, which is a nice touch.
Cons: It’s a bit heavier (12 pounds) and bulkier than we’d like.
Best Budget: Coleman Classic Propane Stove ($44)
The simplest option on the list is also one of our favorites and has been a go-to choice on our staff for a while now. The Coleman Classic Propane Stove might not have all the fancy features as the others on the list, but it’s hands down the most bang for your buck out of all camp stoves on the market.
For as low as $43, you get two 10,000-BTU burners in a classic, trusted design. We cooked up plenty of meals on the Coleman Classic and appreciate how simple it is. It blocks wind well enough and has really nice simmer control. The Coleman Classic weighs 12 pounds.
Pros: It’s budget-friendly but still durable enough for the outdoors.
Cons: It doesn’t have a striker, so you’ll have to use matches or a lighter. And the simmer control could be a bit better.
Best One-Burner: Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner ($110)
One-burner stoves serve a lot of cool purposes. They’re great for those short on space, for solo campers, and for building out vans or off-road vehicles. (And as the name implies, they also work for home cooking.)
Snow Peak’s newest Home & Camp burner has all the compactness and intricacy of origami, with all the durability of a two-burner camp stove. The burner completely folds into itself (about the size of a 48-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.
Pros: The legs and burner are low to the ground, reducing wind interference. If you choose a one-burner, you want to make sure it has good simmer control for when you need it. And the dial on the Home & Camp provides that.
Cons: It’s on the pricier side at $110 for only one burner, but its compact design, versatility, and overall good performance are why this stove made the cut.
The Best of the Rest
The Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove is an exceptionally well-rounded camp stove. It comes in Quiet Green (shown above) and works well time and time again. The wind panels block wind reasonably well, and it has excellent simmer control. It weighs 10 pounds.
As we noted in our 2019 camp test review, the reason this stove didn’t impress us more is that it doesn’t excel in one particular area. It does all things a camp stove should well. But when compared to others, its performance falls a bit short.
Pros: This stove falls in the middle/upper end of the pack — it simmers really well and isn’t an outrageous price, but its boil time is slower.
Cons: Occasionally, we had issues with the strikers. One of the burners would fail to ignite or a striker would stop working altogether. But average is fine; average will cook meals well at the campsite and look great in photos.
Jetboil Genesis: $260
The Genesis 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.
Pros: The clamshell folds down small and has great simmering controls.
Cons: The stove is more expensive than other stoves on the list at $260. But its simmer control and the ability to daisy-chain additional stoves make the Genesis a solid investment.
The Primus Profile 2-Burner Stove has a clean design with with a moderate heat output at 12,000 BTUs per burner. It functions with a piezo ignition striker and has one of the larger cooking areas compared to other stoves. That means you can place larger pans on the Profile. It’s also on the lighter side for two-burner stoves, weighing in at 9 pounds.
Pros: The heat can go really low, and the dial is slow to turn, meaning you don’t accidentally crank it and burn your food.
Cons: The flame blew out twice in one test, leaving our editors at the conclusion that the side panels and burner are not designed for really windy areas.
Primus Tupike: $250
The Primus Tupike is a great stove, but it comes at the hefty price of $250. What you get is a beautiful stainless steel stove accented with oak slats on the cover. We’ve had this one in testing for nearly 3 years now, and it’s proven itself time and again as a durable, reliable cook setup.
On the plus side, its 7,000-BTU piezo ignition burners fire up every time at the push of a button — even 3 years into testing and dozens, if not hundreds, of meals cooked. And while its doesn’t have the highest BTU output, it has proven sufficient for everything from boiling water in below-zero weather to searing steaks on a warm afternoon.
Pros: It simmers well and performs well in cold weather.
Cons: On the downside, the windscreens are oddly designed and are held open only by weak magnets. They don’t work protect the lower area of the stove (where the fire is), so it loses a lot of heat in wind. Finally, the price is a heavy hit. While yes, this is a luxury-level stove, $250 is pretty crazy for something you’ll bring camping.
Camp Chef Versatop: $150
While not technically a stove, a griddle can also bring a lot of joy and simplicity to outdoor cooking. The Camp Chef Versatop has a nonstick cooking surface with a wide 15,000-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 flattop, grill, or even bake bread in the Versatop. You just pull off the cooking surface, place on another, and start cooking. During our 2019 GearJunkie campout, our editors had a blast cooking breakfasts, sandwiches, and large helpings of stirfry on the Versatop.
Pros: The Versatop provides an even cooking surface and is great option when cooking for large groups of people. Another benefit of the Versatop is you don’t need to bring additional pans thanks to the flattop.
Cons: It takes a while to heat up fully, and if you’re cooking any meals that require boiling, you’ll need to bring a second stove. It also weighs a hefty 24 pounds.
Kovea Cube Stove: $50
This stove was our close second choice for best budget stove, if it weren’t for its poor performance in windy conditions. The Kovea Cube offers a lot of functionality for just $40. The Cube has a lightweight frame, and although it doesn’t fold, it’s fairly compact too. The Cube is powered by butane gas instead of propane, which we believe contributes to its slower boil time (a little over 7 minutes per liter, or a little under 4 minutes for 500mL).
Pros: it’s lightweight (unlike most one-burner stoves), simmers very well, and the price is hard to beat.
Cons: the square style pot support is minimal, and there’s absolutely no wind protection. We solved this problem easily by using a windscreen. Note: the lower-range 7,800 BTU output gave us a few issues in cold and windy conditions.
That said, it weighs almost nothing at 1 lb 8 oz., so you might as well pack it.
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 2-Burner Camp Stove: $170 (available August 2020)
While we haven’t been able to review this stove yet, we’re looking forward to it, as it’s one of the most highly awaited stoves for the industry this year. The GSI Pinnacle was nominated for an innovation award at January’s Outdoor Retailer trade show, and we gave it our Best in Show award, as it shows lots of promise and innovation in design for a camp stove.
The stove, similar to the Kovea Slim Twin, is designed to be as slim as possible, with foldout legs, two 11,000-BTU burners, a collapsible grate, and thin windscreen and frame — all adding up to a stove that’s just 1.4 inches thick. The claimed weight of this stove is around 10 pounds, and it will retail for $170.
Note: We plan to test this stove later in 2020 and will provide feedback here once we do so.
How We Tested: Best Camp Stoves
Besides just boiling water, we also cooked meals on each of the camp stoves for this review (including mac and cheese, sauteed veggies, hot dogs, rice, and more). The boil and simmer tests are by no means perfect, but they are a consistent way of comparing stove performance, and we believe they provide a good understanding of the stoves’ more technical functions.
Note: We tested these stoves over a period of several weeks, hence the absence of some (including the Coleman Classic and Primus stoves) from testing photos. However, we’ve reviewed all of the stoves on this list in depth.
We subjected each propane stove to a 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 the same temperature as prior tests. We checked the water occasionally to see when it began to boil.
Different air temperatures and altitudes will boil water differently. (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.
Best Camping Stove Boil Test
- Camp Chef Everest 2X: 3:06 per liter (compare to the 2019 Camp Chef Summit at 4:50 per liter)
- Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner: Around 4 minutes per liter
- Kovea Slim Twin: 4:30 per liter
- Coleman Classic: 3:40 per 500 mL (a little over 7 minutes per liter)
- Kovea Cube Stove: 7:45 per liter
- Eureka Ignite: 4:10 per 500 mL (around 8 minutes per liter)
- Primus Profile: 4:10 per 500 mL (around 8 minutes per liter)
To test how well a stove could simmer, or cook gently, we tested the knobs and saw how low the flame could go while still remaining active. I placed my hand above the flame and lowered to see how close I could get before it got uncomfortable. This directly relates to how low a burner can go. The closer my hand could comfortably get (measured in inches), the lower we found a burner could go.
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.
Best Camping Stove Simmer Test
- Camp Chef Everest 2X: 1 inch, 360+ degrees
- Kovea Cube: 1-2 inches, 120 degrees
- Eureka Ignite: 1-2 inches, 440 degrees
- Primus Profile: 1-2 inches, 120 degrees
- Snow Peak Home & Camp: 2 inches, 3 settings
- Kovea Slim Twin: 2 inches, 360 degrees
- Coleman Classic: 2-3 inches, 270 degrees
Conclusions: The Best Stoves for Camping
None of the stoves included here are a bad option, and we like all of the stoves on this list. They all work well and will perform for your outdoor cooking needs. They just have different strengths that will suit different camping scenarios.
When compared head to head with other camping stoves, one clear winner for 2020 emerged: the Kovea Slim Twin Propane Camp Stove.
How to Choose a Camp Stove: What to Consider
- Think about how much, and under what conditions (i.e., in cold weather), you’ll be using your stove.
- Think about who you’re cooking for. Is your group size usually one to two people, three to four, or a larger family?
- Consider what you’re cooking. Do you make a lot of one-pot meals, or do you like sauteeing, simmering, slicing, dicing, and baking in the outdoors?
- Finally, consider your budget. If you see a stove on sale for less than the others, we recommend jumping on it.
Have a favorite camp stove we missed? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this article.