We tested the best camping stoves from Coleman, Camp Chef, GSI Outdoors, Kovea, 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 2021 stoves and retested 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. 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.
Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:
The Best Camping Stoves of 2021
Best Overall Camping Stove: Camp Chef Everest 2X
The Camp Chef Everest 2X ($159) 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.
Gear Editor Mallory Paige lives in an off-grid cabin and has been using the Everest 2X as her family’s primary stove for the past year. It has held up impressively well to daily use.
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 altitude to carefully toasting pine nuts, it does it all.
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.
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. If you want a stove that will roar to life for deeper dishes and heavy-duty cook use, this is the one.
It’s a bit heavier (12 pounds) and bulkier than we’d like.
Runner Up: Kovea Slim Twin Propane Camp Stove
This stove impressed us from the get-go for two main reasons: the design and functionality. The Kovea Slim Twin ($129) was almost completely redesigned last 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 an older model of the Kovea Slim 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. Overall, Kovea made tons of great updates, and the effort shows. The Kovea Twin Slim is a fantastic improvement.
The Kovea Slim is a good price, and its slimness is great for those who like camping but don’t have a lot of space. It performs well and offers all the basic features.
The only con we have with this stove is 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. We also didn’t like the plastic burner knobs as much as other stoves we tested.
Editor’s Choice: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 2-Burner Camp Stove (Available Spring 2021)
One of the most highly awaited stoves for the industry, the Pinnacle took us close to a year to get our hands on for testing. But once we did, it was sweet. For us, the Pinnacle lived up to its innovation award at 2019’s Outdoor Retailer trade show (we gave it our Best in Show award).
The stove, similar to the Kovea Slim Twin, is designed to be as slim as possible. The Pinnacle has fold-out 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. How does it get that small? Well, a well-designed burner base, stove cover, and lots of well-placed hinges.
In testing, the Pinnacle Pro really won out over others because of its combined size and burner power performance. We found the stove’s windscreen and burners to be slightly better incorporated (and flatter) than other compact two-burners. And, the incorporated piezo igniter (one for each burner) worked consistently, even in colder conditions.
It offers great burner output, cook time, and simmer capabilities. If you want the camp stove to be extra compact, you don’t even need to use the legs — it’s slim and sturdy all on its own. (However, the fuel line has a cap that flips down, so depending on what type of surface/table you set your stove on, this could be an issue.)
The pot support grate folds out on a hinge (isn’t removable) so it’s slightly trickier to clean. And, it’s the most expensive on our list.
The claimed weight of this stove is 9 pounds, and it retails for $170.
Best Budget Camp Stove: Coleman Classic Propane Stove
The simplest option on the list is also one of our favorites and has been a go-to choice on our staff for years. The Coleman Classic Propane Stove 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.
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.
It’s budget-friendly but still durable enough for the outdoors.
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 Camping Stove: Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner
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 ($110) has all the compactness and intricacy of origami, with the durability of a two-burner camp stove. The burner completely folds into itself (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.
The legs and burner are low to the ground, reducing wind interference. If you choose a one-burner, make sure it has good simmer control for when you need it. And the dial on the Home & Camp provides that.
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 list.
The Best of the Rest
While not technically a stove, a griddle can also bring a lot of joy and simplicity to outdoor cooking. The Camp Chef VersaTop ($195) 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 stir fry on the VersaTop.
The VersaTop provides an even cooking surface and is a 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.
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.
The Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove ($109) 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.
The reason this stove didn’t impress us more is it doesn’t excel in any one particular area. It does all things a camp stove should do well. But when compared to others, its performance falls a bit short.
This stove falls in the middle/upper end of the pack — it simmers really well and isn’t outrageously priced, but its boil time is slower.
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.
The Primus Profile 2-Burner Stove ($169) has a clean design 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.
The heat can go really low, and the dial is slow to turn, meaning you won’t accidentally crank it and burn your food.
The flame blew out twice in one test, leaving our editors with the conclusion the side panels and burner are not designed for really windy areas.
The Primus Tupike ($250) 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 it 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.
It simmers and performs well in cold weather. Also, it’s well-designed and gorgeous.
On the downside, the windscreens are oddly designed and are held open only by weak magnets. They don’t work to 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 this is a luxury-level stove, $250 is pretty crazy for something you’ll bring camping.
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 $50. 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 500 mL).
It’s lightweight (unlike most one-burner stoves), simmers very well, and the price is hard to beat.
The square-style pot support is minimal, and there’s absolutely no wind protection. We solved this problem easily by using a windscreen. It might also work well on overland vehicle kitchen setups. 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 1.5 pounds, so you might as well pack it.
The Genesis ($260) 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.
The clamshell folds down small and has great simmering controls.
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.
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, sautéed 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 at the same temperatures 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)
- GSI Pinnacle Pro Stove: 4:02 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, 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 it 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
- GSI Pinnacle: 1-2 inches, 360 degrees
- 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
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camping Stove
Number of Burners
If you spend more than 2-3 months out of the year camping, even if you are a single household, I’d recommend going for a two-burner. Two burners mean you always have the option of cooking with a pot and pan, or say, making one entreé alongside a vegetarian or kid-friendly option.
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.
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).
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 quickly boil lots of water).
Time to Boil
Usually, when you go camping, you are there to enjoy the outdoors. And yes, that also means enjoying hanging around camp and eating good camp food. One of the most essential — maybe only essential — criteria for a camp stove is its ability to boil water.
Some stoves can boil in 3 minutes or 10. 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.
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, well, 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 simmer range on the flame of each burner/stove to see how they stacked up.
Performance in Wind
Think about how much and under what conditions (i.e., in cold weather) you’ll be using your stove. The more you camp, the more diverse places and seasons you choose to camp in, and the more you travel all play roles in this.
Knowing whether or not your stove can hold up if it’s windy isn’t something you want to learn on a 10-day camping trip on the blustery New England coast. Check the specs, see if the stove has or offers a windscreen, and read up on customer reviews.
If you live somewhere windy, you can also ensure better stove performance in wind and cold by investing in more BTUs.
Fuel Types and Capacities
The majority of stoves on this list (as you can tell by the images) use one-pound propane canisters. However, a few use butane fuel as well. Depending on how long you take to cook your meals and what setting your burner is on, a one-pound canister can last to cook about three or four meals.
Weight and Packed Size
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 the weight much. If you know you want a capable and strong two-burner, weight might not matter as much as other features.
What does matter more is packed size. There’s only so much space in your car or truck or at your campsite. Look to see if the stove packs down into a case or with a cover and how the fuel line and grill can be stored. Is it stored altogether? Do accessories take up more space? These are all things to consider.
Ignition: Strikers vs. Matches
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.)
Other strikers that provide a spark can be flint or metal. I 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, are 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.
Extra Features: Griddles, Grates, and More
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 in the outdoors? Do you want to invest in it down the road with lots of accessories? Do you want a stove with a compatible grill top or 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.
What Is the Best Small Camping Stove?
Small can mean compact size, or in the case of camp stoves, slimmer and smaller in weight. 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 Snow Peak Home & Camp Burner (a one-burner option) or the Kovea Slim Twin (a slim and more budget-friendly two-burner).
While our top choice, the new GSI Pinnacle Pro, is by far the slimmest, it’s also pretty high in terms of price point.
What Is the Best Camping Stove for Families?
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 especially the Camp Chef Everest for peak cooking performance and durability and the Coleman Classic Camp Stove for budget-friendly, simple, and durable use.
Which Is Better, a Butane or Propane Camping Stove?
Both butane and propane have their pros and cons. Both are pressurized gases — 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).
Make a 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? A few stoves on market can run on multiple fuels (Coleman even makes one that runs on gasoline), but this is not the majority.
Backpacking Stove vs. Camping Stove: What's the Difference?
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, and more.
Camp stoves are bigger and heavier (average 6-14 pounds), and they’re made to be set on a tabletop, truck bed, or picnic area, 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!