The Best Coleman Stoves Reviewed
In the market for a new camping stove? Check out the top-rated Coleman Stoves that will keep you fed and happy during those outdoor weekends. There are options that are ideal for activities from backpacking to long family outings.
You’re going on a backcountry adventure or just going to camp for a week in the countryside; you know you’ll need to eat, and you might want to be able to cook some eggs, or noodles, or at the very least make a cup of coffee or tea. You’ll need a camping stove. Coleman is a company who pioneered the camping stove in 1942 when they made a stove for US soldiers in World War II, and by the 1950s what you would recognize now as a camping stove had entered the consumer marketplace. Now almost 70 years later Coleman are still making some of the best and most popular camping stoves. In this buying guide, we will review the best of the Coleman range.
8 Best Coleman Stoves
Coleman Classic stove
The only drawbacks, however minor, are that this stove’s legs are part of the metal body of the stove and on some surfaces, they might not give a secure footing. The stove lacks a real carrying handle and the latch is small and can easily be knocked open in transportation. No ignition system is present, meaning it must be lit with a match.
- Independently adjustable burners
- Ability to cook with larger pans due to the adjustable wind guards
- Must be lit with a match, as there is no ignition system built into this particular model
National Parks Propane Stove
This stove is has a large footprint, which enables it to hold two 12 inch pans. The stove lacks full wind guards, but the wind block pan supports go some way to rectifying this.The large handle is good when carrying but it in the way of the heat adjustment knobs and may be a problem for someone with large or gloved hands. If you use the interchangeable cooktops you need to wait for them to cool before cleaning, and allowing any grease to congeal.
- The entire unit folds up into a portable and very durable package, which stands up well to a ton of camping
- This model lacks those side wind guards that are so useful yet easily forgotten about, until you need them
Camp Propane Grill/Stove
This is a nice idea to have a permanent grill and stove together, however if you want to cook with two pans, maybe you want to warm milk for porridge and boil water for coffee, you, of course, can heat from a pan on the grill side, but the long straight burner on the grill side opposed to the round burner of the stove side might mean that your pan handle becomes heated as well and the contents of the pan. The way the grill plate is made with a solid plate above the burner would mean heating a pan on top via conduction of heat from the grill plate to pan and would take longer to heat anything in a pan on this side. The wind guards are small and there is a gap between then and the side of the stove because of the hinges which it uses for the wind guards to become side tables. If you are sure that you will be using the grill a lot then its a great stove/grill combination. But if you will only be grilling on occasions then you might be better buying a stove that you can add a grill plate to as an accessory.
- This one fills the gap when you want to bring a portable grill along with,but also want to have the stove function
You won't really be able to cook with two pans, like you would with a stove-only model
Guide Powerhouse Stove
Using a liquid fuel stove takes some getting used to. The fuel needs to be filled into the tank and for safety the tank should be emptied to a specific liquid fuel container before the stove is transported. If you are going to be cooking in cold climates it is great, but if you are a spring and summer outdoor person, then you might be better with a propane stove.
- This model is a good pick for colder weather conditions, and also has adjustable wind guards to allow larger pans
- The liquid fuel adds a bit more to worry about, especially if you're on the move
Coleman Butane Stove
The stove only has one burner, but is very light and easy to transport. The wind guard is not really very good in anything above a slight breeze and if the temperature drops below 10oC, which it can easily during a spring or autumn evening, the butane fuel becomes very inefficient and cooking times will increase. But it is a very low-cost stove and if all you want is to boil some water it is great.
- This one is a great choice, especially if all you need is the basics at a reasonable price
- The whole unit is lightweight, easy to set up and portable.
- The wind guards won't really help too much with stronger winds
Coleman Fold N Go™ Stove
- A really cool looking compact design, which actually opens up to a fairly large cooking surface
- This portable unit also has a built in ignition system.
- There is no form of wind guard with this unit
Coleman Peak Stove
Only one burner and will only take a maximum 6 inch pan. This stove has no wind guards. This really is a backpack stove where weigh and size is everything.
- This is the perfect choice for backpacking or minimalist camping
- The compact size allows you to set up for a meal just about anywhere.
- There is only one burner, which means only one thing gets cooked at a time
FyreMajor HyperFlame™ Stove
The FyreMajor is big. But if you want a 200sq inch cooking area it needs to be. With the telescopic legs it is also heavier than most stoves, you definitely don want to be carrying this far, even with the good heavy duty carrying handle. The interchangeable cook tops are not included and need to be purchased separately. If you use the interchangeable griddles with a built in drip tray, you have to wait from the griddles to cool before you can handle them to clean, which will mean that any grease will have congealed making cleaning harder. But if you want as close as you can get to a real kitchen in your camp then this is the one for you.
- This freestanding design with adjustable legs allows you to cook almost like you would at home
- This freestanding design with adjustable legs allows you to cook almost like you would at home
The criteria used to evaluate the best Coleman stoves
While we wanted our list to include several different models for different specific uses, there are a few things that we looked for in finding the best choices. For different uses, you’ll obviously be looking for varying features, weight and sizes. However, There are some factors which are useful and important for them all.
How annoying is it when you have to spend more time than necessary cooking your food, simply because you have to keep lighting the stove due to the wind repeatedly blowing out the flame. This is especially annoying when all you want is something warm to eat after a long day on the trails. The best options will have well thought out wind shields, to protect the flame from strong winds. You shouldn’t have to go hungry on the trail, just because it’s a windy day.
The stove you choose should be well regulated to allow steady and efficient fuel flow, to ensure proper function. The fuel shouldn’t burn up right away, leaving you not enough to cook your food, or resulting in the need to carry a lot more weight in fuel tanks or canisters. Also, the more efficient fuel means that less is needed to cook with. That is huge if you have to lug everything around in a pack.
We really aren’t taking about how easy the gear is to clean, but that is also a huge plus. This is really more about how clean the product is by how clean the required fuel is that it burns. Cooking with fuels such as gasoline and kerosene means you have to take into account the residual toxins produced while burning. This not only makes a problem with safely preparing food, but also isn’t super great for the environment you have ventured out to enjoy.
Camping stoves these days are quite simple to use. We wanted to make sure that our choices were all straight forward in function and use. Who wants to mess around with putting the thing together and adding a bunch of attachments for the thing to work? Not too many want to hassle with all of that while setting up for the night on a mountain side, or even an overnight stop on a long trek.
Things you need to know before you choose your stove
As always it is important to know what you are going to need from the stove. Are you going to be backpacking and need small and lightweight, or are you going to be just carrying some things from the car across a field to a camp ground. A small backpacking stove is usually designed with weight and size as considerations as well as fuel efficiency. But don’t over look them if you are camping close to your car, backpacking stoves are generally excellent at boiling water, and combined with a larger camp stove can be helpful if you want to be boiling water and cooking breakfast at the same time.
Once you have decided that you need a camping stove, what size do you need. In the review the largest stove reviewed were two burner stoves, but larger 3 and 4 burner stoves are available. If you are camping with a group of less than 4 people a two burner stove is great for most cooking needs. If your group is more than 5, then you might consider adding another burner, either two stoves, a two burner and a single burner stove, or invest in a large three burner stove.
You also need to consider the overall cooking area. What are the largest size pans you can cook with? And what size pans do you intend to use or have. When cooking at home if like me you probably haven’t noticed the size of pans you cook with, I checked my kitchen at home and I have very few pans larger than 10 inch and most of the time I am cooking with 10 inch or smaller at home. If you have larger 12-inch pans you should check that the wind guards will accommodate pans of this size, maybe you will need to remove the wind guards, can the wind guards be removed? Do you want to have a stove without wind guards? Is wind going to be an issue. Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to make a cup of coffee and having to relight the burner every minute because the wind has blown it out.
If all you want to do is boil water fast, then you just need a stove with good hot burning burner. But often you need to be able simmer. You can’t make an omelet on high heat, it will just end up being scrambled eggs. You want to cook some rice or make mash potato you need to be able to simmer the pan. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to become a bad cook. Look for stoves with adjustable heat setting, not just burners that to control the heat you are in effect turning them off. The stove and the fuel needs to be able to maintain a constant pressure to be able to stay lit when the heat is turned down. Wind can be a factor here. When a burner is on high heat, and lot more fuel is being pushed through the burner and as such the wind needs to be higher to be able to extinguish the flame. Once you turn the heat down, you are reducing the energy and this means less wind energy is needed to extinguish the flame. This is where wind guards are important, maybe you don’t need the extra weight that a built-in wind guard is, and remember you can always make your own wind blocker, by careful positioning of your stove and using other parts of your camp to block the wind. Also, it is rare that you need to block more than two sides of your stove, right side and back or left side and back is usually enough.
What is the BTU and is it important. BTU stands for British Thermal Units, it is a unit of measurement of heat. A BTU is the amount of energy or heat required to raise the temperature of one pound (1lb) of water one degree Fahrenheit (1oF). The metric equivalent is a calorie which is the amount of energy or heat required to raise the temperature of one gram (1g) of water by one degree Celsius (1oC). One calorie is one Joule. One BTU is 1055 Joules. So the higher the BTU the more power and energy if can produce, the better the stove is at cooking. Not necessarily. The position of the burners, the type of burners, whether there is a wind guard and if it is windy all factor into how efficient the stove is. Some 20,000 BTU stoves will boil water quicker that a 35,000 BTU stove. Every Manufacturer will state the BTU there stove is able to create. But there is a trade-off with higher BTU. The Higher the BTU the more energy is being exchanged and therefore the fuel will be used quicker. You need to choose a stove with a good BTU and good burner placement and design. The burners should be close to the pan and protected from the wind so as not to waste energy. All stoves will cook well in good conditions, no wind, nice outside temperature, however, throw in some windy conditions and cold weather and a quick breakfast can take forever to cook.
Types Of Fuel
There are 4 common types of fuel used in camping stoves. Butane and blended fuels, Gasoline, Kerosene, and Propane. There are stoves that burn alcohol, and solid fuels but I did not review any.
Propane is a clean burning fuel that comes in a canister or bottle. Think of the gas BBQ grill and propane is what is in the gas tank. With most propane camping stoves you have the option of smaller more transportable canisters compared to a 25Kg gas bottle is not always practical. Propane is good as a fuel as it burns very hot. But it doesn’t work well at high altitudes and with all canisters it is really impossible to tell how much propane you have left in the canister. So if you are using smaller canisters as a rule of thumb I would always take a spare just in case your canister runs out.
Butane and Isobutane
Butane like Propane burns hot and clean making it a great choice for a camping stove fuel. However, it has been found that butane stoves don’t work well if the temperature drops below 50oF (10oC). This has lead to a Isobutane and Butane fuel mix become available but it is generally more expensive.
Gasoline and other flammable liquids are used in some camping stoves. These stoves have a small built-in or detachable fuel tank. The liquid fuel has to be poured into this fuel tank. Once the tank is full and connected to the stove in most cases the fuel tank needs to be pressurized by a small hand pump. There are a few things to consider before buying a stove which cooks with Gasoline. An advantage is that gasoline is available almost everywhere, however, gasoline is a highly toxic substance. The soot from gasoline is also toxic and care must be taken when cooking to ensure that the soot from the stove doesn’t enter the food. Think about the exhaust fumes that comes out of your car, when your car is burning gasoline. Also gasoline evaporates quickly when exposed to air and can become a fire hazard even in vapour form. However, those points aside gasoline burns very hot and has an amazing heat to weight ratio.
Kerosene stoves work on the same principle as gasoline stoves, in fact, most gasoline stoves can run on kerosene. Kerosene has been used in stoves and lamps for over a century and remains a widespread fuel. It is slightly toxic although not as toxic as gasoline and it will produce a black soot. But kerosene burns incredibly hot, so hot in fact it is often used in jet fuel mixtures. Kerosene can also be used to fuel multiple appliances, stoves, lamps and heaters, which is why it is still popular. If you are comparing it to propane and butane, kerosene must be handled with a lot more care as it is more likely to become a fire hazard than a propane canister.
Gas vs liquid fuel
All but one of the stoves reviewed were gas stoves either propane or butane. The reason I concentrated in gas stoves is mainly it is easier to use than liquid stoves. Propane and butane light instantly, whereas liquid stove often needs to be primed and pumped to build up the pressure in the liquid fuel tank. Also filling the liquid fuel tanks can be messy. However, that said liquid fuel perform a lot better in colder climates that propane and certainly butane. And Gas cylinders or tanks become inefficient when they are almost empty, opposed to liquid fuel which will maintain its performance and efficiency until the fuel is completely spent.
Propane canisters vs propane gas tank
Most of the propane stoves in the review run off of a 16oz propane canister. These are great, small and work well. But most the stoves have the option to connect a hose and use a gas tank. If you are camping with your car and have space, buy a hose and a 20lb gas tank. The tank will fit under the table, freeing table space, the gas tank is refillable and therefore better for the environment than the 16oz canisters which are a use once only consumable. Cost wise once you have bought the gas tank it can be refilled at multiple locations, even some gas stations. To refill a 20lb gas tank will cost around $5 to $10. To Buy a 16oz canister will cost the same at $7 to $10 per 16oz canister. I know that you will need to buy a good propane gas hose and non-return value, and invest in a 20lb tank, but in the long run, it will be a saving not to mention better for the environment.
Which one is best for me?
Before deciding on a particular model of stove to buy, you should probably take a minute to think about where you might go and what you might be doing with it. If you usually just pack up the car and haul the family out to the woods for a weekend camping trip, then size and weight might matter, but certainly not as much as those factors would if you are backpacking or trekking long distances.
In the case of a long backpacking trip, lighter and smaller is the best way to go. Just because you are going to be living out there with the bare minimum, it doesn’t mean that you have to go without a hot meal, especially during the colder weather.
Fuel and other necessary accessories are also something that you’ll need to take into account. The fuel you carry needs to be enough to get you through while you’re out there, so there are factors to think about to make sure you’re making a wise choice. If you are on foot, you certainly aren’t going to carry around a giant fuel tank with hoses and other tools and parts, necessary for hook up. The smart choice would be one of the smaller propane/butane models. The stove itself doesn’t usually take much space, and they also tend to have more compact fueling options.
If you are packing all your gear in the car where you will be camping nearby, then absolutely go for the one that is about the same size as the stove you have at home. But, if not, just keep in mind that the gear you pack tends to feel a lot heavier the further you get into your trek.