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 I will review the best of the Coleman range.
Number of burners: 2
Wind guard: Yes
Largest size pan it will fit: 1 12 inch and 1 10 inch
Fuel: Propane Gas
What we like: Independently adjustable burners, ability to cook with larger pans due to the adjustable wind guards.
What we don’t: Must be lit with a match, as there is no ignition system built into this particular model.
I can’t review Coleman stoves without mentioning the Coleman Classic. A fold-open lid and adjustable side wind guards allow you to cook with larger pans. Both of the two burners are independently adjustable, allowing a constant steady heat, whether you are boiling water or frying an omelet on a low heat. A 16.4oz propane cylinder will last a full hour with on burners on full. The chrome plated grate is removable for easy cleaning, and the cooking top is aluminized steel to resist rust.
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.
Number of burners: 2
Wind guard: Wind Block pan supports
Largest size pan it will fit: 2 12 inch pans
Fuel: Propane Gas
What we like: The entire unit folds up into a portable and very durable package, which stands up well to a ton of camping.
What we don’t: This model lacks those side windguards that are so useful yet easily forgotten about, until you need them.
FyreKnight was launched to celebrate 100 years of the National Parks service. It is folded with a easy and heavy duty locking latch, holding it in the folded position and a large carrying handle. The rounded shock-absorbing corner protectors have been designed to be able to take knocks and bangs which come with the territory of camping. Once you open this stove to start cooking is where it really comes into its own. The wind block pan supports protect the flames from being blown out. This means that the stove doesn’t need the traditional side wind guards and therefore you can fit larger pans. One of the most frustrating things with outdoor stoves is lighting them. They may have wind guards, but you still need to get a match to them, not this one has a push button ignition. If you want more options than just cooking with a pan, this has the option of interchangeable cook tops where you can change out the pan supports for a grate grill or griddle, both are sold separately but they’re a nice add on if you want to impress with your camp cooking skills.
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.
Number of burners: 1 and 1 grill
Wind guard: Yes
Largest size pan it will fit: 1 10 inch on stove area
What we like: This one fills the gap when you want to bring a portable grill along with,but also want to have the stove function.
What we don’t: You won’t really be able to cook with two pans, like you would with a stove-only model
Not sure if you want a stove or a grill? Want to be able to boil some rice while grilling chicken breasts? Then this is the stove or grill for you. This is a durable steel grill and stove combination. The stove half will fit a 10 inch pan with a 130sq inch grilling area to the side. Both sides have fully adjustable burners, and wind guard sides ensure that you get even heat across the cooking area. The wind guard panels are excellent in blocking the wind, but if there is no wind then they can be folded down and used as side tables. Once you have finished grilled chicken with sauté potatoes, cleaning could not be easier, the stove grates remove easily and being chrome coated is easy to clean, the grill plate is also easy to clean and a grease management drip tray just slides out from the side for a quick clean up.
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.
Number of burners: 2
Wind guard: Yes
Largest size pan it will fit: 1 12inch and 1 10 inch
Fuel: Liquid fuel or Unleaded gasoline
What we like: This model is a good pick for colder weather conditions, and also has adjustable wind guards to allow larger pans.
What we don’t: The liquid fuel adds a bit more to worry about, especially if you’re on the move.
Powerhouse is a good option if you don’t like having to carry a separate gas bottle, or if you are not sure how much gas you have left since you last used it. With a liquid fuel you can just check how much you have left in the tank. The stove comes with a filtering funnel and holds 3.5 pints of fuel, which will cook on full power for just over 2 hours. The side wind guards are adjustable to allow larger pans, and the chrome plated grate is removable for easy cleaning. On the downside it is slightly bulky with the fuel tank. And takes a little longer to set up then other stoves.
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.
Number of burners: 1
Wind guard: Wind baffles
Largest size pan it will fit: 10 inch
Fuel: 8.8 oz Butane cylinder
What we like: 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.
What we don’t: The wind guards won’t really help too much with stronger winds.
Looking for a budget stove, this fits the bill. Its light and comes in its own carry case. Easy to set up, take it out the case, lock in the butane cylinder with a simple pull down lever, turn the adjustable burner control and it will self ignite with its automatic ignition. The burner has wind baffles which help it to shield low winds, but you might have problems in windier areas. The aluminium burner is rust proof and the grate is porcelain coated for easy cleaning. One 8.8oz butane cylinder lasts 1hour 15mins on high. Don’t expect a great cooking experience, it isn’t the highest in price point, but if all you want is to boil water for a coffee or noodles, or maybe fry the egg or two this will be fine.
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.
Number of burners: 2
Wind guard: No
Largest size pan it will fit: 2 10 inch pans
What we like: 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.
What we don’t: There is no form of wind guard with this unit.
This stove when folded is smaller than a briefcase, but once opened has a large cooking surface, which easily fit two 10 inch pans. It has an instastart ignition meaning you don’t need a match. A 16.4oz propane cylinder will last over 1 hour with both burners on high. The down side, no wind guards so it will be difficult to cook with in windy conditions. If space it an issue its a clever design.
This stove looks great folded and open. And the built in carry handles do not get in the way. But the stove has no wind guard in any form. The burners are in deep recesses I assume in the hope to protect them from the wind, but this also moves the heat source further from the pan and will need more energy to heat your food.
Number of burners: 1
Wind guard: No
Largest size pan it will fit: 6 inch
Fuel: Butane or Propane
What we like: This is the perfect choice for backpacking or minimalist camping. The compact size allows you to set up for a meal just about anywhere.
What we don’t: There is only one burner, which means only one thing gets cooked at a time.
If you want really small and light, this is the one. The total weight of the stove is 6.7 ounces (190g) (without fuel). It is designed to hold a 6 inch pan on its serrated supports so that you can stir without the pan moving. It will boil 1 litre of water in 3 minutes. You won’t be able to cook more than one pan at a time, but if you are backpacking its perfect with folding design.
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.
Number of burners: 2
Wind guard: Wind block pan supports
Largest size pan it will fit: 1 12inch and 1 10 inch
What we like: This freestanding design with adjustable legs allows you to cook almost like you would at home.
What we don’t: The obvious drawback for us comes if you want something more portable. The 3in1 HyperFlame is great for stationary use for a long camp out, but not the best pick when on the move.
Time to show off. This is as close as you can get to a real kitchen experience from a camping stove. They say you can comfortably serve up a family feast in no time with this stove, and I think I believe them. The Stove folds into a easy carry case with a heavy duty handle and latch. It adjustable legs are clipped on the underside. When it time to cook the options are almost unlimited. Lets start with cooking height, you can place it on the ground on its built-in short legs, or attached the four fully adjustable telescopic legs, and place the cooking area at a height that suits you. The ignition is a instastart push button to light the two wind block pan supports. Both burners will last up to 1 hour on high with a 16.4 oz cylinder. The grill grates are chromed for easy cleaning and include a drip trap water pan drip tray to catch your spills and grease. The pan supports can be swapped out for a griddle. Cook with two griddles or two pan supports or one griddle and one pan support.
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.
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 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.