TOP GEAR PICKS

Best Alcohol Stoves: From Boiling Water to Cooking Your Next Meal

Alcohol Stove at Sunset
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

Ah, is there anything quite like that first bite of food, or sip of hot tea after a long day in the wilderness? The ability to heat things on the go is pretty essential to most hikers and campers. Thus, it’s only natural that an alcohol stove should be an item in your outdoor gear checklist. The best alcohol stoves will not only allow you to heat water but it can help you cook great meals as well.

However, shopping for an alcohol stove in the market can be sort of a “needle in a haystack” situation. This is especially true if you’re a first-time buyer. Fret not, because we have some guidelines that will help you shop for an alcohol stove that meets your requirements. Also, we have reviewed a number of products that will surely spark your interest. Let’s get to it!

Our top picks

ProductWeightDimensionsPrice
Nextove XLT1.58 ounces3.25 x 2.25 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Trangia Spirit Burner4.16 ounces1.18 x 4.72 x 4.72 inchesCheck price on Amazon
White Box Alcohol Stove1.01 ounces2.25 x 2.25 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Forfar Alcohol Stove12.3 ounces3.15 x 3.74 x 5.47 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Outad Alcohol Stove4.94 ounces2.68 x 2.68 x 1.74 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Solo Stove With Windscreen9 ounces4.25 x 3.8 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Cool Knight Alocs14.7 ounces5.8 x 6 x 7.2 inchesCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider When Buying

When buying an alcohol stove, there are certain factors that you need to take into account to make sure that you get a product that will meet your needs.

Weight

This is an important aspect as many backpackers always want to pack light. Go for a stove that will not weigh you down as you go up and down the wilderness. We all want to have a reliable cooking system while outdoors but you obviously just can’t take any backpacking stove that you set your eyes into.

Alcohol stove weight

Fortunately, many outdoor cooking systems, especially those catered for backpackers and campers, are designed to have significant weight savings. Thus, you won’t have a hard time finding a stove that won’t add much to your load.

Burn time

This is also important as it will gauge how long you are going to use your stove. Before settling on a stove compare and contrast how long a stove burns using a particular amount of fuel. Some fuel will extend the burn time of a stove while other will not last long. Therefore check you options well.

Most if not all outdoor cooking systems should have an indicated burn time and the fuel it uses. In this case, you are looking for a stove that burns alcohol or fuel.

Average boil time

This specification will enable you to choose between different models. This is more so when fuel efficiency is something you prioritize. Some of the boiling and simmering guidance include integrated canister systems, liquid fuel stoves, alternate fuel stoves and canister stoves.

Alcohol stove boil time

When it comes to alcohol stoves, the advantages are undeniable but it does come with its own set of drawbacks. Heat output is proportionally lesser when compared to other types of stove. Basically, this means longer boil times.

Stabilizers

Stabilizers are sometimes sold separately with the stoves while at times they are attached to the bottom of the fuel canisters. This helps to eliminate the opportunity of an upright model tipping over.

Some stoves come with the added feature of a sealed cap, allowing the user to store fuel inside the stove itself. Other stoves can also run off other fuels – some in our group can use wood cuttings as a fuel.

Preparing food on alcohol stove

When purchasing a good quality alcohol stove, one might like to take its price, durability and extra features into account. Some stoves have features such as better temperature regulation – these are better suited to simmering food, and are good for those considering more elaborate outdoor meals.

Others forgo these features in favor of low weight and compactness. These stoves would suit a more long duration or long distance hiker who needs to keep a light and compact pack. Similarly, the ability to also run off solid fuels including wood is a feature that might suit a hiker.

Best Products on Today’s Market

All stoves should be durable, sturdy, not unstable, and should be leak proof. With that in mind, the following is a review of seven of the best alcohol burning stoves on the market.

Nextove XLT Alcohol StoveNextove XLT Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $25

Weight: 1.58 ounces

Size: 3.25 x 2.25 inches

Specific features: Durable and reliable, does not require a pot stand, lightweight, compatible with any pot or pan

The Nextove XLT is light weight and so works well for backpacking. It advertises itself as “super efficient” as well as “super dependable”. It works in conjunction with any pot or pan, so this would be a good option for a person who is looking to replace an old stove, and who already has a collection of pots and pans. For this reason you will not have to buy a pot stand as is the case with many stoves.

If you know anyone who loves backpacking and camping, then this will make an ideal gift. They will make you their new best friend. The average burning time with the Nextove is 24 to 30 minutes for every 2 ounces of fuel. With this amount of fuel, it can boil up to 16 ounces of water in about 6 minutes. This is why it is said to be super efficient. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

PROS:

  • Light weight
  • Durable flame
  • Reliable flame
  • Can work with any pot or stove

CONS:

  • First time will need several tries for it to start
  • Larger claps are not so great

Related: For it to serve you well you will require the Klean-Strip Denatured Alcohol and the Klean-Strip Denatured Alcohol. The bottle will ensure you pack up the fuel you need for you camping. It is leak proof and the bottle top has been made in such a way that you will fill the stove well. The alcohol is odorless.

Check the price on Amazon

Trangia Spirit BurnerTrangia Spirit Burner with Screwcap

Price: Approx. $14.99

Weight: 4.16 ounces

Size: 1.18 x 4.72 x 4.72 inches

Specific features: User friendly, lid allows conservation of fuel

Although it is a little heavier than some ‘ultra light’ stoves, the Trangia Spirit Burner is certainly useful and durable. It has the important feature of being able to store fuel inside the stove itself, and to snuff out a flame without having to wait until all of your fuel has burned up.

It needs to be used in conjunction with a cook stand, and extra alcohol should be carried for longer trips, as you will get two canisters of boiled water out of one burner full of fuel. It has almost no moving parts, so is less likely to break.

Coming from a brand with an already established name in the market, you can trust that this product is of high quality, made with the right material, has great design and has gone through great processes to ultimate performance and safety. It can be used in any environment whether high or low temperature.

PROS:

  • Lights properly thanks to the internal wick
  • Consistent and stable burn throughout
  • Great O-ring that fits well
  • Well built
  • Reliable

CONS:

  • You need to carry the fuel separately in case the o ring leaks

Related: Customers who buy the Trangia Spirit Burner also frequently buy the Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove Stand and Vargo Alcohol Fuel Bottle. With the jungle you will need to have sufficient fire and these three products with you will provide more than you need.

Check the price on Amazon

White Box Alcohol StoveWhite Box Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $19.95

Weight: 1.01 ounces

Size: 2.25 x 2.25 inches

Specific features: Made from robust recycled aluminum, comes with a windscreen

Hailed as durable and light, the White Box Alcohol Stove seems to be a handy little number. Some drawbacks is that it is difficult to balance a larger pot on it without the stove tipping, and that you need to tilt the stove to light the fluid inside, which may cause spillage.

However, users love this product and find it reliable and efficient. The flame burns big and bright, heating water quickly. However, it is also worth noting that there is no scope for a low heat setting on this style of appliance.

Therefore, this stove is best suited for boiling water and heating things quickly, rather than slow growing or simmering of old at a lower temperature. For this, it is well suited; it is the lightest product of our list, and would suit a light packing backpacker well.

PROS:

  • Boil time is short
  • Constant flame
  • Stable
  • The walls are sturdy

CONS:

  • Flame is too wide
  • It primes too slowly
  • You need protection to prevent scalding
  • Pot on top tips over easily when boiling

Related: When buying this stove you will need to also buy the Vargo Alcohol Fuel Bottle and Klean Strip Alcohol. You certainly do not want to get cut short in the middle of nowhere when it comes to your source of fire. That is why you will also need to buy the Denatured Alcohol as well as the Fuel bottle. This will ensure you have maximum supply.

Check the price on Amazon

Forfar Alcohol StoveForfar Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $15.19

Weight: 12.3 ounces

Size: 3.15 x 3.74 x 5.47 inches

Features: Supports a variety of fuel sources, made of hardened stainless steel, comes with mesh bag

The Forfar Camping Stove of the group to boast the ability to run off solid alcohol, as well as a variety of other fuels, this little appliance is quite impressive. The ability to use solid fuels negates the worry of an alcohol leak or spill in your backpack. And if you run out of fuel, some wood chippings will do the job.

This stove is reportedly robust and well made. It should be noted that it burns through wood rather fast, and it is difficult to feed new wood pieces into the stove while it is burning, so it might be worth using wood only as a backup fuel in this instance.

It has longer burning time and when fully filled with firewood that is properly dry, one single burning time could go for up to 20 minutes or more. The weight has very little impact on the weight of your backpack.

PROS:

  • Strongly built because of the stainless steel
  • No dangerous emissions to the environment
  • Can be used with various sources of fuel
  • Great price

CONS:

  • No solid bottom to the stove
  • Requires a fairly large pot
  • No alcohol pan is included

Related: Buying the Forfar Camping Stove will require that you also buy the Esbit Solid Fuel Tablets. The tablets are smokeless as well as residue free. The entire pack has 12 tablets and they work well in high and low temperatures.

Check the price on Amazon

Outad Alcohol StoveOutad Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $15.99

Weight: 4.94 ounces

Size: 2.68 x 2.68 x 1.74 inches

Specific features: 100 ml capacity, foldable handle/simmer ring on the flame regulator, 4 vents on base to enhance air flow, comes with mesh carry bag

This OUTAD Alcohol Stove nice little stove with a variety of good features. It is light weight, and has a rubber sealed cap – meaning one can store leftover fuel within the stove for carrying, with extra assurance against the worry of leakage.

It can be used nicely for cooking and simmering food, as the temperature of the stove can be regulated to an extent, using a foldable simmer ring. Despite its low price, it has been hailed as very well made, with quality materials.

A good number of stoves are known to leak fuel but that is not the case with Outad. It has great leak proofness thanks to the o-ring cap with rubber that prohibits alcohol to leak or evaporate. It also has four vents at the base of the stove to promote the flow f air making the flame to last for around 45 minutes.

PROS:

  • Plenty of alcohol can be stored in it
  • Has an adjustable damper
  • Has a carry bag and stand

CONS:

  • It does not come with instructions on how to use
  • Takes time to bloom

Related: Want a cross stand that will go nicely with your alcohol stove? The Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove Cross Stand comes highly recommended. The stand allows multi fuel versatility and is one of the most compact and lightest stands out there.

Check the price on Amazon

Solo Stove With Windscreen Alcohol StoveSolo Stove With Windscreen Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $249

Weight: 9 ounces

Dimensions: 1.8 x 2.9 inches

Specific features: The Amazon link links to a package containing a few different products. The package includes 2 Solo Stoves, 2 Alcohol Stoves, which are made from brass and have a screw top and a rubber gasket, two lightweight foldable windscreens, two tinder sticks, and two fire steels. The Solo stove can run off wood

Whew, what a package! This expensive little Solo Stove with Windscreen really does have it all. I’m not sure why this package is so extensive, maybe it is a posh boy scouts starter pack, but it is really appealing to the scout in me, that is for sure!

Again, the stove can run off wood, making it a good option for those who may be going on a longer expedition, and do not want to carry fuel, or are envisaging a situation in which their fuel supply will run out while on the trip.

The entire set has two solo stoves, two wind screens, two tinder sticks and two fire steel. The alcohol stove is made of brass and has a screw top and rubber gasket. The wind screen easily folds for easy carrying and storage. The fire steels have 12, 000 strikes and weighs 1.9 ounces. If you are looking for a full package now you know what to go for.

PROS:

  • No need to carry alcohol fuel
  • Environment friendly
  • Smokeless
  • Light weight

CONS:

  • Pricey

Related: To make your work easier it would be great to also buy the Esbit Solid Fuel Tablets. The tablets are smokeless as well as residue free. The entire pack has 12 tablets and they work well in high and low temperatures.

Check the price on Amazon

Cool Knight Alocs Portable Alcohol StoveCool Knight Alocs Portable Alcohol Stove

Price: Approx. $43.89

Weight: 14.7 ounces

Size: 5.8 x 6 x 7.2 inches

Specific features: 0.9 liter capacity, lid capacity – 450 milliliters, lightweight aluminum, comes with a mesh bag for easy carriage

This Cool Knight Alocs Alcohol Stove is a 7 piece set, and might be a nice option for a duo camper excursion. It is stable and durable, and users report that it is very fuel efficient. It is also quite light and compact, making it a good option for day hikes and camping.

If you are looking for a camping stove with a unique design, then this will certainly take you off your feet. All the items that come with this set can be neatly stored up together in the mesh bag that comes with it upon purchase. This makes is easy to carry round and saves you a lot of space when back packing.

It comes with a pot which has a handle for easy operation while cooking. The pot has the capacity to hold up to 0.9 liters of water. The lead of the kitchen ware has a total capacity of up to 450 ml.

PROS:

  • The inside has extra space to keep fuel bottles
  • Boils very fast
  • Solid flame
  • Wind resistant flame

CONS:          

  • Takes time to set up and pack back
  • Takes up space
  • The bag is not made of durable material
  • The pot support does not nest together well with the rest of the set

Related: A good combo to this stove is a nice, portable grill. In that case, the UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill should get the job done with its lightweight construction and sizable grill area.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a roundup of some of the best alcohol burning stoves currently on the market. As per usual, there is no clear winner in this group. The best stove for you depends on the use to which you want to put it.

For short camping trips and picnics, a lightweight option might be forgone in favor of a stove that can facilitate temperature regulation. A distance hiker usually just wants to boil water as quick as possible, with as light a pack as possible, but a more casual camper might favor the idea of some decent meal prep facilities.

White box alcohol stove

While all of these stoves are excellent products, the use of any stove comes with some well meant words of warning. Remember that these stoves are often easy to tip and, especially when cooking, can be quite unstable. Do not leave the stove unattended and be very vigilant against the spilling of the fluid.

Needless to say, such light weight and small stoves naturally pose a burn hazard – burning high efficiency fuels in a compact space. Be very careful of the naked flame and of the body of the stove itself. Finally, remember to always make sure that your flame has been adequately snuffed out before turning away from your stove.

So what do you look for in a camping stove? What is the most important feature and what do you like to cook on it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Alicia Djuric

    The Forfar Alcohol Stove is a great little stove to take camping. We’ve used it a couple of times already and it is easy to use and has been a reliable stove for us. I think this is a really good option if you’re doing a little light hiking.

  • Sean Nelson

    Yes, the Forfar Alcohol Stove is packs a punch, even if it’s small and compact. It’s so easy to use and gets the job done. It is quite impressive, giving you options for other sources of fuel such as wooden chippings.
    Good choice Alicia. 🙂

  • Greg Jones

    The White Box Alcohol Stove is simply a good, sturdy alcohol stove. Even though the material used to make it is a little thicker than other stoves, it is still lightweight. It boils water for freeze-dried food really well. I’m extremely happy with this stove.

  • Sean Nelson

    Most of all, it’s very stable and won’t easily tip – a potential fire hazard. I’m pleased with this stove and has been using this for quite some time now. At under $30, it’s quite a steal and it’s so compact, you’ll forget that you have it with you.

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