Best Butane Stoves

Updated December 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
455 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best butane stoves

Last Updated December 2019

A simple design and ease of use make butane stoves a popular choice with campers and backpackers alike. These stoves can quickly boil water or heat a meal, and butane canisters are generally smaller than propane canisters, which is a consideration if you’re backpacking.

Butane camping stoves have one or two burners and are designed for tabletop use. While using one of these is similar to cooking on a range, they’re too bulky to fit in a backpack. Butane backpacking stoves consist of a single burner that can be set up on any level surface. While these aren’t as efficient as tabletop models, they’re lightweight for carrying and compact for easy storage. Butane stoves vary in burn time, heat output, and ignition method, and many are quite inexpensive.

Choosing the right butane stove can make a big difference in your camping or backpacking experience. To find the right butane stove for you, continue reading our buying guide, and check out our favorites if you’re ready to buy.

Butane stoves aren’t just for camping. One also comes in handy during a power outage or emergency, but be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.

Key considerations

Butane stoves use canisters of compressed flammable gas (butane) to generate heat in the form of a flame. These canisters typically hold eight ounces of fuel, but there are larger canisters for use with two-burner stoves. Butane is less common than propane, which can make it harder to find. In addition, butane does not perform well in cold weather.

Backpacking vs. camping stoves

There are some significant differences between stoves you use for backpacking and stoves you use for camping.

  • Backpacking stoves: These consist of a single burner and may simply rest on top of the butane canister or have legs that help the stove remain stable on a variety of surfaces. The emphasis is on portability and weight, so most backpacking stoves are highly compact in design in order to be easily carried. Controlling the intensity of the flame and cooking can be challenging on a backpacking stove, If you just want to boil water for coffee or other purposes, these stoves work well.

  • Camping stoves: These are much more similar to the range you find in a kitchen. Their size and weight make them too bulky to fit in a backpack. Camping stoves have one or two burners, and the controls generally allow for fine-tuning the intensity of the flame. If you want to be able to prepare complete meals, this type of stove is the better option. Because of the horizontal design of most camping stoves, you’ll need to cook on a surface like a picnic table.

BTU

The heat output of a butane stove (and other types of stoves) is measured British thermal units. The higher the BTU rating, the faster a butane stove should heat, in theory. However, this also depends on the design of the stove and isn’t always precise. In general, a backpacking stove offers around 8,000 BTU, while a camping stove offers from 10,000 to 20,000 BTU.

Burn time

The longer the burn time the better, right? Of course, you want a stove that provides heat for your whole trip, but you also need to consider the size and weight of the stove. If you’re camping out of the back of your car, you might be able to opt for a bulkier stove with excellent burn time. If you’re backpacking, however, you’ll likely want a smaller stove with a shorter burn time. Finding a balance between design, burn time, and BTU rating is the key to choosing the right butane stove for your needs.

Efficient and compact

This twin-burner camping stove stands out for its barbecue grill, an option not offered by most butane stoves. Igniting the burners is easy with the piezoelectric ignition on this rugged and well-constructed stove. And the stainless steel surfaces are a snap to clean.

Butane stove features

Like other camping stoves, butane stoves vary in ignition method, additional fuel sources, and other features.

Ignition

Most butane stoves use an automatic ignition method known as piezo ignition, which means an electric spark ignites the fuel. There may be an ignition button, or you may simply have to turn the flame adjustment knob to the ignition setting. Some less-expensive butane stoves may have manual ignition, requiring you to use a match or lighter to ignite the gas.

Windscreen

Some butane camping stoves have a windscreen, which helps to protect the flame and keep your food cooking at a steady temperature. Due to the risk of explosion, single-burner backpacking stoves do not usually have a windscreen.

Fuel

Some butane stoves also accept other types of fuel, such as propane.

Transport

While you want to consider the size and weight of a butane stove, you should also consider how easily it can be packed in your gear and carried. Many backpacking stoves simply have legs that fold up, while tabletop stoves may fold down and be carried like a briefcase.

EXPERT TIP

Cooking on a butane stove is very similar to cooking on your range at home, though it may heat up food and water more slowly.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Unlike liquid stoves, butane stoves don’t require priming. Most butane stoves use piezoelectric ignition.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Just like on a regular gas range, the flame on a butane stove can be controlled with a dial.


Staff  | BestReviews

Butane stove prices

Inexpensive: Butane stoves that cost $10 to $20 are almost exclusively single-burner backpacking stoves. The price doesn’t mean they’re cheaply made. These stoves are good at what they do — providing a lightweight and compact heat source for boiling water or cooking small meals.

Midrange: In the $20 to $50 category are backpacking and camping stoves that generally have one burner. The burn times and BTU ratings vary greatly in this price range.

Expensive: High-end butane stoves that cost $50 to $100 are usually camping stoves with one or two burners. These typically have high BTU ratings that allow you to quickly cook larger meals, and some may accept alternate fuel sources.

Ultralight and affordable

This lightweight backpacking stove is easy to use and quick to ignite with a piezoelectric igniter. The included case is convenient, and the burner itself weighs just over three ounces. This is a great budget option for occasional use.

Tips

  • Test your butane stove at home. Using a butane stove in the woods is a very different cooking experience than preparing a meal in your kitchen. Familiarize yourself with igniting the stove and adjusting the flame. Make a few practice meals, too.

  • Don’t cook on a butane stove indoors. Most butane stoves are not safe to use indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This includes cooking inside a tent, which is a fire hazard as well.

  • Keep it simple. Almost any butane stove can produce enough heat to boil water. Consider bringing meals like pasta or items that simply need to be warmed up to enjoy.

Other products we considered

While we think our top picks are the best butane stoves available, there are a few camping stoves worth mentioning briefly. One popular model is the Lixada Camping Gas Stove, which weighs in at only 0.9 ounce, making it one of the lightest options available. Though it doesn’t include a butane canister, this stove makes up for it with its price and compact design, making it a great choice for a disaster-preparedness kit. Another stove that we love is the CHENBO Outdoor Camping Stove, which stands out with its 49-square-inch cooking area. Customers have little to complain about when it comes to this reliable stove with great flame control. If you’re looking for a backpacking stove that works well on a variety of surfaces, consider the Uning Outdoor Camping Gas Stove, which connects to the fuel source with a flexile line and stands upright on three legs.

Butane stoves range in size from collapsible models that can fit in a pocket to large, two-burner ranges designed to sit on a table.

FAQ

Q. Are butane stoves dangerous?

A. Any stove can be dangerous. With butane stoves, the biggest risk is the fuel canister overheating and exploding. This may sound alarming, and it is. To avoid this risk, look for a model with an automatic shutoff valve that can sense if the canister is overheating.

Q. How can I tell how much gas is left in a butane canister?

A. Since butane canisters contain compressed gas, it can be difficult to tell how much gas is left by feeling the weight. You really can’t judge the amount of fuel with any accuracy. As a result, your best bet is to bring extra canisters on the trip.

Q. How should I store a butane canister?

A. Butane canisters should be stored away from sunlight and heat in a well-ventilated area.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey