Best Coleman Stoves

Updated October 2020
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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 
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How we decided

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

33 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 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 coleman stoves

William Coffin Coleman founded the Coleman company in 1900, more than a century ago. His products were innovative and groundbreaking then, and they are timeless camping essentials now. Perhaps the second-most well-known Coleman product, aside from the Coleman lantern, is the Coleman stove.

The Coleman stove originated from a product used during World War II, the G.I. Pocket Stove. After the war ended, the Coleman brand garnered widespread attention due to the success of its pocket stove. The Coleman stove was then redesigned for mass production, and the rest is camping history.

Experienced campers know a Coleman stove can come in handy — especially in soggy or scorching weather conditions — when building a fire is problematic. There are dozens of Coleman stoves available in various styles and sizes to suit sundry camping needs.

If you ever wanted a Colemen stove, or if you need a new one, you’re in luck. We weeded through all the options and created this buying guide to help you choose the Coleman stove that’s best for you.

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Make sure your Coleman stove and chosen canister work well together before you begin your camping trip.

Key considerations

Number of burners

The more people you need to feed, the more burners your camping stove should have. A one-burner stove will cook food for one to two people. A two-burner stove will cook food for three to four people. As the number of burners increases, so does the number of people that can be fed. Campers who require more than two burners to feed their family and friends often purchase a second stove.

Size and type of burners

When deciding on number of burners, also take into consideration the size and type of cookware you will be using. If you have only 12-inch pans, don’t bother purchasing a stove that lacks large-pan capabilities. Determine what pan sizes you will use as well as the diameter of the burners. Some hybrid Coleman camping stoves include a burner and a grill, rather than two burners. There are also optional griddle attachments available.

Fuel type

  • White gas “Coleman fuel”: White gas is a liquid fuel created by the Coleman company from petroleum naphtha. White gas produces the most heat of any camping stove fuel. The fuel burns cleanly, produces no odor, and doesn’t affect food taste. The gas is the first choice of many campers who use Coleman stoves. One disadvantage of liquid fuel is that you will need to refill the stove often, which can lead to potential spills.

  • Propane: Propane is the second most common type of fuel used with a camping stove because it’s affordable, accessible, and easy to use. The propane is packaged in cylinders that are easily screwed into the Coleman stove, so there’s no chance of spilling any fuel. One disadvantage of using propane is that the canisters don’t work well when they are close to empty.

  • Butane: Butane canisters are lightweight because of the way the butane is compressed in them, which can be helpful with an already-heavy pack. But using butane has its disadvantages. Butane is ineffective in below-freezing temperatures, and it is not always readily available.

  • Iso-butane: There’s also iso-butane, which is a blended fuel that retains the lightweight properties of butane but doesn’t freeze at 32ºF. It’s still not a great choice for super-cold camping trips because it can only burn when the temperature is above 14ºF.

  • Wood: Wood-burning or pellet-burning camping stoves are rare but are gaining in popularity. You don’t need to carry fuel for these stoves because you find the fuel wherever you go (i.e., sticks, branches, twigs). If you’re camping in rain or snow, however, it may be difficult to find dry fuel for your stove.

Power

The heating power of a camping stove is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A BTU is the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by 1ºF. The higher a stove’s BTU number, the more heat it should provide. But there are other factors that come into play, like the efficiency of transferring heat from burner to pan as well as the weather.

Ignition type

  • Automatic: The most common type of automatic ignition system is the Piezo ignition. This type of ignitor uses piezoelectricity, which is a pressurized electric charge. When the Piezo ignition switch is flipped, it creates a spark to start the fire.

  • Manual: Lighting a camping stove manually requires the use of matches. Once the fuel canister is attached to the camp stove, you will need to open the tank canister valve. Set it to a medium-high setting. Simply light a match and put it in the fuel stream to light the stove.

Features

Temperature control

Temperature or “simmer” control dictates how slowly or quickly you can cook the food without burning it. For instance, cooking oatmeal requires the camping stove to be able to simmer at a low temperature. So a stove would require temperature control in order to make proper oatmeal. Often, lower-end models don’t include temperature control.

Wind resistance

Some camping stoves include a windscreen, which surrounds the burners and blocks the wind from affecting the stove’s heat. Larger windscreens generally provide more wind resistance, and the greater the wind resistance, the better.

Adjustable legs

Adjustable legs are useful on a camping stove because the stove should always be used on an even surface. Each leg can be adjusted individually to create an even cooking surface. Also, adjustable legs come in handy when you have only a short table available to cook on; the legs can increase the height of the camping stove so you can cook more comfortably.

Portability

Most Coleman camping stoves can be folded up for easy portability. Of course, those with multiple burners will take up more space than those with single burners. Some come with carrying cases.

Coleman stove prices

Inexpensive: A simple single-burner camping stove that is small enough to carry comfortably in a pack costs $20 to $30. It will last for several years of camping as long as it is taken care of and protected from the elements.

Mid-level: Spending $40 to $50 will get you a Coleman stove with one or two burners that holds up well in cold weather. There will be more features, such as basic temperature control and wind screens, available in this price range.

Expensive: High-end Coleman stoves will set you back $60 to $80. Stove in this price range will be multi-burner camping stoves with high BTUs, bigger and better wind screens, and increased temperature control.

Tips

  • If your Coleman stove doesn’t have a windscreen or the windscreen is damaged, try improvising a wind block. Find a protected area of the campsite and construct a sort of barrier to protect the stove from wind gusts. You can use trees or tents as barriers; just be sure the stove is at least two feet away from anything flammable.

  • Always place your Coleman camping stove on a level surface. An uneven stove creates hotspots and can pose a fire hazard.

  • Bring an extra canister of fuel for your canister camping stove. It’s sometimes difficult to tell how much fuel is left in a canister.

  • Even if your stove includes an automatic ignition, bring matches just in case. It’s possible for automatic ignitions to break down.

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If you want to upgrade from a propane canister to a larger propane tank, you can purchase an adapter and hose for your Coleman stove.

FAQ

Q. Can I still use a fuel canister if it’s dented or damaged in some way?

A. No, never use a fuel canister that’s dented or damaged in any way. There’s the potential for a canister to implode or explode if it is punctured or compromised in some way.

Q. Can I use my camping stove inside my tent?

A. No. There are several ways you can be injured or even killed using a camping stove inside. If the stove burns white gas, it releases carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to humans. The carbon monoxide can build up inside the tent and cause death. Also, the open flame or heat of the camping stove could ignite the tent or other camping gear.

Q. Are the fuel canisters recyclable?

A. They are recyclable as mixed metals, but there are several things that must be done to the canister before it’s ready to toss in the recycling bin. Contact a local landfill or recycling website for precise recycling instructions.

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