Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $149 1.7 L version
Rapid boil -1 L in 3 minutes! Quick ignition and good in windy conditions! Compact and excellent on fuel consumption.
- Good quality
- Compact and fuel/time effcient
- No simmer capability — primarily boil only
- Only uses Reactor cookware
Easy setup: screw on the fuel and go. Easy ignition — flame control is primarily full on — not recommended to use low settings. Stove is for boil only but does that very well with 3 mites per L consistently in -or out- of the wind. Stove is stable: addition of the extended base makes it more so.
Excellent product over the 25 days use thus far.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
On long trips you'll only need one fuel canister! My Reactor boils water fast, even when it's windy.
- Uses far less fuel than my favorite Pocket Rocket.
- Boils water fast, and works well in windy conditions.
- Packs up neatly
- Great for two people
- The cooking surface is too hot for anything but boiling water.
- Packed up, it's rather bulky
- A bit too expensive
I take my Reactor when I'm on trips of longer than three or four days. I find that a fuel canister is good for breakfasts and dinners for more than seven days. Setup is simple. My stove is easy to light; I open the valve slightly, hold a lit match or lighter over the grid, and an eerie glow spreads across the grid.
Within a few seconds it's like having an electric stove on HIGH, which makes it too hot for anything but boiling water. I tried lowering the heat, but simmering is impossible. Think electric stove on medium high.
When I'm hiking with a friend the pot is a perfect size. Unlike the Jetboil, which requires taking turns boiling water, I can make ample water for two dinners and one drink. I usually add an extra cup of water for beverages
to the pot after filling the freeze dried bags. If you only use freeze dried food, then this stove is perfect. If you like to cook things, then a Whisperlite or PocketRocket serves better, but will use up slightly more fuel.
I've used my Reactor mostly in the High Sierra, above 10,000 feet on five, week-long trips. It works perfectly, and since on these trips I only need boiling water because I use prepared freeze dried foods and just add water to my cups for hot beverages, I find the stove exceeds my expectations.
I dislike the wastefulness of canisters, but enjoy their convenience. Since this stove is the most efficient I find it perfect for me.
Like one of the other reviewers, I'm a longtime Dragonfly user. I bought this as a second stove for shorter/lighter trips and mountaineering. I have used the Jetboil solo and GCS configurations and both are good, but different. I find the Reactor to be a bit more efficient, but it's also more basic.
My stove routinely performs better than advertised. I get about 2 min, 45 sec boils (1L) most of the time unless the cannister is down to less than what I would estimate to be about 1/3 full. Then it's closer to the 3 min-3 min, 20 sec. That's mostly on Primus fuel cannisters because of availability (sorry MSR!).
It's also a very efficient snow melter, the fastest I have tried. I find that a 220g isobutane cartridge is good for roughly 18-22L of water boiled depending on how often the stove needs to be re-lit in between cooking (since the warm-up phase, while short, still uses up some gas).
There were a lot of warning labels to peel off regarding the dangers of cooking inside of shelters with it (I was familiar with the controversy surrounding this stove's emissions before I bought it). It took some time to remove them. Oh how I wish people would stop suing others for their own stupidity!!
As with all stoves, I would advise not using it in your tent unless you have to, and of course to use the appropriate cautionary steps when it is deemed absolutely necessary to do so. Take responsibility for your own actions when taking calculated risks.
I would back up the findings that this stove seems unaffected by wind. The pot fits nicely with the burner, and won't slide off. There is only one pot, so this unit is for fairly basic cooking tasks. The clear lid lets you see when things are rolling without letting any heat escape.
This is my first hard-anodized aluminum pot and I like it. It's similar to titanium in lightness and strength, reasonably easy to clean, and distributes heat really well. You don't have to take the cannister off the stove to pack it. It's actually more secure to leave it assembled and put it in upside down into the pot so that the lid holds the cartridge bottom preventing and rattles.
There aren't any of the cool accessory options like those available for the Jetboil stoves. Maybe in time there will be a group camping sytem. Although the included pot is 1.7L it cannot be filled without spilling over when it boils. It can sustain a rolling boil with 1L, and 1.5L if you are watching it to take the pot off the burner as it starts to roll. I guess I will have to rig up my own hanging kit for it too (see my comment on the warning labels above).
It's a suitable stove for short winter trips, you just need to understand the way cannister stoves perform in cold weather. On cannisters that still have their propane and isobutane content, the Reactor performs the same way in cold weather (the isobutane works down to about -15C and the propane works to -40C) as it does in warmer temps. Once you use all of the cold weather fuels up, you are left with regular butane which involves keeping the fuel warm enough (just above freezing) for it to burn.
I did some experimenting with a cannister that had only butane left in it. I had used up all of the propane/isobutane on a previous cold weather trip. For those who have not experienced this, it feels like the cartridge still has lots of fuel, but below freezing it won't work because all that is left is the butane. Warming the cannister in my jacket and hands worked fine.
My favourite trick is using a small reusable sodium acetate hand warmer pack (Toasterz, etc) under the cannister. They are recharged by boiling them in water for about 5 min which is handy. On pure butane in this manner, boil times were a bit longer (closer to 4-5 min per 1L). For longer winter trips I still use my white gas stove, but I use my Reactor for those quick winter overnighters.
Overall, I would recommend this to friends. It performs as or better than advertised. I held back 1/2 a star because it does not yet have any other pot options which limits its usefulness for groups larger than two campers, or 3 with very basic cooking needs such as climbers melting snow for water. For pure solo use, I would think about a Jetboil as it's a bit more compact and has more versatility built into the pot system.
Price Paid: $85
Got it today and couldn't wait to fire it up. Got home, read the instructions started it up. Got a weird blue flame hovering over the entire grill, instructions say turn off and try again. It turns off like a champ, no little wisps of flame, off is off. Started it up again... WOW hot red glowing grill in 5 seconds the trick is not doing 3 full turns, (as instructions state) but 1-3 half turns.
The first thing I noticed is commercial but cool looking none the less, it has a MSR logo emblazoned in flame on the inside, hard to describe, looks really, really cool (like a neon light). So I put a liter on with the lid and started a timer. After about 2min15secs the pot started making noise, I couldn't believe it would be boiling after just 2 mins so I took the top off, no boil. I put the top back on and about 30 secs later it was howling, took off top, no boil. I gave it 10 secs for the loss of heat and looked under at 3min10sec and whaddya know, boiling water. I am really impressed.
Playing with the heat I took off the pot and tried to determine the difference in settings. It seems like there are two. About 1/8th a turn gives you a low, and the next 5 full turns give you a volcano. I couldn't get my hand within 10-12 inches above or around the edges. As soon as you put the pot on you can move your hand to within less than an inch. I was too afraid to actually touch the welded on wind screen but imagine it wouldn't burn me. So instructions say wait 5 mins for the stove to cool down before packing. With other stoves they are still pretty hot at this point.
After 1 min I touched it and could keep my finger on the stove itself, pretty warm/hot. 2 mins and it was comfortable to hold. I poured the water into a nalgene, a little spillage. The smallest pour spout would be such a nice addition. Given the depth of pot and weight at bottom with welded on heat exchange in relation to handle placement it is a bit unruly when it comes to pouring. I can see that it will take practice to get a precise pour. I myself will keep it solely for water boiling, don't want to let food give it any chance.
Possibly the most impressive and amazing part of the whole package is the way it packs up. When you use a 8oz MSR cannister the whole thing folds away into the pot, no big deal right? Wrong, the rubber stopper on the lid flushes up perfectly with the top of the cannister inside the pot. It makes the whole thing clank proof. It just stays perfectly stable inside the pot, no rattel at all. The weight isn't spectacular and you do need a cannister but it is sooooo convenient.
pros: Lightning fast boil time, coolest looking flame output I've ever seen, whole package fits and stows into awesome package. INSANE heat exchange. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE, no add-ons,(windscreen, baseplate, etc.) because of the lightspeed boils it saves fuel/weight.
cons: after a second liter boil I realized the lid kind of vacuums itself on and will hit you with steam when you lift it up (also when boiling kind of rocks about), hard to tilt pour, pricier than other stoves, not ultra-light, cannister only option.
I will leave a rating after I have used it more, I will be up in the Sierras for the next couple days so I will put it through its paces. On first use though it is a really impressive, innovative stove.
Price Paid: $150
I just used my new MSR Reactor for the first time today. I am actually very impressed! It was extremely easy to set up and with 1 liter of water cooking, I saw steam at less than 1:30 and reached a full boil in 2:35.
The conditions were breezy and it lit with no problem. The stove was very stable, but I did use the optional MSR stand that clips onto the canister.
This stove lived up to all of the hype I have read on it. I will add further reviews for this stove as I use it more on the trail.
Price Paid: $149
First of all let me declare myself as an avid Dragonfly user. I bought the Reactor to add to my collection and try something new.
The biggest drawback to the Reactor is that it is a one pot stove and practically a one stove pot. The pot will fit on a Dragonfly, but my pot I use with the Dragonfly won't fit on the Reactor. I like that all the pieces of the Reactor fit in the pot with either size fuel canister. I wish they would have put a self ignitor on the Reactor.
I've run several unscientific tests to boil water outside (36 degrees, light breeze) with three stoves against the Reactor. The other stoves were white gas, propane and IsoPro. The Reactor was not noticeably any faster or any slower. It was quicker to set up and easier to set up. You can't use a wind screen, and you don't need to use one.
MSR is claiming the second revolution in stoves with the Reactor, which they’re calling “the fastest-boiling, most fuel-efficient windproof stove system available.”
The Reactor stove system’s burner utilizes both convective and radiant heat, for greater heat output. The integrated heat exchanger is fused right into the 1.7-liter pot and completely encloses and locks in the radiant burner to provide total wind protection.
An internal regulator equalizes fuel pressure for consistent flame output in all temperatures, meaning you’ll be boiling that last liter of water nearly as fast as the first. The Reactor boils its first liter of water off a full canister in less than three minutes and its last liter from the end of a canister at three and a half minutes, a marginal performance difference. And since it burns 22 liters of water per 8-ounce canister, you’ll be carrying less fuel overall.
The whole stove system fits inside the pot with its locking Lexan lid and handle for easy packing and no rattling in your pack.
Minimum weight: 21 ounces/595 grams
Packaged weight: 21.6 ounces/612 grams
Fuel type: MSR IsoPro/MSR Canister Fuel (Europe)
Boil time: 3 minutes per liter
Suggested retail price: $139.95
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