Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (Hell yeah I kept it!)
If Chuck Norris had a camping stove it would be the Primus OmniFuel.
- Chuck Norris' stove
- Variety of fuels
- Ease of mantainance
- Robust construction
- Expedition grade
- What weaknesses?
Built like a solid tank! I've had this thing for seven years and I can promise you it's going to be around for seven more.
I do a lot of motorcycle camping and this has to be one of the most important piece of equipment that I have. I needed a stove that can use different types of liquid fuels in foreign countries and this fits the bill. The set up is is quick and easy. The aluminum priming pump feels solid unlike the plastic MSR pumps. Wind has little or no effect on the burner.
As for it being "loud", I would take reliability over "loud" any day. Take the extra time to learn how to do the maintenance and jet exchanges. I sparingly use Superlube (safe to use) to grease the leather gasket. This makes it smoother and easier to pump.
Lastly, if you know your stove is going to be knocked around you might want to consider placing your Primus Omnifuel in an Otterbox Model 3500. It fits like a glove and you have room for other goodies!
Price Paid: how much? would happily pay twice the price.
Simmers perfectly. Can't get it to simmer? Use it more and learn how to- it's you that's the problem- not the stove. With any fuel type you can adjust it from a yellow candle flame to full power by using the wire throttle as well as the knob on the pump itself.
Loud? Who cares, they probably need to wake up anyway- lazy fatties.
Heavy? No, not really- weighs about the same as a proshell jacket, stop crying about it- if you're that bothered about weight you won't take a stove because you're called Ueli. I've had msr stoves and they break, easily. the pumps might as well be made of chocolate. MSR can't make stoves i won't destroy. it's not my fault- sort your life out msr.
People who like msr stoves only like them because they haven't had an Omnifuel- tell them to shut their whining up and buy a Man's stove. Rum, filthy 2 stroke, diesel, whatever. if it's in any way flammable change the jet, pressurize the bottle and burn it. Good times. I don't like to hear what people are saying anyway while i'm cooking, i don't care if you're scared about tomorrow.
As for cleaning, i burn it really hot for a little while and it seems to clean off all the carbon- ideal.
Man up and put the plastic piece of crap in the bin and buy a metal stove you know won't crack up and make your tears freeze to your face because you should have listened to me- epic fail.
Buy an Omnifuel and win at living outside. Forever.
Price Paid: 1695 SEK
The downsides to this stove are well-known, it's loud and it's heavy. I read a lot about the various models on the market before settling for this stove, because I don't mind the noise at all, and weight is an acceptable compromise when you get extreme reliability in compensation.
The only other stove that seemed as good was the Optimus nova, but the huge advantage the Primus has is that the omni fuel attaches to the fuel bottle/pump assembly OR to normal gas canisters, which seemed like a major omission from Optimus.
The stove is solid like a rock, not only that but you can almost totally dissemble it with the supplied multitool, and everything is easily cleaned and reassembled in the field. Cleaning is easily performed with the multitool, which is quite necessary when using vehicle fuel (Petrol or Diesel). However this seems only needed after the stove is off, once the pre-heat phase is over and it is burning fuel it never seems to get blocked.
The fuel pump is also extremely solid and simple to use. The method of turning the stove up by flipping the fuel bottle is excellent, as it drains all the fuel from the fuel line. After a minute of burning out the dregs of fuel from the fuel line, the pump and stove can be packed away without any fuel being spilled.
The base is also very stable, but it is worth finding or making a very flat area to put it on. And of course using butane or heptane as fuel will mean much less cleaning than using diesel or rum.
All in all, I am very satisfied with this stove, it''s worth paying a little more for something that will so obviously last.
Price Paid: GBP 100.00
There is only one thing preventing this stove from being perfect and that is the fact that it is a roarer burner: the jet of fuel is spread out onto the pan's surface by hitting a metal concave cover on the way up.
Other than that, there is very little to fault it.
The pump shaft is metal, not plastic (I know several people who have broken MSR pumps and sometimes have had to buy the entire pump assembly again). I have stood on this stove a couple of times and each time the legs just bend back into place. It grips the smaller pans no problem. Flare up is hardly an occurrence, and anyway just be patient and let the jet chamber heat up so as to vaporize the liquid.
Actually, there is one other minor problem and that is having to change the jet when moving between fuels, and they are marked with numbers, so remember which one you will need. I think that they are in millimeters and the finer the fuel the wider the jet, I think?
But that is another small price to pay for a stove that uses canisters as well as liquids. If you run out of canisters, use petrol (but carry the pump assembly). If the weather is sub zero, use Coleman fuel. If you want very clean pans, also use canister gas.
The stove has been left out in the rain too many times and always works straight away in the morning; other stoves had to be left to dry first.
Ok, I just remembered another niggle: the wire valve knob can stick, requiring careful forcing. Try and turn it gently when turning it off; it will still stick a little but not as much. Perhaps it needs some oil in there somewhere (it does need a service by now).
If it is your last meal of the site (usually breakfast) then turn the bottle over until the almost indecipherable 'off' shows on the pump assembly and let the gas burn off. This puts the pumps internal feeder into the air chamber part of the bottle and the pressure is drawn out and burnt off, leaving you peace of mind about the petrol/gasoline's pressure inside the bottle.
Also, stick to Primus bottles or another reputable company (not GoGas) for your larger/spare second bottle, as I have had a bottle top crack off with either pressure or seal expansion overnight (bottle was filled to below max and in a cool room).
What is wrong with a roarer-burner? Firstly, they are very noisy and early morning crowded campsites are not the place to be using such a loud stove. Secondly, they cannot simmer properly, or at least easily.
Lastly, they usually leave burner marks on the bottom of your pans for ever, as you continue to burn the odd meal or two. If you can live with these limitations (the weight is necessary if you see how it is made), then there is nothing else.
Primus made a titanium version of this stove a few years ago and it may be available (at twice the price) if you are that way inclined.
When you buy a spares/service kit, get the burner plate for this stove. It is only cheap and may fall off or get out of shape if you have to change the burner jet a few times each trip.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $134.95
update 7-17-2013: After 3 years of using this stove for group backpacking trips as well as car camping with the family I would like to say this stove is still going strong. I have only cleaned it once from the white gas use and is still lights up easily and burns cleanly. This stove is a good buy that will pay for itself.
I purchased the Omnifuel hoping to get a bullet proof stove for the backcountry. I was not disappointed. On the first trip I used it I brought along .6 litres of white gas not knowing how much it would consume, with 4 people cooking on it we only used .2 litres for a 3 day weekend boiling water and melting snow.
Overall performance is excellent, it is very sturdy and stable. While some complain about the noise it makes I hardly noticed as it didn't take long to boil water then it was turned off. I am quite pleased with this stove and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
Price Paid: £95
The best stove to-date. This little puppy ignited first time immediately. Even when playing around adjusting the flame and the flame went out, I shot a bit more fuel onto the priming plate and re-lit it poof without a problem. I used it outside, slightly breezy at about 2 Degrees and it boiled my first Litre in 3 mins 28 secs (Using the wind shield). To maintain and clean is no bother at all, a quick wipe down and prick of the jet and done.
It started to chug a little so I gave a few additional pumps and lowered the flame for about 20 seconds then kicked it back up again and perfect, jet like flame. (The DVD says it's quite quiet... It's not LOL)
I thrashed 3 litres of water to boiling point plus played around adjusting the flame, after which time I shut it down and checked the fuel. It felt a little light but on looking inside it had used less then 10 percent of the fuel, I couldn't believe it, awesome.
The simmer is excellent compared to how hot it can get, it's not the BEST simmer but all it requires is a few additional stirs of your stew to prevent any sticking :-)
I was using unleaded petrol and am quite confident that even with uk fuel prices (51p to fill the supplied canister) it's cheap to run and it will keep running for a good few days before I need to refill.
It's a tad heavy but damn it's solid so I don't care. The price as far as I am concerned is well worth it. Highly recommended.
Price Paid: $109
I have used this stove on a range of trips in many temperatures and it won't stop. Just remember to clean the jet every time before you pack it and no problems. I much rather like cleaning the jet on my own rather than have a shaker jet or self cleaner that if it doesn't work right you're up a creek.
So far have run this stove on LP gas white gas kero menthylated spirits even experimented with paint thinner, it burns. Just wish I had the titanium version... but don't we all. Even had a friend who had one rigged up in a hanging system that failed while the stove was running and the stove went about 300 feet down a cliff. When we got down there the stove was still running on it's side. He still uses that stove...
Price Paid: $85
You will amaze your friends with how quickly it boils water, although you may not be able to hear their "oohs" and "aahs" over the burner roar. However, the last thing i care about when I'm hungry in the backcountry is the noise of my stove.
I've had mine 5 years now, and it's held up well in every situation. The simmer feature is easy and functional. It's nice to keep things warm without melting them to the bottom of your pot. Fantastic if you're heading out of the country because it'll work with just about any fuel.
Yeah, it's a little heavy, but it's bomber so who cares. I'd rather it last which it has so far. Most folks sing the praises of the MSR Whisperlite, but the OmniFuel is more versatile and has the simmer. Plus, the metal pump has never broken, and almost every Whisperlite owner I've known has had their plastic ones break at inopportune times.
I like value, function, and reliability. This is the stove for me.
Price Paid: $90
This stove is everything it promises to be. I have not personally tried mine on any fuel other than white gas, but other reviews cover that area fairly well. The thing is built like a tank... you'll never break it (like I did with my Whisperlite).
I hear a lot of people complaining about the weight. This stove only weighs two ounces more than a Whisperlite. If that seems like a big difference to you, consider eating your food cold and carrying a 14oz heap of useless trash in your pack (ok, ok, so I exaggerate, but my Whisperlite DID fail on a trip, so it was dead weight after that).
I agree that this stove is heavy... I use a soda can stove for short trips when I can go with heating water only, but if you want to cook for real this is the stove to get.
Other reviewers are right... it sounds like a harrier taking off, but it's not much different than most white gas stoves I've been around, including MSR stoves.
Price Paid: $60 (on sale)
After suffering all sorts of dramas maintaining my old WhisperLite and its flimsy and finicky pump, I finally threw it out and went for one of these puppies. Full throttle it throws flame like a jet engine (and sounds like one!) but still manages to simmer OK if you turn it down.
Most importantly it's a true multifuel stove. It copes with all sorts of liquid fuels, from whitegas through to kerosine (although I personally haven't as yet run it on kero). Best of all it runs on compressed gas cannisters. I occasionally use it with whitegas but mostly seem to run it on cannisters on shorter trips. I even choose it over my lightweight cannister stove most of the time because it's more stable.
Which brings us to the downside...while the OmniFuel is more versatile and robust than most other stoves of the same class, you pay for it with weight: the pump assembly feels like about a kilo of solid aluminium (surely they could shave some weight off the pump??) and the stove unit itself is plenty chunky.
All in all a very good do-everything stove. If you're particularly tough on gear, or only want to buy one stove, then this wold fit the bill nicely. However, if you're a weight weenie then you might want to look elsewhere!
Price Paid: $119
The best thing going today. Burns everything well (canisters, kerosene, auto gas, white gas) you name it and once you switch out the jet it burns it. It has a great adjustable flame for simmering and fuel conservation. The pump for liquid fuels is all metal (aluminum or magnesium I think) and appears sturdy enough to never let you down. The put supports are serrated and grip the grooved bottoms of my cookset pans wonderfully. I have only two small nits to pick. It is a little loud, and it weighs over a pound. Otherwise you can't go wrong with this truly international traveler.
Price Paid: Can't remember
The OmniFuel is my go-to.
1. Yes, it's a bit heavier but it's the most reliable thing I own on the trail.
2. It is noisy. You know, I LIKE the sound of a roaring stove. First of all, I love being able to walk away and knowing that the thing's still going from several metres away. And I love when you turn it off, how the silence of the outside world comes back. Is that weird? And..
3. I agree... whenever I unscrew the canister from the stove [even after hours on non-use] I get a pressurized puff of fuel on my hands.
Those are small things. In every other way, it's just a great stove.
Price Paid: na
Just as the ads say this stove burns everything and burns it well. The adjustment is smooth allowing for a nicely controlled flame temperature. I compared this to several other stoves during my last trip to Alaska and found that not only was this the easiest stove to start, my fuel consumption was worth bragging about. Pot stability was unquestionable but overall base ice stability requires an additional surface. The other problem is the weight, mmm. I think Primus could do well (specially at the price of this item) to switch to a titanium/HT aluminum including the shaker and get this stove down in weight such that it is practically the only stove you would ever need.
Uses: Alpine, backcountry, overseas, hurricane recovery, heck even for a romantic nigh at the New.
Pros: burns almost everything or at least everything Primus lists (plus a few others), controllable, good burn, reliable.
Cons: could pack smaller, could weigh a lot less, could cost a lot less, a piezo option would be nice for the less than zero environments.
There are only two faults with this product, one is the weight but then it is extremely well built and rugged, and compared to lighter multifuel stoves I've had in the past the weight difference isn't that much and is a small price to pay for such good construction. The only other fault is that it doesn't really simmer, there is a degree of fuel control but it isn't easy to get the flame just right and if set too low the flame will go out.
Otherwise it has been perfect, I especially like the fact it is very stable, the metal pump construction feels better, the ease of bleeding the line by flipping the bottle over is fantastic, the ability to also connect to self sealing gas cartridges is great, the length of the line allows movement and pumping of the bottle without disturbing the cooker, requires minimal maintenance.
Make a titanium version and sort out the simmer control and you would have the perfect camping stove!!
Price Paid: $129.95
Seems like a well constructed stove, easy to set-up and start...if you read the manual first!!! First tests were using charcoal lighter fluid...burns fine but a bit sooty. Very easy fire-up, no big yellow fireball that I was fearing.
1. The pot's 3 support arms leave a large gap over the flame control lever which makes a pot quite tippy over that area.
2. Haven't been able to remove fuel tank without getting a very small amount a fuel on my hands.