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Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves are relatively simple, single-burner designs that are most popular with the ultralight, thru-hiking, and DIY crowd. At their most basic, they consist of a small metal fuel chamber or reservoir, which holds the alcohol. The alcohol vapors are burned via burner holes. Commercial models offer a range of more advanced options though, including the ability to simmer, an on/off ability, windscreens for improved fuel efficiency, and the ability to save unused fuel in the stove for your next use.

Alcohol stoves are best for solo or duo lightweight backpackers who simply want to boil water in above freezing temps, or as an emergency backup stove.

Top Picks

How we choose: The best alcohol stoves highlighted here were selected based on 180 reviews of 56 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a alcohol stove that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Trangia 25-3 UL

user rating: 5 of 5 (5 reviews)

These stoves are easy to use and maintain. They are incredibly durable and work in all weather conditions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durability
  • Ease of use
  • Low maintenance
  • Low cost fuel
  • Run silent
  • Consistent performance

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bulky
  • Heat regulation

I have been using Trangia stoves in my Duke of Edinburgh programme for over 10 years. The stoves are easy to use and the learning curve is very short for those who are new to camping. All of the parts of the stoves pack down into a nested set consisting of a stand, a wind shield, two pots, and a frying pan. The actual "stove" or burner is basically a brass cup that holds methylated-spirits.  The Trangia burners are very easy to light. I generally use a a ferro rod which gives immediate results.

Read more: Trangia 25-3 UL reviews (5)

Trangia 27-8 UL/HA

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

An ideal, reasonably lightweight cooking system for those who are willing to carry a bit of extra weight in order to have everything, but the kitchen sink! Well-suited for back country individuals focused more on comfort camping than long-distance backpacking.

Reasons to Buy

  • Offers a variety of cooking options for fuller menu choices
  • Entire cookset with stove—30.34oz.
  • Virtually maintenance free

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes up a fair amount of pack space
  • Expect to use (and carry) much more fuel for gourmet meals
  • Slower cook time than with a white gas stove
  • Frying pan was teflon (this was not listed when ordered)

BACKGROUND OF REVIEW: On a 7-day September backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park, three adult males used the Trangia 27-8 UL/HA as their sole cooking system. Our focus was more camping than hiking. We only averaged 6-8 miles per day, and our 45-50lb packs carried nearly all the comforts of home (including, books to read, cameras, and one guy had an 8lb tent!). Food was a significant focus on our trip. We had a hot breakfast every morning and a hot dinner every night. Lunch was on the trail, snacking along the way.

Read more: Trangia 27-8 UL/HA reviews (3)

Trangia 27-5 UL

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

A complete cook system that is quiet and efficient. Always a pleasure to be around.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ease of use
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Well made

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly slower cooking times
  • Poor high altitutde (>14K feet) performance

I'm an "Outdoor Professional" having worked as an Outward Bound instructor, Park Service Backcountry Ranger and program logistician since 1985. I've been using the Trangia Stove System as my only backpacking and expedition sea kayaking now for more than six years. In other words, this is NOT a "I just unpacked the product and it rocks!" type of review.Pros: Very easy to use. No pumping, no toxic fuel spills, no clogging. The most quiet stove system I've ever used. I really appreciate being able to hear the sounds of the beautiful places I get to visit and work in.

Read more: Trangia 27-5 UL reviews (5)

Trangia Spirit Stove

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

Although the Trangia Spirit Stove is heavier than the traditional pop can stove, it is far more versatile and the user is able to conserve every drop of fuel being carried.

Reasons to Buy

  • Heavy-duty (nearly indestructable)
  • Simmer ring allows for more versatile cooking
  • Lid allows unburned fuel to be stored in the stove
  • Maintenance free

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy (compared to pop can stoves)

The Trangia Spirit Stove takes the alcohol stove to the next level. At 4.2oz, it's heavier than a simple Pepsi-can stove. However, the durability and versatility of this stove surpass anything you'll get out of a pop-can stove. In terms of quality, this stove is meant to last for years without any problems. It's maintenance free--as long as you don't put the lid on when the stove is still hot (you'll ruin the O-ring). I have known guys who have been cooking on the same stove for more than a decade.

Read more: Trangia Spirit Stove reviews (7)

Esbit Alchohol Burner

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

The Esbit Spirit Burner (Alcohol Burner) is a nice alcohol stove with simmer control. It is lighter than the comparable Trangia and comes with a handle on the simmer-control-plate / snuffer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Fuel is cheap and easily available
  • Burns clean (no soot)
  • Comes with simmer-control lid with handle
  • Screw-top seals in unused fuel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Flame is invisible in daylight
  • Cooks slowly
  • Requires windscreen
  • Requires pot stand
  • Doesn't work well in cold environments (below ~14 F)
  • Methanol fuels are toxic

I picked up the Esbit Spirit Burner (alcohol burner) as an add-on when I got my Emberlit FireAnt wood-burning stove. In my mind, it was (and still is) more of a novelty item. My thinking here had been that it's a pain to go hunting for dry fuel on a wet day. Why not simply pick up an alcohol stove for those rainy-day (or post rainy-day) hikes? While I'm still not likely to give up my wood-burning stove in favor of an alcohol stove, this little Esbit stove has performed admirably both in tests and on the trail.

Read more: Esbit Alchohol Burner reviews (5)

Evernew Ti Alcohol Stove DX Set

user rating: 4 of 5 (8 reviews)

Best for solo hikers and shorter trips. Having said that, I use it for every trip because I abhor the container and fuel waste of canister stoves and am sure I'll blow myself up with one anyway. Yes, alcohol fuel is heavy for long through-hikes, but the ease of obtaining same at supply points is gold. This is a stove that will outlast me: phenomenal build quality, always reliable, and a well designed set. Have used it in conditions ranging from tropical summers through to -6'C mornings (must warm stove and fuel in hands first for five mins, but thereafter lights in 1-2 ferro rod strikes). You will prise this from my cold, dead hands... but only if you get to me before rigor mortis does.

Reasons to Buy

  • Build quality
  • Non-corroding titanium metal
  • Hot burn temperatures
  • Internal wick for safety
  • Stable and compact (used with and stored within recommended Evernew 500mL pot)
  • Simple to warm stove and liquid for use in freezing temperatures
  • Can take *just enough* alcohol in a small bottle with you for your short trips, without additional weight of unneeded fuel in a metal canister
  • Very safe

Reasons to Avoid

  • Weight of fuel required for longer hikes
  • Slower than canister stoves to boil water
  • Limited to drinks and hot-soak meals; no simmer capability
  • Still requires a wind shield despite fancy-ass pot stand thingy
  • Bloody expensive

The stove is very simple to fuel, and volume markings internally embossed within the stove mean that I never over- nor under-fill. The embossing also means that these markings will never disappear over time. The entire system is in itself a thing of beauty, and I am always happy to use it. It's just lovely to look at, and I deeply appreciate good quality and considered design. The pot stand assembly took a bit of playing to initially determine the setup options and intentions for each fuel type, but I could set it up in a flash after a bit of reading and a play.

Read more: Evernew Ti Alcohol Stove DX Set reviews (8)

Trangia 25-2 UL

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

If I could only have one stove...

Reasons to Buy

  • Completely reliable
  • Tough as nails
  • Classic design
  • Low toxicity
  • Simple to use
  • Easy setup
  • Impervious to bad weather
  • Great for beginners

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not ultra-light
  • Not super-fast
  • Not much use, at altitude
  • Can be thirsty on windy days

I've owned and used a Trangia, for more than 40 years.  This type is the pre-Teflon coating, pre-hard anodising variety, as beloved by generations of Scandinavian ski tourists and ice fishermen. I haven't done the snow hole bivvy thing, for many years, but in those kind of extreme weather locations, I choose gear that is pretty well impossible to break and almost never malfunctions.  I've never seen, or heard of a Trangia stove, that couldn't be made to work. This should surprise no-one: all a Trangia needs is fuel and a spark.

Read more: Trangia 25-2 UL review (1)

Esbit Alcohol Stove & Trekking Cookset CS985HA

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Esbit cs985h-ex cookset, very well made hard anodised with a 930 mil pot and lid.

Reasons to Buy

  • Strong
  • Quick to boil when using a windscreen
  • Pot is fitted with a heat exchanger

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as light as a Caldera Cone or White Box

Here is a photo of the esbit cookset in its stuffsack next to my Optimus Heat Pouch (a perfect partnership!). The cookset weighs 430grams with out the Optimus Heat Pouch. It is a very durable well made cookset and the heat exchanger fitted to the 930mil pot is a very nice touch. As you can see in the picture the cookset is really quite compact and if you use the Optimus Heat Pouch it fits in with room to spare. I did two boil tests, each with 500 mil of cold water. The first test was without a windscreen.

Read more: Esbit Alcohol Stove & Trekking Cookset CS985HA reviews (3)

Toaks Titanium Siphon Alcohol Stove

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Very lightweight and small (about 4 cm high) and 44 grams (that's the weight of the stove and the steel mesh pot stand).

Reasons to Buy

  • Quite good, with very small pots (ie 400mil titanium mug) 8.45 boil time

Reasons to Avoid

  • Needs a windscreen

This photo shows the actual weight of the Toaks stove and the other photo shows the stove with a 10 cm windscreen and the Toaks storage bag. So the Toaks stove is 44 grams with steel pot stand and storage bag, put a 10 cm windscreen and the total weight is 70 grams. The pot I did my first boil test with was a 400 mil titanium mug/pot with lid. I filled it with 350 mil of cold water (enough for a freeze-dried meal or a nice cup of coffee or loose leaf tea). This is the setup I used for the first boil test, an Alpkit 400 mil pot/mug with lid.

Read more: Toaks Titanium Siphon Alcohol Stove review (1)

Trangia 27-7 UL/HA

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Easy to use foolproof stove for summer use.

Reasons to Buy

  • Completely foolproof
  • Easy to use
  • Wind resistant

Reasons to Avoid

  • Poor in winter
  • Slower than gas or petrol
  • Sooty
  • Flame adjustment somewhat iffy

I have been using Trangias in the Finnish scouts since 1997. I have had my own since around 2005. In total I have cooked around half a years worth of meals on one. The Trangia consept is very simple. Place an ethanol burner in the middle of a windproof pot and a potfull of water on top of that. Due to the simplicity there is not a lot that can go wrong. The flame is adjusted with a seperate aperture placed over the burner. The size of the hole can be adjusted and the aperture can be removed for more heat.

Read more: Trangia 27-7 UL/HA reviews (2)

More Reviews of Alcohol Stoves

Trailspace reviewers have shared 180 reviews of 56 different alcohol stoves.

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or add yours

All about Alcohol Backpacking Stoves

What should I consider when choosing an alcohol stove?

What are the advantages of an alcohol stove?

What are the downsides?

Can I make my own alcohol stove?

If you're a handy DIY-er, you can make your own alcohol stoves from aluminum soda cans (aka a Pepsi, beverage-can, or pop-can stove,) or from a cat food can (such as Fancy Feast), among other materials and designs. Building plans abound on the internet.

Is there a difference between DIY and commercial alcohol stoves?

"Yes," said Brian Vargo, founder of Vargo Designs, when we asked him.

"There is a big difference between the dependability of a soda can stove versus any of our stoves. A thin aluminum soda can is only so strong and wasn't intended to withstand any accidental pressure from a fall or bumping into something. Reliability is key. Our Decagon stove, for example, has no moving parts and has been run over by a car and still been fully functional."

What fuels are compatible with alcohol stoves?

Alcohol fuels include the following, though not all are recommended for all stoves:

Best Alcohol Stoves

Check out the top-rated alcohol stoves above for Trailspace reviewers' recommendations. Then review your own stoves and add to that expertise. 

When was the alcohol stove invented?

Alcohol Stove Safety

To prevent injury or damage, always consult and follow your stove manufacturer's instructions and fuel recommendations. Use stoves in a safe, well ventilated, outdoor area. Be aware of and adhere to any fire bans, ordinances, and other rules, and practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

Other Types of Backpacking and Camp Stoves

Find more backpacking and camp stoves reviewed in these related categories:

Compressed Fuel Canister Stoves

Liquid Fuel Stoves

Multi-Fuel Stoves

+6 more types

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