Liquid Fuel Stoves
Liquid fuel stoves burn white gas, which is stored in a refillable fuel bottle and connects to the stove burner via a hose. You pump up the bottle to pressurize the fuel, which means they still work well in the cold.
Liquid-fuel stoves are best for: year-round use and large group cooking
The best liquid fuel stoves, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on December 31, 2022. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.
What to consider when choosing a liquid stove:
- Fuel Efficiency: How much water can you boil or food can you cook, for a given volume of fuel?
- Ignition: How easy is to prime or light? Does any built-in igniter work well consistently?
- Setup: How easy is the stove to setup and fuel?
- Flame Control: Is the burner adjustable? If so, how well?
- Cooking: How well does the stove let you boil, simmer, fry, bake, etc.?
- Boil Time: How long does it take to boil water in sheltered conditions?
- Wind: Does the stove stay lit in wind? How does wind affect boiling time? Is there a windscreen?
- Stability: Is it stable and secure with a pot, or a potential "noodle-dumper"?
- Packability: How well does the stove pack away and store?
- Ease of Use: Do parts and features work as expected? Consistently?
- Field Maintanable?
Liquid Fuel Options
Liquid-fuel stoves burn white gas. Not all liquid-fuels are recommended for or can be used in all stoves, even multi-fuel models:
- White gas/petroleum Naphtha: the standard and most recommended choice, white gas burns cleanest; it is also available under brand names, for example MSR SuperFuel, Coleman Fuel, Primus Gas
- Coleman Fuel: a petroleum naphtha product marketed by the Coleman Company
- Kerosene: aka paraffin oil, is available around the world, it's also dirty and stinky, and the quality can be unknown
- Diesel: it's dirty and stinky, and not all multi-fuel stoves that run white gas and kerosene can use diesel; check your instructions.
- Avgas/aviation gasoline: Jet fuel:
- Unleaded Automotive Gasoline: aka, petrol; the additives in car gas can muck up your stove, and any ethanol/alcohol in the gas can corrode your fuel bottle; if in need, use unleaded
Best Liquid-Fuel Stoves
Check out the top-rated alcohol stoves above for our members' recommendations. Then review your own stoves and add to that expertise.
Moments in Liquid-Fuel Stove History
In the 1890s, Carl Richard Nyberg inventor of the blowtorch, began manufacturing Primus gas stoves. The first model, was called the Viktoria and was not very successful, but the later Svea did better. Frans W Lindqvist is also credited for designing gas stoves at the same time.
Note: To prevent injury, always consult and follow your stove manufacturer’s fuel recommendation and stove instructions. Always use stoves in a safe, well ventilated, outdoor area. Be aware of any fire bans and rules. Practice Leave No Trace.
Recent Liquid Fuel Stove Reviews
Coleman Sportster Dual Fuel II
The epitome of integrated dual fuel camping stoves. 3+ KW output and uses unleaded petrol/Gasoline or White gas liquid. People claim to have used all sorts of flammable light hydrocarbon liquids as fuel. I was so horrified to hear that the company who bought Coleman have discontinued the 533 that I rushed out to buy some spares to ensure that mine (already 20 years old) outlasts me. Full review
The best and the most reliable backpacking stove I've ever used. Every year, the trails I haunt beckon me to pack the K2 Longbed and get away from civilization once more. Each time I go off into the wilderness, I pack the MSR Dragonfly. It's the same one I purchased in 1993, and the same stove that consistently works without fail, heats up my tea, and makes one-pot cooking a delight. Full review
This is a stable and reliable stove for base camp cooking or backpacking. I have used a number of MSR stoves over the years (Whisperlite, XGK, XGK EX, and the Dragonfly); they have all been reliable performers. The O-ring at the fuel line interface with the pump has always been the failure point…I replace it annually with an inexpensive O-ring from the hardware store. After 10-15 years, the pip on the pump’s NRV (non-return valve) gets hard; I just buy a new pump. Operating this stove is straightforward…pump… Full review
Optimus Svea 123
Best part of this stove is its simplicity, and it is just plain bombproof. Bought this stove after reading Colin Fletcher's book on hiking. Fletcher hiked all over the world and sang high praise on this stove. After that I researched it and was convinced this was the stove for hiking and for me. Full review
Optimus Svea 123
I'm 71 years old and planning on hiking a section of the AT next year. I was thinking about the gear I would need when I remembered a SVEA that my father had given me. I dug it out of a canoe box. The stove probably hasn't seen the light of day in over 40 years. I filled it with fuel, primed it, and it took right off. You've got to love a quality item that works exactly as it was designed to do. I hadn't seen this stove since I was a teenager. I took it apart and looked at the various pieces. It… Full review
Optimus Svea 123
I've had my SVEA 123 (not R) stove since the early seventies. It's never failed me on a camping trip. Apart from the priming, super easy to use, and it even simmers. My SVEA was one of the highlights of any of my modest backpacking trips. Hearing that jet burst of flame meant a hot, well earned meal was close at hand and marked a welcomed inflection point to the end of a sweaty day on the trail. I have an MSR Dragonfly, and it's a great stove, but requires some setting up of course. The SVEA, just… Full review
Coleman Peak 1 Feather 400
Bought in the '80s and still works perfect. Just a few cleanings. The old models have a control lever that makes flame adjustment a snap. Love it. This stove has never failed me. t does it all for rapid boil to cooking for six. Can control the flame to simmer and make cobblers. It has been to the Sierra, Tetons, Big Horns, Maine, Michigan...and always satisfies. Full review
Coleman Sportster Dual Fuel II
IMPORTANT: "Unleaded Gasoline" means the type without alcohol (gasohol, methanol or ethanol) added. If you use any alcohol augmented fuels, the stove will not work properly and can create dangerous sputtering, spraying of fuel beyond the burner and flaming out. Be sure the unleaded gasoline is not alcohol augmented or just use Coleman stove fuel if you cannot be sure. The added cost will pay back in safe operation and fewer hospital visits! If you get alcohol augmented fuel into the stove, drain… Full review
Optimus Polaris Optifuel
Well built. Needs an additional silencer cap to achieve its potential. I bought this recently as an alternative to my Coleman 442 and to replace a Primus Omnilite. I tested it with its normal flame spreader boiling half a litre of water with canister gas, white gas, and kerosene. Apart from being very loud, which I expected, I found the performance on canister gas disappointing. It took a full minute longer than the other fuels to boil half a litre, and simmer control was poor, having a tendency… Full review