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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.

 

Pros

Cons

  • works consistently in cold or hot temperatures
  • fuel is less expensive than canisters
  • fuel is easy to obtain around the world
  • fuel bottle is refillable for less waste
  • you know how much fuel is in the bottle
  • can be heavy and bulky
  • have to pump up
  • need to prime
  • need to maintain
  • can be dangerous

 

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 May 19, 2021. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

user rating: 5 of 5 (12)
MSR WhisperLite Universal Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$150
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (57)
Optimus Svea 123
$120
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (45)
MSR DragonFly Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$150
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (21)
Primus OmniFuel Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$170 - $189
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18)
Coleman Sportster Dual Fuel II
$90
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
MSR XGK-EX Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$160 - $169
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
Coleman Peak 1 Stove
$25 - $36
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Primus OmniLite TI Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$200 - $209
user rating: 4 of 5 (42)
MSR WhisperLite
$90 - $99
user rating: 4 of 5 (42)
MSR WhisperLite International Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$110
user rating: 4 of 5 (17)
Optimus Nova
$140
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove
$25 - $27
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Optimus Polaris Optifuel Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$180
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (9)
Optimus Nova+
$150
user rating: 3 of 5 (12)
Optimus Hiker+
$220
Primus PrimeTech 1.3L Stove Set
$170 - $189
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Optimus 111B
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Woodland Power Stove
$140 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Coleman Peak 1 Feather 400
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Chinese Canister Stove Knockoff
user rating: 4 of 5 (5)
Primus MultiFuel Compressed Fuel Canister Stove / Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$168 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Fire Maple FMS-118
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
No Limits Compact Butane Stove
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Alpkit Koro
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Edelrid Hexon Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Alpkit Kraku
$27 MSRP
Primus Onja
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Edelrid Opilio
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
Coleman Fyrestorm SS Stove Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$175 MSRP
user rating: 2 of 5 (7)
Coleman Fyrestorm Ti Stove Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$220 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18)
Optimus 8R
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
Coleman Feather 442 Dual Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Primus Gravity II MF Compressed Fuel Canister Stove / Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$144 MSRP
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Optimus No. 00
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
MSR Multi Fuel Stove Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Brunton Lander Stove Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
MSR XGK II Shaker Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Primus Himalaya
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Coleman 533 Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (20)
MSR SimmerLite
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (9)
Coleman Exponent Apex II
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (8)
Coleman 550B Multi-Fuel Stove Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Brunton Optimus Svea
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Brunton Vapor AF Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Brunton Bantam Liquid Fuel Stove
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Primus EtaPower MF Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$238 MSRP
discontinued
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (24)
Brunton Optimus Nova
discontinued
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (11)
Soto Muka
discontinued

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

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

I bought my 123 in 1970. Went on many trips until it was put away about 1976. Resurrected about 1990 with fuel still in it. Started right up and has since been on many more trips. Had to replace the fill cap washer once after a spectacular fireball due to its failure while cooking. I concur with all the other folks who have heaped high praise on these little beauties. Despite its occasional little quirks it is the best stove I’ve ever used. I just wish it weighed a little less. Approaching my… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

Svea 123 (since 1968). Never fails. White Gas (naptha). If you travel two weeks from people...you will survive. Also have Sigg stand/pot. Light. Hot. No plastic. Repairable. Brass! No mess, no smoke, no residual smell. 100% confident (Survival!). Still nothing better. Old acquaintance not forgot! Mine has lasted for 50 years. What more needs to be said? I have not met anyone with an older stove (anyone that is actually mobile). No nonsense! Used on 90-day bicycle tours. Worst drawback I have found… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

Simplicity and brilliantly designed. I use this stove with the Optimus Terra HE cook set. It reduces boiling time considerably.  Bought new in 1973, it continues to work with no problems at all. I now use it now on shorter excursions because of my age but still enjoy the jet-engine burner roar. I do want to mention you do not have to put your fuel tank in your sleeping bag in extreme cold or altitudes. This device will fire up every time. All I can say is you will not regret owning a reliably designed… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Coleman Peak 1 Stove

Peak 1 is a great value, works great hot cold and up to 10,000 feet. Never have had a problem.  I have used mine throughout the West in the high country and it is a great product you can buy at WalMart for around $20. I did last year pick up a BSA 3000, which is much lighter but not as well made as the Peak 1. Like everything in life there are tradeoffs. Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Coleman Peak 1 Stove

Tough and reliable—but perhaps not for the weight-conscious backpacker. I bought a Peak 1 because of its reputation for reliability and the flame control it offered. Most issues folks have had seemed to happen when they couldn't find white gasoline and used stuff from the pump. The Peak is easy to ignite and burns hot for melting snow rapidly—but can easily simmer, or gently fry eggs. I have a Coleman funnel, with filter, which makes refilling the stove a little easier. It lights easily, with… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

In 1973 we used it at sub 0°. We used it above 14,450 feet. We used it in 60 mph wind. It never didn't work. We always thought it was the perfect stove for the PCT. Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

Worth its weight...in gold. I've run the gamut with stoves, trying to lighten the load. I always come back to the SVEA 123R. It's worth its weight in gold! My hiking buddy of 45 years says the same thing about his. We bought them back in the '70s before our 1979 AT through-hike. Rock solid performance. A little dab of "fire paste" is enough to pressurize (and patina) the tank. I once tried a "quietstove cap" but found that ridiculously expensive and cumbersome—so I went back to the standard flame… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

Beautifully designed stove used by tens of thousands of backpackers since the '60s. Now outdated. This was my first backpacking stove and, like Erich, I bought it in '72 along with the SIGG TOURIST cook kit/windscreen. As soon as it came out I bought the tiny aluminum pump and mating fuel lid. That made it far easier to prime. No need to heat the bottom with a candle first. Just pump, turn on the fuel valve for two seconds and close, light fuel in depression on top of the container, wait 10 seconds… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Optimus Svea 123

Always works. Always. The volvo station wagon of camp stoves. Have been using since 1972. Briefly used an ///MSR Whisperlight but was not as dependable and seemed flimsy. Missed the cheerful splutter sound. Stove has been completely black for decades due to exuberant lighting. I light stove by removing the flame spreader and pouring about a half teaspoon of fuel on the burner. Replace spreader, toss in match, and whuumpf. As flames die down just open the valve and away she goes spluttering along. Full review