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 January 20, 2021. 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
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
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
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
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
Great little stove. Great little stove. In Australia Coleman fuel is $28 for 4l . It's not that easy to find so I run it on Shellite, which is about $34 for 4l. Can get this at most supermarkets/hardware stores. I believe that Coleman fuel is White gas which is what Shellite is. Easy to light and burns well. Much cheaper to run than any LPG stove. Earlier comment about yellow flames and concerns. I start it with the red control button down until the yellow flame starts to settle and then turn it… Full review
Replaced my great WhisperLite that got destroyed getting caught up in a dog leash and went on a good run. I considered getting another but starting looking at the DrangonFly due to greater control of the heat After a few years @10, found the pump rather came apart and in contacting MSR wanting to purchase another pump they graciously replaced the entire pump assembly..that was about 15 years ago. That is such great customer service. About 20 years ago they did the same on my MSR water filter so… Full review
Could be better, I'll give it 5 stars if MSR fulfilled the frequently asked requests. I will not rephrase all of the greatness of this stove like all those above reviews. I will saves time by reviewing the uncovered review. I have finally read all the reviews and comments about MSR Dragonfly in Trailspace and voted up all those reviews. I bought the MSR Dragonfly in used, mint condition like new. I've modified the fuel line connector to be able to use Lindal type adapter. And I chose to use the… Full review
Very well made and does what it says it will do! Have had an MSR WhisperLite for years as well as a Trangia and a canister Furno 360. Is it as easy to set up and go as a Trangia or a canister stove? No. Does it put out a lot of heat and will it simmer and hold heavy pots? Yes! Here we have a case of you get what you pay for. Unlike many liquid fuel stoves this will simmer as readily as it will boil. It will happily consume virtually any fuel with no need to change jets and it appears bulletproof. Full review
Great stove. It always works! I bought mine in about 1972 at a flea market. It saw a lot of use and always worked fine. For some reason it was abandoned for newer designs of white gas and butane stoves. Then more recently I have been using pop can alcohol stoves. I recently dug out the old SVEA and can't figure out why I stopped using it. It is a great little stove. I think I cited weight, but my Whisperlite weighs almost the same, has a bunch of plastic parts, is less reliable, and more fiddly. Full review