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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 August 25, 2022. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

user rating: 5 of 5 (12)
MSR WhisperLite Universal Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$170
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (60)
Optimus Svea 123
$129
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (44)
MSR WhisperLite
$90 - $119
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (44)
MSR DragonFly Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$170
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (21)
Primus OmniFuel Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$190
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (19)
Coleman Sportster Dual Fuel II
$110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
MSR XGK-EX Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$160 - $189
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Primus OmniLite TI Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$210
user rating: 4 of 5 (42)
MSR WhisperLite International Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$130
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove
$30
Primus PrimeTech 1.3L Stove Set
$175 - $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 (7)
Coleman Peak 1 Stove
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Coleman Peak 1 Feather 400
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Chinese Canister Stove Knockoff
user rating: 4 of 5 (17)
Optimus Nova
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 (2)
Optimus Polaris Optifuel Liquid Fuel Stove / Canister Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
$180 MSRP
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Edelrid Hexon Liquid Fuel Stove / Multi-Fuel Stove
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (9)
Optimus Nova+
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Alpkit Kraku
$27 MSRP
user rating: 3 of 5 (12)
Optimus Hiker+
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 (14)
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)
MSR XGK II Shaker 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)
Primus Himalaya
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
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 4.5 of 5 stars
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

rated 5 of 5 stars
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

rated 5 of 5 stars
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

rated 5 of 5 stars
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

rated 5 of 5 stars
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

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
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

rated 5 of 5 stars
MSR WhisperLite

Great company, excellent aftermarket service! After many years of service and much use my stove broke, right where the fuel flex hose joins the hard piping. It was the old red cloth type flex hose.I called up MSR to get a replacement part. They said just send us in the entire stove along with half the cost for the new stove. Then they said if you want a new pump send that in too! We will just charge you for half the cost of the entire unit. Result... New stove kit... half price! Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
MSR WhisperLite

If you are only going to have one stove... I'm sure most of us have several stoves. I do. The WhisperLite was the first true backpacking stove I purchased...decades ago. It has proven 100% reliable over the years. It works high and low, wet and dry, and in snow and ice. I had one issue many years ago that involved changing the o-ring in the field. I was carrying the little repair kit. It took a few minutes to fix and haven't looked back. I have replaced the pump since the older one could have issues. Full review

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