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 May 19, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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