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Alcohol Stoves – What To Know Before Your First Purchase!

best Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves are becoming increasingly popular for camping, backpacking and other outdoor activities.

But, before you purchase one, there are a few questions to consider:

  • Are you looking for something that allows indoor and outdoor cooking?
  • How long does the burn time need to be? 
  • What about fuel efficiency?
  • Does it need to be extra lightweight equipment for the on-the-go?

Typical prices of alcohol stoves will vary depending on the type of product you require, So researching the basics will aid you in purchasing the perfect cooking system.

Whether you’re an experienced camper, or on your first outdoor adventure, you do not want to be caught short when it comes to your equipment.

What’s Your Stove For? Long distance or Family Camping?

First and foremost, you need to discern the exact role you require your alcohol stove to play. This is largely based on the type of trip you are planning.

For Hiking and Fast-Paced Trips

For this type of adventure, it’s likely you’ll need something more lightweight and portable, a solo stove, for instance.

A solo stove such as the Naturehike Portable Outdoor Burner is preferable for thru-hikers or those seeking boiling water for an early morning al fresco cup of tea, as opposed to those looking for heavy-duty equipment on a more situated camping trip.

It bears up to 5kg of weight and it itself weighs around 37g. A more lightweight alcohol burner such as this mostly comprises of lightweight alloys such as aluminium and more durable metals like brass.

This particular model boils 500ml in a boil time of roughly 9 minutes. Smaller models such as this typically hit boiling point before or around the 10-minute mark, making them ideal for those with a busier trip schedule. 

Time and weight-efficient models such as this little stove tend to come in below the £35 mark – good news for those hikers on a tighter budget!

Best alcohol stoves for hiking
Alcohol Stoves - What To Know Before Your First Purchase!

For The Chilled Holiday Makers

If you’re away with the family or on holiday you may be looking for an all-in-one stove that is larger and holds more fuel.

When considering the size of your alcohol stove, it is important to remember that some stoves can accommodate larger pots, enabling two or three people to cook at once, or several pans to be heated at once, ideal for family camping trips.

The Robens Cookery King Pro is a larger alcohol stove and more versatile stove than the solo stove models previously mentioned. This stove is heavier (around 980g) but it provides more of an all-in-one kitchen experience, due to its handy water pan and insulated pot handle.

This larger alcohol stove offers a wider base and stable pot holder for pot support. Built in pot support can accommodate a range of pans whilst still offering a super lightweight set for easier travel on your family holiday.

If you are looking for a stove specifically designed to cater to family camping trips, you may also look into the more versatile options such as the Naturehike Multi-Fuel Stove. With an adjustable height and windshield, this system is ideal for those wanting something with greater control and stability when in a family setting.

Using An Alcohol Camping Stove Indoors or Outdoors

Regardless of the type of trip you need your stove for it’s important to make sure that if you plan on using it indoors the stove has a flame control 

Additionally, the type of fuel used may also affect your decision when choosing an indoor or outdoor camping stove. Alcohol stoves are efficient and clean burning but will require more ventilation when being used inside.

Fuel stoves for expeditions
Alcohol Stoves - What To Know Before Your First Purchase!

Choosing The Ideal Heat Output For Your Stove

Every camping stove has a different heat output, so ensure you research your potential purchase to get the most suitable type for your trip.

The size and weight of any alcohol burner will depend on the heat output, which is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A burn time of around 30 minutes per 1oz of fuel indicates a higher heat output.

If you require a larger cook set for family camping, you should look at a heat output upwards of 10,000 BTUs. For a smaller camp stove, 7,000 BTUs is preferable, but anything upwards of 3,000 BTUs will do the job just nicely.

Some prefer a lower output as this can give you a little more control over your cooking temperature. The Trangia Mini is therefore a good choice for those looking for backpacking stoves. This model has an output of around 4,500 BTUs. The built-in windshield acts as a flame regulator so your alcohol stove remains fuel efficient with a shorter cook time.

A Trangia stove is a perfect option when investing in your first alcohol stove or looking for a compact stove for on-the-go trips.

Fuel stoves for camping
Alcohol Stoves - What To Know Before Your First Purchase!

How To Choose A Stove Heat Output.

If you’re torn between a larger stovetop cooking system or compact stoves such as a Trangia spirit burner, it really comes down to budget vs goals.

Let’s explore the important factors such as fuel types, cost and fuel efficiency so you can be sure your purchase is fully informed.

Liquid Fuel Vs Gas.

Typically, other stoves boil water and cook food at a quicker rate than alcohol stoves. Gas stoves can be a great alternative to alcohol stoves, as they have greater control over the flame and can offer faster boiling times. 

However, there can be a strain on your budget when purchasing gas stoves due to their higher price point – around £50 for a basic model. Gas is also not as readily available as liquid fuels, and so you may find that if travelling for extended periods of time, you need to carry more with you.

Alcohol stoves are often the preferred choice when it comes to fuel efficiency. They provide a balanced heat output and have long-lasting burn times, so you save on the amount of fuel you use and carry. Carrying large amounts of gas may result in not all becoming necessary, however, leading to unused fuel. No one likes to be frustrated by unnecessary spending!

Having read through the individual features of each type of stove, you can weigh up which model is best for your needs, be it a family camping trip or lightweight backpacking adventure. Exploring our large range of camping stoves will help you compare and make your ideal purchase.

A Note About Fuel-Efficient Alcohols.

Liquid Fuels such as alcohol is an environmentally friendly and ethically responsible choices. Alcohol stoves are typically designed to use either denatured alcohol (ethanol) or isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol).  It’s important to check with your stove provider before purchasing fuel, as different stoves can require a different type of alcohol.

Alcohols are amongst the cleanest burning and most efficient fuels for camping stoves. They are not volatile or explosive and therefore do not pose much of a threat when stored correctly.

What Type of Alcohol Should I Choose For my Stove?

Isopropanol has a lower heat output and can be bought in some camping stores, pharmacies or online. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a longer burn time and fuel efficiency.

Ethanol has a higher heat output, which makes it ideal for larger stove tops.  It’s also more widely available, as it can be found in most supermarkets or hardware stores. Ethanol is also highly renewable, making it a great environmentally conscious option.

More experienced campers and ultralight backpackers may wish to opt for ethanol due to its heat output capabilities. Its potential to heat faster not only reduces your cook time, but means you can get away with a smaller fuel bottle to last you longer for your short, on the needs.

The opportunity pack smaller fuel bottles also reduces the likelihood of leftover fuel, which may become unused fuel and money wasted if your next trip isn’t planned soon after.

Isopropyl alcohol is recommended for those looking to conserve their fuel, as it burns slower and evenly. For this reason, we recommend for longer trips ad the bigger jobs.

The best alcohol stoves for your needs can be determined by reviewing what fuel you would prefer to use. We recommend keeping this in mind when purchasing a cooking system. Our alcohol stove products are compatible with whatever alcohol you may choose, so you have the freedom to customise your camp stove experience.

Choosing The Best Stove Designs 

It’s important to have a good overview of the exact materials and features of your camp stove before you commit to a purchase. Common questions we hear in our shop are:

  • Does a brass alcohol stove offer more of the features you require?
  • Does the particular model come with suitable pot support?
  • Is the multi-fuel stove you’re considering flame safe for your family?

The Best Materials For Your Stove

Aluminium and your stainless steel alcohol stoves are durable and lightweight, ideal for those looking to travel with ease. Aluminium stoves tend to heat up quickly and evenly. They are considered the most lightweight, but also the least durable of your options.

Titanium stoves are a heavier option but they offer an even more durable stove top with better stability. If you’re looking for a multi fuel stove that burns longer, titanium would be your best bet as it lasts significantly longer and is resistant to corrosion, resulting in a longer lifespan.

A brass alcohol stove is slightly heavier than an aluminium stove, but provides more stability and durability for a longer life span. They also offer better fuel efficiency due to their lower burn time and pair well with isopropyl alcohol for slower cooking and family feasts.

However, they also typically require more maintenance than aluminium models, as their exterior is prone to tarnishing over time.

Camping alcohol stoves
Alcohol Stoves - What To Know Before Your First Purchase!

Family Friendly Features

Stove designs often come in two forms: open-flame and closed-flame alcohol stoves. If you’re planning a family camping trip you may want to consider narrowing your search for stoves with extra built-in safety features. 

Stoves that sit the pot directly onto the burner top offer more stability and safety in a family setting. They also tend to absorb heat from the burner more quickly and directly. Not only will your food cook more evenly, but you won’t return to a simmering pot to find flames licked the side of your tent! 

Robens Cookery King Stove offers a wide foot print for more stability over your hot pots and pans whilst including guides round your burner, preventing alcohol burns and flame related accidents.

Making The Final Decision

If you’re looking to purchase an alcohol stove with specific facts and features in mind, our website offers you all the information you will need to quickly compare our stoves and find the ideal one for you. 

The tables on our product pages include burn time, fuel efficiency and weight for each stove. Information on the brands we stock and their stoves are also available so you can decide which make and model suits your needs best.

So whatever you’re looking for from your camp stove – efficient boil times, lightweight designs or flame-safe family feasts – we’ll help you find the exact alcohol stove to suit your needs.

And if you’re prepping for your next outdoor adventure be sure to check out our Essential Camping Checklist!
We hope this guide has helped you to better understand which alcohol stove is right for your camping needs, but if you’re still unsure please do not hesitate to contact us via our website or email us directly. We are more than happy to help!

ARE ALCOHOL STOVES BETTER THAN GAS?

Alcohol stoves tend to offer more stability than burners utilising other fuels. They also tend to be more cost effective with the initial purchase and to run than stoves that run on gas or solid fuel.  It is important to remember that alcohol stoves will burn slower than gas and solid fuel. Making it perfect for longer trips and fuel efficient cooking.

HOW MUCH FUEL DO ALCOHOL STOVES USE?

Alcohol stoves typically use around 1oz of fuel per meal, though burn time and fuel type burned can vary this figure. Alcohol stoves produce steady flames that are beneficial for fuel efficiency. For longer trips, we recommend using Isopropyl alcohol. This burns at a lower temperature. It can provide an extended burn time with the same quantity of fuel.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALCOHOL STOVES?

Alcohol stoves vary by their size, weight and heat output. The material used also has an effect of the stove’s durability, weight and fuel efficiency. Lighter materials such as aluminium offer more portability but they tend to be less durable than their titanium and brass alcohol stove counterparts.

HOW TO STORE ALCOHOL FUEL?

For thru hikers and ultralight backpackers, liquid fuel such as alcohol is a stable and perfect choice as it is far less hazardous to carry than gas . Alcohol fuel can be carried in plastic bottles to minimise weight. It’s stable nature makes it ideal for avoiding fire hazards and accidents whilst travelling.

WHAT PANS CAN BE USED WITH AN ALCOHOL STOVE?

Any material pan is compatible with an alcohol stove. The size of your burner’s stove top, simmer rings and spirit burner will determine what pan size and weight is suitable for your stove top. A brass alcohol stove can withstand more weight, allowing for heavier pans and volumes of food. 

Pairing your stove with a pot stand can be beneficial to increase the size of pot that can sit on your alcohol burner. Some of the best alcohol stoves pot stand designs are lightweight, easy to assemble and disassemble, and can be used with pots of different sizes.

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