Did you know that studies show that convention camp stoves are only 40% efficient? You don’t have to be an expert to know that that’s a lot of wasted fuel and money being burned.
While it’s impossible to achieve 100% efficiency with your camp stove, picking the right stove can make a huge difference.
However, with so many different models to choose from, how are we supposed to know which camp stoves are the most efficient? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you!
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most efficient camping stoves available. Each stove is guaranteed to make alfresco cooking an easier experience, allowing you to spend more time relaxing and less time battling with a weak flame.
We’ve also put together a super useful buying guide that’s packed with what to look for when buying a stove. As a bonus, included are fuel-saving tips to save 50% or more when cooking, so be sure to read this entire article.
Our Top Efficient Stove Picks
Do you have a camping trip coming up soon that you need a really efficient camping stove for? Take a look at our top picks below.
Why it’s the # 1 pick: The space savings and dual fuel compatibility makes it great for the weekend camper or emergency prepper. The size allows it to fit anywhere which makes it super versatile.
Who should buy one: Great for the weekend camper or preppers who want an emergency stove for the home.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could pick the type of fuel you wanted to use? In an emergency situation, only one type of fuel might be available. You could also pick what fuel type to use depending on the cost, fuel efficiency, or weather.
Well, this Gas One stove can handle both propane and butane. You can even hook it up to a 20lb tank if you wanted. It comes with an adapter hose already included, saving you that extra purchase.
The second best thing I like about this stove is the size. It has one burner is 1/3 of the size as our #2 pick. You can fit this stove anywhere without taking up half the picnic table like other stoves do. This basically leaves you more room for other supplies you need to get to. Heck, it’s also great for tailgating or road trips. You can carry this stove in your backpack or even a motorcycle bag.
Even if you’ve never used a stove before, this stove is easy to figure out. It comes with a Piezo-electric ignition system. Basically you can light this burner with a press of a button. No more burning your fingers or finding that always misplaced lighter. Plus, in an emergency, you might not have any matches or lighters.
Another great feature is the non-slip rubber legs. If you’re using this on a plastic table, it won’t slip off and start a fire. Speaking of safety, it also has a built-in feature to automatically stop if irregular fuel flow is detected. This prevents any unexpected flare-ups that might happen and saves you fuel and money.
- A dual-fuel stove that is compatible with both butane and propane. Pick your fuel type based on cost savings, availability, or weather conditions.
- Perfect size to save more room in your already packed car and on the picnic table. It can easily fit inside your backpack, trunk, or even motorcycle bag.
- Uses a Piezo-electric ignition system to quickly and easily light the stove. Stop burning your fingers and trying to find that misplaced lighter.
- Non-slip legs prevent the stove from falling off and creating a fire hazard.
- Built-in safety features to regulate fuel flow to prevent flair-ups.
- Adjustable heat dials to narrow in on perfect temperature saving fuel and money.
- The Gas One doesn’t have a windscreen, but it does save space and means you can fit larger pans on top.
Who should buy one: Campers who are looking for lots of cooking space and power. Great for larger outings.
Have a small army to feed or are setting up a long-term camp? The Camp Chef Yukon gets the job done. Perfect for making sure the entire family gets fed fast after a long day of camping. You’ll be the loved grill master all weekend long.
The first thing you probably noticed about this stove was its size. The Camp Chef Yukon has 448 square inches of cooking space. This means enough space to cook three 12″ pizzas. And yes, you can even buy a pizza oven for it.
You can be sure you have lots of space to basically cook anything you want. Even tasty full-size bbq ribs will fit on this grill. Meats, corn, veggies, you name it. If you want to be able to cook more food and more variety, a camp stove this size is what you want.
It stands up, so if you’re used to cooking on the grill in the backyard, this will be quite similar. It doesn’t need a table so you can set it up in parking lots. It even has similar power. The two 30,000 BTU burners are about the same as a BBQ grill. If this seems a bit overkill, check out our #3 pick instead.
For efficiency, the Camp Chef Yukon can output a lot of power and save fuel at the same time. How does it do this? It uses a heat shield combines with heat reflectors. This means you get lots of heat with the fuel savings while needing to refill less often.
- Tons of space to cook anything you want to make sure your family is happy and fed.
- Lots of power with two cast-iron burners at 30,000 BTUs each. It’s basically a small grill at home.
- Windscreen and wind reflector to save fuel and money.
- Works with grill hood and oven accessories for even more cooking variety
- Requires more space and time to set up, but does provide a full cooking experience.
Who should buy one: Families looking to car camp for the weekend or small groups
Are you a camper who likes to hit the campsites for the weekend? Then this stove is probably just the right size for you.
The Camp Chef Everest stove features two burners that output 20,000 BTUs each, twice as much our #4 pick but not as portable. This is ideal for small groups where you can enjoy the morning coffee while cooking at the same time.
What I like about this stove is that it has high windscreens. This not only protects against the wind but also acts as a heat barrier. What does this mean for you? Better cooking and fuel savings.
Like other stoves, the Everest stove comes with an easy to light Piezo ignition system so you can make sure it lights up every single time, even when it wet and rainy.
The nickel-coated cooking grate can easily hold heavier pots and pans steadily in place and is wipe clean for convenience. There’s also a removable stainless steel drip tray that will catch any spills and splatters, allowing for a much easier clean-up.
Once you’re done cooking, the stove’s lid can simply be closed shut and locked in place using the built-in dual locks. This isn’t only a great safety feature but also helps to keep the stove safe and secure when it’s not in use. There’s also a carry handle for convenient transport.
- Features two burners each providing 20,000 BTUs of power
- The integrated windscreen helps to protect the flame, increasing cooking efficiency and reducing fuel consumption
- Built-in Piezo ignition system so you don’t need matches or lighters.
- An easy to clean nickel-coated cooking grate can support heavy pots, and the removable drip tray makes cleaning even easier
- Folds flat for storage and features dual-locks on the lids and a carry handle for easy and safe transportation
- The windscreen needs to be attached at all times to keep the lid upright when cooking
Who should buy one: Overnight backpacker or those who want to save extra space feeding a small group.
Going on an overnight or a canoe trip or just looking to save even more space? The Jetboil HalfGen Base Camp Stove is a hybrid stove for the weekend camper and the backpacker. It includes a pan that fits right on top so you have your cookware all together without losing anything.
Bu don’t let the small size fool you. This Jetboil stove produces 10,000 BTUs. Basically means you can boil a liter of water in 3 minutes for your dry meals or morning coffee. But if you are going car camping for the weekend and want more power cooking space, the Everest 2 stove would be better.
One of the features that make the Jetboil HalfGen Stove so efficient is the super useful fuel regulator. This allows you to fine-tune your fuel consumption, so you’ll only ever use as much as you need. It also makes meals taste better by not burning the bottom.
This tough little camping stove can also operate in temperatures as low as 20ºF, which makes it perfect for fall or winter trips. You won’t need to worry about lighting it in cold or windy conditions either thanks to the built-in Piezo ignition system. The included windscreen will help keep your flame lit at all times.
- Includes a frying pan, and the stove itself can either be used as a standalone stove or as an addition burner to other Jetlink stoves.
- A compact camping stove that includes a fuel regulator, allowing you to view your fuel consumption and remaining levels.
- Works in temperatures as low as 20ºF and includes a windscreen that keeps the flame protected in bad weather.
- The Piezo ignition system provides matchless lighting and can boil water in 3 minutes.
- Adjustable flame control levels give you total control over cooking power.
- Can be quite pricey considering other great models out there.
Camp Stove Efficiency Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to outdoor cooking, you want something that is dependable but also energy efficient.
But, even if you think you’ve found the perfect model, there are still some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to buying a camping stove.
We’ve outlined some important features to look for so you’ll be happy with your purchase.
The first, and arguably the most important thing you need to think about is what your preferred fuel type is. Camping stoves will usually either run on propane or butane gas. Both of these will cook your meals, but only one will work under certain conditions.
Propane tends to be the most popular choice. It can be stored for a longer amount of time than butane. This means that if you only go on a camping trip every once in a while, and have leftover propane gas, the chances of it still working will be much higher.
Butane has a shorter shelf life than propane and it doesn’t work well below freezing. If it’s colder than expexted outside and you pick the wrong fuel source, you just might be out of luck.
Some camping stoves use dual-fuel, which means you can pick which type of fuel you want to use. This is one reason why we’ve picked the Gas One stove as our top pick. These are a great option if you want some extra flexability.
Whichever gas you choose, you need to be able to light it to get a cooking flame from it. This is why you need to think about the type of ignition your camping stove uses as well.
The majority of camping stoves now include an electric ignition system, such as Piezo or Instastart™. These are the safest, and most reliable, options to go for since they don’t require any naked flames to light the gas. A quick couple of clicks and your flame is lit. Electric ignition is also a much better option in case the weather decides to turn, and you won’t have to struggle with matches in the rain.
However, if you like keeping things ‘old school’ and getting the traditional camping experience, then you might prefer to go for a camping stove that requires matches or a lighter to ignite the flame. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a good supply, and that the weather isn’t against you.
The gas is flowing and your flame is lit. Now you need to make sure that the cooking efficiency of your camping stove is up to standard.
Give some thought to the number of burners you need first. If you’re a solo camper or are heading out into the wilderness with just one companion, then one burner is all you will probably need.
However, if you’re going on a family camping trip and need to cook for a larger group of people, it would be best to look for a camping stove that has two burners. This will allow you to cater for more numbers, and cook a variety of recipes all at once.
The BTUs (British Thermal Units) of each burner is another important thing to look at. This will indicate how quickly your food will cook and how fuel-efficient each burner is. For a small, single-burner stove a BTU rating of between 7,500 and 10,000 would be best and will be able to boil a pan of water in under 5 minutes.
A larger, two-burner camping stove should have between 20,000 and 30,000 BTUs per burner. This will allow you to cook more efficiently and save fuel at the same time.
Camping stoves are designed to be used outdoors, and so it only makes sense that the material they are made of is able to stand up to whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at it.
Look for a camping stove that is made of a durable material such as stainless steel or aluminum. These aren’t only tough but are also lightweight. The extra weight might not matter when car camping, but will mater a lot more when hiking.
The material your cooking grate is made of is important too. It will need to be strong enough to keep your pots and pans held securely in place as you’re cooking. Cast-iron is among the strongest you can find and is also easy to wipe clean too. Stainless steel is another good option here for both sturdiness and easy maintenance.
Transport & Storage
Although you can cook a lot of food on a bigger camp stove, it doesn’t pack up as easily. Cars are already packed enough when you go camping. It helps a lot that you can save some extra space in your trunk with a smaller stove.
If you’re doing any type of hiking, bike packing, or want something to easily fit in your canoe or motorcycle, size is going to matter a lot. It doesn’t have to be the smallest size, but it certain helps when space is limited.
It’s always worth seeing what else you can get for your money when you’re looking at camping stoves as well Some models include fantastic extra features that help improve efficiency and cooking performance.
One of these is a fuel regulator. This clever device allows you to keep an eye on your fuel consumption, so you can reduce the flow of gas wherever necessary. It also dramatically reduces your chances of being left without any gas.
Windscreens are also a great extra feature and can improve efficiency by protecting the flame and reducing the amount of fuel being consumed.
Some camping stoves also includes cooking equipment as part of their packages, such as frying pans or pots. This means you won’t have to worry about purchasing these separately, saving you even more money in the long run.
Common Questions About Stove Efficiency
Which is better, propane or butane?
If you’re car camping, stick to propane. It’s more widely available and is cheaper. It also works better at higher altitudes and has a much lower freezing point compared to propane. However, if you want to save on weight, then butane might be a better choice if you’re hiking.
What is the most efficient camping stove?
An efficient camping stove needs to be able to give you a great cooking performance while making sure your fuel isn’t being drained. A camping stove with a windscreen or a fuel regulator can help with this. Check out our list of most efficient camping stoves above to learn more.
Fuel Saving Tips
- Keep the stove out of the wind when cooking. High winds will cause heat loss and make it harder to light the stove. I personally use the WindTamer Camp Stove Companion for this.
- Cover pots and pans when cooking. The trapped heat will help cook food and boil water faster.
- When boiling water, only boil as much as you need to. Having to boil more water requires more fuel.
- Buy pre-cooked meals. This way all you need to do is heat and serve, saving a lot of cooking time.
- When cooking macaroni, turn off the stove once the water reaches a boil. The macaroni will still cook in the hot water.
Most Efficient Camp Stove Summary
While stove-efficiency is an important factor, the more important factors are how you actually use a stove. This is why I believe when you’re looking for the most efficient camp stove, you should also be looking at things like fuel type, durability, and what fits your personal needs. These factors are going to play a much bigger role in your camping enjoyment.