Best Butane Camping Stoves – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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Whether you are an experienced camper or someone new to camping and planning your first camping trip, one piece of equipment you will need is your camping stove.  

There are different types of stoves with an assortment of features and a broad array of sizes and weights. Whether you plan to hike to your campsite or drive, there is another factor to consider when choosing the right camping stove.

Of course, different fuels can be used with camping stoves, including butane, propane, or natural, such as wood-burning stoves, so that decision needs to be made.

For those considering a butane stove for camping, we'll cover the following:

  • Best Butane Camping Stove Reviews
  • How to Use a Butane Camping Stove
  • Safety Advice for Butane Camping Stoves
  • Frequently Asked Questions 

Best Butane Camping Stove Reviews

1. Coleman Portable Butane Stove

For our first review, we will look at a butane camping stove from Coleman, one of the most respected brands regarding camping and other outdoor activity equipment.

The Coleman Portable Butane Stove is one of their bestselling camping stoves, and one their most well-regarded based on their high ratings.

Coleman Portable Butane Stove with Carrying CaseLearn More on Amazon

Pros

  • Electronic ignition
  • Sturdy grate with niche and notches
  • Lightweight, portable, and easy to use
  • Comes with carrying case

Cons

  • No wind shielding
  • The grate is not removable
  • Medium and full flame only – no simmer

Review

When you first receive delivery of the Coleman Portable Butane Stove, you might think you have been sent a drill set as the carry case it comes in looks like the type used to carry tools. It has a handle and side latches to lock it in. Although it is made of plastic, it will protect the stove when it is not in use.

The carry case provides the means for you to carry the stove, and given that it weighs just over four lbs., it shouldn't prove to be too difficult a load for most people to carry.

The stove has a single aluminum burner, which can output up to 7,650 BTUs, which should be sufficient for all your cooking needs. On one canister of butane gas should give you up to 75 minutes of cooking time. Incidentally, the stove does not come with any butane gas cylinders, so these will have to be purchased separately.

The porcelain-coated grate is robust. It has a notch at each end of the grate to keep the pot from sliding off, and it has notches to help keep the cookware in place.

The stove will accommodate pans up to 10 inches in diameter, which is more than enough to have a full meal frying or if you are using pots to make soup, stews, or curries.

Starting the stove is made much easier thanks to the automatic ignition activated using the controller. There is also a lever that allows you to lock and unlock the fuel flow. The heat controller will enable you to regulate the heat levels under the pot so that your cooking times are as close to perfect as can be.

When you are cleaning the stove after use, most marks should wipe off using a damp cloth, thanks to the grate’s coating and the stove’s surface.

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2. Gas ONE GS-1000 7,650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove

This is another butane stove for camping, which comes from a well-known camping stove manufacturer, and that brand is Gas One. Their GS-1000 butane camping stove is a top seller, and it also has more safety features than many of the other camping stoves that are on sale. What are those?

Gas ONE GS-1000 7,650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove Automatic Ignition with Carrying Case, CSA Listed (Stove)Learn More on Amazon

Pros

  • Gas pressure safety feature
  • Electronic ignition
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Pot grate has wind shielding
  • Carrying case included

Cons

  • Compartment door has a raised edge and doesn’t hook in anywhere; it just sits on the unit
  • Not the fastest at boiling water
  • Surface not easy to clean

Review

Let's start with the safety features of the Gas ONE GS-1000 7,650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove. The first is an automatic shut-off that activates and ejects the gas canister from the stove to detect excessive or irregular gas pressure.

There is also a sliding lever on the front of the stove used to lock and unlock the fuel flow manually. The canister won’t lock until the dial is in the OFF position.  When not in use, this should be set to the 'Fuel Lock' position.

With the burner alight, it can produce up to 7,650 BTUs of heat output.   

After you unlock the fuel flow, light the flame. With this stove, you can forget having to use matches, as this has automatic electronic ignition. Turn the control dial to maximum, and the ignitor will spark, thus lighting the burner. Then turn the dial to adjust the flame height. We were pleasantly surprised that the flame could be changed to a low setting.

The pot grate has your standard four arms, which keep pots and pans sitting steady while you cook.  The drip pan is enamel-coated steel.

Since the overall size of this butane camping stove is 13.5” x 11.2” x 4.4”, it will not take up much space either while you are traveling to your campsite or when you place it in position for use.

Note that when you do position the stove, the legs each have nonslip rubber on the end of them. They should help ensure the stove stays in place and not move across the surface.

The stove comes with a user’s manual and a hard plastic carrying case, making it even more convenient to transport. Weighing just 3.1 lbs. (per Gas One website) also means it is lightweight enough for anyone to carry.

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3. Iwatani Corporation of America ZA-3HP Portable Butane Stove

This next butane camping stove comes from Iwatani Corporation of America, whom we will call Iwatani. Iwatani has a long and stellar history of making products relating to gas and fuel, including camping stoves. They were involved in providing the device that lit the stadium torch at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games.

Iwatani Corporation of America Iwatani of America ZA-3HP Portable Butane Stove Burner, one size, MetallicLearn More on Amazon

Pros

  • Piezo automatic ignition
  • Simmer setting
  • Easy to control the heat setting
  • Up to 12,000 BTUs heat output
  • Automatic safety shut-off
  • Heat system maximizes fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Top heat output only with Iwatani gas canisters
  • The canister compartment lid doesn’t fit properly

Review

One of the features that will appeal most to campers is that the output from the Iwatani ZA-3HP Portable Butane Stove Burner is a whopping 12,000 BTUs. That is higher than most of the other butane stoves we have been reviewing, and it means much quicker cooking times.

The Iwatani website (FAQ section) states:  “All Iwatani butane products must be used with Iwatani brand fuel to ensure both maximum performance and consumer safety.” Iwatani claims one can of their brand of fuel at maximum heat will last approximately 55 minutes.

The piezo ignition system will also help speed things up is, which means no matches blowing out in the wind. This reduces the frustration levels that many campers have experienced trying to light their camping stove.

Once the burner flame is lit, you can control it using the temperature control dial. Unlike many other butane portable stoves, there is a very useful marking to let you know when set to the 'Simmer' setting. This alleviates the need to guess or experiment to establish where that heat level is.

An innovative aspect of this stove is the heat panel system. The heat of the burner is transferred to the fuel canister to increase the vaporization inside the canister.  The theory is this maximizes the energy output.

One of this unit’s safety features is that the gas supply is automatically shut-off (gas canister is disconnected) if the temperature of the main body becomes too high. Another is that the canister cannot be connected unless the control knob is in the OFF position.

The ZA-3HP can be used in commercial restaurants, both indoors and outdoors.  However, it is not be used indoors in tents, campers, apartments, or other confined areas.

The stove requires a flat surface, but once it is in place, this stove should remain so, thanks to four legs underneath and the fact that they are designed to be nonslip. Pots should have a diameter less than 9.5” and should not extend over the fuel canister cover.

The burner cap is stainless steel, and the pan supports are sturdy.

All the stove surfaces should be easy to wipe clean if any spillage or drips were created when you were cooking. The drip pan can be removed by lifting the drip pan and grate.

Once you are finished, and the stove is no longer needed, it can be stored in its case, which also allows you to carry it easily anywhere you plan to use it. This butane camping stove weighs  4.9 pounds, and its dimensions are 14” (W) x 11”(L) x 4.2”(H).

Note: Although Iwatani is a Japanese conglomerate, some of its products, including the ZA-3HP Portable Butane Stove, are made in China.

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4. Gas ONE New 10,000 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove

Our fourth and final butane stove for camping is another from Gas One. The Gas One New 10,000 BTU Portable Butane Stove is popular and well-rated due in part to the increased heat output that this stove offers, and that it is straightforward to start, use, and clean.

GAS ONE NEW 10,000 BTU CSA List Portable Butane Gas Stove with Carrying Case CSA ListedLearn More on Amazon

Pros

  • 10,000 BTUs heat output
  • Lightweight (3.3 pounds)
  • Multiple safety features
  • Easy to set up and clean
  • Comes with carrying case

Cons

  • Low heat still has high flame
  • Drip tray not removable

Review

We’ll first talk about higher heat output. Whereas many similarly sized and priced butane camping stoves can only muster 7,000-8,000 BTUs, which is still very respectable, the GAS ONE NEW 10,000 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove can deliver up to 10,000 BTUs.

In cooking terms, that means you have up to 30% more heat. The range of food you can cook is enhanced, and the time it is going to take you to cook anything is significantly reduced. One feature which helps to maximize fuel efficiency is the thermally conductive plate.

While the heat output might be greater, what doesn't increase is the degree of difficulty of using this stove as it is one of the easiest.

After positioning the fuel canister, unlock the fuel flow, turn the control dial to the 'Ignite' position, and you will instantly see the burner ignite. Note that this stove has piezo electronic ignition so you can keep your matches or lighter for when you want to light the campfire.

As you would expect, safety features are built into this stove, with the main ones being the automatic fuel shut off if irregular gas pressure is detected. This extends to the butane gas canister being ejected too.

When cooking, your pot or your pan sits on the cooking grate, which is textured and has raised ends to prevent pots from slipping off. The dimensions of this stove are:12.8” x 10.9” x 3.6". Once you start to cook, you can increase or decrease the heat level by turning the heat control dial on the stove’s front.

Should any spillage occur while you are cooking, or anything boils over slightly, do not worry about the stove marking. Once you have finished cooking and the stove’s surface has cooled, stains from the drip tray can be removed by wiping them away with a damp cloth. The drip pan has an enamel coated drip pan.

For convenience in storing the stove; and easily moving it to the spot where you plan to camp, it comes with a carrying case. 

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How to Use a Butane Camping Stove

Here is our quick and easy guide to using a butane camping stove. We will assume you have removed all the items from their original packaging.

1. Before Using Your Stove

It would help if you inspected the stove and the butane canister for any signs of damage. For the canister, you want to check for dents or holes.

Likewise, with the stove, look for physical damage signs and check to make sure any controls are moving correctly and are not jammed due to dried in food.

Finally, ensure you have placed the stove on a flat, stable surface before moving on.

2. Insert the Gas Canister

With the fuel lever in the 'Lock' position and the heat controller at 'Off,' you can now insert the butane gas canister into its compartment. Remove the canister's lid, lift the lever and slot the canister into place. Place the nozzle in the opening, line up the notch with the tab, and put the tab over the canister. Close the canister compartment.  

On some models (Coleman, Gas One GS-1000), there is a lever or other mechanism that you move or activate to release the gas into the system and keeps the canister locked in place. If you want to see how this works, open the compartment, press down on the lever, and you will see the canister moved toward the front.

Inserting the butane canister in the Iwatani Z-3HP stove is different from the Coleman and Gas One models. Remove the lid on the canister and place the canister in the fuel compartment. Line up the notch with the tab and move the lever (next to the temperature control knob) to pull the canister into the stove.

3. Turn on Your Stove

Turn the heat controller until you hear a click, which indicates the ignition is sparking.  After the burner flame is lit, turn the controller, so the flame is at the desired level.

4. During Cooking

Always be alert to food boiling over, or winds that may blow the flame out. Heat levels can be adjusted up or down using the controller.

5. After Cooking

When your food is ready, and you are about to serve, always turn off the flame, and move the lever (the one that was activated to keep the canister in place) to the unlocked position. If you hear a hissing sound, the can could be damaged, so you’ll want to dispose of it.  

Allow the stove to cool before cleaning your stove, usually using a damp cloth. It’s best to take the canister out of the stove when you are finished cooking.

Safety Advice for Butane Camping Stoves

Here are some safety guidelines and precautions about using a butane camping stove. Some might seem extremely obvious, but you would be amazed at how many times accidents happen because the most basic safety advice was not taken or followed.

  • Never, ever use a butane camping stove indoors or in an enclosed area. There is a severe risk of carbon monoxide building up poisoning if a stove is used indoors. In extreme cases, this can lead to fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety advice for the specific stove you are using. While many butane camping stoves look and operate in similar ways, there can be differences regarding each one’s safe operation.
  • Before each use, check the stove thoroughly for any signs of damage, wear, and tear. If you see something damaged, do not use the stove, and instead either send it for repair or replace it.
  • Check for leaks using soapy water, which will highlight them when bubbles start to be created by leaking gas.
  • Ensure the surface on which you place the stove is flat and stable, and not likely to be knocked over easily by a strong gust of wind, for example.
  • Always check each gas canister for damage before using it, even if it is brand new. New canisters can be damaged in transit or even while they were still in the store.
  • Never leave the stove unattended while it is being used to cook food.
  • Keep all children and pets away from the stove when it is used. It is good practice to keep other adults away, too, as they can distract you from what is happening on the stove.
  • Do not use the stove in the vicinity of dry and combustible materials such as paper or dried leaves.
  • Never attempt to make modifications or adjustments to your stove. Not only will this invalidate the warranty, but it is also dangerous!
  • Always allow the stove to cool before attempting to clean it or store it away. You can receive a severe skin burn if you touch any part of the stove’s cooking area while it is still hot.
  • Clean your stove after every use to maintain it and ensure no food particles compromise its safe use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions asked regarding  butane camping stoves

Will Butane Stoves Work When the Temperature Drops to Below Freezing?

No. This post provides a good explanation.

How Long Should an 8 oz. Butane Canister Last?

This will vary depending on what stove you use, its maximum heat output, what heat levels you are cooking at, and how many times you use your stove. As a general rule of thumb, most 8-ounce butane canisters should give you a minimum of 1 hour of cooking time at high heat. It’s a good idea to mark the cap on the canister, so you’ll know which one still contains butane.

How Can I Make My Butane Gas Canister Last Longer?

One way is to have your stove burners operating at less than maximum output unless you need them to. You can also look at cooking several items at once in the same cooking pot where possible, rather than individually.

How Safe are Butane Camping Stoves?

If you follow the manufacturer instructions to the letter and the other safety advice we have provided, there is no reason why you should not have many hours of safe cooking with your butane camping stove. When working with inflammable gas, some precautions need to be taken.

The butane stoves we have reviewed, and almost all those from reputable manufacturers, have built-in safety features such as automatic fuel cut-off if specific issues arise with the stove’s operation.

In What Ways is Butane Better Than Propane?

While both propane and butane have their pros and cons, one of the main reasons butane is preferred over propane by some campers is that it is lightweight. This means the gas canisters are easier to carry. Butane also tends to have a higher energy output by volume than propane.

We should note that butane is not suitable for use at high altitudes or at very low temperatures. Hence, propane is more appropriate fuel to use in those circumstances, assuming you have a propane camping stove.

Conclusion

We hope that our reviews, buying guide, and FAQs have helped you move further along in your journey towards deciding which butane stove for camping you will buy. Whichever one you ultimately decide upon, we are sure it will help you cook lots of delicious and nutritious meals each time you go camping.