Updated April 2017
This spring there are some exciting new stove options. We added a new award winner for Best on a Tight Budget and the mega-classic Pocket Rocket gets a significant update. We also added in a new table to help compare stoves more easily.
Best Overall Backpacking Stove
Better cozy and lid design than Jetboil
Cozy disconnects from pot
No Piezo ignition
For years the JetBoil dominated the integrated canister stove market. No longer. The MSR Windburner
is the new king. MSR saw the need to take the success of the Reactor and apply it to the "JetBoil class of stoves." They executed perfectly. The pot-coupling system that is an improvement over the Reactor and has a far superior pot cozy and handle design than the Jetboil. True to its name, the Windburner also kicks its competition's butt in windy conditions. We like the sturdy cup and lid that are compatible, and that the lid stays on the pot well when pouring. Important to note, it is the heaviest of all the integrated canister stoves at 14.8oz. Although we like the Windburner, it is still only meant for boiling water quickly and efficiently, and does this task well. We think the Windburner is better than anything on the market and deserves our Editors' Choice Award!
Read full review: MSR Windburner
Best On a Tight Budget
Good simmer control
Not the fastest boil time
A little heavy for its class
Not stable for big pots
At a street price of $11-12, it's hard to believe this stove could be anything but a cheap knockoff. After all, the competition is four times for expensive! But somehow, this little stove delivers solid performance and even comes with a Piezo igniter, something much of its competition lacks. If you're on a tight budget, you can't beat this stove.
Read full review: Etekcity Ultralight
Best Value in Liquid Fuel Stoves
Easy to repair
The MSR Whisperlite
is the original gangster of the liquid fuel stove world. This tried and true workhorse of a stove is near and dear to many adventurer's hearts. This same model has been on the market for over 25 years with few modifications because it works so well. We love that it is simple, reliable, and easy to repair in the field. At $89.95 it is a great value and receives our Best Buy Award. We take the Whisperlite with us on any multi-day adventure with a group and feel confident that it will work for us in the toughest conditions. Unlike the Dragonfly, it does not have any temperature control, so cooking delicate meals is more difficult, but still do-able. It is also much quieter than the Dragonfly, hence its name — so conversations in the kitchen are possible.
Read full review: MSR Whisperlite
Best Value in Integrated Canister Stoves
Fast boil time
Small pot size
If you want a quick, efficient integrated canister stove to bring along on all of your adventures but that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, the Jetboil Flash
is it. At $100 the Flash wins our Best Buy Award and is one of the cheapest integrated canister stoves you can buy. It is $30 cheaper than the Windburner and the MiniMo but still a quality product. We think that the Flash gets the job done well and have cooked many a cup of Ramen on this trusty stove. The Flash does not perform well in extreme weather like high winds and cold temperatures, but if you are a fair weather camper, or cook in your vestibule out of the elements, this little unit is all you need. We love its push button igniter and the color-changing heat indicator that tells you when your water is ready before the whole thing boils over. For those who are looking to save weight, the Jetboil Flash is also available in the lighter Flash Lite
Read full review: Jetboil Flash
Top Pick for Group Cooking
Great simmer control
Stable base for large pots
The MSR Dragonfly
is a liquid fuel backpacking stove that is at the top of its game. It wins the Top Pick Award because it has the most stable base for larger pots, and has great temperature control for simmering those trickier meals you may attempt in the backcountry. It is one of the only liquid fuel stoves we tested that has the capability to control the intensity of the flame. We bring this stove along when we have larger groups of people with us and are out for multiple days in the backcountry. The Dragonfly is easy to set-up and can be taken apart to troubleshoot any difficulties that may arise in the field. Our only problem with the Dragonfly is that it's what we call a "conversation killer" and is quite loud, so don't expect to be having deep, meaningful conversations while cooking.
Read full review: MSR Dragonfly
Top Pick for Lightweight
Peizo ignition included
Not wind resistant
Less fuel efficient than an integrated canister stove
Most backpackers pay a great deal of attention to how much every item in their pack weighs. For those who want the most inconsequential option, the MSR Micro Rocket
is the lightest and smallest backpacking stove we tested. It can fit in the palm of your hand and boils water in a flash (when it's not windy). Weighing in at 2.5 ounces, we think this stove will appeal to ultralight backpackers and the gram counters among us. We like the foldable compact package as well as the Piezo lighter that is included with this stove. The Micro Rocket is also a great option to have as a backup stove in your kit. Small canister stoves are inherently not very stable or wind resistant, which are both problems for the Micro Rocket, but its size and weight can not be beat. With careful attention you can still balance a full-size pot on this stove successfully, allowing it to be more versatile than an integrated canister stove.
Read full review: MSR Micro Rocket