Buyer’s guide to alcohol stoves

Table of contents

Buyer’s guide to alcohol stoves
Alcohol stoves are reliable and easy to use (Photo: Simon Michalowicz)

If you’re in the market for a simple-to-use stove, then an alcohol stove is the way to go. These stoves are affordable and barely require any maintenance.

They’re fuelled by denatured alcohol, which is ethanol that has bitter additives to make it toxic and undrinkable. In outdoor use, the stoves have a special type of burner, which was once developed by the Swedish company Trangia.


Kaufberatung Spirituskocher Funktionsweise
How do alcohol stoves work?


Alcohol stoves have a round, double-walled design with small jets at the top of the outer cylinder. The alcohol needs to be poured in the middle, and thanks to an opening at the bottom, the alcohol will flow into the outer cylinder. Then, it’s time to light the stove. After a short warm-up phase, the alcohol will begin to evaporate into the outer cylinder and flow out through the jets. Thanks to this simple principle, the combustion is more efficient than if you were using a fondue base, for example.

Pros and cons

The greatest advantage of alcohol stoves is their simple construction. They don’t have any moving or mechanical parts that could break, and they don’t have any pumps or hoses that can cause a leak. The fuel is not compressed or pressurized, so the risk of flashover or deflagration is extremely low. In addition, the stove is very quiet, so you can enjoy the sounds of nature whilst warming up some water. You can even use it at low temperatures by pre-heating it first.

Plus, handling the alcohol is simple and relatively harmless. Which bring us to one of alcohol stoves’ disadvantage: alcohol’s calorific value is not as high as that of petrol, for example. As a result, it takes longer to bring water to a boil and can almost take twice as long as using a powerful gas stove.

It can take even longer to boil when trying to melt snow in your water, which can become annoying if you value power and performance. Whether or not this is a make-or-break factor is up to you.

Trangia - 25-7 Spiritussturmkocher Ultralight Hardanodized
Trangia – 25-7 ultralight hard anodized storm cooker

Product details

The Trangia Storm Cooker is a classic, top-selling stove that’s been manufactured since 1925 and is still incredibly popular. It comes with a stable windshield that you can place around the stove, which almost completely encloses the pot. As a result, the heat from the stove will not only heat the bottom of the pot, but also its sides. The base that holds the stove has ventilation holes on the side to increase the oxygen supply to the stove, creating a complete and efficient system. Plus, due to the raised windshield, the stove will be protected against crosswinds to ensure an optimal use of energy. In addition, all parts, the pots and the stove can be packed into one another for easy transport.

Thanks to its very simple and durable design, you can enjoy the Trangia for years to come. Not only is it unlikely for its parts to break, but even if there’s a dent or a scratch in the windshield, it won’t affect its functioning.

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Alpinetrek-Expert Simon

Alpinetrek-Expert Simon

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