Understanding the Pros and Cons of a Kerosene Pressure Stove and Other Liquid Fuel Stoves

There are no real differences between the kerosene pressure stove, single-fuel stove and the multi-fuel stove except the fuel and the fuel orifice that is used to deliver the fuel to the burner. The designs maybe different, but we are still talking about a liquid fuel stove.

Most of the time, the fuel tank needs to be under pressure. So there is the initial pumping of the tank and then several times during cooking.

Details to look for in a Kerosene Pressure Stove and other Liquid Fuel Stoves:

1. The style or design varies between the kerosene pressure stove and the single or multi-fuel stove.

2. The style and design also varies within each of the three categories.

  1. There are two basic designs for #1 and #2:
    1. Burner and fuel tank are attached
    2. Burner and fuel tank are separate and connected by a hose.

3. Reparability: Can the stove be easily repaired in the field?

  1. Any tools required?
  2. Any spare parts required?
    1. How easy is it to get spare parts before going on a trip?
    2. Are spare parts affordable?

4. How easy is the fuel tank to pressure up?

  1. Are the parts made of good quality or cheap plastic? Don’t forget that plastic is not always bad. It is light and can be very durable.
  2. Do your fingers fit the pump or get pinched or pushed out of the way?
  3. Does it take a long time to pressure up? This varies according to the amount of fuel in the tank.

5. How easy is it to refill the fuel tank?

For stoves that have the fuel tank and burner connected, you have to carry a spare fuel bottle to pour into the tank. This can cause fuel spillage; both on you and the ground.

For stoves that have separate burners and fuel tanks, the spare fuel bottle becomes the new fuel tank. All you do is remove the tops and swap out the bottles.

  1. This means that there is no pouring of fuel.
  2. No spillage of fuel
  3. Much neater and less handling of fuel.

6. A real pet peeve of mine is a short fuel adjustment knob. On some stoves you nearly burn your fingers off when adjusting the fuel supply. Look at this feature and make sure that you can adjust the fuel supply without sacrificing any digits.

  1. Check out the base of the stove:
    1. It should be broad with extendable 3 or 4 point feet.
    2. The base should be stable and easily adjustable to get the stove level. This is usually done with a rock or piece of wood. Some stoves may have adjustable legs.

7. Look at the cooking surface:

  1. How large of a pot will it hold and still be stable?
  2. This also goes for the weight of the pot when full.

8. Don’t forget the carrying case.

  1. It should be light weight, hold everything including spare parts and flexible. It packs better with a flexible case.

9. Finally, does it come with a wind break/heat reflector?

  1. It doesn’t really matter if it does or not, but you will still need one.

Kerosene Pressure Stove


  1. Will not explode, flammable, and therefore safer than other liquid fuels, inflammable.
  2. Available throughout the world and inexpensive
  3. High heat to weight ratio
  4. Best stove to use in extreme cold weather
  5. Will not explode (flammable)


  1. Can be very messy
  2. Can make smoke if not adjusted correctly
  3. Smell
  4. Does not simmer well unless you elevate the pot above the stove
  5. Maintenance can be a concern
  6. Fuel storage

Single and Multi-Fuel Stove


Uses different types of fuel:

* Naptha type fuels – Coleman Fuel, MSR fuel, White Gas, Shellite, Fuelite, Zippo Fuel, Ronsonol Fuel, Heptane, Blazo, Cigarette Lighter Fluid and some Charcoal Lighter Fluid

* Unleaded gas – HIGHLY NOT recommended; Emits Very Toxic Fumes

* White gas – This is gasoline in its purest form, no additives at all

1. Easier to find the fuel you need.

2. High heat to weight ratio.

3. Best stove to use in extreme cold weather.


Multi-Fuel Stoves are more expensive that the Single-Fuel models

  1. Less messy and evaporates much quicker than kerosene or diesel
  2. Can make smoke if not adjusted correctly
  3. Does not simmer well unless you elevate the pot above the stove
  4. Maintenance can be a concern
  5. Fuel storage
  6. Will explode (inflammable), except for kerosene and diesel

Kerosene and Diesel can also be used in Multi-Fuel Stoves. The same pros and cons still apply.