Outdoor Federation

Butane vs Propane Stove – Which is Better for Camping?

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If you want to cook up some delicious meals on your next camping trip it’s important to choose the right fuel for the task. You may want to consider getting to know your other option when choosing a camp stove. Knowing how a butane stove differs from a propane one might come in handy if you plan to go camping or backpacking again soon.

butane vs propane stove

To help you out we’ve put this comparison together of the most popular camping fuel types.

Popular Types of Camping Stove Fuels

Butane is a gas that can be used as an alternative to liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel.

It has many advantages over these traditional fuels, including being more efficient at producing heat than either type of oil.

Propane is very popular with campers because it produces less smoke than both natural gas and charcoal stoves. Propane burns cleaner than any other kind of fuel, so it doesn’t produce much carbon dioxide.

Isobutane is a colorless flammable hydrocarbon compound that’s similar to regular butane. It also works well as a cooking fuel. Isobutane is often mixed with oxygenated solvents such as methanol to make it burn even better.

The main difference between iso-propyl bromide and normal propane is that the former contains iodine which makes it safer to use around foodstuffs.

White Gas is also known as “Coleman Fuel” due to its popularity among Coleman lantern users. White gas consists mostly of hydrogen and helium. The H2/He ratio varies depending upon the manufacturer. Some white gases are heavier than air and will sink below ground level while others float above the surface.

What is Butane Stove?

Butane stove is a portable device that can be used for outdoor activities. They’re usually made of aluminum alloy. They work by burning butane fuel stored under pressure inside tanks called canister. When released through a valve, it expands rapidly into a cloud of hot vapor. This vapor then passes through holes in the burner head where it mixes with atmospheric air and ignites.

Fun Outdoor Quiz

Coleman Portable Butane Stove with Carrying Case

Are Butane Stoves Safe?

Yes! Most Butane stoves have been tested extensively and found safe for cooking. However, they should not be left unattended or easily reach by children. They should be use when there is proper ventilation when camping in the wild.

Are Butane Stoves Banned in US?

No. There are no laws against using them in the United States. In fact, they were invented in US and are widely used by camping lovers across USA.

However as reported by Expedition Australia, the stove banned in Australia due to safety concerns, including overheating.

What is Propane Stove?

Propane stove is a stove that use liquefied petroleum gas instead of solid fuel. LPG is lighter than air and floats high in the atmosphere. A small amount of water added to the tank lowers the boiling point of the mixture making it easier to ignite. Once ignited, the flame remains steady until all the fuel is consumed.

Coleman Fold N Go 2-Burner Propane Camping Stove, Portable Folding Camp Stove with Push-Button Instant Ignition, 2 Adjustable Burners with Pressure Control and 20,000 BTUs of Power

Benefits of Cooking with a Propane Stove

Cleaner Burning – Unlike wood fires, propane flames do not emit harmful fumes.

More Efficient Heat Output – Because propane burns cleanly, it generates far more energy per unit volume than wood does.

Easy To Use – Simply light the stove using matches or a lighter, add your fuel, turn on the ignition source, wait 10 seconds, and enjoy piping hot meals without having to worry about starting a fire.

No Firewood Needed – You don’t need to carry large amounts of dry wood along with you if you plan to cook outdoors. All you’ll need is some LP gas and a few pieces of metal cutlery.

Portable & Lightweight – With no bulky gears required, propane stoves are easy to transport from one place to another. And since they weigh only 5 pounds each, you won’t feel like carrying them around.

Long Lasting Life – Since propane has an extremely long shelf life, you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel before finishing your meal.

Low Cost – Compared to traditional methods of heating up food, propane stoves cost significantly less.

Butane Vs. Propane Stove

So after knowing all the information regarding both stoves, let compare the cost and its usages for outside activities.

Cost of Butane Stove

A typical butane camp stove costs $15 to $70 depending upon the brand and model. The price may vary according to the size of the stove. It’s also important to note that most models come with two burners which means twice the heat output compared to single burner ones.

Price Of Propane Stove

The average price of a propane camp stove ranges between $15 to $125. Again, this depends on the type of stove you choose. If you want a portable camping stove then go for smaller sized units while larger versions will require bigger budgets.

Uses For Both Types of Stoves

Both types of stoves can be used for outdoor purposes such as grilling meat, baking breads, roasting vegetables etc. However if you going for camping trip in cold weather, choose propane as it burn better in cold temperatures than butane

Heat Output

Contrary to the notion that propane burns hotter than butane. Propane delivers the same amount of BTUs as butane. Neither fuel is hotter, as they both deliver the same amount of BTUs (British thermal units). So, they do not burn hotter if compared side by side.

Safety Concerns For Both Types of Stoves

Although there aren’t any major health risks associated with either type of stove, we recommend following these basic guidelines:

  • Never leave a burning stove unattended. Always make sure that children and pets stay away from the area where the stove is being operated.
  • Keep flammables at least 3 feet away from the stove. Never store combustible materials near the stove.
  • Use proper ventilation when cooking indoors. Make sure that windows and doors remain open during cooking sessions.
  • Always keep the fuel canisters safely stored away.
  • If you’re planning to operate a stove outdoors, always wear protective gear including gloves.


There are many benefits of choosing a propane camp stove over butane stove. However, it should be noted that propane isn’t suitable for every situation. So, before buying one, consider carefully what kind of activity you intend to perform with it and your personal preference. Hope our article will help you in deciding which stove to buy.

Related Questions

What About Hybrid Fuels?

Hybrid fuels can also be used in camping. However, they should be used only for cooking purposes. They are not suitable for heating water or generating electricity. Hybrid fuel is cheaper than propane, but it is still expensive compared to gasoline.

Are Butane And Propane Poisonous?

No! Neither gas nor liquid petroleum products contain poisonous substances. In fact, they are considered safe by the US government.

Can I Use Propane in a Butane Stove?

Yes, you can use them interchangeably. You just need to ensure that the flame temperature remains below 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This way, no damage would occur to the stove.

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