Travel stove top

A travel stove top can be the saving grace in a myriad of situations- when you’re shifting to a new house and your kitchen isn’t ready yet, you have little or no kitchen space to set up a full stovetop, you’re living in a dorm or are constantly travelling. What are the portable induction cooktop and what are the best travel trailer covers? They are lightweight, easy to set up, and easy to operate. Most have great temperature and timing controls, thus helping you ensure you have a steady temperature and a lower cooking time. Even if you have a full working stovetop in your kitchen, it is always helpful to have an extra stove handy- when you are entertaining a large number of guests and you need to get things cooked quickly!

Travel stove top

Best Overall Camping Stove

1. Camp Chef Everest 2X ($130)

Camp Chef Everest 2X camping stove

Category: Tabletop
Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 20,000 BTUs
Weight: 12 lbs.
What we like: Quality build and solid all-around performance.
What we don’t: A bit pricey for occasional use.

Our top choice, the Camp Chef Everest 2X, is not the most powerful camping stove nor is it the most compact. But it offers a ton of cooking power, convenience, and superior reliability to make it a standout in the market. You get two large burners that pump out plenty of heat (20,000 BTUs each) but also have excellent simmer control for cooking diverse meals. And with their latest update (to the “2X” model), Camp Chef gave the design a nice upgrade with locking metal latches at each side and easy-to-use temperature controls. Combined with a reasonable 12-pound weight and integrated handle, and the Everest is hard to beat.

The biggest knock against the Camp Chef Everest 2X is its $130 price tag. We think it justifies the cost given the quality of the materials and cooking performance, but there are plenty of smaller, less powerful, and far cheaper alternatives that can do the trick for occasional campers. In addition, the new model is a little larger than the prior generation, although it’s still reasonably compact and easy to haul around. Overall, unless you need a large freestanding design or a third burner for cooking for a large group, we think the Everest is the best all-around option for 2020.
See the Camp Chef Everest 2X

Best Budget Camping Stove

2. Coleman Classic Propane ($43)

Coleman Classic Propane camping stove

Category: Tabletop
​Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 10,000 BTUs
Weight: 12 lbs.
What we like: Cheap and gets the job done.
What we don’t: Cheaply made, limited flame control.

For years, campers have turned to Coleman stoves for simple, reliable performance. Toward the bottom of their camping stove lineup is the Classic Propane, which is consistently on sale for under $50. In hand, it’s clear the Classic is the cheaper option compared to the more expensive Coleman Triton below. Neither are really solid or durable—and at this price point they really can’t be—but the Triton is the better investment for the camper that gets out more than a couple of times a year.

Cooking performance reflects the initial impressions: the Classic has slightly less power than the Triton, but lacks in flame performance across the range, despite the PerfectFlow designation. But look at these results with some perspective. At $43 at the time of publishing, it’s still plenty of stove for the casual outdoors person that needs to cook for a few people. It may not have the deft controls of a high-end unit but remains plenty capable of boiling water, cooking up steaks, or grilling veggies.
See the Coleman Classic Propane

Best Freestanding Stove for Large Groups

3. Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner ($118)

Camp Chef Explorer camp stove

Category: Freestanding
​Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 30,000 BTUs
Weight: 36 lbs.
What we like: Great value for the output.
What we don’t: Pretty barebones on features and bulky.

In terms of burner performance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more quality output for your dollar than the Camp Chef Explorer. 60,000 total BTUs from the two burners are a great pairing for large-group camp cookouts or even emergency use at home. The stove sets up quickly, and its sturdy legs are individually adjustable to adapt to uneven ground. In keeping the price down, however, the Explorer is pretty low on features: there is no push-button ignition and the burners are less protected than premium offerings.

The upside of the simplistic design is the Explorer is ripe for the various accessories from Camp Chef, including a barbeque box, griddle, or pizza oven. Large dials are easy to use and function in the same way as your cooktop at home, but unfortunately it’s not a whole lot lighter than that home stove: the powder-coated assembly hits the scales at 36 pounds. Leaving behind the legs will trim some of that weight, but the Explorer remains overkill for less serious campers. Bigger groups should also check out Camp Chef’s Tahoe below, which has an additional burner but is over double the price and even heavier than the Explorer.
See the Camp Chef Explorer

Best Hybrid Camping and Backpacking Stove

4. MSR WindBurner Stove Combo System ($260)

MSR WindBurner Stove Combo

Category: Tabletop
Fuel: Canister
Burners: 1
Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz.
What we like: Versatile backpacking and camping option.
What we don’t: Output and performance fall short of propane two-burners.

We’ve used MSR stoves all over the world for backpacking, but most of their light and compact designs have limited appeal for car camping. Enter the WindBurner Stove Combo System. This complete set-up includes one of MSR’s highest-performing canister stoves, the WindBurner, along with a 2.5-liter pot and 8-inch skillet for groups. As with the backpacking model, the accessories connect directly to the stove for efficient cooking and consistent heat even in windy conditions.

To be clear, the WindBurner Stove Combo cannot come close to the output or overall cooking abilities of the traditional camping stoves above. The system only has one small burner, you can only use WindBurner-specific pots and pans, and total output and burn time falls well short of a propane-powered unit. What the WindBurner does succeed at is bridging the backpacking and car camping worlds—you can bring the compact 1-liter pot (sold separately) for keeping it light in the backcountry, and then break out the pots and pans for camping.
See the MSR WindBurner Stove Combo System

Best of the Rest

5. Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner ($110)

Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner

Category: Tabletop
​Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 25,000 BTUs; 1 @ 10,000 BTUs
Weight: 16 lbs.
What we like: Powerful burners, great price.
What we don’t: Overall quality falls short of the Everest.

On paper, the Stansport 3-Burner looks to be a great contender to the top spot on our list. It includes two strong burners that put out 25,000 BTUs each and a piezo igniter. Additionally, the Stansport comes with a third 10,000 BTU burner for larger groups. In use, overall performance is very comparable to the Camp Chef Everest 2X above with great flame control that cooks a variety of food types well. And with a price that’s consistently around $100 on Amazon ($110 at the time of publishing), the Stansport is a solid value.

Where it does fall short of the Everest is build quality. The materials don’t feel as sturdy, and Stansport has a higher prevalence of fit and finish problems (although the Camp Chef doesn’t have a perfect track record either). The differences are relatively small, however, and the Stansport’s excellent cooking abilities and third burner makes it a really strong player in the $100 price range.
See the Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner

6. Eureka Ignite Plus ($145)

Eureka Ignite Plus camping stove

Category: Tabletop
Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 10,000 BTUs
Weight: 12 lbs.
What we like: Generously sized cooking surface and push-button ignition.
What we don’t: Pricier and less powerful than some of the competition.

Eureka’s Ignite Plus is one of the most well-rounded designs on the market with a solid build, good simmer control, and wide, 23-inch cooking area that can accommodate bigger pots and pans. Unlike much of its budget-friendly competition, the Ignite Plus includes push-button ignition, which keeps your hands safe from large bursts of flame and makes the prep process a bit quicker. It’s not a deal-breaker for many, but it’s a nice feature that we appreciate when setting up camp. Added up, the Eureka has all the ingredients of a high-end tabletop camping stove.

All that said, the Eureka Ignite Plus does fall short in one key area: value. For around $60 less, you can pick up the Coleman Triton below, which features more output per burner at 11,000 BTUs. However, the Triton forgoes push-button ignition, and the Ignite Plus has a more hardwearing build that will stand up better to regular use and abuse. Eureka also makes a cheaper version of the Ignite ($110), which sports a smaller cooking space and less simmer control but remains a solid all-around choice.
See the Eureka Ignite Plus

7. Camp Chef Tahoe ($260)

Camp Chef Tahoe stove

Category: Freestanding
Fuel: Propane
Burners: 3 @ 30,000 BTUs
Weight: 43 lbs.
What we like: Three excellent burners.
What we don’t: Really, really heavy and expensive

When cooking for a large group, you need serious power, extra cooking real estate, and more burners. The Camp Chef Tahoe features a grand total of three 30,000 BTU burners, which can heat up that 12-cup coffee percolator while cooking eggs and bacon at the same time. Beyond the cooking power, it features a push-button ignition, protected housing for the burners, and side wind rails. Each of the legs is individually adjustable, which is helpful should you be cooking on uneven ground.

What are the& shortcomings of the Tahoe? Weighing in at a whopping 43 pounds, it’s a pain to lug around if you won’t be hosting a large group, and don’t forget the 5-gallon propane tank. It’s also over double the cost of the Explorer above. But if you’re the consummate camp host or have a large family, the Tahoe deserves your attention.
See the Camp Chef Tahoe

8. Jetboil Genesis Base Camp System ($380)

Jetboil Genesis Base Camp camp stove

Category: Tabletop
Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 10,000 BTUs
Weight: 9 lbs. 5 oz.
What we like: An entire cook system for under 10 lbs.
What we don’t: Not the most powerful, and steep price.

Jetboil is best known for their lightweight backpacking stove systems, but they’re making a serious foray into the camping world with the Genesis System. The concept is the first of its kind: an all-in-one camping system. You get two burners, a pan and pot, and everything nests neatly together for compact storage. Total weight (other than a 16 oz. propane bottle) is less than 10 pounds, which is lighter than almost all stoves on this list by themselves.

Other than weight, the Genesis is all about cooking efficiency. By specifically creating burners to work with their pots and pans, there is less fuel waste and the 10,000 BTU burners exceed expectations. Moreover, the simmer control is a class leader. That said, the system’s $380 price tag is borderline astronomical, especially compared to an option like the Camp Chef Everest above that’s less than half the cost, has double the burner power, and is only about 2 pounds heavier (without cookware). But in the end, it’s hard to match the convenience of such an easily portable and comprehensive system.
See the Jetboil Genesis Base Camp System

9. Coleman Triton Series ($80)

Coleman Triton Series camping stoves

Category: Tabletop
​Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 11,000 BTUs
Weight: 11 lbs.
What we like: Excellent value and plenty of performance for most campers.
What we don’t: No auto ignition and fairly limited wind protection.

Colman’s Triton stove offers impressive cooking power and reliability at a very competitive $80 price. The tabletop design features two strong, highly adjustable 11,000 BTU burners that run on a standard 16-ounce propane canister (adapters are available to make it compatible with a larger 20-gallon tank). With decent simmer control and solid output at full tilt, the Coleman is one of only a few stoves in its price range that’s capable enough for cooking diverse meals. Last but not least, its 11-pound weight and manageable size make the Triton easy to transport in a car and store at home.

Where does the Coleman Triton fall short? True camp chefs may want to upgrade to a more refined unit that delivers more total power and precision, like the Camp Chef Everest above. Further, cooking space is a little on the small side compared with premium tabletops (the Everest included). That said, it’s roomy enough for most meals and easily can accommodate two 10-inch pans side by side. Finally, you miss out on auto ignition in this model (there is an InstaStart version for $20 more), and the wind shields along the sides only provide moderate protection from gusts. These nitpicks aside, the Triton still offers a good mix of price and performance.
See the Coleman Triton Series

10. Camp Chef Mountaineer ($235)

Camp Chef Mountaineer camping stove

Category: Tabletop
Fuel: Propane
Burners: 2 @ 20,000 BTUs
Weight: 16 lbs.
What we like: Strong, rust-resistant aluminum construction.
What we don’t: Expensive without a big boost in performance.

For last year, Camp Chef has added the utilitarian Mountaineer two-burner stove to the top of their “Mountain Series” lineup. The big news with this model is its durable, all-aluminum construction, which is far more rust- and corrosion-resistant than the majority of the designs on the market. The stove has been specifically made for humid and coastal locations, but the strong build is great for general camping and canoe trips too. And the rest of the design is what we expect from Camp Chef: easy-to-use flame controls, a large cooking platform, and good performance at both high heat and simmer.

As with the Snow Peak below, you do pay a premium for high-end materials with the Camp Chef Mountaineer. The aluminum construction and substantial build add a little weight (16 pounds), and the 20,000 BTU output is good but not a standout on this list. For most camping trips, we prefer the Everest above, which matches the performance, although it does lack the bombproof feel of the Mountaineer. That strong, long-lasting construction is the big selling point of the Mountaineer and what earns it a spot on our list for 2020.

Power options for stoves and ovens

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The Kenmore 41313 range has a smooth electric cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Electric

The heat output from electric cooktops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally falls somewhere between 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner and 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner, though we’ve seen outliers at both ends of the spectrum. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:

Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop)

These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor lets you know when a burner is still hot. This is important with smooth electric cooking surfaces, because the burner doesn’t always turn red if the heat is low.

Keep in mind that this type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface (the appliance’s manual will give you those specifics).

Electric coil

These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain thermostat sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. Electric coil stoves are notorious for uneven cooking because of uneven distribution of the coil.

In short, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level, which can make all of the food in the pan slide to one side. In addition, electric coil stoves are slow to heat and slow to cool. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.

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The Kenmore 95073 range has an induction cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Induction cooktops

Induction burners use the heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. An element just below the surface of an induction cooktop creates a magnetic field. When you put a piece of cookware containing iron on top of that magnetic element, it causes a vibration of sorts that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron (you can read more about the science behind induction here).

These cooktops are safer than gas or electric burners because they don’t use flames or direct heat — induction burners won’t start to heat if you put something on them that doesn’t contain magnetic material. Induction cooktops are also more efficient and heat things quicker than other types of burners (the ones we’ve tested have boiled a large pot of water in an average of 6 minutes).

There are a few downsides to induction cooktops. You have to make sure you have cookware that will work with the cooking surface, and ranges with induction burners tend to cost more money than comparable electric or gas ranges.

Electric ovens: This type of oven uses a heating element that is either visible on the top or bottom of the oven, or hidden. Our baking tests show that they often cook more evenly than their gas counterparts.

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The SMEG C30GGRU is a gas range, so it has a gas cooktop and oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Gas

Gas cooktops

Both home and professional cooks have valued gas stovetops because of the how uniform the heat output is. An open flame surrounds the bottom of your cookware, which evenly distributes the heat around it. This heat output is measured in BTUs (British thermal units). Like electric models, the power range varies from model to model, but the output generally falls somewhere between 5,000 BTUs for low heat on a small burner and 18,000 BTUs for high heat on a large burner. We’ve seen burners on high-end ranges get as low as 800 BTUs and as high as 20,000 BTUs. If you’re a speedy cook, be aware that our cooking tests show gas cooktops tend to take longer to boil large pots of water than electric or induction cooktops.

Gas ovens

When it comes to gas ovens, we’ve seen in our cook tests that they have a harder time producing even baking results than electric ovens.

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The Dacor ER30DSCH has a gas cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Dual-fuel

Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual-fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.

Design styles

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The Kenmore 97723 is an example of a freestanding range.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Freestanding

Freestanding ranges are designed to fit anywhere in a kitchen. Oven controls are often located on a back panel that raises up above the cooktop. These are less expensive than slide-in models.

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The Samsung NE58K9850WG is a slide-in range, so it doesn’t have a back panel and sits flush with surrounding countertops.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Slide-in

These ranges don’t have a back panel and are meant to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. Slide-in ranges are often more expensive than freestanding models because of the mechanics that go into putting all the controls up front.

Drop-in

Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in models — they sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets because of a strip of cabinetry you place beneath the appliance.

Bonus features

The search for an oven or range can resemble a visit to a car dealership — there are always opportunities to upgrade. Assess your needs and decide if these bonus features are worth throwing down more money for an appliance.

Wireless connectivity

Companies have become more proactive in including wireless capabilities such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC) in their ovens and stoves so you can control your appliance from your smartphone. For example, you could begin to preheat your Wi-Fi-enabled oven on your way home from the grocery store, so it’s ready for your frozen pizza by the time you get home.

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The GE PHB920SJSS induction range has built-in Wi-Fi and works with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant. You can give voice commands to this Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker to control the range.Chris Monroe/CNET

Manufacturers have also started to connect appliances with smart-home products to add some automation and voice control in the kitchen. For example, GE’s Wi-Fi-connected ranges work with Alex and Google Assistant, so you can give voice commands to control your appliance. And Jenn-Air wall ovens work with Nest Learning Thermostats ($269 at Amazon) so you can automatically lower your home’s temperature when the ovens get hot. 

Convection fans

Convection fans are built into the back of oven walls. They circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. You’d want convection fans if you’re baking food like cookies on more than one oven rack at the same time. Midprice ovens will have at least one convection fan. Some ovens have what’s called “true” or “European” convection, which means there’s a heating element that surrounds the fan that warms the air as the fan blows. Read more about the science of convection here.

Special cooking modes

Your basic oven can bake and broil. But as the price for ovens increases, you’ll see that there are more cooking options. For example, ovens with convection fans will have modes for convection baking and convection roasting, which will enable the fans and heating elements. Some ovens also come with cook settings for specific foods, such as pizza or turkey, or food preparation methods, like dehydration or bread proofing.

Bottom drawers (baking/warming/broiling)

Some ranges come with a bottom drawer that can serve one of many purposes depending on the model. Some range ovens offer a baking drawer, which enables a person to use the main oven to roast or broil, and the baking drawer for smaller dishes, so you can cook more than one thing at the same time using different temperatures. A warming drawer will keep food warm, but it won’t cook the food. Some ovens have a broiler drawer, which functions like a traditional broiler and must be watched just as closely to ensure that food does not burn.

Temperature probes

Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.

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The KitchenAid KFDD500ESS range has two oven cavities, so you can bake two dishes on different temperatures at the same time.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Double ovens in conventional space

The ovens on some ranges have dual baking chambers, which give you the flexibility of double wall ovens without the need for more space. These ovens allow the convenience of simultaneous cooking at different temperatures. Some ovens come with a divider that allows you to split your single oven into two unique temperature zones that will remain separate as long as the divider is in place.

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