Butane vs. Propane Camp Stove

camping stove

You’re eady for your camping trip. With the exception of the most important of your camping gear — the food preparation equipment, everything is packed. The ability to cook hot food and boil water for coffee, soup, etc makes camping even more fun than it already is.
It’s not a full camping experience without cooking the food and a campfire is going on. Maybe your experience as a child was having your parents build a fire and cooking with no equipment, just pans, and pots.

Having a portable gas stove for cooking is much more convenient nowadays. After all, being convenient while cooking leaves more energy when discovering nature.

So it’s decided: a gas stove that’s compact. Simple equipment to make your life a lot easier. The sire is contained and you’re not cooking over an open fire which might be safer for both you and the forest :).

But what source of fuel should you choose? There are a variety of options available, but the two most popular options for your portable camping stove are propane and butane gas.

cooking stove

Which One Should I Choose?

Both propane and butane are petroleum-derived combustible fuels. These are widely used as cooking fuels, both of which are lightweight and come in compact canisters or cylinders. So everything boils down to comparing the two most popular food cooking methods. How do you decide?

What is Butane?

Butane is an alkane petroleum-derived natural gas oil. It is a highly flammable hydrocarbon used in products such as lighters for cigarettes and portable camping stoves.

As with all-natural gas, butane is a colorless and odorless hydrocarbon in its natural form. This burns and absorbs carbon dioxide and water vapor when exposed to oxygen. At 30.2 ° Fahrenheit, it boils.

What is Propane?

Propane is also a liquid alkane natural gas, a petroleum by-product used as a portable source of energy. It is used as a primary home heating fuel for cars, buses and taxis, for small engines such as lawnmowers. Today, America alone consumes more than 15 billion gallons of propane every year.

butane vs propane camp stove 1

Comparison of both butane and propane

Boiling point

  • Propane: 43 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Butane: 31 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Propane: Readily
  • Butane: Not so readily


  • Propane: Lightweight and convenient
  • Butane: Lighter than Propane and convenient canisters – more gas per canister


  • Propane: Very cheap
  • Butane: Cheaper than Propane


  • Propane: Works well in low temperatures
  • Butane: Does not work in low temperatures and high altitudes lower than 14°F

Energy Efficiency

  • Propane: Not so energy efficient
  • Butane: Provides 12% more energy per volume burned above freezing

Other Considerations

cooking stove

Consider what your needs are when camping and deciding whether to choose a butane stove or a propane stove. If you’re moving to a place far from people and it’s going to take you a lot of time to get there, a propane stove might be your best bet. Nonetheless, it will take some space and weight, so bear that in mind.

If you’re just heading to your nearest campsite and need more space for the many people that go with you and their coolers filled with cold drinks, a butane stove is going to be all right. Nevertheless, if you’re going to a cold area, butane may fail you because in chilly weather it’s not known to be the most reliable option.

Connectors are another thing to consider. Because of the clip-style connections they are built with.  Butane camp stoves tend to be more convenient to attach to fuel tanks. Usually, propane stoves have the connectors of the screw type that are a little more difficult to use.

The verdict? Why not use both of them

If you have a hard time deciding between the two, why not consider taking a propane stove as well as a butane stove— when, of course, you have the space for it. There are both pros and cons, and when you use both, you’ll have all the advantages you need in the great outdoors during your time.


There you have it then. From the comparisons above, you can see that butane is cheaper and more efficient than propane if you are not going to camp in cold regions or at high altitudes. It’s also the best option if you have a sufficient supply available.

So, if you have a family gathering on a decent camping spot, it is best to use butane as your fuel. But if it is only you and your buddy going camping — especially in the winter — it is better to take your propane camping stove with you. When it comes down to butane vs. propane camp stove, the choice really is yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *