Today we’re looking at the best car camping camp stoves for 2020. We have a budget pick, we have the most versatile car camping camp stove, and we also have the best overall camp stove. So let’s flip some burgers. We’re all some dogs and fire up.
In A Hurry? This Is The Best:
- Instastart ignition for matchless lighting; 7,650 total BTUs of cooking power
- Fits up to a 10-inch pan
- Lasts up to 1.25 hours on high on one 8.8 oz. butane gas cylinder (sold separately)
- Adjustable burner gives precise temperature control, and large base offers stability for easy stirring
- Durable porcelain-coated grate is easy to clean, and aluminum burner is rust-proof for years of use
An important distinction to make is that we’re talking about car camping stoves. These are really different than backpacking stoves, which are typically smaller, more packable, and you can take them into the backcountry. These, you throw them into the back of your car, you can make big meals. They’re typically two-burner run off of propane.
They have really high BTUs use, which means they have a lot of heat. You could have two pans going and in my opinion, you get a much better meal out of them.
Now there are a lot of car camping stoves on the market. And right now we’re going to take a look at our budget pack.
Best Budget Stove
- Cooking power: Up to 20,000 total BTUs. Fits a 12-inch and 10-inch pan...
- 2 adjustable burners: For precise temperature control
- Wind-blocking panels: Shield burners from wind
- Pressure regulator: Pressure-control technology for consistent...
- Runtime: Up to 1 hour on high on one 16.4 oz. Propane cylinder (sold...
I’m sure you recognize this camp stove because they are ubiquitous across America. For our best budget camp stove, we’d selected the Coleman classic propane camp stove. It’s available on Amazon for $44. And with that amount, you get a tremendous value. It offers two 10,000 BTU burners, there’s no striker and it attaches to a simple propane hook.
One of the features the Coleman classic is known for is just lasting forever. This is a design that hasn’t changed in decades and I’m sure you know somebody’s dad that owns one or their grandpa because they just don’t pray because this is our budget pick.
There are some downsides: The common classic doesn’t come with a striker. And it also only offers 10,000 BTUs, which is on the lower end, but it’s still a significant amount to cook your food.
With all the features of the Coleman classic that makes it our budget pick. It’s an awesome stove and only available for good price on Amazon. That’s like over a hundred dollars cheaper than our thinner best pick.
Best Versatile Stove
For our most versatile camp stove, we have the Camp Chef VersaTop. With the VersaTop, you can have different tops to your stove. So you can have a flat top, which is great for cooking things like bacon and burgers. It acts just like a cast iron or you can put an actual grill iron on it.
Underneath this bad boy is one 15,000 BTU burner. It functions pretty simply with just a simple little knob, high, medium, low modes. And it’s heating element spreads the flame all around the cooking apparatus. So for $165, you get the VersaTop with the flat top, but for 110 more dollars, you get the deluxe barbecue grill attachment.
One of the downsides to the VersaTop is that it doesn’t offer that much heat. So while it does offer 15,000 BTUs that’s spread out across the wide cooking service, we found that it didn’t Brown things as nicely as we wanted it to.
But that’s not to say that it doesn’t cook your food because it absolutely does that. We’ve been cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner on it all week long.
I think this is a great choice for people that want something versatile. You can use it as a flat top and then you buy the accessories and you can use it as a grill. So that was the most versatile camp stove that we tested.
Moving on, this is the one we’re most excited about. It is the best overall camp stove for 2020
Best Overall Stove
- Camp Chef Versatop Portable Outdoor Griddle (aka Flat Top Grill 250)
- Matchless ignition - Sports a 15,000 BTU Burner
- Compact Design for Travel - Adjustable Leg Levelers - Heat Control...
- Powered by 1-lb Propane Canisters (Not Included)
- Compatible with Camp Chef 14" (Blue Label) Accessories such as the...
Our best stove of 2020 is the Camp Chef Summit Stove. It cooks stuff the fastest and it is also the easiest to use. So with the summit you get to 20,000 BTU burners, which is almost more than double all the others on the market. It offers a pretty windproof design. We didn’t have any burdens go out because of the wind.
They’re kind of in this shallow bowl that provides a wide diameter burner radius, which provides more even heat as well. Not only do you get a kind of windproof design, but it also offers a more even cooking heat surface.
With a camp chef summit, you get an included striker and then two-burner knobs, which offer great simmer control. It’s a pretty classic design as you saw in the Coleman a, it just has a propane tank attachment point on the ends to wind flaps on the edge and then it folds down into pretty part of all design that you can just throw in the back of your car.
It’s a lot like the Coleman, but a little bit better designed. So the Camp Chef boiled water more than one minute faster than all the other stoves that we tested boiled water, two minutes and 25 seconds. And that’s largely thanks to the 20,000 BTU burners that is so much more heat than all the other stoves.
With that heat, you also got a lot of simmer control. The knobs offer a large range of heat that you can put out and you can get the heat down pretty dang low so you don’t scratch anything in the pan.
Additionally, the 20,000 BTUs I can imagine would be pretty tough on those super thin camping pots and pans that are so common.
The Camp Chef Summit Stove costs $160 which compared to the other two-burner propane stoves is more expensive. The verse top, what you just saw is kind of a niche product and it offers a lot of versatility. But when compared to two-burner propane stoves, the summit is more expensive.
I mean you saw the Coleman that was $44. But even with that price, we still think that the summit is worth it.
She camp chef summit is our favorite camp stove because of the wide diameter burners, the ease of use and the high heat output. Because of that, I’m guessing it’s going to be a staff favourite in the office for summer camping trips for the rest of the year.
So those are our three favorite camping stoves. The budget pick is the Coleman classic. That is an awesome stove. The most versatile pick is the Camp Chef VersaTop. Be sure to check that one out. And the best overall camp stove is the Camp Chef Summit Stove
We get that there are a ton of stoves on the market. If we missed one that you think deserves a spot, let us know in the comments. We’d love to check it out and test it ourselves.