Stoves - optimising the power output and which are the good ones?
Carpology Magazine - Questions & Answers
Answered by Kevin Peet
My gas stove is a bit hit-and-miss as to how much power it will deliver. Firstly, how do I give it a service and get consistent power and secondly, what's currently good in the stove market?
When it comes to dealing with energy sources such as gas, electricity or petrol, there can be a tendency to panic when faults occur in equipment that is powered by them, in this case a gas stove.
The types of gas/petrol stoves and cookers used in angling are simple in their operation so there is no need to worry. Basically fuel is delivered to a jet through a pressure control valve, and in some cases via a rubber pipe, so in essence there is not much to go wrong. However, erratic or reduced performance can occur, generally due to something influencing the pressure being delivered to the jet, other than the valve.
The fault described in the question suggests that there is possibly a piece of debris in the fuel line that needs clearing. Grit can easily get into pipes and jets when connecting or disconnecting gas canisters, so always take care when doing this. Food particles from overspills can also cause blockage problems; a quick 'blow out' will normally sort it. Faulty valves, worn jets or in the case of a gas powered stoves, low fuel levels in the canister, especially in cold weather, can affect performance. One thing also to be aware of is the fact that insects make little homes inside the workings of stoves, particularly if the stove has not been used for a while. This can and will stop the stove working properly.
If a clean up does not cure the problem it would be advisable to take the stove to a recognised service centre.
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What's currently good in the stove market?
There is a good selection of stoves available nowadays, at both the quality and budget ends of the scale. It's worth bearing in mind that a cheaper piece of equipment will work perfectly from new but will need more care, attention and servicing than one of a better quality.
Coleman produces a wide choice of outdoor cooking stoves. Their 424 Double Burner is a particularly good seller that runs on liquid fuels such as Coleman fuel or unleaded petrol. Coleman fuel is now a lot less expensive than it used to be and runs very cleanly. Unleaded petrol is cheaper and performs okay but leaves a residue inside fuel generators, shortening their working life, leading to a replacement part, and is generally less clean. Single burner Coleman stoves include the Sportster II (liquid fuel) and their F1 gas stoves are all high quality good performers.
Primus is another brand that produces high quality burners that perform very well. The Easyfuel stove is legendary in the gas powered market.