A comparison of every Jetboil-style System Stove on the market.
In 2001, Jetboil released a stove that was different from anything else on the market: an all-in-one burner and pot, designed purely for heating water as rapidly and efficiently as possible.
The pot was tall and narrow, wrapped in an insulative sleeve, and came with a heat exchanger on the bottom. The whole thing attached directly onto the burner to create an efficient water-boiling unit.
17 years later, Jetboil has five such stove designs and there are as many other companies now making similar products.
These stoves are usually called “System Stoves”, sometimes “all-in-one stoves” or simply “Jetboil-style” stoves.
This article compares all 18 of these Jetboil-style System Stoves.
Some of the information compiles what it is publicly available so you can compare the stats.
Other information is taken from my own tests and measurements. I only own seven of these stoves (!) but I will add data on any more that I acquire over the coming months and years.
The tables presented below are:
- Overview: weight, capacity and prices
- Speed and efficiency: how quickly the boil and how much gas they use
- Weight: actual weights of burners and pots, plus millilitres per gram
- Size and dimensions: internal measurements and centre of gravity
- Features: piezo lighters, handle types, simmering and noise.
Best Jetboil stoves
Fastest (and least efficient):
Primus Elektra FE (aka Crux Lite)
Jetboil Joule / MSR Reactor
Most stable (and best designed):
Best in wind:
Here is an overview of all 18 System Stoves, showing their weight, capacity and cost, as well as any special features.
Scroll down for further details on all of these stoves.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Reported weight||Capacity (ml)||Notes||Cost||Online price checker|
|Jetboil||Zip||345g||800ml||£72||Amazon - REI - UK|
|Jetboil||Flash||400g||1,000ml||£84||Amazon - REI - UK|
|Jetboil||MiniMo||415g||1,000ml||£133||Amazon - REI -|
|Jetboil||Sumo||453g||1,800ml||£124||Amazon - REI -|
|Jetboil||Joule||790g||2,500ml||Pre-heat tube||£130||Amazon - REI -|
|Kovea||Alpine Pot Wide||510g||1,000ml||£90||Amazon - REI - UK|
|Kovea||Alpine EZ Eco||770g||1,000ml||Built-in rechargeable canister||£130||REI -|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||417g||1,000ml||£120||Amazon - REI - UK|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||496g||1,700ml||£130||Amazon - REI - UK|
|MSR||Reactor Stove||588g||2,500ml||£130||Amazon - REI - UK|
|MSR||WindBurner*||432g||800ml||Windproof||£93||Amazon - REI - UK|
|Optimus||Elektra FE||455g||950ml||£72||Amazon - REI - UK|
|Primus||Lite||360g||650ml||£64||Amazon - UK|
|Primus||Lite+||390g||650ml||£83||Amazon - UK|
|Primus||Lite XL||450g||1,000ml||£107||Amazon - UK|
Speed and efficiency
This table compares the speed and efficiency of each stove. It is based on my own tests, not on manufacturers’ information.
Speed and efficiency method
I tested the following stoves to see how long it took them to boil 500ml of water and how much fuel they used in the process.
All stoves used a full 230g gas canister and were set to full power. Gas usage was measured by weighing the canister before and after testing.
Each test was conducted twice, and the results below are the average of those two tests.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Boil time||Gas used|
Speed and efficiency results
I was surprised to find that almost all of the stoves boiled the water in very similar times. 5 out of 7 stoves boiled the water in between 2mins 13secs and 2mins 20secs. The only exceptions were:
- The MSR WindBurner, which was a good 30-seconds slower than the rest (but perhaps would be faster in a windy setting)
- The Optimus Elektra, which was significantly faster than any of the others, boiling the water in almost half the time (a full minute quicker than the next fastest).
The amount of gas used ranged from 5 grams to 12 grams:
- Most stoves used between 5 and 7 grams (The Alpkit BruKit Wolf, Jetboil MiniMo, MSR Windburner and Primus Lite+). I suspect my test wasn’t very accurate so these are probably all within a margin of error.
- The MSR Reactor stove used more than those, at 9 grams.
- The Optimus Elektra used even more: 12 grams, about the double average.
Speed and efficiency conclusions
In conclusion, most System Stoves boil water at similar speeds and with reasonably similar efficiency, with the following exceptions:
- The MSR Reactor uses slightly more gas than most.*
- The MSR WindBurner is slightly slower than most (though likely faster in the wind).*
- The Optimus Elektra is almost double the speed of other stoves but uses twice as much fuel.
MSR System Stove speeds
I was surprised to find that the MSR stoves appeared to perform poorly in the tests because they have a very good reputation and, personally, the MSR WindBurner is the System Stove I choose to use most often.
Lawrence Friell from ProAgencies, who import MSR products into the UK, was able to explain:
With real world conditions of a 15mph breeze, a half full canister and a balmy winter’s day, the results would be turned on their head. Speed of boil time is one metric, but it’s also the same as saying how fast you can use fuel.
We all know that gas stoves work better when your canister is full (the pressure’s higher, around 50psi). That’s why I tested all of these stoves with a full canister.
However, the MSR stoves are regulated to always operate at lower pressure, regardless of how pressurised the canister is. That means they will maintain similar boiling speeds whether the canister is full or half empty.
WindBurners and Reactors are regulated at 12-15psi, so they’ll provide you with pretty much the same boil time for the lifetime of the canister. On a windy day, with a half full canister most of the competition will struggle to boil water.
Ideally, I would run these tests again with half empty canisters (and probably in the wind too). But I’ll have to save that for another day.
The weights of the different stoves are displayed below.
- Stove, pot and total weight: my own measurements. Reported weights are as per manufacturer claims.
- Stove weight: the burner itself.
- Pot weight: the cooking pot, including handle, lid and sleeve where appropriate.
- Millilitres per gram: this is a way of taking into account the volume of a stove. For example, a Jetboil Sumo obviously weighs more than its smaller cousin, the MiniMo. However, the weight difference is negligible (less than 40g, 9%) but the size difference is significant (800ml, 80%).
|Manufacturer||Stove||Stove weight||Pot weight||Total weight||Reported weight||Reported ounces|
The lightest Jetboil-style stoves are the Jetboil Zip at 345 grams, followed by the Primus Lite and Lite+ at 360g and 390g respectively, then the Jetboil Flash at 400g.
The Kovea Alpine EZ Eco is one of the heaviest at 770g, but this is misleading since it includes its own internal gas canister.
Predictably, the larger stoves tend to offer the best millitres per gram (e.g. Jetboil Sumo and Joule, and the larger MSR Reactors). Often because they have the exact same burners as small stoves, just with bigger pots attached.
Size and dimensions
The volume and dimensions of the stoves are displayed below.
- Capacity: is the manufacturer’s reported measurement, the rest of the measurements are my own.
- Base height: distance from bottom of 230g gas canister (the ground) to external base of the pot (usually the bottom of the heat exchanger).
- Water height: distance from ground to internal base of pot (i.e. where the water starts to fill from).
- Pot height: internal length of pot (i.e. from the base to the top).
- Centre of gravity: a measure of stability (lower is better). See note below.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Capacity (ml)||Capacity (oz)||Centre of gravity||Pot height||Pot depth||Pot diameter|
|Kovea||Alpine Pot Wide||1,000ml||33oz||13cm|
|Kovea||Alpine EZ Eco||1,000ml||33oz||13cm|
Centre of gravity
System Stoves tend to be tall and narrow. As such, they are often unstable and liable to toppling.
As such, I’ve done a crude calculation of each stove’s “centre of gravity”. A low value indicates better stability, a high value indicates a greater chance of the stove tipping over.
(It’s calculated as the height above ground of the bottom of the inside of the pot when using a 230g canister, plus a third of the pot’s height).
The stoves with the lowest centre of gravity are the Primus Lite and Lite+ at 18cm. That’s a conscious move by Primus, whose “Laminar Flow Burner Technology” allows for a shorter burner height.
The MSR Windburner has the highest centre of gravity at 23cm. I really like this stove but it does indeed feel quite high off the ground.
A summary of other key features.
- Horizontal – traditional metal pan handle that sticks out perpendicular from the pot.
- Vertical – folding metal handles that run the length of the pot.
- Straps – fabric straps that run the length of the pot.
- Piezo: indicates whether the stove has a built-in electric ‘piezo’ lighter i.e. does it have a button you can push to ignite it or do you need to carry a separate lighter.
|Kovea||Alpine Pot Wide||Yes||No|
|Kovea||Alpine EZ Eco||No||No|
How many Jetboil-style System Stoves are there?
Here is a full list of every System Stove on the market (if I’ve missed any, please do send me details!):
- Alpkit BruKit
- Alpkit BruKit Jackal
- Alpkit BruKit Wolf
- Jetboil Zip
- Jetboil Flash
- Jetboil MiniMo
- Jetboil Sumo
- Jetboil Joule
- Kovea Alpine Pot Wide
- Kovea Alpine EZ Eco
- MSR Reactor Stove (1,000ml)
- MSR Reactor Stove (1,700ml)
- MSR Reactor Stove (2,500ml)
- MSR WindBurner (previously WindBoiler)
- Optimus Elektra FE
- Primus Lite
- Primus Lite+
- Primus Lite XL
Many of these are just different names for the same stove with a different sized pot attached.
With the MSR Reactor, that’s pretty obvious from the names above. But with, say, AlpKit, it’s not immediately obvious that the BruKit Jackal and BruKit Wolf are exactly the same stove except for the Jackal having a larger pot on top.
There are actually just 11 different “Jetboil style” stoves (burners) on the market:
- Jetboil: with regulator, without regulator and Joule
- MSR: Windburner and Reactor
- Alpkit : Brukit and Brukit Jackal/Wolf
- Kovea: Alpine Pot Wide and Alpine EZ Eco
- Primus: Lite/Lite+
- Optimus: Elektra FE
Want to buy one?
Below are links to check the prices of all of those stoves on: Amazon, REI in the US and whatever UK shop has the best price.
If you’ve found this article useful then please do consider clicking one of the links below before making a purchase. At no cost to you, I’ll get a small percentage of anything you buy.
|Manufacturer||Stove||Check Amazon||Check REI||Check UK stores|
|Kovea||Alpine Pot Wide||Amazon||REI||UK|
|Kovea||Alpine EZ Eco||REI|
That’s it folks. Let me know if I’ve missed anything, if you have data on any of the stoves not tested, or if there are other System Stoves that I’ve missed out.