If you’re a hiker or just a casual camper, an alcohol stove is more than just a necessity, it could easily be the difference between getting a nice hot meal or going to bed hungry. While alcohol stoves are pretty popular with many campers, the question of “how long does an alcohol burn” often lingers in people’s minds.

Alcohol stoves are a great choice for hikers and campers because they are lightweight, reliable, easy to set up, and often don’t cost an arm and a leg.

The lifespan of the fuel in an alcohol stove can vary widely depending on the type of stove, weather conditions, and the type of fuel used.

Generally speaking, two ounces of alcohol will burn for 10-15 minutes, of course, depending on a number of factors, which we go into detail down below.

Alcohol Stove

Factors that determine how long an alcohol stove will burn.

1. Type of Alcohol e.g. denatured alcohol, ethanol, methanol will determine how long it will burn

The type of alcohol used in your stove will greatly determine its burn times. Different alcohols have different chemical compositions and burn a bit differently.

Below are some of the most common fuels and how long they should burn


The primary benefit of using ethanol in an alcohol stove is that it burns faster than other fuels which often means that your food will get ready quicker.

With an alcohol composition of about 97% ethanol is also one of the cleanest burning fuels and usually burns best in warmer weather conditions.

Given its properties and quick burn time, ethanol is often more expensive than the other types of fuel.

Denatured Alcohol:

Denatured alcohol comes with a certain percentage of ethanol, which should usually be above 50%.

The alcohol is a clear liquid that should not be consumed, as it has been diluted with denaturing agents like methanol and benzene.

Of course, denatured alcohol burns slower than ethanol and thus will take a longer time to have your food prepared than ethanol, however, it costs a lot less than ethanol and burns a bit cleaner than other fuels below.

Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)

Isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol) is a colorless, volatile, and flammable liquid that can be used as a fuel in an alcohol stove.

Isopropanol provides the highest heat content per unit gram and should be avoided as a stove fuel because it is such a mess to burn and can be quite toxic.


Methanol is favored over ethanol in cold climates because of its higher vapor pressure.

2. Temperature and Wind Conditions

Environmental factors like temperature and wind conditions affect how fast or slow the heat from the flame can dissipate from its source.

Alcohols generally burn slower in cooler and windier conditions. Many alcohols need to be at a warm temperature to produce a flame, so when they get cold, they are less likely to produce a strong flame.

Windy conditions on the other hand also make cooking with an alcohol stove very difficult and thus will burn a lot less efficiently.

A windscreen is essential if you’re planning to camp in windy conditions.

Luckily, some alcohol stoves come with in-built windscreens. Windscreens aren’t too expensive either with the best ones costing about $10.

3) Alcohol Stove specifications and designs

The type of alcohol stove you have will also determine how efficiently it burns through fuel.

When you’re doing your shopping, be sure to look at the burn time statistics of the stove so you can be sure that it matches your burn time expectations and cooking routine.

4) Altitude

Altitude is a significant factor that will determine how long an alcohol stove will burn. The lower you are, the more oxygen there is available to fuel your fire.

Oftentimes, when you’re at a high altitude, it’s difficult to create a hot enough flame to ignite the fuel in your stove and keep your flame lighting for long.

What Kind of Fuel Should I Use in My Alcohol Stove?

There are many different kinds of alcohol that can be used for stoves, but some are better than others.

As mentioned above, pure ethanol is generally the best choice as it burns a lot faster and cleaner. However, it’s usually a lot more expensive than other fuels.

Denatured alcohol is the most recommended option by manufacturers given the fact that it brings many of the advantages of ethanol at a lower price point.

Methanol is good for colder weather conditions however, it’s generally not recommended for its toxic and highly flammable nature.

If you can get pure ethanol at a good price, then you should opt for that, however, most people will be best suited by denatured alcohol.

What is the longest burning alcohol stove

Here is a list of some of the longest alcohol burning stoves that you can get for the money:

1.Trangia Spirit Burner alcohol stove

The Trangia Spirit Burner Alcohol Stove is a lightweight stove that is a perfect option for backpackers, campers, and weekend warriors.

Generally, the Trangia Spirit Burner can boil a liter of water in about 8 minutes depending on weather conditions and the fuel used. One filling of fuel will burn for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

2. REDCAMP Mini Alcohol Stove for Backpacking

This stove is a portable, fuel-efficient stove that is perfect for camping. The stove is small and compact so it’s easy to pack in your backpack.

This stove can last up to 50 minutes on 100 ml of fuel and also comes incorporated with a windshield design that helps keep it working even in strong winds.

3. Solo Stove Solo Alcohol Burner

With a weight of 3.5 oz, the stove is one of the lightest on the market, and thankfully, it doesn’t sacrifice any features for portability.

Fuel Storage, a simmer ring, and brass burners are among some of the features that make the Solo Stove Alcohol burner a good option for anyone looking to buy a lightweight and efficient alcohol stove.

Speaking about efficiency, the stove’s unique design increases its cooking speeds, boiling a liter of water in 5 to 7 minutes.

Should I go the DIY way to create an efficient stove or should I buy one?

The internet is awash with DIY stove solutions. While they can be quite easy to make, you need to put a few things into consideration.

Just like gas stoves, alcohol stoves can also be quite dangerous if not handled with care and things get worse with DIY stoves. For me, this is the main reason why a DIY stove would not be recommended.

Basic DIY alcohol stoves are susceptible to spills which could not only result in loss of alcohol but could also easily start a fire.

Even though there might be ways to make incorporate a few safety features, many will find the process hard and time-consuming.

Some manufacturer-made alcohol stoves also come with windshields too, a feature that can be hard to implement if you’re making the stove yourself.

Of course, you could just buy a windscreen to solve this but that would mean extra luggage.


Alcohol stoves are a cheap and lightweight option for backpacking enthusiasts. However, they can have limitations that people may not know about until they try to use them.

In order to know how long an alcohol stove will burn, you need to know the fuel capacity of the stove and how much fuel it burns per hour. Alcohol stoves usually come with a quoted “duration” in minutes per ounce or milliliter of fuel.

Many top-notch alcohol stoves will boil a liter of water in about 10 minutes and will burn through 100ml of alcohol in about 50 minutes to an hour.

Use these numbers to make the right choice for your needs.

Remember to check out the estimated burn time of an alcohol stove and storage capacity before you spend your money on it.

Telling exactly how long an alcohol stove will burn can be quite tricky at times, however, if you put all the factors we’ve mentioned above into consideration, you’ll certainly be quite close to finding the perfect stove for your camping and hiking expeditions.