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Alcohol Stove Fuel: The Best and Safest Choice for Your Stove

In anticipation of heavy downpours and extremely harsh weather conditions, travelers bring along alcohol stoves for use in their shelters. But then, these stoves need quality fuels and there are many kinds, some of which are toxic and not suitable for indoor use.

The bad ones can produce a bad soot and unbearable odor with the possibility of exposing you to the dangerous carbon monoxide. Needles to say that such a thing could be life-threatening instead of giving you a great adventurous camping opportunity.

That being said, you need to be careful when choosing the best alcohol stove fuel and that is where we jump in to help you in your choice. As you probably know, it can be dangerous to pick any fuel, without an understanding of how it works or what the consequences of using it are.

Alcohol stove fuel

For the  record, there have been several cases reported in the past about campers who have lost their shelters due to alcohol fuels, and some of them have sustained injuries. As you might have guessed, such cases are attributable to bad choices of the alcohol fuel for their stoves. Be different and make an informed and educated choice.

To start off, you need to know the types of alcohol fuels, and those are:

  • Methanol
  • Ethanol
  • Methyl alcohol
  • Isopropanol or denatured alcohol

In the case you aren’t sure which one is the best, continue reading to find out, as we have chosen the best ones for your convenience and your safety when making fire indoors.

Product NameWeightSizeSpecial FeaturesPrice
Klean-Strip GSL267.5 lb1 gallonClean glass
The best fuel for marine stoves
Not suitable to be used as a thinner
Check price on Amazon
Klean-Strip Green 1.9 lb0.25 gallonsIt is biodegradable
Thins shellac
Made of 95% of renewable natural resources
Cleans metals, brushes and glass
It is green in color
Check price on Amazon
Real Flame Gel Fuel0.8 lb0.07 gallonsCan burn up to 3 hours
Produces a bright yellow, orange and red flames
Contains gelled isopropyl alcohol
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
No messy soot or ashes left after burning
Check price on Amazon
Marine Alcohol Fuel2 lb0.26 gallonsIt burns cleanly
Produces high heat content
Made of isopropyl formula
Check price on Amazon
Sunnyside Corporation41 lb5 gallonsShellac thinner and cleaner
Dissolves the toughest stains including ink
For various purposes
Suitable for all alcohol appliances
Check price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Firstly, note that there are various alcohol fuels as highlighted above. You have to understand how they work as well as the risk associated with them. The common fuels on the market include denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol, pure methanol and pure ethanol. We have detailed them below.

Safety

This is probably the most important feature of them all, you want to mae sure you are safe whenever you’re using fuel. There are different types of alcohol, and they all have different performances, which we will explain below.

However, if you’re inexperienced you want to use alcohols with less performance, they will still work, but you’ll be safer, and safety always goes first.

Denatured Alcohol

This type of alcohol is relatively cheap and commonly available in hardware stores. You can either buy it before you embark on your journey or visit the hardware stores in close proximity to your outdoor locations.

Denatured Alcohol

But to stay on the safe side, we reckon you order up front before taking your trip. Choose from our carefully selected denatured alcohols reviewed below. The contents of a denatured alcohol often include ethanol with added methyl alcohol.

It is not fit for a human to consume it because it can be adversely detrimental to your health. Moreover, it can contain the notoriously toxic methanol with approximately 16% concentration, methyl acetate 1% and methyl ethyl ketone 1%.

But among these contents, ethanol is often less than 50%, which then make this choice of fuel environmentally unfriendly. Nonetheless, it is a recommended alcohol fuel for your stove.

Concentration of Ethanol

In addition to the generic denatured alcohol with an ethanol content of less than 50%, there is a green denatured alcohol fuel, which contains a high concentration of ethanol and lower content of additives.

green denatured fuel

The higher concentration of ethanol renders the fuel highly capable of providing extremely hot flames. Furthermore, since ethanol burns cleaner, the higher concentration means your stove will burn more effectively, thus eliminating the uncomfortable soot and poisonous fumes as experienced from other fuels such as methanol.

Pure Ethanol

With this alcohol fuel, you must be prepared to pop out a large sum of money. It is relatively expensive compared to the denatured alcohol mainly because of its purity; but, it is very scarce to find.

Notwithstanding its expensive price tag and scarcity, it is a recommended fuel for your travel because of its eco-friendly advantage and lack of toxicity. If environmental friendliness is your priority, you would then certainly opt for this type of fuel rather than other harmful alcohol fuels.

Pure Methanol

Methanol burns more quickly than the ethanol in a stove. However, the dangers associated with it out-number the ones associated with ethanol and other fuels.

Yellow HEET Burning

It has a high vapor pressure and this makes it more usable and suitable for cold temperatures when used as a fuel. In actual fact, this high vapor pressure prompts many people to choose this fuel over others.

But, the downside is that this fuel is more toxic and dangerous than others, more especially when in contact with the skin and mucus membranes. It can turn into formaldehyde in the body, which is a dangerous chemical.

Methanol is interchangeably called methyl alcohol. It can usually be spotted in a yellow HEET bottle if you stay in the United States. You are urged to only buy this alcohol fuel if you’re going to be very careful with it because of its associated dangers.

Pure Isopropanol

Here’s another alcohol fuel for your stove. It can be spotted by a red HEET bottle widely available in the US. The fuel burns with yellow and sooty flames that are hot enough to cook.

Red HEET Burning

And, unlike methyl alcohol, it is not extremely toxic. You can readily find it at convenience or gas stores or order it from online retail stores.

Rubbing Alcohol

This fuel often contains 70% of isopropanol and the remaining percentage goes to water. Despite the addition of water, it is burning almost the same with the pure isopropanol.

They provide the highest heat content, but not recommended based on their bad sooty. Having detailed to you about the various alcohol fuels, you are now well positioned to know which one can be best for you. Let’s now delve into the selected alcohol fuels that we reckon could be your best companions in your next outdoor trip.

Top Alcohol Fuel Reviews

The following types of alcohol fuels are what we consider the most practical and user friendly for any experience. None of them is pure methanol, as it has a higher performance, meaning a bigger risk for you. Safety is a concern too, and so we chose carefully.

Klean-Strip GSL26 Denatured Alcohol

klean strp gsl26

Price: Approx. $27

Weight: 7.5 pounds

Dimensions: 4.1 x 6.6 x 10.3 inches

Specific features: Cleans glass, the best fuel for marine stoves, not suitable to be used as a thinner

Best use: For marine stoves

Description: In addition to using this Klean-Strip GSL26 Denatured Alcohol fuel for marine stoves, you can use it to clean glass. It is however not intended to be used as a thinner. It is nonetheless a great fuel to clean up the toughest stains on your glass. Even more, you can use it to get rid of paint at home to give it a new look.

As implicated in its name, it is a denatured alcohol. This type of fuel contains various contents with more concentration of ethanol in addition to other ingredients.

It burns cleanly and this is an assurance that its soot will not be dangerous to your health when you use it in your camping tent. It is also an indication for good care of the environment. However, you still have to exercise a great care when using it, since it’s alcohol and flames what you’re still dealing with.

PROS:

  • Helps to clean glass, a good alternative use

CONS:

  • None

Related: The Solo Alcohol Stove is ideal with this fuel, you can take both and use the fuel to light the stove and start cooking wherever you are.

Check the price on Amazon

Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol

klean strip green denatured alcohol

Price: Approx. $8

Weight: 1.9 pounds

Dimensions:7.3 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches

Specific features: It is biodegradable, thins shellac, made of 95% of renewable natural resources, cleans metals, brushes and glass, it is green in color.

Best use: Cleaning of metals and glass, for marine alcohol stoves

Description: It is the best and inexpensive denatured alcohol suitable for marine stoves. For just over $8, you can get this Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol in preparation for your travel needs in case it rains heavily. It is not just cheap, but also environmentally friendly.

Denatured alcohol, unlike fuels such as isopropanol and methyl alcohol, is not producing poisonous fumes that could be detrimental to your health. That said, you will enjoy creating fire in your tent when it rains without any fear of be poisoned by the soot or fumes.

In addition to being used as a fuel for marine stoves, you can use it as a cleaner of the toughest stains. It is a versatile fuel made of 95% of renewable resources. No additional chemicals that could be damaging to the ozone layer or to your body. We recommend this fuel because of its effectiveness and its affordable price.

PROS:

  • Works great for cleaning rubber
  • Biodegradable

CONS:

  • Not available in larger sizes

Related: You can purchase the Alcohol Lamp in addition to this fuel. It is also a cheap product to give you an ambient light at night in the wilderness when camping. It uses 95% denatured ethyl alcohol.

Check the price on Amazon

Real Flame Gel Fuel

Real Flame Gel Fuel

Price: Approx. $35

Weight: 12.8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 4 inches

Specific features:12 x 13-ounce cans, can burn up to 3 hours, produces a bright yellow, orange and red flames, contains gelled isopropyl alcohol, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, no messy soot or ashes left after burning.

Best use: As fuel for alcohol stoves

Description: These 12 cans of 13 ounces each containing gel fuel with the isopropyl formula. Isopropyl is known for its high heat content. The Real Flame Gel Fuel, is a perfect solution for both indoors and outdoors, and it burns cleanly without leaving residues after it burns.

It will produce a bright yellow, orange and red flame that is hot enough to cook with it or warm-up your camping tent during cold days.

The only downside is the quantity of these cans more especially if you are not going to use them at the same time. Depending where you store them, the heat strength might be reduced if left for a long time without using them.

But if you are going to spend many days being outdoors, then you are safe. Many customers have so far complained about the odor of this isopropyl formula, but have counter-praised it for its effectiveness.

But note that these cans are not returnable to the manufacturer. You should make sure that you purchase the right products and store them in a recommended place to avoid any damage.

PROS:

  • Lasts burning for a long time (3 hours)
  • Lights very easily

CONS:

  • Gives off a very strong smell

Related: As an alternative to these 13-ounce cans, the manufacturer offers 7-ounce cans for a pack of 12. If you are not going to need more of this gel, you can buy the Real Flame Junior Gel Fuel now.

Check the price on Amazon

Marine Alcohol Fuel

marine alcohol fuel

Price: Approx. $27

Weight: 32 ounces

Dimensions: Undisclosed

Specific features: It burns cleanly, produces high heat content, made of isopropyl formula.

Best use: Marine stoves

Description: The Marine Alcohol Fuel burns cleanly and is made under the stringent standards. This fuel produces high heat for all your heating needs while camping outdoors. It is made of the Ethanol 90-10 formula that assures that you are not exposed to poisonous fumes or soot. It burns relatively cleaner compared to isopropanol formula.

Furthermore, it assures that your stove will not be clogged by any residues or ashes, after using the fuel. Also, it works well for two types of stoves: pressure and no pressure, adapting itself to a previous stove you might have had, or the cheap new one you might want to buy.

The ethanol included in this formula is derived naturally from the renewable resources. It produces a blue flame that is extremely hot and safe. With this alcohol fuel, you will not be stressed by the heavy downpours or inclement weather conditions.

PROS:

  • Comes from naturally derived ethanol
  • Produces high heat
  • No poisonous fumes or soot

CONS:

  • Expensive shipping costs
  • Not available everywhere

Related: The Coleman Dual Fuel Stove is a great stove to use with the Marine Alcohol. This stove works with either liquid fuel or unleaded gasoline.

Check the price on Amazon

Sunnyside Corporation Denatured Alcohol

Sunnyside Corporation Denatured Alcohol

Price: Approx. $85

Weight: 41 pounds

Dimensions: 11.2 x 11.2 x 13.5 inches

Specific features: Shellac thinner and cleaner, dissolves the toughest stains including ink, for various purposes.

Best use: Fuel for alcohol appliances

Description: The Sunnyside Denatured Alcohol Fuel is a great fit for your alcohol stoves. Denatured alcohol contains a high content of ethanol, which is known for its great properties of clean burning and extreme hotness when used in stoves. It lights up, really easily, and maintains a clean, steady flame, excellent for any cooking purposes.

Furthermore, it does not expose you to damaging and poisonous fumes or nasty smoke unlike other alcohol fuels, and this is a plus when it comes to safety issues.

This denatured alcohol can also be used as a shellac thinner and cleaner. It is multi-functional in that it can also dissolve the toughest inks on your equipment, making it a multipurpose alcohol. Actually, due to the large size of its package, painters in different cleaning processes use it, from walls, to windows and other surfaces. If combined with painter’s tape, this becomes a great combo for cleaning.

PROS:

  • Multipurpose alcohol, helps cleaning
  • Doesn’t release any poisonous fumes

CONS:

  • The package is too big and heavy, uncomfortable to take on outdoor trips

Related: As said above, a good add-on to this alcohol is the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, which won’t dissolve or be affected by the alcohol, allowing you to put it on top of the surfaces you don’t want to clean.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

We have provided you with the best choices of alcohol fuels for your stoves. Prior to reviewing these products, we’ve detailed to you the different types of fuels in an attempt to help you so that you can make an informed choice.

Best Alcohol Stove Fuel

As you have seen, denatured alcohol fuels are predominantly used in our reviewed products due to their safety and effectiveness. They mostly contain a high concentration of ethanol with other additives. It is rare to find the pure ethanol, which is also relatively expensive compared to denatured alcohol.

If you have any questions or you simply want to leave a comment about the products, feel free to share your thoughts or experiences, or ask a question in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca J. Crawford
Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another passion of Rebecca is ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy.

  • Kenny Stewart

    I want to buy the fuel from Klean-Strip for use on the next backpacking trip but I am worried about how I will transport it. Can I put it in a metallic flask and stick in into my backpack. Will my flask be a safe way of transporting it or do I have to get a special container to carry it in?

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    You can place them in those small flask bottles made of plastic that can be bought from the liquor store. This container fits your outside backpack pocket, so its convenient to take. Besides, you don’t need to bring so much fuel.

  • Mackenzie Hill

    How high does the flame from the Real Flame Gel Fuel burn? And, can I use it to roast some simple eats, say marshmallows? Is the fuel safe for such tasks or will it be unhealthy to roast my marshmallows on the flames of this fuel?

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    The height of the flame is around 4-6 inches tops. And it’s a no-no if you’re going to toast some marshmallows. The marshmallows will taste like “fuel pops” – old joke from my buddies…but really, it will taste funny.

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