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HomeCampingButane vs Propane vs Isobutane (Which is Greatest?)

Butane vs Propane vs Isobutane (Which is Greatest?)

Shopping for new cooking tools for tenting?

It’s best to begin with the tenting range, proper? Mistaken.

First, you’ll wish to select the kind of gasoline that can energy that range.

The preferred decisions amongst campers are butane, propane and isobutane. However which one is the very best?

Properly, there’s no simple reply to this query, as there are a number of components concerned.

Step one towards discovering the reply is figuring out the distinction between the three.

That’s why we’re right here at present. On this article, we’ll speak about every of those gasoline sorts, in addition to how they examine.

With out additional ado, I current to you the butane vs propane vs isobutane showdown.

Additionally Learn: Varieties of Tenting Stoves (Professionals/Cons of Every Range Sort)

Butane vs Propane vs Isobutane

There are a number of forms of tenting range fuels out there. However the ones used mostly are liquified petroleum gases. These embrace:

  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Isobutane
  • White fuel

What makes the primary three totally different from white fuel is the truth that the latter is stored in liquid type.

On the first look, propane, butane and isobutane all seem like fairly comparable.

However they’re really fairly totally different. Let’s speak about every of them specifically.


butane stove Butane vs Propane vs Isobutane

Butane is a colorless, odorless and simply liquefied fuel. This makes it nice for a wide range of functions, together with heating gasoline.

And as such, it’s been a preferred alternative amongst campers for a very long time now.

Butane is extraordinarily flammable, which suggests it burns very effectively – so long as the temperature is nicely above the freezing level.

It lights up virtually immediately, so there’s no ready earlier than you can begin cooking.

What’s extra, butane is fairly easy to make use of. Simply connect the canister to the range, and that’s it!

Not simply that, nevertheless it’s additionally available at most massive field shops at an inexpensive value.

And whereas it’s not refillable, it’s offered in small canisters (between 4 and 16 ounces) product of aluminum, which is a really mild materials. For that motive, butane gasoline is a superb possibility even when cupboard space could be very restricted.

And whereas it’s true that you simply shouldn’t inhale butane instantly, there’s virtually no danger of toxicity is you employ it correctly.

Plus, because it burns cleanly, butane is just not contributing to world warming and environmental air pollution.

Nevertheless, the primary downside with utilizing butane lies in the truth that it doesn’t carry out nicely at cooler temperatures. Its flash level is 30.2° Fahrenheit, which is slightly below freezing. What this implies is you received’t be capable of cook dinner on it as soon as the surface temperature reaches this level.

However should you’re tenting throughout hotter months, butane gasoline is a superb alternative for you.

Particularly on shorter mountain climbing journeys, contemplating how compact and transportable its canister is.

pros and cons of using butane Butane vs Propane vs Isobutane

Benefits of Utilizing Butane

  • Cheap
  • Butane works rapidly
  • Simple to make use of
  • Much less poisonous and environmentally pleasant
  • Simple to hold
  • Power environment friendly

Disadvantages of Utilizing Butane

  • Not for tenting in winter
  • Not for indoor use
  • Canisters aren’t refillable

How you can Use a Butane Range?

Utilizing a butane range is definitely fairly easy. Right here’s what you have to do:

  1. Earlier than you begin doing something, guarantee that the range dial is about to the “off” place. That method, there’s no risk of accidents whereas setting it up.
  2. Open the compartment the place the butane canister ought to sit.
  3. Place down the canister, with the arrow on it pointing in the direction of the dial.
  4. Line up the latch range with the divet on the canister.
  5. Shut the compartment door and press the lock lever down.
  6. Flip the ignite dial clockwise till you hear a click on sound, after which the flames will seem.
  7. After the hearth begins burning, you may alter the quantity of fuel stream by turning the knob left or proper.
  8. When you’re completed cooking, flip off the range by switching the knob all the way in which to “OFF.”
  9. Take away the canister from the range, then put them apart, away from daylight.


Propane - Coleman Camping Propane

Like butane, propane can be colorless and odorless fuel compressed and saved as a liquid.

In the present day, propane is used for all the pieces from tenting stoves to dwelling heating techniques and home equipment.

As a result of it has such broad use, it’s no shock yow will discover it just about anyplace.

Whether or not it’s {hardware}, outside, retail retailer or a fuel station, there’s a 99% probability you’re capable of get it there.

Due to its common use, propane is offered in several sizes, starting from 16 ounces to as a lot as 1,000 gallons. In fact, the bigger ones are designated for heating houses or powering a number of home equipment.

For tenting, you’ll be sticking with a canister between 1 and 5 kilos (1 pound propane canister pictured above). What’s nice about propane canisters is that they’re refillable.

This implies you don’t have to purchase them each time you run out of gasoline – so that you’re each saving your cash and the setting from pointless waste.

The truth that the smallest canister is 16 ounces is a little bit of a disadvantage.

Since propane is saved at excessive strain, it requires a tricky canister to carry it in – often product of stainless-steel.

This implies it’s a bit heavier, in addition to bulkier, for a backpacking journey in comparison with another gasoline alternate options.

However that doesn’t imply propane doesn’t have its benefits over different forms of gasoline. An important one is its skill to work nicely in hostile situations.

Propane has a boiling level of -43.6° Fahrenheit. Because of this, so long as the outside temperature is above that, your range will work simply high quality.

Because of this, propane is superior with regards to tenting in chilly situations.

What’s extra, propane additionally works nicely whatever the altitude you’re at.

So should you’re tenting within the mountains, that is your greatest gasoline possibility.

Lastly, nothing much less essential is the truth that propane is environmentally pleasant. Whereas it does emit a reasonably low quantity of carbon monoxide, it doesn’t emit any dangerous substances similar to sulfur dioxide or methane.

pros and cons of propane Butane vs Propane vs Isobutane

Benefits of Utilizing Propane

  • Works nicely in hostile situations
  • Clear and versatile gasoline
  • Emits 60% much less carbon monoxide
  • No fugitive emissions
  • Canisters are refillable

Disadvantages of Utilizing Propane

How you can Use a Propane Range

Utilizing a propane range is barely totally different than utilizing one powered with butane. However nonetheless, it’s nothing sophisticated. Right here’s what you have to do

  1. Make certain the knob is within the “off” place earlier than you begin organising the range.
  2. Screw within the regulator till it’s hand-tight. In case you’re utilizing a bigger canister than a 16-ounce one, you’ll want a specifically designed tenting propane hose as a substitute.
  3. Take away the plastic can from the top of the propane bottle, and screw it onto the regulator.
  4. You need the bottle to be tilted, with the top dealing with up.
  5. Seize a lighted match and maintain it close to the burner, whereas on the identical time turning the knob on.
  6. Alter the temperature as you want. You wish to see the blue flames with a touch of yellow on the high.
  7. When you’re completed cooking, flip the knobs again to the “off” place.
  8. Unscrew and take away the canister from the range.


isobutane stove

Isobutane, because the title suggests, is an isomer of butane. What this implies is that each compounds have the identical system, however their molecules have totally different positions. And due to that, these two isomers behave barely in another way.

Specifically, isobutane can work at temperatures as little as 14° Fahrenheit, which is way decrease than its counterpart.

This makes isobutane an acceptable alternative for tenting all through most a part of the yr.

What’s additionally nice about isobutane is that it has extra power packers into it by quantity. This implies you may cook dinner longer with much less gasoline, when in comparison with the opposite two choices.

Moreover, isobutane is offered in canisters ranging between 4 and eight ounces, which makes it appropriate for backpacking and mountain climbing.

Yow will discover these canisters in most outside and large field shops.

You may also discover it at sure fuel stations, however that’s not as widespread.

Typically, isobutane is combined with propane to create a mix that has a little bit of each.

These merchandise burn nicely in chilly temperatures however aren’t as heavy as basic propane canisters.

Pros & Con Of isobutane

Benefits of Utilizing Isobutane

  • Canisters are lighter and smaller
  • Simpler to hold lengthy distances
  • Extra power packed

Disadvantages of Utilizing Isobutane

  • Doesn’t work nicely at excessive altitudes
  • Doesn’t work nicely under 14 levels Fahrenheit
  • Have to purchase a brand new container each time.

How you can Use an Isobutane Tenting Range

An isobutane range is arguably the simplest one to arrange. In any case, they’re primarily designed for backpacking and ultralight tenting. Right here’s learn how to use it:

  1. Unfold out the pot help elements absolutely.
  2. Fold the flame management deal with in place and place it to be fully closed.
  3. Screw the range onto the isobutane canister. Screw it tight, however not overly, as it will possibly put on out the range ring.
  4. Flip the flame management counterclockwise a partial flip, then mild the range.
  5. As soon as completed, flip the flame off.
  6. Let the range calm down earlier than disassembling it.

Butane vs. Propane

Let’s see how these two fuels examine in several classes:

As you may see Propane is the clear winner in nearly all the pieces however weight and security. If weight is your concern and the climate is acceptable butane could also be a better option for you.

However on the whole Propane is extra available and is best for the setting because it is available in refillable containers.

Butane vs Isobutane

Right here’s a comparability of those two isomers:

Just like the final comparability, isobutane beats out butane in so many components. Not solely is it cheaper, nevertheless it works to 14° Fahrenheit and is best outfitted for many chilly climate conditions. In fact if weight is an element than butane would be the higher possibility and it’s certainly much less flamable.

Isobutane vs Propane

Lastly, let’s see which one in every of these gases performs higher in several classes:

On this case, there are once more clear advantages to each. Isobutane is a superb alternative for these on the lookout for a light-weight and smaller possibility and a bit safer fuel.

Alternatively propane goes to work significantly better in excessive temperatures (all the way down to -43.6° Fahrenheit), and it’s going to price much less too. Not solely that, however its refillable containers are extra sustainable.

How you can Select the Greatest Fuel Range for Tenting

You’re most likely questioning – which range is best for tenting? And to offer you a solution, first we have to see how nicely they carry out in several classes.

Gasoline Availability

fuel availablity

Since every of those fuels is used for tenting, you’d anticipate finding them at outside gear shops, proper?

Properly, that’s not all the time the case.

Butane, as an example, is just not that widespread to see on cabinets in a neighborhood outside retailer.

Positive, yow will discover butane canisters in Walmart, however so far as extra distant areas go, you’ll most likely have extra bother discovering them.

Propane, then again, is extensively out there. Not simply in outside and {hardware} shops, however you may as well get it at fuel stations.

In any case, it’s generally used not only for tenting, however for dwelling functions as nicely.

Isobutane falls within the center floor. Yow will discover it at outside gear in addition to massive field shops, however the additional you progress from the town, the tougher it will get to seek out it.

Range Compatibility

Clearly, there’s actually no level in proudly owning a sure gasoline canister should you can’t use it along with your range.

Now, there are 1,000,000 totally different tenting stoves available on the market.

Besides, most of them work on one of many three gasoline sorts we’re reviewing at present.

A superb majority of 2-burner stoves available on the market run on propane.

And whereas for a brief tenting journey utilizing a 16-ounce canister appears extra sensible, you may connect a propane tank of any dimension if you would like.

Smaller, single burner stoves often run on butane. Nevertheless, this kind of range is just not as widespread because it was.

Lastly, backpacking stoves are largely powered by both isobutane or isobutane-propane combo.

Nevertheless, yow will discover sure fashions that work with multiple gasoline supply, though they’re uncommon.

Gasoline Value

Nothing much less essential issue is the worth of every gasoline sort.

And whereas the precise numbers differ from retailer to retailer and from place to position, we are able to get a tough estimate.

The primary spot with regards to gasoline price undoubtedly goes to propane.

Not solely is it cheaper per pound in comparison with the opposite two fuels, however you may as well get it in a lot bigger canisters.

Plus, because the canister is refillable, you solely want to purchase it as soon as, in comparison with the opposite two.

Butane tends to be extra inexpensive than isobutane, however because it’s not as extensively out there as different forms of gasoline, you may battle to seek out it.

With isobutane, the worth additionally relies on the dimensions of the canister.

Often, isobutane is offered in canisters starting from 4 to 16 ounces. And the smaller you go, the pricier the ounce of this gasoline is.

Burn Effectivity

Burn effectivity is mainly a measure of how nicely a sure sort of gasoline is transferred into warmth.

And when these three sorts are in contrast, butane and isobutane have a slight win over propane.

However these numbers don’t really imply rather a lot. Why?

Properly, as a result of we even have to absorb different components as nicely, similar to the standard of your range and outdoors temperature.

In actuality, you’re not going to note any actual distinction between the three with regards to utilizing a tenting range.

You merely received’t cook dinner that a lot to make gasoline sort an enormous distinction with regards to burning effectivity.

Chilly Climate Tolerance

Cold Weather Tolerance

Every of those gases has a unique flash level – the temperature at which liquid turns to fuel.

So under these temperatures, these fuels flip into liquid, making it not possible to ignite a range.

So long as you’re tenting in a temperature that’s above -43.6° Fahrenheit, propane will maintain your range fueled.

In different phrases, you may virtually use it anyplace except for deeply into Antarctica.

With isobutane, the flash level is at 11° Fahrenheit. This makes it appropriate for many tenting journeys.

Butane, nevertheless, solely works when temperatures are above the freezing level.

For that motive, it’s best to solely pack it while you’re tenting throughout hotter months.

Dimension and Storage

Butane often is available in small canisters, ranging in dimension between 4 and 16 ounces.

They’re formed like spray paint, which makes them simple to pack inside your backpack.

And because the canister is product of aluminum, there’s virtually no added weight apart from the precise gasoline inside.

Equally, isobutane can be offered in small canisters. However in contrast to butane, isobutane is extra pressurized, so it requires a sturdier canister.

Usually, metal is used, however alloys are additionally widespread.

Propane is certainly the heaviest one to hold round, as its canisters are product of metal.

Moreover, the smallest dimension out there is 16 ounces, which may be heavy while you’re backpacking.

Learn: What’s Backpacking? The Final Information for Rookies

Security Ideas for Utilizing a Tenting Range

Safety Tips for Using a Camping Stove

Like every other gasoline, fuel fuels pose sure dangers when utilizing them.

However, with a number of issues to regulate, there’s no motive why you couldn’t use one safely.

Guarantee Ample Airflow

Since they’re fueled with liquid petroleum gases, camp stoves produce carbon monoxide whereas burning.

The issue with carbon monoxide is that it’s odorless, colorless, tasteless and, most significantly, harmful should you inhale a variety of it.

Carbon monoxide doesn’t pose a severe risk exterior, because it mixes with the oxygen within the air.

However while you’re in a extra secluded area, there’s not sufficient airflow to permit the sufficient combination of those gases.

An excessive amount of carbon monoxide within the air is harmful to our well being. At first, it will possibly trigger dizziness and nausea, however in the end, it will possibly kill you.

Now, so long as you guarantee there’s sufficient airflow, this isn’t one thing you need to be fearful about.

Keep away from Wrapping Aluminum Foil

You may need seen folks wrapping range burners with aluminum foil.

That is often completed to make cleanup a neater process. However irrespective of how sensible it would seem, chorus from doing that.

Aluminum foil will get flamable at temperatures above 1220° Fahrenheit. (supply: Is Aluminum Foil Flammable?)

Properly, your range can attain that temperature with any of the three gasoline sorts.

If the foil catches on fireplace, that’s harmful not simply because the flames can unfold onto the environment.

It’s additionally harmful as a result of inhaling aluminum can get you sick as nicely.

Moreover, melted aluminum can fuse with the burner, thus rendering your range ineffective.

Use range in a well-ventilated place

After Use, Take away the Fuel Canister From the Range

As quickly as you’re completed cooking, flip off the range. Then, after it cools down after a couple of minutes, take away the fuel canister as nicely.

It’s true that you simply lose somewhat little bit of fuel each time you connect and detach it, nevertheless it’s all completed for security causes.

You’ll be able to by no means make certain when your range may malfunction. Whether or not you didn’t flip the knob all the way in which or one thing broke inside, something can probably trigger a gasoline leak.

However should you take away the canister from the range, that is now not one thing to fret about.

Do Not Use Pans Bigger Than These Indicated within the Instruction

Whereas technically you need to use a bigger pot with out damaging your range, that’s not really useful.

Utilizing a pot that’s bigger than the burner means solely the center a part of it’ll get warmed up.

This will simply get your meals scorched. And never simply that, however it’ll take for much longer to your meal to cook dinner.


How is isobutane totally different from butane?

Isobutane and butane have the identical chemical system, in addition to molar mass.

However their molecules are positioned in another way, inflicting the 2 gases to behave in another way.

Most significantly, isobutane has a decrease flash level than butane, making it extra appropriate for colder climate.

Is isobutane poisonous to people?

Like every other liquid petroleum fuel, isobutane emits carbon monoxide.

Whereas in small portions is innocent, an excessive amount of of it will possibly trigger severe well being points.

In reality, with out sufficient airflow, carbon monoxide can construct up sufficient to trigger dying.

Which is best: a butane or propane range?

Neither of the 2 is in the end higher than the opposite.

The reply to this query relies on the tenting situations. When you’re happening a brief backpacking journey throughout hotter months, a butane range is a greater possibility.

Alternatively, butane received’t work in chilly temperatures. In that case, propane is appropriate for such an setting.

Moreover, propane is best for RV tenting, since you might have sufficient cupboard space for a bigger canister.

How lengthy do butane stoves final?

This relies on the dimensions of the canister. An 8-ounce butane canister will burn for about 2 hours on excessive warmth.

On simmer, it will possibly final round 4 hours earlier than you run out of fuel.

To Sum Issues Up

So there you might have it, butane, propane and isobutane in contrast.

As you may see, there’s no clear winner on this battle.

Butane is straightforward to make use of, light-weight and compact, so it’s appropriate for informal tenting journeys.

Propane is nice for winter tenting, as it really works nicely even in excessive situations. It’s additionally significantly better for high-altitude tenting.

Isobutane has a little bit of each. It’s mild and compact, so it’s appropriate for backpacking.

It really works in comparatively cool temperatures as nicely, so it’s appropriate for many tenting journeys.

Finally, your best option is the one which fits your tenting situations essentially the most.



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