Choosing the Right Stove For Your Outdoor Kitchen

When it comes to adding a propane camp stove to your outdoor kitchen, there’s no shortage of options. In fact, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the number of different sizes, weights, BTU outputs, and features. Do you want the compact stove with two 20,000 BTU burners, or the powerful three-burner with folding legs?

Fortunately, you can narrow down your choices by asking yourself a few questions: How many people are you cooking for? Where are you going to use your stove? Finally, how much cooking power do you need?

Group Size

First, let’s talk about how many hungry mouths you plan to feed on a regular basis. This is the biggest factor in determining the size of your stove.


1-4 People

If you only need to cook for yourself or a few others, you should browse our selection of compact stoves. Camp Chef’s Mountain Series stoves are perfect for small group cooking. You can enjoy a warm meal in the outdoors without all the fuss of packing lots of gear. Our favorites in this category are the Everest and the Ranger.

4-7 People

Most of us probably fall in this category. You want the freedom to cook for the whole family wherever you go, but you don’t need the biggest stove on the market. One of the many two-burner stoves we offer will handle the job nicely. With two full burners, you have enough space to customize your cooking experience with two different stove accessories or one large accessory.

7+ People

For big tailgating parties, family events, scouting trips, or neighborhood barbecues, you need all the cooking space you can get. We recommend a three-burner stove like the Pro 90X (especially if you want a mobile cook station), a four-burner stove like the Somerset IV, or a grill like the Flat Top Grill for the back patio. The Pro 90X features side shelves for a little extra prep space with all your food, while the Somerset IV gives you shelves and even more cooking space with four full burners. And for maximum cooking space, the Flat Top Grill 900 h houses our largest cooking capacity.


You should also consider where you want to use your stove most frequently. Is it going to stay out on your back patio most of the year? Or are you wanting to pack up and go every weekend?


On the Trail

Activities like backpacking, skiing, and hiking call for the most lightweight stoves. You can find that in the Stryker or the Jetboil. They are perfect for boiling water for soup, hot drinks, or dried meals. Other outdoor adventures like mountain biking, ATV riding, and snowmobiling may allow for a little more packing room. You will want to bring along a stove like the Teton or Camper’s Combo to cook up lunch while you’re taking a break.

On the Patio

If you want your stove to be more or less a permanent patio fixture, you should research the Somerset IV and the Flat Top Grill. As mentioned above, both are excellent options when it comes to cooking for large groups. Their heavy-duty construction and large size make them perfect as the centerpiece of a backyard kitchen. You may also want to consider a a pellet grill for the back patio. With a large cook chambers, patented ash-cleanout, a side shelf, and a full line of accessories to doll it up, you’ll be the neighborhood’s most popular barbecue master.

At the Campsite

Are you looking for a camp stove specifically? There are two sizes to consider: car camping stoves and compact camping stoves. For a casual family weekend at the campsite, you can easily pack a two-burner stove in and out of your car. With a carry bag, you can fit the removable legs and stove into one portable compartment. However, if you plan to camp in a more remote location where you won’t have immediate access to your vehicle, you can look back at the Camp Chef Mountain Series. These compact stoves are lightweight and easy to transport.

At the Tailgate Party

The two-burner and three-burner stoves we carry are awesome stoves for tailgating. Some of our top picks are the Pro 60X and Pro 90X. With built-in leg levelers, these stoves can cook in a slanted parking lot or uneven dirt without your food sliding around. They also have folding side shelves for extra prep space—always a must when you’re dealing with a lot of food. When you’re ready to pack it up for the game, all you have to do is fold down the shelves and legs, and you’re ready to go.

Power Level

Finally, you should consider what type of cooking challenge you’ll be throwing at your stove most often. Are you hoping to cook a small camp breakfast with bacon, eggs, and pancakes? Or are you an avid fisher who loves big seafood boils? You need different levels of heat output depending on what you want to do.

BTU Output

10,000 BTU

For light cooking in temperate weather, a 10,000 BTU stove will be able to handle the job. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are a measurement of energy output. You can find out more information about BTU measurement right here. Most of our compact stoves are 10,000 BTU, which is comparable to your average kitchen cooktop.

20,000-30,000 BTU

Many prefer a little more power; in that case, check out a two-burner or three-burner stove. The majority of stoves you’ll find on Outdoor Cooking land in the 20,000-30,000 BTU range, which is more than enough power to boil water with ease and hold up in inclement weather. On the other hand, you still have the capability to bring the heat down to a light simmer. For the widest range of cooking heat options and versatility, you want to look in this range.

60,000 BTU

High pressure stoves boast up to 60,000 BTU—more than triple what you’ll find with your kitchen stove. These are specialty stoves that are perfect for home brewing, deep frying, and water bath canning. They aren’t built for regular cook jobs; rather, their high power is designed to boil large amounts of liquid quickly. If you’re an enthusiastic home brewer or canner, you’ll want a powerful, single-burner stove.

Your Turn

Large group or small, backcountry or back patio, low pressure or high pressure, Outdoor Cooking has the perfect stove for your outdoor kitchen. It’s time to embrace the options and find the cooker that matches what you need. Take a look at our stove inventory today.