Best Emergency Indoor Cooking Stove (and how to use it safely)


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Last Updated: March 8, 2021

An indoor emergency stove is one of the most important items to have in case of a power outage or natural disaster. Not only do you need a stove for cooking all those dry beans and rice you stockpiled, but also for boiling water and possibly even disinfecting bandages.

Unless you want to venture outdoors to cook, it’s important that you choose an indoors-safe emergency stove.

This article will go over the best indoor stoves for emergencies and also everything you need to know in order to use one safely.

Our Top Pick

GasOne Dual Fuel Stove

An affordable and lightweight option which can run on butane or propane.Check On Amazon

Other Picks

Can You Use a Gas or Camping Stove Indoors?

So long as you have proper ventilation, you can safely use gas or camping stoves indoors.

However, anytime you burn something indoors (even candles!) there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  For this reason, most gas stoves are labeled as “outdoor only.”

Even gas ranges made for indoor use should be used with hoods that vent to the outside.  Some local building codes even require it.

It’s worth noting that some fuels produce much more carbon monoxide than others.  For this reason, it is NEVER recommended to use charcoal grills or kerosene stoves indoors.

By comparison, propane, white gas, butane, isobutene, and alcohol stoves are safer to use indoors – though they still require proper ventilation.

If you are interested in emergency stoves that can be used outdoors, see our post on 22 ways to cook without electricity when the grid is down.

How to Safely Use an Emergency Stove Indoors

Use a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Anyone who plans on using combustibles (gas, wood, alcohol, etc.) for cooking or heating should have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.  These don’t cost that much and could save your life.

Likewise, make sure you have spare batteries set aside for the CO detector.  

See our picks for battery-operated CO detectors.

Check Stove Ventilation Requirements

Usually, you only need to crack the window an inch or two to provide enough ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  However, the amount of ventilation a stove requires varies depending on factors like the type of fuel used, room size, BTUs, and how completely the stove burns its fuel.   Always check with the manufacturer to make sure you are ventilating properly.

Keep Pots and Pans High Off the Flame

Stoves produce more carbon monoxide when a cold pot is sitting close to the flame.  Likewise, anything that disrupts the flame will cause the stove to produce more carbon monoxide.

Thus, you never want to put a pot or pan directly on the burner; keep elevated 1-3 inches off the flame.   The best emergency stoves remedy this problem by having higher pot stands.

Cook on the High Setting

Many stoves don’t burn fuel as completely when they are on the low setting. So, a stove will actually produce more carbon monoxide on low than on high.

Avoid meals that require long simmering on the low setting.  I personally avoid simmering completely; foods like pasta can be cooked on high for 2-3 minutes then put a lid on the pot and turn off the flame completely.  After 20 minutes of sitting in the hot water, they will be ready to eat.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Ready

Before using your emergency stove, take out your fire extinguisher (every home should have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor).  Keep it next to the stove so it’s ready in case you need it.

Obviously, you’ll want to follow other fire safety precautions too, like keeping the emergency stove on a sturdy surface and far away from flammables.  Keep children and pets away too. 

Best Indoor Emergency Stoves Reviewed

GasOne Dual Fuel Propane Butane Stove

Best For: All-around quality stove that runs on butane or propane

  • Fuel type: Propane or 8oz butane canisters
  • Max BTUs: 15,000
  • Number of Burners: 1

The reason that we love this emergency stove so much is that it can use both butane canisters or propane.  This gives you more options in case you run out of one type of fuel or one isn’t available.

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The 8oz butane canister fits on the side of the stove.  If you want to use propane, you’ll have to use the hose (included) to connect it to a 16.4oz tank.  Be careful that you set the propane tank somewhere sturdy so it doesn’t fall and take the stove down with it.

It’s also possible to connect to larger propane tanks if you have your own hose.

The single burner has an adjustable strength of up to 15,000BTUs which is adequate for cooking simple meals and boiling drinking water for a small family.

While I wouldn’t use this stove for cooking giant pots of beans, it is an affordable, lightweight, and portable solution.

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Gas One Portable Butane Stove

Best For: Cheap solution for cooking small meals during power outages

  • Fuel type: 8oz butane canisters
  • Max BTUs: 7,650
  • Number of Burners: 1

If you just need a portable stove for cooking small during emergencies, this is a cheap solution.  It uses butane canisters that fit into the side.  It’s simple to use and the burner is large enough so your pots and pans won’t wobble around.

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The adjustable flame only produces 7,650BTUs at the highest setting.  This is low and it will take a very long time for water to boil (around 5 minutes for 2 cups).

If you try to boil large amounts of water with the stove, such as to cook a pot to beans, you’ll quickly blow through your butane canisters.  The stove itself might also overheat and turn off.

For that reason, I only recommend this stove for small meals like frying eggs or heating soup.

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Coleman Triton Stove

Best For: Sturdy stove that can be used with larger propane tanks

  • Fuel type: Propane
  • Max BTUs: 11,000 (per burner)
  • Number of Burners: 2

I’ve been using Coleman stoves since I was a kid and went backpacking with my dad. I loved them then and generally, still love them now.

The stoves are built well enough to handle some rigorous use and generally foolproof to cook on.  There is plenty of space on the stove for two pans, so you can cook proper meals on this stove even during an emergency.   The wide base means the stove is stable.

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Compared to the Coleman Classic, the Triton stove is a bit slimmer in design.  It also has pot stands that are slightly higher, which is good for reducing the amount of carbon monoxide produced.

Just note that there is no “low” setting: it’s either high or very high.  And you’ll need a candle lighter as the stove doesn’t have Insta-ignition. I personally prefer manual ignition as it’s more reliable.

It has an adapter for fitting 1lb propane tanks.  If you get the right hose, you can use it with larger propane tanks too.  However, the regulator on the stove is made for 1lb tanks so it won’t work as efficiently with a large 20lb tank.

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Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove

Best For: Long-term power outages

  • Fuel type: Propane
  • Max BTUs: 30,000 (per burner)
  • Number of Burners: 2

This propane stove was designed for large outdoor cookouts.  However, so long as you have adequate ventilation, it’s also a good option for long-term emergency preparedness.

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Compared to other emergency stoves, the burners are very strong at 30,000BTUs each.  You’ll actually be able to cook all those dry beans and rice you stockpiled, plus boil water.

The cooking surface is large enough for big pots.  A lot of people use this for canning and say it can easily hold over 50lbs.

Because the legs are removable, you can keep this stove stored away until it is needed.  The only real annoyance is that the 32” cooking height is short for some people (standard stove height is 36”). The stove includes a windscreen and hose.

There is also an optional storage bag, grill, and griddle.

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Lixada Alcohol and Wood Stove

Best For: Backup stove

  • Fuel type: Alcohol, wood
  • Max BTUs: N/A
  • Number of Burners: 1

Lixada is a great emergency stove because it can burn wood or alcohol.  While you shouldn’t burn wood indoors in a stove like this, alcohol is clean-burning and safe for indoors (with ventilation).

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The problem with most alcohol stoves for cooking though is that they usually don’t have a way to control the flame.  Lixada Stove solves this by including a flame regulator.  It allows you to partially cover the flame so you can lower the heat for simmering.  The feature does take some fiddling to master though.

The entire burner setup is very lightweight and packs down tiny.  It will take about 5-7 minutes to boil 32fl. ounces of water with alcohol and expect 3oz of alcohol to burn for 15 minutes.

While I wouldn’t want this as my primary indoor emergency stove, it’s great as a backup and you can always take it outdoors to use with sticks.

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MSR PocketRocket

Best For: Singles in small spaces

  • Fuel type: Isobutane-propane threaded canisters
  • Max BTUs: 8,200
  • Number of Burners: 1

The MSR PocketRocket is legendary in the backpacking community because it is so lightweight and compact.

While the small cooking surface is terrible for large pots and makes it pretty wobbly, it is a great solution for singles or couples with limited storage space.

Not only is the stove itself tiny, but isobutane-propane canisters are much more efficient than propane or butane so you don’t need as many canisters.

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When used indoors (and thus without wind), the PocketRocket should boil a liter of water in 3.5 minutes.  You can easily adjust the flame level. Removing the stove from the threaded canisters is easy.  Just be careful about balancing pots on top of the stove. It’s easy to have your entire meal fall off the tiny surface.

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JetBoil Flash Cooking System

Best For: Boiling water, efficiency

  • Fuel type: Isobutane-propane threaded canisters
  • Max BTUs: 9,000
  • Number of Burners: 1

Like the MSR PocketRock, the JetBoil flash also uses isobutene canisters.  It too can boil a liter of water in 3.5 minutes.  However, the JetBoil is much more efficient and barely uses any fuel to do so.  This is because it has a built-in windscreen.  The included pot also has an insulating cozy so it holds heat as it boils.

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This efficiency makes JetBoil Flash the perfect solution for boiling water during boil alerts.

It’s not great for cooking traditional meals in it.  However, you can cook freeze-dried meals: first boil water in the pot then add your meal and let it cook inside the pot.

You can also cook instant rice, soups, and some other boil foods in it. It takes a bit of trial-and-error to cook with this method but is faster and more efficient than virtually any other emergency stove.

While the JetBoil Flash is a bit pricier than backpacking stoves, you actually save money long-term because of fuel saved.

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