The first portable gas grill that I bought was in a rush, with no decision based on other than what was in stock at the nearest mass retailer at the best price. I was in a hurry because I had traveled to where I was on a long weekend vacation with my wife. Upon arriving at our lakeside condo rental I first went to check out what I had looked forward to doing the whole trip – grilling out all our dinners. Imagine my disappointment upon finding that the promised gas grill was a hunk of junk that did not work and was simply ready to be hauled away. (I know this article is supposed to be about portable gas stove BTU ratings, but this lead story has a point – stay with me.)
The only option we had was to move to a less desirable condo location with a working grill or stay where we were and make the best of it. We opted to stay where we were and I immediately proceeded to WalMart where I purchased a portable Coleman gas grill. I got lucky. Not knowing what I was doing I still chose a good one for a good price.
I know that a portable gas grill is not the same thing as a portable gas stove, but they both share an important consideration before making a decision to buy and that is the BTU rating of the individual stove or grill burners.
The difference between a portable gas grill and a stove is that the grill’s burners distribute heat along a tube to evenly heat the grill’s grate. The portable gas stove’s burners will direct more concentrated heat upward to a traditional stove top eye. But for both, the BTU rating is the important feature to consider to get an idea of cooking heat. On Amazon, a typical minimum burner BTU rating for portable gas stoves appeared to be 10,000 BTUs. A good rule of thumb is to look at units that at least have this rating for each individual burners. Be careful – some units will give you a total BTU rating for all burners instead of for each individual burner.
One BTU is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of water by one degree. Think of BTU comparisons for a portable stove burner as comparing which stoves will boil water faster – those burners with the higher BTU ratings should boil water faster than those with lower ratings.
While BTU is just one factor to consider when purchasing a portable gas stove, it is an important one. After all, while the cooking is a fun part of the outdoors experience, you don’t want to spend all day waiting for water to boil or eggs to fry. Use the BTU rating to make a decision for a stove that will heat quicker. Remember, simply ask which burner should boil water faster?