What do alcohol stove boil time test videos done in peoples’ kitchens, basements, and backyards tell you about the real world performance of your alcohol stove?
You can’t measure stove performance indoors unless you take into account all of the real-world factors that can affect boil times and fuel efficiency (arguably the more important measure.) Even then there are a gazillion variables that make these tests crude approximations, at best.
Here are a few of the most important variables that will completely change the boil time or fuel efficiency performance of an alcohol stove in real conditions.
- Wind speed because wind will kill the boil time or fuel efficiency performance of a stove, even when it’s protected by a wind screen.
- Cook pot shape. Cylindrical pots can waste heat by venting it up their sides while flatter pots capture more of the heat generate by a stove. It’s always important to match the shape and circumference of your stove with the right pot shape so you don’t waste fuel.
- Pot lids. Beware of tests that don’t us a pot lid because they waste so much heat. Pot lids also differ in whether they vent heat through colander holes or fit tightly on a pot.
- Distance between the bottom of the pot and the top of the flame: The hottest part of a flame is at its top so a pot stand may be required to get optimal heat transfer for different pot/stove combinations.
- Type of material that the pot is made out of. Different metals conduct energy better than others: Aluminum pots conduct heat better than stainless steel, which conduct heat better than titanium.
- Stove priming times. Alcohol and white gas stoves take time to prime and it is difficult to determine when the priming phase is over and the boiling/fuel efficiency test should begin.
- Fuel quality: There is a great deal of variability in the composition and purity of denatured alcohol from different manufacturers that will affect boil time and fuel efficiency performance.
- Environmental factors including barometric pressure, water temperature, air temperature, and the temperature of the surface that the stove is sitting on will all affect boil times and fuel efficiency.
Is there any value in of all those alcohol stove boiling time tests on Youtube?