Stoves are one of the most important pieces of equipment in any kitchen. With technological advancement, there are many different types of stoves for the customers. One of the most recent innovations when it comes to stoves is the arrival of multi-fuel stoves. However, it is important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of multi-fuel stoves to make the right choice.
What are Multi-Fuel Stoves?
In simplest terms, multi-fuel stoves are stoves that can run on multiple fuels rather than only a particular one. You can use charcoal, wood, peat, or smokeless fuel to keep these stoves running. It isn’t necessary to use a specific fuel and you can do mix-and-match as well. The multi-fuel stoves are preferred compared to the simple wood stoves due to many reasons.
Here are a few benefits of multi-fuel stoves.
Pros of Multi-Fuel Stoves
One of the main reasons why multi-fuel stoves have been invented is that they provide better and increased reliability to the users. In many parts of the world, stoves run on gas supplied through gas pipelines. In case there is an accident or problem in the gas pipeline, the stove becomes unusable. In countries such as the USA, people in Texas suffered specifically when the massive snowstorm hit the state in 2021 and there was a major power outage. Those who had electric stoves were no longer able to cook for days and had to rely on canned food items only.
However, in the case of multi-fuel stoves, this problem is resolved to a major extent as they run on different types of solid fuels. This includes wood, charcoal, and peat. No matter if you have a power outage or there is an issue with the gas pipeline, the use of wood and charcoal in a multi-fuel stove would allow you to continue your cooking without any problems. It is also considered a wise choice for rural areas where there are unreliable power connections.
When we compare the multi-fuel stoves with gas and electric stoves, we evaluate that the multi-fuel stoves are the cheapest among all. This is because there is no complicated piping or electronic control panels that would add up to the cost. If you are low on budget, a multi-fuel stove would be a far better option as compared to any gas or electric stove. On average, you might be able to get a multi-fuel stove for less than $80.
Allows for Smokeless Fuel
One key benefit of using multi-fuel stoves is that they allow smokeless fuel to be used in them. Contrary to the wood-burning stove, this is a major improvement as it results in minimum emissions from the stove and maximum output. Moreover, this has reduced the environmental concerns that arise from the burning of wood and charcoal as well as other smoky fuels.
Provides the Real Ambiance and Taste
Traditionally, food used to be cooked on solid fuels such as coal and wood. Nowadays, modern gas stoves and electric stoves have become a common trend. However, if you are looking for the real ambiance, taste, and a perfect delicacy, do it the way it used to be done. By using a multi-fuel stove, you are going for the “real thing”.
No Technical Work Required
One good thing about multi-fuel stoves is that it does not need any kind of expertise to be operated. It has an easy-to-use mechanism that provides simple and convenient operation for the users. In the case of gas stoves and electric stoves, many different problems may occur over time. For example, the gas stoves sometimes have dirt stuck in the pipeline while the electric stoves may develop a problem with their control panel. However, a multi-fuel stove does not have any complex features which is why you won’t have it break down. Also, no technician or servicing is required thereby saving you on cost.
Learn more about other types of stove here – Types of Stoves
Cons of Multi-Fuel Stoves
Despite the numerous benefits of multi-fuel stoves, there are some drawbacks as well which should be considered before making your purchase.
Not Environmental Friendly
Although smokeless fuels have made their way to the markets, yet the concept of burning hasn’t been fully eliminated and emissions continue to damage the environment. Comparing this aspect with a gas stove or an electric stove, we can see that multi-fuel stoves are non-environmental friendly. Gas stoves have a minimum impact because they are either being run on gas cylinders or gas pipelines. Electric stoves are even better as they have the least possible impact on the environment.
Despite the fact that a multi-fuel stove is smaller than an electric or gas stove, it still requires extra storage. This is because the fuel you have to burn inside the multi-fuel stove needs to be stored. No matter if it is wood, charcoal, or smokeless fuel, all three of them have to be stored in large quantities at all times to make sure that you always have sufficient fuel for daily usage as well as for emergencies. Therefore, the extra storage is a drawback of multi-fuel stoves.
Increased Fire Risk
A gas stove comes with a regulator that limits the supply of gas to the stove to avoid any kind of fire hazard. An electric stove eliminates the concept of fire to heat the food. However, when it comes to the traditionally-used multi-fuel stoves, there is a high risk of fire. The fire will be there due to the burning of wood or other kinds of fuel. The flames of fire will be high and may get uncontrollable too.
Lack of Control on Temperature
When using a gas stove, some knobs allow you to adjust the flame accordingly. You can turn the knob in your desired direction to either increase the flame or reduce it. This allows you to cook foods that require low heat on a low flame and also allows you to cook foods that require high heat on a high flame. Similarly, electric stoves have a control panel that allows you to set the temperature and adjust it accordingly as per your requirements.
However, multi-fuel stoves do not provide any specific controlling mechanism. The fuel continues to burn and the temperature cannot be adjusted in any automated way. All you can do to adjust the temperature is to add more fuel to increase it or add less fuel to decrease it. Even then, you are unaware of the precise temperature and it is all based on approximate ideas. Cooking may not be the best just because you are not having a suitable control on cooking temperature. Just imagine, some guests are there and you can’t cook food on an instant notice because the stove isn’t burning and you have to get it started up.
It is one of the biggest problems with multi-fuel stoves.
Needs to be Installed with Proper Ventilation
While every kind of stove does require some sort of ventilation so that extra smoke does not stay there, the case is a bit too much when it comes to multi-fuel stoves. You would need to make sure that a fan is always running while the stove is burning. Moreover, ventilation is essential otherwise the high amount of smoke created from the stove will remain there. For electric and gas stoves, the smoke isn’t too much and does not stay there but because of the distinctive burning properties of wood and charcoal, the smoke, as well as its smell, could stay for a longer duration.
One of the biggest cons of multi-fuel stoves is that they are not popular. With the arrival of gas stoves and electric stoves, multi-fuel stoves have become outdated too. They will not be something that will add more value to your kitchen. There are several other problems related to this as well. Since these stoves are not quite popular, there are only a few places where you can get smokeless fuel. Sometimes, even wood and charcoal are difficult to fetch. The shortage of fuel makes these stoves a less feasible idea for day-to-day cooking requirements.
Multi-fuel stoves are a great invention and have assisted in the traditional cooking aspect. While they certainly aren’t used in modern-day routine cooking, they are surely a great item when you have to go to a picnic, camping, or any other such spot. We recommend you make your purchase based on the comprehensive list of benefits and drawbacks of multi-fuel stoves mentioned above.