Camping Hot Plate vs Propane Stove

Camping Hot Plate vs Propane Stove

There are more options than ever when cooking and preparing meals around the campsite.  Today’s camper can cook with a camping hot plate, propane stove, or even directly over the campfire.  With all these options though how are you supposed to know which campsite cooking option is the best?

This guide will help campers choose the best option and take the guesswork work out of campsite cooking.  Allowing campers of all skill levels to be just at home cooking while at the campsite as they are at home.


Camping Hot Plate

camping hot plate

The camping hot plate is simple by design and very easy to use even for the most novice of chefs.  A camping hot plate usually consists of a warming element, a knob to control the temperature, and a sturdy base for cooking on.  

Even though the camping hot plate uses a very simple design there are many different features and styles that differentiate various models of the hot plate.

One of the biggest varying factors is the wattage or power each unit uses.  Typically camping hot plates range between 750 to 1500 watts of power. The more watts the unit uses the faster it will heat up and the higher the temperature it can reach.  At the same time though the higher the wattage the more electricity the unit will use. 

Camping hot plates also come in a single or double burner design, use a coil or flat cooktop heating element,  and can incorporate many safety features such as indicator lights and automatic shut-offs.

Top Camping Hot Plates

IMUSA USA GAU-80305 Electric Single BurnerIMUSA USA GAU-80305 Electric Single Burner

  • 1100 Watts
  • Temperature Regulating Knob
  • Power Indiciating Light
  • Space Saving Single Burner Design




Aroma Housewares AHP-303/CHP-303 Single Hot Plate.Aroma Housewares AHP-303/CHP-303 Single Hot Plate

  • Easy to Clean Flat Cook Top
  • Variable Temperature Settings
  • Indicator Light 
  • Compact Single Burner Design


Best Use Cases for a Camping Hot Plate

Needing electricity to use a camping hot plate is a severe limitation of the product for camping.  As it is not uncommon to be without a reliable source of electricity while camping.  Also, forget about trying to power a camping hot plate with any type of battery power. Even using a lower wattage 750-watt model will still use far too much electricity for battery power.  

If you are at a campsite that has access to electricity though, the camping hot plate provides a simple and easy to use cooking option.  There is also a very low learning curve to use a hot plate while camping. In fact, if you can use a burner on an electric range you can use a camping hot plate just as easily.  

Camping hot plates do a great job at boiling water for coffee or dehydrated meals.  They can also prepare simple one-pot meals such as soups and stews while camping with ease.  


Propane Stove for Camping

propane stove

The propane camping stove has been an iconic mainstay around the campsite for generations.  Nothing feels more at home around the campsite than the camp stove in all its various forms.

Camp stoves come in either a one or two burner design and use propane, butane, or other fuel mixes to provide a heating source for cooking.  Typical camp stoves are about the size of a briefcase and need to be set on a flat surface such as a picnic table or platform to provide a base while cooking.  

Many camp stoves have helpful features that make it easier to cook while outdoors and at the campsite such as built-in wind guards, temperature control knobs, and handy storage and travel cases.  

Top Camp Stoves

Coleman Triton 2 Burner Propane StoveColeman Triton 2 Burner Propane Stove

  • Double Burner Design
  • 22,000 Total BTU’s using Both Burners
  • Wind Block Panels to Shield from the Wind
  • Perfect Heat and Perfect Flow Technology Provide a Consistent Heat





GAS ONE GS-3400P Dual Fuel Camp StoveGAS ONE GS-3400P Dual Fuel Camp Stove

  • Space Saving Single Burner Design
  • 8000 BTU’s
  • Dual Fuel:  Uses Either Propane or Butane
  • Electric Ignition
  • Adjustable Temperature Knob



Best Use Cases for a Propane Stove

If camping in a remote area or at a campsite without electricity the only option that makes sense is the propane stove.  As long as you have a ready supply of propane or other fuel mixes that the camp stove may require you can cook anywhere the trail takes you.

While camping some campers could not imagine using anything other than a camping stove.  As in their mind, the whole point of camping is to detach from the modern world and create a more relaxed and simpler life while camping.  To that end to some campers introducing electricity to the campsite would be an affront to everything that camping stands for.


Which is Better the Camping Hot Plate or the Propane Stove?

Both the camping hot plate and the propane camping stove have their advantages and disadvantages.  

If you are a camper that typically camps at campgrounds with electricity and looking for a simple no-mess way to cook some basic camp meals around the campsite, then the camping hot plate may be the best choice for you.

However, if you typically camp in remote areas with no electricity and want the rewarding feeling of cooking over an open flame.  Then the propane stove is probably the best bet for you.

Don’t forget though if space is not an issue, no one said that you can’t use both.  Using a large two burner propane camp stove to prepare your meals on, while also using a camping hot plate as a side burner or backup cooking option can provide the best of worlds.  

Proving once again that while camping, you truly can have it all!


No matter which type of campsite you prefer, check out this cool website at to reserve your next camping excursion.

Jason Kidd

Jason is an avid lover of camping, hiking, and well just about anything outdoors. He is both a writer and editor for Outside Pulse and has been camping and hiking for over 20 years.

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