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bsfree 08-22-2006 11:54 AM

Propane or Alcohol Stove?
I am soon to buy a new stove for the boat. I know the pro's and con's for propane, but would like to hear anyone's comments on the Origo 3000 or 6000 alcohol fueled stove, stove/oven. As far as I know the only downside seems to be they don't burn quite as hot as propane. But I would like to hear of any "real world" experiences of the units. Oh, and the unit would be gimbaled as I have a sailboat.

TrueBlue 08-22-2006 12:03 PM

I could tell you a story about how my friend's alcohol stove leaked into the bilge of his Pearson 33, then caught on fire when he attempted to light the burner . . . but I won't.

We use propane for our oven/stove and hot water heater and would not change to anything else.

captnnero 08-22-2006 12:17 PM

Alcohol can be exciting
We had an alcohol stove for a few years. We were advised to take the burner into the cockpit to fuel it before lighting it back in the galley. It was sometimes tricky to tell if it was actually lit. Then I've heard of interesting experiences with the pressurized alcohol stoves.

A few years ago I took a captain's course in the middle of the winter. The instructor had a great story about lighting an alcohol stove and catching himself on fire. He had to jump overboard and immerse more than once to douse all of the flames.

I suppose there are horror stories for CNG (our boat) and propane, but I haven't heard any. I've also seen small butane stoves. It has been said that the difference between propane and CNG is that propane blows up the bilge and CNG blows up the cabin top. Though CNG is much harder to get even in the US, I like the idea that it can at least in theory leak out of the top of the boat instead of lurking in the bilge.

In any case, I don't miss the alcohol stove on our first boat.

Surfesq 08-22-2006 12:20 PM

I have a pressurized alcohol stove in my boat that is going in the dumpster, unless someone would like it for free!

I love CNG, its really a shame that Propane won out in that battle. But I will replace my alcohol stove with Propane.

bsfree 08-22-2006 12:37 PM

Thanks, my last stove was pressurized alcohol and I had the thing flare up once or twice, scary. The point of the Origo is that it's not pressurized and touted as the safest way to cook on a boat, I just wondered if anyone out there has experience of them. Else I'll probably go with propane, just not in love with having to build containers for pressurized "bombs" or the option of having them hang of a stantion.

dave.verry 08-22-2006 01:46 PM


What brand of stove? I may want it for the parts!

Surfesq 08-22-2006 02:27 PM

I will look tonight and snap a shot of it along with the tank.

Jeff_H 08-22-2006 02:54 PM

I have used an Origo for the past 16 years. I love these stoves, simple, reliable, cheap to run. The stove tops don't appear to heat things any slower than your average marine propane stove. I have not used the oven much and so won't comment. There is a good thread on on Origo's. There is also a guy on that same board looking to buy a used pressure alcohol stove.

There are tricks to the Origo like any other stove. I bought one of those small liquid stove fuel bottles with a pour spout at a camping supply place and that greatly simplifies the filling process and makes it bullet proof reliable. Also some burners come with to small an furling indent in the screen. I carefully push the screen down so that the indent is about a 1/4" deep and the size of a quarter and that also simplifies fueling. I use hardware store alcohol which is cheap and does not soot which is not true of the high price stuff that Origo recommends.

For me this is a no brainer. In my life the only sailboats that I personally have known of that have blown up had diesel engines and propane stoves. I can never understand how there are people who refuse to have gasoline engines because of the danger but will calmly live with propane. I have spent too many sleepless night nervously tracking down for propane leaks.


camaraderie 08-22-2006 03:08 PM

Having owned both...there is no contest between propane and alcohol for cooking. Propane is way better. As for risks...I suppose propane poses the greatest risk but this can be managed with good design for tank storage and "sniffer". When you are cooking every appreciate the ease of propane.

sailingdog 08-22-2006 03:33 PM

Propane stoves are generally much better at cooking, and far safer, provided you have a propane fume sniffer on the boat, and take the proper precautions.

Origo stoves, while pretty nice, don't seem to generate as much heat as propane stoves do, and the fuel is a bit more expensive. Alcohol fires are really dangerous since the alcohol can float on top of water and still be burning, and the flames are nearly invisible.

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