Why Choose a Rocket Stove
Pros and Cons of the rocket stove.
So you may think that as a manufacturer and seller of rocket stoves I'm going to give you some biased point of view, making the rocket stove seem infallible; but the truth is they have some great pros and some lousy cons. It's only fair that you know this, so let's start with the pros.
1. Very little smoke compared to a campfire
The layout of a rocket stove is no accident or just some random design. There is purpose here: Airflow. It's all about airflow, and while you may think that bigger is better, the truth is a small rocket stove with good airflow really does produce all the heat you need with minimal smoke.
So what happens when you blow on the hot coals of a campfire? The smoke goes away and you create heat and a flame. This is what is happening inside your rocket stove. The heat of the fire is causing hot air to rise out of the top and drawing air through the bottom to create a consistent movement of air, creating clean combustion.
2. You can cook a meal on a handful of sticks.
In a normal fire situation this would mean your fuel would be consumed very quickly, this is where the rocket stove is unique compared to other bio stoves eg wood gasifier.
The amount of fuel able to be consumed at one time is controlled by the size of the combustion chamber, meaning that a small amount of wood burns hot and for a long time. To clarify, you're only burning a small fraction of your stick in one hit, thus one handful of sticks can cook an entire meal or boil a pot of water.
“The mistake I always make with my rocket stove is gathering too much wood.”
1. Not as quick or convenient as a Gas stove
There's no hiding it; it does take longer to cook a meal with a rocket stove. You can't just flick a switch and turn a knob and have instant heat. It takes about ten minutes for the stove to reach its peak performance, and what I mean by that is, the stove body itself is hot enough that it's preheating the wood waiting to be burnt, drying it out and creating wood gas. Depending on the wood you are using, you can get there in five minutes.
Be prepared to deal with the bottom of your pots and pans getting a little bit sooty, you are still burning wood, which does create a lovely smoked flavour, but it can still be messy and something to be mindful of. Don't go putting the pot down on your wife's lovely table cloth . . .
Your fuel supply is essentially endless and free. If you live near a tree you will have fuel for your rocket stove, and it loves stuff about the diameter of your pinky finger, up to your pointer. It relishes such wood, which is easy to gather, break and store even if you are in a city apartment, which some of our buyers have been. It's the BBQ for when you've got no space, just don't use it on a plastic picnic table without a heat barrier. You can watch our video on lighting a rocket stove here.
With a rocket stove, there's no need to cart around a bulky gas bottle or even several smaller ones and removes the risk of gas leaks, though always use your rocket stove in a well ventilated area (ie outside) to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
That being said caravaners have always enjoyed rocket stoves for being able to pull over and find some fuel and enjoy a cuppa and meal. This is particularly handy in remote locations where resupplying gas is tricky.
So pros and cons I hope this helps you make an informed decision on whether or not the rocket stove is right for you, and if you'd like to see a few different varieties in action, head on over to my Youtube channel.