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What is a decent quality, affordable single burner stove?

Also, what do you prefer butane cannisters or propane? Which is more cost effective? I kinda dont want it hooked into a large tank.

I am also considering getting an alcohol stove. Any potential negatives with that?
I use a Trangia alcohol stove all the time in the back country. It would work for single burner for your needs. There are much cheaper alcohol stoves out there, heck google them and you'll find a gazillion videos on making your own from beer cans. I like the alcohol stoves over butane or propane for interior camping because you can carry just as much fuel as you're going to use for the number of days that you're headed in for.

I'm aiming at one of the 2 burner marine alcohol stoves for in my van. I'm completely comfortable cooking on them.

They use methyl hydrate which is available at any Home Depot store by either the quart or gallon. I decant from the gallon into the smaller bottle because it's easier to fill the reservoir on the stove with.

I like that there's no propane tank involved - I don't have to deal with a loose one for inside cooking or plumb below floor tanks in. And as opposed to butane or canister stoves where you have to find a camping store to get them, way handier and cheaper.

Cost wise, methyl hydrate by the gallon IS more expensive than propane if you're using refillable tanks, way cheaper if you're using the 1 lb ones.

The only complaints I've ever heard or had about alcohol stoves is that a) you can't see the flame in bright light so you can accidentally burn yourself (I've not done this btw) and b) it's a whole lot less efficient in cold weather. On my last camping trip where it snowed on us Saturday night, we shared a stove once lit because it was such a PITA to light the trangia when it's cold out. Since neither are concerns of mine, it's a go for the van.

If you want built in, marine stores have the one burner available as well as the 2 burner that I want.
For me, it depends on the application. When the temperature where I'm cooking is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, I like using a butane stove like this one. It provides stability when cooking with standard pots and pans, and the butane canisters are pretty inexpensive at Asian markets.

When it's colder where I'm cooking, propane is more practical. The canisters are heavier than butane canisters, but propane can be used at temperatures well below freezing. For a single-burner propane stove, I like stoves like this one, which is more stable than the more-common stove-on-top configuration.

Another option I like, when I'm camping someplace with plenty of burnable biomass (wood, pine cones and the like), is my BioLite CampStove. I have the KettlePot and Grill accessories, which I used to good effect when I went camping over Thanksgiving. The fact that I can use the CampStove to charge USB-powered electronics is a nice bonus. Fuel is generally free for the taking; when it isn't, I keep a couple of bags of wood chips on hand.
I have a Grasshopper propane stove. It is a tripod and tends to be quite stable. I've used this style stove for 30 years. I lost the first one recently and had to buy another. $30 on Amazon.
I think you will find that most people use propane, in vans, rvs or anywhere else for that matter, even boats nowadays. It is just so efficient, available, cheap and convenient especially with a refillable tank. I have had one of those Gaz Bleu butane single burners for 25 years, I find it great for cycling, motorcycling, kayaking, hiking etc . I have used it in vans but it is very expensive and not environmentally friendly with the throw away tanks. It has been well used over the years and still works fine, a good product.
I have two stoves that will go into my van conversion.
First phase will use a simple flat Coleman two-burner, that is compact and takes up little room.
Second phase, if I decide to go there, will use a Stansport two-burner with oven below.
Both will likely be used with a 20lb. propane tank. Though the little Coleman could be used initially with the one pound bottles.
I do have a single burner that stands atop a one pounder, with a plastic 'foot' below for stability. Don't recall it's brand just now, but it works well when camping.
On the occasions when I decide that my Vargo Triad alcohol stove is an optimal solution (given its slight mass, I really ought to include it in my Every Day Carry kit), I prefer Everclear (or another brand of 190-proof ethanol) over methanol as fuel. Ethanol has several advantages over methanol as a fuel:
  • Ethanol has a higher BTU/weight ratio than methanol
  • Ethanol's toxicity is much lower than that of methanol, so an ethanol fuel spill is cause for mourning, rather than worry
  • Should I run short of potent potables before I run short of fuel, I still have potent potables on hand... Cool
Even though ethanol's BTU/weight ratio is much lower than that of propane, the container weight of propane significantly reduces that advantage.
This is what I have, but all I really do with it is make coffee in the morning. It works fine, but I've never used it in extreme cold or anything. I need something that will work find inside the van without having exhaust that kills me. I worry about falling asleep again while I wait for my water to boil.

We (me anyway) need some kind of spreadsheet that lays out the pros and cons of each stove type! I'd like something that I can use safely in the van without venting the exhaust outside. I won't really be cooking much, just coffee and maybe some pancakes once in a while.
I have a Colman propane single burner that works great. The propane canisters can be found almost anywhere. I also have the trangia alcohol stove, but I wouldn't use it inside the van. I've had the flame on it get large and hot. Cooking inside the van propane is best.
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