Find the best camping stove can be a little bit tricky if you don’t know few basic things about the eventual use of a stove. There are several questions you need to answer, that is identify the type of use it will be getting. Will you be cooking for groups or just yourself and maybe one other person? What kind of camping will you be doing- camping out of a car or backpacking on trails? Will you mainly be boiling water or using a pan/pot to cook food- do you need it to simmer or is flame control not that important? What kind of fuel is readily available by you and where you will be traveling? What time of year will you mainly be using it?
Those are the main considerations I will be thinking about when purchasing a stove. If you’re cooking for a large group, you want something a little larger to accommodate larger pots and pans, possibly even double burners, which they make in propane models and backpacking models. If it`s just for personal use then I`d go with something more light weight and fuel efficient. Obviously if you`re camping out of a car you can take the reliable green Coleman double burner propane stove, it’s a beast compared a stove you would take backpacking.
The type of cooking is also important will you just be boiling water to rehydrate meals/cook pasta and rice or will you need to have total flame control so you can saute your stir-fry and keep the meal warm in the pan? Also what kind of fuel is available and practical for you to use? You don’t want to haul bottles of propane if you are going to be backpacking for a week, but maybe canisters aren’t readily available so you`d have to go with a white gas. Will you be mainly camping spring through fall or do you also camp in winter? Canisters are not as reliable and efficient in cold temperatures because they lose their pressure but liquid fuel is a little heavier but more reliable during those winter months.
I would stick with 4 brands- MSR, Snow Peak, Primus, and Coleman. Now some will say if you are backpacking stay away from Coleman but I was on their website the other night and they have come a long way with innovative backpacking stoves. The first 3 are top of the line brands but they also have inexpensive basic models that will more likely fit your needs.
So write down your answers to the questions and the other poster`s tips, bring it to an employee of a reputable outdoor store such as EMS, REI, or Campmor (those are the 3 major ones by me) and I am sure he can find a stove that will meet your needs. Remember you get what you pay for in both quality of product and quality of customer service should any problems arise.