Review:
Primus OmniFuel

This review is about the Primus OmniFuel, which is considered to be one of the best go to stoves, if not the best. It is manufactured by Primus in Sweden and also used in military service (in a slight variation though). I used this stove for the past 5 years now and have therefore some experience to share.

So why would you want a gasoline stove anyway? Well, it has a few major advantages over regular gas stoves. First of all the energy density of gasoline is much higher compared to any gas. Therefore it is much more space/weight efficient. Also gas stoves will not work properly over certain altitudes or in very cold conditions. Another big pro is the availability of fuel. You can burn almost anything with that stove, so you usually do not have to worry where to get suitable fuel.
I actually got my OmniFuel for free from Primus back then. I owned a Primus Mutifuel before, which exploded (due to a defective O-ring) in a pretty large fireball while hiking in Sweden. When I wrote Primus (…they are from Sweden) what happened, the customers support send me a brand new OmniFuel worth 170€ as a replacement without questions asked.
Well done Primus for excellent customer support!

To get the specifications out of the way:

  • Weight (stove & pump):   339g
  • Output Power:                (with benzine or gas) ~3000W
  • Boiling time for 1L:         3min
  • Dimensions:                    Ø 66 x 88 x 142 mm

Primus OmniFuel

Our most advanced multi-fuel stove.
Our most tried and true product has now become even more flexible. OmniFuel uses very advanced materials to offer advanced functionality and is designed to handle demanding conditions, extreme altitudes and both high and low temperatures. OmniFuel is a sturdy stove that works with LP gas, gasoline/petrol, diesel and kerosene – even aviation fuel. Using the separate control knob, the flame can be adjusted to provide the exact heat required. The ErgoPump, the multi-tool with an integrated cleaning needle, nylon stuff sack and the windscreen and heat reflector are included.

 

The stoves comes with a pump, a multi-tool with a cleaning needle & some lube for the leather pump head, a windscreen, a heat reflector, three nozzles for different fuel types and storage bags. A fuel bottle is sometimes included, but not always.

One of the highlights of the designs is, that the stove can run on almost anything. It obviously works with any sort of gas or gasoline/petrol, but also with diesel, paraffin, even kerosene (aviation fuel) and in a pinch with things like alcohol.
However things like Russian diesel might give the food a weird flavor 🙂

To adjust the stove to the fuel type, you need to screw on the matching nozzle. To do so you can use the multi-tool, which is also used to clean the nozzles.

The stove is extremely robust and reliable. I did not have any major issues in the 5 years I used it. You obviously have to lube o-rings from time to time. The pump is made from cnc metal, with a leather pump head on the inside (which is great, because leather works much better and is more durable then plastic/rubber heads!) . You can use silicon grease or Vaseline to seal the pump if it gets leaky. Disassembly is easy and does not require any tools.

You can adjust the flame very easily and instantly. That is often not the case on similar stoves. This comes in pretty handy because 3000W is probably more then your hotplate at home has. So for cooking things like noodles and rice it is necessary to turn it down a bit. However the the valve is very sensitive, which might be a bit difficult in the beginning. But if the wind is too heavy, the flame might go out if it is set too low… but the wind screen prevents this very well, you just have to use it.

Talking about the windscreen, it is lightweight and does the job… but I do not like it. It somehow feels just a bit to slackly. So I bought a different one with joints instead, which is a bit heavier but also more solid. To save fuel, you should always use the heat reflector and the windshield.

The stove itself is build very robust and you do not have to worry about breaking something when you stuff it in your backpack. The legs and arms provide a decent grip, so using it on slightly sloped surfaces is not an issue.

 

Every time you use ‘dirtier fuel’ like car gasoline or diesel it will create soot. This is why most gasoline stove have the reputation of being somewhat dirty. However this is not a big deal on the OmniFuel, because all the snoot stays inside. So your hands and the bag will not get dirty if you touch it. Of course you have to still clean it from time to time if the snoot gets to heavy. As a precaution I always clean the nozzle with the multi-tool prior to cooking to make sure that it will run at full power.
To clean the whole stove the orange Cillit Bang works great as far as my experience goes.

Now to a big downside of the stove… it is the jet engine like noise. It really is LOUD. I recommend you watch the video to judge for yourself.


youtube.com/watch?v=zh5sJeRRLKw (1l water at 2°c)

But despite then that I can not find anything bad about this stove, expect the price maybe. Nevertheless I think it is worth its 170 Euros.

10.02.2013 – by netsplit for Gruppa L

10 thoughts on “Review:
Primus OmniFuel

  1. Nice review, thank you. Question: Is the ergo pump compatible with the MSR Whisperlite Universal system? Seems to me, albeit at an additional cost, that you could have the best of both worlds, with the exception of the “stiff” hose.

  2. The multifuel looks like a really nice stove. As to whether or not it will measure up to manufacturer’s specifications in the field, now that is a different matter. I’d love to test one, but they are quite expensive.
    HJ

  3. I looked at them all (stoves) and settled on this nice little piece of hardware because I hate being “unprepared” for unforeseen events, like having only the wrong type of fuel available in this or that country. Not that I’ve had to suffer through it (I’m a beginner at bike touring) but I find it reassuring to know that my stove can just about burn ANYTHING if needed.

    All I can say is that I love this stove: solid, polyvalent, efficient, easy-to-use. Now I only have to find the time to go around the world with it 🙂 I fully recommend this stove for anyone with big dreams …and enough pocket money for this more expensive choice.

  4. what do you think the best bet is in terms of storing the pump on the go? it seems to make sense to eave it in the bottle so it doesn’t get damaged being loose in side the bag, but does this risk corrosion of the pump with certain fuel types? what do you do with the pump when on trips and when you get home? thanks

    • Hi,
      I always leave the pump in the bottle on trips. I never had any problems witch corrosion and I don’t think its even possible form a chemical point of view. Diesel, Benzine or any other gasoline can’t oxidize metal, especially not stainless steel or aluminium which the pump is made out of.
      However I store (as the manual recommends) the pump separate at home. I assume leaving it in for months might damage the O-rings.
      Also lubing the O-rings is certainly not a bad idea if you used the stove a lot.

  5. Hi, i am completely new to liquid fuel stoves and have just ordered an Omnifuel for an upcoming trip. I was wondering what was the best way to manage the semi pressurised fuel bottle after using the stove. For example. Should you always depressurise the bottle after use and can this be done safely without “leaking / spraying fuel”? is it possible to leave/store it pressurised and if so for how long? Can you safely connect the stove to a pressurised bottle without leaking or spraying the fuel? (I assume that when setting up the stove, you would connect the stove to the fuel bottle before pressurising it ?)
    Apologies if this is all covered in the user manual / instructions, stove hasn’t arrived yet so was just thinking ahead!

    • Hi there,
      I would not recommend leaving the bottle pressurized. You can depressurize it by just unscrewing it a bit with the bottle straight up.
      There is always a tiny bit of leaking and spraying fuel on those kind of stoves, that’s why I recommend getting popper fuel (which also burns a lot cleaner). If you use petrol from the gas station you should clean your hands thoroughly since it is somewhat toxic.
      You can connect the stove to a pressurized bottle, the pump has a safety valve installed. Still I would suggest connecting it prior to pressurizing.

      I uploaded the manual if you want to take a look at it:
      http://blog.gruppa-l.com/wp-content/uploads/Primus_Omnifuel.pdf.

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