Coleman PowerBoost expanded.
The Coleman PowerBoost is very well made and has a highly controllable wide, even flame, which is important for serious cooking in the backcountry. Its piezoelectric ignition is very reliable. At 5.0 ounces (142 g), it is heavier than many lightweight canister stoves. A significant drawback is its high fuel consumption when operated at full flame, but this can be improved significantly by operating the stove at a moderate flame level.
• Stove ID
|Coleman Exponent F1 PowerBoost with standard piezoelectric ignition|
• Accessories Included
|Collapsed, 3.25 in high x 4.4 in wide (8 x 11 cm); expanded, 3.3 in high x 5.9 in wide (8 x 15 cm)|
|Manufacturer claim 4.5 oz (128 g); Backpacking Light measured 5.0 oz (156 g)|
The PowerBoost pot supports slide to one side, but the stove does not collapse any more than shown. The standard piezoelectric igniter is excellent.
Compactness – The Coleman PowerBoost is not as compact or sleek when collapsed as many other stoves in this category. It fits into a 1.3-liter Evernew pot, but does not easily fit into smaller pots.
Weight – At 5.0 ounces this stove is heavier than many other lightweight canister stoves. The Coleman PowerBoost has a rugged build and wide burner (2.7 inches), which add to the weight of the stove.
Ignition – The PowerBoost comes standard with piezoelectric ignition.
Flame Control – A folding wire loop flame controller provides precise control from simmer to wide open.
Pot Support – The pot supports are superior to most other lightweight canister stoves I have used. At almost 6 inches across, with over 1.5 inches of contact area on each support, they keep pots well over 2 liters in capacity, fry pans, and small pots such as the Snow Peak 0.6-liter mug stable.
Ease of Use
Setup – High quality workmanship in the canister threads and connection is critical to a long lasting, reliable canister stove, and here the Coleman PowerBoost excels, with brass threads and heavy aluminum canister joints.
Lighting – The Coleman PowerBoost has a piezoelectric ignition that is easily operated with a simple push button below the burner. I found it very reliable and easy to use.
Adjustment – The stove is easily adjustable, with precision heat control.
Cold Weather Use – The stove is easy to set up and use with gloves on. The only exception is the pot supports, which collapse into a stack and are difficult to separate while wearing gloves.
I used the Coleman PowerBoost on a series of short trips in spring and early summer in the mountains of southern Arizona. Ambient temperature while cooking ranged from about 30 to 75 °F. The weather was generally good on these trips, with mild winds on a couple of occasions.
Capacity – The pot supports work well with both small and large pots. The smallest pot I used was a 0.9-liter Evernew, and the stove worked fine with this pot. The wide burner makes the stove somewhat less efficient with smaller pots however, due to flame spillage around the circumference of the pot.
Versatility – The wide burner and good flame control make this stove particularly well suited for cooking that requires an even flame, such as frying fish or cooking pancakes. I found the stove much more effective at this type of cooking than other lightweight canister stoves I have used. When I cooked delicate items such as morning biscuits, I had fewer burnt food incidents than usual.
Wind Effects – I had only mildly windy conditions in my field tests, and these were easily handled with an aluminum windscreen. Wind effects on the PowerBoost performance seemed typical for canister stoves under these field conditions. In controlled tests performed by the Backpacking Light staff, the boil time for 1 quart of water increased only 43% under controlled wind conditions, making it fourth best of the nine stoves tested.
Under optimal conditions, the Coleman PowerBoost boiled 1 quart of water in 3 minutes 23 seconds, third best of the nine stoves tested. When boiling only 1 pint of water, which is more typical for one-person use, the stove performed even better, surpassing all but one other stove. When operated at full flame, the PowerBoost has the lowest fuel efficiency of all stoves tested. Although I have no specific data to back this up, I think the wide burner, and consequent wide flame, may contribute to wasted energy when the stove is operated at full flame. Fuel consumption dropped significantly using a medium flame, putting it in the mid range compared to the other stoves in our test suite.
See Lightweight Canister Stoves Test Report for more detailed results of our heating efficiency tests on this stove, and all the canister stoves in our review suite.
|Test||Optimal Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Optimal Conditions Moderate Flame 1 quart water||Optimal Conditions Full Flame 1/2 quart water||Cold Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Windy Conditions Full Flame 1 quart water||Wind + Wind screen Full Flame 1 quart water|
|F1 PowerBoost Boil Time (min:sec)||3:23||5:51||2:07||7:34||113 degrees*||4:49|
|Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec)||3:33||4:51||2:18||7:35||88 degrees**||5:12|
|F1 PowerBoost Fuel Consumption (g)||21.8||11.8||10.0||12.8||41.0||28.2|
|Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g)||16.1||11.7||8.1||11.5||30.0||18.6|
|PowerBoost: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)||5.2||9.6||5.7||8.8||–||4.0|
|Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)||7.3||9.8||7.1||9.4||–||6.2|
Optimal conditions are 70 °F air and water, no wind. Cold conditions were simulated by putting the stoves and canisters in a freezer overnight at 10 °F, then boiling 40 °F water. Windy conditions were simulated with a box fan providing a 12 mph wind; water and air temperatures were 70 °F.
* Degrees Fahrenheit water temperature was raised after 10 minutes; water did not reach a boil.
** Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the eight stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only one stove reached boiling within 10 minutes.
The Coleman PowerBoost is exceptionally well made, with a rugged canister connection. No maintenance was required.
Overall build quality, precise flame control, a high quality ignition system, and cooking versatility are the strengths of this stove. At $49.99 with piezoelectric ignition, it is an excellent value.
Tips and Tricks
As is clear from our tests, the key to effective use of the Coleman PowerBoost is to keep the flame at a moderate level, even when just boiling water. This will nearly double fuel efficiency based on our tests, but also lengthen boil time.
Recommendations for Improvement
Coleman would do well to investigate the fuel efficiency of this stove at full flame. There are several possible root causes for the loss of efficiency at full flame, and I have speculated above that with some pots a full flame may be too wide to be effective. Improved efficiency could make this stove the cook’s choice for a relatively lightweight canister stove.