The Kovea X2 has four fixed pot supports attached to a steel heat reflector, so it is not collapsible. It comes with a piezo-electric ignition.
Kovea is a South Korean stove manufacturer that simultaneously sells under its own brand name and wholesales to other companies. Thus, you are likely to see their stoves with a variety of brand names. The X2 is a little heaver and bulkier than other canister stoves we reviewed, but it is solidly built, has piezo-electric ignition, and is inexpensive.
- Sturdy steel construction
- Standard piezo-electric ignition
- Precise flame control
What’s Not So Good
- At 5.7 ounces the X2 is heavy compared to mini-canister stoves
- Does not collapse to a small carrying size
|Kovea (South Korea)|
|X2 top-mount canister stove|
|5.7 oz (162 g) as measured; manufacturer’s specification 5.7 oz (163 g)|
|40.6 in x 40.6 in x 37.4 in (103 x 103 x 95 cm); does not collapse|
|Piezo-electric ignition, hard plastic carry case|
|27,000 South KoreanWon (approximately $27 US)|
If you live in or travel to a country where the Kovea X2 is available, it is worth considering because of its good performance and value. It is solidly built and comes with a piezo-electric igniter that works well. Its main drawbacks are its heavier weight and bulkiness (however, its size and weight are about the same as the Jetboil burner). If these factors are not a problem for your style of backpacking or car camping, then the X2 may serve your needs very well.
The X2 has four pot supports in a 3.25-inch square pattern that are anchored to a steel heat reflector. Contact with the bottom of a cook pot is mostly at the outside of the pot supports. I found this design to be stable for small to medium sized cook pots with a smooth bottom, but it may be tipsy with some pots with indentations on the bottom.. A fry pan had to be balanced off-center or hand held to stay in place.
The Kovea X2 piezo-electric igniter worked fine in warmer temperatures as well as in cold temperatures. It looks like the same igniter as on the Kovea Camp 3 (reviewed separately), but for some reason this one works better. Flame control is precise with no readjustment required. The flame easily adjusts from a fine simmer to full throttle in a little less than one-half turn of the controller.
As explained in Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves, the Kovea X2’s heating efficiency is impaired by "flame lift." At full throttle the flames lift above the burner, making the stove very sensitive to wind, even with a windscreen. This situation results in less efficient combustion and heat transfer to a cookpot. The Kovea X2 shares the same burner design as the Kovea Camp 3 stove and its twin the Markill Peak Ignition, and all have the same problem.
Fortunately, for cooking control and fuel efficiency reasons, it is desirable to use a canister stove at less than full throttle. Using a low or moderate flame level, the X2 is a good cooker. With its precise flame control, the X2 easily cooked an omelet and fried pancakes in a fry pan, and sautéed onions and green peppers in a titanium cook pot. The stove’s smaller burner does create a hot spot in the center of a pot or pan (as is typical for most small burner canister stoves), so it’s important to use a low flame level to avoid burning.
The heating efficiency of the Kovea X2 is summarized in Table 1, in comparison to the averaged performance of 13 canister stoves tested to date. For more detailed information see Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves Fall 2005: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use for Four More Canister Stoves. Overall, the X2 is slower to boil water, is more sensitive to wind, and is slightly more fuel-efficient than average. Since the majority of these tests were performed using a full throttle setting, I believe the X2’s reduced performance is due to its "flame lift" issue, and average performance can be expected using a moderate flame level. These test results are quite similar to the Markill Peak Ignition and Kovea Camp 3, which have the same burner design.
|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|
|Kovea X2 Boil Time (min:sec)||4:17||6:23||2:25||8:49||30degrees*||7:52|
|Average Boil Time for all stoves tested (min:sec)||3:34||5:12||2:21||8:02||77 degrees**||6:31|
|Kovea X2 Fuel Consumption (g)||15.2||10.9||8.7||12.4||27.4||20.1|
|Average Fuel Consumption for all stoves tested (g)||15.4||11.8||8.2||12.2||30.3||20.2|
|Kovea X2: Water Boiled Per 4-ounce Fuel Canister (qt)||7.4||10.3||6.5||9.1||–||5.6|
|Average Water Boiled per 4-ounce fuel canister for all stoves tested (qt)||7.6||9.7||7.0||9.3||–||5.9|
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 at full throttle. The Kovea Camp 3 did not boil the water.
** Average amount water temperature was raised after 10 minutes. Of the twelve stoves tested with 1 quart of water, only two stoves (the Coleman F1 Ultralight and Brunton Crux) reached boiling within 10 minutes.
The X2 is solidly built, performs well at less than full throttle, and is inexpensive.
Recommendations for Improvement
Re-engineer the burner to eliminate the flame lift problem and make the stove less sensitive to wind.