Are Camping Stoves Safe to Use Indoors: Issues Explored

A camping stove is a critical necessity when in the wild. For one, it is lighter compared to an open fire grill, it is highly reliable, and less tedious than opening an enormous, open fire. But what if there is an emergency? And you are off-grid. Would it be safe to use your camping stoves indoors?

Are camping stoves safe to use indoors? No, they are not, but there are a few safety precautions you could take to ensure you do it safely. The prescribed safety precautions help you to prevent any problems or health hazards.

Regardless of the potential dangers of using camping stoves indoors, in certain situations with certain stoves, you can do it without much risk. The factor that poses the most danger is the build of harmful carbon monoxide gas that comes about when the stove burns fuel. Consequently, your focus should be to set up additional airflow in your cooking area. The ventilation is critical for giving way for the toxic fumes to escape outdoors. The risk becomes higher when using camping stoves that are not specifically designed for use indoors.

Prolonged inhalation of carbon monoxide is harmful to the body. The CDC reports that it can cause nausea or even death.

The Harm of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The special design, installation, and proper ventilation of a regular kitchen stove allows for the easy escape of the toxic carbon monoxide gas. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) points out that carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. It is present in the fumes when fuel burns in stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, and grills.

Inhaling excessive carbon monoxide causes dizziness and confusion. It may also make you pass out. In large doses, it is fatal. The situation becomes worse when you are sleeping or are intoxicated. It is often difficult to notice carbon monoxide poisoning until it becomes too late.

Due to the buildup of carbon monoxide, the CDC advises against burning charcoal stoves or grills while indoors. Moreover, it is recommended that you should desist from heating your home with your stove or gas range. It is easy for carbon monoxide to build up without your knowledge.

Ventilation Is the Answer

Before you resort to using camping stoves indoors, one of the most critical things you ought to do is to set up proper ventilation. Modern homes, more so those located in colder climates, are installed with better insulation to prevent the escape of air. Buildings should conform to insulation code requirements. Furthermore, you should have vented hoods for gas stove ranges.

Carbon monoxide has a lesser weight compared to the air molecules of the rest of the gases (such as nitrogen and oxygen) in its neighborhood. Naturally, it rises up via the hood then escapes out of the house.

Always remember to provide adequate ventilation whenever you choose to operate camping stoves indoors. Be sure to leave the windows open. If possible, keep a fan blowing, and make sure to exercise caution when you have children or pets around.

There are several risks associated with using camping stoves indoors. One of your main aims should be to get informed about those risks. If you set up the stove in an area that has proper ventilation or has a chimney or hood that leads outside, that is without-a-doubt a good, though temporary, set up.

The Best Camping Stoves to Use Indoors

When you decide to risk operating camping stoves indoors, you have to realize that only specific models will be up for the task.

The market has a variety of camping stoves. Majority of them use kerosene, propane, isobutene-propane, alcohol, wood burning, and more as fuel.

I prefer this Coleman Portable Propane Gas Classic Camp Stove I discovered on Amazon.


Kerosene is characterized by a strong odor and emits plenty of carbon monoxide. Most modern camping stoves do not use it anymore. A popular recommendation is not to use kerosene-fueled camping stoves indoors.


Compared to other fuels, propane is one of the most commonly used sources of fuel for camping stoves. The main reason is it is relatively inexpensive, burns cleanly, and does not have an intolerable smell. Nevertheless, propane also emits carbon monoxide; therefore, you ought to practice utmost caution, ensure proper ventilation, and strictly supervise the camping stove when in use.

Get an incredible camping stove on Amazon, like this Coleman Portable Bottletop Propane Camp Stove.


These little fuel tanks are quite common. You can obtain them for ultralight or backpacking stoves. Although they are small in size, they can produce almost as much carbon monoxide as a large propane tank would. For this reason, be sure to only operate them in an area with proper ventilation. Butane still maintains its liquid state even when subjected to freezing temperatures.


Alcohol stoves bear a massive similarity to propane stoves. That is because you can also use them indoors so long as you have proper ventilation. Make sure to go for either Everclear or denatured alcohol, since other forms of alcohol are toxic.

Wood burning

The old fashioned alternative of using wood-burning as a source of fuel for camping stoves is surprisingly one of the safest options to use while indoors. There is, however, a higher chance of experiencing burns as a result of the open flame. The need to remove the generated smoke as well as carbon monoxide also calls for the proper set up of decent ventilation.

In the case of wood-burning, the fire also brings about soot and ash that needs cleaning after each use. Certain wood-burning camping stoves operate using wood chips, wood pellets, or other forms of fuel. Nonetheless, provided you have proper ventilation (for example a chimney) to eliminate the smoke, the wood-burning stove will serve you well in some indoor environments.

How to Make Safety a Priority When Using Camping Stoves Indoors

The Underwriters Laboratories certification is one of the most critical things to check for when deciding whether or not to use camping stoves indoors. This certification will not be present in a good number of propane stoves as well as other products.

It is often displayed on a sticker or the owners’ manual. Always ensure you check for this certification before you purchase a stove your plan on using indoors.

While there are plenty of reasons that make using camping stoves indoors quite dangerous, the main reason remains the Carbon Monoxide gas. It is given off as a by-product when the fuel burns. Certain products generally do not produce as much carbon monoxide as their counterparts. As such, they are considered safer.

The Camping Stoves That Come With UL Certification Are Safer To Use Indoors.

Since a significant obstacle to using camping stoves indoors is the buildup of carbon monoxide, cooking in a properly ventilated area is perhaps on the best remedies. Installing a vent hood will take you a step closer to having a well-ventilated room.

Also, ensure to leave at least one or two windows open while you cook. This solution, however, will not be realistic for the winter when you are trying to keep the cold out.

The other tip is to maintain the cleanliness of the stove. As you cook, grease and food tend to drip onto the burners. The burning of this content tends to result in smoke. This tendency makes grills dangerous for indoor use. Cleaning the stoves frequently, however, will help save you this headache.

Safety precautions also dictate that you do not cook for lengthy hours. That applies even to the camping stoves that have UL certification. To get over this challenge, you should consider cooking meals that are not associated with longer cook times.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your reason for opting to use camping stoves indoors, you need to stay alert of the possible dangers they may pose to you and your health. Clearly, the primary sources of danger are the buildup of carbon monoxide and smoke, possible gas leaks, and more. Consequently, a smart course of action would be to ensure your cooking area is well ventilated.

For extra safety, I recommend that you purchase a good carbon monoxide detector. Because of the odorless and colorless nature of carbon monoxide, you cannot tell how much of it has built up in your room. That is why having a functional carbon monoxide detector is so crucial.

There are times when using a camping stove indoors could be your only solution for survival. Nevertheless, that does not mean you should throw safety out the window. That would be a sure recipe for disaster. The best place to start is to take into account all the safety precautions we have outlined in this article. The good thing is most of them are easy to execute, so you have no excuse.

All camping stoves are not equal, either. Some are of decent quality, while others are substandard. For that reason, we have also incorporated a few incredible options from which you can choose. Be sure to also check out one of my favorite camping stoves: The MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Camping Stove from Amazon. With the right stoves and the correct safety precautions at your disposal, you can never go wrong.

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