Camp Chef OvenThe Camp Chef oven is a portable oven and stove for camping. It requires propane to generate heat and can fit two pans on the burners and two racks inside the oven.
Coleman Portable OvenThe Coleman portable oven is a folding camping oven designed for use on stoves and burners. It’s not capable of producing heat on its own, but it’s the most portable option.
Not sure if you should go with the Camp Chef oven or the one from Coleman? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed comparison will tell you everything you need to know about the two camping ovens!
We’ll cover everything from top heat to how many things you can cook simultaneously, so by the end of this comparison you should have a good idea which portable oven is the better option for you. So, read on to figure out which camping oven you should buy!
We’re discussing camping ovens here and a big part of their appeal is general portability. The easier it is to bring it when you’re going camping, the better the oven. Both portable oven have convenient carry handles, so we’re off to a good start.
If we just look at the numbers, it’s not even a contest. The Coleman oven weighs a mere 7 lbs and it folds flat for easy storage and carrying. The Camp Chef oven, on the other hand, is bigger, bulkier and weighs 32lbs total. So, what’s the catch?
I’ll tell you more details about both ovens later, but for now suffice it to say that if you were to bring just the Coleman oven on a camping trip you’d be carrying around a useless scrap of metal. It only works when it’s places on a burner or a stove, since it’s not capable of generating heat on its own.
And it’s not meant to be used with outdoor grills or open fire, so keep that in mind. It might weigh 25lbs less than the Camp Chef oven, but that doesn’t account for the weight of the other stove or burner you would also have to bring on the camping trip.
Also, neither of the options account for the weight of the propane tank that you will also need to bring to get them to work. The Camp Chef oven requires a propane tank in order to generate that heat, but with the Coleman oven it will depend on what stove or burner you end up getting for it.
In the end, the Coleman is the lighter and more portable option, especially if you go with one of the brand’s outdoor stoves that weigh anywhere between 10-20 lbs.
How hot do these ovens get? Well, both of them get hot enough to cook anything your heart desires, let’s get that out of the way.
The Coleman oven has a max temperature of 600ºF, which is certainly impressive. That is 200ºF more than the Camp Chef oven, so if you need something capable of reaching extremely high temperatures, the Coleman oven might be a better fit for you. It has a heat indicator on the front, so you can easily tell exactly how hot it is inside the oven.
The only issue is that you can’t really force it to stay at a certain temperature the whole time. So, even if you need to cook something at really high temperature, you can’t just put it in the oven and then forget about it. You will have to monitor the temperature and open it up every now and then to let out some of that heat. Otherwise it will stay at 600ºF, and that will just scorch anything inside.
With the Camp Chef oven, you get a more reasonable max temperature of 400ºF. That’s lower than you get in most household ovens, but still high enough that you’ll be able to cook anything you want. And since 400ºF is not too high, you can spend less time monitoring the temperatures of the oven and more time enjoying your camping trip.
Now, let’s talk about the power of the Camp Chef oven a bit. It has 7,500 BTUs per burner, while the oven has 3,000 BTUs. The power of burners is equal to that of your household stovetop, which is awesome. But the oven is not nearly as powerful, which means that cooking in it takes longer.
I can’t talk about this in regards to the Coleman oven since it doesn’t generate heat like the Camp Chef oven does. The one from Coleman just sits directly on the heat source, so the exact power and cooking speed really depend on what you’re using to heat up the camping oven.
The biggest difference between these two ovens is convenience of use. The Coleman oven doesn’t have its own heat source. Instead, you have to mount it on top of a stove, a gas burner or anything similar that is able to generate enough heat for this oven. Which means that even though this oven is smaller, cheaper and lighter, that won’t be the case in practice because you can’t use it on its own.
You have to bring your own source of heat in order to use the Coleman oven, so unless you already own something like that, I think you’re better off with the Camp Chef option. It is more versatile and all it needs to work properly is a propane bottle.
The Coleman oven is not meant to be used on its own, which is pretty much just the brand pushing you to spend more money on their products. But here’s the thing – this oven fits perfectly on top of Coleman’s gas camping stove, which currently retails for a little over $40. It usually costs around $80, so that’s a pretty good deal. And even if you were to pay full price for the stove and the oven, you would still spend less than you would on the single Camp Chef camping oven.
What’s the difference? Well, the Camp Chef option has burners on top of the oven, and you can use them at the same time as the oven. With the Coleman appliances, you can only use one or the other, so you much more limited in terms of how much food you can cook in an hour.
The Camp Chef oven features a cooktop with two gas burners that are great for emergency cooking. You can use any pan that fits on the cooktop, and in case you don’t have something that’s the right size, it’s good to know that Camp Chef sells pots, pans and racks specifically made for this camp oven.
The Camp Chef oven comes with two removable racks that allow you to put in two pans at the same time. That’s awesome if you’re cooking for a lot of people, since you don’t have to wait for one thing to finish baking in order to put in the other. Now, whether or not two pans will allow the heat to get distributed evenly is a different thing, and something you will have to check out in practice.
But this is an issue people face even with their top-of-the-line home ovens, so I’m not really calling it a downside. And in any case, you can definitely use both racks at the same time if you just switch the items on the top and bottom racks mid-way.
The Coleman portable oven has several positions for a rack, but it only comes with one rack. And the brand doesn’t sell additional racks, so you will have to improvise if you want to use this to cook more than one thing at a time. And that’s a shame, especially considering how spacious and boxy this oven is. Plus, since its all-metal construction is actually perfect for cooking several things at once, since the heat gets distributed much more evenly.
Another thing to consider here is that the Camp Chef oven also gives you those two convenient burners to use at the same time as the oven. You can’t do that with the Coleman since you have to place the oven on top of the burners just to get it to work. So, with the Camp Chef oven you can cook four different things at the same time.
And with the Coleman oven, you’ll be lucky if you figure out a way to get two pans inside it.
The Coleman oven is fully made from aluminum steel and it doesn’t have a glass front. It also opens up like a safe, so every time you want to take a peek at your muffins, you will let a lot of heat out and prolong the necessary cooking time. And that’s not even a bad thing since this oven gets so hot that you will need to open that door very often in order to keep it at an acceptable temperature.
In my opinion, the Coleman oven is better suited for more experienced bakers. If you’re confident about your temperatures and cooking times, then you might just be able to use this without messing up anything. But if you need to sneak a peek every now and then, the fact that there’s nothing see-through about this oven will be a major issue.
Also, keep in mind that this oven gets much hotter than the Camp Chef one, and that’s particularly because of the all-metal design. Whatever you put inside will get cooked quicker, so even if you’re very confident about cooking times, you will need to adjust them with this in mind.
The Camp Chef oven is more user-friendly not just because of the see-through front but also because of the lower temperature. It doesn’t get hotter than 400ºF, so if you’re cooking something that generally requires higher temperatures you can just put it in the oven and forget about it.
It’s important to note that the Camp Chef oven shouldn’t be preheated. Whatever you want to cook should go inside the cold oven, and then just let it do its job.
If you’re on a tight budget then it’s a really easy decision – the Coleman oven retails for less than $50, whereas the Camp Chef oven costs upwards of $200. The Coleman oven does come with the extra cost of an additional stove or gas burner, but you can get that for less than $50 as well. So, even if you were to buy two separate things, you would still spend a lot less money than you would on the Camp Chef oven.
On the other hand, if you’re more worried about user-friendliness, convenience and just generally enjoying the cooking experience even when you’re camping, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Camp Chef oven is the better option.
That tiny thing can handle four different pots at the same time, which is more than enough for a three-course meal and then some. It’s also easier to use, it just needs a propane tank to work and it doesn’t get so hot that it will burn everything if you don’t let out the heat for two minutes.
There’s pros and cons to both these camping ovens, so let’s quickly sum things up and go over the basics so you can proceed to get the one that fits your needs best!
The Coleman oven is a better fit for people who have lots of cooking experience and need an oven that gets really hot. With a max temperature of 600ºF, this gets hotter than some household ovens! But the only way to control the temperature is to open the even and let the hot air out, so it will need your attention while there’s something inside.
The main advantage of this oven is that it folds flat for easy portability, and the main disadvantage is that it can’t generate heat and you have to place it on top of a gas burner or an outdoor stove.
The Camp Chef oven is better for people who just want something that works out of the box. Hook it up to a propane tank and you’re good to go! It has a max heat of 400ºF, so it’s going to be quite hard to burn food in it. Especially because you can peak through the glass door to check how the food is doing.
It also has two racks in the even you can use simultaneously, as well as two burners on the stovetop, allowing you to cook up to four different things at the same time.
Head over to Amazon to see more photos and exact prices of both portable camping ovens. And if you’re not sure either of these ovens is a good fit for you, check out our related posts for other stoves and grills that are perfect for cooking outside!