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Comparison of major features of leading propane campfire models

The following chart features a comparison of the 5 leading brands of propane campfires available on the market today. The data is effective as of the date of our evaluation (October 2010) and was derived from our own evaluation of samples of each product purchased, the reviews of other parties, and specifications published by the respective product manufacturers.

We are not a manufacturer so we did not begin our evaluation with any bias towards our own product. We applied criteria that would be most relevant to our customers. It should be noted that our company was a retailer of the Yukon Legend ™ campfire for close to 10 years, but due to lengthy unresolved backorders during the summer of 2010, we were left with little choice but to find a new product to meet our customer's needs. We developed this comparison during our search to find this new product. We were very pleasantly surprised to find a product that we feel is superior in almost every category, and most notably in portability and flame / heat output. After reviewing this data, we are confident that you will agree that the Campfire-In-A-Can ® propane campfire offers the best features and value on the market today...

Below the chart, you will find a discussion of some of the important criteria we considered and why certain features are deemed to be desirable over others.

Campfire In a Can Review
Campfire-
In-A-Can ®
Yukon Legend Review
Yukon
Legend ™
Ban Buster Review
Ban
Buster ®
Fire Dancer Propane Campfire
Fire
Dancer ™
Little Red Propane Campfire
Little Red
Campfire ™
Max. CSA rated BTU output 64,000 29,000 22,000 not CSA rated not CSA rated
Flame / Heat Output Adjustable, great flame profile, high heat output Adjustable, moderate flame profile & heat output Adjustable, sub-moderate flame profile & heat output Adjustable, moderate flame profile & heat output Adjustable, moderate+ flame profile and heat output
Safety Certified to CSA Standards Yes Yes Yes No No
Weight 15 lbs 24 lbs 21 lbs 14 lbs 14 lbs
Hose Length 10 feet 10 feet 10 feet 10 feet 8 feet
Hose Storage inside lid loosely wrapped around outside of lid loosely wrapped around outside of lid outside -wrapped around pedistal inside lid
Log Set Style large, 1-piece true ceramic 5 ceramic-concrete (heavy) 3 ceramic-concrete optional, 1-piece 5 small ceramic-concrete
Insulation Materials ceramic pad + Super Glow ceramic chips crushed vermiculite crushed vermiculite crushed vermiculite ceramic insert
Safety Clearance at Bottom zero clearance to combustibles non-combustible surface only non-combustible surface only not rated not rated
Cooking Rack Included Yes Yes Yes No No
Multifunction Lid Yes, recess dimples allow it to serve as secure stand Yes, can place campfire on lid to raise height Yes, can place campfire on lid to raise height No No
Advantages best flame profile & heat output; easily converted from propane to natural gas, light, easy to carry; compact storage; safety certified; zero clearance; authentic log set and black fire glass; no vermiculite; cooking rack included safety certified; decent log set; cooking rack included safety certified; cooking rack included light, easy to carry; acceptable hose storage good flame and heat profile; light, easy to carry;
Disadvantages moderate flame and heat output; heavy log set, bulky to carry, handle does not fold for storage, gas valve, hose and elbow exposed during storage/transport; less sturdy metal gauge, lid finish prone to scratches; vermiculite sub-moderate flame and heat output; bulky / requires 2 hands to carry, hose storage is poorly designed; vermiculite moderate flame and heat output; not CSA certified; handle does not fold for convenient storage; log set optional, no cooking rack, vermiculite not CSA certified, short propane hose, handle does not fold for convenient storage, no cooking rack; smallest diameter

Propane Campfire Comparison / Review Criteria

BTU Output / Flame Profile
We consider this to be the most important evaluation criteria. After all, the reason one would buy a propane campfire is to replicate the real thing in both visual appeal (flame profile) and heat output. This criteria really separated the Campfire-In-A-Can ® from most of its competition. While all units had adjustable valves to control the flame height, several units only produced a moderate flame. Even on their highest setting, the flame profile was rather muted and underwhelming. Consequently, the heat output was modest. The Campfire-In-A-Can ® casts a great flame profile and similarly, much better heat output due to its higher BTU rating. Of course, if such a large flame profile is not desired, it is fully adjustable to a lower setting. We like that the Campfire-In-A-Can ® features an adjustment valve that is located beside the regulator rather than on the campfire unit (unlike some of its competitors), as we feel it is safer to make adjustments without having to lean close to the fire.

Safety Certifications
With any appliance that burns propane, we feel that it is very important for it to be tested by a qualified independent laboratory for compliance with safety authority standards. Not only does this testing confirm that the product is safe when used according to its instructions, it also provides independent data regarding heat output and required clearances. As of the date this report was published, Campfire-In-A-Can ®, Yukon Legend ™, and Ban Buster ™ have been tested and certified as complying with CSA standards. This does not necessarily mean that other products are unsafe, but a purchaser is relying on manufacturer specifications and rather than the testing of an independent lab. We prefer the safety and security of the latter.

Portability
Portability is a bit of a tradeoff between using lightweight materials but still ensuring the unit is solidly built, making the unit a sufficient size to adequately replicate the feel of a real campfire without making it too bulky to carry conveniently, and ensuring that the design is compact and convenient for storage. For instance, in real life situations, a folding carrying handle reduces clearance to store the campfire in a small RV locker, and ensuring that the propane hose is stored within the lid not only protects the regulator from damage, but it adds a great deal of convenience (hose doesn't get snagged on other items in storage, or unravel etc.). We liked the Campfire-In-A-Can ® and Little Red Campfire ™ for their intelligent design - they are lightweight yet durable, compact but still large enough to replicate a real campfire (in fact, they put out more BTUs than any of their competitors), and they had the best options for storage of the propane hose inside the cover. We again give the edge in our evaluation to Campfire-In-A-Can ® due to its multi-function lid, and longer hose length.

Materials
The log set and insulation materials are important aspects of the visual appeal of a propane campfire. They also affect performance and storage convenience. For instance, while crushed vermiculite is a decent insulator and it looks OK, it is very light and can be blown around in the wind and it easily gets fouled by food (marshmallows, etc.) falling in the fire. It also tends to spill during transportation. The Campfire-In-A-Can ® is the only unit to feature ceramic chips that actually glow and look like real embers. Log-sets also very considerably. True ceramic logs as found in Campfire-In-A-Can ® have a very high insulation and heat reflection factor, cool rapidly and glow when heated. Ceramic concrete log sets are more common due to their lower cost. They are a little less authentic than ceramic log sets and in our experience. More importantly, we found that log sets featuring multiple logs offered less convenience as the logs had to be arranged before each use (gets hands dirty from the soot left behind from prior uses). A one-piece log set also prevents logs from rubbing against each other during travel causing breakage and wear. Accordingly, we prefer the single true ceramic log set designs.

Campfire-In-A-Can ® is a registered trademark of Leo Knight
Yukon Legend ™ is a trademark of Bear Creek Manufacturing Ltd.
Ban Buster ® is a registered trademark of SBC FireMaster Ltd.
Fire Dancer ™ is a trademark of it manufacturer.
Little Red Campfire ™ is a trademark of Camco Manufacturing, Inc



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