Alcohol stoves have the advantage of having a stable, dependable fuel source. The alcohol is carried around in a bottle and poured into the stove's tank. The problem is that alcohol stoves also have a low heat-to-fuel ratio, burning cooler than any other kind of stove. It will take longer to cook with an alcohol stove, and more fuel will be burned along the way. For this reason, this type of stove is unknown outside of North America.
Butane and Blended Fuel
Butane stoves are fueled from pressurized canisters, which must be replaced when empty. Butane burns at a high temperature and has a good heat-to-weight ratio, but it does not perform well in cool temperatures. Reviews show that butane stoves have performance problems in weather below 50 degrees. This has given rise to the blended-fuel stove, which uses a mix of butane and isobutane. This has improved performance, and you will not encounter problems until the temperature drops below freezing.
Some camping stoves are fired by gasoline, although one wonders why. These stoves have built-in tanks like alcohol stoves, into which the gasoline is poured. Gasoline is readily available everywhere, but it has a number of drawbacks for campers. First and foremost is that it is a toxic substance, and that includes the soot that the camp stove will produce. When using a gasoline-fired stove, a camper needs to watch out for soot particles getting into food, which is nearly impossible to do when cooking at night. Furthermore, gasoline evaporates easily when exposed to the open air and can be a fire hazard if improperly handled.
Kerosene stoves are similar to gasoline stoves and have similar problems. Kerosene is somewhat toxic and creates a lot of soot; therefore, a camper using a kerosene stove must guard against soot getting in the food. However, kerosene has been widely used in stoves and lamps for more than a century and remains a widespread fuel. Part of this is because of its very high heat-to-weight ratio. Kerosene burns so hot that it is sometimes used in jet fuel mix. That makes these stoves great for anyone considering weight and storage issues, as a little kerosene can fuel multiple appliances and go a long way. However, kerosene is also more liable to be a fire hazard than propane or butane when improperly handled.
Propane is a clean-burning gas that comes in canisters. It burns very hot, making it an excellent fuel for stoves. The one problem is that these stoves are reported to have bad performance at high altitudes, making them a bad choice for mountain climbers and trekkers.