EcoZoom rocket stove review



First off would like to thank Phil from EcoZoom for sending one of their rocket stoves (a Zoom Versa) for review here on The Survivalist Blog dot Net.

1x1.trans EcoZoom rocket stove review

EcoZoom In Action

The EcoZoom rocket stove was designed by the folks at Aprovecho Research Center and is marketed by EcoZoom.com for use in developing countries as a safer and more efficient method of cooking, and they have recently expanded their products for use by the camping and emergency preparedness market.

But is the EcoZoom any good … and more importantly is the EcoZoom rocket stove a practical and efficient survival cooking tool or just another marketing gimmick designed to take your money…

Well let’s start from the beginning…

My first impression when I picked up the box from my local U.S. Post Office was that the package was much heavier than expected. For some reason it felt much heavier than the listed 26.75lbs, it could have been the bulkiness of the box or maybe I was still feeling the serving of homemade wine from the day before. :-D

After making a few scheduled stops around town, I finally made it back to my place and opened the box to see what was hidden behind the cardboard. After opening the box and looking at the stove, feeling it’s weight and opening the doors - it looked and felt like a well made product.

In my opinion , the hinged doors put this stove in a class above many other rocket stove models on the market that have a thin metal door that slides into place behind thin metal brackets. I don’t think these would last very long under extended use…

But I still had to put it to the test to be sure…

1x1.trans EcoZoom rocket stove review

Feeding Wood Into The Burn Chamber

My initial testing began by measuring the stove from bottom to top and across the top width. According to my tape measure the stove measured just over 12 1/2 inches tall and 10 1/2 across the top. One feature, I really liked was the 6-pronged universal cast iron stove top and it’s two carry handles positions on each side of the stove.

The EcoZoom rocket stove is designed to burn wood, dried biomass (Plant materials and animal waste used as fuel) or charcoal making it a truly versatile means of cooking now and after the lights go out and other more conventional sources of fuel (like propane) are not available or need to be conserved for other uses.

As you can tell from the photos there are two doors – the top larger door is for wood and biomass while the smaller bottom door is to control airflow into the stove and thus the heat output. The EcoZoom comes with a stick support that is positioned in front of the top door allowing longer pieces of wood to be fed slowly into the stove as they burn.

There is also a small grate included for use with charcoal, this is simply inserted through the top door where it rests across the stoves grating system in a criss-cross pattern where it prevents all but the ashes of the burnt charcoal from falling through.

When using charcoal the charcoal brickets are dropped through the top of the stove with the top door closed. The bottom door remains open allowing air to flow into the burn chamber. You only need 5-6 charcoal brickets to heat up most meals or to boil water.

1x1.trans EcoZoom rocket stove review

Small Grate Included For Use With Charcoal

The EcoZoom also comes with a metal “pot skirt” that goes around the pot and is locked in place by screws that tighten the skirt to the cooking pot it is reported that the use of the skirt will increase the efficiency of the stove by 25%, while using  less wood. However, I’ve not had the oppertunity to use the skirt so I can’t attest to its effectiveness.

Using the EcoZoom Stove

As stated above the EcoZoom rocket stove can be used with several different fuel types for cooking including, wood, charcoal and biomass, however, I only used wood for my initial testing for this review.

Lighting and using the stove with wood is simple, with the most important consideration being the size of the wood and not using more than necessary. Just like building any campfire, you should start by getting everything ready before hand, first gather a hand full of small dry pieces of wood about the size of a pencil, next you’ll need to gather enough wood to cooking whatever it is you are cooking – these pieces should be about the size of your thumb.

Next place the smaller sticks from the top down into the burn chamber, next light and place a piece of tinder (I used a cotton ball dipped in vaseline) inside the lower compartment through the bottom door underneath the wood, be sure to leave both doors open.

1x1.trans EcoZoom rocket stove review

Top View 6-Pronged Cast Iron Stove Top

After the wood catches fire and the pieces are burning sufficiently, place the wood rack in front of the stove and start placing the larger sticks one at a time into the upper chamber untill you have four or five sticks of wood burning.

Now you can start cooking… Heat can be controlled by manipulation the bottom door to control draft uptake into the burn chamber…

Final Thoughts

The EcoZoom rocket stove proved to be very heat efficient – bring a pan of water to a rolling boil in less than two minutes and frying an egg like nobody’s business. Having a means of cooking, when the power goes out should be self-explanatory. Having a cooking source that uses easy to find, renewable fuel is an extra bonus. The EcoZoom Rocket Stove is recommended from here…

Comments

  1. templar knight says:

    MD, thank you for that review, and recommendation. I’ve been considering one of these for a while, and now you’ve made up my mind for me. I’ve gotta have one.

  2. K Fields says:

    Thanks M.D. I’ve been wondering about these stoves for a while now. Sounds like a quality product that would be a great addition to anyone’s kit. But if you were only to get one, would you choose this or the Volcano?

  3. JO (Georgia) says:

    I would love to see another test for your pressure cooker :) if you can maintain the temp well enough with this, that would be awesome.

    • I second the request for a test with a pressure canner. If it can be used to can, I’m buying one! Maybe Ecozoom has already done this?

      • Hi Burt – we’ve haven’t done it yet but have been wanting to try it out. I’ve brewed beer on it which requires a fair amount of temperature control but definitely want to do some tests with a pressure cooker. If we get there before M.D. Creekmore I’ll let him know our results and he can compare to his own test.

        Otherwise, let us know if some other things would be helpful to test.

    • Kate in GA says:

      I third that request! I am having a delima on what to purchase to use with a pressure cooker/pressure canner.

  4. gary in bama says:

    nice review and a great item to have but if you can mix a bag of cement you can find plans to build one online. This stove has a perfect fire wood in the south everyone has mimosa trees near them { the small tree with the pink wirly copter seeds}.If you cospiced them they grow 7 or 8 shoots above the cut to about 5ft long the size of your thumb in a summer.a machete will cut them ,let dry and cook .P.S. buy the ecozoom if you plan to bug out, a homemade rocket stove will wieght 90+ pounds

    • What is the meaning of cospiced? How is it done?

      • I believe he means “coppicing”. You can look up the Wiki definition or other info on the web, but basically it is a very efficient way to raise biomass for use in rocketstoves or other burners. Certain varieties of trees (e.g. willow) have a massive sprout and grow response to being cut down. Peope will plant a grove of such trees and then cut down the grove of trees about every 2-5 years (when they get to be about thumb thickness). It is supposed to be about the most efficient way to generate biomass, but the field will stop producing after 20-30 years, so it is not sustainable long-term on the same patch of land.

      • try looking up “coppicing” (i’m no expert, but do know what gary was referring to)

        Coppicing is a general term for trees sprouting from a tree that has been cut down. More recently, I see it referred to in relation to generating biomass by cutting back trees that then generate lots of shoots with vigorous growth. It is gaining popularity in some areas as a way of generating a renewable energy source. I know willows are one type of tree used that has a rapid sprout and growth, so that you can harvest a lot of biomass in a short amount of time (2-4 years).

  5. MD,
    MSRP?

  6. I have had one of these stoves for about 6 months, and cook with it every day. I have only used sticks that I pick up within about a 100 yard radius of my trailer and I always have enough fuel. It only takes a few small fallen tree branches to cook a meal.

    The pot skirt is a key to heading efficiency and quick cooking. The use of a pressure cooker also really extends the ability to cook almost anything with very little fuel.

    The stove is built like a tank, very simple to use and weathers outdoors without rust problems of any kind. It should last for years. I would not do without mine.

    Trey
    Urban Houston, Texas

  7. blindshooter says:

    I’ve built a couple of small forges to work knives and small gun parts, refractory mortar, some Satanite and maybe some stove bricks would make a killer stove like this in the back yard. Would not be portable though, that looks to be this products strong suit, a portable stove would be much harder to cobble up at home at least for me.

    Like Jo, I wonder if the heat can be regulated well enough to use a pressure canner without having to stand over it constantly. Charcoal might allow longer periods without having to tend the fire?

    Good review.

  8. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    As somebody who has made a couple of rocket stoves last year, I think this product is head & shoulder above the home-made variety. For one thing, the extra door is good for controling the heat. The homemade version doesn’t enable good heat control – it’s either extremely hot or it’s cold! And the charcoal grate is a very good idea. Plus, I like the stand for the longer pieces of wood, although that’s not a big problem if you can find a good rock or a brick.

    The weight isn’t a problem, it’s a benefit because you don’t want a high-heat-producing stove to fall over in a breeze or rock around on unstable ground. Nor do you want a stove that weighs a ton when you need to move it. The weight of this item seems to be a good compromise.

    The only drawback for me would be the price of $129.00. That’s a heap of cash, but it burns darn near anything so would be good in a dire predicament.

    It’s going on my longterm wish list. After I get another flashlight or two!

  9. Thanks for the review. The stove sounds great, but I’m concerned about the weight. Great for hunkering down but heavy for bugging out. I can last quiet a while on 26 lbs. of beans and rice. I guess it depends on the BOV you are going to use and whether you can use a BOV or not.

  10. mountain lady says:

    Going on my wish list, also. I have a nice solar oven, but that is all I have for cooking outdoors. I use the wood burning stove in winter, but really need something else for outside. Thanks for the review.

  11. Sounds like a winner but Be careful when you use this. The smoke can be an OPSEC problem. Can attract attention when you can not afford it.

  12. Great review, thankyou. Looking forwards to the pressure cooker post.

  13. jqfrederick says:

    Note also that for another $15 dollars at the time of purchase you can send one of these stoves overseas to people who are much more dependent on cooking with wood or biomass than we are (although I suppose that could change fairly rapidly…)

  14. Thanks for the review, MD. I haven’t seen this product before, but it is definitely on my wish list now. The price is alot cheaper than I imagined it would be. Thanks again!

  15. This product looks great, but unfortunately their website is very difficult to use and has multiple malfunctions. I had to add to the cart three times to get it to take – the third time, adding from the sidebar instead of the product page – and then, when I clicked Checkout, I was conveyed to a blank page. (Perhaps they designed the site for Internet Exploder). Besides all this, they do not make it easy to contribute to their international charity efforts, as I would have liked to do.

    • Jason,

      I have contacted them about this but they still have not updated their site – it is a pain. Great product, poorly designed site.

      • I ordered one of these as I had been shopping for one already and was pleased to hear a more detailed and positive review. The web store was not the slickest, but I only hit one minor glitch (it could not identify my work address for shipment, which happens to me whenever a site tries verify the delivery address before continuing- my work address exists but for some reason is not listed with the post office). Otherwise it all went smoothly for me.

      • Hi M.D. – I think the issue of the blank page coming up from the EcoZoom cart has been resolved. We think it was a problem with our web host’s server. We are working hard to ensure that everyone can order smoothly and quickly. The site has only been up for a few weeks and we’re getting all the bugs out as fast as possible. Thanks for letting us know!

    • Hi Jason – I just saw this post. If you were trying to order from EcoZoom, I’m sorry you were having so much trouble. This is a new site and we are trying to get all the kinks worked out. I just placed a fake order to test it and it worked fine for me. I’m using Firefox though. Feel free to give me a call at 903-326-9666 if you’re having any troubles with the cart.

      Just by purchasing a stove you contribute to our international charity work. When you buy a stove, we place one with a cook internationally through our Z+ Program. Our first shipment of these stove is going to Namibia, Africa. You can read more it about here: http://www.ecozoomstove.com/z.php.

  16. I doubt you will be able to find one of these stoves used. They have just come out and not many people know about them.

    I would also recommend to the group the Cobb cooker. It is made in South Africa and is a quality cooker too, although for different purposes. It too used very little fuel. The Cobb works off of eight charcoal bricks and will head for four hours on that one load. Can’t go wrong with either of theses as alternative cooking sources. Both only work outdoors.

  17. SrvivlSally says:

    Just from the pictures alone, I can see that it is a very well made stove. It does not look like another throw-away item. I cook on cast iron regularly and I like the fact that it was used in the making of the stove. Your review was sufficient enough to tell me that I can use several fuels and also count on the stove outlasting them. Thank you for sharing your review and I’m off to take a look.

  18. riverrider says:

    md, don’t take this the wrong way but that looks like something the comma guy would use:) of course his would have superchargers and afterburners and cost 5000.00:) just funning man….but i’ll stick to my #10 can stove, free and i have about 100 on the shelf,LOL.

  19. Vienna (Soggy prepper) says:

    I’ve been looking at rocket stoves also. The one I was looking at earlier was all black and big, this one looks a lot more portable. We made a #10 can rocket stove we take camping and use, works great for heating a pot of anything. We look like hobo’s, but we eat darn good when we camp! We made another larger rocket stove out of a popcorn tmas tin and a couple cans. It works also, but for durability I’m aiming at a “real” one. I have a volcano stove and haven’t used it yet, bad me… But quite actually I think a rocket stove would be used more (our homemade ones are used more!) Simply because if your “survival” type cooking I’m not going to be frying up burgers, frying tators and heating a vege. I’m going to throw everything in one pot and your gona eat my stewp! Easy clean up and the rocket stoves burn out fast when not fed, so efficient there also. hmmm, rocket stove goes back on my list.

  20. mindyinds says:

    We have had our rocket stove for several years now,and really enjoy it in the fall and winter on the back deck. The model MD has is much improved, as ours has the thin sliding door. Also, the skirt we were sent was sort of a cobbled-up job – they must have just thought of it, and it doesn’t rally fit the top of the stove. A more solid ring to keep the wind from affecting the top of the cooking unit would be great. The biggest plus for me is that we can go out in the yard and gather a large amount of windfall oak and dry grass (central Texas), enough to cook many meals. I would think that with patience and plenty of large twigs, canning could be accomplished. You can easily look and see how your fire is doing. Also, I would think that you could use the rocket stove in a fireplace inside.

  21. mindyinds says:

    One more thing, you cannot barbecue on a rocket stove, you have to use a skillet or pot.

  22. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    M.D., thanks for a great review. I too had been pondering whether to invest in one of these or not, I had built a homemade rocket stove that I was completely dissatisfied with. Gonna add this to my big ticket purchase items list. Keep up the good work.

  23. That looks good . looks substantial enough for use in areas of limited space . We have one of those turn of the century two burner , cast iron box stoves in one area . Works very well but I can see how this thing would be a good choice for cooking small meals ( iron box stove puts out a lot of heat )

  24. sistaprepper says:

    MD, I was reading through some of your previous blog entries and came across this one and the the review of the Volcano II. Of the two stoves, which would you prefer if given the choice? And have you tried baking on either? I noticed the Volcano II has a lid you can purchase to bake with. Any assistance you can provide is appreciated.

  25. I am interested in selling your product at my store. I am revising it so I am not ready to sell it for another week or two. Check into my website though and see what I am doing if you like.