What Is A BTU And Why Does It Matter?

You might be wondering, what is a BTU actually? Why should it matter to you when shopping for a propane campfire (or really, any heating or cooling appliance)?

Well, BTU stands for  British Thermal Unit and in North America it is used as a way to measure energy output. Specifically, a BTU is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. When looking at an appliance that is designed to heat, the BTU is most often used as a measured as BTU/hr.

Most household stove burners (see example photo below) are around 10,000 BTU’s, so if you are cooking over a camp stove, around 10,000 BTU/hr  (per burner) is generally more than enough. If you are cooking large amounts of food in deep pans or pots, look for a higher BTU than this.

gas stove flame what is a btu

A wok burner such as the one seen below, can start around 40,000 BTU and can go much higher than that for commercial equipment.

wok flame what is a btu

But why should you look for a high BTU campfire? It is important to check for a high CSA BTU rating so you are not disappointed with the heat output when the time comes and you need it. Nothing worse than camping on a cold evening and your fire doesn’t have enough BTU’s to keep you and your family warm.

campfire during fire ban what is a btu

Do a little research before making your final decision on your new propane campfire, and purchase one that has a tested BTU output that you will be happy with. The whole point of sitting around the fire is to be warm and cozy, not to feel like you’re freezing.


Want to learn about available models of propane campfires? We welcome you to check out Campfire Compare and get all the information you need to compare campfires!

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