How To Build A DIY Rocket Stove

best rocket stove

Rocket Stoves are a great choice for people looking for an off-grid option for cooking, boiling water, and producing heat.  They are a versatile solution for these 3 applications and more.  There are a large range of designs available to build a DIY rocket stove for home or camp.  I recently came across one of the best rocket stove designs that I have seen from Megan at PremiumRocketStoves.com.  It is simple to build, very low cost, requires nearly no maintenance, and performs admirably in the field.  In this article I am going to show you how to use Megan’s design to build your own DIY (Do-It-Yourself) rocket stove.

Megan is a great resource for many preparedness related topics and has made herself into an expert on building the best rocket stove possible from common, low cost materials.  Through PremiumRocketStoves.com she sells professionally made rocket stoves using the design we are sharing with you today.

What is a rocket stove?

A rocket stove is a type of combustion stove that is highly efficient and can burn most any organic material as well as many man made ones.  It incorporates a feeding tube to add fuel (sticks, etc), an air intake, and a chimney to direct the heat that is produced.  Here is a diagram of a rocket stove to help you understand how they work:

Best rocket stove

Part of the versatility of a DIY rocket stove is the variety of fuel materials it can effectively burn.  Here is a list of some of the most commonly used items:

What would I use a  DIY rocket stove for?

Rocket stoves have many applications.  Some people build large scale ones called Rocket Stove Mass Heaters to heat their homes, others use smaller stoves to cook food or as a portable firepit in their back yards.  A rocket stove is also is a great tool for cooking or sterilizing water in a blackout or bug-in situation.  In addition to the many DIY designs, there are a wide range of folding and collapsible rocket stoves used by ultralight backpackers and survivalists.  They are prized for providing a stable and lightweight cooking appliance with a low footprint.  We recently reviewed one of these backpacking rocket stoves made by Emberlit.

Why is a DIY rocket stove better than a traditional fire or wood stove?

There are pros and cons to each of these three methods.  The rocket stove however will burn far cleaner and more efficiently than either of the other two options.  This ability to generate a large amount of heat with less smoke and ash, while using far less wood is why many people choose to build a DIY rocket stove.

best rocket stove

A well designed DIY rocket stove can create the same amount of heat as a wood stove using up to 90% less fuel.  This efficiency advantage is achieved primarily through two parts of the rocket stove’s design:

Insulation

The best rocket stove designs, including the one we are sharing with you today, use a double walled chamber that is insulated against heat loss.  This ensures that all the heat produced is directed up the chimney towards the cooking surface.  A simple fire pit loses a huge amount of heat to the air as it is not insulated at all and flames burned anywhere but directly beneath what you are cooking are simply wasted.

Air Supply

In addition to a fuel feeding tube into the bottom of the combustion chamber a rocket stove will also incorporate an air passage to allow air to flow directly into where the fuel is being burned.  This allows for the fire to pull in as much oxygen as it needs to burn as hot as possible.  As long as this is happening nearly ALL fuel is consumed, which prevents smoke and ash from being generated.  This higher rate of consumption means that more heat is produced with less wood, charcoal, or whatever else you may be burning.

Is it hard to make a DIY rocket stove?

As we will show you here, no it is not hard to make a DIY rocket stove.  Once we had the materials gathered it took us less than 60 minutes to make our own DIY stove!  Also if you don’t have the time or desire to make your own there are lots of places online to buy ready to use rocket stoves, including the fine people at Premium Rocket Stoves.com who provided us with our instructions and raw materials, as well as an assembled stove which we are going to give away to one of you lucky readers!

Here’s how you make your own DIY rocket stove:

We created this video to show you how we made and tested our DIY rocket stove.

Click here if you have trouble viewing this video

If you are the kind of person that likes to read, we also wrote out the instructions below:

What do I need to get started on my DIY rocket stove?

  • #10 Can with lid
  • 2 Large 28 ounce cans for the stove + 1 extra (3 total)
  • Insulation
  • Dremel (tin snips or a chisel can be used instead)
  • Heavy Duty Gloves
  • Marker

Step 1: Cut the outer can

Mark and cut your center hole. With the large #10 can, use a lid from the small can and trace a circle. Then cut it out. Then make sure the smaller can fits into the hole you just made in the #10 can.

Step 2: Make the chimney

Do the same thing but now to the smaller can. Using the piece you just cut out of the #10 can, place it on top of the smaller can and trace then cut.

Step 3: Make the feeding tube

With the can you haven’t touched yet, cut off the rim. Then make about 1.5 inch tabs around the can. Squeeze it through both cans. Fold some of the tabs up to make a snug fit.

Step 4: Cut the lid

With the top lid, trace a circle in the middle of it using one of the smaller cans. Then cut it out.

Step 5: Fill with insulation

First cut tabs around the large can. We cut 8 total. Then pack it with insulation. Fold down 4 tabs, use a hammer. Place the lid with the circle cut into it, on top. Hammer the remaining 4 tabs on top to secure the lid in place.

Step 6: Make a shelf

Cut a rectangle metal piece with flaps that will fit inside. Hammer the metal to make if flat. Cut about an inch slit on each side of the can. Slide the shelf into place then fold down flaps.

Step seven: Fire it up and cook!

Throw some dryer lint in the middle. Place sticks on top of the shelf. Light it and place your pot/pan on top!

 Ready To Build The Best Rocket Stove?

As you can see building your DIY rocket stove is a relatively easy process.  Feel free to refer back to our video up above to see the build and testing process in action.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and start building!

Your Thoughts?

What do you think about our stove?  Do you have a rocket stove of your own?  What do you use it for?  Let us know in the comments section below, thanks!

27 comments on “How To Build A DIY Rocket Stove

  1. Thanks for this tutorial. I’ve seen people refer to these, but didn’t know how to make one. I’d take it camping to practice with it, then use it when our electricity goes out.

  2. I think this could make a great grill for bike camping. Is it possible to make a collapsable version?

    1. Hey Ray,
      This particular stove is not collapsible but would fit in a backpack. If you want a folding stove we reviewed a GREAT on here.

  3. Question we are doing a Class project and i need my rocket stove to burn the hotest to win what kind of insulation do you recomend to trap the most heat and create the most heat?

    1. Hi Zach,
      The insulation we used for making ours was simple housing insulation. You can get this at a hardware store but MAKE SURE IT IS NON-FLAMMABLE. You can also use soil or sand, which is cheaper and easier to obtain.

      Make sure there are no gaps in the corners where the edges of metal meet to make sure there is minimal heat loss.

      Good luck with your project!

      Chris

    2. Hi Zach, Look into vemeculite or pearlite. Both are superior insulators over fiberglass matting (standard insulation). I got a bag from Ace Hardware.

  4. I’ve been researching rocket stoves and wood gas stoves. can you explain why you prefer the rocket stove over the woodgas stove? I’m still confused. which burns more completely? which uses less fuel? which makes less smoke? which would be safer in an indoor environment? (we do have a drafty house which I’m not afraid to use fire inside of. heck, our basement stays below freezing all winter long due to to many openings allowing wind inside. thanks, Kitty

  5. I’m coming to this very late, but this is the best video I’ve ever seen for how to finish off the *top* of the rocket stove. My rocket stove is made from cans like these, and its 95% finished, but its currently unuseable, I was never able to figure out how to finish it off. The neatness of the finish at the top is great. Thank you!

    There’s a good tip in the comments about using sand as the insulator – I have some building sand I could use, I’ve currently got vermiculite in there, and its a real pain because I’ve finished off the top so badly.

    Thanks again!

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