- Micro-regulator keeps boil times consistent
- Wind performance; best in test
- Average boil time
- Stable with larger pots and cookware
- Flame control valve easy to use with gloves
- Removable pot support can be easily lost
Given its weight, efficiency, performance in wind and average boil time, the Soto WindMaster is the superior stove in this category. It is pricey, but you do get what you are paying for. The micro-regulator is an impressive inclusion on a stove of this size and it performs as advertised, maintaining boil time consistency and performance in temperatures most canister stoves can't handle.
While I did not love the flimsy, removable pot support, it does make the stove more compact once detached, which is a key consideration in this category. I recommend investing the extra money in SotoFlex, a four-prong pot support attachment made for this stove. It is easier and stronger. The WindMaster can be used with larger pots to cook and for once, the built-in igniter proved dependable.
The Soto WindMaster averaged 2:28 to boil two cups of water 15 times. Because of the regulator, the last boil came in at 3:17, proving how well Soto's design manages the use of canister pressure as gas volume decreases.
The WindMaster weighs 2.3 ounces with the included 3-prong support. With the 4Flex, you'll carry 4 ounces. Only the Olicamp Ion Micro weighed less among the four backpacking stoves tested.
Using a 4-ounce can of MSR IsoPro, the Soto WindMaster boiled 15 two-cup pots of water, making it a solid choice for those who want to limit fuel use on a long weekend. The Ion Micro once again outperformed the WindMaster here, but only by two pots. However, the Ion's performance in wind may have you second-guessing whether to bring it instead.
The WindMaster is appropriately named, averaging 2:15 when boiling water in strong winds and very stiff gusts. Like the Power Nano, but moreso, the WindMaster's concave burner head is protected below its housing, allowing the flame to combust almost unaffected by the breeze. The supports also allow the pot base to sit almost level with the burner housing, meaning only 'secondary air'passes over the flame, which helps maintain combustion while limiting heat loss.
The Soto WindMaster is well made and stood up to general wear and tear. Nothing stands out as overly subject to damage other than the included pot support.
How We Tested It
The Soto WindMaster was subjected to a series of controlled tests designed to mimic backcountry conditions. Boil time, wind performance and efficiency tests each used separate cans of the same fuel to ensure consistency, as well as the same pot and amounts of water. It was packed, dropped and treated as it would be during a typical wilderness trip.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Fuel Type: Canister Fuel
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