Any butane stove instruction manual will tell you NEVER to leave the canister in the stove but in reality, people do this all the time – myself included (shhh).
I personally leave mine in my stove for storage (I just disengage the canister) and I often don’t even disengage the canister when I’m actively using the stove.
So what’s the verdict – can you leave butane canisters in your stove or am I doing something incredibly wrong?
You can leave butane canisters in your stove but you should disengage the canister after using it. Store it in a cool and well-ventilated area to prevent the butane from pressurizing the walls and causing an explosion and use CRV canisters for added safety.
For obvious reasons you shouldn't leave your butane canister in your stove with it actively engaged. This can lead to gas leaks and as butane is an odorless gas it can be difficult to tell if gas is leaking or not.
In enclosed spaces this can potentially be dangerous. But leaving it in the stove and disengaged, doesn't seem to add significant risk during storage.
Leaving butane canisters in your stove isn’t recommended but if you choose to do so, take a few safety precautions.
How To Safely Leave Butane Canisters In Your Stove
Leaving the butane canister in your stove while camping is convenient and means there’s less risk of kids getting hold of the canister.
If you’ve decided to leave your butane canister in your stove, here’s how to do it safely:
Disengage The Canister
After you've finished cooking and turned off your stove then you should disengage your canister.
Disengaging the canister cuts off the flow of butane into your stove, keeping the gas inside the canister and the stove safer and less at risk of igniting.
Luckily, it only takes a few seconds to disengage the canister.
You should have a lever on the front of your stove that you can move between “lock” and “release”. Make sure it’s in the “release” position.
I have occasionally left it in the locked position when I'm camping but this is when the stove is outside and in a very well ventilated area. If I'm putting the stove away into storage with the canister in it I would NEVER leave the canister in the engaged position.
Store the Stove in a Cool and Well-Ventilated Area
Butane is a heavy and highly flammable gas. When the temperature is 122°F (50°C) or above, it becomes very volatile and starts exerting pressure on the canister walls.
Leaving your canister in a hot tent or car left in the sun could cause it to exceed these temperatures.
If you leave it in these hot temperatures for long enough, it will eventually exert enough pressure to cause the canister to explode.
Most butane canisters have a built in safety mechanism to prematurely break and release the gas before an explosion can happen. So while it might not go “bang” it can cause the can to break and all the gas to empty out.
To play it safe, leave the stove and canister in a cool place that’s out of direct sunlight.
A slightly leaking butane canister is usually not obvious because it’s odorless.
Leaving your stove in a well-ventilated area (especially true if you use it in a tent or campervan) area can mitigate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Use CRV Canisters To Prevent an Explosion
An exploding stove or butane canister can injure anyone near to it and easily cause a fire.
If you want to leave your canister in your stove and prevent an explosion as much as possible, consider using butane canisters with the CRV (countersink release vent) feature. Also known as RVR (rim vent release).
Canisters with this feature will have a CRV stamp and a blue line around the top rim.
Should the canister become too pressurized, the CRV will release tiny amounts of butane to depressurize it and help prevent an explosion.
Jo Chef Butane Canisters from Amazon have this feature and you can save money by buying 4 at a time.
Ultra-convenient 8.8oz pre-filled canisters available in single| 2 cartridge pack | 3 cartridge pack | 4 cartridge pack cartridges.