MSR Reactor vs WindBurner: Complete List of Differences [2022]

This time, we compared MSR Reactor vs WindBurner, so you can select which integrated stove system is worth buying for your camping or hiking activities. To begin with, both Reactor and WindBurner are great and they both have award-winning technology developed by MSR. However, they are not the same considering especially the fuel efficiency, boiling time and the purpose of use.

MSR Reactor vs MSR WindBurner Key Differences

Here is the table we have put together to help you better understand the MSR Reactor vs WindBurner comparison:

Comparison of#MSR ReactorMSR WindBurner
Out Selection forBoth Boils and Cook/Large Group of PeopleBoils Water Only / Solo Hiker or Camper
Price TagCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Volume1-liter, 1.7-liters, 2.5-liters1-liter
Boil Time210 seconds per 1-liter (1-liter pot size)290 seconds per 1-liter (1-liter pot size)
Water Boiled20-liters per 227 grams fuel (1-liter pot size)20-liters per 227 grams fuel (1-liter pot size)
Fuel RegulatorYesYes
Group Size1-2 People (1-liter), Large Group of People (1.7-liters and 2.5-liters)1-2 People
Weight15.3 ounces or 430 grams14.7 ounces or 420 grams
Dimension (W X L X H)4.8 x 5 x 6.3 inches4.2 x 4.5 x 7.1 inches

Key Differences Between the MSR Reactor and WindBurner

First of all, both the MSR Reactor and the WindBurner are integrated stove system that comes with a fuel stabilizer, cooking pot and stove. At first glance, they look 95% identical to each other. But, if you really think they are the same, you’re making a big mistake.

We listed the main differences between them to help you make a clear decision before picking one over the other.

The key differences between the MSR Reactor and the WindBurner are:

  • The size and volume of the cooking pot are different.
  • In addition, the boiling time and the fuel efficiency is not the same for the Reactor and the WindBurner. The Reactor is more fuel efficient and it boils water faster than the WindBurner.
  • The MSR WindBurner is for only boiling water but the MSR Reactor is for both cooking and boiling water.
  • Also, the MSR Reactor comes with three different size/volume options whereas the MSR WindBurner comes with only 1-liter volume. Especially larger pot sizes of the MSR Reactor (1.7-liters and 2.5-liters) are very useful for a large group of people.

Comparing Their Size & Weight

Comparing how they are packed

When we compared them from the aspects of weight, the 1-liter option of both comes with almost the same weight (WindBurner 14.7-oz/ 0.42-kg for 1-liter, MSR Reactor 15.3-oz/0.43-kg for 1-liter option). However, MSR Reactor comes with also 1.7-liter and 2.5-liter options as well. In contrast to the MSR WindBurner, if you purchase the 1.7 or 2.5-liter options of the MRS Reactor, you can boil water for a large group of people.

MSR Reactor with the larger pot sizes are 1-lbs 2 oz/-0.50 kg for 1.7-Liter option, 1-lbs 5 oz/0.59-kg for 2.5-liters option. It is important to note that you will decide WHICH POT SIZE you are going to get DURING PURCHASING. So, beware of what pot size you want to have.

We recommend that if you are a solo camper, you can choose the 1-liter version. Because it is more suitable for one or two people and easy to pack in a backpack. If you are a group of people, we highly recommend the 1.7-liters or 2.5-liters versions of MSR Reactor which can handle three or more people with ease.

The shape of the cooking pot is different as well. The WindBurner has tall and narrow cooking pot, whereas MSR Reactor has a wider but a little bit short pot.

Boiling Time of MSR Reactor vs WindBurner

When we compared the boiling time of the Reactor and the WindBurner, the WindBurner boils 1-liters of water in 290 seconds whereas the Reactor boils in 210 seconds. So that the MSR Reactor is faster considering the boiling time. The measurement are for the 1-liters full pot size.

If you need an integrated backpacking-stove system, we would recommend considering the Jetboil Zip or the Flash (boils 1-liter water less than 120 seconds). You can check out our in-depth comparison of Jetboil Zip vs Flash.

Fuel Efficiency of MSR Reactor vs WindBurner

The Reactor has a windproof radiant burner and pressure regulator which performs very well on cold and windy days. It has a faster boil time and more efficient fuel consumption in comparison to the MSR Reactor.

When we make a side-by-side fuel efficiency comparison;

  • The WindBurner can boil 18-liters of water with 227-gram canister.
  • The Reactor can boil 20-liters of water with 227-gram canister.

It is important to note that the integrated stove systems such as MSR Reactor and WindBurner do not come with the fuel canister. You need to purchase them separately. You can check out the following links to take a look at MSR ISOPRO fuel that are compatible with the MSR Reactor and the MSR Windburner.

MSR ISOFUEL Shape How does it look

Check Amazon for the MSR ISOPRO Fuel compatible with MSR Reactor and MSR WindBurner.

Considering the fuel efficiency, the winner is MSR Reactor. If you have enough space in your backpack, you should definitely prefer MSR Reactor over the WindBurner. It is also good to note that you may want to consider Jetboil Flash or the Jetboil Minimo which are highly fuel efficient and budget friendly. Here is our post that is comparing the Jetboil Flash vs Minimo.

Short Review for MSR Reactor

MSR Reactor Review

MSR Reactor Review: MSR Reactor is a better choice for cooking solid foods as well as boiling water. Also, as we said in the ‘’Boiling Time’’ title, we clearly state that MSR Reactor is faster than WindBurner.

On strong windy days, MSR Reactor offers a flat and balanced surface for the pot that is placed on it.

Here is a useful short video about MSR Reactor:

Pros for MSR Reactor

  • MSR Reactor can both cook and simmer meal and it can boil water.
  • It has different pot sizes (1-liter, 1.7-liter and 2.5-liter).
  • Its canister screws in tube cap and screws off easily.
  • MSR Reactor can boil 22-Liters of water per full canister (for 1.7-liter pot size).
  • MSR Reactor heats directly the cooking pot and this makes it more fuel efficient.
  • MSR Reactor is more proper for group people other than a personal minimalist camper.

Cons for MSR Reactor

  • MSR Reactor has no igniter along with the full package.
  • MSR Reactor covers more space because it has a wider and large feature. So, it will take large space in your backpack.
  • MSR Reactor’s 1.7-liter and 2.5-liters versions isn’t proper for solo campers and hikers because they cover large space.
  • MSR Reactor has no tripod stand to protect the canister from getting wet on cold snowy and windy days.

Short Review for MSR WindBurner

MSR WindBurner Review

The MSR WindBurner Review: The good thing about the WindBurner, it has a handle and cloth wrap that ease to picking up the pot even while water is boiling. So, you don’t have to worry about burning yourself.

When you heat up the container, its pot easily clips in and locks itself. So that you can pick up the full package

The WindBurner has also a measuring cup, thus we were able to add ingredients by measuring how much we need.

The WindBurner has a tripod stand on the bottom. This is a useful feature which protects it from getting wet on cold snowy and rainy days. It also stabilizes the platform and gives more safety and balance during boiling.

Here is a useful short video about MSR WindBurner:

Pros for MSR WindBurner

  • WindBurner has a handle and cloth that wraparound of it. We can take WindBurner in hand and eat or drink food while walking outside.
  • WindBurner has a tripod stand which is very useful in the wind and cold snowy days

Cons for MSR WindBurner

  • WindBurner has no igniter along with the full package.
  • WindBurner is not very useful for a cooking meal on your trips.

Which is the right stove for you: The Reactor or the WindBurner?

Although we have a personal preference the decision whether you go with the WindBurner or MSR Reactor is completely up to you. To sum up, you can read the following items quickly and understand which one is fitting your needs the best.

  • The WindBurner is more suitable for only boiling water, but MSR Reactor is more for both cooking, simmering and boiling water. 
  • The fuel efficiency of MSR Reactor is way better than the MSR WindBurner.
  • The handle of WindBurner is made of fabric but the handle of the MSR Reactor is made from a metal material. Therefore, cleaning of the MSR Reactor is easier than the WindBurner.
  • MSR Reactor boils water faster than the WindBurner.
  • MSR Reactor boils 20-litres of water with a 227-gram canister however, the WindBurner can boil 18-litres of water with the same amount of fuel.
  • MSR Reactor covers more space in backpack but WindBurner is vertical pot type and can fit in backpack easily.
  • The Windburner is more useful for solo hikers and campers. But, the Reactor comes with three different pot sizes. Especially larger volume pot (1.7-liters and 2.5-liters) are very useful for a group of people. It is good to note that the Reactor comes with only “1” pot size, and you need to decide the size of pot during purchasing.

Bottom-line for MSR Reactor vs WindBurner Comparison

Our Verdict for MSR Reactor vs WindBurner: The MSR Reactor is way better than WindBurner in many aspects, if you are not a solo hiker or camper, we would definitely recommend the MSR Reactor over the WindBurner.

If you don’t have enough space in your backpack and therefore looking for a smaller but highly efficient backpacking stove, Jetboil offers the Minimo and the Micromo. You can check out our Jetboil Minimo vs Micromo comparison to understand if they will fit your needs the best or not.