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I would like to say a big thank you to EcoZoom for sending me an EcoZoom Versa Stove to review. This review is unbiased and honest.
What Is An EcoZoom Versa Stove
The EcoZoom Versa Stove is very well made. It is categorized as a rocket stove, which is efficient in cooking using small diameter wood fuel. This is burned in a simple, high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney which ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. It is also equipped with a pot skirt, which forces the flame and heat around the pot and increases the efficiency of the stove by 25%, using even less wood.
My First Thoughts
The box was delivered via fed ex and, to my surprise, it arrived very quick and in quality packaging. This stove is not light. It weighs more than an average 2 year old child. I unpacked the stove and found it well built, which makes it clear why it weighs so much. Its outer shell is enameled metal with a heavy cast cooking surface. The core of the stove is a single piece of ceramic made from lightweight extruded clay. All-in-all, I am very impressed! Now lets get to the good stuff: testing.
The EcoZoom Versa is designed to burn wood, dried biomass, or charcoal. The top door of the stove is for wood, biomass, and charcoal, while the bottom door serves as a damper and to control airflow. For my testing I used sticks and twigs from around my backyard. I tried to imagine I had no power and this was the only way to cook. At first, I found it hard to light. That may be because I have never used a rocket type stove before, but after about 4 minutes I got it lit. Once lit, it smoked heavily for about 1 minute, then died down to almost no smoke at all. If you wanted to use charcoal, it comes with a small grate that you can place into the big door. This makes for burning charcoal better.
The EcoZoom Versa stove is designed to use only 4 or 5 sticks at a time; that is how efficient it is. You can control the heat produced easily by the amount of sticks either pushed or pulled from the opening. There are 2 doors to this stove. The top larger door is for wood and biomass while the smaller bottom door is to control airflow into the stove and thus the heat output. The EcoZoom Versa comes with a stick support that is positioned in front of the top door allowing longer pieces of wood to be fed slowly into the stove as they burn. I wanted to see how long it took to boil a pan of water on this stove, it took 14 minutes. That’s fantastic as I only used 5 sticks to do it 🙂
I used the pot skirt to make the stove more efficient and it didn’t get in the way or get dirty. I didn’t test to see how long the water boiled with out the pot skirt though, but I’m guessing it might take a minute or so longer to boil. If I were doing this in a bug-out situation and I forgot to pick the skirt up, I wouldn’t be too worried. Cleaning the stove is easy. I waited until the stove cooled down, approximately 20 minutes I opened both doors and shook the stove, being careful not to drop it on the ground and risk damaging the clay interior. This made all of the ash fall out, then I took a cloth and wiped what I could inside the pot and the cast iron top. After that, I placed the stove back into the box it came in for storage.
The EcoZoom Versa Stove is very well made. It provides a quick and efficient way of cooking and boiling water. Although the stove is heavy, it provides excellent protection from heat. It never got too hot on the outside. For bugging-out on foot in an emergency, this is too heavy to be practical to carry. But if you have a vehicle to use, this is a great product to bug-out with. This stove would be fantastic to take camping and to keep as a back up for cooking if the power ever goes out. I feel happier I have one next to my bug-out-bag for that ” just in case” moment. It’s storm season here in Nebraska, so a tornado could easily wipe out the power.
Three billion people in the world rely on biomass and charcoal for their cooking needs, often burning it indoors on open fires or dangerous unimproved cookstoves. We believe that people of any economic status should have access to beautifully designed cooking products that will improve their health, income, and environment.
EcoZoom is a for-profit, certified B Corp making clean cookstoves accessible and affordable in developing countries. Since starting in April of 2011, we’ve sold over 70,000 cookstoves into our 14 target countries.
EcoZoom designs, manufactures, and sells stoves to multinational for‐profit and nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and governments who distribute to end consumers in commercial, development or relief projects. EcoZoom is focused in four key regions: Eastern, Western and Southern sub-Saharan Africa, and specific countries within Latin America.
Our biomass-fueled stoves have been designed and tested in both lab and field, and verified for performance by independent third parties such as the US EPA, USAID, Millennium Villages Project, and UNDP. EcoZoom cookstoves are healthy, efficient and environmentally friendly. They:
- reduce fuel need by 60%,
- emit 70% less smoke and emissions than a three stone fire,
- and stay cooler to the touch while in use to prevent burns.
The Need for Clean Cookstoves Around the World
- 3 billion people in the world reply on biomass and charcoal for their cooking needs often burning it indoors on open fire or dangerous unimproved cookstoves – United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
- Cookstove smoke is one of the top five threats to public health in developing countries – World Health Organization.
- Toxic cooking smoke kills over 4 million people each year – Global Burden of Disease study conducted by The Lancet.
- Health effects from indoor air pollution are equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day – World Health Organization.
- Women and children can spend up to 4 hours a day gathering fuel, impeding opportunities for education and other economically productive activities – Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
- An average family in a developing country can spend 20-30% of its income on fuel – UNDP.
- Americans spend, on average, 4% of their income on energy – US Department of Housing & Urban Development.