I read a statement recently that copper bottom/S/S has something like 12 times the heat absorption that Anodized aluminum pots have, which I found hard to believe. Having some pots with copper bottom and S/S, aluminum, and titanium, I decided to do some informal boil tests to see how much difference the different pot metals really make.
Pot # 1 - Copper/S/S, DIA - 5 1/4” W X 3 1/2” T, Boil Time: 5:00
Pot # 2 - Anodized Aluminum, DIA - 6” W X 2.2” T, Boil Time: 4:30
Pot # 3 - Titanium, DIA - 6 1/4” W X 3 3/4 T, Boil Time: 4:20
This was for 2 cups of water @ 65 degrees, heated on an electric kitchen range with a glass top, on a 6 1/2 wide filament set on Hi, always starting the test from room temperature - 70 degrees.
I have done similar tests before in the same place and conditions with my best Alcohol Burner and gotten sub 4 minute boil times, using a 1” pot lift pot stand and a MSR Aluminum wind screen. It was for convince that I did the electric stove test. I always assumed that a kitchen range would out perform an Alcohol Stove, which did not prove to be the case. I have always assumed that most of the extra heat produced by White Gas stoves and LP Cartridge stoves is just passing on to the atmosphere with only a fraction of the heat being produced by those stoves being absorbed by the cooking pot.
More recently, Heat Exchanger Pots have become popular because they produce faster boil times and use less fuel to do it. Such pots are expensive, heavier and bulkier. They work best in cooking for large gropes and it would take 40 to 50 stove uses to save enough fuel weight to equal the additional weight of carrying a Heat Exchanger Pot - 2 to 3 ounces, and the heat exchanger lift may interfere with the Magic 1” Lift flame height built into some alcohol stoves and pot stands for alcohol burners.
To fuel my Alcohol Burner, I fill a 1 Oz. squeeze bottle from a bigger fuel bottle and squirt it in the stove. That’s enough fuel to boil 30 Oz. Of water, make a cup of hot chocolate and two 8 Oz., just add hot water type meals, with water left over for clean up set back on a still burning stove to be heated for a little while longer. One Oz. Is not much fuel, but it is all I need. And as you can see from the above boil times, an aluminum pot will do a more than adequate job of heating all the water you need without a heat exchanger pot…Karl.