Jetboil PCS Vs MSR Reactor

jetboil-flash-stove
Jetboil
Vs msr-reactor-stove
MSR Reactor

Comparing MSR reactor  Vs  jetboil Personal Cooking System.


Jetboil came to the market with its revolutionary concept around 2004. MSR reactor came as an answer around 2007. They compete head to head (along side with Primus eta express) on the "most efficient stove" title.

To begin with, some basic facts on the two:

Jetboil PCS

Jetboil pcs is Jetboil's basic cooking kit. Nowadays it comes in the flash addition (pretty much the same). It's a nice kit, build of a burner that you can store inside the unique mug. The mug serves as the cooking pot too.
The big idea is the special pot, that got these fins welded to its bottom. The fins absorb lots of the heat from the flame that runs under it. The pot is also designed to block the wind in some manner. The windshield also helps to keep more of the heat for cooking instead of just being wasted to the free air. What you get is a cooking kit with much higher efficiency than the average stove+pot combination.
The way I see it, the main disadvantage of the Jetboil is that you have to get it as a kit and use it as a kit. Another issue with it, is that it is not suited for simmer and for wide pots.

More on Jetboil PCS...

MSR reactor

The MSR reactor uses the same trick as the Jetboil. It got a unique pot with them fins on the bottom that serves as a built in heat exchanger. It got a lid and it got probably one of the best wind shields in the market. The reason for the great wind proof abilities is that the pot "sits" on the burner in a way that leaves no room for the wind to blow. The only air that goes in is exactly what the burner needs. The burner itself is unique in the industry. It hasn't got the regular blue flame you are used to see. Instead, they made this reactor, that glows like an orange dome. There is actually no open fire there. This, BTW, makes it useless if you want to use different pots or pans.

More on MSR reactor...

Comparing the two

Weight and size

The MSR (19Oz) is a bit heavier than the Jetboil (15Oz). On the other hand, the MSR pot is  bigger (1.7 liter for the reactor, 1 liter for the Jetboil). This might make the difference for you if you are a loner, for instance, and don't need the bigger pot. The size of the pot, BTW, is the size of the whole kit, since it packs up within the pot. TIE.
 

Performance

The MSR works better when it comes to boiling water or melting snow. It's simply faster. The MSR reactor boils two cups of water in about 1:30. Jetboil does it in around 2:30. If you check the efficiency, the two gas stoves are pretty much the same. Meaning, they will both boil the same amount of water for a given amount of fuel (give or take, 10 liters of water for 100gr of gas). The MSR handles strong wind better too. No drama here, though. If you got some serious winds, just put the stove behind your pack or some rock and the wind should come down to a reasonable speed, where the jetboil is just as good. MSR by KO.

Stability

On even surface they will both do good. When you heat rough area, it gets tricky. The MSR pot is NOT connected to the burner (unlike the jetboil), hence got a potential of flipping. Jetboil also got this trick where you can hold the cup, since it is isolated with some cozy material. This enables you to boil water while holding the entire kit. As stable as it gets... Win by points for Jetboil.

Price

MSR cost around 150$ while  the Jetboil goes for about 100$.

Some similarities

Both aren't built for usage with external pots/pans
Both won't simmer well

Some easy cases to choose

  • 1 liter pot is more than enough for you? Go for the Jetboil.
  • On the other hand...
  • 1 liter is way too small? Go for the MSR...
  • Space counts? The Jetboil is the one you need.
  • You don't want to carry matches? Jetboil got an igniter


Bottom line?

They are both great backpacking stoves. The Jetboil is lighter and smaller, the MSR is faster and deals extreme conditions better. There is a great gap in the price. If I have to make the call - Go for the Jetboil (Flash or not, doesn't really matter)

And some nice boiling test, Jetboil PCS vs MSR Reactor...