Alcohol Burner Uses in Laboratory

Alcohol Burner Uses in Laboratory

Alcohol burner, also known as a spirit lamp or alcohol stove, is a useful laboratory apparatus. It looks like a small jar with a tank for fuel and comes with a lid which has a tiny hole to hold a single wick. Some burners are also available with a metal stand to hold flasks and beakers. The burner is made of glass or metals such as brass, stainless steel and aluminium. It uses denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, ethyl hydrate, isopropanol or methanol as fuel. When the flame needs to be extinguished, its cap can double up as snuffer.

Here is your handy guide to everything you want to know about alcohol burner stove.

Uses of Alcohol Burner

  • Lab alcohol burner is used to produce an open flame.
  • It is a primary source of heat when there is natural gas available in the laboratory.
  • It generates sufficient heat to conduct standard chemistry and microbiology experiments.
  • It is also used for flame sterilization of certain lab equipment.

Benefits of an Alcohol Burner

Alcohol burner stove is more preferable science equipment over Bunsen burners because it produces smokeless, residue-free and little cooler flame. As compared to Bunsen burner, the flame of alcohol burner does not go beyond five centimetres or two inches, which also makes it safe to use.

The alcohol stove is also very lightweight due to its size, which makes it quite portable. Moreover, the design is very simple so it is very low-maintenance laboratory equipment.  It is also less volatile meaning that it will not explode much if a lit matchstick or cigarette lighter is held above it.

This burner is also popular because it uses readily-available fuels which can be easily sourced from anywhere.

It is also quite affordable and can be easily purchased from any science equipment store, hardware store or even a sports goods store.

Functions of Alcohol Burner

Apart from using it in a science laboratory, an alcohol burner can also be carried for excursions, especially backpacking and hiking adventures. The functions are typically limited to science experiments, school science projects or activities which require low heat.

Tips to Keep in Mind While Buying Alcohol Burner

When you buy alcohol burner, do consider the following factors.


Today, alcohol burner stove are available in several designs based on the material it is made from, fuel it uses and type of flame it produces (open, vertical, side and pressure). Choose the one which is simple to use and maintain, and suits your purpose.


Most alcohol stoves are light-weight. But, they may vary in size depending on the quantity of fuel they can store. Choose a stove based on what storage capacity and portability you require.

Brand Reputation

Safety and quality should be a paramount factor while purchasing any laboratory equipment. The same rule applies to the alcohol burner too. Make sure you buy the stove from trustworthy and reputed suppliers of science equipment.

Alcohol burner is must-have in a science laboratory for experiments involving low heat requirement.

Also read: Tips to Consider Before Choosing a Desiccator

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