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Aladdin BF3911 Blue Flame Kerosene Heater Review

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Japanese winters aren’t that cold compared to where I’m from. What makes them difficult is the lack of insulation. Oof. You don’t want to run up a giant electricity bill by keeping the aircon on all the time. I learned from my neighbors that a kerosene stove heater is essential for the coldest winter days, especially in old Japanese houses.

What is the Aladdin Kerosene Stove?

Kerosene stoves have a few valuable benefits while living in Japan.

  • The convection heat from a kerosene stove is strong, fast-acting and comfortable
  • They are off-the-grid; useful in case of natural disaster
  • You can simultaneously cook or heat a kettle

The Aladdin Blue Flame models have an iconic design that has been in production in Japan since the 1960’s. They hold resale value well, create a pleasant atmosphere, are clean-burning, and feature earthquake safety features.

Aladdin Blue Flame Stove: Western Roots & Japanese Popularity

During the early 1930s, a collaboration between the renowned American brand Aladdin and an English entrepreneur led to the establishment of a joint venture company. The initial model of the Blue Heater was crafted by a UK-based company, and subsequent mergers followed. In 1957, Yanase Co., Ltd. initiated the import of this product to Japan, gaining widespread popularity by 1961 after receiving acclaim in “Kurashi no Techo.” Originally manufactured in the UK, the production of these items transitioned to Japan.

2018 brand “Sengoku Aladdin” was born, and a smaller gas casette stove design was introduced.

Aladdin BF3911 Blue Flame Stove Features

Per Aladdin, there are some primary features of the Blue Flame model. First, one may notice that the burning mechanism is markedly unique from other kerosene stoves. Orange flames mean smoke and odor. The submarine-like Aladdin window perfectly frames a pure blue ring of fire. The evenly distributed flame is evidence of even vaporization from the kerosene fuel. This means better indoor air quality than other models; less soot and cleaner breathing.

There is an automatic extinguishing device for earthquake safety. If the stove rocks or becomes unstable, the device immediately retracts the adjustable wick ring. This is a highly desirable safety feature, which springs into action in less than one second.

There is also an exhaust purification piece, which means reduced odor and carbon monoxide output.

When accompanied by a kettle on top, the stove also functions with a humidifying effect. A hot kettle also means a non-stop supply of hot water for tea to keep you warm in winter. I’ve also used the flat top to slowly cook stew and to simmer aromatics like yuzu.

Pros

  • Nostalgic design
  • Clean-burning
  • Generous heat output
  • Multi-functional cook top
  • Good resale demand
  • Serviceable
  • Convenient handle
  • Earthquake safety feature
  • Silent
  • Can also be used outdoors

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky
  • Requires kerosene (trips to the gas station and additional tank/filling accessories)
  • Takes up floorspace
  • Does not circulate air
  • There is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Requires regular ventilation for safety
  • The tank is not removable like many other kerosene stove models
  • Wick replacement is not easy for beginners

Our family doesn’t have an aircon at home. In winter, we don’t use the kerosene stove every day – only when it feels particularly cold. I think the stove is a good addition to winter warmth interventions, however would be cumbersome and costly if used as the only heat source. My recommendation is to use the stove as just one piece of a larger winter warmth strategy.

Read also → 30 Ways to Get Warm (and Stay Warm) During Winter in Japan

*If used in a closed space, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Please use a carbon monoxide detector and use caution.

 
 
 
 
 
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A Kerosene Stove Worthy of Hype

When my husband and I moved into our abandoned house, we inherited everything in it. This included four generic kerosene stoves. As a result, I unintentionally have been able to compare my previously purchased Aladdin stove with several generic stoves – the kinds you can buy at the local home store. This has only made me a bigger fan of my Aladdin stove. I have found that the generic stoves lack the sturdy feeling of the Aladdin Blue Flame Heater. They have unstable interior parts which seem concerning, especially in the case of earthquake, rambunctious kids or pets.

In addition, they tended to smell more. While I’m happy to have the stoves for when we host large gatherings, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using any of them in a closed room on a daily basis. And while I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, those stove are a huge eye sore. In contrast, the Aladdin Kerosene Stove actively elevates it’s surroundings. The Aladdin brings a fresh, vintage aesthetic. It literally transforms our otherwise uninspiring, dated interior.

Aladdin Blue Flame Stove Stats

Burn time: of 15 hours, at which point will require refilling.
Size: 388mm w x 405mm d x 551mm h
Weight: 8.5kg (tank empty) / 11.8kg (tank full)
Accessories: Storage dust cover, wick cleaner

To Thrift or Not to Thrift?

Knowing what I know now about the longevity and reliability of this product, I would feel comfortable investing in a thrifted, vintage or restored Aladdin kerosene stove. If you can find it, go for it! Consider bringing your find to a qualified service shop to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. It will be worth it!

We have a local shop here in Ehime, Shikoku, that specializes in kerosene lamps. They also service and repair old stoves. While they don’t have stoves listed on their online store, locals can visit in person.

Visit → 洋燈屋ICHI [Ranpuyaichi, Uchiko town, Ehime-ken, Shikoku Japan]

Pricing

At the time of writing this article, the signature Aladdin colors (white & green): ~¥54,780 JPY
Beams recently introduced collaboration colors (adzuki brown, indigo blue, sumi black): ~¥66,000 JPY

Check stores for up-to-date pricing.

Aladdin Blue Flame Stove Heater

BF3911-G [Green]

Aladdin Blue Flame Stove Heater

BF3911-W [White]

Conclusion

While it is a bit pricey, the Aladdin stove kerosene heater is the Cadillac of kerosene stoves. The safety features, and best-of-class indoor air quality features, and the visual appeal make it a must-have for a well-curated home in Japan. The timeless design is sure to last a lifetime and then some.

 
 
 
 
 
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