"Alcohol stoves are light, but require 3x more fuel weight than canister stoves daily. I need 3.5 oz of fuel/day to boil the needed water for meals."
I want to remind, the original point of this thread was weight, primarily. That was the question.
As we've seen, this person was using a very bad stove setup probably with a bad screen, then comparing that to a commercial product, not a homemade tube with a crude valve attached. Since he's using a starlight, there has to be a massive error in either his screen setup or something else, the starlight is quite efficient, but not without the right screen setup. It sounds like significant user error to me, but it's hard to say without actually seeing the person setup the stuff and use it.
The point here is to compare roughly apples to apples, for example, a cat stove, jim wood style, is easy to make but very inefficient, just because it's easy to make doesn't mean it should be compared to a device that costs between 30 and 100 dollars, you should be comparing similar things, ie, a heavy canister setup to a heavy alcohol setup (say a brass burner, very heavy screen, etc), a medium weight canister setup to a medium weight alcohol setup, and, as MB pointed out, there is actually no option to compare a true UL alcohol/esbit setup with an UL canister setup because there is no UL canister setup due to the pot issue.
As I noted, this boils down to, heh, convenience, nothing else. It's sort of the difference between choosing a tarp or zpacks hexamid instead of a free standing tent.
The efficiencies in weight/fuel consumption are real, but they keep getting obscured because people use inefficient stoves with bad wind screens, then comparing those to manufactured stoves for canister containers, there's plenty of well made stove options out there, well, a few, that yield good boils, but the odds of you randomly coming up with such a setup yourself with no work or study or testing is not particularly high unless you very closely copy the designs for good systems.
The OP stated that alcohol stoves (an abstraction that does not exist in the real world, there are different setups that do different things) require 3x the weight of a canister stove, this is a false statement based on error, if he had gone out and bought a nice setup for alcohol, just as he did for his canister, then his efficiency / fuel consumption would be in the area of 8 gm gas vs 12 gm SLX per 2 cup boil, hardly 3x, in fact, only 50%, which is why the weight advantage does not exist, the container weighs that exact 50%.
I am ordering a remote canister stove so I can test the real world non fantasy efficiency of a gas setup, just out of curiosity, and to have one stove if high fire danger exists, I may also order a light firemaple top mount to see what wind does to these canister stoves.
I personally find it odd that UL backpackers preach endlessly about learning to subsitute technique and skill for heavier tools, then decide that doesn't matter at all when it comes to one component of their system, but this isn't religion and liking certain things to be 'easy' over other considerations is what I believe most backpackers do, you might also consider this next time you criticize a regular weight backpacker, who in general have decided, quite simply, they want it ALL to be easy, comfortable, and convenient, at the campsite.
I'll be updating the actual efficiency list however on my site so I can point to it whenever the false claims of less weight for canister stoves is raised here, just admit you like the convenience is my suggestion, and stop trying to rationalize it with false weight claims.
I believe, but I won't state it for sure until I test it, that some setups of canister may yield 6 gm boils, but I believe that will be roughly as difficult to achieve as a 10gm SLX boil, ie, that's the very maximum that can be achieved with a perfect setup. At 6 gm, or 8 days of 2x2cup boils, I believe you gain a tiny advantage of starting weight, but that vanishes the first day, and it's only going to be a few grams over alcohol.
It would be nice however for an apple to apple comparison to be made, ie, if you are going to compare a homemade inefficient super cat stove with a home made screen, with little efficiency testing etc, then please compare that to a home made canister burner, with little testing done, I think you'll find the results revealing then.
The key is to realize that these problems actually were solved a long time ago, the issue I believe is that there simply is not central collection of actual test results for most alcohol stove setups, and a lot of the testing done was simply bad, incomplete, and without enough information to test the results yourself.
I found this of personal interest because it's interesting to see how myths form around testing/engineering, and then how they propagate onwards, taking on a life of their own.
Nobody in general would argue against the convenience of using a canister stove, but oddly, many here argue against the convenience of using other gear that is comparably heavy and inefficient, if weight is the primary concern. It's probably just the faddish nature of gear stuff I would guess. Personally, I'm happy I did the work to test this, I had long suspected that there was exactly zero weight advantage to using canisters, now I realize, of course there cannot be, due to the canister weight, and I believe, the actual lower efficiency of the gas burner, which at 8 gm boils is I believe a touch worse than a 12 gm alcohol boil.