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Etekcity Ultralight Review

A great stove for a tight budget. Competitors perform 10-20 percent better, but at four times the cost.
Etekcity Ultralight
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Price:  $18 List | $13.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple, durable, inexpensive, strong hardcase.
Cons:  Unstable, sputtery wind and cold weather performance
Manufacturer:   Etekcity
By Ian McEleney and Chris McNamara  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 19
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 5
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 4
  • Time To Boil - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Etekcity Ultralight is about half the price of the next cheapest stove. It's a capable and compact stove that performed only slightly worse than the competition when in warmer and low wind environments… and at a much lower cost. Despite its MSRP, it usually retails for less, and you can get a 2-pack for a whale of a deal. It even comes with a piezo igniter. That said, we noticed a significant lack of performance at higher elevations and in cold and windy conditions. This stove's low weight and small size make it a great emergency stove. It could be a worthy part of the home emergency kit FEMA wants us all to have. It is also an excellent choice for the occasional backpacker.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Etekcity Ultralight
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $13.99 at Amazon$64.95 at Amazon$69.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$99.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$39.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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Star Rating
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Pros Simple, durable, inexpensive, strong hardcase.Lightweight, works in the wind, great piezo lighter, very stable for small canister stoveWorks in the wind, great for simmering, best of the bestCompact, light, fast boil time, stable, insulated potLightweight, easy to use, good at simmering, piezo igniter
Cons Unstable, sputtery wind and cold weather performanceNot the most fuel efficient, pot supports pack up separately from stoveUnreliable piezo igniterSmall pot size, not versatileA bit heavier and bit pricier than the competition
Bottom Line A great stove for a tight budget. Competitors perform 10-20 percent better, but at four times the cost.This lightweight stove is easy to use and will boil water when it's breezy.This simmering champ can also perform in the wind.This basic model still has all the frills, and is a great value if you want to boil water immediately.This stove does everything well.
Rating Categories Etekcity Ultralight Soto Windmaster MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Jetboil Flash Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0
Fuel Efficiency (25%)
10
0
5
10
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6
10
0
7
10
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9
10
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6
Weight (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Simmering Ability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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4
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8
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
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4
10
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9
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7
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8
10
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7
Time To Boil (10%)
10
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4
10
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6
10
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7
10
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8
10
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3
Specs Etekcity Ultralight Soto Windmaster MSR PocketRocket... Jetboil Flash Snow Peak...
Category Small Canister Small Canister Small Canister Integrated Canister Small Canister
Trail Weight 3.4 oz 3.0 oz 3.0 oz 12.3 oz 3.0 oz
Wind Boil Time (1 L, 2-4mph) 11:13 min:sec 7:24 min:sec 7:20 min:sec 5:18 min:sec 15 min
Boil Time (1 liter) 5:34 min:sec 4:42 min:sec 3:39 min:sec 4:10 min:sec 5:53 min:sec
Packed Weight 3.9 oz 3.5 oz 3.5 oz 15.7 oz 3.9 oz
Dimensions (inches) 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.3 4.7 x 3.9 x 3.6 in 3.3 x 2.2 x 1.8 in 4.1 x 7.1 in 4.2 x 2.6 in
Fuel Type Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane
Additional items included Plastic case Stuff sack, pot support Stuff sack 1L pot, canister stand, plastic cup Plastic case
Piezo Igniter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Etekcity stove is so much less expensive than the competition that we doubted its performance. For the most part, we were wrong. In almost all metrics, it performed as well as stoves that cost more than twice as much.

Performance Comparison


While the Etekcity Ultralight's performance against other stoves in our review may only be average, its shockingly low price makes it a great value.

This model fulfills the basic function of a backpacking stove: it makes water hot.
This model fulfills the basic function of a backpacking stove: it makes water hot.

Fuel Efficiency


This stove is in the middle of the pack of small canister stoves for fuel efficiency. It consumed 0.6 oz of fuel while bringing one liter of water to boil. It's also less efficient than all of the integrated canister stoves, which dominated the other stove types in this metric. However, the Etekcity is more fuel-efficient than the liquid fuel stoves in our test.

In our 2 - 4mph wind test this stove, like all small canister stoves, performed worse. The use of an aftermarket windscreen enclosing the stove and fuel canister is frowned upon by the manufacturer because they can potentially heat the cartridge to the point of explosion.

The wide open burner head of the Etekcity is exposed to any breeze or wind.
The wide open burner head of the Etekcity is exposed to any breeze or wind.

Weight


With a 3.4 oz trail weight, this is a reasonably light stove. It's twice as light as the next lightest stove. It's just a bit heavier than the lightest. That's not including the case, which adds another 0.6 oz.

The Etekcity is also one of the most compact stoves in our review. The ends of the pot supports fold up, and the end of the wire valve control tucks into a little notch in the pot support for a smaller package that slides easily into the compact case. It's hard to imagine how a stove with a piezo igniter could be much more compact. Its small size often led our testers to toss it into a car camping kit just in case.

Packed in a 1L pot with a 4 oz fuel can and lighter  there is room to spare.
Packed in a 1L pot with a 4 oz fuel can and lighter, there is room to spare.

Simmering


Small canister stoves led the review in the simmering metric. The Ultralight simmered okay. Though it didn't simmer quite as well as some of the competition it did slightly better than the liquid fuel stoves designed specifically for that purpose.

The small burner head of the Ultralight helps to keep the weight low but does not help when distributing heat around the bottom of the pot during our oatmeal test. Watch out for hot spots when this stove is cranked up. This stove requires verve and alacrity when stirring rice, oatmeal, or anything else likely to stick to the bottom of a pot.

Watch out backcountry gourmets  this wasn't our favorite stove for simmering.
Watch out backcountry gourmets, this wasn't our favorite stove for simmering.

Ease Of Use


The price of the lightweight and compact nature of small canister stoves is pot stability. The Ultralight has very narrow pot supports. Additionally, the four pot supports are somewhat flexible. Our testing team was always careful when using this stove, and avoided using it with any pot larger than 1L.

This stove comes with a piezo lighter, but on our model, it only worked about 10% of the time. So most of the time the piezo was dead weight. Our testing team is baffled that while some manufacturers integrate this technology quite well, some struggle with it, and some don't seem to be aware it exists.

Tiny arms flip out from the ends of the pot supports to slightly improve stability.
Tiny arms flip out from the ends of the pot supports to slightly improve stability.

The Ultralight's control valve wire was a decent size, but we wish it were bigger — not only would this make it easier to grasp when our noodles are boiling over, but it would also facilitate better flame control.

This stove is less stable than the competition. Our testers recommend using smaller volume (less than 1L) cookware.
This stove is less stable than the competition. Our testers recommend using smaller volume (less than 1L) cookware.

Boil Time


A no-wind boil time of 5 minutes 34 seconds put this stove at the back of the pack of all the other small canister stoves. It was also slower than all of the integrated canister stoves. It boiled faster than the liquid fuel stoves. In our 2 - 4mph wind test the Etekcity Ultralight did better than expected, achieving a boil in just over 11 minutes. Several other canister stoves failed to boil water in 15 minutes during our wind test.

Our testers couldn't get the piezoelectic igniter to work after the first time. Rooting around for a lighter adds a step when we want hot coffee right now.
Our testers couldn't get the piezoelectic igniter to work after the first time. Rooting around for a lighter adds a step when we want hot coffee right now.

Value


Though we didn't pay much for this stove, our testing team feels that we got what we paid for with the Etekcity and that it's a great value. Serious backpackers or those willing to pay a bit more should consider other models.

This was not our favorite stove for foul weather performance.
This was not our favorite stove for foul weather performance.

Conclusion


The Etekcity Ultralight isn't the highest performing stove in our test, but it is easily one of the least expensive. It has a set of features and characteristics that are becoming standard for small canister stoves: low weight, packable, simmering ability, wire control valve handle, and piezoelectric igniter. These features work about as well as you would expect for a stove that costs under 20 bucks. It makes our testers wonder why some companies charge so much more for products that do the same job only slightly better. If you don't backpack very often, or only need something cheap that makes water hot, this could be the stove for you.


Ian McEleney and Chris McNamara