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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
Etekcity Ultralight
Credit: Etekcity
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Price:  $18 List
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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  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 5.0
  • Weight - 25% 8.0
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 4.0
  • Time To Boil - 10% 4.0

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.

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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - this model fulfills the basic function of a backpacking stove: it...
This model fulfills the basic function of a backpacking stove: it makes water hot.
Credit: Jessica Haist

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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - the wide open burner head of the etekcity is exposed to any breeze...
The wide open burner head of the Etekcity is exposed to any breeze or wind.
Credit: Ian McEleney


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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - packed in a 1l pot with a 4 oz fuel can and lighter, there is room...
Packed in a 1L pot with a 4 oz fuel can and lighter, there is room to spare.
Credit: Ian McEleney


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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - watch out backcountry gourmets, this wasn't our favorite stove for...
Watch out backcountry gourmets, this wasn't our favorite stove for simmering.
Credit: Jessica Haist

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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - tiny arms flip out from the ends of the pot supports to slightly...
Tiny arms flip out from the ends of the pot supports to slightly improve stability.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - this stove is less stable than the competition. our testers...
This stove is less stable than the competition. Our testers recommend using smaller volume (less than 1L) cookware.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - our testers couldn't get the piezoelectic igniter to work after the...
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.
Credit: Ian McEleney


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.

Etekcity Ultralight backpacking stove - this was not our favorite stove for foul weather performance.
This was not our favorite stove for foul weather performance.
Credit: Ian McEleney


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
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