Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cheap Deals on Good Stoves

If you read my recent "Starter Stove" post, I recommended the Snow Peak GigaPower (GS-100) stove, 88g/3.1oz, as my "value for the dollar" pick.  The GigaPower is a really good stove, and I've seen it on the web for only $40 (not including any taxes or shipping).  Other stoves of comparable quality are about $60.

But there is another way:  eBay.  You can get some really cheap stoves on eBay.  Now, be really careful on eBay.  Some of those really cheap stoves aren't worth what you pay for them.  In fact, some of those really cheap stoves might be downright dangerous.  So, how do we separate the cream from the crud?  Well, you can't always, but buying brand name products is one way to greatly increase the chances of winding up with a decent stove.

Now, I know what you're thinking:  "Hey, Jim, I've already looked on eBay, and the brand name stoves on eBay aren't any cheaper than they are in the store."

Well, yes, but there is a good brand, a brand that maybe you've never heard of before, a brand that is a really good buy:  Kovea.  Kovea is a Korean company that has been turning out excellent products lately.  In fact, even though maybe you've never heard of Kovea by name, you may have used Kovea products.  Kovea makes stoves for major brands like MSR and Snow Peak.

Now, eBay is a mixed bag.  Sometimes you can find deals and some times you get ripped off.  So, shop around, and as always, caveat emptor.

But I'm looking at eBay right now, and I see a Kovea brand titanium stove, the KB-0101, with piezoelectric ignition for $42 including shipping.  Guys, that's a deal.  A comparable stove at my local retailer is $60 and that one doesn't have a piezoelectric ignition.  The stove I'm looking at is 88g/3.1 oz which may sound a little heavy for a titanium stove, but considering that it's got a piezolectric ignition built in, that's actually a very reasonable weight.  Recall that the Snow Peak GigaPower (GS-100) that I recommended earlier is also 88g/3.1oz but that the GigaPower does not have an ignition system.  I've seen the non-piezoelectric version of this stove personally, and it's a really nice stove.

I'm also looking at a really lightweight titanium Kovea gas stove, the KB-0707, 56g/1.98oz, for $42.50 + $5.00 shipping.  I have seen one of these in person, and it is a very nice stove.  Now you just find me a sub-two ounce titanium stove for that kind of money at a US retailer.  Maybe on sale, but certainly not at normal prices, and high end titanium stoves like this are usually excluded from sales and coupons.  The KB-0707 is 32g/1.13 ounces lighter than the GS-100.  Nice.

Is buying from eBay 100% safe?  No, of course not.  I'm sure we've all heard bad stories, and there are good reasons to buy from a local retailer where returns and exchanges may be a lot easier.  But if you're bargain hunting, eBay can be a great place, and Kovea is the top but relatively unknown brand that can save you money.

I thank you for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving,



  1. I have used a Kovea KB0707 for a year now and it's a winner. Simmer control is good. Kathmandu have a lighter Ti stove (48g) on sale now. It has a wider gas ring so not sure how that changes things.

    1. I have a KB-0707, and it's a first rate ultralight stove. I have a Monatauk Gnat which is a bit lighter (48g vs. 56g), but I much prefer the KB-0707 which is far more compact and has better pot stability.


  2. The Monatauk Gnat appears identical to the Kathmandu lightweight Ti stove. A$40 sale price from next week. Link:
    Free postage in Australia for online purchases.

    Yes the Kovea is more compact, but hard to see why it is more "pot-stable". They both have similar 3 prong supports, but the Gnat is a little higher.
    For this style stove it is almost a must to attach a flat base or feet to the canister rim anyway.
    How does the Gnat go with narrower pots in terms of flame spread?
    Also how does the simmer control go?

    I have used the Kovea in snow OK - only about -3C though and with a full canister.

  3. Yes, I believe the Gnat and the Kathmandu ARE the same stove, both of which are really the FMS-116T made by Fire Maple of China.

    The pot supports unfold to a much greater length and stay open better on the Kovea Supalite.

    As I recall, both stoves simmer reasonably well. If I get a chance, I'll check their respective flame patterns tonight.


  4. May I suggest the MSR Pocket Rocket as they are closing that model out I believe and I found them online from campour for a mere 30 bucks! I like the plastic wedge case it comes in as well. The stove case can fit a small Bic lighter and a box of matches nicely in it too. I can nest the stove into a IMUSA Pot along with a coffee drink set up quite well. So for 30 bucks you got a nice little quick stove system or EDC car stove to always have with you.

  5. Hi, Viscara,

    No offense, but
    1. The Pocket Rocket is *nowhere* near as nice as a Gigapower
    2. The Pocket Rocket sells for $39.95 not $30 at CampMor
    3. There are no plans to discontinue the PocketRocket that I am aware of.


  6. Firemaple is another very reliable inexpensive brand - canister stoves and lightweight cooksets. I have kitted both my children out with these for scouting, and use the heat exchanger pots for ourselves.
    Free postage(to Australia anyway) via e-bay

    1. Hi, Michelle,

      Yes, Fire Maple has a generally good reputation and is very reasonably priced. There have however been some problems reported with their remote canister FMS-118 "Volcano" remote canister stove when operating in inverted mode. These problems appear to be a design flaw.

      In terms of Asian stove companies, generally the Korean and Japanese stoves are better designed and better built than their Chinese counterparts, with Japanese stoves having the very best manufacturing quality. Japanese stoves tend to be expensive, Chinese stoves cheap, and Korean stoves in the middle. The reason I recommend Korean stoves is that they are a middle ground in terms of both price and quality, and therefore I think a very good buy. In general.

      However, a lot of the Fire Maple upright (top mounted) canister stoves are perfectly serviceable stoves and are an excellent bargain. I have an FMS-116t (the "Heat Core"), and it's a good stove.

      With any stove, the best policy is of course to test at home before heading out into the bush.



My apologies to real people, but due to Spammers I have to moderate comments. I'll get to this as rapidly as possible but do understand that I like to hike and there's no internet in the wilderness. Take care and stove on!