The 5 best stovetop cleaners of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether you can barely boil water or are a gourmet cook, stovetops can get messy. When food drops and then burns onto surfaces, pots boil over, and hot grease flies everywhere, ignoring cleanup can leave sticky and stubborn residue.

That’s where stovetop cleaners come in. The best product for cleaning stovetops depends on the surface material: baked paint or porcelain enamel, ceramic (often called a glass cooktop), or stainless steel. There are even some differences in how you should safely clean a gas stove-top and an electric coil stove-top with drip pans, which we explain at the end of this guide.

After a lifetime of cooking in test labs and at home, I’ve cleaned every type of stovetop, tested dozens of cleaning products, and followed different care tips to find the best. And, because any type of cleaning that requires less elbow grease appeals to me, I’m always looking for the most effective, easiest to use, and greatest value in products.

Here are the best stovetop cleaners of 2021

The best stovetop cleaner for baked enamel

Zep cleaner

ZEP Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser will eradicate greasy film on both gas and electric baked enamel stovetops.

Pros: Easily removes grease, pleasant citrus odor, available in one-gallon size for easy bottle refills

Cons: Can damage granite countertops and painted wood surfaces, usually only available online or in home improvement stores

For decades, almost every home stovetop was constructed of baked porcelain enamel, a heavy-duty, heat-resistant material that is fused to the steel surface. Today, you can still purchase both gas and electric porcelain enamel stoves as well as matte-painted baked enamel finishes.

Both finishes are durable and easy to clean once you remove the greasy film that may coat cooking surfaces. With ZEP Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser, there’s no need for scouring with abrasive pads because its natural citrus solvents cut through grease. Simply spray it on, wait a few minutes, and then wipe away the sticky messes. Finish up with a clean cloth or sponge dipped in hot water for a final rinse.

I like to pour some ZEP into a separate spray bottle and dilute it 50/50 with water to use on small everyday messes. It’s effective and safe to use on stainless steel, aluminum, and other metal surfaces, too. Be sure not to use this cleaner on granite and painted wood surfaces as it can lead to damage.

For tough, burned-on food, spray on ZEP and allow it to work for at least five minutes. You can then use a rubber scraper to loosen the food and wipe it away.  If you have a free-standing or built-in stove, be sure to lift the stove-top or remove the drip pans to clean away any food that dripped inside. ZEP also offers gallon sizes for easy refills. 

The best stovetop cleaner for stainless steel

Amazon trinova stovetop cleaner

TriNova Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish not only eliminates kitchen grease and stuck-on food, it helps prevent them.

Pros: Removes grease and burned-on food easily, leaves stainless stove-tops streak-free, comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth, can be used on all stainless steel appliances

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores

Stainless steel stovetops have plenty of great qualities. They are extremely durable but can also show every water spot and smudge. They don’t hold up well under harsh scouring powders, steel wool, or abrasive sponges. Once the damage is done, there is no reversing the marred finish.

Not only does TriNova remove food splatters, grease, and smudges easily with a non-abrasive, water-based product, it also coats the surface of stainless steel to help repel messes so it stays shiny longer. Simply give the bottle a good shake and spray on the cleaner. The solution is slightly thick so it adheres to the surface.

TriNova includes a large microfiber towel with each purchase. Fold it into quarters and use one side to wipe the cleaner in the direction of the grain. Finish by using a dry side of the towel for a final buff of the surface to increase the shine.  When your stove-top is gleaming, don’t forget the dishwasher, sink, and refrigerator!

The best stovetop cleaner for ceramic stovetops

Weiman cook top cleaner

Ceramic stovetops are prone to scratching, and the Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max is the perfect liquid agent for streak- and scratch-free stovetops.

Pros: Removes the worst burned-on messes and grease effectively, will not scratch ceramic surfaces, comes with a scrubbing pad

Cons: Does not remove scratches caused by knives, pots and pans, not readily found in all mass-market stores

After years of cleaning enamel and stainless steel cooktops, I encountered a smooth ceramic stovetop. It looked sleek and conducted heat well, but removing the overflow from a boiling pot was difficult until I found Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max.

The micro-bead technology in the formula provides just the right amount of abrasive power to remove burned-on food and grease without scratching the surface. After cleaning with the lemon-scented paste and enclosed pad (that conveniently stores in the lid of the container) and rinsing, there are no streaks or watermarks at all.

Though it doesn’t remove scratches caused by knives, pots, and pans, it’s the most effective ceramic stovetop cleaner we found.

The best stovetop cleaner for gas grates

Austin's ammonia

With Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner, you won’t have to scrub grungy gas stovetop grates and burner heads.

Pros: One-step cleaning, cuts through heavy grease and burned-on buildup, works well to remove smudges

Cons: Powerful odor, potential skin irritant, cannot be used in combination with other cleaners

I think we have established that we all love any type of cleaning that requires very little effort. If you own a gas stovetop, Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner is the one-step cleaner that removes grease for a sparkling result.

All you need is a sealable plastic bag or container and the cleaner. Simply place the grates and burner heads in the bag and pour in just enough ammonia to cover the pieces. Seal up the container and let them “soak” for about eight hours or overnight. Remove the pieces, sponge them off with a bit of soapy water, rinse well with hot water, and they are sparkling clean! Just dry them and reinstall.

As with any too-easy-to-believe hack, there are a couple of things you should note. Ammonia has a very potent odor and should be used in a well-ventilated space. Never mix ammonia with other cleaning products, especially chlorine bleach, which can cause deadly gases. You should use tongs or wear protective gloves when removing stovetop pieces from the soaking solution to prevent skin irritation, too. Luckily, ammonia can be safely disposed of down the drain.

Once you discover the cleaning potential of household ammonia, you’ll find plenty of uses in the kitchen, laundry room, and throughout the house.

The best stovetop cleaner for electric drip pans

Mr. Clean magic eraser

For leftover bits of burned-on food on stovetop drip pans, Mr. Clean Extra Durable Magic Erasers work like a charm.

Pros: Eraser can be cut for specific cleaning jobs, disposable, removes tough grime

Cons: May dull the finish of new, highly polished drip pans

A small rectangular miracle cleaning tool, also known as  Mr. Clean’s Extra Durable Magic Erasers, uses melamine-foam activated with water as micro-scrubbers to remove stuck-on grime from nearly every type of surface — including electric stovetop drip pans.

I grew up with an electric stove with burner coils and drip pans that took lots of abuse. It was my mother’s favorite chore assignment for me: “Make those drip pans shine!” I spent plenty of time at the sink with hot water, scrubbing powders, and steel wool trying to get rid of burned-on food. 

To make cleaning simple, my first suggestion is to use Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner to give the drip pans a soak that will cut through the grease and food on pans. If any bits linger, Mr. Clean will easily remove them.

I usually cut the erasers into smaller pieces that can be used to scrub away residue and then tossed after they become too messy. Finish by simply rinsing with warm water to remove any foam particles that might remain. Though they may dull the finish of newer, highly-polished drip pans, they work like a charm for an essential clean.

How to clean stovetops

how to clean stovetops

For the simplest cleaning process, I swear by daily wipedowns and then a thorough cleaning after a big cooking session. Here are some basic steps for a thorough cleaning:

  • Step 1: Always start with a completely cool surface and with everything turned off.
  • Step 2: Remove as many components like knobs, electric coils, drip pans, gas grates, and burner caps as possible. For gas stove-tops, cover the gas fuel openings with plastic wrap or a coffee cup to prevent splashing any cleaning solution into the opening.
  • Step 3: Place the loose components with heavy grease and burned-on food, in cleaning solutions to soak. Wipe down knobs and lightly soiled components so they are ready to reinstall.
  • Step 4: Wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth to remove crumbs and light soil. Tackle tough stains using the proper cleaning product and tools for the specific type of surface to prevent damage and to leave it streak-free.
  • Step 5: Reassemble the stove-top and pledge to clean it after every use to make the job easier next time.

Check out our other kitchen cleaning guides

cleaning
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The 7 best camping stoves for backpacking trips or car camping

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Camp stoves let backpackers and car campers alike brew fresh coffee and prepare their daily meals.
  • The best should be highly portable and easy to light with a lighter or match, or have their own ignitor.
  • Our top pick, MSR’s PocketRocket Deluxe, is compact enough for backpackers, easy to operate, and has a built-in igniter.

A warm sleeping bag and dependable headlamp are certainly vital for smart and comfortable camping, but when you’re sleeping on the ground and haven’t showered in days, there really is nothing like a hot cup of coffee on a brisk morning (with the exception, perhaps, of a hot meal at the end of a long day).

Neither of these is possible, however, without access to a reliable camp stove.

With the right camp stove, not only can you expect fresh-brewed java in the morning or a warm meal at night but you can rely on it for a range of uses; maybe you want to grill some fresh fish minutes after you’ve pulled it from the stream, or you want to whip up a mug of hot cocoa (or a hot toddy) to sip by the campfire. If you’re in the backcountry, a stove can save you as boiling stream water is one of the best ways to ensure it’s safe to drink.

Having spent over two decades car camping, backpacking, and everything in between, I’ve grown to rely heavily on my camp stove. No matter how far off-grid I might find myself, a camp stove helps keep me nourished and ready to take on whatever the day has in store – be it 20 miles of hiking to my next campsite, or a day spent relaxing around a campfire.

My reliance on making sure I have a proper camp kitchen setup means I’ve tested my fair share of camp stoves through the years – and some remain a fixture in my camp kit today. Below, I’ve rounded up seven of my favorites from brands like MSR, BioLite, and Coleman, all with their own advantages across a variety of camp styles and use cases.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some tips on how to shop for a camp stove, as well as the the testing methodology I used in deciding which made the cut.

Here are the best camp stoves:

The best overall

msr pocketrocket deluxe 1

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is a compact and lightweight stove that fits inside a coffee mug but has a convenient auto igniter and simmering capability.

Pros: Lightweight and compact, self-igniting, simmers well

Cons: Not the best in high-wind without a screen

You shouldn’t need to carry an extra piece of gear to make a spark, yet, many camping stoves still rely on matches or a lighter for a flame. One of the best features of the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is that it has a built-in automatic piezo igniter that’s cased in steel for reliability.

Despite its small size and weight (two other key pros), the PocketRocket Deluxe is no slouch. It can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes. The burner is adjustable, so you can lower the heat for a simmer — something that’s hard to achieve with a one-setting burner. There’s also a built-in pressure regulator to ensure you get reliable and fast cooking until the gas canister is depleted.

As long as you place the stove (with gas canister attached) on a level surface, it supports anything from a frying pan to a small cup. Like all lightweight backpacking stoves, the PocketRocket Deluxe will only run on self-sealing isobutane fuel canisters.

If you’re flying to a destination, just pack the PocketRocket and stop by a local outdoors retailer after you’ve arrived to pick one up (you can also get advice on where to camp, hike, and climb, if you aren’t familiar with an area).

I’ve used this stove extensively, as well as other PocketRocket variants. I like the simplicity of the design, and with the deluxe version, I now have the convenience of a push-start igniter; the igniter adds an extra 10 grams when compared to the standard PocketRocket, but it’s totally worth it.

What I also like is MSR’s warranty: Even after years of abuse, MSR stands by its products and offers extremely economical repair or replacement options.

Whether I’m camping in my car or on a complicated thru-hiking trip, the PocketRocket Deluxe’s excellent durability and the convenience of the built-in igniter make it one item I now bring along.

The best on a budget

coleman

The Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove acts like a standard stovetop burner, and it’s powerful, rugged, and well-priced.

Pros: Low price point, long burn time, easy flame output adjustment

Cons: Very heavy and bulky

With camp stoves, it’s easy to look at the price and think that’s a steal — but you have to also factor in camp stove fuel, which some gas stations and outdoor retailers like to gouge you on. But the best field stove in the world is just a paperweight without fuel, so buy it you will, regardless of the price.

With the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove, those canisters of propane fuel are surprisingly low-priced — you can often get a two-pack of the 16-ounce fuel cylinder for less than 10 bucks. One such tank will burn for two hours at full blast and as long as eight or nine hours on a low setting. So if you want to make campsite risotto, go for it. Oh, and the stove itself is affordable, too.

Flame control is remarkably easy with this stove, just twist that large plastic knob all the way open for a roaring 10,000-BTU output or dial it back for hours of simmering. And thanks to the deep bowl shape and generous wind baffles, this stove will maintain a consistent burn in all but the most powerful gusts of wind. The burner is large and stable enough to accommodate an 8-inch pan or pot, so you really can almost treat it like a standard stovetop.

I used one of these stoves for several years and still keep one on hand in case the stove in my house ever has a problem or for some sort of apocalyptic nightmare during which I still wanted to cook pasta. But you’ll probably never see me bringing this stove along for another hike or climb.

Why? Weight and size. This stove weighs more than two pounds, with the canister adding another three pounds or more when filled. That’s heavier than some tents and sleeping pads combined. So while I highly recommend this stove for car campers or emergency preparedness, it’s a poor choice for climbers or trekkers. — Steven John

The best charcoal-burning

HeroGrill1

The Hero Grill System is an easy-to-use charcoal-burning grill that heats up in under 10 minutes, comes with a non-stick ceramic cooking surface, and allows for up to an hour of grilling. 

Pros: Charcoal pods have instant light coating that makes them easy to ignite, comes with its own carrying case, bamboo cutting board, and bamboo spatula, coals stay hot for up to an hour

Cons: Requires more cleanup than a normal camp stove, single-use charcoal pods are $40 for a two-pack

Almost all camp stoves use some sort of gas like propane or butane for heat, but the Hero Grill System leans on one of the most traditional forms of fuel: charcoal. And if you’re a fan of using charcoal to grill at home, this is the stove you want for car camping.

The Hero Grill System relies on two main parts for operation, the grill itself which is a non-stick ceramic grill with foldable legs to prop it up, and a box of charcoal pods that slides underneath. The pods can be lit using a match or lighter and take just 10 or so minutes to completely heat up. I found that lighting just two of the corners worked well in igniting the entire box (instead of needing to light all four). 

It does need to be placed on any non-combustible surface, though I used one of the picnic tables that are often placed at a campsite and it worked just fine. However, this means you shouldn’t just place it on grass — I recommend packing along a small table or something similar that you can place on the ground to set the stove on top of. 

Being as used to normal camp stoves as I am, I was quite impressed with the Hero Grill. It’s not often you’re able to make charcoal barbecued food while camping (unless you bring actual charcoal, which can be a mess), so it was a nice change of pace. I liked how easy it was to light the grill and how well it cooked everything from burgers and hot dogs to grilled vegetables.

Although cleanup is a little more involved than a normal propane stove, it still was relatively easy to just douse the charcoal before throwing the box away. I will say that a downside would be to have to replace the charcoal pod box after every use, and replacements cost $40 for a two-pack. You do have to replace propane and charcoal for a normal grill, but spending $20 for one hour of grilling can get expensive.

The best wood-burning

biolite camp stove

The BioLite CampStove 2 cooks your meal and charges your phone at the same time thanks to a built-in, thermoelectric generator fueled by heat.

Pros: Charges small devices, built-in fans regulate heat, works with myriad accessories

Cons: Getting initial fire burning can be frustrating

When you’re out there in the wilderness, you shouldn’t be staring at your phone; you should be looking at the stars, the mountains, or the valleys and such. That said, keeping a charged phone is important for safety — and the occasional photo.

Keeping a rechargeable flashlight fully powered is always a good idea, and those GoPro camera batteries always seem to need recharging, don’t they?

Maintaining battery life in all your devices while camping means carrying battery packs, using a solar charger, or firing up something you’re already likely traveling with: Your stove.

The BioLite CampStove 2 is a wood-burning stove that has a built-in generator capable of producing 3 watts of electricity while the fire is hot. That’s enough power to charge small devices, illuminate a Biolite lamp, or to charge the unit’s internal battery for later use when the fire isn’t burning.

Besides providing power, it’s also a damn good stove. With a decent fire built up, the BioLite CampStove 2 brings a liter of water to boil in less than five minutes and produces plentiful heat for cooking. In fact, there are compact fans inside the burn chamber that you can set at four different speeds to increase or decrease the intensity of the heat.

The best fast boiling

jetboil flash camping stove

The Jetboil Flash gets a lot of water really hot, really fast. If you primarily rely on your stove to make hot drinks and rehydrate meals, this is the stove for you.

Pros: Boils water quickly, contains all the parts inside the pot, push-button ignition

Cons: Can be hard to clean, can’t be used with other pots or pans easily

When I get back from a long day on the trail, I want the most food in the shortest amount of time. This means pouring hot water onto couscous or a dehydrated meal. If it’s the mornings, then it’s coffee posthaste.

For these moments, I rely on the Jetboil Flash. Using a cleverly designed pot that’s attached to a large burner — it looks (and sounds) like a jet engine — the Flash can boil 16 ounces of water in less than two minutes. It is so fast that the first time I used it, it began boiling over while I was still prepping my meal.

This is a product designed with backpackers in mind. The whole thing packs down into the provided pot and even has space for a small fuel canister. Not only does this mean it takes up very little space but it also makes it hard to lose or forget a part of the stove.

If you want to sear, sauté, and simmer, the Jetboil Flash isn’t for you. Although there are accessories that will let you use a frying pan, this is really a stove for heating your water fast, which is all most backpackers need.

The best for travel

msr whisperlite international stove

The Whisperlite International from MSR can go anywhere and burn almost anything. If you’re traveling to remote locations, this is the reliable and rebuildable stove to take with you.

Pros: Compatible with various types of fuel, excellent longevity

Cons: Not the lightest stove

Isobutane is great for cooking fast with a steady flame and comes packaged in convenient canisters. Unfortunately, you can’t fly with it, which could be an issue if you’re going to some remote area where there isn’t a camping store nearby. In this type of situation, the MSR Whisperlite International is a better alternative. Not only can the stove burn white gas, kerosene, or unleaded gas, it’s also incredibly robust.

This reliability combines with MSR’s clever shaker jet design, which prevents the fuel jet from getting clogged by using a needle inside the jet — cleaning it out when the stove is shaken. All of this makes the Whisperlite International the go-to choice for big expeditions.

With some practice, you’ll be able to quickly light the Whisperlite International (you do need to bring a lighter). Advanced users can regulate the flame enough to simmer water if required. I’ll admit that most of my uses have been limited to heating water and making oatmeal and coffee, but more adventurous cooks will be happy with the Whisperlite, especially when the alternative is going stove-less or using a wood or alcohol stove with pitiful heat output. — James Stout

The best high-powered

mr steak cmap stove

The Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill cranks out 14,000 BTUs and can heat up to an astounding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros: Amazing heat output, large cook surface, electric ignition system

Cons: Expensive, not suitable for hauling on foot

If you’re pushing for the mountain summit of Denali or the Eiger, then it’s probably best to leave the Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill back at base camp.

At around 30 pounds and measuring 25 by 16 by 16 inches, this is most definitely a car camping grill. But with that size comes 165 square inches of cooking space, below which an immensely powerful ceramic infrared burner can heat up to as much as 1,000 degrees. Not that you will need that much heat most of the time, but hey, it’s there for you.

The Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill works with a standard one-pound propane cylinder (the squat green ones, like the ones the Coleman stove uses) and has an electronic ignition system.

When you’re not using the grill, you can fold its legs up for easier storage or transport, and when you are using it, you’ll appreciate the cool-to-the-touch silicone cover on the handle and a latch that can hold the cover open while you’re flipping burgers. — Steven John

How to shop for a camp stove

Although all camp stoves largely have the same overall goal (i.e. heating food, boiling water, etc.), they’re not all necessarily created equal. Some function better for rapidly boiling water while others are light enough for backpacking trips or pack a more powerful cooking punch.

Any decent stove produces plenty of heat and resists the elements, but beyond that, there are all sorts of differences between various brands and models that make a given unit ideal for one user but a poor choice for others. In discussing the six camp stoves on this list, we’ll cover not only each option’s inherent qualities but will also talk through why each model is well suited to specific activities, as well as why a given stove may be a poor choice for other scenarios.

How we test camp stoves

Each of the camp stoves featured in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well it compared across these six categories: Boil time, ease of setup and use, wind resistance, heating power (total BTUs), fuel type, and value. Here are the main features to consider when shopping for camp stoves (and the criteria we judged when doing our own testing over many nights spent camping, backpacking, or just taking to our own backyard): 

Boil time: How quickly a stove can bring water to a boil is one of the most important features for anyone who wants to quickly prepare food that only requires hot water, campers who want the ability to reliably purify gathered water, or those who need their coffee brewed mere moments after they wake up in the morning.

Ease of setup and use: Being able to easily set up your stove when you need it is vital. Most stoves are intuitive once you get the hang of them but it’s still nice to have one without steep learning curve. 

Wind resistance: Depending on where you plan to do the bulk of your camping, a stove that’s able to not only light but stay lit while it’s windy is highly useful. While most stoves won’t have a specific wind-resistant rating, many should list how well they’ll work in blustery conditions.

Heating power (and total BTUs): Lighting the stove is one thing but how powerful it ends up being while lit is something else entirely. After all, you don’t want to be sitting around for upwards of an hour waiting for a simple can of soup to heat up. The higher the BTUs (British thermal units), the more powerful the stove will be. Look for a stove between 10,000 and 30,000 BTUs. 

Fuel type: There are generally two kinds of camp stove fuel: Gas fuel like propane and butane or liquid fuel. Propane and butane canisters tend to be easier to use in terms of lighting the stove and don’t require priming before being lit. Liquid fuel stoves require a bit more work (such as priming) but perform better in colder weather. They’re also liable to be more dangerous to use. If possible, we recommend using propane or butane canisters as they’re far easier to manage.

Value: The importance of a camp stove’s price point is completely up to you. If you have the budget to buy a more full-featured stove, by all means, go for it. If you’re looking for a budget option, there are plenty of those, too, and many have negligible differences to more expensive options. 

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Wealthy homeowners are dropping nearly $40,000 on luxury stoves that won’t arrive for months. It’s a symptom of a broader appliance shortage hampering homeowners and industry insiders alike.

appliance deals 2021
  • Wealthy homeowners are dropping nearly $40,000 on luxury stoves that have a three-month wait time.
  • It’s a symptom of a broader appliance shortage that began last spring.
  • The shortage is due to surging demand, pandemic-related supply chain issues, and a chip shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Many wealthy homeowners have spent the pandemic renovating their multimillion-dollar homes, and it’s led to skyrocketing demand for appliances – including a certain $40,000 stove.

The New York Times’ Guy Trebay reported on the real estate boom among the rich and the surge in redecorating and renovating that followed. Interior designers are being flooded with requests to take on new jobs, realtors are booking tens of millions in sales, and decorators are sourcing sectional sofas that cost as much as $31,000.

And when it comes to appliances, the entry-level options won’t do. According to The Times, demand for items like Sub-Zero refrigerators, $4,000 ice machines, and high-end Wolf ranges surged in the third quarter of 2020.

The “must-have range” for 2021, a French range called the La Grande Cuisine 2000, has six gas burners, two ovens, and an electric griddle, and has a stylish matte and copper finish. It costs almost $40,000 and there’s a three-month wait-time to get it, the company that makes it, L’Atelier Paris, told The Times.

A post shared by L’Atelier Paris (@l_atelier_paris)

Appliances are in high demand, and the shortage isn’t letting up

While the wait time on a $40,000 stove affects a small subset of consumers, a broader appliance shortage is hampering homeowners across the country. Beginning last fall, many Americans embarked on home improvement projects ahead of a winter stuck indoors. It put a strain on appliance-makers, who struggled to keep up with the uptick in demand.

Executives from Swedish appliance giant Electrolux said on a conference call in October that it had entered the quarter with “unusually low inventory levels,” despite higher production levels.

“The increased time spent at home during the pandemic has resulted in more intensive use of appliances and higher share of household budgets allocated to home improvement,” executives said at the time.

Whirlpool, the other largest appliance-maker next to Electrolux, also pointed to high demand last fall. Whirlpool chief financial officer James Peters said in October that the company’s order backlog was “very high.”

While demand for appliances amid a home improvement boom is partially to blame, external factors are also making it difficult to buy new appliances. Factories shut down in the early months of the coronavirus last spring, slowing down production of new dishwashers and refrigerators. At the same time, wealthy homeowners started buying up extra appliances like freezers in order to stockpile groceries. At stores like Home Depot and Best Buy, freezers were sold out entirely or back-ordered for months at a time.

The shipping and logistics industries were strained last year too, leading to national chains like Lowe’s shifting their models to direct-to-consumer deliveries. And an ongoing chip shortage means that appliance makers who offer items with smart capabilities are feeling the strain.

Jason Ai, the president of Whirlpool in China, told Reuters in March that the company was facing “a perfect storm” of high demand and shortages. He told Reuters that Whirlpool has had a difficult time sourcing the processors that power more than half of its product lineup, including washing machines, microwaves, and refrigerators, according to Reuters.

“On the one hand we have to satisfy domestic demand for appliances, on the other hand we’re facing an explosion of export orders,” Ai told Reuters. “As far as chips go, for those of us in China, it was inevitable.”

Even after over a year of the pandemic, industry insiders don’t expect the shortages to let up anytime soon. Appliance store owners in various parts of the US warn that issues with supply could extend for several more months.

“Do not wait until the last minute if you’re trying to build a house or are shopping for appliances,” Paul Klein, the owner of an appliance store in Louisiana, told NOLA.com. “Get your order in now because I don’t think it’s going to get better until 2022.”

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