When the company behind Instant Pot filed for bankruptcy in June, it marked an unsurprising fate for the latest kitchen appliance maker battling for countertop supremacy. Rather than becoming the next megabrand, the Bob Dylan of multicookers turned out to be just another flash in the pan. The landscape of kitchen appliances is littered with them, from the George Foreman Grill to the SousVide Supreme.
The kitchen contraption hype cycle tends to follow a pattern: A gadget becomes a viral sensation, then the hot Christmas must-have that season, then a discounted item on Amazon Prime Day, eventually landing in so many American kitchens the company behind it needs a second act. Then come the spinoffs—in the case of Instant Brands, air fryers, coffee makers, milk frothers and air purifiers—largely copycat products destined for the sale rack. It’s nearly impossible to think of a brand that’s been able to pull off the triple axel of product design: a steady stream of winners across the whole spectrum of countertop electrics.