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Whether you’re an RV camper or a college dorm dweller, you can turn your space into a full-powered kitchen. Hot Plate Coil Burner
What do campers, RV owners, cooking YouTubers, Tokyo capsule apartment dwellers, and college dorm tenants have in common? All could likely benefit from a small, portable electric burner—the kind that can turn your efficiency into a full-on kitchen.
These easy-to-use gadgets are essential for small spaces and a boon for those who may not have access to a full-size stovetop. Electric burners are also a vital tool for camping or anyone who may need a better camera angle for TikTok cooking videos. A solid electric burner provides enough wattage to sauté, boil, and fry on the go, and it’s lightweight for easy storage when not in use.
Whether you’re looking for an electric burner for your next adventure or you want to hook up a college student with the tools they need to make more than instant ramen, we’ve rounded up the best electric burners money can buy.
Looking for more kitchen and cooking goodies? Check out our picks for the best Oxo products, outdoor pizza ovens, and cast-iron skillets.
Portability aside, not all electric burners are built the same. Here’s what you should keep in mind when shopping for the right portable burner for you.
Generally speaking, the more wattage an electric burner can output, the more powerful it is as a cooking surface. If you’re looking for high heat or fast boiling, prioritize higher wattage—but you may have to shell out more money for the extra power. You should look for around 1,200 watts or more to emulate an electric stovetop experience.
Note that if the electric burner has two cooking surfaces, the advertised wattage is split between each plate. An 1,800-watt burner might provide 1,000 watts to one burner and 800 to the other when both are on, for instance.
There are various surface types to choose from when shopping for an electric burner. You should weigh these options based on ease of cleaning and longevity.
The cheapest electric burners use cast-iron coils to heat pots and pans. The coils typically sit inside a recessed surface with a drip tray, but even with the tray these are prone to messes.
They also take the longest to heat up, are notorious for uneven heating and imprecise controls, and are relatively difficult to clean. All of that said, these are the most cost-effective by far, and they’re the most reliable for worry-free cooking with any pot or pan.
Shelling out more money means you’ll be able to get a smooth cooktop—usually one made of glass or ceramic. These distribute heat more evenly and are easier to clean and wipe down than coils. These surfaces are prone to scratches and stains, though, so we recommend wiping down your burner after any spills.
Electric burners use induction or infrared electricity to heat their surfaces. Hot plates and electric burners that use coils transfer heat to the coil’s surface through infrared energy. Coils—and glass or ceramic cooking surfaces with coils underneath them—often rely on infrared energy.
Infrared burners glow red-hot when they’re warm and consume more energy than the alternative. They take more time to heat up to your desired temperature, though coils and infrared heat can transfer heat directly to any cookware you may have in your kitchen, from cast-iron pans to ceramic-bottomed Dutch ovens.
On the other hand, induction stovetops are more energy-efficient and heat up quicker than infrared, but they require magnetic-bottom cookware like stainless steel or aluminum cast-iron since they transfer heat electromagnetically. (Yes, that means the surface will be room temperature, even when it’s cooking at full blast.) Induction burners also distribute heat more efficiently than infrared burners, passing it from underneath the tops to the ceramic surface.
To find the best electric burners on the market, we searched the internet for the top-recommended burners and referenced our test team’s experience with various cooking surfaces. We factored in the opinions and hands-on testing from publications like The Spruce Eats and Wirecutter, and referred to our own guide on the subject.
In addition to critical and professional reviews, we consulted reviews from users who’ve had hands-on use with these burners. These are the best electric burners on the market, highly rated for safety, heat efficiency, durability, and portability.
For a single hot plate that can provide up to 1,300 watts of power, this machine is fairly impressive—especially at its price. This Cuisinart electric burner has some solid power behind it, as well as a six-setting temperature control knob that can keep food warm or boil water in a jiffy. Its flat plate design makes cleaning it a cinch, and bright lights indicate when it’s ready for use.
This single burner is as barebones and reliable as it gets without sacrificing power or heat distribution. It also seems to be a popular electric burner for those who pressure can at home, plus its infrared heat element means it’s compatible with most cookware. Its only downfall is its seven-inch burner, which may be too small for a 10- or 12-inch pan.
Ideal for the smallest of spaces and electric burner budgets, this single plate is five inches long, while the entire squarish unit measures roughly nine inches. It’s barebones and operates with a knob, a single light indicating when it’s turned on, and nonslip rubber feet that prevent this device from moving while in use.
This burner is great for those looking for one that doesn’t take much space and is easy to move, especially at just under two pounds. The coil, however, makes it slightly annoying to clean, and you’ll have to tilt it upward to wipe underneath the drip tray.
Many reviewers say this little unit is terrific for its price, though they aren’t a fan of how quickly it accumulates messes while cooking.
Here’s a double-burner that heats up quickly with the turn of a few knobs. This infrared device has two cooking burners, one emitting 600 watts and the other 900, measuring 5 and 6.5 inches, respectively.
Adjusting the temperature on each burner is easy, thanks to a knob that can either keep food warm or at a roiling boil, plus its nonskid feet ensure the burner won’t slide around while in use. The maximum cookware size this burner can accommodate is up to 9.5 inches.
Keep in mind, however, these dual cast-iron cooking plates can’t fold, so if you’re not in a space that can accommodate a 20-inch appliance, this model may be too big for you.
This double burner features two independent heating zones, with one providing up to 1,800 watts of power and the other, 1,000. This double burner has some serious power and can easily fry, steam, and sauté. It’s also got plenty of safety features, like a child safety lock and a power-sharing feature to avoid electrical overload.
With a touchscreen panel and 20 preset power levels, this double range cooker is compatible with cast iron, iron, magnetic steel, enameled iron, and stainless steel pots and pats. It also has a 10-hour timer. It may be a little heavy, however, at 12 pounds, so if you need to move your cooktop around a lot, you may want to reconsider.
With a beautiful oval ceramic glass surface, touch-sensor buttons, and an LED display, Cusimax’s single hot plate is not only one of the most elegant-looking on this list, but it’s also one of the strongest.
This 1,500-watt infrared stove supports pots and pants up to 7.9 inches wide and features a temperature-regulated surface that protects it from overheating. It also has an automatic safety shut-off if left idle for too long, which means no worrying about if you’ve turned it off after leaving the house.
Its flat-top surface makes it easier to wipe clean than the coil and cast-iron options. This burner also has a timer and plenty of display signals to indicate temperatures when the surface is hot. Professional reviews, however, say its base gets extremely hot during use.
This portable stovetop from Amazon Basics is a reliable induction burner that can heat food with 200 to 1,800 watts of power. Instead of relying on a knob, its temperature controls operate with a few buttons, making setting specific temperatures easy. It also has a timer and pause button, plus an LCD to better show how you’re using your little burner.
Safety features like a child lock and overheat protection make this a smart purchase, though some reviewers say it’s not as durable as they’d like it to be. While that glass panel cooktop makes for easy cleanup, be wary of scuffing and damage through use.
Remember that this product, like all induction cooktops, only works with induction cookware such as cast aluminum, enameled iron or steel, cast iron, or magnetic-bottom stainless steel.
Looking for a professional burner that you can rely on? This electric stove is quick and efficient, plus it’s lightweight for easy handling.
Made with stainless steel for durability and an easy cleaning surface, this portable stovetop has all the smart features you need for cooking like a professional at home: a temperature level setting, a touch screen panel with a large, easy-to-read display, a seven-blade fan toward its back that dissipates heat, and a glass cooktop that won’t burn food.
Like all induction stovetops, you’ll need to use a magnetic-bottom pot or pan with this burner, and Duxtop recommends one with a minimum diameter of five inches. Many Amazon reviewers say this burner is terrific and love that it’s elevated for a slightly higher cooking surface. Some also say it’s an excellent cooktop to use commercially.
This electric griddle is a solid choice for those who’d rather cook directly on the surface of their electric burner. This Hamilton Beach griddle is a three-in-one package with three double-sided, dishwasher-safe plates. The plates divide the cooking surface depending on what you’d like to prepare, with each plate presenting one side for grilling and another for use as a griddle.
The surface itself is nonstick, which makes it easy to wipe clean; plus, with dishwasher-safe plates and a grease tray, keeping the griddle debris-free is simple. Dual control knobs let you adjust the temperature on both sides of the griddle, which makes cooking a large meal a cinch.
Some reviewers say this product takes a long time to heat up, plus an uneven distribution of heat may frustrate some users. The lettering and numbers on its surface also are prone to quickly peeling off after a clean.
Kevin Cortez is an editor for Runner's World, Bicycling, and Popular Mechanics covering reviews. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He most recently worked as the Style Editor for Reviewed, a top product recommendation site owned by USA TODAY. He also helped with the launch of WSJ's Buy Side commerce vertical, and has covered the music and podcast industries for Mass Appeal, Genius, Vulture, Leafly, Input, and The A.V. Club. Equally passionate about leisure as he is his penmanship, Kevin dedicates his spare time to graphic novels, birding, making cold brew, and taking long, meandering walks.
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Ceramic Hob Advantages Kevin Cortez is an editor for Runner's World, Bicycling, and Popular Mechanics covering reviews. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He most recently worked as the Style Editor for Reviewed, a top product recommendation site owned by USA TODAY. He also helped with the launch of WSJ's Buy Side commerce vertical, and has covered the music and podcast industries for Mass Appeal, Genius, Vulture, Leafly, Input, and The A.V. Club. Equally passionate about leisure as he is his penmanship, Kevin dedicates his spare time to graphic novels, birding, making cold brew, and taking long, meandering walks.