Do you think that a full-size range is the only way to fry fish, sizzle bacon, simmer pasta sauce and boil water? Think again! A portable electric stove can do all of those jobs and more! With a countertop cooking unit, you can prepare delicious meals whether you are at home or on the go. Making your favorite dishes in any setting starts with choosing the best portable electric stove.
The 5 Best Countertop Electric Stoves
If you’re looking for an appliance designed for flexible cooking, you’ll want to select the best portable electric stove. The following five units offer convenience, power and portability, which are some of the top qualities to look for in an electric countertop stove.
1. Better Chef Double Burner
The Better Chef two-burner hot plate has coil-style burners, each of which is controlled by its own temperature knob. The unit’s total wattage is 1500 watts. One burner runs at 900 watts, and the other operates at 600 watts.
For safety purposes, the stove will automatically shut off if the burners reach too high of a temperature. This can be a reassuring feature for people who are forgetful and those who are concerned about using a cooking unit in a small space.
The Better Chef unit weighs under 4 pounds. It is 18 inches long and under 10 inches deep. This is a fairly small footprint for a double-burner cooktop, which makes it a good choice for those who want to cook two dishes at a time but are short on space.
2. Cusimax 1800W Hot Plate
The Cusimax double-burner unit has two cast iron plates and a smooth stainless steel construction that is easy to wipe clean. It has non-slip feet that rest securely on the counter and an automatic turn-off feature for safe use.
The total power level of the unit is 1800 watts. Individually, each side operates at 900 watts. Each burner is capable of 11 heat settings and has its own control knob on the left side of the unit. The left burner is slightly smaller than the right one.
This portable electric stove is heavier than some; it weighs almost 10 pounds. It is about 21 inches long and over 14 inches deep. The large size allows the Cusimax to accommodate larger pots and pans, but it can make toting the unit while traveling less convenient.
3. Durabold Kitchen Countertop Cast-Iron Single Burner
The Durabold hot plate has one cast-iron burner that operates at 1000 watts. The stove has non-slip feet; not only do these help the device rest steadily on your counter, but they also prevent scratches to your surfaces.
The burner is 7 inches across and can hold a variety of pots and pans. The unit has a knob that turns the unit on and adjusts the power, and there’s also an indicator light to let you know that it’s on.
This nearly square unit measures 10.8 inches by 9.5 inches. It weighs under 5 pounds, so it’s easily portable.
4. Cuisinart CB-30 Cast-Iron Single Burner
The Cuisinart hot plate is made of cast iron and stainless steel. The cast-iron burner is easy to clean and provides an attractive contrast with the steel body of the unit.
This portable stove runs at 1300 watts. It has six temperature settings, which are controlled by a dial. One light indicates that the unit is on, and another shows that it’s ready for cooking.
The stove measures about 11 inches by 11.5 inches, so it does take a bit more counter space than some single-burner units. It weighs around 6 pounds.
5. Duxtop 1800W Portable Electric Cast Iron Cooktop
Duxtop’s brushed stainless steel unit has two cast-iron burners. It also features a carrying handle on each side of the device. This gives it a slightly larger storage footprint than some portable stoves, but it makes the unit easy to move from place to place. The handles stay cool during cooking.
The total wattage of the stove is 1800 watts. There is a powerful 7.5-inch, 1300-watt burner for cooking and a smaller 6-inch, 500-watt burner for warming and simmering. Each burner is controlled separately. In addition to two control knobs, there are also two separate lights to indicate which burners are on.
The Duxtop measures 10 inches by 20 inches. Because of the handles, it stands about 4 inches high. It weighs approximately 8 pounds.
Countertop Burner Wattage
Portable electric stoves advertise their wattage as a way to understand how much power they produce. The lower end for portable stove wattage is usually about 900 to 1,000 watts. Some of the more powerful units run at about 1,300 to 1,500 watts. Warming burners are usually about 500 watts.
On a standard household stove, the burners usually run at about 1750 watts. Although portable burners don’t often operate with such a high wattage, units at the upper end of the range will better recreate a typical stovetop cooking experience. A lower-wattage stovetop will still cook your food, but you should expect it to take longer to boil water and do other basic tasks than it would on a more powerful stove.
Who Should Use a Portable Stove?
A portable electric stove can come in handy during a number of circumstances. It can serve as a supplement to your standard stove or take the place of a built-in range. Consider the following times when you might find a portable stove helpful:
- When You Need to Increase Your Cooking Space: When you’re cooking for a crowd, the four burners on your regular range might not give you enough space. Setting a portable unit to the side of your stove is an easy way to increase your cooking capacity.
- When You Don’t Have Access to a Regular Stove: Although a full-size range is handy, one is not always available. If your kitchen is being remodeled or your stove is broken, you can rely on a portable unit. A tabletop electric stove can also come in handy in apartments, dormitories or campers that don’t have space for a full stove.
- When You Are Hosting an Event: A buffet of food can be delicious, but it’s important to ensure that hot foods stay warm during the entire serving time. A portable electric stove will fit easily on your serving counter. With it, you can hold your hot dishes at a safe temperature during the party.
- When You Are Traveling: When you go on a trip, you can’t always be sure what kind of accommodations you will find. Using a portable electric stove for travel ensures that you’ll always have a familiar cooking space along for the journey.
What Is a Hot Plate?
A hot plate is a small, portable stove with one or two burners. It runs on electricity. In other words, “hot plate” is just another name for a “portable electric stove.” The term “hot plate” is often associated with science labs and college dormitories, however, so some people using this device in other contexts may prefer not to call it by that name.
Coil Burner Versus Smooth Burner
Coil burners are the traditional look for electric stoves, both at-home units and portable ones, and they sometimes cost less than smooth burners. However, there’s a chance that electric coils will heat your food unevenly, and they can be difficult to keep clean.
Smooth surfaces are easy to wipe down after use but might scratch easily. They can be more expensive than coils and may weigh more.
If you are using your portable electric stove only occasionally or are on a tight budget, you should be just fine with coil burners. For those who depend on their portable stove for full-time cooking, smooth burners can be a worthwhile upgrade.
Do You Need One Burner or Two?
A single-burner electric stove is compact and easy to store, but it limits you to cooking just one dish at a time. A dual-burner stove provides more cooking space, but it also takes up more space in your home.
Consider a single burner if:
- You have a full-size stove and are using a portable unit to provide a bit more space.
- You are traveling and don’t want to transport a large unit.
- You are short on counter space or storage space in your home.
- You never cook more than one item at a time.
- You would rather use one large pot at a time instead of two small pots.
Consider a double burner if:
- You are using the portable electric stove as a substitute for a full-size range.
- You have space to leave the double-burner hot plate set up in your home.
- You regularly host events at which you need to keep multiple dishes warm.
- You have small pots and pans that will fit side by side.
Keep in mind that some two-burner units do not have two full-power burners. While one runs at full strength for regular cooking, the other is a low-power burner intended for warming or simmering.
Related: Best Bacon Cooker Reviews
Alternatives to a Portable Electric Stove
Before purchasing a portable hot plate, you might want to consider other types of devices that would allow you to cook on the go. After weighing your options, there’s a good chance that you’ll find that the convenience of one or two plug-in burners is your best bet for your cooking needs.
Some stoves run on different types of power:
- Kerosene: This is one of the most popular choices for camping stoves. A portable stove that runs on kerosene might hook up to a large tank of kerosene or individual canisters of the fuel.
- Butane: This is another type of fuel that comes in cans and hooks to a portable stove, mainly for camping purposes.
- Alcohol fuel: Some tiny stoves rely on the heat that is produced by burning small cans of alcohol fuel. These stoves don’t generate as much power as other options, so they’re best reserved for situations in which space and weight are of the essence, such as backpacking trips.
In general, these alternative fuel sources are best for times when there is limited access to electricity. For example, if you’re camping at a site without electrical hook-ups, you’ll probably need a unit like this. However, if you have the option to plug in a stove, you might find that the best portable stove for you is an electric one because this style is more flexible, convenient and easy to use.
Some plug-in units have different cooking surfaces:
- Electric griddle: Instead of one or two burners, this type of cooker has a smooth, flat surface that heats evenly all the way across. It’s ideal for making pancakes, but it doesn’t work as well for heating soup or boiling noodles. Keep in mind that you can always add a griddle pan over one or two burners of a portable electric stove.
- Slow cooker: Also known as a Crock-pot, a slow cooker heats food over a period of several hours. It’s more like an oven than a stovetop. If you’re currently without a standard stove, the combination of a portable electric stove and a slow cooker can help you get by.
These cooking devices certainly have a place in the kitchen, but they aren’t a substitute for the convenience of a single- or double-burner portable stove.
Are you ready to start cooking on a portable electric burner? These plug-in units will work in your house, apartment, RV or vacation rental. With a countertop stove burner, you can prepare your favorite dishes both at home and away. Keep a portable hot plate on hand, and a warm meal will never be far away.