Best Hot Plates

Updated November 2020
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Bottom Line

Buying guide for best hot plates

A hot plate, sometimes called a burner, is a portable cooking apparatus. Hot plates can come with one, two, or more burners (some have up to six), and you can use one to replace your traditional stove or work alongside it. Hot plates are becoming, well, hot with today’s consumers because they take up very little space and can be easily stored away.

There are many different styles and brands of hot plates on the market. Before you buy, determine how your hot plate will be primarily used. Will it serve as a camping stove? Will it be the primary cooking vehicle in a dorm room or efficiency apartment? Will it expand your cooking space when preparing large meals? There are a lot of choices out there. That’s where we come in. 

For information on hot plates and how we made our picks, keep reading our shopping guide. When you’re ready to buy, check out the product list above for our favorites.

A hot plate is a heating source used to cook food. Hot plates are portable, and they are most often powered by electricity or gas. They’re great for camping, RVs, dorm rooms, and other small spaces.

Electric hot plates

Although their purpose is the same, electric hot plates can take on three distinct forms.

  • Exposed-coil hot plates: These hot plates have an exposed heating coil. The pan rests directly on the coil and is heated in much the same way as it would be on a traditional stovetop – through direct contact and ambient heat. Cooking can be uneven unless heavy-bottomed cookware is used.

  • Integrated-coil hot plates: These hot plates also use heating coils for cooking. The difference lies in the fact that the coils are encased in a material – usually standard aluminum, anodized aluminum, or ceramic. Integrated-coil hot plates cook more evenly than exposed-coil hot plates, but they take longer to heat up.

  • Glass hot plates: Glass hot plates are basically the same as exposed-coil hot plates, but a layer of heat-tempered glass covers the coils. The smooth glass surface is easy to clean.

Gas hot plates

These popular hot plates are usually self-contained; the fuel container exists within the housing of the hot plate.

  • Most gas hot plates use propane fuel.

  • Due to the location of the fuel container, gas hot plates are heavier than electric hot plates.

  • Gas burners heat food more evenly than electric burners do.

  • Gas hot plates require no electricity and are extremely portable – a great choice for campers.

Induction hot plates

Induction burners cook by creating a strong electromagnetic field. They are far more efficient than electric hot plates, using less energy to heat the food. Induction burners do require special cookware, though, which can be pricey.

Some people prefer induction burners because they do not get hot or produce flames.  

For your safety
Never leave a hot plate unattended, as it could pose a fire hazard if used irresponsibly. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and always unplug your hot plate when it’s not in use.

One burner or two?

Most hot plates come with either one or two burners.

Single-burner hot plates

Single-burner hot plates are great for cooking small dishes for one or two people. They are extremely portable, lightweight, and easy to store. They are also usually less expensive than stoves with two burners, so if you don’t plan on using your hot plate regularly, a single burner would likely suffice for you.

Double-burner hot plates

Hot plates with two burners allow you to heat up two pans at once, making for more complex meals. You can cook the main course on one burner and a side dish on the other, for instance. But buyer beware: in some cases, one burner will be more powerful than the other. In such a scenario, you’re basically getting one burner and one warmer. If this is not what you want, look for a unit that can boil water on both sides. This means that the burners are both powerful enough to do some real cooking.

Hot plate prices

In general, single-burner hot plates cost less than those with two burners. Also of note: electric hot plates tend to cost less than gas and induction hot plates.

The following guidelines provide a general idea about price.

  • $10 to $40: You can get a small, electric single-burner hot plate in this price range. It will probably be made of stainless steel, and its power may be limited. A burner like this would work well in a dorm room or recreational vehicle.

  • $40 to $100: If you’re willing to pay this much, you can have your pick between an exceptional single-burner hot plate or a surprisingly impressive two-burner hot plate. This is also the price range where you’ll start seeing gas burners and even a few induction burners. Some devices come with a cast iron plate.

  • Over $100: If you are prepared to spend over $100, you’ll find top-of-the-line hot plates of all sizes and materials here. It’s a lot of money, but it could be worth it if you plan to use the hot plate on a regular basis.

Look for a hot plate with rubber legs so it won’t slide around when you use it.


Q. What’s the biggest difference between cooking on a hot plate and cooking on a stovetop?
Hot plates need time to cool down. When you turn the hot plate off, the heat dissipates very slowly. You should remove the pan from the hot plate to prevent overcooking. On a stovetop, however, you can stop the flow of heat to the burner almost instantaneously just by turning a knob.

Q. How much power does a hot plate use?
It depends on the type and the brand. Some single-burner electric units use as little as 750 watts. Larger induction hot plates can use as much as 1,800 watts.

The important thing is to know how you’re going to use the hot plate and to purchase one with enough – but not too much – power.

Q. How can I make sure my hot plate is safe to use?
Your hot plate should have a mark from Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). This signifies that it has been tested by a third-party laboratory and meets electrical safety standards.

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