1,800 watts. 20 temperature ranges from 100 to 460 degrees. Digital LCD sensor-touch control panel. Child safety lock system. Fast Boil and Keep Warm buttons. Lightweight and compact. Built-in digital timer with 1-minute increments up to 10 hours. Auto-pan detection shuts unit off after 60 seconds. Heats quickly and effectively. Heats pan best when it's directly over heating element.
Top is slick, so keep an eye on your pans. Temperature controls are challenging.
1,800 watts. Large LED screen display. Built-in digital 3-hour timer setting. Touch control panel. 8 temperature settings from 150 to 450 degrees. Cookware suitability detection. Overheating protection. Includes 10-inch, 3.5-quart stainless steel pot. Efficient. Heats quickly. A good entry-level product.
Heat settings don't give you much control.
1,300 watts. Cooks at 52 temperatures between 100 and 575 degrees. Adjustable in 10-degree increments. Auto shutoff when pan is removed. Space-saving design. Larger cooking space. Very quiet. Great temperature control.
Buttons are temperamental. Difficulty heating large quantities of water or oil to useable temperature in a reasonable time.
This lightweight cooktop gets hot very quickly. Additionally, it has nine different power levels and ten temperature ranges so you can find the perfect one for your needs. There's a built-in timer and the cooktop automatically turns off after three hours.
Only works with magnetic or cast-iron cookware.
This cooktop is small and lightweight, so it can easily be stored away in spaces that don't have much room on the counter. The plate is quick to heat up and also adjusts temperature easily. The surface is scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
Only works with certain kinds of pans.
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Induction cooktops have become all the rage in recent years. That’s probably because they heat up more quickly than other types of cooktops, which can not only help you get meals on the table faster but reduce your energy bills, too. If you’re not ready to upgrade to a new stove, a portable induction cooktop is an ideal alternative.
An induction cooktop uses magnetic induction to transfer electric currents that directly heat pots and pans. That allows the burner(s) to heat almost instantly for quick, efficient cooking. The cooktop fits on the countertop and plugs into a standard wall outlet. It’s a perfect option if you want to use induction cooking in your kitchen but don’t want to invest in a full-size cooktop or if you want to cook in a location that doesn’t have a stove, such as an office break room.
With our buying guide, you’ll have all the tips you need to find an excellent portable induction cooktop for your kitchen. We’ve even included some product recommendations if you really want to take all the stress out of shopping.
When you’re shopping for a portable induction cooktop, size is a crucial factor. You want to be sure that the cooktop will fit on your countertop or other work surface and that it’s compact enough to be easy to move. Most of these cooktops measure 11 to 14 inches long and 14 to 24 inches wide. Keep in mind that a larger portable induction cooktop may be bulkier to carry, but most of them offer more cooking zones.
Number: Most portable induction cooktops have a single cooking zone, or “burner,” which allows you to place one pot or pan on the cooktop at a time. However, you can find some portable models that have two cooking zones, so you’re able to cook with two pots or pans at once. A two-zone cooktop is larger and requires more countertop space, but it allows you to prepare a meal more quickly.
To make sure that you’re able to cook a wide range of recipes, it’s important to choose a portable induction cooktop with a variety of temperature settings. Instead of basic low, medium, and high, many portable induction cooktops allow you to see a specific temperature for more precise cooking. Most models offer a temperature range of 100°F to 475°F. However, some models simply offer from 6 to 20 numbered heat levels from low to high heat, so you can’t precisely set the cooking temperature.
Some portable induction cooktops are controlled manually with dials or knobs. Many high-end models offer digital controls with an LCD display for the most user-friendly operation. Many cooktops with digital controls provide a built-in timer, too.
For fuss-free cooking, choose a portable induction cooktop with preset cooking functions. These typically cover the basic cooking tasks, such as boiling, browning, or frying, and take the guesswork out of choosing the right temperature for the most efficient cooking.
Pan detection: For safety reasons, many portable induction cooktops have an automatic pan detection feature. If there isn’t a pan on the cooktop, the appliance automatically turns itself off, so you never have to worry about starting a fire or wasting electricity.
If you have small children in your home, it’s a good idea to choose a portable induction cooktop with a safety lock. When the lock is engaged, children can’t turn the cooktop on and risk injury.
Portable induction cooktops vary in price based on the number of cooking zones and the special features included. Most models range from $40 to $260.
Inexpensive: The most affordable cooktops have a single cooking zone. They may or may not have digital controls, but they don’t offer many special features. These typically cost between $40 and $75.
Mid-range: These cooktops usually have a single cooking zone and digital controls. They usually offer a variety of special features, such as automatic pan detection and shutoff and a safety lock. These typically range from $75 to $127.
Expensive: The most expensive cooktops have two cooking zones and digital controls. They offer a variety of special features, such as automatic pan detection and shutoff and a safety lock. These typically cost between $127 and $260.
Use steel or iron cookware. Because portable induction cooktops utilize magnetic induction to heat up, you must use pots and pans made of magnetic materials on them. Cast iron and some stainless steel cookware are good options, but glass, copper, and aluminum are not. If you’re not sure whether a pot or pan would work with your portable induction cooktop, hold a magnet against the bottom of the cookware. If the magnet sticks to the cookware, you can use it on your cooktop.
Monitor cooking times. A portable induction cooktop tends to cook more quickly than traditional cooktops, so you might need to reduce your cooking time for some recipes.
Clean your cooktop carefully. Always turn off your cooktop before cleaning it. Clean up spills as soon as possible. Baked on messes are more difficult to remove. Make sure to use a product specifically meant for cleaning induction cooktops to prevent damage.
Q. Is a portable induction cooktop safe to use?
A. If used properly, a portable induction cooktop is perfectly safe to use. It uses electricity like many household appliances, so it’s a potential fire hazard if left on or unattended. Always keep an eye on your cooktop when you’re heating food, and don’t leave the appliance on after you’ve removed the pot or pan.
Q. Does a portable induction cooktop use a lot of energy?
A. A portable induction cooktop doesn’t use as much energy as other portable cooking appliances like a hot plate, toaster oven, or indoor grill. That’s because they’re able to cook more quickly than other appliances, so you don’t need to leave the cooktop on for as long as you might with other appliances.
Q. Can I use a portable induction cooktop on camping trips?
A. You can bring a portable induction cooktop with you on camping trips as long as you’re visiting a campsite that has electricity or you have a portable generator. The cooktop must be plugged into a standard outlet for operation.