Cooking is fun and necessary for life, but it can also be somewhat challenging as it consumes time and money. It may also involve a certain amount of risk if you have young kids around.
Induction cooktops solve many of these cooking challenges a lot faster and more safely than traditional electric or gas cooktops, and that is why many call them ‘ the future’ of the cooktops.
In this article, you will find all about the benefits of induction cooking and how it works, its pros and cons, and other details regarding the proper use of portable induction cooktops.
Finding the best portable induction cooktop vs a built-in induction stovetop is a more versatile and affordable option. For example, it is ideal to use in a dorm, in an RV, on a boat or in the garden.
Keeping the food warm on the dining table or using the portable induction burner as an extra cooking surface if you often host large gatherings and parties are useful options, too.
How Does An Induction Cooktop Work?
Let’s get a little sciencey now. Induction cooking is a two-part system. The first part is a spiral of wire that is made of copper. When the electric current passes through the spiral, it creates an electromagnetic field of energy.
This energy passes through the cooking unit into the pot causing its iron molecules to vibrate tens of thousands of times in a matter of seconds. The friction between these molecules is what creates the heat very fast.
The induction cooktop transfers heat through electromagnetic energy directly into the cookware-almost no heat on the burner itself.
The Best Portable Induction Cooktop Reviews
1. Duxtop 9600LS Portable Induction Cooktop With LCD Sensor Touch – Best Overall
Duxtop is one of the two name brands the Secura company-a leading manufacturer of induction cooktops-sell their products under. Duxtop 1800 Watt Portable Induction Cooktop 9600LS is a high power portable device that is efficient and functional. It features a lightweight compact design that is suitable for small places.
In terms of heat control, it takes literally seconds to go from a rolling boil to a gentler simmer and back to a boil. By minimizing the temperature fluctuation, it prevents delicate foods from burning and it’s ideal for melting chocolate or making delicate sauces and puddings.
The company recommends using induction cookware of at least 5-inch diameter to ensure a large heated area for even cooking. If you use a big pan, start with a low temperature to give it adequate time to evenly distribute the heat.
- Size and weight: The dimensions are 11.4″ X 14″ X 2.5″ and the weight is 5lbs.
- Settings and timers: There are 20 power levels (100W-1800W) and 20 temperature settings (100°F-460°F.) The ‘fast boil’ button raises the power to the highest with a 10-minute timer setting while the ‘keep warm’ button sets the temp at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer to 30 minutes. Plus, there is a 10-hour timer.
- Ease of use: The angled control panel and the LCD display facilitate reading. The sensor touch control makes it easy to adjust the power or temperature and turn on the timers.
- Safety: The child lock prevents any change in the heat settings or the timers once they are set. There is also an overheat function, a setting that shuts off the cooktop if it does not detect a pan on, and a system that warns you about high or low voltage.
2. Secura – Duxtop 9100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner – Best Budget Friendly
Manufactured by Secura, Duxtop 9100MC induction single burner is a time saver for meal preparation. Its sleek design and smooth glass surface look great on any countertop, table or buffet.
We like the angled control panel versus the flat one of the 8100MC Duxtop model which has been redesigned in order to protect the control screen from the heat of those larger pans. The LED digital control display is intuitive and easy to read.
The control buttons are covered with a plastic film that offers a more tactile sense of touch. The diameter of the biggest circle marking on the top is 8.5 inches, but people have used 12 inches cast iron skillets without any issues.
However, remember that temperature control can vary depending on the shape, size and material of your cookware bottom. For best results, use flat cookware with a suitable diameter and a thick base that has enough ferromagnetic material to absorb the waves of electromagnetic energy.
This energy-efficient burner induction appliance plugs in a standard 120V outlet. The cord is quite long and convenient. On the downside, the fan is a bit noisy and keeps cooling the unit for 2 to 3 minutes after your cooking is done.
- Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.5 x 16 inches.
- Weight: 6.8 pounds.
- Heating settings: 15 power levels (200-1800 Watts.)
- Temperature settings: 15 temperature settings (140°F-460°F.)
- Digital timers: There is one count-down timer with 1-minute increments up to 170 minutes.
- Safety: There is no child lock. Other safety features include overheat protection system, auto-pan detection, low and high voltage warning.
- 2 Year Warranty.
3. NuWave PIC Flex Precision Induction Cooktop With Fry Pan – Best Energy Efficient
Small and lightweight, NuWave Pic Flex portable cooktop is a great choice for tight spaces, buffets or even countertops that are crowded. Due to its small footprint and low energy consumption, it’s a favorite for RV enthusiasts who run on electric or on solar energy exclusively.
Different power settings provide heat control and even cooking. This induction cooktop’s uses include grilling, rice-cooking, vegetable steaming, and slow cooking. However, the maximum 1300 watt setting may not be suitable for deep frying. For that, you may need to check the NuWave PIC Platinum or Gold models.
Besides, aluminum, ceramic, glass or copper pots and pans won’t work with this cooker. For induction cooktops, you will need iron, cast-iron, stainless steel or steel cookware with an iron base. The NuWave also comes with a 9-inch ceramic non-stick fry-pan.
- Dimensions: 6 x 16 x 13 inches.
- Weight: 4.25 pounds.
- Power and temperature settings: There are 3 wattage settings that cook your food at 600, 900 and 1300 watts. The temperature can be adjusted in increments of 10 degrees between 100°F and 500°F.
- Safety: There is a ‘pause’ control button and an automatic shut off if you remove the cookware from the cooking surface.
- Noise: As most induction hot plates, this device can be a little noisy due to the integrated fan.
4. Max Burton LCD 1800 Watt Induction Cooktop Counter Top Burner – Best Value For Money
Max Burton #6450 digital induction countertop burner is a powerful compact appliance that won’t break the bank. It’s faster than a gas stove, and due to the electromagnetic induction, the heat goes only to the pan and not to the surrounding air-like when you’re cooking with gas.
This device can be used everywhere from dorms and offices to boats and gourmet kitchens. We particularly like that it comes with a small magnet to check if your kitchen cookware is induction-compatible. If not, you can use the Max Burton 6010 induction interface disk the company offers.
The 6450 model is a newer and more improved version of the 6400. It is quieter and lighter in weight. A glass panel control area with an LCD screen has replaced the plastic, making it more resistant to damage. On the downside, it produces a loud beeping sound when you turn it on and off or when you make changes to the settings, which some people find annoying.
- Cooktop Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1 inches.
- Weight: 6 pounds.
- Digital settings: The power of the heat goes up to 1800 watts with 10 settings available. There are 15 temperature control settings (100°F – 450°F) in increments of 25°F and a 180-minute digital timer.
- One-touch buttons: The one-touch boil and simmer buttons make it easy to boil or simmer, providing good temperature control.
- Safety features: A screen lock prevents setting changes and there is an automatic shut-off after 3 hours of non-stop use. The cooktop shuts off in cases of over-voltage, short circuit, overheating or non-suitable cookware being detected.
5. Secura- Duxtop 8100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Gold
Super affordable, powerful and lightweight, Secura 8100MC is one of the most popular portable cookers out there.
It reaches boiling temperature fast and the 1-minute increments offer good heat control and reduce cooking time and energy costs in the long run. Unlike some other models, this one has a relatively quiet fan.
The control panel is flat and plastic, so you may need to be extra careful when you are using large pans. Cast iron pans should be enamel coated to avoid abrasions. Induction cooktop surfaces are the safest to cook on as they only work with induction-suitable items.
Thus, there is no risk if a piece of towel paper or cloth touches the induction stove surface by accident. One item, though, that can be damaged by coming in contact with an induction surface is your credit card because it is magnetic-sensitive.
- Dimensions: 11.4″X13″X2.5″.
- Weight: 5lbs.
- Heating power: 10 power levels (200-1800Watts.)
- Temperature range: 140°F- 460°F.
- Automatic timers: There is a 170-minute timer that can be used with the power or the temperature mode.
- Safety: There is no child lock, but other sound warning features.
- Other specs: Cord length of 6 ft.
6. Copper Chef 853 Casserole & Induction 5 Piece Set &1300W Copper Induction Cooktop
Copper Chef pans and pots are well known for their versatility, non-stick coating, and special shape like the square shape pans which provide extra cooking space for a big family. This 5 piece set includes a 1,300W copper portable induction cooker that matches beautifully with the other pieces of the set.
You also get an 11″ square shape casserole pan with an oven-safe lid. It is 7-quart capacity and more spacious than common round shape pans. The set also comes with a steamer rack, a fryer basket and a recipe cookbook.
All this lightweight cookware is induction-compatible but can also be used on electric, gas or glass top stoves. It allows cooking with little to no added oil or butter, and it´s free of PFOA & PTFE. In addition, it´s very easy to clean and dishwasher safe but beware not to use any metal utensils that can scratch the coating.
The ceramic glass induction cooker is lightweight and the angled control panel offers improved visibility. The buttons are easy to see and press. However, the 5-degree increments may not provide the best heat control you can get, which is essential for certain cooking methods such as deep-frying.
- Dimensions: 17.2 x 15 x 10.7 inches.
- Weight: 12 ounces.
- Temperature range & settings: The temperature range is 100°F-500°F. There are 5 preset temperature buttons. The ‘low’ sets the temperature at 100°F, ‘warm’ at 175°F, ‘medium’ at 275°F and ‘high’ at 425°F. The ‘sear’ mode is for setting an even higher temperature.
- Timer: The timer can be set in minutes (up to 150 minutes) and in hours.
- Safety: If you keep the pot away from the surface for 60 seconds, there is an automatic turn off.
- Other specs: LED display, On/Off button.
7. Hamilton Beach 34104 Single Induction 1800 Watt Cooktop
Whether you are running out of cooking space in your kitchen or you need an easy to transport induction hot plate for your road trips, Hamilton Beach 34104 single stove is a good option.
Available at a surprisingly low price, functional and easy to use, this cooker is a great addition to any kitchen as a primary or extra burner. Bringing 1.5 quarts of water from zero to boiling temperature in 7 minutes is a handy feature.
It is also versatile as you can use a variety of saucepans, stockpots and frying pans with it (4-10 inches in diameter). The displays are easy to read and understand. There is a ‘booster’ button that allows you to use a high temperature for 30 seconds after which you can automatically switch to your normal setting.
This product is sturdy and super easy to clean. It also comes with a magnet so you can check whether your cookware is induction-ready.
- Dimensions: 14.2 x 11 x 2.5 inches.
- Weight: 6.9 pounds.
- Power settings: 10 settings reaching up to 1800W.
- Temperature range: 180°F- 450°F.
- Timer: 150-minute timer.
8. Fagor 1800 Watt Portable Induction Cooktop – 2-Piece Induction Set
Fagor portable induction burner is a nice sleek appliance that will look good as a buffet warmer or as a fast and energy-efficient cooker in any place from dorm rooms and studio apartments to campers and kitchens.
We find that the control panel menu is easy to follow and that the control buttons are not as touch-sensitive as other screens in household appliances. This is good in terms of safety as it can prevent kids from turning the device on easily and it also allows you to wipe the spills without making changes to the settings.
The set includes a 9.5” aluminum skillet that is induction-ready but is not oven or dishwasher safe. The coating is PFOA free and non-stick.
- Dimensions: 11.8 “(L) x 15” (W) x 2.3” (H)
- Weight: 5.9 lbs.
- Power range: 8 power levels up to 1800W.
- Temperature: 140°F – 465°F. The temperature can be increased or reduced in 10-degree increments.
- Timer: 180-minute timer.
- Safety features: Child lock and overheating-protection. The 2-hour shutdown can be overridden by setting the timer.
- Other specs: ETL approved.
9. Duxtop 9620LS LCD Portable Double Induction Cooktop 1800W – Best Double Portable
Single induction stovetops are more popular among users because they take less space and they are easier to carry, but this doesn’t mean that the double induction cooktops lack in portability or lightweight.
This Duxtop 9620LS has a sleek design that looks attractive no matter where you place it. It features 2 independent cooking zones and touch screen control panels that are easy to see even from a distance. The angled surface provides adequate protection against large pans.
The appliance responds to the increase or decrease of the temperature in seconds and boils water very quickly. There is a power mode function, which is suitable for boiling water, heating milk or cooking sauce as well as a temperature mode function that is recommended for deep frying, frying or sautéing.
The ‘Boil’ and the ‘Keep warm’ buttons are also handy to use.
The only disadvantage, though, is that you can’t run both burners at maximum heat because they are designed to share the amount of total available heat (1800 watts). This is common in double cooktops but worthwhile noting nevertheless. For safety reasons, there is an automatic shut-off function.
- Dimensions: 23.9″X14.2″X2.4″
- Weight: 12lbs.
- Left Burner Power settings: 100-1800W (20 settings).
- Right Burner Power settings: 100-1800W (10 settings).
- Temperature settings: 100°F- 460°F.
- Safety features: There is a child safety lock and an automatic shut off with a beeping sound.
- Cord length: 5 ft.
- Other specs: 10-Hour Automatic Timer.
Is Induction Cooking Better than Gas Or Electric and Why?
Induction cooktops are in many ways superior to the traditional electric cooktops (smooth tops or coil element cooktops) and even gas burners. Let’s see why:
The best portable induction cooktops are 40% faster than electric and gas ranges. While a portable induction hot plate can bring water to a boil in almost 1 and a half minutes, a gas burner may almost take one minute more to do the same job.
The speed becomes even better when comparing induction to electric cooking.
The heat control is one of the biggest advantages of induction. Whether you raise or lower the temperature, the response you get with an induction burner is almost instant whereas an electric appliance takes a lot longer to react.
This is one of the reasons why an electric cooking surface stays hot long after you switch it off, making it risky to leave it unattended when there are small kids around.
Better heat control also means a reduction of cooking time and energy saving, which is good for your overall electric bill consumption.
Induction cookers are the best in terms of safety because the glass surface itself does not get as hot as on traditional electric appliances. This is due to the induction of transferring heat directly to the cookware without causing heat production on the burner itself.
Therefore, the residual heat is very little to almost none and it dissipates quickly, which makes the cooker safe to touch even a few seconds after switching it off. However, placing your hands on a source that generates heat is never recommended.
Another great safety feature is that the cooker will not start unless you have a pot on and it will produce a beeping sound if you remove the pot while the device is still on.
Induction reduces cooking time as it is almost instantly responsive to the changes in heat, which translates to less energy consumption.
On the other hand, cooking on propane can raise energy consumption, especially during those warmer months, because you may need to run the air conditioner to counteract the rising of the room temperature. Not to mention the expenses to run a gas line or the plumbing and remodeling costs.
Induction may consume around 10% less electric energy than typical electric tops and almost half gas energy.
Portable induction tops are easy to carry and store, so they are useful for RV camping, boating and other types of outdoor entertaining.
These devices plug into a 120-volt outlet but if you are outdoors, you can use a portable generator or an inverter with a battery bank. You could also connect a solar panel and a car battery to a small size inverter.
Easy To Clean
The smooth and flat glass surface is simple to wipe using a damp towel as there are no crevices and grooves for debris and oil to stick in.
What To Know Before Buying A Portable Induction Cooktop
Induction Cooktops Only Work With Induction Compatible Cookware
Induction burners only work with induction-suitable cookware that has a base which is iron, cast-iron, stainless steel or steel. Aluminum pans with magnetic steel bottoms may not be suitable as there has to be an adequate amount of magnetic material in order to absorb the electromagnetic energy.
The thickness of the iron base is another good indication. If you are not sure about the suitability of your existing cookware, you can perform a simple test. Put a magnet close to the base of your pot and if the magnet sticks to it firmly, it’s induction-friendly.
Diameter, Surface And Thickness Of The Pan
For even and fast induction cooking, you need to have pans that are flat (forget all about woks). Thick base pans also conduct heat much better and more evenly than pans with a thin base.
In addition, the diameter of the pan should not be less than 4 inches, otherwise, it may not connect. This is why some brands recommend using cookware with a diameter of at least 5 inches.
Size And Weight
For ease of storage and portability, check out the product dimensions, size, and weight.
Child Safety Features
If you have a family with small kids, you may need to go for a product that comes with child safety features including child lock and buttons that are not sensitive touch.
All induction cookers produce a buzzing or humming noise, but some are louder than others. This is also due to the ventilation fan function which cools the device down after you turn off the cooker.
Some pans that do not have a heavy or flat base may also produce more buzz. Most of the time, the noise is not disturbing.
Induction Cooktops And Pacemakers
According to a study published in PubMed, patients with cardiac pacemakers are at risk if they stand extremely close to an induction cooktop. A few other factors may increase the danger. To ensure your good health and safety, always consult with your doctor.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a versatile, energy-efficient and fast way to up your cooking game, finding a portable induction cooktop that best suits your needs and fits your budget is a great choice.