Factors to Take Into Account When Choosing a Hot Plate
Whether you need one extra countertop burner to finish your big cooking project in time or a place to cook your favorite dish when traveling, a hot plate will become a real life saver. A single electric burner will give you the possibility to enjoy your cooking routine on the patio while your hiking trip will become considerably more comfortable with the best portable induction cooktop.
The constant development of technologies for portable hot plates and tabletop stoves has given the customers a choice of most various models ranging in their features and prices. Today, one can find an effective and affordable electric burner for occasional use just as easily as an upscale hot plate with stylish design and excellent performance.
1. Heating Source
The majority of hot plate models available now in the market require electricity. Nevertheless, there are also different options for those who would need their burner to use an alternative power source.
Today, one can choose a glass, ceramic, propane, cast-iron, or induction hot plate. The latter is especially valued for its safety in comparison with other types of hot plates.
The quicker a hot plate can make a pot of water boil, the better it is in terms of performance. This is one of the key characteristics taken into account by the buyers.
This is an important feature to pay your attention to when choosing a hotplate. Low wattage means you will be able only to warm your food while high wattage suggests the ability to fully cook a meal (which also includes the risk of burning). We recommend opting for a sensible medium.
When traveling, the portability of a cooking plate is vital. To make the best choice, take into account your specific requirements and traveling conditions that the hot plate needs to fit into.
A double burner hot plate is great for cooking big portions of food. However, it is large and heavy, which means you would most probably need a big car to take it with you. A ceramic model might turn out to be inconvenient due to its weight. A glass cooking plate will require little space in comparison but it is easy to break.
5. Temperature Control
The usability of a heating plate greatly depends on the temperature control option. It provides a comfortable way of perfectly heating your food to the desired condition. Take into account the power source of the model and its wattage, which should ideally be high enough to perform heating quickly.
When choosing a double burner hot plate, different temperature limits for each burner are a handy feature. A thermostat knob will make the temperature adjustment process super easy.
Since cooking on a hot plate always includes the risk of minor injuries, opt for a model equipped with safety features. Hot plates with a panel lock and nonskid feet will be a perfect choice for parents.
The price range for hot plates goes from $10 to $200. As a rule, the higher the price tag is, the better the performance, temperature control, and the general quality is.
Hot Plate Reviews
Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice
Amazon Customer Reviews
- Highest boiling time among competitors
- Burner surface cooking evenly.
- Usable digital controls
- Large size
- Ferrous cookware required
- A comparatively high price tag
This model proves to be the best hot plate not only for quickly boiling water but for cooking gentle food like crepes, which were perfectly cooked at both sides with chocolate delicately melted during our tests. This hot plates gives the user much freedom in terms of temperature control with its various heat settings, simmer and boil buttons, all having an easy-to-clean flat surface. Moreover, this heating plate has a design with safety features in mind — it is not that easy to move it on the countertop, especially for kids.
On the downside, this Max Burton cooking plate is quite big, which might be inconvenient when traveling. Also, it requires ferrous cookware, so you might need to buy some new ones. However, taking all its functional features into account, this model seems to be one of the best hot plates for cooking at home, in your summer cottage, or in a dorm.
Continental Electric CE23309 1100-Watt
Amazon Customer Reviews
- Faster chocolate melting when compared to other hot plate reviews
- Smallest weight among the competitors reviewed
- Low price tag
- Scarce safety features
- Burner surface cooking not as evenly as competitors do
- Comparatively short cord
If you are looking for a small hot plate for a reasonable price, this model is a real value for money. It is lightweight and compact, which makes it a great companion on your trips. Despite its low weight, it still provides enough surface for cooking a basic meal. This electric hot plate has all the necessary features for an undemanding user but obviously can't compete with high-end models in terms of complex functions and safety features. It has only three power levels and is not equipped with a lock or an automatic switch-off function. Its comparatively short cord might also be a problem in cases when it is hard to reach the power outlet.
Best Iron Plate
Nesco SB-01 Single Burner
Amazon Customer Reviews
- Automatic switch-off safety feature
- Comparatively longer cord
- Does not require specific cookware
- Comparatively lower boiling time
- Dials instead of numbered heat and power controls
- Fewer safety features next to competitors
Due to its nature, the iron burner of this model cooks much more evenly on all its surface in comparison with the coil hot plates (although still not as evenly as induction hot plates do). Unlike many of its iron burner competitors, the Nesco SB-01 is equipped with such safety features as an automatic switch-off function and nonskid rubber feet preventing the appliance from sliding on the kitchen countertop. The temperature and power adjustment are performed with the dials (so better keep your children away from them). A comparatively longer cord add to the usability of this model. All these features are packed in an attractive modern design that will please the eye each time you enter your kitchen or dorm room.
Best Safety Features
Sunpentown SR-1884SS 1650-Watt
Amazon Customer Reviews
- Safety features including a panel lock and an automatic shut-off
- High price tag
A panel lock is an invaluable feature for parents who want to prevent their children from playing with the plate controls. Next, this heating plate is equipped with nonskid feet that enable the appliance to firmly sit on the countertop. Also, the Sunpentown SR-1884SS has an automatic switch-off function added to the timer. Moreover, this induction hot plate cools down quite quickly and has a body that stays comparatively cool to the touch even in the process of cooking.
This model is not a very small one, weighing 5.5 pounds. However, with a long 56-inch cord, it is a perfect hot plate for cooking at home.
Greatest Temperature Range
Secura 9100MC 1800-Watt
Amazon Customer Reviews
- The widest temperature range among competitors we reviewed
- Safety features do not include a panel lock
This induction hot plate can heat your food in the range between 140 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit (60—238 degrees Celsius) giving you a choice of 15 heat options. This level of temperature control allows to gently melt chocolate or cook a thick sugar syrup with ease. Apart from such an outstanding temperature range, this 1800-watt hot plate demonstrates excellent performance.
A Few Tips for Using a Hot Plate
- It is normal for a new hot plate to release some unpleasant smell when it is switched on for the first time. This happens because the new materials or paint are being heated. This is why when using your hot plate for the first time, let it heat for a few minutes without placing any food on it. Also, if you have kids, ask them to leave the room until the smell disappears.
- Start cooking with your new hot plate only after all the unpleasant smells completely disappear.
- Note that a hot plate normally turns off automatically when reaching its highest temperature. Similarly, it automatically starts heating again after having cooled down. This feature helps you save energy and prevent food from burning.
- Some models are equipped with a thermal fuse used for temperature control.
- Hot plates aren't designed to serve for a lifetime, so their shelf life usually isn't long. However, if you don't use your heating plate every single day, it might serve you for quite a long period of time until it starts wearing out.
- A comparatively simple design allows easy maintenance and repair in case of any troubles.
1. What are the differences between electric, induction, and gas hot plates?
As you think about the best hot plate for your situation, you will see labels like electric, induction, and gas. An electric hot plate plugs into any standard 110-volt outlet. It uses electricity to heat the surface that the pan sits on.
An induction hot plate also runs on electricity, but it relies on magnetic induction to transfer energy directly into the cooking pan. The actual surface does not heat up, and the risks of burning yourself or starting a fire are low.
Gas hot plates use either butane or propane to produce an open flame burner like a gas range. These offer the advantage of not needing electricity. If you look at the best hot plate reviews, you will notice that Max Burton and Gas One represent quality brands for butane hot plates. Gilson is a reputable brand for propane hot plates, especially if you need one for rugged outdoor conditions.
2. Is it safe to use a gas hot plate inside?
Always refer to the user manual for your specific gas hot plate to confirm its safety for indoor use. Some butane models are safe for indoor cooking, but many gas hot plates are only intended for outdoor applications.
3. What are the pros and cons of induction hot plates?
These appliances generally please people with fast heating, low energy use, and safety. They are easy to clean as well because food will not burn against the induction surface.
To use one successfully, however, you will need to have cooking pans that contain ferrous materials like cast iron or sometimes stainless steel. Also be aware that the magnetic field necessary for induction interferes with digital thermometers.
4. How do I clean a hot plate?
In general, you can clean burned food and grime off of the hot plate with oven cleaner. Oven cleaners are very caustic and require that you have ventilation and wear gloves to prevent skin contact.
As an alternative to oven cleaner, prepare a baking soda paste. Add just enough water to baking soda to create a paste and then apply it to the dirty areas. Let it dry and then spray it with vinegar or lemon juice. The resulting chemical reaction will bubble and dissolve dirt. Wipe away the residue after the bubbling stops.
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