Whether you call it a burner or a hot plate, this portable cooking device is a great tool for any home cook. Sometimes used to replace a stove entirely, to add extra burners to your existing kitchen or even to be used while camping or away from home—there are so many great benefits to owning a hot plate.
Through our research we determined that the Nutrichef Electric Countertop Cooker was our top overall pick and even developed a detailed buying guide to help shoppers like you find the best hot plate to fit your individual needs.
Hot Plate Buying Guide
Since hot plates are used in a variety of different settings and situations, it can be difficult to determine which hot plate is going to be the best for you. Perhaps you are looking for a compact tabletop hot plate to add to your dorm room. Or, you may be in search of a more robust several-burner hot plate to replace a traditional stove. This is why it is so important to not only have a list of some of the top-rated hot plates out there, but detailed buying insights that can help you make a more informed decision on which hot plates are best for you.
The Three Different Types of Hot Plates
As we began our research on hot plates, we separated our top picks based on the three different types available: electric, gas and induction. Shopping for hot plates is very similar to shopping for a traditional oven appliance—most of choosing which type of hot plate you want is all about preference. However, in general, electric hot plates tend to be the most popular.
We have detailed the main differences and features in each of these different types of hot plates.
Electric Hot Plates
As the name suggests, electric hot plates are easy to use as you simply plug them in and they are ready for use. Many people love the convenience of electric hot plates and the amount of control that they offer when you use them. There are actually three different forms of electric hot plates:
- Exposed-Coil – They have an exposed heating coil for your pots and pans to rest directly on—similar to your traditional electric stovetop. These electric hot plates use direct contact and ambient heat. It is important to remember, that with electric hot plates, sometimes cooking can be uneven, unless you are using heavy-bottomed cookware.
- Integrated Coil – With these hot plates, while heating coils are still used, they are encased in a material—typically standard aluminum, anodized aluminum or ceramic. They take longer to heat up than exposed-coil hot plate, but they are known for cooking more evenly.
- Glass – Glass hot plates are the same as exposed-coil hot plates, except for a layer of heat-tempered glass covering the coils.
Gas Hot Plates
While these hot plates do require gas powering, they typically come with a self-contained fuel container, that is conveniently located inside the housing of the hot plate. Most use propane fuel, but there are a few other options as well. It is important to note that gas hot plates tend to be heavier than their electric counterparts—due to the fuel container. However, the perk of gas hot plates is that they require no electricity, are extremely portable (making them great for camping) and they can cook food evenly.
Induction Hot Plates
Induction burners use an electromagnetic field in order to cook food. They are more efficient and use less energy to heat food and there are many perks that can come with these types of burners. They are known for cooking evenly and the coil doesn’t get as hot, making them a safer option for many users. However, if you use an induction hot plate, it is important to remember that these burners only work with specific types of hot plates.
Key Considerations When Shopping for Hot plates
Once you have decided whether you prefer gas, electric or induction hot plates, there are more general considerations that you need to make regarding the type and style of hot plate you decide you want. Here are other features that can help separate one hot plate from the next.
Number of Burners
This is one of the most obvious features to look for n a hot plate. It is important to not only look at size when determining which hot plate is right for you. You also need to look at the number of burners as well. In addition to seeing how much space the hot plate takes up, look at how many burners are included in the device. Being able to cook two things at once is an added benefit for many users.
Temperature settings are another important feature to look for in a hot plate. Many times, there is actually more customizable than full kitchen appliances. The average hot plate has between 5-10 different temperature settings, while others actually allow you to set the exact temperature of the hot plate.
Power and Performance
It is important to know what your hot plate is able to do. Many hot plates will tell you just how quickly they can boil water, but may also detail their ability to cook or prepare different things. Take a look at the wattage or power capabilities with your hot plate. While many assume that all hot plates are similar to having the power of a traditional stove, that isn’t always true. You need to look at how much power the hot plate has to make sure that it can keep up with your cooking needs.
Although hot plates are rather compact, they can be quite advanced and come with a number of different settings and potential features. However, due to their size, it is important that they come with an easy-to-read display that lets you establish settings as-needed with your hot plate. While some hot plates have basic digital displays or even dial displays, some of the more advanced products available right now are actually rather advanced and have smart screens that make customizing your settings even easier.
Since Hot plates are designed to be used in a variety of places from camping to dorm life, they need to be quite portable. Depending on the hot plate, they may have a handle, or a carrying case. Either way, it is important that your new hot plate is portable enough to go with you no matter where your adventures take you. Take a close look at the dimensions and the size of the burner.
With a Hot plate in place, it can be easier than ever to cook a quality meal wherever you may be. Whether you are taking your hot plate with you to the great outdoors, or are just looking to add an extra burner to your kitchen, these cooking accessories can be a great product for you to enjoy. Just make sure that you take the time to really buy a hot plate that works for you and your needs. Not all hot plates are created equal, but if you find one with the power, the features and the heating source that works for you—it can be a smart addition to your arsenal of cooking tools.