That was our top criteria for selecting the best portable cooktop stove.
If you’re ready to get cooking, the Waring Portable Double Burner Cooktop scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick.
Top 10 Portable Cooktop Stoves
Portable Cooktop Stove Comparison
|Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Hot Plate||Heat Distribution |
|Hot Plate||Hot Plate|
|19.50 x 11.50 x 4.00||13.00 x 11.50 x 2.50||13.58 x 10.63 x 2.40||12.85 x 11.75 x 2.35||21.50 x 9.00 x 4.00||14.40 x 15.90 x 6.30||14.00 x 12.00 x 2.60||3.50 x 9.80 x 9.00||9.40 x 3.10 x 8.50||3.60 x 9.20 x 10.60|
|1,000 – 5,500||1,400 – 4,600||1,500 – 4,500||1,400 – 4,600||1,400 – 4,600||1,500 – 4,500||1,400 – 4,600||1,000 – 5,000||1,000 – 5,000||1,000 – 5,000|
Portable Cooktop Stove Buying Guide
What is a Portable Cooktop Stove?
Portable cooktops used to be called hot plates. It generally is a single or double burner that can be heated and used to cook food. There are various heat sources available for cooktops which all have different benefits. The most common heat source is through either electric or induction. Other popular heat sources include propane, kerosene and other sources that do not require an outlet. These are often used for camping or day hikes to remote areas. With most campgrounds offering electric, the plug in units are popular for both home and camping use.
Single or Double Burner
A closer look at how the cooktop will be used will help decide if you want a double or single burner. The double burners are larger and need a larger place for non-use storage. The advantage of a double burner is that you can cook meats and sauces at the same time. You can cook one item, and keep it warm while you cook a second item. Double burners are also convenient when you need to keep two items warm during entertaining. The key is that both burners do not operate at the same heat level. Each unit will have a maximum wattage and that will be divided among both burners.
Single burner units generally offer a higher total wattage because it is not divided power between a second burner. They are also smaller and more compact for storing. If you plan to use the units a lot and feel you need the higher wattage then buying two single units will be more beneficial than a single double burner. Note that the double burner units are not significantly more expensive than the single units. If you will be using two burners frequently and do not need them at full power, then the double units will be more cost effective, if it meets your temperature needs.
One of the deciding factors for the size cooktop you will get may depend on the space you have available for storage. If you are in an RV, hotel or dorm room space is at a premium. Storage should be considered before deciding whether you want a single or double unit.
Electric Cooktops are the most common form of cooktop stoves. These burners operate just like the standard home stove and can be used anywhere there is an outlet. The temperature settings are generally high, medium, low, and possibly warm and/or simmer settings. The advantage of these is that they do not use as much energy and will not heat your home like a standard stove. They are also the cooking method most are familiar with.
Induction Cooktops are gaining interest among many home cooks. They are cooler than the electric models and heat fast like a gas stove. The units are very energy efficient and are safe for children because the units do not get as hot as an electric unit. Most induction cooktops offer digital readings for both temperature and wattage used. This takes a little getting used to, but offers more exact temperatures for cooking foods that need to be fried, candies, and other things that need a specific temperature to be maintained. The induction cooking also has a very fast recovery time. When you add foods the temperature lowers and how fast it recovers can determine the quality of the finished food.
Kerosene Cooktops have a very high heat output. Kerosene is a fuel that is widely available and inexpensive making this a popular choice for survivalists and campers. The one downside to kerosene is that the cooktop must be primed before use and kerosene has a very distinct smell that many do not like. The smoke that is produced from its use is sooty and if there is a spill it does not evaporate quickly. If you already use kerosene lanterns, then this would be a great choice as an added source for cooking.
Propane Cooktops are also popular for camping enthusiasts. Propane is readily available and easy to use. You can use small portable propane canisters and that will provide enough fuel for most cooking needs. The propane canisters are sealed and do not leak. They are compact and easy to carry and can also be used in lanterns and with other camping gear. Some propane canisters are refillable adding to the cost efficiency. When empty canisters are thrown away they need to be disposed of properly.
Cost of a Cooktop
Price is not always indicative of the quality of the unit. Often the price is determined by the number of features the stove offers. The more bells and whistles the higher the cost. Evaluating which features you want the most will help you select a unit that will meet your needs at the lowest price. Also consider construction. High quality units will use heavier and thicker metals and will be sturdier. With a portable unit having features like non-slip feet and auto shut off are safety features that may be worth more than say a timer. When looking at the price of the unit consider the upfront cost as well as operating costs. Buying portable fuel sources like kerosene or propane require ongoing fuel costs. With electric the 1800 watt units, if used frequently will be paid for in power bill costs. Using the unit in place of a stovetop will generally use less power. Induction units also use less power than electric units because there is very little lost heat and cooking and heat up times are faster.
Ease of Cleaning
Most portable cooktop stoves can be cleaned with a wet rag. Review instructions for things like using abrasive material and where the unit cannot get wet. This will help the unit last longer and will protect the internal components that operate the machine. Things like sealed burners will help ensure that wiping the unit down will not leak water into integral parts of the cooktop.
Digital settings, timers and automatic shut offs are common features found in cooktop stoves. Review the list of features available and determine what is important to you. If you want a stove like cooktop then high, medium, and low settings may be all you need. If you want to fry chicken wings more specific settings may be easier to monitor. Timers are good to have, but not essential to your cooking if you watch your food. If you tend to multi task, then the timer may be a must have.
Cooktops are popular in home kitchens because they are convenient and versatile. Whether you are cooking for one and do not want to heat up the kitchen, or love the outdoors and use it for camping, cooktops are a great appliance to own. Newer models offer more features and are built to last for many years, when properly cared for.
Add a cooktop to your appliances and you will find that you use it more and more. They are compact and store either flat or on their side, making it so they take up very little room. You can enjoy cooking outdoors and in small spaces with the use of a cooktop stove.
- Waring DB60 Portable Double Burner Cooktop: http://www.waringpro.com/
- DUXTOP 1800 Watt Portable Induction Countertop Burner 8100MC:http://www.thesecura.com/
- Rosewill-1800-Watt-Induction-Stainless-RHAI-13001 Cooktop: http://www.rosewill.com/