It might be that you don’t feel like paying the enormous gas or electricity bill that can come from running your stove for hours just to get a decent meal. It might be that you live in a studio apartment in New York, LA, London, Shanghai, or some other city with incredibly-crowded living conditions and don’t have space for a stove anyway. Of course, It also might be that you’re living the Bohemian Graduate Student Life, and don’t have the money for the utilities bill or stove.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that a small hot plate will do just fine. There’s just one problem – you don’t know the first thing about choosing hot plates.
Well, never fear. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to know what to look for when browsing for the best small hot plate for you, along with some of the hottest choices on the market today.
Table of Contents
What to Look For
There are lots of things to consider when reviewing different small hot plate options, not the least of which being the actual size of the hot plate itself. Suffice it to say that while you want a hot plate that is small enough to fit in whatever area in which you plan on using it, you also want it to be big enough to generate sufficient heat for your purposes.
Of course, size isn’t everything, which is why it is so important to find a hot plate that is good in terms of overall performance. Some mini hot plate options, for example, are able to make use of special compact heating units that can give you the most heat for the least space. This goes hand in hand with efficiency. An inefficient hot plate will cost you way too much money and take way too long to actually heat anything, so you’ll want to take into consideration the hot plates’ heating units.
Two of the key factors to consider here are wattage and the heating sources themselves. The former is a way of measuring how much power these hot plates are able to generate. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the hot plate, and you’ll need relatively high wattage to actually cook meals. On the other hand, too hot and your food will be burned, and if you leave an especially hot mini hot plate alone it could be a huge fire hazard, so be careful.
In terms of heating sources, common choices include white ceramic and metal coil hot plates. Both can produce a fair amount of heat and have grown in popularity as of late. Glass hot plates are also common, but they typically only work well with iron pots and other cookware, so make sure that you’re using the right crockery with them.
Let’s return to the question of heating for a second. You definitely don’t want your heating plate to become a fire hazard, so there are a few features you should look for which can help prevent that. From the biggest to the smallest hot plate, you always want to make sure the unit features non-skid feet so as to protect it from being easily pushed off the space where you’re using it and setting your home ablaze. In addition, you’ll want to look for features that “lock” your settings into place. Not only does this make sure that you don’t accidentally change them and thus make it hotter by mistake, but this also prevents others (namely, children) from doing the same.
There are plenty of other features you’ll want to look for as well. Timers can make it much easier to keep track of how long something’s been cooking and when they’re done. Different hot plates have analogue or digital controls, and the latter are naturally far more modern. When it comes to features, you want to strike a balance, since the more complex they are, the more expensive and less-travel friendly they can be.
Speaking of which, when searching for a portable hot plate, weight and size are naturally the two biggest considerations. You also want to make sure that you are finding a hot plate that is sturdy enough to handle all the jostling that can come from bouncing around in the back of your car.
Which is the Very Best Mini Hot Plate?
Now, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at six of the best small hot plate options available today.
1) Duxtop Portable Burner
This is by far the heaviest hot plate on this list at 22.9 lbs despite its 1.6″ x 9.5″ frame, so that “portable” descriptor is a bit suspect.
That said, it features a smooth top that makes cleaning way easier than with some other models. That smoothness is due in large part to the fact that this model features a digital touch sensor control panel, making this a pretty modern mini hot plate tech-wise. It also comes standard with 10 power levels, which makes it easier to adjust heat levels for different dishes.
It isn’t the strongest over long periods of time, but for short bursts, this is a solid introductory hot plate.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
2) Cusimax 1800W Double Hot Plate
From Cuisinart to Cuisimax, here we have another double hot plate option. It is a reasonably portable hot plate with a small, compact size yet durable build. What’s more, it can handle a wide range of materials, which is another thing to consider when selecting a hot plate. Not every hot plate can handle glass or aluminum, for example, and some can only handle one or the other. By contrast, this model can handle both glass as well as aluminum cookware with ease, making it more versatile than your average hot plate. This also makes it a lot easier to cook different things in different packaging or crockery while still using the same hot plate for the job.
This model is reasonably energy efficient, and can burn for a while without losing much heat. In addition, since it is a double burner, you can cook two things at once, allowing you to prepare different dishes for your meal at the same time.
In addition, this model also comes with an automatic shutoff, which is a hugely important safety feature to ensure the hot plate does not accidentally overheat and start a fire when it’s not being used.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
3) Secura Induction Countertop Burner
Here we have another portable model, which weighs in at 7.05 lbs and measures 11.5″ to 12.5″.
However, the most interesting thing about this unit is its power. On the one hand, it can emit between 200 and 1800 watts, which is pretty good, and it has 15 different power levels, offering you lots of different cooking and heating options. At the same time, however, while this model can bring the heat, it doesn’t do so as energy efficiently as some of the other models on this list. That said, it still works well with a variety of materials, including stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
4) Cuisinart CB-60 Cast-Iron Burner
This is a good choice for those looking for an iron burner. It is incredibly durable, meaning that you should be able to keep cooking things while using this mini hot plate for a long time. In addition, it has non-slip feet which, as mentioned above, are essential for helping ensure that you don’t accidentally knock your hot plate off of a surface and start a fire. Both its iron durability and non-slip nature are incredibly basic, but it’s in getting these little details right that this hot plate succeeds, as you might expect from Cuisinart, which is by far one of the most recognized and dependable names on the market.
It has separate “on” and “off” indicators as well as six different settings on its thermostat, allowing you some variety when it comes to how you choose to heat things up. This can be a godsend when trying to heat up different foods that require different amounts of heat. One problem people sometimes run into with hot plates is that they are either so hot that they burn right through some dishes or are so cool that they can’t adequately cook others. With this cast-iron burner from Cuisinart, that’s much less of a concern.
This model is also relatively easy to cook compared to others given the fact that it boasts a coil-less surface, so you can just simply wipe down the surface in a single fluid motion.
All in all, this is another winning recipe from the kitchen masters at Cuisinart.
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
5) Elite Cuisine Single Burner
At 3.62 lbs and a compact 6” size to match, this is one of the smallest hot plates on this list. Even though it’s in that smallest hot plates category, however, it can still bring the heat – all 1000 watts of it, which is pretty impressive for a hot plate of this size. It has a clear indicator light power-wise and does a good job of being reasonably energy efficient. What’s more, this portable hot plate does a good job of cooking things evenly, which is obviously important unless you want meat or noodle dishes that are hot and cold depending on where you bite into them.
The small size means that it is a bit less durable than some other models.
Even so, this portable hot plate packs a lot of heat into a very small package.
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
6) Imusa USA GAU-80305 Hot Plate
At 2.57 lbs and 10″ x 12″, this is easily the smallest hot plate on this list. That said, big things often come in small packages, and that’s true of this mini hot plate. What’s more, this is also by far one of the least expensive hot plates on this list, so if you’re looking for a budget option, this one is more likely the hot plate for you.
With that size and budgetary preamble out of the way, let’s look at the features, which are actually pretty decent for such a small and inexpensive unit. This model also features an automatic shutoff feature, and it can be used to boil water or cook different dishes easily. That said, this model doesn’t have non-slip legs, and those legs are smooth plastic, so you’ll need to be more careful when using it.
It may not be as powerful as other models on this list, but there’s only so much you can expect from such a small unit, and it does a good job with what it has.
Our rating: 4.2 / 5
No matter what your cooking needs may be, the hot plates listed here can help you bring the heat at a budget price.
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