The 10 Best Hot Plates
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in June of 2015. When space is at a premium, such as in a dorm room or studio apartment, or you're preparing a five-course, gourmet dinner and need an extra burner or two, one of these energy-efficient hot plates will come to the rescue. They are also good for use in RVs and at power-equipped campsites. Our selection includes traditional electric coil, fast-heating infrared, and modern induction models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 11, 2021:
We removed the Proctor Silex 34103, which takes a while to heat up and can be difficult to clean if food is spilled on it. We also removed the Cuisinart Single and replaced it with the Cuisinart Tasty One Top, a smart model that can connect to a phone via Bluetooth. Download the app and you can find a variety of recipes. If you follow along with the recipes while connected to the hot plate, the settings will change automatically as you go, which can be especially helpful for those who are just starting to learn how to cook. New to the list, the Techwood Countertop features large handles that remain cool to the touch, even when the unit is hot. This can be very helpful if you need to move it out of the way before it has finished cooling down and don't want to risk burning yourself.
December 16, 2019:
There are a few varieties of hot plates that have been popular for quite some time. The Proctor Silex 34103 represents the simplest and most inexpensive kind, as does the similar, two-burner Courant 2183W. These are quite cost-effective although they aren't very technologically advanced, nor are they the most attractive options. But they definitely work.
The Cuisinart Single is another relatively straightforward option, and instead of an exposed element, it uses a thick cast-iron plate to transfer heat. The Cusimax B101 and Cusimax Double use the same type of heating technology. This type has the benefit of being quite a bit easier to maintain than an exposed element while also delivering more a more consistent heating pattern. The Techwood Upgraded is, in a way, a significantly upgraded version of this type. It uses a high-powered infrared burner to heat a resilient tempered-glass surface, providing not just even heating but also high output and incredibly quick warm-up times.
Then there's one of our favorite categories, the induction burner. These come in portable and no-so-portable models, and they're more energy efficient as well as quicker to heat up and safer to use than traditional electric burners. The Duxtop 9600LS is the most feature-rich single-burner units, the Duxtop 9260LS takes that title for two-burner designs, and the Duxtop P961LS is designed for professional use with large and heavy pots full of food. The only major drawback to induction burners is that you'll need a specialized set of pans, but we predict that if you do start to transition to induction cooking in your kitchen, you'll be quite pleased with the results.
Nemco Food Equipment Nemco is definitely no stranger to professional kitchens, as their high-end equipment is known to process incredible amounts of food and last for years. Their hot plates are no different. We've highlighted their double-burner range here, specifically because of the 240-volt models that, while requiring an unconventional power connection, provide nearly unparalleled heating power. nemcofoodequip.com
Wells Manufcaturing Standard radiating elements, ceramic-topped infrared burners, and tabletop grills are all available from this commercial-grade manufacturer. They'll cost you a pretty penny, but they're an excellent investment for a budding restaurant. wells-mfg.com
What Is A Hot Plate?
As long as you are careful with the hot plate during use and be sure to turn it off when you’re done, a hot plate is a perfectly safe appliance.
A kitchen hot plate is a small, standalone heating device that takes the place of the burners on a stove. Most have one burner, although they can have two or more. In homes or living arrangements where a stove would be impractical, a hot plate allows the residents to heat up their food and beverages.
On a hot plate, you can cook just about anything you could make on a stove, although in many cases, other constraints limit what people cook on these devices. A student in a dorm, for example, most likely doesn’t have the cooking tools necessary for making a mousse; he or she would probably use the hot plate for boiling water or making grilled cheese sandwiches. Because hot plates do carry the risk of fire if they’re not attended properly, however, many university officials have banned them in dorms. You needn’t worry, though. As long as you are careful with the hot plate during use and be sure to turn it off when you’re done, a hot plate is a perfectly safe appliance.
Hot plates are so practical, in fact, that you’ll find them not just in kitchens but also in scientific labs. They’re used to heat substances, often taking the place of Bunsen burners, which don’t offer as much control over heating. As you might expect, these tend to be both more advanced and more expensive than kitchen hot plates. Some feature a built-in magnetic stirrer, the invention of Arthur Rosinger, who received a patent for this stirrer in 1944.
Although most kitchen hot plates don’t need to be as sophisticated as their scientific brethren, that doesn’t mean these at-home devices are dumb or not evolving. Bluetooth-controlled hot plates are on the horizon, as are those activated by cookware embedded with RFID tags. Innovators are determined to make sure that the humble hot plate keeps up with the smartest of smart appliances, so a stress-free yet complicated meal might just be possible in the dorm or micro-kitchen of the future.
Types Of Hot Plates
Kitchen hot plates come in several different styles, but the three most common are electric, induction, and gas. Of these, electric units are probably the most popular, as they’re widely available and come with a stunning range of features. All three types vary in price from pleasantly inexpensive to high-end and costly, so no matter which kind strikes your fancy, there’s one out there for you.
Induction hot plates heat via electromagnetic field instead of through a traditional heating element.
Electric hot plates fall into two broad categories: exposed coil and integrated coil. When you picture a hot plate, it may just be the former that you imagine. These have a distinct coil-style heating element that usually sits atop a drip tray for easy cleaning. An integrated coil, on the other hand, is encased in some kind of material and provides a completely flat, unbroken surface on which to cook. Commonly, this surface is ceramic glass or cast iron.
Induction hot plates heat via electromagnetic field instead of through a traditional heating element. Their magnetic fields quickly generate direct heat and allow them to cool down much faster than other models. To use one, you’ll need to select induction-capable cookware, such as cast iron or magnetic stainless steel, or place an induction disc under a non-compatible pot.
Gas hot plates resemble camp stoves, although the fuel is often housed inside the body of the former and not attached on the outside as with the latter. Because this type of hot plate uses an open flame, they tend not to be the go-to for dorms or indoor use, although they work well for disaster preparedness kits.
All hot plates, whether electric, induction, or gas, offer a variety of features. Some include timers or auto-off functions, which have a dual purpose: First, they let you cook your food for a predetermined amount of time, and second, they prevent you from accidentally burning down the house (not a good outcome when cooking supper). Some hot plates have digital temperature control and others manual; if you want greater exactness, you’ll probably want to go with digital. And some models incorporate carrying handles or quick-clean surfaces, making them easier to use in general. Wattages vary, as well, with high-powered models using 1,800 watts or more.
Not Just For Bachelors
While it’s true that hot plates are commonly found in small kitchens and dorm rooms, these nifty little devices have plenty of other uses. After all, they balance convenience with portability, giving you an affordable way to add extra heating and cooking capacities to your home, office, or workshop.
You won’t have to add to the heat that’s already inside or force your air conditioner to work harder just because you wanted some macaroni and cheese.
If you live in a hot climate, for example, you might use a hot plate on your patio or deck during the scorching summer months. You won’t have to add to the heat that’s already inside or force your air conditioner to work harder just because you wanted some macaroni and cheese. The outdoor hot plate is excellent for cooking those items that stink up the house, too. Fish? Fried onions? Boiled cabbage? No problem — take your compact hot plate out in the fresh air and keep the smells out of your home.
Or perhaps you have a studio for handicrafts or a workshop where you need to heat or melt items. You might prepare wax for candles or chocolate for candies; either way, having a dedicated craft hot plate will save you from making a mess in your kitchen. When it’s 6 p.m. and you’ve got a hungry family, you’ll be glad you don’t have to clean up before you can cook.
The hot plate makes a great addition to RVs and campsites, too. Of course, you’ll have to make sure you have an adequate power source, but being able to quickly boil water for coffee could be worth it. If you’re a survivalist or prepper, you may also want a hot plate in your emergency gear.