Electric stoves have been around for a long time, which is why many people who are used to gas stoves might turn their nose up at induction stoves, thinking they’re the same as electric. It’s understandable to be confused by the two, because induction stoves look a lot like ceramic glass electric ranges. But induction cooktops are vastly different and far more advanced than their electric counterparts. The only thing they really have in common is that the source is electricity, rather than gas.
Without getting too technical, induction stoves use an electromagnetic field to heat up a pot or pan. The reason that’s important to know is that it affects the kinds of pots and pans you can use. If they are not strongly magnetic, they won’t heat up — if you want an induction cooktop, you’ll need to make sure you have the right pots and pans.
The advantages of induction cooktops are twofold. Unlike electric, they heat the pan evenly and very quickly. The most impressive thing about induction stoves is that, because they only heat metal surfaces, you can place your hand on an active surface without burning yourself. It’s a cool party trick, but more importantly, it makes things safer for you and your family.
Fortunately, you can invest in this technology without needing to tear out your existing range. There are a lot of countertop induction stoves that are designed to heat one pot or pan at a time. They’re portable because they’re relatively lightweight and can plug into a regular wall outlet. This can be handy if you want a way to cook food at work that goes beyond the microwave (just don’t be surprised if you’re asked to share). They’re also a good option in dorm rooms for any college students who are tired of ramen packets. Or, you can use it at home as a supplementary heat source when you’re using all of your burners.
You’ll be surprised by how many things you can use your portable induction stove for, especially since you can take them where electric and gas would otherwise be unsafe. These are some of our favorite portable induction stovetops.
1. Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop
Duxtop makes many of the induction cooktops that are available on Amazon, and this is one of their newest offerings. This particular model has 20 preset power levels, between 100W to 1,800W, as well as 20 temperature settings between 100°F to 460°F. There’s also a designated “keep warm” button and a “boil” button for convenient access to commonly used features.
Pros: Many power settings for precise cooking, intuitive and convenient buttons like timer, boil, and keep warm.
Cons: Not ideal for larger pans, as the heat is concentrated toward the center of the unit.
2. iSiLER Induction Cooker Cooktop
Even though induction stoves are safer around kids than gas or electric, this portable cooktop, like the Duxtop above, takes it a step further by including a child safety lock that can be found on the front of the unit. The cooktop surface is a sizable 6.7 inches, which helps ensure even heating, even when using larger pans. At 6.7 pounds, it’s also the lightest option on this list.
Pros: Large 6.7 inch heating surface, 100W to 1,800W range. Includes child lock.
Cons: Only 6 temperature presets, making it more of a hassle to get to the right temperature.
3. Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop, 9100MC
A more affordable option from Duxtop is this 1,800 watt induction cooktop. It features 15 temperature presets between 140 °F and 460 °F. The built in timer can be set up to 170 minutes. Built-in safety features include an overheat warning system and a surface that automatically detects compatible cookware.
Pros: 15 power presets, up to 460 °F maximum temperature. Affordable.
Cons: Ventilation fan is loud.