If there’s one thing any college freshman is going to miss about home, it’s access to a stocked fridge and a full-size kitchen courtesy of mom and dad. While you might not be able to take care of your college kid once they’re on their own, there are a few small-space cooking hacks you can give them to make their lives a little easier.
One of the easiest tools to add to a dorm room for delicious cuisine all year long is a hot plate. These devices provide electric burners, so your student can cook full meals in their teeny tiny dorm room. And there’s no need to worry, with no open flames and a variety of built-in safety features, these hot plates are perfectly safe. Just don’t forget to send them with a good pot and pan as well as a cookbook written with students in mind.
There are a few things to consider when buying a hot plate. They include:
- Heating Type: Generally hot plates are electric, but they can also come with induction or gas heating elements.
- Number of Burners: Do you need one or two burners on your hot plate?
- Wattage: Hot plates can range from 500 to 1000 watts.
- Temperature Control: Some hot plates only offer a single temperature, while others have a thermostat with several settings.
- Portability: Ensure your hot plate has handles and is lightweight if you want to carry it to your dorm room and back.
After you’ve considered the above, scroll through the list below and discover the 15 best hot plates for creating quick meals à la dorm room.
1. SUNAVO Hot Plate Single Burner
The SUNAVO Hot Plate Single Burner is compatible with a range of different cookware. From woks and frying pans to glass and aluminum pans, this 1,500W device provides all the power you could want for creating your favorite dishes. The precise dial allows you to choose the exact cooking temperature you want while the stainless steel surface makes your post-cooking cleanup easy. In addition, the non-slip feet and meter-long power cable provide plenty of flexibility for your kitchen setup.
2. Aroma Housewares Single Hot Plate
Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a hot plate for your dorm room or apartment. For just under $20, the Aroma Housewares Single Hot Plate offers a single, electric burner powered by 1,000 watts of electricity. With four temperature settings, you can easily boil water, heat up leftovers or stir fry vegetables using this device. In addition, the curved design of the burner means it makes more contact with your cooking pot and provides quick heating. This is a great gift option for new college students who like to cook.
3. Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Electric Hot Plate
Whether you’re heading off to college or you want to take a hot plate with you on a camping trip, you probably want a device that’s easy to carry from point A to point B and doesn’t weigh a lot. If that’s the case, consider the Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Electric Hot Plate. This device uses a lower 750 watts of power but is still hot enough to cook simple meals. The adjustable dial boasts three heat settings, and the electric coil is positioned over a chrome drip pan for easy cleaning. Plus, the hot plate has non-skid rubber feet for your safety.
4. Courant Electric Burner
The Courant Electric Burner is available in both one and two-burner setups. It’s ideal for camping, offices, man caves and student digs. It also works well as an extra stove in the kitchen when it’s needed. The thermostat control knob ensures your burner is the temperature you want, while the indicator light lets you know when power is running through the burner. In addition, the 6.1-inch plate provides plenty of space for all kinds of cookware, including woks and frying pans. There are also rubber feet to help keep your burner steady when in use.
5. OVENTE Electric Infrared Burner
With its high-quality crystallite glass, metal housing and precise temperature control dial, the OVENTE Electric Infrared Burner ticks all the boxes for your hot plate needs. It also weighs only three pounds and sports a slimline design, making it easy to transport and store when it’s not in use. The 1,000W device uses advanced infrared technology to provide even heating and sports non-slip rubber feet to prevent any unwanted shifting during use.
6. TSOICONN Mini Electric Burner Hot Plate
As one of the smallest hot plates on our list, the TSOICINN Mini Electric Burner Hot Plate is ideal for making single-serving meals. The electric burner can be used in a dorm, office or RV. In addition, it’s controlled by a thermostat, allowing you more precision in cooking. Just make sure you equip the user with a pot and pan small enough to fit on the burner. In addition to dorm room cooking, this hot plate is ideal for warming butter, frothing milk and making espresso using a Moka pot.
7. Better Chef Double Burner
BEST DOUBLE-BURNER OPTION
If you have friends to feed in the dorm or are using this hot plate as a stove for a smaller apartment, having a double burner is a good idea. This hot plate will take up more space, but it will also be more efficient in cooking your meals. The Better Chef Double Burner boasts 1,500W of power with an adjustable heating control and a safety thermal shutoff.
8. Duxtop Portable Electric Cast Iron Cooktop
The Duxtop Portable Electric Cast Iron Cooktop has one of the largest burner-to-device-footprint ratios on our list. This hot plate boasts a heating pad that’s 7.5 inches in diameter yet the entire device is only 13.5 inches long. In addition, the durable cast iron plate and the brushed stainless steel housing were built to last. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this hot plate was used throughout your four years at college and well beyond. And thanks to its convenient carrying handles, this hot plate is a breeze to transport from dorm to RV for a camping trip.
9. Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer
BEST FOR HOT DRINKS
Although this article is mostly about hot plates on which you can cook meals in a dorm room or other small living area, the smallest and least powerful hot plates also deserve a spot on this list. Mug warmers are low wattage hot plates designed to keep hot beverages at the perfect drinking temperature over several hours. The Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer is one of the most popular options thanks to its adjustable temperature controls and sleek stainless steel appearance. For new college students who will be doing hours of studying, a coffee mug warmer hot plate is one of the most practical gifts.
10. Techwood Hot Plate
BEST INFRARED OPTION
With heatproof handles for holding and moving the hot plate, the Techwood Hot Plate is the easy choice for the safety-minded. This device uses an attractive stainless steel design as well as a crystallite glass heating pad for compact, flat storage when it’s not in use. The infrared cooktop is powered by an impressive 1,200W to heat up food faster than conventional stoves.
11. Cuisinart Cast-Iron Burner
BEST CAST-IRON OPTION
This is the stuff of competitive cooking shows. Sturdy cast iron powers up to high heat fast, while six settings allow for precise temperature control. The Cuisinart Cast-Iron Burner is a durable appliance that may wind up in use long after the dorm days are over.
12. CUKOR Cast-Iron Electric Hot Plate
If your studio apartment doesn’t have a stove or kitchen built-in, you likely rely on a hot plate to cook your food. But, that doesn’t mean you have to have an ugly burner on your counter. Make your makeshift kitchen attractive with the CUKOR Cast-Iron Electric Hot Plate. Where many other hot plates are purely built for function, this dual-burner appliance boasts a two-tone color scheme with a swirl design. On the practical side of things, the two cast iron burners on this hot plate take a total of 1,800 watts of power, and any type of flat-bottomed cookware can be heated by this device.
13. Duxtop Induction Cooktop
This induction cooktop doesn’t take up much space but still packs powerful output — up to 460 degrees Fahrenheit — for meals that rival your own home-cooked goodness. Best of all, its slim design and light weight mean it can be stored pretty much anywhere when not in use. To splurge on the best, invest in the Duxtop Induction Cooktop.
14. Cusimax Electric Countertop Burner
EASIEST TO CLEAN
Make everything from scrambled eggs to stir-fry with seven heat settings and 1,500W of power. The simple, straightforward design of the Cusimax Electric Countertop Burner accommodates all types of cookware, from glass to aluminum pots and pans. Plus, this burner’s non-slip feet means it’s safe to use on a flat surface without worry of knocking a hot pan around. And thanks to its stainless steal housing, this hot plate is a dream to clean.
15. ATOSA US Two Burner Commercial Hot Plate
BEST GAS POWERED
For some people, the only way to cook is over gas. It allows for quicker heating and better control over the cooking process. However, gas hot plates are uncommon and slightly more dangerous than their electric counterparts due to their open flames. Whether you own a catering business or need to equip a small apartment with a cooker, check out the ATOSA US Two Burner Commercial Hot Plate for a safe, gas-burner option. Each of the two burners provides up to 25,000 BTU of heat, and the whole appliance can be powered by either natural gas or liquid propane.