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In major cities where rent is high, counter space can be tight. But with a space-saving hot plate, you can do anything from heating leftovers to cooking gourmet meals. The best hot plates allow you to make some delicious pasta, meat or rice wherever you need it.
A hot plate offers many of the same benefits as a full-sized stove, making it perfect for RV-dwellers or those living the van life. Takeout can get old quickly, and when greasy fast food is the only thing available, it can be helpful to heat up leftovers or cook some fresh ingredients. It’s also perfect for students – although it may not be allowed in certain dorm rooms, some hot plates make the perfect back-to-school gift for those who can use them.
If there’s one thing any college freshman will 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 food hacks you can give them to make their lives a little easier. One of the best hot plates is one of the easiest tools to add to a dorm room for delicious cuisine all year long.
The best hot plates provide electric burners, so your student can cook full meals in their tiny dorm room. They aren’t smart kitchen appliances, but they work just as great as any high-tech kitchen item your kid might be used to at home. 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 and 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 typically range from 500 to 1500 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 considering the above, scroll through the list below and discover the 18 best hot plates for creating quick meals anywhere in 2022.
1. Cuisinart Cast-Iron Single Burner
Cuisinart is the brand you’ll see on some of your favorite competitive cooking shows, so it’s not surprising that they make one of the best hot plates you’ll ever see. Sturdy cast iron powers up to high heat fast, while six settings allow for precise temperature control. The Cuisinart Cast-Iron Single Burner is a durable appliance that may wind up in use long after the dorm days are over.
2. 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 lets you choose the 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.
3. Elite Gourmet Countertop Electric Hot Burner
The Elite Gourmet Countertop Electric Hot Burner is one of the best-reviewed hot plates you can find online. It’s got a 6.4-inch cast iron cooking plate to quickly heat contents in a matter of minutes. It has over 1,000 watts of power for impressive cook time and wipes down when done for an effortless clean-up.
4. Aroma Housewares Single Hot Plate
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 quickly boil water, heat 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.
5. Techwood Hot Plate
Looking to take your cooking on the go? This is the best hot plate to do it with. 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 for durability to be used repeatedly. The infrared cooktop is powered by an impressive 1,500W to heat food faster than conventional stoves. Cook up sauces, veggies or even a grilled cheese just about anywhere.
6. Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Electric Hot Plate
Whether you’re heading off to college or 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 much. 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.
7. 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.
8. Proctor Silex Electric Single Burner Cooktop
The electric single-burner cooktop is compact and no-frills, featuring an adjustable temperature knob. Whether you’re keeping a side dish warm, boiling water or cooking a meal, it adds cooking space where you need it most and packs away without filling up your cabinets. The coil itself lifts for easy cleaning — just make sure to let it cool down beforehand. Proctor Silex hot plate is available in both one and two-burner setups.
9. ISILER Portable Induction Cooktop
EASIEST TO CLEAN
As popular and affordable as electric coil models are, they aren’t always the easiest to clean. On the other hand, this sleek induction cooktop can easily be wiped down. With 1800W power and tons of power levels, this hot plate allows you to simmer, deep fry, or slow cook, just as you would with a regular oven. The temperature goes up to 460 degrees, and the plate features large touch screen buttons that are user-friendly.
10. Artilife Small Electric Hot Plate
BEST MINI PICK
Although it’s not as powerful as larger options with more bells and whistles, this little guy still packs a punch. If you’re looking for one of the best hot plates that won’t take up much space, consider this miniature electric cooktop by Artilife, which is ideal for an RV, dorms, or camping scenarios. Many buyers also purchase it for use with a moka pot or to make coffee without using a bulky coffee machine. Anyone looking for a small burner will want to check out this compact option.
11. Cusimax Double Electric Burner
BEST DOUBLE BURNER
One of the sleekest infrared hot plates out there, this option is a little more substantial than the single-burner version by the same brand. It’s easy to wipe down and has a durable stainless steel base with a hefty weight. An auto-shutoff feature ensures safety every time. A stylish alternative to a stove in any trailer or camping setup, it is worth noting that the highest setting on this plate is extra powerful, so start low and slow!
12. Nuwave Gold Precision Induction Cooktop
Worried that a hot plate might be too basic for your needs? Even home chefs will appreciate the amount of precision on this Nuwave induction cooktop. While it’s not one of the cheapest models like some of the more basic under $20 options, this adjust-on-the-fly heated cooktop features 51 pre-programmed temperatures. It’s also made with shatter-proof ceramic glass, which avoids burns, making it one of the safest options on the market. With an induction-ready pot, you can even make fondue and hollandaise.
13. Duxtop Professional Commercial Induction Hot Plate
If you find that even the best hot plates aren’t providing the results you want, consider upgrading to a Duxtop Professional Induction Cooktop, complete with a sensor touch and LCD screen. It heats up faster than gas or electric alternatives and features a seven-blade fan to quickly dissipate heat once turned off. Remember that magnetic bottom cookware is key for this type of cooker to work, and one buyer does recommend a dedicated circuit to avoid “blowing fuses or popping breakers.”
14. Black + Decker Double Burner Hot Plate with Temp Controls
BEST DOUBLE-COIL PICK
Reputable appliance brand Black & Decker has everything you need with this black hot plate, which is a welcome alternative for those who don’t like the stainless steel aesthetic. With dual temperature controls, you can cook more effectively. While it’s not the most high-tech option out there, it is one of the most reliable. A reviewer notes that although the double burner option allows for more efficiency, it may not fit your pot size, so consider using a larger single burner based on your needs.
15. Cuisinart Tasty Smart Induction Cooktop
BEST SMART PICK
Way beyond basic coils, this energy-efficient Tasty One Top Smart Induction Cooktop by Cuisinart certainly doesn’t look like your average hot plate. With an app that connects to hundreds of tasty recipes and allows you to turn the hot plate off remotely. This hot plate also features a thermometer that tracks the temperature of liquids, fish and meat, so they’re perfectly cooked. Additionally, the integration of a surface sensor tracks the temp of pots and pans.
16. 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 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.
17. Cukor Cast-Iron Electric Hot Plate
If your studio apartment has no stove or kitchen, 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 this device can heat any flat-bottomed cookware.
18. 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 home-cooked goodness. Best of all, its slim design and light weight mean it can be stored anywhere when not in use. To splurge on the best, invest in the Duxtop Induction Cooktop.