Tasty videos are getting quite popular. They’re quick gif-styled recipes that were initially 30 seconds to 2 minutes but are now much longer. And they’re often prepared on hot plates. These online chefs plus high rents and tiny apartments have increased public interest in hot plates.
But how can you identify the best hot plate for your culinary needs? We’d like to help. First, we’ll look at seven popular hot pate models for the American market. Next, we’ll offer some buying tips before we knuckle down to our top hot plate recommendation. Let’s begin with our Top 7.
The Best Hot Plate on the Market 2020
1. Cadco CSR-3T Single Burner 1500W – Heating Coil
These days, induction cookers are all the rage, but in case you’re not impressed, consider getting something a little more traditional like the Cadco. This old-school hot plate uses a coiled filament to heat your pots and pans. These spiral heating elements spread heat more evenly than most flat-topped cookers, but they take longer to heat up and cool down while you’re cooking.
The coil in your Cadco is 8 inches in diameter and it sits on a stainless steel housing that’s easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance. The coil has a drip tray below to catch bits of food, grease, and juices. This makes coil cookers a little tricky because you have to get between the spirals to clean the tray. The hot plate has lots of vents to keep it cool – those need cleaning too.
Luckily, you can tilt the cooking coils to about 60° and that lets you access the tray to clean it. The tray comes off as well, so you can tug both the tray and the coil off for cleaning. But the heating coil is still tightly cinched, so grease often slips between the seam and builds up around the little spring. The rest of the cooker is easy to clean – just wipe while warm to dislodge grime.
Like many burners, the Cadco warms up gradually, so you can’t always tell when the element is hot. The indicator light helps since you won’t accidentally touch ‘live coils’. But they can be a disadvantage if your fingers graze the coil that hasn’t fully gone cold. The hot plate does have an ‘infinite control thermostat’ to manage your cooking temperatures. The on/off button is a rocker.
This hot plate works with 120V outlets and uses 1500W so it’s a high-powered cooking implement. It measures 14 inches at its widest point and is a little over 4 inches thick. The hot plate weighs 6.5 pounds so it’s on the bulky side. Let the cooker cool completely if you plan to keep it in a cabinet. Otherwise, it may scorch your cupboards and utensils and cause issues.
For those who like the retro look and feel of exposed coils, Cadco is the best hot plate. It can survive up two years of heavy use and the tilting coil cleans easier than its stationary rivals.
- The flexible filament makes it easier to clean.
- Cadco has a removable drip pan for convenient maintenance.
- Its infinite thermostat is less likely to break than regular gas knobs.
- It takes up a lot of space and has a relatively short power cord, so it limits your options of where to cook if you have a small kitchen or a tiny countertop.
2. Cusimax Single Burner 1500W – Heating Plate
While the two-burner version of this hot plate is quite popular, we prefer the single burner if you’re low on counter space. This one-burner model is sleek, black, curvy, and a little reminiscent of a vintage DJ’s turntable. The heating plate is cast iron with discrete spiral grooves. It’s 7.4 inches in diameter and is raised off a cooktop that’s about 11.6” by 7.79”.
Vertically, the Cusimax stands 2.71 inches tall on rubberized non-slip feet. You can operate your hot plate using the on-off knob on one end and the matching temperature dial on the other. An indicator light sits between them to show when the cooker is on. This is crucial because unlike coil heaters, cast iron heating plates don’t generally glow while they’re hot so you might burn.
This 1500W hot plate has temperature settings calibrated from 1 to 7 for easy heat control. The feet see, tiny, but the shape and structure of the hot plate are well balanced and the cooker weighs around 6 pounds so it’s sturdy and unlikely to tip. The cast-iron heating plate is convenient, since it works with all kinds of cookware, whether they’re ferrous or non-stick.
Cusimax is a flat cooktop though it’s not smooth – the spirals on the heating plate are distinctly textured. This means the pan has to be in contact with the coils to cook, so you can’t use this hot plate with a round-bottomed pan or a pot that’s wider than 7.4 inches. If you do, heat can’t reach all the portions of your pan so your food may cook unevenly. You can use smaller 4-inch pans.
This hot plate can achieve temperatures of 392°F to 1162°F but it takes a full 20 minutes to cool down, so be careful. And yes, the LED shows when the cooker is on or off … but it’s controlled by temperature, not circuits. So if the cooker gets too hot as you cook, the light will cycle off to reduce heat and click back on once the temperatures are back within the safe zone.
Don’t get freaked out if the lights on this cooker flick on and off mid-meal – it’s the thermostats protecting your food (and your cooker) from blowing up or burning out. And use oven mitts!
- You can use any type of pot or pan that’s 4 inches to 7.4 inches across.
- The hot plate has a temperature range of nearly 400°F to over 1000°F.
- Its black stainless steel housing looks sleek and stylish on your countertop.
- The surface of the burner heats up while cooking and takes nearly half an hour to cool down, so be careful not to scorch yourself.
3. Cuisinart Single Burner 1300W – Heating Plate
Old cookers had gas rings or coils that would glow red while on. Newer cooktops are often matte black even while hot, so they use LEDs instead. But these LEDs can be unhelpful because they show when the power supply is on or off. They may not necessarily warn you that the coil hasn’t cooled yet. (Yes, heating often have coils too – they’re just hidden beneath the cast iron surface.)
Cuisinart has used a simple solution – two LEDs. The red/amber/orange light shows electricity while the green one shows you’ve achieved the right cooking temperature. It’s a useful cooking tip because cast iron heating plates – just like cast iron cooking pans – require preheating. This heating plate has a smoother surface than the Cusimax so it’s easier to clean.
The cooker has a temperature dial marked minimum, off, and numbered settings from 1 to 5. The hot plate is 2.5 inches tall and is covered by a 1-year limited warranty, so read that manual carefully to spot any hidden caveats. The body of the Cuisinart is brushed stainless steel with black side accents, and the feet are coated in rubber to prevent the hot plate from slipping.
The body of the Cuisinart hot plate is brushed stainless steel, so it won’t show fingerprints or watermarks as easily as its glossier cousin. And the sides – which get the most attention as you lift and move the hot plate – have black accents to hide dirt even better. But it’s all stainless so it’s easy to clean and doesn’t accumulate grime as often as other kitchen appliance materials.
This cooktop is on the heavier side, heading towards 7 pounds. But it’s still portable enough for campsites, college dorms, or mobile homes. Read the instructions though. They explain why you should season the hot plate and how to do it. Otherwise, the sometimes toxic seasoning smell may shock you and you’ll want to return your perfectly functional cooker to the store.
When you first unbox your cooker, plug it in and turn it on. Set it to the max and wait ten minutes before switching it off. That’s the pre-seasoning process, and your plate may emit smoke and/or harsh smell. That’s normal, it’s the protective top-coat burning off so you can safely use the cooker. But it has a shorter power cord than we’d prefer so consider getting an extension cable.
Cuisinart cookware is popular among its fan base, and now you have a hot plate to match your pots and pans. Season the hot plate before you first use it, just like you would with a pan.
- The hot plate has two color-coded LEDs.
- At 1300W, it’s more conservative than the prior two cookers.
- It’s a compact 11 inches by 11 inches.
- The process (and smell) of pre-seasoning can be daunting, but you only do it once.
4. Duxtop Single Burner 1800W – Ceramic Induction (Our Top Pick)
You may not think a 1800W cooktop is a good thing – that’s a lot of power use! But with Duxtop, you can use as little as 200W at the lowest setting. And unlike regular hot plates that have an overheating LED indicator, the Duxtop has audible alarms for power surges so you get a warning when the electrical supply is too high or too low and you can adjust your cooking temp.
This single burner glass-top cooker has lots of hi-tech features. Like many ‘glass top cookers’ the surface is actually ceramic, so don’t scrub it with anything abrasive. The cooker has ten temperature settings of 140°F to 460°F. It’s an induction cooker, so you can only use it with flat bottomed ferrous pots or other induction-friendly pans. Cladded pans work – magnetic rims.
To ease your cooking process, Duxtop has a timer that clocks up to 170 minutes. Induction cookers don’t get hot while they’re on, and this one has a fan with seven blades to keep it cool. The smooth glass cooking surface easily wipes clean, and if the hot has no pan on it for one minute, it automatically turns itself off. The diagnostic error system helps with troubleshooting.
Many hot plates claim their power cords are deliberately short as a safety feature. This can be annoying because hot plates are often necessitated by limited counter space. And when your cooking area is that small, you can’t be sure the power outlet will be conveniently located for your dwarf of a power cord. Duxtop has a 5-foot cord, which is way better than the usual 1m.
On induction hot plates, you can usually spot the induction ring by watching the bubble patterns in boiling water. In this case, the ring is 5 inches in diameter, so your pans have to be at least that wide and have flat, smooth bottoms because only the part of the pot that touches the cooking plate gets hot. The rest of the induction plate stays slightly warm even when it’s on.
Duxtop is a popular model with ten temperature settings, ten power settings, and a two-year warranty. It looks gorgeous on your counter and is small enough to stash in a drawer.
- Its auto-shutoff kicks in after 60 idle seconds.
- The hot plate has a detailed diagnostic interface.
- Duxtop offers a 2-year warranty.
- Ceramic hot plates cook quickly but they also scratch easily. Don’t scrub the cooktop of fiddle the pan too much while cooking, it may scrape the induction plate.
5. Sunavo Double Burner 1800W – Heating Plate
Visually speaking, the Sunavo resembles a gray, stretched version of the Cusimax. It has two burners, each with its own temperature dial. The cast-iron plates are different sizes – 7.1 inches and 6 inches in diameter respectively. Their knobs are at opposite ends of the cooker, so you won’t have to spend ages figuring which dial does what – as often happens with 4-burners.
The hot plates are housed in a housing of brushed stainless steel that measures about 8 inches by 2o inches with rounded sides. It stands 3.15 inches high on wide rubber feet and weighs close to 10 pounds. The burners aren’t just different sizes – they have different power settings too. 1000W and 800W. Each burner has an independent LED indicator. The minimum pan size is 4″.
The body of the cooker is stainless steel and it does heat up, so the control knobs are insulated to reduce injuries. The hot plate is compatible with all cookware materials including glass and non-ferrous pans, but they have to be flat-bottomed pots. And if the cooker overheats, the LED goes off, cutting off the power supply until the hot plate cools. Then it reconnects and clicks back on.
The aesthetic appeal of Sunavo is in its sleek slim-line looks and cushy curves. The cast-iron hotplate has heavy-duty threaded coils on the surface. It’s a quiet cooker – no humming or vibrations. And it comes with a 2-year warranty. But if you intend to use your Sunavo on the go, you may want to buy a lighter, more portable model with handles for ease of movement.
This two-burner stove-top has 5 power settings and overheat protection. It can boil a liter of water in 7 minutes, but be careful not to touch the Sunavo’s surface directly – it gets hot!
- You can cook two dishes simultaneously, even with limited kitchen space.
- The cooker has a thermostat that regulates cooking temperature.
- The brushed stainless steel house is easy to maintain.
- The cooker has a wider surface and gets hot while you cook so it’s easier to burn yourself.
6. Imusa Single Burner 1100W – Heating Coil
Some shoppers prefer to buy local, so if you’re drawn to American brands, you will love this one whose name literally spells ‘I am USA!’ At 1100W, this is the most energy-efficient hot plate we’ve looked at. It’s a cute cooker, with its semi-shiny black housing and its glossy gray drip tray. Imusa has a squarish silhouette of about 9 inches with rounded sides. It’s 4 inches high.
The hot plate has rubber feet to stop it from sliding across the counter. But it’s an entry-level hot plate, so we don’t recommend using it for extended periods. In any 2-hour period, don’t leave the cooker on longer than 60 minutes. Meaning if you cook an hour-long meal, your Imusa will have to rest for an hour before you turn it back on – the LED probably won’t let you anyway.
This is because the LED goes off when the cooker gets too hot, so at least it gives your fair warning. But this can be tough for sensitive dishes that need specific temperatures for given durations. Sauces – for example – may need to simmer for hours. Or a dish may need you to raise or lower the heat at given points. It’s hard to pull off start-and-stop cooking on Imusa.
Imusa isn’t the best hot plate if you want bells and whistles. It’s a low-cost, low-fuss implement that’s great for small dorm room tasks like boiling water or cooking ramen. You can’t prepare anything complex on it or even place a heavy-duty pan without possibly crushing it. Still, Imusa will do the job for outdoor living and first-time apartments. And it’s a cute keepsake for the kids.
Plus, because it’s so compact, Imusa is perfect for cooking on the go. Especially since you can’t use it continuously. It’s great for quick campsite cuisine and can squeeze into your backpack.
- It measures about 9 inches across and weighs less than 2 pounds.
- Imusa will drastically lower your power bills.
- It makes a useful heat source for a smoker box.
- The compact size makes it portable, but with 5.5-inch coils, that limits the size and weight of cooking pans your Imusa can safely support.
7. Ovente Single Burner 1000W – Glass Infrared
This last one our list is unique in multiple ways. It’s a glass top cooker, which means it’s fast. But rather than electromagnetic induction, Ovente uses infrared radiation to cook your meals. This means you don’t have to spend a fortune on a new set of induction pans – infrared works with everything from silicone to stone. They still need flat bottoms though – full contact is a must.
And somehow Ovente looks simultaneously retro and space-age with its a black crystallite glass cooktop mounted on metal housing. The cooker has rubber feet, and LED power indicator, and rubber feet, just like many other cookers on this list. But it uses 1000W so it’s the best hot plate for speed and energy efficiency. The cooking plate has a diameter of 7” and stands 2.5” tall.
It’s powered by hidden coils that radiate even heat to the surface. This combination of radiant heat waves and a glass cooktop means Ovente has no hot spots or cold spots, providing even cooking results. It barely weighs 3 pounds so it’s pretty portable, and it measures roughly 9 inches square at its widest points. The cooker can hold a maximum load of 6.6 pounds.
The hot plate has 5 temperature settings from 280°C to 480°C (536°F to 896°F). It has a smooth non-textured glass top that’s easy to clean. Just wipe – no scrubbing needed. And avoid dragging pots across the cooker. Lift them carefully to avoid scratching the cooktop.
- The cooker has a 1-year warranty.
- At 2.4lbs it’s extremely portable.
- It tucks into a drawer so it can be a good ice breaker for date night.
- These glass surfaces are susceptible to damage from any abrasive material, even if its pink iodized sea salt and soot … plus it takes 15 minutes to cool down.
You may opt for a hot plate if you plan to do a lot of cooking on the move. Or if your kitchen is too small for a free-standing cooker. If you live in a studio apartment without a pre-installed cooker, or if you just want a supplementary cooking surface, here are some tips on how to choose the best hot plate. Of course, it needs to be compact and space-saving, but what else?
Induct or Not
Induction cookers are popular because they cook much faster than regular hot plates. They’re also safer. With other cookers, if you accidentally turn it on, it could cause a fire, gas leak, or worse. With induction plates, the supply of heat and electricity automatically stops once you lift your pan, so you save fuel, reduce utility bills, and lessen the risk of flaming kitchen mishaps.
But induction cookers need magnetic pots and pans because they use electromagnetic conduction to distribute heat. So unless your pots and pans are cast iron or stainless steel, you may have to buy an induction converter to place between your cookware and your cooktop. Or you might have to buy a new set of induction-friendly cladded pots and pans, which can be pricy.
How many burners do you need? Hot plates are intended to occupy minimal space, and most models can be unplugged and tucked out of sight when not in use. But depending on how much cooking space you have, how often you cook, and how many people you regularly feed size des matter. The hot plate should be small enough to tuck in a drawer or shelf if you have no counter.
But if you live with a partner or sibling – no matter how tiny the apartment is – you’ll soon get frustrated preparing multiple courses on a single hot plate. You might soon embrace one-pan-cooking even if it’s flavor and mix of textures doesn’t appeal to you. So if you regularly cook for more than one person, consider getting a hot plate with at least two burners.
Sometimes, a hot plate is a supplementary cooking device. Or of your home is tiny, it may be your main cooktop. But because it’s small and compact, it probably lives in the cabinet and only comes out during meal prep. This means you might not have a designated ‘cooking point’. You can place the hot plate on any surface and plug it in – so there may be fire hazards around.
The best hot plate for this living situation is one with automatic shutoff features. That way, it can switch itself off if it overheats or touches something flammable. You could also get a hot plate that has a built-in fuse and/or trip switch that prevents accidental fires in case of power surges, electrical faults, lightning, or extreme weather conditions. Especially wet ones like storms.
Hot Not Heavy!
The best lightweight hot plate – in our opinion – is the Duxtop 8100MC. Here’s why:
- With 10 power settings and 10 temperature settings, it’s versatile.
- It has a countdown timer you can increase by the minute.
- Whenever the cooker acts funny, you can check its digital diagnostics.
- An alarm warns you when the power is too high or low.
- The hot plate has a smooth low-maintenance surface of black crystal glass.
- Its modern stylish look will elevate your kitchen aesthetic.
Do you own a hot plate? Show us a photo in the comments and share your maintenance tips!