Pros / This hot plate is small and light, which makes it easy to carry and store, and it is easy to clean.
Cons / It takes a long time to cook anything, and its four plastic legs do not demonstrate any non-skid safety capabilities.
Verdict / This is an inexpensive fifth burner that will come in handy if you are on vacation or traveling and not in a hurry to prepare food.
The Proctor Silex 34101P hot plate is small, lightweight and easy to haul with you if you want to whip up some hot food any place where you have access to electricity. This cooking appliance uses a coil, unlike the newer induction hot plates that heat up very quickly, so it takes considerably more time to cook food using this device.
One benefit of the Proctor Silex hot plate is that it is small. It is 9.5 inches long, 9 inches wide and 3 inches high, which means you can easily transport it. The heating coil is only 5.5 inches in diameter, so you will not be able to use particularly large pots or pans with it. You get a relatively lengthy electric cord that measures 35.5 inches, and it comes with a grounding plug for safety, which is not always seen on hot plates for cooking.
This electric hot plate is equipped with a thermostat intended for safety purposes that makes the device turn itself off and on when it senses that a pan becomes hot. This makes it hard to maintain a constant heat and can cause problems when you're trying to prepare food. The front features a red power-indicator light that comes on when you plug in the appliance. However, if the thermostat turns the hot-plate coil off for a time, the light does not go off, which means you don't know if this hot plate is still cooking or not.
When we tried melting chocolate chips on low heat in a bowl over a pan of water, the first batch simply sat there and didn't melt. The red light was on, but we didn't realize for some time that the hot plate was not heating at all. A second batch, with the heat turned up just a bit more past the "Off" sign, took 16.57 minutes to melt 4 ounces of chocolate chips. When we tried boiling water, it took 10:25 minutes to bring water that began at 70.9 degrees to a rolling boil.
When making crepes with basic crepe mix and nonstick spray in a frying pan, the results were underwhelming. The first crepe did not have even browning throughout. The center area of the crepe, where the batter was first poured into the pan, ended up being decidedly darker than the rest of the crepe, almost to the point of being burned in that area. In addition, the crepe was slightly burned on the edges. However, the crepe did cook all the way through.
We also found that the plastic legs did not stop this hot plate from sliding across a table when moved, which could potentially be a safety hazard. However, the Proctor Silex cools off fairly fast. The heating coil for this electric hot plate lifts up and the chrome drip pan underneath the coil is easy to wipe clean.
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The Proctor Silex is a basic and inexpensive cooking tool that is useful for preparing food on trips, but cooking on it is time-consuming, and the results are sometimes less than optimal. This inexpensive hot plate might be the choice for you if you need something bare-bones and simple, or if you are on a tight budget.