Since 2014, we've spent more than 280 hours researching and testing hot plates. Based on what we found, the Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice is the all-around best one. It aced all our laboratory tests and outpaced the competition in most categories. This induction hot plate brought water to a boil in under four minutes and still melted delicate foods like chocolate evenly and slowly. Some competitors are smaller and better for travel, but if you need an extra burner when you entertain at home or want to cook in a dorm room, the 6400 Digital Choice makes a lot of sense.
Max Burton 6400
The sleek Max Burton Digital Choice induction hot plate works fast, produces fine results and has more sophisticated controls than other burners.
The Continental CE23309 hot plate is a budget-friendly, no-frills electric burner that works well and is lightweight enough to travel with.
The Nesco SB-01 iron hot plate is powerful and can handle most cooking tasks. It also looks attractive and is reasonably priced.
The Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice boiled water in three minutes and 44 seconds, which was faster than any other hot plate we tested. That was a little surprising considering it tied with another hot plate we reviewed for the highest wattage.
It was better than the rest at delicate tasks, too. For example, this Max Burton model did the best job of cooking our test crepes evenly from one end to the other, and it melted chocolate without burning it or making it grainy.
The 6400 Digital Choice has all the user-friendly features we looked for, including flat, easy-to-clean buttons and a variety of heat settings. In addition, it has convenient simmer and boil buttons and a timer button. It also includes safety features that prevent it from moving around on the counter and keep curious kids from playing with the controls.
You need ferrous cookware for the Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice to work, which might mean buying new pots and pans. It's also a little bulky, so it might not be the best one if you plan to travel with it to prepare food in hotel rooms.
Still, this Max Burton model is just right for most situations. For example, it’s a good choice if you need an extra burner when you entertain at home or want one that can cook faster than those on your stovetop. It could also work well in a dorm room.
The Continental CE23309 doesn’t heat as fast as an induction cooktop, but when we melted chocolate, it outperformed the electric coil and iron plates we compared it to. In addition, it boiled water and browned crepes at a respectable speed.
It is a good candidate if you want a compact, convenient, economical hot plate to take with you when you travel.
Since it’s a budget model, it isn’t surprising the CE23309 doesn’t have sophisticated features. For example, this hot plate has a dial with only three power levels rather than the array of power settings found on more expensive models. It also lacks some of the safety features you might want if you have children – you can’t lock the controls, and the burner doesn’t shut itself off as some of its competitors do.
However, the Continental CE23309 is the undisputed champ for portability. It weighs less than any other hot plate we reviewed but still has a decent-size cooking surface. The cord is quite short, which is the only thing that might hinder its convenience for travel – you may have to use an extension cord if there isn’t a table near an outlet in your hotel room.
Best Iron Plate
The Nesco SB-01 is in the lower-middle price range, yet still performs well and has 1500 watts of power. It did a pretty good job of evenly cooking our test crepes from one side to the other, although it was slow to boil water.
Iron hot plates tend to cook more evenly than coil burners but not as evenly or as fast as induction burners.
This is one of the few iron hot plates we reviewed that have safety features. Although it doesn’t include as many of these features as we would like, this Nesco model has non-skid rubber feet and an auto shut-off. It also has two dials: one for power and another to adjust the temperature. Children may be tempted to play with the dials, so use caution. The SB-01 has a longer cord than the other iron hot plates we reviewed do, which is more convenient and safer than using an extension cord.
This Nesco model has a stylish design, which makes it a good candidate if you plan to keep your hot plate out all the time, whether in a dorm room or on a kitchen counter.
Best Safety Features
The Sunpentown SR-1884SS is a well-designed, higher-end induction hot plate that has a full set of safety features, some of which you won’t find on every hot plate.
For example, this Sunpentown model features a panel lock you can set so no one accidentally turns it on or changes its heat setting. There is also an automatic shut-off feature that works with the hot plate’s timer. In addition, it has non-skid feet, so if you accidentally bump the hot plate, it won’t slide dangerously across your counter with a pot of hot food on top.
One of the SR-1884SS’s benefits is that, like other induction cooktops, it stays reasonably cool to the touch outside of where the pan sits, and it cools off quickly. This hot plate is sturdy, weighing 5.5 pounds, and has a 56-inch cord, so you can likely reach an electrical outlet in your kitchen without resorting to an extension cord.
Greatest Temperature Range
The versatile Secura DUXTOP 9100MC hot plate has the widest temperature range of any cooktop we tested, which gives you considerable control over your cooking.
With its heat range of 140 degrees to 460 degrees Fahrenheit, you can melt delicate chocolate with little risk of scorching as well as quickly bring water to a rolling boil. The DUXTOP 9100MC’s wide temperature range, superior performance in our tests, 1,800-watt power, 15 heat levels and other helpful features all combine to make an excellent induction hot plate.
Why Trust Us
We have been testing and researching hot plates for four years. During that time, we’ve spent more than 60 hours hands-on testing them in our lab to assess their designs and performance. We evaluated how well each hot plate tackles different tasks to get a clear picture of how it will perform in your kitchen, RV, dorm room or hotel room.
We evaluated popular induction, iron and electric coil burners. Since all hot plates serve the same purpose – heating – we paid attention to subtle details that can make one model more convenient than another, including speed, size, digital controls, and timers. We also noted which hot plates have safety features that can prevent fires and keep kids safe.
How We Tested
We lined up the hot plates and timed how long it took each one to boil water. We measured the water carefully, and let it reach room temperature before the test to keep conditions consistent. One at a time, we set each hot plate to its highest heat setting and timed down to the second how long it took to reach a rolling boil. Those that boiled water faster scored better.
We also made crepes using a traditional recipe to see how evenly the hot plates heat across their surfaces. For this test, we used the same pan on each hot plate. After cooking a crepe, we examined it to see whether the color was the same from one end to the other. The more even the color and browning, the better the hot plate scored. We also ate the crepes to check their taste and texture.
In addition, we melted chocolate on a low heat setting using a double boiler to see whether the hot plates can cook delicate foods in a reasonable amount of time. Burners that left the chocolate smooth and good-tasting scored better than those that left it grainy or scorched.
Lou Alvis, a Utahn now retired from a metal smelting plant, used a two-burner hot plate at work. He worked miles from any restaurant and fondly remembers using the hot plate with other employees to make much-welcomed warm meals and snacks. "We'd cook all kinds of stuff – bacon and eggs, popcorn, hamburgers, coffee," he said. "It came in very handy."
Erin, the author of the blog Hotplate Confidential, recalls making meals for herself, and later her husband Sam, in a New York City apartment kitchen so small she termed it "non-existent." Restaurant eating was financially out of the picture for her as she started out in the big city, but she managed homemade fare with flair. Although she now has a fully equipped kitchen, she's pleased with the dishes she created in the past. "For me, cooking is an amazingly satisfying pursuit," she writes. "Hey, if I could make those meals on a hotplate and in a toaster oven, then I truly believe anyone can cook for themselves (almost) every night of the week."
What to Look for in a Hot Plate
All the hot plates we tested boiled water, cooked crepes, melted chocolate and performed other basic cooking tasks. The best ones stood out by boiling water quickly and cooking the crepes evenly. Top models also melted chocolate gently and quickly without scorching or otherwise ruining it.
Some hot plates have features that make them easier to use, including digital controls, built-in timers and a variety of heat level settings. Dimensions also matter if you plan to throw your hot plate in your travel bag to use in hotel rooms or if you need to fit it in an RV or boat kitchen.
When zeroing in on your ideal hot plate, you should also consider safety features that can reduce the risk of fire or injury. These features are especially important if the hot plate will be used around children. The best burners have genuinely non-skid feet that keep them in place as well as controls that lock.
How Much Do Hot Plates Cost?
The hot plates we tested range in price from less than $15 up to almost $100, and this is one area where spending more is worth it. In general, the higher-priced hot plates give you greater temperature control, have more features, include far more safety features and are better designed.
Hot Plate Safety Tips
When you have little space at home and limited, or even nonexistent, cooking facilities, a hot plate can improve the quality of your meals and your life. However, these small devices are tricky and have been known cause horrific house fires.
ApartmentRatings put together an article with several tips for avoiding problems when using a microwave or hot plate. Although you need to be careful with both, the article states that hot plates are “significantly more dangerous” than microwave ovens.
A good first safety step is to use oven mitts. Perhaps because of their small size, some people think hot plates don’t get as hot as a real stove. However, they get very hot indeed, and oven mitts can help prevent burns. In fact, the article urges consumers to be “extra careful” with hot plates. For example, since your hands are close to the heat source, it’s best to use both oven mitts and tongs when you turn food to prevent burns from oil or fat splatter.
It’s also sensible to keep anything flammable away from a hot plate – even a nearby dish towel can catch fire. In addition, always unplug your hot plate when you aren’t using it, so you don’t accidentally bump it and unknowingly turn it on.
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|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Pricing & Warranty||Performance & Safety||Features||Warranty||Heating Type||Boil Water||Browning||Melt Chocolate||Temperature Range||Wattage||Settings||Power Button||Timer||Digital Control Panel||Safety Lock||Auto Shut-Off||Non-Skid Feet||Dimensions||Heating Surface||Weight||Cord Length (inches)|
|Max Burton 6400||View Deal||4.5/5||4.3||4.9||5||1 Year||Induction||3:44||90||16:46||100-450||1800||10||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||13.5 x 12.5 x 2.6||4.5-10||7.8||60|
|Secura Duxtop 9100MC||View Deal||4.5/5||4.2||5||4.9||1 Year||Induction||4:23||90||12:47||140-460||1800||15||✓||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||14 x 11.25 x 3||4.5-8||6.97||60|
|Sunpentown SR-1884SS||View Deal||4.5/5||4.4||4.8||4.9||1 Year||Induction||4:19||80||17:06||100-390||1650||13||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||14.5 x 11 x 2.5||8||5.55||56|
|Ovente BBG44S||View Deal||4.5/5||4.8||4.5||4.8||1 Year||Induction||9:51||80||N/A||195-570||1200||12||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||11.75 x 14.5 x 3||7.75||5.32||47|
|Nesco SB-01||View Deal||4/5||4.9||3.3||4.8||1 Year||Iron Plate||10:28||70||N/A||125-910||1500||0||✖||✖||✖||✖||✓||✓||13.4 x 10.5 x 4.2||7.4||3.92||40|
|Continental CE23309||View Deal||4/5||5||3.2||4.5||1 Year||Coil||8:05||80||13:08||150-350||1100||3||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||9 x 9 x 3.5||5.75||1.7||22|
|Cuisinart CB-30||View Deal||4/5||4.7||3.5||4.3||1 Year||Iron Plate||7:57||80||13:56||N/A||1300||6||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✓||11 x 11 x 3||7.25||8.2||36|
|Aroma AHP-303||View Deal||4/5||5||3||4.5||1 Year||Iron Plate||14:17||70||17:06||110-398||800||4||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✓||9.4 x 8.5 x 3.1||5.81||3.8||33|
|IMUSA USA GAU-80305||View Deal||3.5/5||4.7||2.7||4.5||90 Days||Coil||10:06||65||17:24||680-725||1100||3||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||7.5 x 8 x 2.5||6||2.3||22|
|Proctor Silex 34101P||View Deal||3.5/5||4.3||5.3||4.5||6 Months||Coil||10:25||40||16:57||N/A||1000||3||✖||✖||✖||✖||✓||✖||9.5 x 9 x 3||5.5||2.6||35.5|