Pros / This hot plate is compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to take on trips.
Cons / It takes a long time for the burner to heat to high temperatures.
Verdict / The Aroma AHP-303 has only four heat settings and takes quite a while to reach its top temperatures. Still, it’s inexpensive and proved to be adequate in our tests.
The Aroma AHP-303 is a handy small electric hot plate you can pack for road trips or use in your dorm room. It is also useful when you need a fifth burner to prepare more food than your stovetop can handle.
When we tested this hot plate, it produced mixed results. It took a bit more than 14 minutes and 17 seconds to bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, which is longer than any other burner we reviewed. In addition to heating slowly, it took quite a while to cool down.
In another test, we melted chocolate over low heat in a double boiler. It took the AHP-303 17 minutes and six seconds to melt the chocolate – the second-longest time of the products we tested. However, the melted chocolate was evenly heated, silky and free of lumps.
We made crepes with the Aroma AHP-303 to test how evenly it heats. For this test, we used standard crepe batter and nonstick spray in a pan. The temperature we chose to cook the first crepe proved to be too high – the crepe cooked in seconds, although it tasted quite good. Our second try at a lower heat setting worked better. The second crepe had a good consistency and tasted great.
This affordable hot plate measures 9.4 x 8.5 x 3.1 inches. Since it weighs a mere 3.8 pounds, you can pack it in a suitcase and use it to cook in hotel rooms. The cord is a respectable 36 inches long.
The AHP-303’s burner is rather small, measuring just 5.81 inches in diameter. As such, you can’t use large pans. The manufacturer recommends you use cookware with a 6.5-inch or 7-inch bottom and a maximum capacity of 1.5 quarts. If you want an iron hot plate with a bigger heating surface, consider the Nesco SB-01. Its burner is 7.4 inches in diameter, although it is a somewhat pricier model.
This electric hot plate has a plastic knob with four power settings: warm, low, medium and high. You can’t set an exact temperature because, unlike more expensive hot plates, it doesn’t have a digital control panel. You undoubtedly need to experiment a bit to get accustomed to this hot plate’s temperature settings as we did when we made crepes. The temperature knob also serves as the power knob, and a light illuminates when the hot plate is on so you know it is working.
The AHP-303 includes nonskid plastic feet that keep it safely in place, even if you accidentally bump it. Aroma covers this hot plate under warranty for one year.