The Nesco SB-01 single-burner hot plate is a great addition to a boat, RV or dorm room. This iron burner has a modest price tag and few frills but a hearty 1,500 watts of power. It didn’t standout in most of our tests, but it completed the basic tasks – really all we expect from a hot plate in this lower price range.
This burner took 10 minutes and 28 seconds to boil water, which is not especially impressive. One reason people invest in a hot plate is convenience, and its slow boiling time makes the SB-01 a little less convenient than some of its competitors.
However, for an iron hot plate, it did a fine job when we used it to make crepes. The crepes’ taste and texture were great. However, one half of one crepe was a little darker than the other, though it wasn’t as dramatic a difference as with some hot plates.
Unlike other iron hot plates, the SB-01 includes some safety features. For example, it has an automatic shut-off feature and a thermal fuse that protects against overheating. Also, its rubber feet keep it in place – an accidental bump can send a lesser hot plate with a pot of hot food sliding across a countertop.
However, the Nesco SB-01 has a power dial instead of a power switch, which makes it easier to accidentally turn on – a real safety risk. If you bump against one of the dials or a child turns it, the hot plate will heat up fast. With other burners, you have to turn on a switch before any of the buttons or dials work.
The SB-01 has a wide temperature range that extends from 125 degrees to 910 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great for an iron hot plate. The low lows and high highs mean it can be used to prepare a variety of dishes. Since it has a dial control instead of a digital display, you don't know the hot plate’s exact temperature unless you measure it yourself. If knowing exact temperatures is important to you, an induction hot plate with a digital control panel, such as the Secura DUXTOP 9100MC, may work better, although they cost more.
When you first turn on the SB-01, it smokes and gives off an unappetizing smell. However, it only lasts a short time, and the product's literature warns you about it. Once you start cooking, the smell dissipates quickly.
This Nesco hot plate is more attractive than most we reviewed. As such, it might be a nice choice if you plan to leave it on a countertop rather than stow it after each use.