The Proctor Silex 34101P hot plate is small, lightweight and easy to pack in case you want to whip up some hot food in a hotel room or RV. It is a coil burner, and it takes considerably longer to cook food than an induction hot plate.
When we melted chocolate chips on low heat in a double boiler, our first batch simply sat there and didn't melt. The red light was on, but we didn't realize for some time that the burner wasn’t heating at all. For our second batch, we turned up the heat just a bit more, and it took 16 minutes and 57 seconds to melt the chocolate. In another test, it took 10 minutes and 25 seconds to bring room-temperature water to a rolling boil – slower than most other models we tested.
To test how evenly the burner cooks, we made crepes with basic crepe mix and nonstick spray in a frying pan, and Proctor Silex 34101P’s results were underwhelming. The spot in the center of the crepe where we first poured the batter into the pan was decidedly darker than the rest of it, almost to the point of being burned. In addition, the edges were slightly burned. However, the crepe cooked all the way through. If you want a coil burner that cooks faster and creates more consistent results, take a look at the Continental CE23309.
Since the Proctor Silex 34101P measures only 9.5 x 9 x 3 inches, it’s east to transport. The heating coil is only 5.5 inches in diameter, so you can’t use it to cook in particularly large pots or pans. It’s cord is a relatively lengthy 35.5 inches, and it has a grounding plug for safety – a feature not found on all hot plates.
This electric hot plate has a thermostat that turns the burner off when it senses a pan is hot and then back on again when it has cooled. It’s a safety feature, but it makes it hard to maintain a constant temperature, which can cause problems when you cook. On the front, there’s a red power indicator light that turns on when you plug in the appliance. However, when the thermostat turns the hot plate coil off for a time, the light stays on. As such, you don't know if this hot plate is still cooking or not.
We also found that the 34101P’s plastic legs don’t keep it from sliding, which could potentially be a safety hazard. However, the burner cools fairly fast. After the burner cools, you can lift the coil and wipe the chrome drip pan underneath clean.