If you're on the hunt for the best portable cooktop, then look no further because we've got you covered right here with our top picks.
Portable cooktops are an extremely useful way of being able to cook meals no matter where you are, whether you're on a camping trip, living in a dorm room, or just fancy cooking in your garden on a warm summer's evening.
The main thing you need to know about these types of cooktops though is that they can either be induction or non-induction.
The main difference between the two is how quickly they can heat up your food. Induction hobs are designed to heat up your pan almost instantaneously, while non-induction cooktops usually take a little longer.
Another benefit to induction hobs is that they tend to save energy because they only start heating up when you put the pan on the hob... as soon as you take it off again, they're designed to cool down very quickly to reduce power usage.
Having said that, you can only use certain types of pans on induction cooktops. They have to be made from ferromagnetic metals, such as stainless steel or cast iron, whereas any kind of pan you have in your kitchen will work on a non-induction hob.
As a result, we've picked out both induction and non-induction options for our list to suit your individual needs. Also, we've selected cooktops capable of a range of different temperatures and power levels so you can heat food up slowly or quickly, as well as built-in timers so you know when your food is ready.
So let's dive in a check out the best portable cooktops available right now...
Best portable cooktop
- Duxtop 9600LS Portable Induction Cooktop
- Techwood Infrared Ceramic Cooktop
- Duxtop E200A Portable Induction Cooktop
- COOKTRON Double Induction Cooktop Burner
- CUSIMAX 1500W Electric Hot Plate
Best portable cooktop - Duxtop 9600LS Portable Induction Cooktop
This Duxtop 9600LS appears to be a brilliant all-round choice as it comes with a whole host of features to make cooking easier.
Firstly, it's an induction cooktop, which means it should heat up your food in no time at all. This is extremely useful for saving energy because the hob only starts heating up once you've actually placed the pan on it, and cools back down again once you take it off, allowing it to use less power.
Also, it has 20 different preset power levels ranging from 100W to 1,800W, plus 20 temperature levels from 100°F all the way to 460°F depending on whether you're frying, bringing something to the boil, or simply letting your food simmer.
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Moreover, you get a 'boil' setting too, so you can bring water up to temperature at the touch of a button rather than setting the heat yourself. Also, it has a 'keep warm' option, which should allow you to leave your food on the hob after it's finished cooking if you're not quite ready to eat yet.
The cooktop also has a timer that you can set between one minute and ten hours, so you know exactly when your food has finished cooking.
Another added bonus is that this hob comes with safety features, including a Child Safety Lock Button, which locks all the buttons while your food is cooking, and Overheat Protection, which should automatically shut it off in the event of overheating to avoid any potential electrical fires.
Given all of the useful features this cooktop comes with, we'd definitely say it's a great option to consider.
Best non-induction portable cooktop - Techwood Infrared Ceramic Cooktop
If you're on the lookout for a non-induction cooktop, then this Techwood Infrared option seems like one of the best around.
Because this is an infrared cooktop rather than induction, it offers you the benefit of being able to use any of your pots and pans on it, no matter what material they're made from - no need to buy induction-specific pans here.
To get it going, the cooktop has a simple switch knob indicating a minimum and maximum heat for easy temperature control depending on what you're cooking.
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It also comes with six different power levels between 400W and 2,000W. You can set this higher or lower depending on how slowly or quickly you'd like your food to heat up.
It comes with a built-in timer function as well, meaning you can set an alarm anywhere between one and 180 minutes to keep you on top of any cooking you have on the go.
This can come in handy if you're cooking something using packet instructions, like pasta, or if you need to cook something slowly for a long time because it means you shouldn't forget when it's ready and accidentally leave it cooking for too long.
Overall, we'd say this is a great non-induction option to go for.
Best induction portable cooktop - Duxtop E200A Portable Induction Cooktop
If you're on the hunt for one of the best portable induction cooktops, then the Duxtop E200A is definitely worth considering.
As with all induction cooktops, it should heat up your food in a matter of minutes so you can begin cooking almost as soon as you've turned the hob on.
Also, its amazing range of 20 different temperature levels between 100°F and 460°F means you can set the temperature high or low depending on whether you're slow-cooking a curry, for instance, or using a high heat to make a stir fry, for example.
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Moreover, 20 power settings should further help you cook your food correctly - low to avoid overheating, or high to cook your food quicker.
And don't worry if you're prone to forgetting about your food while it's bubbling away on the stove, because the cooker comes with a timer that you can set anywhere between one and 170 minutes so you know exactly when it's ready.
It's worth mentioning that it comes with a sleek, glass design which, not only looks great, but should also be fairly easy to operate and clean as the manufacturer claims that food won't burn on the glass cooktop.
All in all, this definitely looks to be worth considering if you're on the hunt for an induction cooktop.
Best double portable cooktop - COOKTRON Double Induction Cooktop Burner
This COOKTRON Double Induction Burner comes with two separate hobs, making it a great option for a family or if you want to use multiple pans to cook a couple of different dishes at once.
As it uses induction, COOKTRON claims that the cooktop can heat up in a single minute when you choose the incredibly useful 'Booster' mode, designed to allow you to start cooking instantly without having to impatiently wait for the oil to heat up or water to start boiling...we've all been there!
With eight different temperature levels - between 140°F and 464°F - and eight power levels - between 200W and 1,800W - the cooktop should offer enough variation for slowly heating or quickly cooking your food.
It also comes with a selection of safety features to offer you some peace of mind. If the cooktop accidentally gets switched on but no temperature option is selected, for instance, it's designed to automatically go back onto standby mode to ensure it doesn't overheat. This can also help to save energy.
Plus, it has a Child Safety Lock you can turn on when you're not using it, so your kids shouldn't be able to accidentally turn it on when you're not around.
And last but not least, it an 'H' warning message should appear on the display after it's turned off to warn you not to touch it because it's still above 60°C and, therefore, extremely hot.
Best budget portable cooktop - CUSIMAX 1500W Electric Hot Plate
The CUSIMAX Electric Hot Plate seems like a good budget-friendly option to go for if you don't want to break the bank on a portable cooktop.
It's a non-induction ceramic hob, meaning it should work with all of your cookware, including glass and aluminum pots and pans.
It has a heat-insulated switch knob that shouldn't get too hot when you're cooking, so you can safely and easily switch between the cooktop's 11 different power levels.
Power levels one to three should provide you with a low temperature, five to seven with a medium temperature, and nine to 11 with a high temperature. This means you'll have plenty of range to cook a variety of different foods, whether you want to slow-cook, simmer or boil them.
Made from stainless steel, the cooktop should also be quite durable, which comes in handy if you want to take it camping with you and use it outdoors where it's open to the elements.
It also comes with safety features, such as anti-skid feet to make sure it's stable and stays in place wherever you decide to rest it, as well as an automatic safety shut-off function if it starts overheating.
All in all, this cooktop seems like pretty good value for money and should make a great budget option.
Frequently Asked Questions
You're bound to have some queries about portable cooktops, so to help you out a little, we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Which is better: induction or infrared cooktops?
Both types of cooktops offer their own advantages. Induction stoves tend to be more energy-efficient than infrared burners and also heat up quicker thanks to the fact the heat is transferred via currents from an electromagnetic field, which in turn allows the heat to pass directly to the pan and the food inside it.
Infrared cookers, on the other hand, work by the electric current heating a resistor coil before reaching the pan and the food inside it. This extra step means it generally takes longer for your food to heat up.
However, infrared cooktops can allow you to make use of all of your pots and pans, whereas an induction cooker requires you to only use pans that contain ferromagnetic metals, such as cast iron or stainless steel.
So, if most of the pans you own are already made from these types of metals, then it might be worth investing in an induction cooker. But, if you don't, then it may be best to opt for an infrared cooker to save you the hassle and expense of going out and buying more pots and pans that work on induction.
Are portable cooktops worth it?
Yes, we'd say portable cooktops are worth the investment. They can be useful in a number of different scenarios, whether you're going on a road trip in your RV and want to make your own food, or you fancy cooking on your back porch on a warm summer's day.
In fact, many portable cooktops come with the same, if not more, features as typical built-in home cookers. This includes temperature control with a range of different temperature settings, as well as allowing you to set the power levels for the cooktop.
Most come with built-in timers, too, while some even come with one-touch cooking function buttons, such as 'Boil' or 'Keep Warm' so it automatically sets the temperature and power level itself in order to boil pasta water, for instance.
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