Now and then, you get a chance to spend a weekend with your family away from the city, be it in a cottage, an RV, or in a tent.
And even though that means taking a break from your day-to-day activities, lunches still need to be made. That’s where the best portable induction cooktop comes to play.
Plus, it’s a handy thing to have when you’re making a meal for a larger group of people (think family gatherings), and the number of burners your stovetop has isn’t enough for the job.
If you’re interested in learning more, keep on reading! 🙂
Buying The Best Portable Induction Cooktop: Why And Why Not
Besides the most obvious benefit – portability – there are several other reasons why you should consider buying the best portable induction cooktop:
Unlike your standard stovetop, induction cooktops don’t get hot themselves – they heat up your cookware, while the ceramic surface stays relatively cool.
I wish we had these when my boys were younger. It would have saved us from a lot of close-call situations when the kids were running around the kitchen while I was cooking lunch.
They’re Energy Efficient
By using induction, most of the heat – about 80 percent, which is two times more than the efficiency of a gas stove – goes directly into the pan, instead of getting lost in the atmosphere.
Before I got an induction cooktop, John and I used to joke how I don’t have to go to a sauna – a hot summer afternoon in the kitchen was all I needed.
They’re User-Friendly And Easy To Clean
Thanks to digital operation, you can quickly set the temperature and adjust the timer. With guesswork out of the picture, you’ll get consistent results each time.
Cleanup is a breeze, too – just put a paper towel under your cookware to catch any spills and splatters, and you’re good to go.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. There are a couple of downsides – although minor – you’ll experience if you opt for an induction cooktop as an alternative to your stovetop:
You’ll Need Compatible Cookware
The main downside to using portable induction cooktops is that they work with a specific type of cookware.
I had to go on a kitchen cupboard tour with a magnet in my hand to check which pots and pans were suitable, and which weren’t. John still feels bad he didn’t grab his phone to film me – that’s how hilarious I must’ve looked.
You’ll Have To Get Used To The Noise
Induction cooktops are by no means loud, but they do make a characteristic whirring sound when the fans are running.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Portable Induction Cooktop
You’ve already decided on the type of induction cooktops, so at least you have that covered. But what are some other things you should consider before purchasing the best portable induction cooktop?
Here are the criteria I used:
1. Power (And Adjustable Power Levels)
As with any electrical appliance you have in your kitchen, power is something you should consider before buying. The best portable induction cooktop should fall somewhere in the 1500 to 1800 watt range but could go as low as 1000, or as high as 2100 watts.
Keep in mind that the more powerful the unit is, the higher your electricity bill will be.
Furthermore, you should look into adjustable power levels. Having the option of utilizing only a fraction of the unit’s power comes in handy when you’re preparing certain types of food, or just wanting to cut down on the electricity consumption.
2. Capacity And Size
Since we’re talking about portable induction cooktops, you shouldn’t expect your unit to have more than two “cooking zones,” otherwise its portability would be compromised. You probably won’t need more than that, anyway – no one is expected to prepare a full-course meal on an RV camping trip.
That said, pay attention to the size of the unit. Portable induction cooktops come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so make sure you pick the one that’s suitable for the available space you have.
3. Pan Detection And Auto Shut-Down
These two features are somewhat intertwined because they both provide a “safety net” for those days when you’re up to your neck in chores. If anything goes wrong or you forget to turn off the unit after it’s finished cooking, the safety shutdown will kick in, and do that for you.
At the same time, pan detection will, as the name suggests, detect the pots and pans – once you remove them, the unit will shut down on its own.
Also, there’s this handy feature called small item detection. The name may vary, but the concept stays the same – if you accidentally put a spoon or any other small item on the cooktop, it will be identified as non-cookware, and the unit will remain turned off.
On that note, there are a few additional features you might find useful:
Safety Lock – Although not nearly as dangerous as traditional stovetops, it’s still better to look for a model that has a safety lock if you have kids with playful hands running around the kitchen.
Overflow Detection – If at any point, the food you’re cooking starts overflowing and ends up on the cooktop surface, the unit will shut down or notify you with a beeping sound.
Best Portable Induction Cooktop Reviews: Barbara’s Top 5 Choices 2020
While it falls into the lower price range, that doesn’t mean you don’t get any of the “premium” features.
For instance, the unit allows you to adjust the power level anywhere from 100 to 1800 watts with nine 200-watt increments, and it has eight pre-set temperature settings. On top of that, it also features a countdown timer.
If you have young kids that like to “explore,” rest assured that the child safety lock will prevent any possible injuries. And speaking of safety, there’s also the overheating protection feature, so you don’t have to worry about that, either.
Unbeatable for the price!
And can we take a moment to appreciate its sleek design? No matter where you plan on using it, it will add a stylish touch to your improvised kitchen area.
The only thing I didn’t like is the fact that it has one heating zone. I realize this might not be a problem for everyone, but I find cooking for a family of four with it to be slightly inconvenient. If you’re okay with that, it might be the best portable induction cooktop for you!
- 1800-watt power with nine 200-watt increments
- The temperature is adjustable with eight pre-set levels
- Features a timer with 1-minute increments
- Has a child lock feature
- Overheating protection for added safety
- Only 2.3 inches in thickness
- Boils water in less than two minutes
- One heating zone
Although the unit has a maximum power of 1800 watts, thanks to the ten power levels, you’ll be able to adjust it according to what you need. The same goes for temperature – the maximum is 460 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can use 15 temperature settings for different purposes.
Again, families with small children should consider this one as the best portable conduction top for them, as it has some amazing safety features, such as pan detection, auto shut-down, and, of course, child safety lock. Worst case scenario, the unit will shut down automatically if anything goes wrong.
If you’re still not comfortable with leaving the unit on without supervision, use the count-down timer or the pause button to put lunch on hold until you get back.
As I already said, the one heating zone is just a minor inconvenience. The real issue I’d like to point out is the sound – a high-pitched noise – this cooktop makes when you use it with clad cookware. I mean, if I already invested so much money in cookware, I expect to be able to use it without the annoying background noise.
- Ten power levels and 15 temperature settings
- Digital control panel and a count-down timer
- Pause button
- Pan detection feature
- Automatic shut-down in case anything goes wrong
- Children safety lock
- Only 2.3 inches in thickness
- Makes a high-pitched sound when using clad cookware
- One heating zone
NutriChef’s model features two heating zones, meaning it’s the best portable induction cooktop for larger groups of people. But there’s more to it than that – both sides come with separate temperature settings, several cooking modes, and convenient LCD screens.
Furthermore, the unit also has an automatic warm function. That means it will keep your food warm even if you don’t plan on eating right away. Plus, it has a child safety lock, and I know how important this is for families with small kids.
The design is one more thing to love about this model – I’m sure it will make your improvised campsite kitchen setup look cool!
The only downside is the noise the fans make, but given the fact that this induction cooktop has two heating zones, I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect that.
And while it does cost more, keep in mind that it doubles the number of cooking surfaces you can use. I was willing to pay extra for the convenience of being able to cook two things at a time, and if you have a family of four or more, you should, too.
- Two heating zones
- Independently adjustable temperature settings
- Two LCD screens
- Multiple cooking modes to choose from
- Child safety lock
- The automatic warm function keeps your food warm
- Nice looking, sleek design that fits in every kitchen
- The fan is a bit noisy
Secura 9100MC might be a compact, but it packs a punch. What makes it a solid candidate for the title of the best portable induction cooktop, though, is the number of adjustments you’ll be able to make.
First off, there are 15 power levels to choose from, so you can adjust the amount of “juice” it needs – from 200 watts to 1800 watts. Furthermore, you can regulate the temperature, too, and again, 15 temperature settings are ranging from 140 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.
Again, there are some standard features, such as a digital control panel, as well as a countdown timer (which allows you to set up to 170-minute cooking time). It also has pan detection sensors, and I told you how important this is, both safety and convenience-wise.
Now, I have to warn you that this one tends to get a bit loud. I already mentioned this might be a problem with induction cooktops in general, but this model takes it to the next level.
Not only are the fans loud, but it makes a high-pitched sound when it’s used in high-temperature settings, too, which you might find irritable – I know John certainly did.
- 15 power levels (from 200 to 1800 watts)
- 15 temperature settings
- Digital control panel
- Count-down timer (up to 170 minutes)
- Auto pan detection feature
- Only 2.1 inches in thickness
- The fan is a bit loud
- Makes a high-pitched sound at higher temperatures
5. Duxtop LCD 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 9600LS – Outstanding Level Of Adjustability
What made me fall in love with this model is the level of adjustability it has to offer. If you thought the previous one was great, this one will sweep you off your feet!
There are 20 different temperature levels to choose from, with the maximum being 460 degrees Fahrenheit, plus 20 power levels – all you need to do is select the one you need.
Use the built-in countdown timer for up to 10 hours of pre-set cooking time, and when you’re in a hurry, give the Fast Boil feature a try. The unit has all the standard features, too, such as the child safety lock, auto-pan detection, as well as the Keep Warm feature.
What more could you ask for?
One thing I’ve noticed is that the unit’s rear “legs” don’t provide much of a grip, so it does slide a bit if I’m not careful enough. It’s not a huge issue, but I thought it’s worth mentioning, anyway.
Also, I find it frustrating that I can only read what the display says if I’m standing right above the unit. Taking a quick glance at the cooktop while you’re doing something else doesn’t work with this one.
- 20 temperature ranges and 20 power settings
- Count-down timer for up to 10 hours
- Child safety lock key
- Keep Warm feature
- Fast Boil button speeds things up
- Auto pan detection feature
- It slides across the counter if you’re not careful
- Limited display readability
I’m guessing you can already tell which one of these is the best portable induction cooktop in my opinion.
That’s right; it’s the NutriChef Portable Dual 120V Electric Induction Cooker Cooktop. I can’t help it – I always need that extra heating zone!
What do you think? Are you sold on the idea of getting a portable induction cooktop?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Last update on 2020-07-02 at 15:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API