If you’re cooking a dinner that may be larger than your average four-hobbed cooker, then you might need to add a few extra heat sources to your kitchen. Hot plates can also be a convenient, portable and affordable alternative to large scale stove cooking and are also ideal for camping and caravanning trips.
Hot plates can be easily stored away and come with a wide variety of temperature control and safety measures to ensure that your food is cooked within an inch of perfection.
But what are you looking for in a hot plate that is suitable for you? What unique features does it possess? If I spent that extra few dollars on a top-of-the-range hot plate, can I expect a model that will not let me down?
Never fear, prospective hot plate buyers, we have compiled a thorough list of the top 5 hot plates you can currently buy online. We also have some handy buyer’s information as well as some of the most frequently asked questions and queries about hot plates.
So don’t sweat, we got you covered! Let’s get started right away with our first state-of-the-art single-ringed heater.
Top 5 Best Hot Plates
OUR TOP PICK
Our first hot plate looks deceptively simple, a heavy-duty cast iron ring and hub design that might not be as luxurious as some designs, but will certainly keep you cooking for several years - it’s the Cuisinart Cast-Iron Single Burner.
With its cast-iron frame, this hot plate can take a bit of a pounding, which makes it a perfect carry-on hot plate for those long RV journeys.
However, the material also conducts the heat like no other, retaining it for hours on end once fully heated and distributing it evenly across its whole surface area.
It has a 1,500-watt power that you can control via a small knob on the front. With its 6 heat settings, this means that you can control just how much you want to fry your eggs or for how long you want to boil your soup. A small light indicates when the burner is on, which is important for keeping your distance when allowing it to cool!
Even though it is rather plain and utilitarian-looking, this hot plate will ingratiate itself seamlessly into even the most modest of kitchens. The uniform base and plate make it very wipe-clean, and it is a heck of a lot easier to scrub than coil burners.
A simple one-dial control makes this a great hot plate for beginners or someone who wants to avoid the fuss of multi-dial controls.
The compact size of the Cuisinart makes it the go-to choice for anyone setting off on a long-distance camping adventure and wants to keep their rucksack light!
Because of its simplicity, this also might be the perfect choice for anyone who is learning to cook.
The heat does not transfer to the sides of this hot plate, so it won’t scorch the surface of whatever you’re resting it on.
During its first use, it might smoke a little as it burns off the protective layer of oil. However, this should not happen again after the first heating.
Next on our list is a slightly more stylish hot plate, complete with electronic dials and heat settings, the CUSIMAX Electric Single Burner is the hot plate for a slightly more ambitious single plate cooker.
Its impressive 1,500-watt burner will sear through most pans up to 7-inches thick but don’t worry, it comes with an auto shut-down function when it goes over a certain heat, with rubber stoppers underneath to prevent damage to both countertop and kitchen table.
The CUSIMAX has precision-controlled thermostatic settings that will maintain whatever temperature you might want to set it to, without cycling through varying higher and lower temperatures.
It has quite a short cord length, but the stainless steel outer shell is easy to wipe clean after a particularly messy cooking session. It had two knobs either side: one to turn the hot plate on and off, the other to cycle between the maximum and minimum temperatures.
This state-of-the-art hot plate distributed heat effectively across the entire surface of the plate, preventing intense hot spots.
The powerful burner is perfect for thicker saucepans and larger batches of noodles, soups and broths.
This electronically-controlled hot plate gives the user a large degree of control as to how long and intense they want the heat to be.
The shorter cord length might make it more difficult to cook in more spacious kitchens.
This next hot plate might look like a villain you might find in a 60’s science fiction movie, but it is a very substantial piece of cooking equipment with two hefty steel coil burners - the Cadco CDR-1T Double Hot Plate.
With double 8-inch coil burners, this hot plate is built by a company that has specialized in making hot plates for years and years.
Both of these burners are 1,500-watt beasts, each with an on-off safety switch and variable temperature control. With this hot plate, you can stretch your culinary muscles and try cooking two separate dishes at once. It also gives you that extra hob capacity if you have exhausted your stove hobs.
Unlike our previous fixed plate units, this one utilizes coil heaters, which are incredibly difficult to clean, the grooves beneath can collect crumbs, egg slivers and other debris that can get trapped and congeal inside. This may over time negatively impact the functionality of your grill.
This industrial-scale double burner can handle the same large pots and pans as a kitchen stove, although you might struggle to get two heftier saucepans side-by-side.
This hot plate retains heat remarkably well, prohibiting significant heat transfer to the body of the plate and damage to the surface underneath.
Uglier and more industrial than our other hot plates, this might be considered an eyesore in more tastefully-designed kitchens.
The larger size of this dual hot plate will result in the need for more storage space.
Again, due to its weight, you might be reluctant to place this on glass-topped counters.
When you are shopping for that extra burner to complement your kitchen, you might be unwilling to spend a great deal of money. However, with this next model, you have something that gives you a lot of performance for relatively little money - the IMUSA Electric Single Burner.
This burner is perfect if you only occasionally need an extra hot plate when hosting a larger gathering or maybe to bring with you on a camping trip once a year. This reliable, coil-style burner is uncomplicated and simple-to-use for beginner and advanced cookers alike.
Like all our other hot plates, this one comes with a simple one dial temperature knob, allowing the user to bring a pan quickly to the boil or leave a dish to simmer for a while. The indicator light tells you when your hot plate is on, with a short cord for increased safety and rubber stoppers underneath to prevent scorching your precious kitchen counter!
Because it is a lot cheaper than other models, you could buy these in bulk to save on cooking space, having multiple pots bubbling away at the same time.
The price - the allure of this hot plate is the amount you’ll be spending on it, which will be next to nothing! This is ideal for someone who wants a cheaper cooker that they don’t mind getting battered about in their rucksack.
With the basic features of other hot plates, the user certainly won’t feel short-changed.
A built-in failsafe prevents the IMUSA from overheating.
The coiled cooking surface is raised, which may snag and bend, especially if you are lugging it across long distances on a camping trip.
This hot plate comes with protective oil that will need to be applied before first use. Once switched on, the oil will burn off and may cause some smoke, but once it has been used, this shouldn’t happen again.
Finally, we have a hot plate that could be said to be a different species of hot plate, utilizing different materials to generate heat. The title of this one should go some way to explaining this - the Ovente Infrared Countertop Burner.
This infrared heater is designed with super-fast heating in mind, along with high heat production and an even distribution of heat across its surface.
The smooth glass surface means that you can heat thicker glass jugs using a 1,200-watt burner. This digital interface allows you to set any temperatures between 50 and 640 degrees, as well as a sophisticated timer system that can be set for 1 or 2 hours. You can leave your noodles to simmer at a low temperature for an hour exactly and this clever device will know exactly when to turn itself off.
The interface is touch-sensitive, easy to read and it has a safety lock that will prevent anyone from altering the temperature presets once it has been keyed in. This is a hot plate for those skilled chefs that value accuracy and reliability when prepping their meals.
High-speed heating for those that want quick, efficient and precision cooking.
This high level of heat control means that the heat doesn’t transfer to the body and touchpad of the hot plate - it will remain cool even during use.
The glass surface makes this infrared hot plate the easiest to clean on our list.
Compact and lightweight, you can go anywhere with this hot plate slid into your rucksack. You won’t have to worry about wear and tear with this durable piece of cooking machinery.
A strange quirk of this hot plate is the fact that you have to turn the temperature dial all the way up before you can turn it down again. However, the touchpad makes this easy to do.
Best Hot Plates Buying Guide
So here we have seen a range of the best, brightest and hottest plates the market has to offer. But what features are the most important to consider when shopping for a hot plate?
Well, start by thinking about what options your hot plate gives you regarding heat settings and safety features. Hot plates have been regarded as unreliable devices by more professional chefs and bakers who prefer the stability and versatility of the hobs on a stove. You might want to opt for a shut-off failsafe if you are worried about your hot plate overheating or accidentally being switched on.
You also want to make sure that the thermal fuse in your hot plate doesn’t blow out if the heat gets turned up too high.
Portable hot plates are placed on a wide variety of surfaces - wooden tables, glass-topped counters, grass verges, sandy beaches or tarmac sidewalks. So ideally you’ll want a hot plate with four rubber stops underneath for balance and stability, especially if you have a heavy pot full of boiling water resting on top.
You’ll also want to consider whether you want induction or non-induction hot plates. Electrical non-induction hot plates will heat a wide range of cookware, whereas induction plates will only really work with similarly inductive materials like stainless steel and cast-iron. Induction hot plates are also a lot more expensive.
Electric hot plates heat up a lot quicker, designed as they are to be as efficient as humanly possible at doing their job. There is also a wider, more precise range of temperatures that can be honed from one specific dish to the next.
Best Hot Plates FAQ's
What Is The Best Cooking Surface For A Hot Plate?
Most cooks prefer the smooth surface of a uniform hot plate as they are much easier to wipe clean. The electric burner with coils may trap more food in its grooves, but they are generally cheaper to buy. You might have to spend a bit more for a slicker model of hot plate.
Glass surfaced hot plates are the best when it comes to hygiene - all you need is a damp microfiber cloth and some warm water to get this thing spotless.
A coil-style burner might be most cumbersome to store and clean, the metal coils can also bend and buckle, especially when placed under a heavier saucepan repeatedly.
Do I Want A Good Temperature Control?
A lot of dishes simply need the maximum amount of heat just to bring something to the boil, but there are many other ingredients that need medium and lower heats to cook correctly. These are some of the benefits of intricate heat controls: you can modify your heat as you cook, making it much easier to manipulate in case the dish starts going wrong.
With a manual dial it is much trickier to judge the correct heat, most of the time you’ll find yourself doing it by sight alone. With a digital temperature controller, you can see how hot your food is - to the degree! This makes it easier to fine-tune your temperatures to conform to the temperatures set by a specific recipe.
Are There Any Health Risks To Hot Plate Cooking?
Infrared heating is certainly a much speedier way to cook, but it will take a bit of time to adapt to their precision, requiring more time watching the pot. However, once you are certain of the controls, you can set a digital timer, leave the hot plate and be certain that by the time you come back you’ll have a perfectly-cooked dish.
With a manual induction hot plate, you could find yourself frequently over- or undercooking your food.
It has been shown that infrared cooking is a lot safer than other types of cooking and that it is really no different to putting something in the microwave - although an infrared hot plate gives off zero radiation.
As long as your hot plate is well-maintained - ideally scrubbed or wiped clean after every use - then the functions of it should not be negatively affected. However, if the hot plate is covered in congealed food, then the likelihood is that it will be less conductive and therefore less able to heat your food properly.
If you have the time or the inclination, it might be worth testing your hot plate without any food on it once a week to ensure that it is not malfunctioning in any way.