These handy appliances are speedy, safe, and energy-efficient — so you can enjoy a hot meal no matter where you are. 

By Kat de Naoum
March 02, 2020
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Cooking at an open campfire may be fun, adventurous, and Instagram-worthy, but time-efficient and practical? Not so much. Thankfully, portable induction cooktops have stepped into the ring, bringing with them an array of time- and money-saving benefits — and changing the cooking game for campers and travelers everywhere.

Unlike many stovetops that rely on a gas-burning flame to provide heat, induction cooktops instead use magnetic induction — an electronically-controlled coil of metal inside the device — to heat up the cooking vessel directly, so the pot or pan itself becomes the conductor of the heat. Since all the heat is contained inside the cooking vessel and not coming from the outside (like a flame), induction stovetops typically cook food quicker and save time and energy in the process. 

Another great perk of induction cooktops — and why you simply can’t compare them to regular portable hot plates — is that they cool down almost immediately after you turn the device off. Plus, the lack of an open flame reassuringly increases the safety factor.

One thing to keep in mind is that the pots and pans you use on induction cooktops should be made from a ferromagnetic metal, like stainless steel or cast iron. Unless they have a magnetic-grade material layer on the bottom, aluminum, glass, or copper pots and pans are not compatible with induction cooktops. Quick test: if a refrigerator magnet sticks to the bottom of your pan, you’re good to go.

The Best Portable Induction Cooktops for Traveling

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

We browsed through thousands of reviews from real shoppers to find the best portable induction cooktops that’ll come in handy in a variety of situations. While these little appliances are no-brainers for traveling, RVing, and camping because of their efficiency, ease-of-use, and portability, that doesn’t mean they’re not useful in other situations, too. In fact, many customers say they use them as the main cooktop in their house; not to mention, they’re a great option for dorm rooms and student housing. 

Here are the 9 best portable induction cooktops, according to customer reviews. 

Best-Rated: Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop 

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

With nearly 2,000 perfect five-star reviews on Amazon, the Duxtop 1800-watt model is one of the highest-rated portable induction cooktops currently available. Featuring 15 pre-set power levels and temperature ranges, a built-in timer, a clear LED display, and an easy-to-use control panel, this convenient and compact kitchen tool is a no-brainer. It also has a smart pan-detection feature for added safety: If it detects cookware with a non-magnetic bottom (or none at all) the heat will automatically shut off after one minute. 

To buy:, $65

Best Lightweight: NuWave Pic Flex Induction Hot Plate

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

At just four pounds and two inches tall, the lightweight NuWave Pic Flex induction hot plate is a breeze to pack up and take with you whenever you want a hot meal on the go. The small, travel-friendly size doesn’t mean it’s not powerful, though: It can support up to 50 pounds of weight and has 45 customizable temperature settings that go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  It comes with a nine-inch compatible frying pan and heats up fast—it can bring water to a boil in as little as 90 seconds — so you can get to cooking pronto. While many reviewers note how well it works in trailers and campsites, one customer likes it so much that they use it in place of a stovetop in their house, adding that it’s “so convenient and lightweight.”

To buy:, $90

Best Slim: Sunpentown Induction Cooktop  

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

If you don’t have much space and need a cooktop that you can store away discretely and easily once you’re done using it, this slim, 4.5-pound option from Sunpentown is your best bet. The sleek all-digital display allows you to choose between cooking and warming modes, along with seven power settings and 13 temperature settings reaching 390 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a built-in timer and touch-control functionality, including a touch-control lock for added safety. Numerous reviewers mentioned how quickly it heats up, which allows them to cook their food faster and have their meal ready in no time. One even said it works “faster than a microwave.” 

To buy:, $42 (originally $69)

Best Single Burner: HomeLabs Portable Induction Cooktop

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon’s choice for best single burner induction cooktop, the HomeLabs countertop stove, has 10 heating levels and six cooking modes — including fry, boil, and simmer. The digital LCD one-touch control panel is extremely user-friendly, and its smooth glass surface means that cleaning is a matter of a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth. What’s more, the numerous cooking modes included on the device mean you can use it for a variety of different meals. 

To buy:, $56

Best Double Burner: Cusimax Portable Electric Stove

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Just because you’re traveling or camping doesn’t mean that cooking has to be limited to one-pot meals. Thanks to Cusimax’s portable stove that includes two burners, you can have two different dishes going at the same time. It heats up in seconds and has two easy-to-use temperature control knobs for each burner. There’s also an automatic safety shut-off to prevent overheating and keep the device at its elected temperature. Nearly 500 customers left the dual burner a perfect five-star review, so you can trust that it’ll work quickly, efficiently, and safely. 

To buy:, $69 (originally $80)

Best Splurge: NuWave Double Precision Induction Cooktop Burner 

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Even amateur chefs know that a large part of the success of a dish is cooking at the right temperature. The NuWave double-burner induction cooktop gives you the option of adjusting the heat up or down five degrees at a time — perfect for anyone looking to cook anything more complex than breakfast oatmeal. And though this innovative precision cooktop is pricier than other options, reviewers are adamant that the top-notch features are well worth the price.  “This unit is AMAZING!” raves one enthusiastic customer. “Superfast heating element allows you to choose a temperature… 1800 watts makes it really efficient, [and it] splits 900 watts each side if using both burners.”

To buy:, $200 (originally $220)

Best Budget-Friendly: Rosewill 1800-Watt Induction Cooker Cooktop

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This compact, affordable appliance makes the perfect starter portable induction cooktop. For just over $40, you’ll not only get Rosewill’s 1800-watt touch-control induction cooktop, but you’ll also get a 10-inch stainless steel to go with it. Talk about a bargain! With a large LED display and a lightweight design, the no-frills cooktop comes with eight temperature settings that reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit, eight power levels, and a built-in timer and safety lock feature. 

To buy:, $43

Most High-Tech: Duxtop Portable Induction LCD Sensor Touch Cooktop

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

With the highest-rated and best-selling options, Duxtop has been a leading induction cooktop brand for over 10 years — and this high-tech, sensor-touch version from Duxtop is no different. The 1800-watt cooktop has 20 preset power and temperature levels — shown on an all-digital touch-screen display — so you can cook in a number of ways at the simple press of a button. And like most of Duxtop’s appliances, this sleek cooktop has thousands of positive reviews from customers who cite its quality and ease-of-use. One of the many happy customers called it “simplistic, well-designed, and VERY powerful” while another said it’s “the best induction cooktop for the money.” 

To buy:, $100 (originally $118)

Best with Child Safety Lock: Isiler Portable Induction Cooktop

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Although induction cooktops are typically safer than regular electric or gas-burning stoves because of the lack of an open flame, you still wouldn’t want kids getting near them or risking  burns — and that’s exactly why Isiler designed its 1800-watt cooktop with a child-proof safety lock. It has eight temperature settings and nine power levels — so you can use it for a variety of cooking functions — along with a digital touch-control display and overheating protection to ensure the device never surpasses your selected temperature.

To buy:, $70

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