Best Portable Induction Cooktop
If you are trying to wrangle up some of your non-camping friends to spend some time with you out in the woods over the weekend, one of the best ways to get them to make a commitment is to promise an excellent home cooked breakfast in the morning. Often, people just assume that if you are sleeping out under the stars, you are likely making meals out of foraged berries and dry granola bars. However, that doesn’t have to be the case!
Take your camping to the next level by investing just a little bit of money into a portable induction cooktop. These units are great for cooking up just about anything on the go, and are a great way to still eat all of your favorite comfort food while enjoying the freedom of being untethered to all of the stress and worries from home. After a long day of hiking and exploring, wouldn’t you want to end the day with some pasta? These units are even capable of boiling water, so there really is no limit to what you can make. We have done some research as to what makes for a great portable induction cooktop, and compiled a list of some of the best designs currently out on the market. Lets get cooking!
- Secura 9100MC
- Digital display
- Duxtop LCD
- 5 foot power cord
- LCD touchscreen display
- NutriChef Dual
- Heats up quickly
10 Best Portable Induction Cooktop Brands
The outward design of this model is simple- it is a solid black square with a small digital interface along the front. The size of this unit makes it a cinch to pack up into your backpack, or in the trunk of your car for a long weekend out in the woods. It weighs just over 7 pounds and is 14 inches long, 11.4 inches wide, and stands at just 2.1 inches tall.
Output for this unit ranges from an impressive 200 watts all the way to 1,800 watts. What this means for you is that it is able to 140 degrees to 460 degrees simply and quickly. Cooktops that are able to get really hot are capable of cooking up things like bacon the exact same way that you would cook it at home. Sometimes, when these units are capable of getting hot enough, you wind up with soggy bacon. That won’t be the case when cooking at 460 degrees.
Since it weighs in at just 7 pounds, and has a flat design, it will be really easy to pack it up into the car without sacrificing room for other fun camping gear. It doesn’t require the use of a grounded outlet (no need to buy a cheater plug) when plugged into your generator before you get cooking.
The cost of this model runs about in the middle of the road. While it is not the most expensive design out there on the market, it will still set you back just a little bit of money. However, the smart and compact design make it well worth the additional cost.
If you are looking for an easy way to cook up an amazing breakfast for all of your happy campers on a Saturday morning, bringing this little cooker along with you will make your next camping trip the best one yet.
- Digital display
- Heats up quickly and get very hot
- Some find it to be very noisy
The design of this model is sleek and sharp, and rivals what many of the modern electric cooking surfaces used in modern households look like. It has a easy to program digital display that has an LCD touch screen so you can adjust the temperature, keep foods warm, boil water, and set timers all with the push of a button. It’s so easy to use, you might like cooking on it more so than your stove at home.
Tell your stove at home to step aside, because this unit delivers almost as much power as many of the full sized home stoves. If offers 1,800 watts of power- which is about the max for these types of designs, 120 volts, and 15 amps of electricity. To put in in terms you may understand- it can cook at temperatures that start at 100, and go all the way up to an impressive 460 degrees, and it has cord that reaches 5 feet to give you the ability to put it exactly where you need it.
The entire unit weighs just over 7 pounds, and measures in at 14 inches long, 11.4 inches wide, and stands just 2.5 inches tall. Basically, it runs the same size as a burner that you would use to cook food at home. Its is compact enough to be able to throw into the back seat of your car, or even into a backpack, and take along with you wherever you go so that the ability to cook a great homemade meal is only light socket away.
The intuitive LCD display and the power offered with this unit has racked up quite the price tag, but it still isn’t outside the realm of reason. If you are someone that needs a reliable and hot cooking source for all of your camping trips- this will make you feel like you never left the comforts of your kitchen.
While it has a price tag that might make you step back a bit, the function and power of this unit is well worth the price tag. If the inability to boil water for pasta is the only thing keeping your from a weeked outside and under the stars, this model will make it so that you can whip up all of your favorite meals in the great outdoors.
- LCD touchscreen display
- 5 foot power cord
Due to the fact that it has two burners instead of just one, the footprint of this design is just a little bit bigger. It lies completely flat, and has a sharp touch screen along the front to adjust both burners to the perfect temperature for your needs. If you want to boil water for pasta on one side, and fry up a fish that you caught that morning on the other side- this unit will be able to perform those tasks without skipping a beat.
If you are concerned with getting enough power, this model tops out on power that you will find on most of these types of products out there on the market. It offers an impressive 120 volts of power. 1,500 watts are capable of reaching temperatures that range from 100 degrees to an impressive 460 degrees- and those temperatures can be adjusted from burner to burner. If you are worried about little hands getting burned while your back is turned, it has the addition of a safety features that locks all buttons until you personally unlock it yourself.
It is a little heavier that many of the other options, and weighs in at just over 12 pounds. It also is a little bit bigger (because of the addition of a burner) and is 14.2 inches wide, 23.6 inches long, and stands 2.6 inches tall.
Two burner should mean double the price as some of the models, but that’s not the case with this unit. While it is likely to set you back a little bit of money, the power, function, and additional burner make it well worth the padded price tag. You might like this unit so much that you might even want to use it at home.
If you need something that is powerful to cook all of your favorite meals while not in the comfort of your kitchen, and has enough burners for the entire family- this is the unit that you are going to want to take along with you on your next camping trip.
- Cord is almost 5 feet long
- Heats up quickly
- Intuitive control panel
- Not as noisy as some of the other models
- Only works with special stainless steel pots
This model doesn’t waste any space with unnecessary design features or unneeded surface areas. It’s simple and to the point, but it also has a display that allows you to adjust the temperature as needed, as well as set a timer. It also has a pause button- which is something that not all models out there have and is something that on the go cooks have come to depend upon.
This unit offers an impressive 1,300 watts of power, and has the capability of reaching temperatures up to 575 degrees- which far exceeds the power of some of the other units out there on the market. The digital display is able to hit 52 different temperatures that range from 100 to 575, so if you need to simply keep something warm, it can do that, and if you need to cook a raw fish that you caught that morning- it can do that too.
NuWave hits the mark when it comes to portability. It is one of the lightest as well as the smallest models out there. It weighs in at just under 7 pounds, and measures to be 14.4 inches wide, 15.9 inches long, and 6.3 inches high. All of these features make it a cinch to pack into a backpack or into the trunk of your car without taking up that much room.
This is one of the more affordable options, especially considering the amount of power this little unit and emit. If you were looking for something that will allow you to cook all of your favorite meals while away from your kitchen, and didn’t want to spend the same as some of the higher end models- this is a great choice.
Cooking away from your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. The addition of this unit will ensure that your next trip away from home will be pleasant and enjoyable, and you are sure to eat quite well.
- Less expensive than some of the higher end models
- Easy to program
- A little taller than most options
- Takes a while to boil water
This model is available in two different designs that come to you at the same price. The first option is the solid copper model. This unit is copper from top to bottom, including the display. If you like cooking on copper at home- this option is going to be your best bet. For those that aren’t impressed by the copper design, they also offer a solid black model that doesn’t cost extra.
It has an impressive 1,300 watts of power, and it is able to get a little bit hotter than some of the others out there. It can go from 100 degrees to 500 degrees by adjusting the temperature by 10 different settings that are found on the front display. Copper is an excellent source of conducting heat, so your pans will heat up faster and stay hotter for longer periods of time.
Just like many of the other single burner units out there, this is simple to pack into your backpack or into the backseat of your car when you get to your destination. It weighs just under 6 pounds- making it one of the lighter options out there, and measures in at 15 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 3 inches tall.
This is one of the most affordable options currently out there on the market. If you were looking for something that was powerful enough to cook on the go without breaking the bank- this might be your best option.
Taking your cooking skills out of the comfort of your kitchen and out on the road can be difficult, but if you have the right tools you will be sure to be able to cook up a killer meal while still enjoying the great outdoors. This unit makes all of that possible without putting any extra pressure on your wallet.
- Easy to use display
- Heats up slowly
- Some claim it gets hot on the sides but not in the middle
This model looks a lot like many of the others already out there on the market- it has a sleek flat square design with a durable glass top. It doesn’t have the same display as many of the others, but has a smooth touch interface to control the temperature, turn it off and on, and even set a timer.
With 1,800 watts, this little guy really packs a punch when it comes to heating up pans. It offers 120 volts- which is about the max that any similar designs can offer. It has a temperature range from 140 to 460, which is a little limited in the lower end of things- this isn’t ideal for keeping things warm like some of the others that are able to hit 100 degrees on the lower end of things. That is important to keep in mind if you like to keep things warm while you are out doing other things. What makes this unit special is that you can set a sleep timer for it- which means you can put on a pot of oatmeal or soup, fall asleep under the stars and have hot food waiting for you when you get up.
Just like any of the other single burner models, this will fit perfectly into the back of your car when you pack up to hit the campsite over the weekend. It weighs just almost 8 pounds- which is a little heavier than some, but not by much. It also measures in at 15 inches long,12.2 inches wide, and stands 2.4 inches tall.
While isn’t not the most inexpensive model out there on the market, it isn’t the most expensive either. If you are the type of consumer that likes to pay just a little bit more to ensure that you are getting good quality, but don’t want to pay the price for some of the higher end designs- this is an excellent choice.
For those that want to sleep outside and wake up to the sunrise over the lake, but don’t want to be stuck eating berries and granola bars- this is an excellent option to make home cooked meals when you aren’t at home, and the price is reasonable enough that you can afford to buy that expensive bacon.
- Sleep timer
- Money back guarantee after up to 30 days
- Additional adapter not included: needs a 15 amp service outlet
The Nesco PIC- 14 has a traditional footprint to most of the others that are out there on the market. It sports a square design with a black glossy top. It doesn’t have as many adjustments fo temperature as some of the others, but it does have a similar intuitive front display that is easy to use right out of the box.
This model offers 1,500 watts of power- which isn’t the best, but it’s not terrible, and it has 120 volts- which is pretty normal for models such as this. The downside about this model is that it only had 5 heat settings, and you cannot set the heat by temperature. The five power settings include melt, simmer, boil, fry, and sear. Some find, however, that the lowest setting is a little too hot to keep things warm without over cooking them.
Weighing in at just under 6 pounds, it is one of the lighter options available out there on the market. It measures in at 14 inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and stands 2.3 inches tall. If you were looking for something lightweight that didn’t take up too much space in your compact car or backpack- this is a great option.
While is isn’t the most affordable option out there, you are still going to pay less than some of the higher end models. If you wanted something that was powerful, lightweight, and compact, this unit is well worth the price tag.
If you are looking for something that will allow you to cook great homemade meals even when you are miles from your kitchen- this is a great model that is offered at a very fair price. Just keep in mind that there are only 5 temperature settings, which may make if difficult for some foods.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to use
- Works on most pans (except aluminum)
- Cannot adjust temperature
- There are only 5 heat settings
- Some find that the lowest setting is too hot
This model comes in a basic black with a durable glass top. It doesn’t have the digital display that some of the other higher end models have, but it has more temperature adjustments than the Nesco model.
The power put off from this model is actually kind of impressive- especially considering the lower price point. It offer 1,800 watts of power, and 120 volts- which is pretty much the most power these units are capable of pumping out. It can reach temperatures that start at 140 degrees (not ideal for keeping this warm or heating slowly) to 460 degrees- perfect for boiling, frying, and searing.
This unit weighs in at just over 5 pounds, and measures in at 16.3 long, 12.6 wide, and 4.5 inches tall. While it is considered to be one of the lighter models out there on the market, the measurements are just a little bit bigger than most of the other single burner units out there.
The cost of this unit is one of its best features- it is one of the most affordable models currently out there on the market. If you were looking to save a few bucks, while still getting all of the power of some of the higher end models- this is a great choice.
While the price is incredible for one of these units- it isn’t without its drawbacks. It does have the power as some of the higher models, but it doesn’t have as many heat setting, timers, and safety features as some of the others.
- Gets hot
- Low setting is considered to be too hot
- Some find the controls are not intuitive or user friendly
This has the classic square design of any burner that is meant to be used on the go and when you are away from home. It has a black shell with and easy to read dashboard where you can manually adjust the heat as well as turn it on and off and adjust the timers.
Considering the lower price point, this model offers quite the punch. It can be used with any type of pan that has a magnetic bottom, and is able to reach temperatures up to 465 degrees. On the lower setting, it reaches 140 degrees- which isn’t ideal when you need to slowly heat something or keep it warm. It has 1,800 watts of power, and 120 volts.
This unit weighs in at just over 6 pounds, and is 17.7 inches long, 15.1 inches wide, and stands 4.4 inches tall. While it is a little bit lighter than some of the other options out there, the dimensions are slightly bigger than the norm- which could be a problem if you are looking for something that will be able to fit into a smaller space.
The cost of this unit is one of it’s most impressive features. The price tag is likely to set you back the same amount of money it would cost you to fill up your gas tank on the way to the campsite.
If you are in the market for something that is affordable, and offers the same amount of power as some of the higher prices units- this is an excellent option. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t have the heat range as some of the more expensive selections.
- Easy to use
- Will only work with stainless steel pots
Morning Star MS-151
While the shape is the same as many of the other- it’s square and flat with a glass top, it isn’t black like the others. The base is a light silver and the base is a clear glass. The buttons along the front are touch activated, but they are a little less intuitive than many of the other interfaces out there on the market, and you will most likely have to consult the manual when you first start using it.
This unit is capable of putting out 1,500 watts of power, and reaching temperatures that range from 140 to 460 degrees. 460 degrees is pretty standard for a lot of these models, but 140 is a little to hot for cooks that want to use a low setting to keep things warm.
This design is just as easy to pack up into the back seat of your car when it’s time to hit the road to go camping, and it won’t take up all that much space. It weighs just over 6 pounds, and is 16.2 inches long, 13 inches wide, and stands 3.4 inches tall.
This model runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price- it is not the most expensive unit out there, but it isn’t the least expensive either. Considering how easy it is to use, and the addition of safety features makes it available at a great deal.
For those campers that are looking for something that will help you make some excellent home cooking while out in the woods (the the help of a power source, of course) this will be a welcome addition to your next trip.
- Easy to use
- Addition of a timer
- Child safety luck
- Emits a high pitched sound when in use
- No indication to tell you what the power level is set to
Criteria Used For Evaluation
Camping can be as fun as you make it, and camping with the best tools can make a good weekend into a great weekend. Sure, campfires are great at roasting marshmallows and even for cooking up that trout that you caught on the river earlier that morning, but they can become limited in all of the things that they can do. For instance- you can’t easily boil a pot of water over a fire, and you can’t set a sleep timer on a campfire to ensure that you have hot oatmeal in the morning when you wake up. Plus, it is pretty difficult to fry an egg over a campfire. That’s why the addition of an induction burner on your next family camping trip will ensure that no one ever goes hungry, and everyone can eat exactly what they want. There were a few things that we kept in mind while researching the best products out there on the market to make sure you get the best out of your next camping trip.
Value: How much will it cost you?
This isn’t something that you will likely use on a daily basis, so it was important that we kept the cost as low as we could without sacrificing the quality of components used. These burners can really rack up quite the price tag when companies add a myriad of features. Many of the features on the really expensive designs weren’t incredibly essential to campers and home cooks, so we left those units to the professionals. While some of the ones that we selected did cost a little bit more than some of the lower end models, they will ensure that they will last you for many years of camping with the entire family. We think that is is better to spend a little bit more now than having to replace your cheaper design every few years.
Design: Does it have a design that is easy to use?
Things can become overly complicated pretty fast when it comes to these- so we tried to keep it simple. No one wants to have to read a complicated instruction manual while trying to destress in the woods from a crazy work week. We liked models that had an intuitive interface that you could figure out without the need of an instruction booklet. LCD touch screens were a definite must- but they also came at a slightly padded price point. We liked the designs where you could adjust the temperature via plus and minus buttons on the display over models that had only a few preset temperature modes designed for different types of cooking (such as frying, boiling, and melting). Allowing you to adjust the actual temperature allows for cooks to have more control over the heat and what they are cooking. If you are out at the campsite and accidently burn the steaks because the temperature of your burner wasn’t reliable, you can’t exactly run to the supermarket to buy more steak.
Portability: Will they be easy to transport?
If it is difficult to load up into your car with all of your other camping gear, then it’s not very portable, now is it? Some of the models out there really didn’t have the same portability as some of the others- which we found a little surprising. We were drawn to models that sported a short, flat design so that they won’t take up that much room. We also liked models that came with their own carrying case, and that had wires that were longer (the longest we found was about 5 feet long). It’s important to keep in mind that these plug into an electrical outlet, and luckily most of them don’t have a grounded plug that might not be compatible with your generator. After you buy your model, be sure that the plug will be compatible with the power source that you will be using. If it isn’t compatible- there is not need to worry. Simply run down to your local hardware store and purchase an adapter- they are typically very inexpensive.
Power: How hot can the surface get?
This one another of the really important things that we looked at. A good wattage range was anywhere from 1,300 to 1,800. Anything less and it won’t have enough juice, and anything over that is overkill. 120 volts was also pretty standard on these designs. One thing that we really kept our eye on was the temperature range. A standard range for many of these was between 140 degrees and 460 degrees. We liked the models that were able to achieve a low temperature of around 100 degrees, because a lot of users found that 140 degrees was too hot if they wanted to heat something slowly or keep something warm. These units seem to top out at around 575 degrees, which is impressive, but might actually be a little too hot when it comes to cooking on a burner.
Additional features: Do they do anything else?
Everyone loves additional features, and that includes us. Most of the added features of these models can be found right on the display. The burner itself seems to be pretty standard across the board, but it’s the interface where companies can add neat little additions. Adding a timer is something very simple, but not all models provide this feature. We also liked the sleep timers that are found on some of these units. A sleep timer will allow you to set the temperature for, let’s say, a pot of oatmeal, and then go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, you will have a fully cooked and hot pot of oatmeal. We were also drawn to units that had safety features such as a locking mechanism to ensure that curious little hands never accidently turned on the heat.
Other things to consider
This type of cooking is relatively new, so there are a few things to keep in mind before you make a purchase. It isn’t like cooking on a gas or electric burner, it requires the use of a specific pan. Be sure that you have the right cooking tools before taking the plunge, or you might be left with cold pans. It’s also important that the pans be perfectly flat. If you are using an old set of pans that have warped bottoms, you aren’t going to get an even cook. In order for them to work perfectly, every point of the pan needs to make contact with the burner. It may seem a little unorthodox at first, but after a while, induction might become your favorite way to cook up all of your favorite meals.
Q: What is induction cooking?
You might have heard of this word before when talking about cooking, but what exactly does it mean? The answer to this question is a little difficult, but we will try to explain it as simply as we can. Many stoves and cooking surfaces utilize the main heat source at the bottom, which in turn heats the contents of the of the pan that is sitting on the surface. With this type of cooking, however, the heat source transforms the pan to the main source of heat and therefore makes it perfect for cooking on the go. It is able to do this by utilizing an electromagnetic field, and it the main reason why you can’t use just any type of pan with these products.
Q: Can I use any type of pan?
Unfortunately, you can not. If you were in a pinch- technically you could, but you would not receive the same level of even heat, and cooking many different types of food may become problematic. Some of the products out there on the market actually come with a pan that is made especially for that particular burner. However, if you were curious to see if your pots and pans in your pantry would work- there is actually a simple way to test this. Due to the fact that these special types of burners utilize an electromagnetic field to generate heat, all you will need to do to test your pan is pop off one of your refrigerator magnets and stick to the bottom of your pan. If it sticks- it’s good to go. If it doesn’t stick, you are going to need to find one that does.
Q: Are they battery operated?
Most of the products that we found out there on the market require the use of an electrical outlet. If you are using one to take along with you on your next camping trip, you might want to ensure that you also bring along an electric generator. Also, before you pack everything away, be sure that the plugs from your cookware and your generator are compatible. Some generators do not have a spot for a grounded plug, and some cooking sets require the use of a grounded outlet. This incompatibility doesn’t mean that it’s useless, it just means that you will have to take a trip to the local hardware store and buy an adapter (which are usually pretty cheap).
Q: Why are they so noisy?
Don’t be alarmed when you first kick it on and it makes a sound akin to a hanging mosquito zapper- it’s perfectly normal. That noise comes from the magnetic fields in action. As with anything, some models make a little bit more noise than others. As the heat rises, your unit will also become louder and also make a distinct clicking noise- which is also considered to be perfectly normal. It can be a little bit unsettling at first because it doesn’t sound like it should be normal, but after a while, you will get used to it, just like users became accustomed to the sound of a microwave.
Q: What makes induction different?
When comparing this method of cooking to its gas and electric counterpart- there is one very distinct difference between them: the burner never gets hot. When you put a pan on this burner, the burner itself never actually gets hot, because it is sending all of its energy to the pan that it sitting on top of it. Sure, it’s a cool parlor trick, but does it actually cook the food any differently? In short- yes it does. By transferring the heat directly to the pan, you will have a more even cooking surface. Often, on gas stoves, there is a certain amount of time it takes for energy to transfer from the burner to the pan, and then to the contents of the pan. This method often takes a while and can create an uneven heat (where the center of the pan is hotter than the side). With induction cooking, there is no transfer of energy- the pan itself is the heating source, and therefore all parts of the pan receive equal heat distribution.
Q: Is it safe?
It may be a little unsettling to know that you are cooking with magnetic fields instead of the tried and tested fire method of cooking. This idea makes many cooks wonder just how safe it is. We aren’t going to beat around the bush with this answer, which is: there isn’t enough research and definite proof to say one way or another. This method of cooking is still pretty new, and there just isn’t enough research. What we do know, however, is that it is about as safe a cooking in a microwave. It produces a small amount of radiation that is of a very similar frequency to a microwave. Some cooks refuse to use microwaves for fear of this type of radiation. We say that if you have no problems cooking in your microwave, you should have no problems cooking via this burner method.