Whether you’re cooking hot pot at the dinner table, short on stove space, or looking for a compact cooktop for your camper, it can be useful to have a portable electric stove. They’re convenient, easy to use, and safer than a gas stove. But there are a ton of options, and finding the right one can be a challenge.
On top of how well the stove works objectively, you also need to consider how well it would fit into your lifestyle. In this guide, we’ll talk about the factors you should consider when choosing a portable electric stove. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search.
When your stovetop is occupied and you need extra help, look no further than these supplemental portable stoves.
Induction Heat is Fast and Safe
Induction heat is one of the safest and most efficient ways to cook. It produces a magnetic current that heats only your pot or pan and keeps the cooktop cool to the touch. It heats quickly and evenly and is extremely controllable–down to the degree.However, induction stovetops require pots and pans that are compatible, so if you don’t already have induction-friendly cookware, you would have to invest in that, too. Induction cooktops are made from glass, which is extremely easy to clean, but can be more delicate than other materials.
Infrared is Efficient and Widely Compatible
Infrared stoves use infrared radiation to directly heat your pot without losing energy. They’re efficient, heat up fairly quickly, and can be used with any cookware. The cooktop is generally ceramic, which, like glass, is easy to clean but also a little delicate.
Cast Iron is Durable and Heavy-Duty
Cast iron stoves provide even, long-lasting heat, though they may take a little longer to heat up compared to other types. They’re strong, suitable for any sort of cookware, and can take a bit of a beating (feel free to use your wok on these!).However, they’re the heaviest of all the cooktops, which may make them less portable. But they’re just as easy to clean as glass or ceramic.
Coil is Lightweight and Cost Effective
Coil stovetops are the original electric stove top. There may be more inconsistency with coil cooktops, and in general, they aren’t very efficient and can be quite difficult to clean. However, they’re light, cheap, and durable, which makes them great for use in the great outdoors.
When Judging Portability, Consider Both Size and Weight
Whether you plan on using your portable electric stove at home, at a party, or on a camping trip, make sure that it fits your space and is small enough for you to carry around. When considering size, don’t just check how much space it occupies but also how much it weighs, especially if you plan on moving it around quite a bit.
Look at Wattage for Energy Consumption and Strength
Depending on how portable you really need your electric stove to be, you may have to weigh the costs and benefits of a higher wattage stove. Portable stovetops range from about 900-1500 watts, while those with dual burners can be as low as 500.For reference, an installed home stove is normally around 1750 watts. A higher wattage stove will give you power and heat capacity comparable to a typical stovetop, but if you’re using a generator or working off a car battery, it might be better to go with a lower wattage.A lower wattage doesn’t mean that your food won’t get cooked, but it might take longer, and you may not get the same results.
Choose Between a Single or Double Burner According to Space and Cooking Needs
Portable stoves come fairly evenly split between single and double burners, and while more may seem like better, don’t forget to consider your own needs when making your choice.Single burners are easy to pack and carry. They’re better if you’re low on space or if you’re just using your portable stove as a supplement to your regular installed stove. However, they do limit you to cooking one thing at a time.Double burners take up more space but allow you to have two things going at once–if your cookware is small enough to fit side-by-side. They’re also heavier and consume more energy, though some double burners feature one full-powered burner and one lower powered warming burner.
Look for Safety Features for Peace of Mind
Considering these stoves can get to some pretty high temperatures, it’s important to look for built-in safety features to lower the danger factor.One of the most important features to look for are raised feet to add space between the stove and your counter to promote air flow and keep the stove cool as well as prevent your table from burning. Other features to look for are auto shut-off, overheating protection, and heat level indicator lights.