If you’re looking for an extra cooking zone with plenty of versatility, Sunavo’s cooktop should be on your list.
You can choose between fry and boil modes depending on what you’re cooking. With fry, you’ll have a choice of no fewer than 15 temperature levels, from 100 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. That will give even the most demanding cook plenty of scopes to fine-tune their cuisine.
Switch to boil, and you’ll supercharge the cooktop. The enhanced heat will be enough to boil four cups of water in less than three minutes.
Everything is controlled by a simple touch-sensitive panel. The clear graphics are easy to understand, so you won’t have to keep the manual on standby.
That’s particularly useful if you’re buying this for occasional use. You won’t have to remember what to do if you haven’t got it out of the cupboard for months.
You can set the display to show either temperature or wattage. The manual explains how the two relate to one another.
There’s a timer, so there’s no need to worry about over-cooking anything. Press it lightly once, and the time will increase by a minute. A long press will increase the time by ten minutes. And you’ll be able to set it all the way to 300 minutes – great for slow cooking.
If you share your home with children, the safety lock will give you peace of mind. Touch the plus and minus signs simultaneously to engage it. Once engaged, it will stop any accidental touch of the control panel turning on the cooktop.
You’ll need to plug in the unit to use it, and it comes with four feet of cord. Make sure that you have somewhere close enough to a power point to position it in your kitchen.
It weighs a little over six pounds, making it easy to move around. If you’re looking for a cooktop to use in your camper as well as your kitchen, it’s a good option. It will cope with a weight of up to 22 pounds.
All this, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a two-month replacement warranty.
Max Burton’s 6450 induction cooktop is another model that’s lightweight and compact. It looks more like a digital scale than something you could cook your dinner on! But don’t be deceived. It offers 1,800 watts of power and a cooking temperature up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s a single cooking zone, so it works best as a temporary addition to your regular cooktop. There are two settings, simmer, and boil. The latter will heat water fast and efficiently.
Use the simmer setting for cooking. You’ll be able to set the temperature as low as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply press the arrows on the control panel to increase or decrease the heat in 25-degree increments.
There’s a digital timer too. It’s easy to use and allows you to set a cooking time of up to three hours in one-minute intervals.
But note that this cooktop can’t be used for very long periods. It will switch itself off at the three-hour mark to avoid overheating.
There’s a safety lock to prevent the settings from being changed by accident. It’s also a handy feature if there are likely to be children where you’re cooking.
And if you’ve got cookware that isn’t compatible with an induction cooktop, don’t despair. The manufacturer offers a clever induction interface disk, designed to allow any cookware to work with the surface.
You’ll need to buy the disk separately, but it’s a good investment if you love your non-induction cookware. And it will fit the cooking zone perfectly.
The cooktop weighs in at just six pounds. As long as there’s somewhere to plug it in, you can use it pretty much anywhere. And it can hold up to an impressive 50 pounds. That should be more than enough for your heaviest pan, even when full of food.
One thing to note is that there’s a high-pitched whistling sound on the higher settings. It’s not too loud, but if you’re sensitive to noise, this won’t be the best choice.
And note that the induction coil is six inches wide. If you’re using a pan with a base that’s larger than this, it won’t directly heat the outer edges.
Lightweight and compact design
Good range of cooking temperatures plus boil setting
Buy the optional induction interface and you can use this with any cookware
Emits a high-pitched whistle on high settings
Won’t heat pans evenly if they’re over six inches in diameter.
iSiler’s induction cooktop is smooth and sleek enough to look at the business in any kitchen.
It has a single cooking zone, capable of cooking at temperatures between 140 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a choice of nine settings, but the increments here are slightly bigger than for some other cooktops. They allow you to raise and lower the temperature by 40 degrees at a time.
The cooking surface has a diameter of 6.7 inches. It will work with pans with bases between 4 and to 8.7 inches. If the pan diameter is bigger than 6.7 inches, though, it will need an occasional stir to make sure everything cooks evenly.
It weighs 6.75 pounds, and stands just 2.3 inches high, so it’s easy to take on the road if you wish. And the smooth glass surface is both strong and easy to clean.
There’s a safety lock to stop the settings changing if you accidentally brush the control panel. And if you have children, you’ll be reassured that little fingers won’t be able to switch on the cooking zones.
There’s also a timer to help keep track of your cooking. It can be set for anything up to three hours. There’s the option of fine tuning it, with one-minute increments. Or keep your finger over the control to increase the time in ten-minute bursts.
The controls are nice and large, so you won’t have to worry about touching the wrong bit of the panel. And they’re sensitive too.
If you don’t already have an induction cooker and aren’t sure if your pans will work, there’s a simple solution. A test sticker is included in the pack. Place it next to your cookware, and if it sticks you’re good to go.
So is there anything not to like?
Well, this isn’t the quietest cooktop out there. All induction cookers will have a fan, but this one is noisier than some. If you’re looking for a model to sit on the table for communal cooking, this isn’t the one to choose.
Large, easy to use controls
Maximum temperature of 460 degrees Fahrenheit
Will work effectively with pans between 4 and 8.7 inches in diameter
The temperature increments are more widely spaced than some other models
The bestselling Duxtop induction cooktop offers bags of features at one of the most competitive prices on the market.
There’s a single cooking zone with an induction coil of about 6.5 inches in diameter. You’ll be able to fit a pan measuring up to 11 inches in diameter. It won’t, though, get as hot at the edges – so keep stirring for an even cook. The minimum size for a pan to heat up effectively is five inches across.
You can select from ten different temperature settings. The lowest, 140 degrees Fahrenheit, will use 200 watts of power. The highest setting is 460 degrees and will use 1,800 watts.
A clever sensor will detect if no pan is present and will turn off the cooktop after a minute. And there’s a timer to help with meal preparation. It will run for up to 170 minutes, and you can set it in one-minute intervals.
The control panel is operated by touch, with clear graphics that mean it’s easy to use. There’s a seven-blade fan to dissipate the heat quickly. And a self-diagnostic tool will give you an error message explaining what’s happening if something goes wrong.
So does the lower price tag mean making any compromises?
Well, we’re not the biggest fans of the design, which is a little dated. Put it next to the sleek iSiler, for example, and its appearance comes off second best. And because the control panel is plastic rather than glass, it’s not quite as easy to clean.
The other issue is with the LED display. If you set the timer, it will display the remaining time for a moment, before returning to the power level. If you want to check how much time you have left after that, you’ll need to press the timer button again.
It’s not a major problem, but we’d prefer it if the display alternated between the temperature and remaining time.
If you can handle those niggles, though, you’ll be getting a powerful cooktop at a great price.
Maximum temperature of 460 degrees
Can hold pans up to 11 inches in diameter
Automatic shutdown if no pan is present
Plastic control panel is less attractive and easy to clean than glass surfaces
Remaining cooking time displays only when the timer button is activated.
If a single cooking zone isn’t enough, check out this model from NutriChef. It offers two separate zones positioned side by side. And it’s still less than two feet wide, so won’t take up lots of room in your kitchen.
Each zone is controlled independently using a touch panel. There are different settings to boil water, fry or steam food. And there’s also a “warm” setting to keep food at the right temperature before serving.
The temperature ranges from 140 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. You can set it in increments of either 10 or 30 degrees. At lower temperatures, the interval is 30 degrees, and it’s ten degrees at higher temperatures.
It heats up quickly, and there’s a turbofan to help it cool quickly too. And if you have little ones, you’ll appreciate the safety lock. Engage it to lock all the controls at their current settings.
It comes with a timer which runs for up to four hours.
The whole surface is made from a single piece of crystal plate. It’s non-stick and stain-resistant, so it’s very easy to clean.
And we like the extra-long power cord too. At 4.9 feet, it’s longer than many others.
So are there any negatives?
Well, the cooktop will only draw a maximum of 1,800 watts at a time. That total power is split between the two cooking zones. The result is that you won’t be able to have both on maximum at once. That does limit the advantages of having two cooking zones in the first place.
And this another induction cooktop with rather a noisy fan. It’s probably necessary to deal effectively with the heat from two zones. But if you want something that’s whisper-quiet, it won’t be for you.
Two cooking zones for added flexibility
Range of functions, including the option to keep food warm until serving
Non-stick and stain-resistant crystal surface
You won’t be able to have both cooking zones on maximum at the same time
Cusinart’s ICT-60 is the second portable induction cooktop with two cooking zones to make our list. It’s a little wider than the NutriChef reviewed earlier, at just under 27 inches.
In this case, the zones are different sizes and have different levels of power. The one on the left is larger and has eight temperature settings. The smaller zone on the right-hand side has just five. This may be a little restrictive for some cooks.
There’s a separate power switch for each burner, and each has its own timer too. This runs for a maximum of 150 minutes.
Unlike some cooktops, though, the cooking zone won’t switch off when the time has elapsed. The timer instead acts like a simple minute minder, alerting you when the time is up.
It heats up quickly and efficiently and directs an even heat to your pans. And it will shut off automatically 30 seconds after the pan is removed from the surface.
The glass cooking surface is easy to clean. The control panel, though, is on a metal strip at the bottom, so will need to be cleaned separately. And there’s a plastic frame and divider between the two cooking zones. Try to keep hot pans away from them, or you may find the plastic cracks in time.
With this one, the features are controlled by buttons rather than a touch panel. There are pros and cons to this. You won’t have to worry about touch panels that are either too sensitive or not sensitive enough. But it does make cleaning that little bit more difficult.
Two differently sized cooking zones
Timer for each cooking zone
Cooking zone shuts off automatically 30 seconds after a pan is removed
You’ll need to take care to keep hot pans away from the plastic frame and cooking zone divider
The timers here are minute minders and won’t switch off the cooking zones when the time’s up.
Rosewill’s 16001 induction cooktop is the least expensive on our list. So what do you get for the bargain price?
It has a single cooking zone offering eight power levels and associated temperature settings. The lowest use just 300 watts and provides a cooking temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. You can increase this in 50-degree increments all the way up to 450 degrees or 1,800 watts.
There’s a lock function to prevent the settings being changed by accident and to help keep children safe. And if the unit is in danger of overheating, it will switch itself off automatically.
There’s also a timer to help you keep track of your cooking. And despite the low price of this cooktop, this is no mere minute minder. It will switch off the cooking zone automatically when the time has elapsed.
All the controls are operated by a touch panel. This is separated by a slight drop from the cooking surface.
The cooktop even includes its own stainless steel pot, perfectly designed to fit on the cooking zone. It has a generous capacity of 3.5 quarts and a clear lid so you can keep watch on your food. If you don’t already have cookware for an induction cooktop, this is a real money-saver.
And there’s a magnetic testing strip too, so you can check other pots and pans. If the magnet sticks to a pan, you’ll be able to use it on the cooktop.
This is very compact, measuring 13.6 inches wide. It’s a little heavier than other cooktops on our list, though, at 8.5 pounds. It will safely hold up to a maximum of 17.6 pounds. And there are non-slip pads on the legs, so it will stay firmly in position during use.
One thing to note is that the red “power off” light on the LED flashes until it’s unplugged. Some people find it irritating. For us, though, it’s a minor niggle with an otherwise good cooktop at a great price.
Powerful cooktop at a very competitive price
Comes with its own cooking pot
Cooking zone shuts off automatically when the timer has counted down to zero
The 50-degree temperature increments may be too large for some cooks
The red “power off” light will flash until the unit is unplugged.
If all those different features are making your head spin – don’t worry! Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide which induction cooktop will best meet your needs.
One cooking zone or two?
Most cooktops on our list have a single cooking zone, but there are options with dual zones out there too. They’re a bit more expensive – but are they worth it?
The answer to that question depends on you. If you’re planning to use your cooktop only occasionally, a single cooking zone might be enough. It will take up less space, and there’ll be less risk of it overheating.
But if you’re planning to use it regularly, dual cooking zones will give you more options. Just check the maximum temperature on each zone. Some models have one smaller zone that will only reach lower temperatures.
How much control do you need?
Cooktops vary in how accurately you can set the temperature. In some cases, there are preset programs for different styles of cooking. In others, you set the temperature yourself. And some will allow you to use both options.
And when it comes to setting the temperature, these are all digital controls. You’ll select either a power level or a specific temperature. So check how wide the intervals between temperatures are. The cooktops on our list vary from 25 to 50 degrees. The narrower the interval, the more control you’ll have.
What about other features?
Would you prefer buttons or a touch panel to control your cooktop? Touch panels can sometimes be temperamental, but they mean a flat surface which is easy to keep clean. Look for models with a lock to prevent the controls being changed by an accidental brush of the panel.
Most cooktops will have a timer, but in some cases that simply means an alert when the time has elapsed. Others will automatically switch off the cooktop, preventing anything from burning.
And if you’re looking for a dual-zone cooktop, look for one where you can set the timer for each zone.
Time to choose!
That brings us to the end of our run-down of seven of the best portable induction cooktops available today. We hope it’s helped you narrow down your search.
Our top pick is the Duxtop. It heats up fast, has plenty of power and a generous cooking surface. And it won’t cost a king’s ransom either.
Whichever model you choose, your portable induction cooktop may soon be your favorite gadget. Enjoy your shopping and happy cooking!