Whether you need something to cook ramen with in your dorm room or you’re going on the road, a portable cooktop induction can be a valuable tool.
We’ve done some research, picking out what we consider the best portable induction cooktop. We’ve sorted them based on their budget, overall quality, and who we think they’re best for.
So if you’re looking for a cooktop fit for college or a good dual-cooker, you might find them in our portable induction cooktop reviews.
Best Portable Induction Cooktops
Below, you’ll find detailed close-ups of the best induction cooktops we found:
1. Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop
It’s got some excellent safety features too, like auto-pan detection, which shuts the cooktop off after 60 seconds if it doesn’t detect any pans. If you’re a little on the forgetful side, you can set a timer for when the unit turns off. The diagnostic error message system helps you troubleshoot any issues you might run into. The cooktop works fast in heating and cooling speed, boiling water in about three minutes, cooling just as quickly.
Note that you’ll need to use cookware with a magnetic bottom to cook on this cooktop effectively. The cooktop will beep in a certain way to let you know if your cookware will work with it. It will also beep at you (pretty loudly and a little annoyingly) if you turn it on without a pot or pan on the cooktop. The cooling fans on the bottom of the unit are a little loud, but they’re not any louder than, say, a bathroom exhaust fan.
The cooktop itself is a little tall, thanks to the little plastic legs on each corner. In that regard, it’s probably better for bringing inside and outside your home, rather than traveling with it.
- It heats up and cools down fast
- A diagnostic error system helps with troubleshooting
- It lets you know whether your cookware is induction-compatible
- Easy temperature control
- Works outside in below-freezing temperatures
- Beeping alert is a little annoying
- A little tall for true portability
- Non-magnetic cookware does not work with it
2. Duxtop Energy Saving Portable Induction Cooktop
The digital LCD sensor is a nice touch, along with child safety locks that keep settings from changing after you set them. The controls are also quite intuitive, with 0.5 to 10-degree increments for perfect control. You just have to press one button to perform certain functions, like a fast boil button and a button for keeping things warm up for a half-hour. Maintaining temperatures that easily saves time for other cooking tasks and gives more peace of mind.
If you don’t use the correct cookware, or there is no cookware on the unit, it will automatically shut off. The cooktop is pretty slick, so be careful when you slide your cookware onto the top. You can easily switch between power and temp mode, where you can choose high, medium, or low power, or any temp you choose. Both work pretty well.
The traditional glass cooktop is easy to clean, but you have to let the cooktop cool completely (even though most of the heat goes into the cookware). Plus, the blue LED screen is bright and easy to read.
The cooling fan might also be a little loud, but there are no beeping noises. The unit just quietly turns off when it’s done cooking. However, there is a slight crack between the cooktop and front panel where water might drip inside, but it shouldn’t be too big a problem.
- Incredible temperature control
- The warming button and fast boil buttons save time
- Compact design for taking anywhere
- No annoying beeps–the unit turns off quietly
- The blue LED screen is bright and easy to read
- 20 power levels might be a little much
- Some units don’t come with rubber feet
- A slight crack between the cooktop and front panel
3. iSiLER 1800W Sensor Touch Electric Induction Cooker Cooktop
You can do so using the large touch buttons, which make it easy to change temperatures. The (+) and (-) buttons also allow you to set a timer in one-minute increments. It’s also slim, at 2.3 inches thick. Such a small size also allows you to store or pack the cooktop anywhere you need. Don’t worry about scratching the cooking surface too much since the premium glass surface resists wear and is easy to clean.
Just in case you have kids around, you can set the child lock. For your safety, overheating protection keeps the induction cooker from breaking down. The bottom of the appliance does not heat up, even at the maximum 1800V power, so it’s safe to use on a wooden surface.
One downside to this induction cooker is that you can only use stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled cast iron cookware. However, that’s because these kinds of cookware conduct electricity the fastest, making water boil faster and olive oil heats up quicker. It’s not the quietest appliance to use, either.
- Touch buttons are easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Cooktop glass does not easily scratch
- Heats up fast to boil water
- Safe to use on a wooden surface
- Can only use specific types of cookware
- It does not quite evenly heat the whole pan
- A little loud to use
4. NuWave PIC FLEX Induction Cooktop
The digital temperature controls adjust in 10-degree increments, and you can program cooking procedures into the cooktop. You can even set a timer with the Delay function when you want to start cooking.
The cooktop is slim enough that you can take it anywhere you like, as long as you have access to an electric outlet. If you want to save energy while cooking, you can choose from three wattage settings (600, 900, and 1300). The cooling fan under the unit is also not that loud, so you can cook on it while your roommate(s) is asleep.
Safety-wise, the NuWave PIC works excellently. Induction technology heats the cookware, but the PIC surface itself stays cool to the touch. Plus, the cooktop turns off when you remove cookware from the unit and when the cooking time reaches zero. It’s perfect for slightly forgetful cooks.
As a bonus, the NuWave PIC FLEX comes with an induction-ready, 9-inch fry pan, which you can also use on electric and gas stoves. The instruction manual itself has a few recipes to try. You can also download a special app to access over 800 recipes and cooking procedures to program into the cooktop.
- The instruction manual comes with recipes
- Easy to clean and store
- Quiet enough to use while someone is asleep
- Unit turns off without any cookware on it
- Precise temperature control for many recipes
- Beeps loudly to let you know it’s turning off
- A bit of a learning curve to use
- Can only cook with specific cookware
5. NutriChef Double Induction Cooktop
If you need to steam or fry something, you can use those specific one-button modes, along with a warm mode, so you can save freshly cooked food for later. The water mode helps boil water in just a couple of minutes. Temperature control is, in short, pretty great.
As with most good induction cookers, you can only use cookware with magnetic properties, saving time and energy in heating things. The cooktop comes with a child safety lock for extra safety, so your settings don’t get changed accidentally.
The NutriChef cooktop blends well with any kitchen decor, thin and compact enough to slip into storage when necessary. The cooktop comes from tempered ceramic glass and is safe for both countertops and tables. The glass also resists scratches and stains, so it’s easy to clean and care for.
Keep in mind that the whole unit uses only 1800 watts. While one unit can go full power, the other one might only be able to simmer. You might also have to deal with a little more fan noise for cooling, but overall, it’s not that loud. People who prefer temperature control with more increments might not like it (it jumps from 140 to 210 degrees), and you might have to play around with it.
- Temperature control works great
- The tempered glass surface is easy to clean
- Every cooking mode works fast
- Duo fans for extra cooling power
- Slim design helps it fit in multiple locations
- Temperature incrementing is not the most precise
- Both burners cannot use high heat at the same time
- Figuring out how to split maximum heat between two burners
Induction Cooktop vs. Electric Cooktop
When it comes to cooking without gas, some people get split between a regular induction cooktop and an electric plate. Both come in handy for cooking, but they conduct heat differently.
How does Induction Cooking Work?
Induction cooktops use copper coils, which conduct heat with electromagnetic radiation. Magnets underneath the cooking surface help distribute the heat, while a current of electricity passes through the copper coil and into the cookware. The resulting magnetic field swings back and forth between the cookware and the cooktop, producing heat that cooks food in the cookware.
- Portability. Induction cooktops are popular in college dorms, RVs, and outdoor cooking because they contain plenty of cooking power in such a small unit. You’ll still need power to make them run, but you don’t have to cook in just your kitchen.
- Safety. With how much heat these cookers use, they usually have child lock features to prevent settings from accidentally changing.
- Energy-efficient. These cookers use an electrical outlet. They specifically don’t use gas or excess heat, so they save time and energy. Without letting off excess heat, they also don’t let your kitchen get as hot with gas heat.
- Magnetic cookware is required. You must use cookware that is induction-friendly, meaning they usually come in steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron, and so on.
- Safe to touch. Inductive cooktops transfer heat from the internal heat coil to the pan so the cooktop itself stays cool. That way, if food gets spilled, it does not bake on the cooktop and get hard.
- Fast heating and cooling. Induction cooktops start fast, meaning you can put water on the cooktop to boil, and it will be ready in just a few moments.
How does Electric Cooking Work?
An electric cooktop passes an electrical current through a metal coil beneath the cooking surface. Electrical resistance to that coil causes it to grow hot, using infrared energy to transfer the heat through the cooking surface. The transfer of heat between the cooktop and the cookware is what cooks the food.
- Controlled heat. Like inductive cooktops, electric cooktops control the heat they generate, so they save energy and don’t give off excessive heat.
- Residual heat keeps food warm. Electric cooktops maintain some residual heat even after you turn them off. That extra heat allows you to keep food on the stovetop warm without keeping the cooktop powered on.
- Safer to use than gas. Electric cooktops contain heat and don’t use an open fire to cook. For someone just starting to learn to cook, it could be a safer, easier alternative.
- Use any cookware you like. Unlike inductive cookware, which requires magnetic properties to conduct the cooktop’s heat, electric cooktops can work with any cookware material you have on hand.
How to Care for Your Portable Induction Cooktop
Portable induction cooktops are among the easiest kitchen products to maintain. They don’t remain hot after taking your cookware off, so spilled food cannot bake onto the surface.
Nonetheless, before you clean your portable induction cooktop, you need to let the cooktop cool entirely. Usually, you’ll only need a nonabrasive sponge or damp paper towel to clean the cooktop after every use. In more extreme cases, a damp dishtowel with some mild soap can help. Don’t use anything that can scratch the surface.
Sometimes buildup may occur around the exhaust vent. You may be able to remove the debris using a vacuum cleaner attachment. The more industrious cooks out there can take the unit apart for a more thorough clean. Also, make sure that you allow air to circulate around the vent, with at least 4 to 6 inches clearance behind the unit.
Aside from pots or pans, don’t place cooking utensils on a hot cooktop, especially if they have magnetic metal in them. Please don’t use the cooktop if the surface has cracked. Contact your manufacturer and see if they’ll send you a replacement cooktop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap up, we want to address a few questions you might have about using and taking care of a portable induction cooktop.
While cooking with gas is effective, it requires you to be a lot more watchful of your food. For instance, if you wanted to deep fry something on a gas stovetop, you would need to change the heat setting constantly, so the temperature stays constant. Induction cookers maintain a set temperature, so you don’t have to watch it as closely.
Also, if you’re cooking in warmer weather, an induction cooktop does not put warmth into the room, as a gas cooktop will. If you love to cook a lot in the summer, you won’t have to crank up the air conditioning as a result, continuing to save energy.
Usually, an induction-friendly pan will create a more even cook. If you know what temperature and time it takes to cook something evenly, you can maintain that temperature as long as it takes to cook.
Please refer to our Induction vs Gas cooktop comparison guide.
With induction cooktops, you’ll need cookware with magnetic bottoms. Stainless steel cookware, as well as cast iron and enameled cast iron, works just fine, as well as aluminum. You want a material that will conduct electricity, heating the cooking vessel rather than the stove itself. Doing so creates a much more even cook.
Copper or glass cookware may only work if they have magnetic properties in the bottom. If not, the induction cooktop might not recognize it and not heat it. Luckily, you can purchase an interface-compatible disc, which you can place on the cooktop to adapt your pot to the unit.
Note that while cast iron works great with an induction cooktop, it can more easily scratch the glass cooktop surface, so be careful with it.
Induction cooktops generate heat when they touch a surface with magnetic properties. The surface is cool to touch where it is not touching the cookware.
However, it may immediately be hot when you remove the cookware. Still, most induction cooktops cool quickly, so you won’t have to worry about burning yourself several moments after turning the cooktop off.
The first step is just to be careful with placing the cookware on the cooktop. Many cooktops come from premium glass that resists scratches, but you might need something a little more robust. Some people put a sheet of baking paper or parchment paper between their cookware and the cooktop since the paper is soft to the touch and resists heat.
If you do get scratches, you can try rubbing the cooktop with baking soda and water. Don’t use any abrasive sponges for applying the cleaning mixture.
If plastic melts onto your cooktop, turn the cooktop off immediately. While the cooktop is still warm, gently scrape off the plastic with a razor blade, and then wipe the surface with a damp paper towel. Make sure you wear oven mitts, so you don’t burn yourself on the hot surface.
Induction cooking is a lot of fun, and you can do so many things with all the features available to you. No matter the brand, you can take them anywhere with you. You just have to decide which temperature settings you like, whether you want a bright LCD menu screen, or if you prefer tactile buttons to touch buttons, among other things.
We hope you have fun shopping for your own best portable induction cooktop and that these portable induction cooker reviews gave you a hand.