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The 5 best electric burners

Stoves are well and good, but when you need a more portable way to cook, an electric burner can really come in handy. The best electric burners are inexpensive, easy to use, easy to clean, and powerful enough to reach high temperatures quickly. With that in mind, a 1,500-watt cast iron hot plate will be your best bet for most cooking tasks.

Conventional electric hot plates tend to be both inexpensive and less susceptible to dings or cracks from heavy cookware. These feature an electric coil that is either exposed (which is often cheaper but can heat less evenly and be more annoying to clean) or encased in cast iron (which is pricier but often easier to clean). Electric burners can take about 10 minutes to heat up, which makes them fine for most cooking — but if you're impatient or really value energy efficiency, induction or infrared cooktops are the way to go. Induction burners use electromagnets to directly heat your cookware, rather than to heat the surface of the cooktop (and indirectly, your cookware), which makes them the most energy efficient of all — though infrared burners are still more efficient than electric coil burners.

Due to its extreme efficiency, induction is often faster to heat up as well — but unlike standard electric and infrared burners, it must be used with magnetic cookware. If you want the speed without having to worry about using the right type of cookware, go with infrared. Otherwise, induction is the fastest, electric coils are the cheapest, and a cast iron electric burner is a good, solid, middle ground. If you need more cooking space, you can also opt for a double burner.

From a standard hot plate to a portable induction model, here are five of the best electric burners on Amazon.

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1. The basic one

The 1,500-watt CUKOR Electric Hot Plate is really simple to operate — just turn the knob to your desired temperature setting and wait about 10 minutes for the indicator light to turn on, letting you know the hot plate is ready. Its integrated coil is encased in a durable cast iron plate — which, along with its stainless steel body, makes it easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth (just make sure to let the burner cool for about 20 minutes first).

Measuring 10.6 by 9.25 inches in size, with a height of 2 inches, it's fairly compact. It clocks in at just under 4 pounds, but it can carry up to 22 pounds of weight. All in all, this is a powerful, reliable, easy to use electric burner that will satisfy most basic cooking needs — all at a great price.

It comes with an 18-month warranty and is also available as a double burner or as an infrared single or double burner.

One reviewer says: “I love it! It's amazing. It's such a sleek, smooth design that makes it easy to clean up after! It gets hot quickly, and is great to cook on! [...] Definitely recommend!!

2. The budget one

With 1,000 watts of power, the Ovente Electric Single Coil Burner is the least powerful hot plate on this list, but it's also the most compact (9.7 by 9 inches), the most lightweight (2.15 pounds), and the most budget-friendly (15 bucks).

Rather than a flat plate, it features an exposed stainless steel coil. Electric coils tend to be less even with heating and less efficient than their more expensive counterparts, and cleaning under the coil can also pose more of a challenge. While it's not the hottest or most durable hot plate you can find, the Ovente Electric Single Coil Burner is so portable and easy on the wallet that it's a fantastic option for occasional use or travel. Plus, it comes with a one-year warranty, and it's available as as a double-burner for under $30.

One reviewer says: “Bought this to use when traveling, so could do some basic cooking. Took it on our last trip and it worked exactly how we wanted it to. Quick to heat up, straightforward to use, and easy clean-up. Would recommend, especially for the price.”

3. The versatile one

The Cuisinart CB-60P1 Double Burner features two cast iron plates and a brushed stainless steel exterior, for an option that's efficient, versatile, and easy to clean. Use the 1,300-watt primary burner to actively cook on one side while keeping a side dish warm with the 500-watt secondary burner. Each integrated coil burner has an adjustable temperature control with six preset settings and two indicator lights (one to let you know it's on and one to let you know it's ready). Nonslip feet keep it securely in place on your counter.

It's quite large at 22.5 by 15.25 inches in size, with a height of 5.75 inches. At 10.6 pounds, it's not the lightest of electric burners, but it's still fairly portable for a double burner. It comes with a one-year warranty.

One reviewer says: “This is perfect as a backup mini stovetop. We had an emergency and had to use the electric mini stovetop for a while. We were shocked at how well the larger burner works! Never boiled water so fast :) The smaller burner is good to keep food warmed up [...] Overall it was a great buy and with its modern look, it feels like a mini version of a real stove.”

4. The infrared burner

Unlike conventional electric burners, this Cusimax Infrared Single Burner Stove only takes a few seconds to heat up. Use the LED display screen and buttons to adjust the burner to one of 15 different heat settings, which range from 100 to 1,500 watts, or set a timer for up to 180 minutes. When you're done cooking, a built-in fan automatically kicks in to quickly cool down the burner.

The smooth stainless steel body and ceramic glass burner are easy to wipe down and can carry up to 22 pounds of weight. The whole thing measures 18.5 by 12.13 by 4.13 inches and weighs 6 pounds. Additionally, this pick comes with an 18-month warranty, and it's also available as a double burner.

One reviewer says: “This single burner heats quickly, cools in minutes. The heat settings stay constant. Very satisfied. Good looking machine that's easy to clean and compact enough to fit minimal counter space.”

5. The induction burner

The 1,800-watt Secura Duxtop Induction Cooktop is the most powerful hot plate on this list. You can choose to operate the burner in terms of wattage or temperature: It has 15 preset power levels from 200 watts to 1,800 watts, and 15 preset temperature settings ranging from 140 degrees to 460 degrees. (According to reviewers, it can run slightly hotter than what’s displayed, so err on the lower side until you’ve adjusted to it.) It must be used with induction-compatible magnetic cookware, which means cast iron, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum pots are all fair game.

The control panel has easy-to-use buttons and a display screen with a built-in digital timer that you can set for up to 170 minutes. The induction cooktop also shuts off automatically if you remove your magnetic cookware from it for 60 seconds. This Duxtop Induction Cooktop measures 16 by 12.5 inches in size, and weighs 6.85 pounds. It has a 25-pound weight limit.

With nearly 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and counting, plus a one-year warranty, the Secura Duxtop Induction Cooktop is an all-around solid choice.

One reviewer says: “This cooktop is amazing. I love the portability; at times I take it outside and cook bison burgers, other times I'm brewing tea for ice tea, and usually cook all my veggies on this as the heat control is delicate and perfect. [...] I've been using the cooktop for several months now with zero problems. I find this cooks so much quicker than my elec. range and creates less heat/steam in my kitchen.”