The best hot plates for cooking without a kitchen

No stove, no problem.

food on a chopping block
Another cooking surface.Katie Smith via Unsplash

Hot plates are useful in all sorts of spaces, including a kitchenette, dorm, den, RV, and guest house. Many commercial kitchens even use hot plates for additional stove space. (They’re also great if you’re making Tasty-style recipe videos.) With the right appliances, you can set up a makeshift kitchen anyplace with a power source. There are, however, plenty of dinky hot plates that won’t heat a pot or pan evenly and effectively. Such poorly made portable burners will simply take up space while you order takeout. To help steer your mini kitchen in the right direction, here’s a list of strong and reliable hot plates available today.

SiLER 1800W Sensor Touch Electric Induction Cooker Cooktop
Large induction burner with sensor touch technology.Amazon

This 1800W glass surface hot plate has nine power levels for different styles of cooking such as simmering, frying, and steaming. There are also eight preset temperature levels, though you can also manually set it to your specific desired temperature up to 460°F. The iSiLER has a wide heating zone that fits pots and pans as wide as 22 cm. Despite its large coverage, the burner itself is only 6 cm thick, making it light and portable. This is also an especially safe option, since it includes a child lock, cook timer, and a thermostat that prevents it from internally overheating.

Cuisinart CB-60P1 Cast-Iron Double Burner
Durable cast-iron surface.Amazon

This 1800W Cuisinart double hot plate is heavy duty and reliable. Its cast iron plates help it cook evenly and at high heat. Each burner has six power settings on a dial, functioning more like an electric stove than a temperature-specific induction burner. It has safety features like LED lights to let you know it is switched on and non-slip rubber feet for stable cooking. This item is slightly heavier than other options due to its dual cast-iron burners, though it is still definitely portable.

Maxi-Matic ESB-301BF Single Electric Flat Cast Iron Heating Plate
Single cast-iron hot plate at a low price.Amazon

This is a high value item for its cost. With 1000W of power, it heats to four settings: warm, low, medium, and high. It has few frills but works effectively and is easy to clean due to the sturdy non-stick cast-iron burner. It also has rubber non-slip feet for safety. The red LED will tell you that it is turned on. The Maxi-Matic is nicely compact and portable at 9 by 9 inches.

Ovente Electric Glass Infrared Burner 7 Inch Single Hot Plate
Weighs only 3 pounds!Amazon

This tiny 1000W burner cooks with infrared technology on a ceramic glass plate for even temperature control. You can set it to 5 different temperatures up to just above 212°F. Measuring 7 by 9.5 inches, this is especially suited to small spaces or road-trippers. The Ovente also features an LED light and nonslip feet. It is suitable for all types of cookware.