When a stove isn't an option or when you could just use an extra burner or two, using one of the best hot plates can be a convenient alternative. Plus, they're compact, so they’re easy to store away when not in use. When choosing a hot plate, you’ll usually have to decide between one-burner or two-burner models.
However, beyond that, it’s essential to look for options with a wide range of heat settings and safety features. To prevent overheating or accidents while cooking, many hot plates will have an automatic shut-off feature. Another bonus safety option are overheating prevention thermal fuses. Especially if you plan on taking your unit on a boat, RV, or other moving location, you’ll want to look for sturdy, nonslip feet.
The next thing you'll likely have to decide between is induction vs. non-induction. Standard electric plates will work with all cookware, while induction hot plates can only be used with induction-compatible cookware, like most stainless steel or cast iron. Standard electric plates also tend to cost less than induction hot plates. However, since induction cooking uses electromagnetic field technology, it tends to heat faster and with more precision than non-induction plates. The heat goes directly to your cookware through the conduction process, so when you remove the pot, heating stops — a nice safety feature if you turn the burner on without a pan by accident.
To help make picking the perfect hot plate easy, here’s my roundup of the best hot plates on Amazon. All of these appliances are top-rated and feature-rich.