If you are looking for an energy efficient, quick and precise way of preparing delicious food, induction cookers are an affordable option. The most popular induction cooktops are the portable freestanding ones that have one or two burners. These devices vary in temperature and power levels, safety features, design, and cooking surface dimensions. This article provides general information and outlines the features, advantages and disadvantages of three inexpensive portable induction cooktops.
How induction cooktops work
Conventional electric or gas stoves distribute heat differently than induction cooktops. Food is heated on standard ovens when an open flame or a hot surface comes into contact with the bottom of the cooking vessel. Whereas with induction technology, the cooking vessel generates the heat. This type of cooktop contains a ceramic plate with a coil underneath it. When the unit is turned on, an electric current passes through the coil producing a magnetic field. Electric currents are then generated in the vessel’s metal when an induction ready pot or pan is placed on the cooktop. The surface is then heated, with the heat being transferred to the pot or pan containing the food or liquid.
Chef’s Star 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
The Chef’s Star’s 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop is a portable kitchen appliance that has many positive attributes and is reasonably priced.
- 15 power levels from 200-1800 watts
- 15 temperature settings from 140-465 degrees Fahrenheit
- Digital control panel with integrated countdown timer
- Pan-detection system
- Diagnostic error message system
- ETL and FCC certified
- One-year warranty
The Chef’s Star 1800W induction cooktop is competitively priced and has a wide range of settings and many useful design features. It offers 15 power level and 15 temperature settings, allowing the food to be cooked in a precise manner. The digital control panel with LED, displays the power level and temperature (one at a time). The countdown timer is helpful to people who prefer to multi-task in the kitchen or are more comfortable setting a timer and knowing the unit will shut off when the time is up. A safety feature of this unit is that it will only operate if a pot or pan is on the cooktop.
In terms of design, this device is compact and lightweight, making handling easy. Another nice feature is that the fan can circulate air to the magnetic coils due to the four small legs that are attached to the bottom of the unit. This prevents the coils from overheating.
This affordable and well-designed unit can be used for many cooking activities including frying, boiling eggs, making soup or stew or braising. It has more temperature and power controls than the other two cooktops we reviewed for this article.
One complaint about this unit is that the display goes back to default when the temperature or wattage settings are changed.
Rosewill RHAI-13001 1800W Induction Cooker Cooktop with Stainless Steel Pot
The Rosewill RHAI-13001 1800W Induction Cooker Cooktop is a user-friendly unit packed with features for individuals who want to cook meals efficiently and precisely. A stainless-steel pot and removable lid are included with this cooker.
- Measures 13.6 x10.6 x2.4
- Accommodates pans and pots up to 11 inches in diameter
- 8 power levels from 300-1800W
- 8 temperature settings from 150-450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Three-hour timer setting
- LED display/ Touch control panel
- Cookware suitability detection
- Overheating protection feature
- Includes stainless steel pot
- One-year warranty
The RHAI-13001 Rosewill cooktop has eight power levels and eight temperature settings. The temperature options are adjustable in fifty-degree increments starting at 150°F. The 8 power levels available, (in Watts), are: 300, 500, 700, 1000, 1200, 1400, 1600, and 1800. In addition, this unit is packed with safety features including a lock function that prevents the device from being accidentally turned on and an automatic shut off feature that turns the unit off when it senses overheating. It is also equipped with a cookware detection that determines whether the cooking vessel placed on the cooktop will work with the unit. This prevents your pots and pans from being damaged thus saving money and aggravation. Yet another safety feature is the warning message signaling a voltage fluctuation which helps protect the equipment from any damage.
This induction cooktop comes with a stainless steel (18/10) pot. The dimensions of the pot are: opening size: 10.83″, bottom size: 7.6″ , depth: 3.54″ and capacity: 3.5 quart. In terms of aesthetics, it is an elegantly designed device with a polished crystal cooking surface.
Three drawbacks of the RHAI-13001have been noted. First, the pot that comes with it is thin. Second, the device does not automatically shut off when cookware is removed from the surface of the cooktop. Third, the unit sometimes overheats when a very high temperature setting is used for a long period of time.
Kitchen Prop™ Multifunctional Portable 1800 Watt Powerful Induction Cooktop
The KitchenPROP Induction Cooktop offers precision cooking settings, safety features and an ergonomic molded design.
- Ergonomic molded design
- 5 Precision cooking functions
- 10 Temperature settings 176-536 degrees Fahrenheit
- The timer can be set from 1 to 180 minutes
- Pan detection system
- Overheating protection
- Low and high voltage warning system
- Light weight and portable
This portable unit is compact and lightweight making handling easy when taking it on a trip or storing it in small places. The display panel is designed with a slightly tilted button panel allowing it to be easily seen from a distance. It has five precision cooking functions: hot pot, fry, BBQ, milk and water along with ten temperature settings. One of its safety features automatically protects the equipment from overheating so there will be no issues with spillover. Another is the message warning system which signals a voltage fluctuation. Additionally, this unit is designed to turn off if a pan is not detected on the cooktop. The KitchenPROP Induction Cooktop offers great safety features and the ability to prepare multiple types of dishes using the settings available in this affordable unit.
Consumers generally liked this unit, however, there were complaints that the fan was very loud and customer service was non-responsive.
Diverse groups of people are purchasing induction cooktops. These include budget conscious university students who prefer to cook healthy dishes in their dorm rooms, those who want to speed up meal prep time, and individuals living in smaller places with limited kitchen space. The three devices we reviewed are affordable, have enough power and temperature settings to cook a wide variety of foods and include built-in safety features which make them an attractive addition to your kitchen.