Cooking over a campfire sounds like a fun outdoor adventure. But it can also be tedious and time-consuming.
Enter portable stovetops.
A portable stovetop is a type of cookware that can make your outdoor cooking a breeze. It allows you to cook meals anytime, anywhere.
However, with so many cooktops on the market, choosing which type to use can be a major hurdle.
Here, we’ll discuss the different kinds of portable stovetop to guide you on your buying process. We’ve also narrowed down the choices and listed the best ones that could fit in your RV, kitchen, dorm rooms, and many more!
The Best Portable Stovetop Cookers for Easy Cooking When Traveling and Camping
1.Smooth Electric Burners
This type of portable stovetop is generally made from cast iron or ceramic. It has a heating mechanism underneath, which warms up the surface.
You may find this cooker attractive because of its smooth burner surface. And the good thing about the surface is that it’s flat, which enables the heat to be evenly distributed. This provides uniform cooking.
Additionally, cleaning this type of portable stovetop is very easy to do. Usually, all you have to do is just wipe off the surface area, and your burner would already be squeaky-clean. This makes it perfect for camping, since you can spend less time cleaning.
One drawback of smooth electric burners is that they heat slowly. They also tend to be more costly than other types of portable stovetop.
Cast iron may be a solid option for camping, as it’s rugged and tough. It can withstand outdoor conditions. However, its surface may not still be as durable as other electric cooktops.
In addition, the temperature levels may frequently go up and down, adding a bit of a challenge to your food preparation.
Here are some of the best portable electric stoves:
- Heavy-duty cast iron plate
- 1300-watt large plate
- 6-setting adjustable temperature control from low to highest heat
- Ready and On indicator lights
- "Coil-less" cooking surface for easy cleanup
This unit may be a single burner, but its 1,300-watt large plate can handle cooking for the whole crowd. It measures 11.5 x 11 x 2.5 inches, making it compact, yet powerful enough to carry an 8- to 9-pound load.
This smooth electric burner is also easy to operate. It comes with a single knob that controls the temperature settings and lights that indicate when the device is ready to use. The knob stays cool despite the long cooking time.
If your camping calls for extensive cooking, this is the best portable electric stove for you.
This cookware provides full power and solid housing to handle intense dishes. Its 1,500-watt burner can carry extreme heat and hold 6- to 8-quart pots.
Furthermore, its temperature control allows you to do different cooking techniques. It also has a built-in thermostat that regulates the temperature so the burner would maintain your preferred heat level.
2. Coiled Electric Burners
Unlike smooth-top burners, this type of electric burner displays its coils above the stove. It functions by heating this set of coils.
This electric stove is long-lasting. It may also be cheaper than other portable stovetop cookers.
The coils are designed in such a way that edge-to-edge doneness of meals is possible. It’s also versatile, as you can partner any kind of pans and pots with it.
The exterior of this electric cooktop is hardy, which makes it ideal for campground cooking. Plus, there are units that are rust- and scratch-resistant as well.
Coiled burners have disadvantages, though.
Like smooth burners, coils heat slowly. They may not also lock in your desired temperature.
It can be problematic to clean this type of burner, too. This is because the area between and under the coils can be unreachable.
Some of the best coiled electric cooktop are as follows:
If you’re looking for a portable electric stove that embodies affordability and flexibility, this coiled burner is perfect for you.
Measuring 3.5 x 9.8 x 9.1 inches and weighing less than two pounds, this single burner has a small diameter and minimal weight. But don’t underestimate its power, as it’s surprisingly packed with 1,100 watts, which may just be everything you need.
It’s very handy, and you can easily transport it. You can store it anywhere in the campsite, dorm room, or office, and it won’t take up much space.
Its silver and black color combination adds to the stove’s sleek look. Its feet are made of rubber, preventing it from sliding and slipping.
It also comes with a drip tray made of stainless steel. This tray, which is removable, is situated under the coils. This can make it easier for you to clean up after cooking.
Its power light, which also serves as a safety feature, tells you when the unit is hot and in use.
The blend of stainless steel and bright white color of this portable electric stove will immediately catch your attention. But its neat appearance isn’t the only thing this unit can offer.
The Proctor Silex is powered with 1,000 watts, which is enough to perform various cooking methods. Whether you wish to keep your coffee warm, boil vegetables, or simmer soup, this portable stovetop can do it all.
It has temperature control, which you can adjust from low to high heat. It’s also equipped with indicator light and rubber feet, which are especially helpful when cooking outdoors.
When it’s time for cleanup, you can lift its coil upwards, so you can easily wipe off the spills and drip the pan. Once done, you can already prepare another round of tasty treats!
3. Portable Induction Cooktops
Induction stovetops are also a type of electric cooker since you don’t have to use open flame or fuel to heat it. They use coils–copper coils specifically–which are located under the surface.
But what makes them different from other cooktop options that also use electric current is the way the heat is transferred.
Other electric burners use thermal conduction, whereas induction cooking happens with the use of electromagnetic radiation.
Induction cooktops use electromagnets to create a magnetic field. Afterward, it distributes heat to the cookware so you can start cooking. The pot or pan then turns itself as the heat source.
The good thing about a portable induction burner is that the air between the pot and the stove doesn’t get hot. Therefore, it doesn’t release residual heat, keeping your surroundings cooler.
Additionally, it distributes heat directly to the pan, not to the surface area. It means that the cooktop won’t get hot, so you don’t have to worry in case you accidentally touch it. Plus, if you spill food onto the surface, it won’t cook itself since the surface is cool, which also means that the cleanup would be a breeze.
A portable induction has a speedy heating process; it can cook your meals fast. It may only take around five minutes to boil water with this cooktop, versus seven minutes on a coiled burner and eight minutes on a gas range.
Most induction cookers come with an adjustable power level that usually ranges from 100°F to 500°F. They also feature a digital control panel and a built-in timer.
In addition, they have child safety lock settings so your kids won’t be able to operate the burner. This can also avoid the temperature from being accidentally changed.
Other safety features include sensors and automatic shut off to prevent overheating and fires.
Induction burners tend to be more high-priced than other electric burners. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you may find it hard to look for a unit that’s within your preferred price.
Moreover, they require compatible cookware. The pans and pots must be made of ferromagnetic material to suit this type of portable stovetop. Specifically, this material should be either:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
Cookware made of other materials, such as copper and aluminum, won’t be compatible with it.
You may also find an induction cooktop a bit complicated and sensitive to use. You might need to cook a few times before you become familiar with its power settings.
It may also emit a buzzing noise, which you might find troubling. This sound is the result of the burner’s exposure to the magnetic field.
Also, some devices such as mobile phones, radios, and televisions may interfere with the electromagnetic field of the induction burner. So, it’s best to keep these appliances away from your cooking area.
More importantly, if you have a cardiac pacemaker, consult your doctor before using this cooktop. Induction cooker may interfere with your pacemaker.
Some of the best induction cooktops are:
- PORTABLE INDUCTION BURNER Duxtop induction cooktop uses 120V 15 amp electrical outlet–standard in all North American homes. ETL listed and built to North American electrical standards. Lightweight, portable induction cooktop makes handling and storage easy. Perfect for dorm rooms, home kitchens, backyard cooking, RVs, boats, etc.
- HIGH EFFICIENCY Choose from 15 preset power levels 200W to 1800W and 15 preset temperature level settings 140 F to 460 F. With an 83 percentage energy efficiency rating, induction cooker is more efficient than traditional gas or electric stoves yet provides quick heat-up and faster cooking times
- EASY TO CLEAN & VIEW With no open flame or heating element, food does not burn on the oversized glass cooktop, making the induction burner easy to clean just wipe with a damp towel. The angle control panel with a large display screen, providing easy viewing, even from a distance.
- REQUIRES INDUCTION READY COOKWARE Induction stoves rely on cookware to heat, so it’s essential to choose magnetic bottom cookware with a minimum diameter of 5 inches. The auto-pan detection will shut the unit off automatically after 60 seconds if no cookware, or the incorrect cookware is detected.
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED Please allow the induction hot plate to cool down before cleaning. If you have any questions with our product, please feel free to contact our customer service.
If you’re looking for a portable stovetop that heats fast and has a user-friendly interface, this is the best induction cooktop for you.
One of the reasons why this is one of the highest-rated portable cooktops on the market is because it allows you to precisely adjust the settings. Plus, with its 15 pre-set power levels, ranging from 200 to 1,800 watts, this appliance requires minimal effort. Just touch the buttons, and your cooking can already be done.
With its six cooking modes and 10 heat levels, this induction cooktop can prepare various types of meals. What’s more, you can use a wide range of pans that measure from 4- to 10-inch diameter.
Its surface is made of smooth glass, making your cleanup simple and fast. Just wipe it off with a damp cloth, and you’re ready for another cooking round.
4. Infrared Stoves
This type of portable stovetop functions through infrared heat, which is harmless to the body.
In this process, the electric current heats the coils. Heat is then produced and transferred to the surface area, warming up the bottom of the pot or pan.
It has a halogen lamp situated inside the surface area, and the coils surround these bulbs to release radiant heat. When it’s turned on, the halogen bulbs glow and shine bright red. Several hot plates and ceramic stoves these days are made out of this kind of technology.
An infrared cooker also works like a regular electric stove. But unlike induction cooktops, you may use any type of cookware with it–from aluminum to ceramic to magnetic–you name it! With this, you don’t have to spend for a compatible cookware; you can work with any pan or pot you already have.
You may also use it for baking instead of an oven. It evenly distributes the heat throughout the surface and keeps the moisture content of your meals. It also doesn’t give off any noise!
And perhaps the best thing about infrared cookers is that they’re energy-efficient. In fact, you can save up to three times more electricity when you use this device.
One disadvantage of an infrared cooktop is that its heating elements tend to get extremely hot. This may pose some risks and cause accidents, especially if you have kids and pets roaming around.
Some of the best infrared stoves out there are:
This stylish and sophisticated portable stovetop is an electric double burner, which means you can prepare more than one meal at the same time. Each ceramic glass burner generates 900 watts, which is enough to cook small to medium-sized meals.
It has two separate knobs with eight temperature settings for each burner. It also heats up quickly to your desired temperature. It can even warm up much quicker than your standard cooking range!
This stove features an automatic shut off to avoid overheating. This makes it safe to use whether you’re camping or working in your kitchen.
Additionally, even if it’s a double burner, it’s still portable, weighing 7.5 pounds and measuring 20.8 x 3 x 8.9 inches.
This infrared hot plate is covered in stainless steel. It’s heavy-duty, making it ideal for campgrounds and RVs.
A hot plate takes 20 seconds to cool down. This means that your meals can be kept warm longer.
It’s also powered by 1,200 watts, which means that the core can heat up in just a few seconds. In addition, it comes with a thermal fuse to protect the unit from overheating.
5. Portable Butane Stoves
This portable stovetop is one of the most popular choices of travelers and campers alike. It’s available in single and double burners, and using it is similar to a cooking range.
It uses a canister, which is a round container of compressed gas or butane. Then, it creates heat through an open flame.
Its simple design makes it easy to use outdoors. The stove can quickly bring water to a boil and cook your meals. Plus, its lightweight and compact size are great for backpacking.
Another good news is that they’re more affordable than other portable stovetop cookers.
Butane doesn’t work well in low temperatures. It may not function properly when stored in a temperature below freezing point.
Furthermore, it can be more dangerous compared with other cookers. This is because the canister has a tendency to overheat and explode.
Using this stove indoors isn’t also recommended due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s not advisable to use it inside a tent as well, since tents can easily catch fire.
Some of the best portable butane stoves are:
This butane-powered stove stands out because of its double-wind guard burner. This feature gives protection to the flame so it won’t go out in case the wind blows.
It’s also packed with safety features such as a regulator with pressure-sensing shut-off and a hard-shell carrying case.
This portable stovetop seems like a bulky appliance, but it only weighs three pounds. In addition, it may just be the most fuel-efficient stove out there.
It doesn’t create any noise, which makes it perfect for interactive cooking and outdoor parties. It also automatically shuts off once it senses something wrong with the fuel.
Choosing the right type of portable stovetop can make a big difference in your camping and in your whole cooking experience. Assess your priorities and preferences to help you in your decision making process.
For instance, if you wish to want an easy-to-clean stove, stick with smooth electric burners. Meanwhile, if you wish to reduce your energy costs, then an infrared burner is perfect for you.
Whether you’re backpacking, camping, preparing in a busy kitchen, or cooking during a power outage, one thing’s for sure–this handy appliance can meet your various cooking needs. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment!
Heading out for camping? Visit our page to know more about cooking tips, recipes, and appliances that can make your camp experience more fun!