The 5 Different Types of Portable Stovetop Cookers

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!

RELATED: 5 Best Pots And Pans For Gas Stove 2023

Table of Contents

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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:

Cuisinart Cast-Iron Single Burner

Cuisinart CB-30P1 Cast-Iron Single Burner, Stainless Steel

$59.95  in stock
6 new from $59.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • 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.

Broil King Professional Cast Iron Range

Broil King PCR-1B Professional Cast Iron Range, Black

$170.00
$143.74
 in stock
10 new from $138.26
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • 7 1/8" diameter heavy-duty cast iron element
  • Solid element surface delivers heat evenly to pot or pan
  • Handles up to 12-quart pots
  • Infinite heat control keeps food simmering or boiling
  • 120 volts-1500 watts

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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:

IMUSA Electric Single Burner

IMUSA USA GAU-80305 Electric Single Burner 1100-Watts, Black

$14.00  in stock
3 new from $14.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • Can Be Used for Cooking Outdoors or in the Office
  • Features a Temperature Regulating Knob with Heat Distribution Coils
  • Power Indicator Light. Non-slip rubber feet prevents product from sliding
  • Slim Space Saving Design
  • This item shouldn’t be use for more than 60 minutes in a 2-hour period as indicated in the manual

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.

Proctor Silex Electric Single Burner Cooktop

Proctor Silex Electric Single Burner Cooktop, Compact and Portable, Adjustable Temperature Hot Plate, 1200 Watts, 34106, White & Stainless

$24.99  in stock
2 new from $24.99
8 used from $15.86
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • FAST HEATING WITH 1200 WATTS Quickly boil water first thing in the morning for pour-over coffee or hot tea prepare a family meal or keep a side dish warm This electric stove (single) heats up quickly so beverages and meals are ready when you are
  • PORTABLE AND COMPACT FOR EASY TRAVEL AND STORAGE Add extra cooking space where and when you need it most from over the holidays and during home renovations to hot-pot style dining and camping It fits anywhere is easy to move around and is compact for easy storage
  • SINGLE BURNER WORKS WITH ALL TYPES OF COOKWARE This adjustable temperature electric burner (single) is compatible with every kind of cookware including aluminum (which will not work on an induction cooker)
  • VERSATILE COOKING — HEAT ADJUSTS FROM WARM TO HIGH The heat dial on this adjustable temperature portable electric stove lets you select the right temperature for every task from keeping food warm to boiling water for coffee or tea
  • EASY-TO-CLEAN PLATE AND HINGED 5 5 INCH DIAMETER COIL For easy cleaning lift up the heating coil after it cools completely to access the plate beneath then simply wipe away any spills or messy drips

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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:

Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop

Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Black 9100MC/BT-M20B

$80.99
$75.49
 in stock
42 used from $56.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • 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.

Hamilton Beach Single Induction Cooktop

Hamilton Beach Portable Single Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner Hot Plate with Fast Heating Mode, 1800 Watts, 10 Temperature Settings up to 450F, Black (34104)

$69.99
$55.99
 in stock
2 new from $55.99
14 used from $39.19
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • HEATS 40% FASTER (than a typical smooth top range or stove when boiling water): Whether you're cooking a family meal or heating soup, you'll enjoy fast heat up and time-saving meal preparation with this induction cooktop.
  • Flexible cooking Controls with display: Choose a heat level from 1-10 or cook with an exact temperature in Fahrenheit (180-450) or Celsius (82-232) with this induction cooker.
  • ZERO TO BOIL IN 7 MINUTES: You'll enjoy less waiting time every time you boil water for hot beverages or pasta. When boiling 1. 5 quarts of water from room temperature
  • Versatile pan sizes: cook with everything from small 4" Diameter Saucepans up to 10" Diameter frying pans and stockpots — it's like having a fifth burner right where you need it.
  • Includes induction test magnet: if it sticks to your pan, it's induction-ready cookware.

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.

RELATED: Best Stainless-Steel Cookware Sets (Top 5 Ranked)

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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:

Cusimax Portable Electric Stove

Cusimax Portable Electric Stove, 1800W Infrared Double Burner Heat-up In Seconds, 7 Inch Ceramic Glass Double Hot Plate Cooktop for Dorm Office Home Camp, Compatible w/All Cookware - Upgraded Version

$62.49  in stock
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • [WORKS WITH ALL TYPES OF COOKWARE]: Compatible with pots and pans with maximum size of 7.1 inches. Works with glass, copper and frying pans, Cast-iron and aluminum and heats cookware efficiently with minimal heat loss. All CUSIMAX products are covered by Product Liability Insurance of United States.
  • [HEAT-UP IN SECONDS] Compare to hot plate burner which takes minutes to heat up, Infrared burners takes few seconds to heat up. Powered by 120V and 900-Watts (left plate) + 900-Watts (right plate), add up to 1800W. Cook food including warm sauces, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, boil water, make soup, cook pasta and vegetables and do so much more. Please cover your cookware with a lid when boil water.
  • [CONVENIENT] The small scale in size makes it very portable. Ideal for dorm rooms, offices, camping, or even your RV. Great for every day use or as an extra cooking appliance in a busy kitchen. No stovetop required. Simply wipe with a clean damp cloth when cool.
  • [SAFE & DURABLE] NO Radiation, our infrared cooktop works by far infrared heating and has no electromagnetic radiation, and therefore, it is harmless to the human body. Automatic safety shutoff function with temperature regulated by a thermostat, it is normal when the indicator turns on and off automatically. Black Stainless steel body built to withstand frequent use. Durable ceramic cooktop.
  • [WARRANTY] 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. 18-Month warranty by registering with us. Customer Satisfaction is our goal, and Cusimax brand stands behind their products. With free Lifetime Customer Service, please contact us with any issues so that we can resolve them or replace your product. Get Yours Now, Risk-Free!

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.

CUKOR Electric Single Hot Plate

CUKOR Electric Single Hot Plate,Portable Stove,1200W Infrared Single Burner for cooking, Heat-up In Seconds, 7.1 Inch Ceramic Cooktop for Dorm Office Home Camp, Compatible w/All Cookware

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL: Perfect solution for frying, stir-frying, and slow cooking, it can also be used for Teppanyaki and barbeque with a barbeque plate and rack (not included). Comes with 30-day return and 18-month free replacement policies. Our factory has passed BSCI certification,and all our products are certified by ETL.
  • COMPATIBLE WITH ALL COOKWARE:Can accommodate cookware as large as 7.1'' in diameter and as heavy as 22 lbs. Different than an induction cooker, the CUKOR infrared burner can be used with any pan-shaped cookware made of aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic or glass (e.g., frying pans, woks and stovetop teapots).
  • SMALL SIZE & LIGHT WEIGHT: The compact designs means the burner consumes little space in your busy kitchen, making it a perfect backup solution to cover a big party. The body is built with stainless steel for frequent and heavy use. Thus, it is an ideal choice in many places -- dorms, offices, campsites, RVs and home.
  • FAST HEATING AND HIGH TEMPERATURES: With 120V/1800W power supply, our vertical heating technology lets the core finish heating in just few seconds. Heat is distributed evenly and efficiently through infrared radiation, to achieve desired cooking temperatures. Please do not touch the burner body when in use.
  • SAFE & EFFICIENT: The burner cycles on and off to maintain the desired temperature automatically. It is equipped with thermal fuse for overheating protection. Other advantages include: voltage regulator, flameless operation, no carbon monoxide, no radiation and no stovetop required. It is safe and saves 30% electricity compared with traditional induction cookers. Note: Please cover your cookware with a lid when it is used to boil water.

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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:

Chef Master Portable Butane Stove

Chef Master 90019 Portable Butane Stove, 15,000 BTU Single Burner Gas Stove, Camping and Backpacking Essentials, Piezo Electric Ignition, Double Wind Guard Burner, Hard Carrying Case

$55.80  in stock
5 new from $55.80
1 used from $55.24
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • PIEZO ELECTRIC IGNITION - The Chef Master 15,000 BTU Portable Camping Stove is designed with a Piezo electric ignition. This makes the stove super easy to start and easy to adjust the heat output. No need for a lighter as the burner ignites automatically
  • EXTRA POWERFUL 15,000 BTU PORTABLE STOVE - The 90019 Butane Burner is designed to output up to 15,000 BTU. The heat can easily be controlled by a dial next to the piezo electric ignition button. This butane stove is powerful enough to cook anything that you may need on a camping or backpacking trip
  • CAMPING AND BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS - The Chef Master 15,000 BTU Portable Butane Camping Stove is essential for any camping or backpacking trip. This butane stove has a hard-shell carrying case which means that this unit is extra portable! The stove is small enough to easily fit in a hiking backpack or in a camping bag
  • PACKED WITH SAFETY FEATURES - This Butane Stove is packed with many essential safety features. It comes with an In-Line Regulator with Pressure-Sensing Shut-Off. If the pressure gets too high, the regulator will shut off flow to prevent dangerous flashbacks. The Butane Burner has a wind-guard to protect the flame from breeze or A/C.
  • PORTABLE CARRYING CASE - Each Butane Stove comes with a hard-shell carrying case to make the unit even more portable! It is easy to take this stove with you on every camping or hiking trip

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.

Gas ONE Portable Butane Gas Stove

GasOne GS-1000 7,650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove Automatic Ignition with Carrying Case, CSA Listed

$24.99
$21.99
 in stock
5 new from $21.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 1, 2023 6:43 am

Features

  • High Output - Most Fuel Efficient Butane Portable Stove On The Market - Boils Water quickly with 7,650 BTU Evenly Compared To Compeititors Portable Stoves/ To Be used with 8oz Butane Canister Only (Fuel Sold Separately)
  • Safety Features - Highest Safety Standard: CSA (US & Canadian Standards Association) Approved Portable, Easy To Use, Reliable For Camping, Outdoor Cooking, Home Emergency Kit, Etc. Equipped with Fuel Cartridge Injection safety feature, If the stove defects 0.7 kilogram force from canister, It will automatically ejects butane canister from the stove
  • Automatic Starter - Piezo-Type Electric Starter With Safety Shut-Off System; No Matches Or Lighters Required
  • Portable - Easy To Use, Reliable For Camping, Outdoor Cooking, Home Emergency Kit, Etc. *(Comes With Carrying Case/Complete With User Manual
  • Quiet Operation - This stove provides clean efficient burn along with silent operation *OUTDOOR USE ONLY*

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!

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