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A portable burner is a handy kitchen tool. It lets you plug in an additional element next to your stovetop when cooking multipot meals, create an instant cooking space in a hotel room, or take your kitchen outdoors. Plug-and-play induction burners have even more perks. They're known for being energy-efficient, they don't radiate heat, and they release constant, steady power.
Instead of heating the burner, the pan atop it, and finally the food inside, an induction cooktop generates a magnetic field that transfers energy straight to the metal of the pan. This keeps the heat where it should be, rather than it spreading to the countertop the portable unit rests on or raising the ambient temperature in your kitchen.
Choosing the right portable induction cooktop for your needs does require a bit of awareness. Burner size matters, as does how much weight the portable unit can hold. Some induction cooktops plug into a standard 120-volt wall outlet, but others need the same 240-volt plug as large kitchen appliances. Most importantly, the cookware you plan to use needs to be induction compatible for an induction surface: magnetic stainless or carbon steel, standard and enameled cast iron, or cast aluminum with an induction-compatible base.
Once you’ve paired the right burner with the right cookware, you can use an induction burner for all sorts of stovetop cooking, from simmering, sauteing, and boiling to pressure cooking, sous vide, and canning.
To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best induction burners currently on the market.
Best Overall: Max Burton 6450 Digital Induction Cooktop
One-touch simmer and boil
Not suitable for oversized cookware
This Max Burton model has plenty to interest a home chef, including high power, a lightweight body, and a burner that can hold a range of pan sizes, all for a reasonable price. Its ten heat-mode settings range up to 1,800 watts, making it one of the more powerful portable burners available. It has quick-use simmer and boil buttons but also has 15 temperature settings and a 180-minute timer for a specific cooking heat and time.
The burner has features our tester liked from an earlier model (Max Burton 6400), including the smooth surface of both the burner and the slightly angled control panel that make all parts easy to clean. The burner can hold up to 50 pounds and works best with cookware ranging from 4.5 to 9.75 inches in diameter at the base. You can feel comfortable loading it up with your cast iron skillets or a magnetic stainless steel wok.
Dimensions: 12.75 x 11.55 x 2.55 inches | Max Power Level: 1,800 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.5 to 9.75 inches | Load Capacity: 50 pounds
Best Double: Cuisinart ICT-60 12 in. Glass Double Induction Cooktop
Individual controls for each burner
Warms or cooks as needed
Includes safety shutoff
Takes up counter space
Cuisinart offers the convenience of a multiburner induction range in a portable option, pairing two burner sizes in one lightweight frame. The left burner hits up to 1,200 watts over eight heat settings, letting you move from melting butter to boiling pasta. The right burner has five heat settings that top out at 600 watts, ready to warm and saute delicate foods.
Each burner has a separate timer, on-off switch, and temperature control and display, meaning you can use them independently. They also come with a 30-second safety shutoff, just in case you lift off the pan but forget to turn off a burner. For the most even heating, and to avoid pan overlap with the controls that are aligned flat with the burners, Cuisinart recommends sticking with pans no larger than the burners’ 6- and 7.5-inch diameters.
Dimensions: 23.5 x 14.25 x 2.5 inches | Max Power Level: 600 and 1,200 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 2 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.7 to 6 and 7.5 inches | Load Capacity: 50 pounds
“[Induction burners] keep incredibly precise temperatures, which makes cooking times noticeably faster. Since they keep precise temperatures, the first thing you'll notice is that you have to stir your food a bit more consistently and often than you do with gas or electric burners.” — Rachael Narins, author of Cast-Iron Cooking and founder of Chicks with Knives
Best Budget: Duxtop 8100MC Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
Includes a timer
No one-touch buttons for boiling and warming
Secura’s line of Duxtop-branded induction burners ranges widely in weight and features. The 8100MC has the same power and temperature ranges as many more tricked-out models at an affordable price. It tops out at 1,800 watts and 460 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the food warm and simmers at low temperatures as efficiently as more expensive cooktops. This lightweight unit weighs less than 6 pounds, but it can hold a 25-pound load.
You need to use pans that don’t cover the button controls on the flat top surface, ideally choosing ones with a 4- to 8-inch base. The burner can be adjusted to ten temperature and ten power levels, and the timer will run for up to 170 minutes. This budget unit lacks add-ons like “boil” and “warm” buttons but still performs those tasks.
Dimensions: 13 x 11.4 x 2.5 inches | Max Power Level: 1,800 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4 to 8 inches | Load Capacity: 25 pounds
Best for Small Spaces: SPT SR-1883G 1650W Induction Cooktop
Lightweight and compact
Holds full-size cookware
Allows low, slow timed cooking
Limits on weight and power
With its small size and low weight, this Mr. Induction burner is ideal for small spaces. It measures less than 12 x 14 inches and weighs just 5 pounds, making it easy to set up and store. The manufacturer says the flat burner plate can hold surprisingly large cookware, up to 10.75 inches in diameter at the base, but recommends keeping a full pot below 12 pounds because of the plastic housing. The microcrystal ceramic surface makes the cooktop easy to clean.
This unit has less power than some other induction burners, reaching 1,650 watts over nine power settings, but its efficiency makes it unlikely that you’ll need more juice for quick and easy meals. You can also choose cooking temperatures down to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and lock in the heat setting with a timer, allowing you to keep dishes warm for up to ten hours.
Dimensions: 13.75 x 11.25 x 2.36 inches | Max Power Level: 1,650 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.75 to 10.25 inches | Load Capacity: 12 pounds
Best for Gourmets: Vollrath 120-Volt 1800-Watt Mirage Pro Countertop Induction Range
Sturdy and durable
Precise power and temperature controls
Temperature memory and other extra features
Vollrath has been making food service equipment in the United States since 1900, and its induction ranges have long been popular with chefs and caterers. Its Mirage induction cooktops fit just as well in a food lover’s home kitchen as a commercial one and carry many high-end features. The 1800-watt Mirage Pro has a powerful burner suitable for buffets and catering. The power mode has an impressive 100 levels ranging from about 80 to 525 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also choose precise temperature settings with the control knob.
Digital buttons, function lights, and an LED display round out the control panel. The unit includes some helpful features, like memory of the last set temperature and a hot-surface warning. The stainless-steel body and smooth ceramic top are supported by sturdy feet that keep the unit raised yet steady on a counter. The burner fits pans 4.75 to 10.25 inches in diameter.
Dimensions: 15.25 x 14 x 3 inches | Max Power Level: 1,800 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.75 to 10.25 inches | Load Capacity: 60+ pounds
“When you’re choosing cookware, the easiest and quickest way to determine if it’ll work is to grab a fridge magnet and put it on the bottom. If it stays, the pan will work with your burner. If it doesn’t—think glass—they aren’t compatible.” — Rachael Narins, author of Cast-Iron Cooking and founder of Chicks with Knives
Best Portable for 240 Volts: SPT SR-34AC 3400W Countertop Commercial Range
As powerful as a built-in burner
Features both knob and digital controls
Thick, flat glass surface
SPT’s SR-34AC commercial-grade model puts the power of a built-in induction burner in a portable unit. Its single burner can push out 3,400 watts of power. The thick, tempered-glass surface can hold various pots and pans, as long as they have a flat bottom and are induction compatible. The company makes a nearly identical model (SR-34BWC) with a recessed induction burner designed specifically for round-bottom cookware like woks. Both models get their power by plugging into a 240-volt outlet, like any large appliance.
The digital display and inset control buttons sit beside a temperature-control knob that lets you fine-tune the heat without repeatedly punching buttons. The burner’s SmartScan technology senses and adjusts to pan size and type, but otherwise this portable range lacks bells and whistles like a built-in timer and Bluetooth technology. What it does is let you cook as quickly and efficiently as a master chef.
Dimensions: 18 x 14.1 x 5 inches | Max Power Level: 3,400 watts | Voltage: 240 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.5 to 10.25 inches | Load Capacity: 30-plus pounds
“I love induction burners for people in tiny homes or who are on the road living the nomad life in a converted bus or chic RV... keep in mind that they seem ideal for a dorm but they aren’t approved by a lot of schools, so check before you commit.” — Rachael Narins, author of Cast-Iron Cooking and founder of Chicks with Knives
Best for Canning: Max Burton 6600 18XL Digital Induction Cooktop
Holds large-diameter cookware
Can take the weight of heavy pots
Quickly boils water
Has three-hour auto shutoff limit
Canning can take long, hot, and messy hours, making the idea of shifting the process to an efficient portable burner appealing. Whether you’re using a giant stainless steel or other induction-ready pot for steam or water-bath canning or Presto’s induction-compatible pressure canner, a portable burner needs to be burly enough for the canner’s large diameter and 50-plus-pound load.
The Max Burton 18XL is one of the few induction models that can handle the size and weight of canners and other oversized pots. The manufacturer says the burner can hold cookware with a base diameter of up to 14 inches and loads of up to 60 pounds.
With the burner’s 1,800 watts of heat conducted directly to the pot, even large cookware comes to a boil efficiently with minimal energy loss. The slightly raised burner and downward angle of the control panel help keep any excess heat from warming the burner’s housing.
Dimensions: 16.25 x 13.25 x 3.5 inches | Max Power Level: 1,800 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Electric Current: 15 amps | Number of Burners: 1 | Cookware Base Diameter: 4.5 to 14 inches | Load Capacity: 60 pounds
Best Built-In: JennAir JIC4715GS 15 in. Electric Induction Cooktop
Loads of power
Connects burners to hold large cookware
Has advanced features like autocook
A two-burner built-in induction cooktop may be worth considering if you want a step up in cooking surface and power. JennAir’s induction cooktop is about the same size as portable double-burner units but runs off 240 volts, pumping out a whopping 3,700 watts of power per burner. It plugs into the same type of outlet as an oven or larger range, rather than a standard wall outlet.
Besides its power, this cooktop’s key feature is its burner “bridge,” linking the two burners so that you can use large cookware. JennAir recommends cookware with up to a 7-inch base on each burner but says bridging can hold stockpots and griddles up to 10 inches in diameter. All that power and flexibility—plus a sleek design and features like performance boost, automatic cooking, and pause—come at a high price but may be worth it for heavy use.
Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 0.1 inches | Max Power Level: 3,700 watts | Voltage: 240 volts | Electric Current: 20 amps | Number of Burners: 2 | Cookware Base Diameter: up to 7 or 10 inches | Load Capacity: 50 pounds
For all-around cooking on a portable, efficient induction burner, choose the Max Burton 6450 cooktop (view at Amazon). The Duxtop 8100MC model (view at Amazon) has less power but a lower price tag, while the Cuisinart Double Induction Cooktop (view at Amazon) gives you more burners in one movable unit.
What to Look for When Buying a Portable Induction Burner
An induction burner only directly heats the metal it touches, so most manufacturers recommend using cookware with a base diameter that matches the burner diameter. A little larger can be fine, but realize that the heat will be spreading from the area in contact with the induction element. Smaller cookware can work too, but most induction burners have sensors that require a certain pot diameter (usually 4 to 5 inches) to start heating.
Power and Temperature
Induction burners often have two heating modes based on power and temperature. Power settings can range from 100 to 3,700 watts, and the maximum power level is worth considering when choosing a model: the more wattage, the faster a burner will heat up. Temperature settings can run from 80 to 525 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the model, allowing you to do everything from melting chocolate to poaching eggs to boiling pasta.
With their light weight, smooth surface, and high power, safety features are key to preventing accidents with portable induction burners. Most have sensors that prevent overheating and turn off the burner shortly after you’ve removed a pot. Some shut off automatically after several hours of use, and some have locks that prevent the unit from accidentally turning on or from changing settings.
Most portable induction burners are basic one-piece units with a heating element, digital control panel, and power cord. Some control panels have a knob that lets you fine-tune power or temperature without pressing a button through each level. Some models also have one-touch buttons for simmering and boiling. Many have timers and control locks.
What pans work with induction burners?
Induction burners use magnetic energy to heat cookware, so the pots and pans you use need to have a magnetic metal base. Magnetic stainless or carbon steel, cast aluminum with an induction-compatible base, and standard and enameled cast iron all work on induction burners. Whichever induction-ready pan you choose, it should also have a flat bottom that makes full contact with the burner.
Do induction burners get hot?
Induction burners can grow extremely hot, especially at maximum power, and they can hold that steady high temperature as long as the pot is on the burner. As soon as you lift off the pot, heating stops. If you were to immediately touch the burner, there may be residual heat on the cooking surface where the piping-hot pan was sitting, but the way induction works keeps the burner from having its own lingering heat. Some units have a heat indicator light that turns off when the burner is cool to the touch.
How do you get stains off an induction burner?
Turn off the burner and let it cool completely before you try to wipe off stains and splatters from the induction burner’s smooth surface. Then dab or sprinkle the stain with distilled white vinegar and, for stubborn spills, with baking soda before rubbing gently to remove the stain. Setting a damp, hot towel over the treated stain for a few minutes can help to soften splattered food and make it easier to wipe away.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and has been blogging about cooking well at Twice As Tasty for more than five years. She refuses to limit her cooking space to her tiny cabin kitchen and has set up portable burners on folding tables, workbenches, outdoor countertops, and more. She published her first cookbook, “The Complete Guide to Pickling,” in 2020.