Hot plates and induction cooktops are growing in popularity among campers. Here are the top choices for the best hot plate for camping, depending on your needs…
Gas camping stoves are still a go-to, but with so many power options these days, many campers are turning to hot plates. If you can plug into shore power, a generator, a battery power bank, or solar power, you can use a clean, efficient hot plate while camping.
Depending on your degree of “roughing it”, there are two types of hot plates to consider. The first is the classic coil burner, and the second is an induction cooktop. We’ll very quickly compare the two, and then jump right into the best options.
Radiant vs. Induction Hot Plates for Camping
Campers can’t just count the number of pros and declare a winner. We must rank the importance of the different pros and cons to establish what works best for our camping style.
For instance, durability is more important for tent campers, and power efficiency is more important for boondockers than for RV campground campers. Radiant cooktops are typically more durable, and induction cooktops are more power-efficient.
So, we will quickly list the pros and cons of portable induction cooktops against radiant hot plates, and you can decide which is the best option for you.
Pros of Induction vs. Radiant
- Cooks significantly faster
- Cooks more evenly
- More precise temperature settings
Cons of Induction vs Radiant
- More expensive
- Less durable (cooking surface is usually more fragile)
- Requires induction-compatible cookware that’s typically heavy (cast iron or stainless steel)
Hopefully, the pros and cons listed above help you decide which of the following electric hot plates is best suited for your camping style.
Best Hot Plates That Use Radiant Heat
Let’s start with the more durable, less expensive electric radiant cooktops. Then, we’ll list portable induction burners in the next section. (If you’re still not sold on portable electric stoves, we also include a quick list of traditional gas camping stoves at the end.)
You’ll notice that one brand claims three spots in this category, but the other brand is worth considering for its unique features. We bullet-point all of the best features for easy comparison.
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This is a great all-around electric cooktop with a compact design. Its cast iron cooktop is durable, easy to clean, and distributes heat evenly. However, the cast iron cooktop makes it heavier than our next option.
- 3.5 lbs
- 6.4-inch cast iron cooking plate
- 3 heat settings
|Elite Gourmet ESB-301BF 1000W Cast Iron Single Burner
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If you’re camping packing list has a strict weight limit, this coiled portable burner is a great choice. It is nearly 2 pounds lighter than the above Elite Gourmet cast iron option. A coil doesn’t cook as evenly as a cast iron plate, but this has 6 heat settings to help counter that problem.
- 1.6 lbs
- 6.4-inch cast iron cooking plate
- 6 heat settings
This two-burner stove is the same as Option #1 but with an extra burner. It’s worth noting that even though it has double the burners, it does not use double the watts of power as the single burner option.
- 5.81 lbs
- Two 6.4-inch cast iron cooking plates
- 3 heat settings for each burner
The Techwood is a higher wattage option for those who require more cooking power and a bigger cooking area. The 7.5-inch cast iron cooking plate provides ample space for larger pots and pans.
Additionally, the handles make it easy to transport, and it has automatic shutoff safety features.
- 5.26 lbs
- 7.5-inch cast iron cooking plate
- Adjustable heat setting knob
Best Hot Plates for Induction Cooking
Induction stoves cook more efficiently than radiant-heat hot plates, but here lies the tricky part for campers. While they cook faster, the extra power requires more wattage.
So, to avoid power outages, you need to carefully consider your power source to see if you can use them at the highest power levels. Plus, pay attention to the wattage settings on your induction cooktop.
If you plug into shore power, then any of the following would be a great addition to your camping kitchen.
REMEMBER: Induction hot plates require induction cookware, meaning it needs a magnetic bottom. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of your cookware, it should work. If buying new, flat-bottomed pots or pans with or made from magnetic stainless steel, cast iron, enameled iron, and nickel work best.
Typically, the biggest downside of induction cooktops vs radiant hot plates is durability, but this Nuwave has a shatterproof ceramic top. This “shatterproof” is more in reference to withstanding heat, but it makes it more durable than other induction hot plates.
You can set 45 precise temperatures from 100°F to 500°F in 10°F increments. Plus, it has 3 wattage settings of 600, 900, and 1300 watts, which is ideal if you have limited power.
- 600, 900, and 1300 watt settings
- 5.7 lbs
- 6.5-inch burner
- 45-settings of precise temperature control (100°F to 500°F in 10°F increments)
|Nuwave Flex Precision Shatterproof Ceramic 3 Wattage Settings
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The Duxtop has an auto-pan detection safety feature that will shut the unit off automatically after 60 seconds if no cookware is detected. It also has a count-down digital timer with 1-minute increments up to 170 minutes.
This hot plate has 10 temperature settings from 140 °F to 460 °F and 10 power levels from 200-1800 watts.
- 200 -1800W (10 watt settings)
- 5.8 lbs
- 8-inch burner
- 10 temperature settings (140 °F to 460 °F)
This versatile and compact induction cooktop has two burners plus a removable cast iron griddle pan. That’d sure come in handy if you love our homemade sweet cream pancake recipe as much as we do.
It has dual temperature control with 9 power and 5 temperature settings. The maximum power will not exceed 1800W total when using both burners by power setting mode. You can choose your desired power from 400W to 1100W in 100W increments.
- 400W – 1100W (100W increments)
- 14.42 lbs
- two 6-inch burners
- 5 temperature settings ( 248 °F to 410 °F in 36 °F increments)
|Cooktron 2 Burner with Removable Cast Iron Griddle
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This double-burner cooktop has larger burners than the Cooktron, giving more room for bigger skillets or cookware. So, if you think you’d use separate pots and pans more than the griddle, this is probably the better option.
The dual cooking zones are independently controlled. The left burner has 9 power levels from 200-1800W, and the right burner has 8 power levels from 200-1600W. Both burners have 10 temperature settings from 140℉-464℉. It also has a 4 hour digital timer.
- Left burner: 200W-1800W; Right burner: 200-1600W (220W increments)
- 12.9 lbs
- two 8-inch burners
- 10 temperature settings (140℉-464℉)
Not Sold on Hot Plates? Here are the Best Camping Stoves
If you’re still not sold on hot plates, you can always go with a traditional camping stove. Especially if you don’t have a reliable power source or have to conserve as much power as possible.
A traditional camping stove uses wood or (more likely) gas, like propane or butane, instead of electricity. They can be tricky to use in windy conditions and banned during wildfire seasons in certain regions. But overall, they’re a great camping go-to.
The following is a quick list that should help narrow down the best camp stove for your needs: