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Best Overall: Cuisinart Cast Iron Burner at Amazon
"It retains heat well and distributes it evenly, eliminating hot spots when cooking."
Runner Up, Best Overall: Cusimax Electric Countertop Burner at Amazon
"The burner has seven thermostatically controlled settings for precise temperature control."
Best High Power: Cadco Countertop Hot Plate at Amazon
"It’s built with professional standards by a company that makes commercial burners, so it will last a lifetime."
Best Budget: IMUSA Electric Single Burner at Amazon
"Has a coil-style burner, a power indicator light, and a variable temperature control so you can simmer a sauce or boil water."
Best Double: BLACK+DECKER Double Burner Portable at Home Depot
"There are separate knobs so you can set the temperatures independently, and seven different heat settings."
Best Infrared: Ovente Infrared Cooktop Burner at Amazon
"This 1200-watt burner can be used with any type of cookware and has a sleek glass surface that’s easy to clean."
Best Overall: Cuisinart Cast Iron Burner
The burner element on this portable unit is made from a plate of heavy duty cast iron that’s nearly indestructible, while it also retains heat well and distributes it evenly, eliminating hot spots when cooking. The flat surface is also easier to clean than coil-type burners.
This 1300-watt burner has one knob that turns the unit on and controls the six heat settings from “min” to “5.” Lights indicate that the burner is on and at the set temperature. While this isn’t a pretty appliance, the brushed stainless steel exterior will fit almost any kitchen décor, and it’s easy to wipe clean when cooking is done.
The burner is likely to smoke a little when it is first turned on while it burns off the protective oil residue on the burner surface. After the initial use, it shouldn’t smoke again.
Runner Up, Best Overall: Cusimax Electric Countertop Burner
This attractive 1500-watt portable burner works well with any cookware up to 7.4 inches in diameter with minimal heat loss. It has an auto-shutoff function for safety and rubber feet to keep it steady on your counter or table.
The burner has seven thermostatically controlled settings for precise temperature control – just pick a setting, and the burner will maintain a steady temperature without cycling on and off. Overheating protection will turn the burner off if it overheats, then return it to the cooking temperature to continue cooking.
This has a relatively short cord (one meter) for safety, and the smooth black-coated stainless steel housing is easy to clean. One knob turns the burner on and off, while the second regulates the temperature from “off” to “max.” The burner is a flat cast iron plate, so it’s easy to keep clean and retains heat well without hot spots.
Best High Power: Cadco Countertop Hi-Power Hot Plate
This 1500-watt burner isn’t the most attractive one you’ll find, but it’s built with professional standards by a company that makes commercial burners, so it will last a lifetime. It has an 8-inch coil burner, an on-off rocker switch, a light to indicate that the unit is turned on, and a knob for variable heat control from “off” to “hi.”
The housing is made from stainless steel that’s easy to clean, but getting under the coil burner for complete cleaning might not be quite as simple.
Users have said this is comparable to the burners on their home stoves, with the added bonus that it’s portable but heavy duty, and can handle the weight of large pots that might not be safe on home ranges with glass tops.
Best Budget: IMUSA Electric Single Burner
If you only need an extra burner on rare occasions, you might not want to spend a lot of money on a high-end unit. This 1100-watt burner is definitely budget friendly, so you can buy several to increase your cooking space for Thanksgiving or keep multiple pots of food warm on a buffet.
This has a coil-style burner, a power indicator light, and a variable temperature control so you can simmer a sauce or boil water. It has rubber feet to keep it stable on your counter or table and a short cord for safety. There is one knob for turning the heat on and regulating the temperature.
This burner ships with protective oil on the electric coil that needs to be burned off before first use. It will smoke while burning off that oil, but after that is complete, there should be no further smoke.
Because the coils could bend a bit, this might not be as flat as a burner with a flat plate, but it shouldn’t cause problems with normal cooking.
Best Double: BLACK+DECKER Double Burner Portable Buffet Range
If one spare burner isn’t enough, this budget-friendly unit gives you two burners that give you a choice of using cooking burner or a warming burner. The hot burner operates at 1000 watts for high-heat cooking, while the other operates at 500 watts to keep food warm for serving or for gently heating delicate foods.
This is lightweight, so it’s easy to move, set up and store. There are separate knobs so you can set the temperatures independently, and seven different heat settings (from “min” to 6) give you the flexibility you need for all your cooking. Power indicator lights show when the burners are on to keep you safe.
This has electric coils that can’t be lifted or removed, so cleaning isn’t as easy as a flat burner, but the price is so reasonable you can buy several sets for all your parties and buffets.
Best Infrared: Ovente Infrared Cooktop Burner
While this infrared burner is electric-powered, the heating method is different than typical electric burners. Infrared is designed to provide super-fast heating, high heat production, and even heat distribution.
This 1200-watt burner can be used with any type of cookware and has a sleek glass surface that’s easy to clean. It has 12 different temperature levels from 50 to 640 degrees, and it has a timer for cooking from one minute to two hours so you can get that pot of rice cooking and know that it will shut off at exactly the right time.
A touch control panel sets the time and temperature and there is an LED display that’s easy to read. A safety lock option disables the ability to change any setting during use, so no one can accidentally change the heat or turn off the burner when moving a pot or pan. The unit is designed so that only the cooking surface gets hot while the exterior remains cool to the touch.
The temperature control is a little quirky, since you need to turn the temperature all the way up before turning it down to the desired temperature, but the process is quick and easy.
We bought three top-rated electric burners that our reviewers tested for 24 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these electric burners, from cooking surface to temperature control. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Cooking surface You can opt for either a flat top burner or a coil burner. Many people prefer the smooth surface of flat top burners since they are easier to clean. However, an electric burner with coils is often less expensive to purchase. Just take care not to bend the coils or pans won’t sit flat on the burner.
Temperature control Choose between electric burners with variable temperature control or specific temperature settings (such as low, medium, high or numbers 1 through 5). If you’re a casual cook, the preset temperature options should be sufficient, but if you’re looking for more precise temperature control, a variable temperature setting will let you fine-tune the heat source.
Electric vs. infrared While many standalone burners use conventional heating to warm the electric element, there are also infrared burners that offer high heat at fast temperatures. Some infrared burners will let you cook at temperatures greater than 600 degrees! Infrared burners also offer more even heat distribution. However, they’re not as widely available as other conventional electric burners.