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When induction burners first appeared on the market, they appeared to be magical, since the burners themselves don’t get hot – the induction heating makes the pot get hot. Because of this, it’s safer than a standard electric burner, but it also means that you need the right cookware to go with the burner.
Induction burners and cooktops only work with cookware made from magnetic materials. Fortunately, a lot of cookware is made from magnetic stainless steel, or it has a base that includes enough stainless steel to make it work on an induction burner. However, you won’t be able to use aluminum cookware or copper jam pots. Induction cooktops sense the cookware’s suitability, and won’t turn on if it isn’t the right material or the cookware isn’t large enough for the burner. The cookware you use should have a flat bottom for best performance. Your warped and wobbly cookware won’t work well.
Since induction technology is relatively new, these burners are more expensive than similar electric burners, but they’re known for being extremely responsive, quick to heat up, and generally safer than electric burners. The good news is that prices have gone down a lot since they were first introduced, so they’re very affordable and reliable.
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Best Portable: NuWave PIC Gold Precision Induction Cooktop
One of the first manufacturers of home-use portable induction burners, NuWave has continued to release updated models with new features. This cooktop has 52 temperature settings in 10-degree increments from 52 to 575 degrees, along with six pre-programmed settings, a delay function, a sear function, a one-hour default timer and an auto-off function.
This has 1,500 watts of power for fast, even heating in a lightweight portable burner that’s easy to move around the kitchen. It is designed with 100 hours of internal memory, so you can save your own cooking programs for your favorite recipes.
This burner comes with a 10.5-inch anodized Duralon ceramic nonstick frying pan that can be used with this cooktop.
02 of 06
Runner Up, Best Portable: Max Burton Digital Choice Induction Cooktop
When you need just a little more power, this 1,800-watt induction burner has you covered. It heats quickly and the simmer and boil buttons make it easy to get that pot of pasta water boiling or simmer a sauce perfectly without adjusting the controls.
The temperature adjusts from 100 to 450 degrees in 25-degree increments and you can set the timer for up to 180 minutes, which is great for slow cooking or braising.
This has a simple digital touchpad that controls the cooker. While you can’t control the temperature as precisely as some other models, it’s good enough for most home cooking, while the simmer and boil buttons make it even easier to set for the most common temperatures.
This has a large induction coil that’s great for cooking in large pots or frying pans, but very small pots won’t be sensed by the coil.
03 of 06
Best High-Powered: Mai Cook Stainless Steel Induction Cooktop
If you’re looking for an induction cooker that’s close to commercial quality for heavy-duty use, this countertop cooker is just what you need. It packs a wallop of power with a 3,500-watt burner that has 13 power levels. Push-button controls and a digital display make it easy to keep track of the time, temperature and wattage. An on-off button makes it simple to turn it off without looking for the right setting, while arrow buttons make it simple to change any of the settings.
For safely, this has an overheat sensor and auto shutoff. The maximum weight it can safely handle is 133 pounds (about 14 gallons, depending on the weight of the pot), so you can heat giant batches – great for beer brewing. The temperature can be set from 140 to 464 degrees and the timer can be set for up to 24 hours for very long cooking projects. When the time is up, the burner shifts to standby mode.
While this is designed for function rather than esthetics, it has an industrial/lab look that wouldn’t be out of place in a kitchen. Users have said that it looks better in person than in the photo.
This operates on 20 amps instead of the normal 15 amps of standard home outlets and it has a plug that’s specific to 20-amp circuits (probably just like the one on your clothes dryer), so you’ll need a dedicated circuit and outlet for it.
04 of 06
Best Budget: Rosewill Induction Cooktop
This budget-friendly, 1800-watt induction burner has features that many other burners don’t, like the five pre-programmed settings for warming milk, making soup, stir frying, frying, and cooking hot-pot dishes.
This has a large LED display, easy-touch controls and overheating protection. It has eight temperature settings from 150 to 450 degrees in 50-degree increments, so it doesn’t have the fine control of more expensive models. But, combined with the presets, it should be fine for most home cooking needs.
This has a sleek black surface that looks good and is easy to clean. A stainless steel pot that will work well with the burner is included.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Best Double: Cuisinart Double Induction Cooktop
Two can be better than one, like this double-burner induction cooker that lets you choose a larger or smaller induction burner, or use both at once when you’re doing a lot of cooking.
This has eight temperature settings for the larger burner and five settings for the smaller burner. There are individual 150-minute timers for each burner, as well as separate on-off switches and separate time-temperature displays. For safety, the heat turns off 30 seconds after a pot or pan is removed.
This has a sleek, attractive black cooking surface, while the controls are on a light strip that’s easy to see. While this is obviously wider than a single burner, it has a low profile that makes it easy to store.
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Best for Small Spaces: DUXTOP UltraThin Portable Induction Burner
If you have a small kitchen, but need extra cooking space, this ultra-thin induction cooktop can tuck away in a cabinet when you’re not using it and come to the rescue when you have extra company to feed. It’s also great for bringing along to potlucks or parties to keep your Dutch oven full of chili at serving temperature.
This has 15 power levels from 100 to 1,500 watts and 15 temperatures from 140 to 460 degrees, so it’s versatile enough for all of your cooking needs. The digital control panel and 170-minute countdown timer make it easy to operate.
For safely, the pan recognition will turn the burner off automatically when the pan is off the burner for 60 seconds. Other safety features include a diagnostic message system and low- and high-voltage warnings.