What We Like
8-inch burner for larger pots
Holds temperature well
Body stays relatively cool
What We Don't Like
Food spilled into housing voids warranty
Large size needs a bit more storage space
The Cadco name might not be as familiar as the household brands you know and love, but the company is well known in the world of catering, since that’s where it sells many of its products. The Cadco CSR-3T Hot Plate was built for heavy-duty use, so we expected a lot of it. We tested the electric burner thoroughly, from the lowest to the highest temperatures and with nonstick, stainless steel, and cast iron cookware.
See what happened when we simmered, boiled, and fried our way through several weeks’ worth of meals, abandoning our stove in the process. Does this professional-grade hot plate translate well for home use? Now we know.
Setup Process: Just a preheat
This device should be plugged in and heated on high for 10 minutes with no pan on the burner to seal the heating element coating. After that first heating, it’s ready for all of your cooking.
Performance: It’s a workhorse
From the lowest temperature to an energetic boil, this electric coil burner did its job with no problems. The 8-inch burner was large enough to heat all the pots we used. The 1,500-watt appliance cycles on and off to maintain the temperature, but since the coil stays hot, the fluctuations didn’t affect our cooking process.
From the lowest temperature to an energetic boil, this electric coil burner did its job with no problems.
When we tested with an inexpensive pot filled with water, we could see the pattern of the coils in the bubbles that were forming; however, a higher-quality pot did a better job distributing the heat, and we had no issues with hot spots. At the lowest temperature setting, a large pot of water on the burner reached about 135 degrees, which is the safe serving temperature for cooked foods. We think this would be very reliable for keeping food on a buffet or in the kitchen hot before serving.
Like coil burners on an electric stove, this burner stays warm for a while after the heat is turned off. If you need to stop the cooking immediately, you’ll need to lift the pot off the burner.
Design: Industrial-chic … or just industrial
There’s no doubt about it: This model looks like it would be at home in an industrial laboratory among test tubes and beakers. It’s not particularly pretty, nor is it sleek and slim, but it’s built to be functional. The rocker switch lights up in green to show when the hot plate is turned on, and a single red light indicates when the heating coil is active. As the heat cycles on and off to regulate the temperature, the light turns on and off to let you know it’s working.
This model looks like it would be at home in an industrial laboratory among test tubes and beakers.
The dial looks like it was swiped from a machine control panel, and the no-frills brushed stainless steel body is just as industrial, with visible joints and rivets. The temperature dial can be turned all the way around, meaning you can go right to low or high at startup. Despite the industrial look, this burner still looks just fine on a kitchen counter when there’s a pot sitting on top of it.
Despite its bulky build, we found the made-in-America appliance lightweight and easy to move around. The inside no doubt has a lot of empty space, which helps to keep the exterior cool. Given the choice, we’d rather have a slightly larger unit like this one rather than burn our fingers on a smaller unit.
Features: Ventilation slots
Large ventilation slots on all sides of the base add to the industrial look, but they also do a great job keeping the base relatively cool. At the highest heat, the sides of the unit were warm, but we could rest our hands there with no worries. The top was hotter, but not so hot that an accidental touch would cause a burn.
At the highest heat, the sides of the unit were warm, but we could rest our hands there with no worries.
Ease of Cleaning: A cinch
If food boils over, cleanup is relatively easy. The heating coil isn’t removable, but it lifts up and out of the way so you can remove the drip pan for cleaning as well. Care should be taken to avoid too much spillage inside the unit, though, since food inside the housing would void the warranty. However, the only way food can get into the housing is through the slots for the heating coil, so you’d need some creative spilling to get into that space.
Price: High, but could be worth it
This single burner hot plate is definitely on the high end of the price range, but its performance is worth it for people who will be using the unit often. Those who need a reliable burner for canning, brewing, cheese-making, slow cooking, or serving will be particularly pleased. For once-a-year use to keep the vat of mashed potatoes warm for Thanksgiving dinner, it might be overkill, though.
Cadco CSR-3T Hot Plate vs. Duxtop 9620LS LCD Portable Double Induction Cooktop
For about the same price, you could buy this Duxtop double induction cooktop, featuring a sleek design, digital touch controls, and two burners. With the Duxtop, there’s no worry about spillover damaging the burner; it’s a flat glass surface that just needs to be wiped clean, and there are no knobs or buttons that could collect grease.
However, since the Duxtop is an induction cooktop, it’s not compatible with all cookware. It would be fine if all your cookware is induction compatible, but less useful if you’re using it to warm food that guests bring in their own cookware. If you really need two burners and you’re sure your cookware is compatible, we like the Duxtop. If you only need one burner and you have a variety of cookware, the Cadco is an excellent choice.
We loved the performance.
Aside from the look, we loved the Cadco CSR-3T Hot Plate. It stayed cool enough during use that we weren’t concerned about accidental touches. With a Dutch oven on the burner, it simmered slowly, just like we wanted, and when we cranked up the heat, we got a great sear on meat.
- Product Name CSR-3T Hot Plate
- Product Brand Cadco
- MPN CSR-3T
- Price $227.00
- Product Dimensions 14 x 4.125 x 12.25 in.
- Material Stainless steel enclosure, metal coil electric burner
- Voltage 120V
- Power 1,500 watts
- Electric Current 12.5 amps
- Warranty 1 year