Small size makes it easy to store
Can be used with any kind of cookware
Body gets very hot
Not recommended for large pans
Lowest temperature may be too low
Cusimax may not be a familiar name, but the brand manufactures a wide range of kitchen appliances that get favorable reviews from users. We were curious to see how the company’s Cusimax 1500W Portable Hot Plate would handle the heat of our tests. The burner spent several weeks in our kitchen, where we used it for everything from gentle cooking to hard-boiling to searing. Is this the electric burner you’re looking for? We’ve got the pros and the cons.
Setup Process: Pre-burn
A sticker on the burner noted that the unit would give off an odor when we turned it on for the first time. This is because it needs to burn off manufacturing residue. We suggest heating the burner on high before the first use to eliminate that odor.
Performance: Hot, hot, hot
This little electric burner performs surprisingly well considering its tiny price tag. Once the cast iron burner was hot, it held the heat, so turning the unit off didn’t stop the cooking immediately. That means it will continue cooking or keep food warm as the burner slowly cools, but if you need to stop the cooking process immediately you’ll need to take the pan off of the burner. The entire unit stays warm after cooking, so you won’t be able to move it immediately without sturdy oven mitts.
This little electric burner performs surprisingly well considering its tiny price tag.
The burner is about 7.5 inches in diameter, and the manufacturer recommends using pans with a diameter less than 7.1 inches. While that’s partially to enable even heating, the manufacturer’s responses to customer queries clarify that a larger pan could cause the unit to fail. That recommended diameter refers to the bottom of the pan that stays in contact with the heating plate; a chef’s pan or a wok with a smaller base and wider top would not be a problem, but you might not want to use this with a giant frying pan.
When we tested the low-temperature setting with a pot with water, the water temperature hovered near 125 degrees. That’s a full 10 degrees below the safe holding temperature of 135 degrees for cooked food, so it could be an issue if the burner is used on a buffet, or if someone plans on using it for low-and-slow cooking. However, some users might like that lower temperature for gentle cooking of delicate foods.
One issue we had with this hot plate was how hot the housing got, particularly when we were cooking on high heat for an extended time. The entire exterior heated, as did the knobs, so we awkwardly used an oven mitt to turn the unit off. A better choice might have been to unplug it. At the lowest cooking temperatures, the housing didn’t get as hot, but even at mid-heat cooking, the housing was hotter than we liked. If this is placed on a surface that could be damaged by heat, we’d suggest placing it on something that would protect the surface.
Design: Definitely some quirks
Mostly matte black with two brushed metal dials, we wouldn’t call this hot plate pretty. Instead, it’s something that’s likely to fade into the background, which is probably what you want when you’re cooking keeping food warm.
One design element we thought was odd was the position of the indicator arrows used to set the dials. The left-hand knob, which turns the unit on and off, has the indicator arrow on the top surface of the unit. However, the right-hand knob, which controls the temperature, has the arrow on the front of the unit, at the 9 o’clock position. Why not have both indicators either on top or on the front? It’s not a deal breaker, but we thought it was a strange design decision.
One issue we had with this hot plate was how hot the housing got, particularly when we were cooking on high heat for an extended time.
When turning the temperature dial to its highest heat, the word “Max” doesn’t align with the indicator arrow. This isn’t actually a problem, but it’s another little design oddity.
After a few uses, the cast iron burner acquired a few white spots that wouldn’t come off, despite scrubbing with a soapy toothbrush. This didn’t affect the cooking, but people who value aesthetics might be bothered by this.
Features: Simple controls
This is a very simple electric burner, with one knob that switches on and off and a second knob to set the temperature with numbers indicating heat levels. A single amber light displays when the burner is actively heating, cycling on and off as the unit works to maintain the desired temperature.
Price: Super affordable
The price on this product is just about as small as its footprint, so it shouldn’t be a difficult buying decision if you need an extra burner for holiday cooking or low-temperature warming on a buffet.
Cusimax 1500W Portable Hot Plate vs. Duxtop Induction Cooktop 9100MC
While this Duxtop is more expensive than the Cusimax that we tested, it won’t break the bank. Induction cooktops have the benefit of heating metal pans without heating themselves. That means the heat isn’t wasted, and the unit won’t get overly warm during cooking. Since the Duxtop is digital, with no knobs or dials, it’s also simple to clean. The downside is that it must be used with induction compatible cookware.
We’d recommended for lower heat cooking.
At this price point, we can’t quibble too much, but the fact that the unit gets so hot during high-heat cooking might be a concern for homes with small children. However, if this is to be used at lower temperatures and for shorter times, it can be an inexpensive, space-saving way to have an extra burner when you need one to keep the gravy warm.
- Product Name Cusimax 1500W Electric Countertop
- Product Brand Cusimax
- MPN CMHP-B101
- Price $33.99
- Product Dimensions 9 x 11.3 x 3.5 in.
- Material Matte black stainless steel body, cast iron burner
- Power 1,500 watts
- Warranty 18 months