Best Portable Cooktops

Portable cooktops offer up a lot: whether it’s letting you enjoy a hot meal on a camping trip, helping keep your food warm at a potluck dinner, or just being the extra hob in your kitchen if you’re a multitasking entertainer who could do with some extra cooking space.

If deciding whether to buy a portable induction cooktop, a portable electric stove, or a camping gas cooker is proving to be more difficult than you thought it’d be, keep reading to find out which product is right for you. Continue reading...

Brand
Search brand...
Rating
Price
$47.99 to $189.99
$47.99
$189.99
Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones
1
3
Control Type
Control Location
Wok Burner / Zone
Depth
50 mm
715 mm
Width
140 mm
420 mm
Height
3 mm
350 mm
Colour / Finish

Based on 105 reviews
ALDI Portable Hotplates

ALDI Portable Hotplates

3.4  (29)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $44.99 to $49.99
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones1
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Lynn
Lynn7 posts
  Ambiano Portable Induction Cooking Plate
Can't fault it!Bought from Aldi for our month long caravan trip around Tasmania. Our van already has a stove/oven so this was just a backup. It is super quick to get hot, cooks evenly and nothing burns. As it is so much easier to clean than our caravan stovetop (just wipe down) we sit it on top and it does all our meals. Best $60 we've spent. Show details
Kitchen Couture Induction Cooker

Kitchen Couture Induction Cooker

3.0  (17)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $69
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones1
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Michael G.
Michael G.NSW
 
Worked well until failed at 18 monthsHappy with it but it didn't last, replaced with Kmart's version which I returned after a week as it kept shutting down if ran above about 40% output, I now have the Aldi one for over 12 months and it has been the best of the cheap lot Show details
Xiaomi DCL01CM

Xiaomi DCL01CM

3.6  (8)
 Summary
Greg
GregQLD
  Verified
Campmaster Ultra Jet Butane Hiking Stove

Campmaster Ultra Jet Butane Hiking Stove

4.8  (4)
 Summary
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Becky Winter
Becky WinterWA
 
Not true to pictureLight and useful BUT the gas canister does NOT fit in with lid on like photo on box depicts
Breville Handy Hot Plate BHP150 / BHP250

Breville Handy Hot Plate BHP150 / BHP250

2.7  (12)
 Summary
Christine S.
Christine S.NT
  BHP250
Sedz
SedzNSW85 posts
 
Westinghouse WHIC01K

Westinghouse WHIC01K

2.7  (9)
 Summary
Graham
GrahamNSW10 posts
  Verified
Campmaster CM2218B

Campmaster CM2218B

5.0  (2)
 Summary
Kerry D.
Kerry D.3 posts
 
Awesome oven!I bought this for camping and found it cooked everything perfectly..very versatile and easy to clean - it even cooked a roast! I highly recommend this addition to your camp kitchen! Show details
Luke
LukeVIC
 
Jetboil Minimo

Jetboil Minimo

2.7  (3)
 Summary
N.S
N.S3 posts
 
Tiffany HP1750 / HP2750

Tiffany HP1750 / HP2750

3.5  (2)
Mark
Mark2 posts
  HP1750
Worked well for 2 years then it diedAs the title states. Can not expect much for $60 so do not be surprised that it does not last much longer than the warranty period. If you are happy to replace every two years then this is a good option. Used it daily for five weeks then it died, had only used it for short periods prior to that.

 Show details

Campmaster CM2219

Campmaster CM2219

4.0  (1)
 Summary
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones2
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Kate
KateSA6 posts
  Verified
Companion Stove Hotplate

Companion Stove Hotplate

4.0  (1)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $47.99
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones1
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Vacublaster
VacublasterVIC86 posts
 
Companion Propane Single Stove

Companion Propane Single Stove

4.0  (1)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $54.99
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones1
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Vacublaster
VacublasterVIC86 posts
 
5 Star Chef Portable Duo

5 Star Chef Portable Duo

2.0  (2)
Cam
Cam7 posts
 
Companion 2 Burner High Output Cooker DC200-09

Companion 2 Burner High Output Cooker DC200-09

1.3  (3)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $189.99
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones2
  • Wok Burner / ZoneYes
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Robert
Robert391330 posts
 
Wanderer Portable Stove with Drip Tray

Wanderer Portable Stove with Drip Tray

1.0  (1)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $139.99
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones3
Ross Gluer
Ross GluerQLD3 posts
 
Breville The Quick Cook Go LIC500

Breville The Quick Cook Go LIC500

1.0  (1)
 Summary
  • Price (RRP) $169.95
  • Number of Cooktop Burners / Zones1
  • Wok Burner / ZoneNo
Gabriel W.
Gabriel W.5 posts
 
Terrible heat distributionHeat distribution is so bad. It's not possible to cook an egg using a cat iron pan on this. Hope this ever made it past product testing is beyond me.

It's my opinion that the designer of this product would be unable to sit on the toilet correctly without assistance.

Types of portable cooktops

Woman using a portable induction stove to cook meat

Portable induction cooktops

Induction cooktops are electric in that they don’t use gas or another flame to heat up, however they differ from regular electric cooktops in that they heat up using electromagnetic induction. This means that heat is created directly in the pan instead of on the cooktop.

Pros
Energy efficient. More heat goes into the pot or pan rather than into the air of your kitchen - this also means you can keep your cool while cooking.
Fastest cooking times. You can start cooking instantly, and cook quickly.
Precise temperature control. A lot of induction cookers allow you to set it to an exact temperature - this helps you keep your cooking consistent.
Safer. Because the pan (rather than the cooktop) is heated, you don’t have to worry about residual cooktop heat burning you or someone else.
Easy to clean. They have a single, flat surface that you just need to wipe down with a damp cloth. Because the surface doesn’t get as hot as their electric counterparts, food spillages don’t harden.
More environmentally friendly. Induction is more eco-friendly than gas.
Cons
Initially pricier. A cooktop will likely set you back more than buying a gas or electric cooktop - however, ongoing costs are lower.
Requires compatible cookware. You need magnetic crockery to cook with induction (unless you buy an induction interface disc that lets you use non-magnetised cookware).
Can be interfered with. The radio waves of other home items - such as radios, TVs, and mobile phones - can sometimes interfere with its effectiveness.
Can be unsuitable for some types of cooking. Sautéing or cooking with a wok may be unsuitable on an induction stove, as they usually stop running when you lift the pan off the surface.

Do induction cooktops require special pans?

Yes, an induction cooktop requires compatible cookware that has the magnetic field needed for the cooktop to transfer heat into. You need to use pots and pans that contain iron, such as cast iron and magnetic stainless steel.

Tip: If a fridge magnet sticks to your cookware, then you can use it on a portable induction hot plate.

Portable electric cooktops

Electric cooktops use an electrical current that flows through a metal coil - this heat is then transferred to the cooktop and then to the pot or pan atop it.

Pros
Offers residual heat. The residual heat once the cooktop is turned off can be used to keep food warm, or even continue to slightly cook.
Easy to use. Portable electric cooktops are generally easy to use - you usually just have to plug it in and press a few buttons.
Can use any kind of cookware. Any cookware - such as ceramic, stainless steel, and cast iron - is compatible with an electric cooker.
Cons
Slower to change temperature. Because they have a lot of thermal mass and the electric coils have to heat up or slow down before the cookware can, they’re slow to heat up or cool down.
Residual heat can be unsafe. As it takes a while to fully cool down, an electric cooktop hob could burn someone who touches it - if you have young children or pets in your home, this may be an issue.
Sometimes uneven heat distribution. With electric burners there’s a chance of electricity not being distributed evenly over the entire length of the coil, which can make cooking more difficult.

Portable gas cooktops

Gas cooktops generally use a gas pilot light that creates a spark or small flame to ignite an oxygen-gas mixture that flows through holes in the burner. They’re great at making quick work of cooking.

Pros
Can instantly modify heat. You can instantly adjust the flame, making it easier to regulate to suit your cooking.
Cooks quickly. Because flames heat up the sides of cookware as well as the bottom, food usually cooks quicker.
Compatible with all types of cookware. You can use cookware of any material with a gas cooker.
Can be used anywhere. You won’t need mains power to operate a portable gas stove - you can cook as long as you have your gas bottle with you.
Great for wok cooking. The trivets on gas stoves support round wok bases well.
Cons
Flames can damage sides of cookware. If you let the flames travel high up the sides of your pots and pans, they can warp the sides.
Less environmentally friendly. Because they use disposable fuel and aren’t powered by a renewable energy source, gas cooktops are less eco-friendly than other cooktops.
Can be a safety hazard. The open flame on gas cooktops could burn you.
Sometimes difficult to use. Some portable gas cooktops have a bit of a learning curve to using them safely - you should however be a pro after using one for a while.

Factors to consider when choosing a portable cooktop

Intended use

Where and what you cook plays a huge role in determining which portable cooktop is right for you. Are you after a stove to supplement the cooking space in your kitchen? Or are you after a stove for camping?

This will usually determine how portable your stove needs to be - by “portable”, we’re talking about cooktops that aren’t rangetops, meaning they’re not built into your kitchen counter.

Many portable cooktops are still mains powered, so in a sense they aren’t completely portable, however there are cordless, battery-operated induction and electric cooktops available to buy. Portable gas cooktops aren’t mains powered, so as long as you have the right gas bottle with you, you can use one - making them preferable for campers.

What you plan on cooking can also affect your stove choice - the stove you use to boil soup or make a quick meal might look very different to the cooktop you need to make a three course meal.

Size and weight

If you’re in the market for a portable stove top, how heavy, large, and easy to carry a cooker will likely play a large role in your choice, but just how small, how light, and how portable you need it to be depends on where you want to use it.

If you’re just using it to use in your backyard or dinner table as a food warmer and won’t need to carry it far, then you only really need to think about how much space your cooker will take up in storage.

However, for those hiking, camping, or needing to take their stove over quite a distance, size and weight becomes more of a concern. Consider how you’ll transport it to see whether it’s practical to take along in your backpack, small car, 4WD, or other vehicle.

There are plenty of hiking stoves that fit in the palm of your hand, which can easily fit in your hiking pack. Some also come with a pot that’s specially designed for the stove, making your whole cooking set compact and easy to carry around and slip into your pack.

Keep in mind that for gas stoves, you’ll also need to carry around a gas canister, so ensure you factor in this extra weight - particularly if you’re after a hiking stove.

Number of burners

Thinking about how many burners or hot plates you want will usually help you narrow down which portable cooktops would be suitable for your purposes.

  • 1 burner is great for feeding 1-3 people, and suitable for hiking trips.
  • 2 burners are suited to feeding 4-6 people, and can be easy to carry around when car camping. They’re also great to have at parties when you need an extra cooktop or food warmers.
  • 3 burners suit cooking for a larger group of 7 or more people, or those who just want a three course meal on their holidays away.

If you get a double burner, check that the stove width is compatible with the size of your pots and pans - if they’re too close, you may only be able to use smaller cookware.

Features

Here’s a list of features to look out for that can make preparing food with your portable hot plate easier, quicker, and safer.

  • Trivet: A trivet keeps pots and pans steady while you cook and protects tables from being damaged by hot pots.
  • Windshield: A windshield protects the flame of a gas burner and keeps it safely contained in windy weather.
  • Piezo ignition: Piezo ignition on a gas stove is an auto ignition button that you push, meaning you don’t need a lighter or matches to light it.
  • Drip tray: A drip tray catches the fat that drips down while cooking, making for an easier clean up.
  • USB port: Some newer portable cookers have a USB port that uses power created from the stove’s heat so you can charge your phone, light, or other camping gear.
  • Timer: An inbuilt timer can help you set and forget for meals that need to bubble away on their own for a bit, so you don’t need to spend all your time at the stove.
  • Residual heat sensors: On electric cooktops, a residual heat sensor lets you know if the cooktop is still hot after you’ve turned it off. The light will then turn off once the portable electric hot plate has completely cooled down.
  • Safety shut off: On induction and electric cooktops, an automatic safety shut off turns off the power when it detects that the pot has spilled over - some also shut off when the pot has boiled dry.

Price

A portable cooktop can set you back anywhere from $20 (usually a cheaper gas camping stove) to $400 and over (usually for portable gas stoves).

Portable induction cooktops usually cost somewhere between $120 to $200, and you may have to purchase compatible cookware if you don’t already have some. While they may cost more than their electric counterparts, their cooking efficiency might save you more on your power bills.

Wrapping up

Investing in a quality portable cooktop is investing in convenient cooking. Whether you want to boil soup on your next hike or want to make a Michelin meal somewhere other than your kitchen, understanding your own cooking needs and going from there can help you find the right cooktop for you.

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