A good stove can make all the difference in cooking. In fact, I would say the stove range that restraunt have is the biggest advantage that they have. Unfortunately for some of us, we dont even have the luxury of a proper stove. This can be due to room limitation or other factors. The good thing is that we do have other alternative in the form of a Countertop Burner. In the past, traditional gas models were consider to be the Best. Today, induction are considered to be the Best Countertop Burner. However, there is a caveat to this rule.
What is a Countertop Burner
A Countertop burner is a heating pad use to heat up pots and pans. Instead of being connected to a gas outlet, you can use either electricity or butane can. This lets people who live in dorm rooms or other small confined area to cook. These are also very popular among those who live in their vehicle.
Gas vs Electric vs Induction Countertop Burner
Today, the most common type of countertop burner are the Electric Variant. All you need to do is plug it in and the electricity, will heat up the coils. You place your pan over the coil and it will heat it up. However, they are not as good as the gas models. Electric model, while convenient, tend to be under powered. Not only that, they cycle on and off to prevent overheating.
Gas are great, for the heat output and performance. If your pan is slightly warped, it can cook just fine. The downside is that you need to replace the butane canister. Its costly and annoying when it goes out midway through cooking.
The good thing is that Induction countertop burner solve a lot of the issue of Gas and Electric variant. Since it uses magnetic resistance to heat up the pan, you can generate more heat than either gas or electric. The power of induction stoves are mostly dependent on power output. Restaurant will usually have plugs that are modified to accept 220v, much higher than what we have at home. They are the most powerful and boil water quicker. But in North America, since our outlet maxes out at 1800 watt, its pretty under power.
Another benefit to induction is how even the heat is. Gas and Electric countertop burner relies on the pan to smooth out the heat. Since the magnetic pull is uniform through the coil, heating is usually even throughout the pan. The downside to induction burner is mostly cost. They are far more expensive than either gas or electric.
How to Use
To use a countertop burner is simple, turn it on and put the gas on. Gas models usually require the burner to be ignited. You can either push the ignite button if they have one or use a lighter.
Coil electric models just require a plug to power on. You dont have to wait until its glowing, just put the pan. on.
Induction are by far the most complex. Most have a safety feature where it wont turn on unless you put a magnetic compatible pan. Pans that do not have a magnetic pull will not work, nor will it get hot. Set your desired temperature and pres the power button. They might cycle on and off once the pan reach the set temperature.
Best Countertop Burner, Electric, Gas and Induction List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Countertop Burner on the market. I have sorted them based on categories, choose one that best suits your need.
Iwatani 35FW butane stove (Best Overall)
For camping, RV or just home use gas is king. You dont need external power, just a gas canister. The heat output is much higher than a standard electric and you can use any type of pans. When compared to the 1800 watts model, these are actually more powerful. It only loses to the professional models that restaurant uses. In my opinion, this is the model to get if you intend on cooking regularly.
Breville|PolyScience the Control Freak (Most Expensive)
The Most Expensive countertop burner is Breville Control Freak. This model cost 10-17 times the price of a standard induction. What you get for in return is superior heat control and finish. It looks beautiful and makes wonderful noises. Power output is 1800 watts. One of the most powerful that you can get for your home. However, its nowhere as powerful as the 220 volts model that commercial kitchen get. Nevertheless, its still one of the best around.
Max Burton #6450 Digital LCD 1800 Watt Induction Cooktop Counter Top Burner (Best Buy)
Breville is nice, but expensive. Far out of reach for most people. The good thing is that Max Burton makes a very affordable alternative. This unit has 1800 watts of power just like the Breville unit. The controls are easy to read/use and the surface is large enough for a 12 inch pan. What I like most about this unit is that it has many safety features. In case it short circuit or overheat, it will shut itself off.
Proctor Silex Electric Single Burner (Best Electric Model)
These Hot Plate use to grace the hall of every dorm room in college. The design is simple and effective. All you need to do is turn it on and it will heat up the pan. Just be aware, that it will cycle the heat as you use it. The 1200 watt model will heat better and faster. I recommend you go for that one.
Today, commercial induction countertop burner are the best. But they wont work in most US household. As a result, the traditional gas burner model are the best. They boil water fastest and are generally affordable. The only downside is the butane can. They are costly to replace. A good alternative is the induction models. The most expensive and best is the one by breville. However, its much too expensive. Burton makes a more affordable alternative. If any of the other alternative are just expensive, then getting a traditional hot plate would be a more economical choice.
Looking for a cookware for your burner? Check out our article on the Best Cookware for Electric Stove top.