A portable induction burner is a useful kitchen item. Many people get them as a way to try induction before they invest in an expensive induction cooktop or range, then they realize how much they love how fast, clean, and safe induction cooking is.
A portable induction burner is a versatile extra burner. You can put it out on the deck to cook side dishes when you’re grilling, or just because it’s a nice summer day and you don’t want to be in the kitchen. It's perfect if you're making brunch for a dozen people and need an omelet station. It's also perfect for Thanksgiving or any other occasion when your cooktop will be working overtime.
When your kid goes off to college, you can pack it up for her so she has a safe, easy way to make meals in her dorm room--then buy yourself a new one, because they're affordable and because you've realized that you can't live without one (or at least, don't want to).
Unfortunately, when it comes to portable induction burners, it’s not easy to know what you're getting. There are hundreds of models on the market, and you can spend anywhere from $50 to $500 (or more). And the specifications given are often so general that it’s hard to know exactly what you’re paying for.
For example, every model we review has 1800 watts of power, can be plugged into a normal wall outlet, and has roughly the same size burner.
So what makes one model worth ten times more than another? And are those differences worth paying for?
After hundreds of hours of testing and research, The Rational Kitchen has got portable induction burners dialed in. Whether you’re looking for the best model under $100 or one that can melt chocolate without scorching and hold a constant temperature for an unlimited time, you’ll find what you need to know so you can make a smart purchase.
Check out our related articles on induction:
The Winners at a Glance
These are the best in categories: best under $50, best under $100, best under $400, and best overall. I also included an honorable mention because the Vollrath Mirage Pro is a fantastic unit, but is not covered under warranty for home use--so I can't recommend it, even though it's great.
Best Under $50:
Easy knob control
Angled control panel
Best Under $100:
Decent low temp control (rare at this price)
20 temp/20 power settings
10 hr running time
Best Under $400: Mr. Induction 183-C Commercial Induction Burner
20 power settings
20 temp settings
Temp range 90-450F
Buy Amazon warranty!
100 power settings
Buy Amazon warranty!
How Does the Portable Induction Burner Work (and Why Is This Important to Know)?
An induction cooker is basically an electromagnet. When you place a magnetic object on it, a current is created. The ferric metal in the cookware resists the current and becomes hot--very hot, very fast.
There’s more to it than that, but the magnetism is the important thing to know.
Here's a short video from Vollrath that explains induction cooking:
All induction cookers get very hot, very fast--this is the easy part! A more important consideration is: how precise is the heating on a portable induction burner? Precision can vary widely, particularly at low temperatures--and this is the main difference between cheap units and expensive units.
Note: See also this Wikipedia article on induction cooking for more information.
Why is this important to know? The choices in this market are dizzying, with prices ranging from under $50 to up in the $1000s. If you understand how these induction cookers operate, you can make a better decision about which one will work best for you.
Pulsing: All or Nothing
In induction cooking, heat is controlled by pulsing power. The induction cooker sends power to the burner until it reaches the set point, then it will pulse power on and off, on and off continually to maintain the setting.
In most lower end units, the pulsing is not very well controlled. Many inexpensive PICs can only pulse at full power in an on-off, on-off cycle. Thus, they can greatly overshoot, then undershoot, a temperature many times before achieving equilibrium. In fact, they may not achieve equilibrium at all, but rather keep overshooting and undershooting the set point without ever actually hitting it. This is why many reviewers complain of pans overheating (and even warping), food burning, and difficulty achieving a slow simmer; these are all characteristics of this full blast-or-off, all-or-nothing heating system.
In fact, the on-off pulsing in some portable induction burners can make simmering almost impossible; a liquid is either boiling hard or just sitting there doing nothing. This problem is compounded by the fact that inexpensive units (typically, those under $300 or so) have fewer settings than their more pricey counterparts to begin with, usually 10 or less, which means big temp (or power) jumps, thus less overall control. (For more details, see the Specifications section in the model reviews below.)
The problem is also made worse because of how induction works: the pan gets hot, but the burner, not so much. So the pan can get much hotter than the actual tempersture setting before the sensor, buried beneath the glass surface of the burner, registers it and turns off the pulsing.
Pulsing: Gentle and Gradual
Higher end PICS also pulse, but they have more precise controls. Instead of running full blast until reaching setpoint and then shutting off, they’ll gradually reduce power as they approach it, then pulse more gently to maintain the setting. Thus, the swings in temperature are smaller, the unit takes less time to achieve equilibrium, and it is able to keep equilibrium in a more constant way, without blasts of heat that induce scorching.
A portable induction cooktop with the capability to pulse small amounts of wattage works much better at low and medium settings, which require more precise control.
The better the heat control, the more expensive the burner. Achieving precise temperatures and holding them requires better equipment. This is why higher end units tend to be heavier as well as more expensive; they’re not just sturdier, they have more expensive controls that read and adjust heat in a more sophisticated way. (For more info, see the discussion about Build Quality below.)
The upshot: If all you want is an extra burner to boil water, any inepensive one will work. But if you want a burner that can simmer and generally hold low temperatures without turning off and on constantly, you're going to have to get one with better (i.e., more expensive) heating controls.
Which Portable Induction Burner Is Best? Features to Consider
When you start shopping for portable induction burners, you'll see, probably with some frustration, that wattage, controls, temperature range, and size/weight are usually the only specs given. So on paper, a unit costing $50 can have literally the same specs as a unit costing $500 or more: 1800 watts of power, a 10-in. cooking area, auto pan sensor and shutoff, etc. It’s no wonder that people throw their hands up and decide to buy either the most popular unit on Amazon or the one they’re familiar with from the TV infomercials.
And these may be good choices for you, depending on your needs. But there are distinguishing features, even on the entry-level end of the scale. If you know what you’re looking for, you can make sense of the sometimes vague information provided and purchase a model you’ll be happy with.
So how do you know what to look for? Here are the things to consider.
We list the standard features here so you know not to be impressed by them. For example, if a model boasts of auto shutoff or auto pan detection, that means nothing--all induction cookers detect pans and shut off when the pan is removed because induction can only function when a pan is present.
(A delayed auto shutoff, on the other hand, is a very nice feature, and is only available on a few models at the lower end of the price range--such as the Duxtop induction cooker reviewed below).
All portable induction burners have:
- Auto shutoff when a pan is removed (although the time can vary, and tends to be very short--just a couple of seconds--on inexpensive units up to 60 seconds on more expensive ones)
- Auto pan sensor--the unit won't turn on if there is no pan present or if the pan is not induction compatible
- Auto overheat shutoff
- Ability to set unit in either temperature or power.
And most portable induction burners have:
- Digital display
- Error codes for troubleshooting problems.
There are a lot of bells and whistles and marketing phrases that sound great. But there are only three things that really matter: the number of settings (that is, the TRUE number of settings), build quality, and design.
Number of Settings
A portable induction burner can have anywhere from 6 settings to 100. Let's see how this works. Say a unit has 10 temperature settings. If the unit's temp range is 140F-460F, this is equivalent to 40-degree jumps in temperature.
Same goes for wattage (power). Portable induction cooktops typically have the same number of power settings as they do temperature settigns, so if you use the power setting instead of the temperature setting, you still have to deal with big jumps.
So you can choose, say, 340F or 380F, but you can't choose 350F. Or you can choose 200 watts (not quite enough power to make a liquid simmer), or you can choose 360 watts (which will result in a full boil).
The main thing to understand is the gaps between settings. Some manufacturers list a hundred settings or more, but when you read the details, you see that they're including all the presets, time sets, programmable functions, and who knows what else to reach that number--when the truth is that these units only have 10 temp settings and 10 power settings, the same as most others in the $100-ish-or-less price range. You might be able to program a unit to turn on and shut off at specific times or remember your most commonly used temp or power settings. But you can't make it run at anything other than the 10 temperature or power settings.
Conversely, some more expensive portable induction burners can actually have up to 100 settings (such as the Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P) and a wider temperature range (down to 80F). This kind of granularity is expensive, and you simply aren't going to find it on units that cost less than about $300. So don't let the marketing claims fool you!
Most inexpensive consumer grade PICs have a temperature range of 140F to 460F.
This means that you'll never be able to use it for delicate tasks like melting chocolate (which scorches above 105F). Additionally, because of the use of pulsing to control temperature, most consumer grade PICs have notoriously mediocre low temperature control. If the temperature range goes down to 100F it will be better, but it won't be as good as the Mirage Pro or the Mr. Induction commercial grade induction cookers.
If you don't want to spend more than $100 or so, you'll just have to live with this, and it doesn't matter all that much if you're buying it for its lightning high-temp speed (boiling water for pasta or coffee, for example).
Portable induction burners can also have a wide range of build quality, which also adds to the variation in cost. The things to consider are the housing, the fan, and the unit's weight. You may also want to consider design--in particular, how the controls operate. A unit with easy controls is a joy to use, while one with cumbersome push buttons and keypads can be frustrating, especially when you use it every day. See the next section (below) for a discussion about this.
Housings can be plastic, stainless steel, or some combination of both. Lower-end models are primarily plastic. Thus they withstand less weight, are more susceptible to melting if touched by a hot pan, and tend to wear out faster. The advantage is that they are lightweight and easy to store and move.
Higher end models have stainless steel housings or a combination of steel and plastic, such as a steel frame with a plastic control panel. They are more durable, can hold more weight, and are likely to have a longer life span.
If you plan to use a lot of heavy pots, such as large cast iron skillets or stockpots with large quantities of liquid, the housing is an important consideration. A plastic housing will not withstand a lot of heavy cooking vessels for the long haul.
Every portable induction burner has a fan to cool internal components during operation. Many reviewers complain of loud fans, especially on cheap units. However, the fans in even the cheapest burners usually aren't louder than the fan on your computer, and certainly no louder than your stove's exhaust fan. Unless you are a very noise-sensitive person, fan noise shouldn't be a reason to forego a less expensive unit.
Quality, however, may be. The fans on higher-end models are sturdier. They use ball bearing construction, which is both quieter and more durable. A ball bearing fan is one of the things that distinguishes a well-made unit from a not-so-well-made unit.
Weight (How Heavy Is It?)
The weight of a portable induction burner might seem like an odd thing to consider, but you can use it to distinguish a well-made burner from a mediocre one. Internal components are what we’re really talking about here, but since these are rarely discussed by manufacturers, we are going to instead talk about weight, which is almost always listed in the specs.
If you're in a quandary over which model to choose, weight just may be the tie breaker for you. If two units have similar specs but one is heavier than the other one by more than a few pounds, our advice is to buy the heavier one. It's likely to have better build quality, even if it everything else is equal (such as the number of heat settings).
You can also use weight to determine what you're getting for your money. For example, a portable induction burner in the $150-$300 range should have a better build quality than burners costing less than $100. But if you look at their weight, you may see that they are constructed very similarly as the less expensive ones. Considering that they also have the same number of temperature settings (and in some cases, fewer!), you are probably better off with the less expensive option.
A truly heavy-duty portable induction burner is going to weigh upwards of 10 pounds. Most cheaper ones weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. To compare, check out the weight on the Mr. Induction 183-C and the Duxtop 9600LS (both reviewed below). The 183-C weighs twice as much!
Here we’re talking primarily about where the controls are. Some portable induction burners are completely flat--called "tablet" style--with the controls on the same surface as the cooking area. Others have the controls angled away from the cooking area.
We strongly recommend you avoid the flat, "tablet" models. Having the controls on the same surface as the burner increases the possibility of damaging them with a hot pan. Angled controls are also easier to see and operate.
The exception to this is if the controls are sensor touch, i.e., beneath the glass surface and therefore impervious to damage. However, we prefer the control panel angled away from the cooktop surface because just because it's easier to see.
Controls themselves vary widely. Most are touch screen, but some are dials. Some have shortcut buttons for Simmer and Boil. Some have a press-and-hold feature, while others require continuous pressing. There are a lot of options, but none (in our opinion) that make or break any particular unit--although we're suckers for an old-school knob, which is faster than any digital control yet made.
Avoid the flat portable induction burners that have the controls on the same plane as the burner. These controls can easily be destroyed by a hot pan, and they're also harder to read from across a room.
Burner Size: What You Need to Know
The surface dimensions of the cooktop are not the burner size. For example, an induction burner that is a total of 12 inches wide does not have a 12-inch burner. This is important to remember because specifications will often give total dimensions, but not give the size of the actual burner. This might lead you to think that the cooking area is larger than it actually is.
In fact, the average portable induction burner has a heating element from 4 to 6 inches in diameter, with a total cooking surface around 9 to 11 inches. Here's what the inside of the burner looks like:
As you can see, the heating element definitely does not include the entire surface.
The cooking area on all induction burners is clearly marked because proper pan placement is important to efficient operation. This does not mean the pan must be the same size or smaller to work on the burner. Principles of heat transfer make it possible to use larger pans with good results.
In fact, it is not a drawback to have a 6-inch heating element or to have parts of a burner hotter than the rest--all cooking technology has limitations along these lines. For example, gas burners are also only about 6 inches in diameter, with the hottest parts where the flame contacts the pan (obviously, right?). This is why we stir food, or learn to adjust heat for whatever surface we're cooking on.
You may read reviews that attribute hot spots or scorching to "small burner size," but this is a misunderstanding of how induction burners work. When reviewers complain about hot spots and scorching, this is usually not attributable to the “small” burner size, as they might say. Rather, it is a function of the quality of the heating element (remember the pulsing discussed above? that), the quality of your cookware, or both.
So don't worry too much about the burner size. And you can use a pan larger than the actual heating area--but be careful. While a 12-inch pan might get the job done, you'll get more even heating with a 10-inch pan on a 9-inch cooking surface. You'll also have better results with higher-quality cookware because it distributes heat more evenly. (For more information, see our discussion on induction cookware here.)
Finally, do more expensive models have larger burners? Sometimes. But unless you routinely cook with gigantic pans, this isn’t a terribly important consideration. (Better to worry about the quality of the heating element than the size!)
Some Facts About Mid-Range Models
Mid-range models (above $130, below $300, give or take) can be strange birds. It can be really difficult to judge what you’re getting. For example, a $150 model will sometimes have stainless steel housings rather than plastic. But it will quite typically have the same internal components as less expensive models, like crude on/off pulsing and loud fans.
- If you want to buy on the lower end, you're probably better off spending $120 or less.
- If you want to buy on the higher end, you'll need to spend upwards of $300 to see an appreciable difference in quality.
Yes, it’s a huge gap. But there’s a reason for that: the $300 mark is where you start to get both excellent build quality and precision heating controls. Less than that, and it's just too expensive to do both.
Our choices are based on a background in engineering, hundreds of hours of research, testing, and personal experience. We tried to think of everything that matters, but if you have questions after reading these reviews, please let us know so we can answer your questions and add the information, if necessary.
Best Portable Induction Burner Under $100: The Secura Duxtop 9600LS
NOTE: Read more about this and other Duxtop portable induction burners in our article here.
The Duxtop 9600LS is a new Duxtop offering as of mid-2016. Thus, it doesn't have nearly as many reviews as some more established models (our old favorite was the 9100MC), but it still outshines all of its competition in this price range. The 9600LS already has an average rating of 4.5 stars.
The 9600LS has 20 temperature settings and 20 power settings, more than any unit under $100 (this means real temperature and power settings, not programmable and memory features which other brands count as settings). Most have 6 or 8 of each, a few have 10, and the Duxtop 9100MC has 15 (and is also a great choice for about $30 less). It has a wider temperature range than most units, as well, from 100F-460F: the 9600LS is one of the few inexpensive induction cooker that goes lower than 140F. It also has really excellent control at low temps compared to other models. While you're not going to get the excellent control you'd get from a higher-priced induction burner, it's better than anything else you'll find below $250.
Here's how the controls work (from the 9600LS operating manual):
Does it do the on/off pulsing at low temps? Yes--so the power levels given here aren't completely accurate. To achieve the lower power levels, the unit will pulse on/off at different intervals. For example, to achieve 100 watts at Power Level 0.5, the 9600LS will pulse on-off in 3 second-11 second intervals, with the 3 second "On" time amounting to about 460 watts. Which, when averaged with the 11 second "Off" time roughly equals about 100 watts. This means that you may still scorch food at low settings--but the heating is still much gentler than with other inexpensive portable induction cookers. (Most cheap portables would never even attempt to go below 140F.)
Temperature is even harder to get accurate because the sensor is buried beneath the surface where all the heating is happening (remember, the pan gets hot, the burner, not so much). All induction cookers are prone to overshoot a temperature setting before getting it right because of the time it takes for the true temp of a pan to reach the sensor. Cooking by temperature is best done after you've warmed up a pan with a power setting and are ready to let it settle in to a long cook. (Note: this is true for all portable induction burners.)
The upshot: it's not perfect. You're not going to get Vollrath or Mr. Induction precision at this price. But it's pretty good, and like any cooking method, you can adjust. Keep an eye on your food, stir, adjust the setting as necessary. Once again, if you don't want to spend a lot, this is the best you can do for under $100.
One more really cool feature: the 9600LS has a 10 hour timer. Combined with the good low temp capability, this means that you can do long simmers, as for stocks, stews, and soups.
Like other inexpensive units, it's still going to have a mostly plastic housing and a fairly loud fan, and it may "squeal" with some cookware. But overall, it's really the far-and-away best option if you want to spend under $100.
If you want an inexpensive portable induction cooker capable of decent low temp cooking for long simmers and lightning-fast heating, look no further: the 9600LS is the one to buy!
- Standard features like auto safety shutoff for overheating, high/low voltage warning, and error code message system, plus a Child Safety Lock
- 60 second-delayed shutoff when pan is removed--very nice feature not available on most models in this price range
- 20 temp settings from 100-460F
- 20 power settings from 100-1800W
- 10 hour timer settable in 1-minute increments (will run for 10 consecutive hours!)
- One-touch Boil and Keep Warm shortcut buttons.
1800 Watts/15 amps (standard for all US households)
Plugs into standard 120V outlet
5 ft. power cord
Push-button control on angled panel (plastic)
20 temp levels between 100F-460F
20 power levels from 100W-1800W
Dimensions (in.): 16.9 x 13.8 x 4.1
Weight: 7.5 pounds
1 year limited warranty.
The 9600LS is easy to use. It has a touchpad screen with a digital display. It has an On/Off button, a Lock button to prevent tampering by little fingers, and Plus/Minus keys to scroll through settings (Power, Temp, or Timer, which you select with the Menu key). It also has two nice one-touch buttons for Boil and Keep Warm.
The Plus/Minus keys have a press-and-hold feature so you don’t have to press continually to get the desired setting. The screen is angled away from the surface area, which is a great safety feature.
If you want to boil or simmer, you can use the one-touch features. (Note: The Boil shortcut button shuts the unit off after 10 minutes, so you may prefer just using a high heat setting if you want to boil for longer than that.)
To select a setting, choose Temp or Power with the Menu button, then scroll to the desired setting. (I recommend using the Power setting for most cooking.)
The display makes it easy to set and shows you all the information you need at a glance:
The 9300LS has a 10 hour timer which you can set in 1-minute increments. When you use the timer, the unit shuts itself off when the time has elapsed.
If you don't use the timer, the unit will run for 10 continuous hours (which makes it perfect for long simmers!).
- More power settings than any other unit in its price range
- Better low temp control than any other unit in its price range
- Wide temperature range (100F-460F)
- 10 hour running time
- Angled control panel for safe cooking (no possibility of damaging with hot pan)
- Loud fan
- Mostly plastic parts
- Can emit high-pitched sound with some cookware.
The Duxtop 9300LS is an excellent choice in the below $100 price range, and one of the best under $400. It has the same problems as all inexpensive portable induction burners, such as plastic housings and loud fans. But it is the best choice by far if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Click now for Amazon's best price on the Duxtop 9300LS induction burner:
Best Portable Induction Burner Under $50: Gourmia GIC-100
(NOTE: The Gourmia GIC-100 can go in and out of stock, and the link may take you to a different Gourmia induction cooktop, or say that this one is unavailable. If so, any other Gourmia will be about the same price and have the same features, except the manual dial. Manual controls are becoming harder to find on lower end induction cookers; they may go away completely. We hope they don't, so we haven't changed our pick yet. But if they do, the other Gourmia will serve your needs, it just won't have the dial control.)
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, entry level cooker, the Gourmia GIC-100 is an excellent choice. It has almost 100 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4 stars. Gourmia is a U.S-based company with a good reputation for customer service, which makes this cheapie that much more appealing.
This is a no-frills burner and a perfect introduction to induction cooking. We also give it major points for having a manual dial control--something that’s fallen out of favor on modern appliances but which is infinitely easier to use than a touchscreen.
The Gourmia GIC-100 Portable Induction Burner has 8 temp settings and 8 power settings. It has a digital display with touchscreen mode and power buttons. Once in the desired mode, a manual dial is used to adjust temperature or power level.
Safety features include auto burner shutoff, auto pan detection, and a child safety lock.
Standard 120V plug-in
8 temperature settings from 140-460F (not specified in manual)
8 power settings from 200-1800W (not specified in manual)
Compatible with pans from 4.75 inches to 10.25 inches in diameter
Dimensions (in.): 14.5 x 11.2 x 2.5
Weight/Shipping Weight (lbs): 4.9/6.2
White with black cooking surface.
- Manual dial! (Fast and easy to use)
- Standard safety features.
- Only 8 temperature and power settings
- Inexpensive heating element makes it hard to maintain precise temps, especially at lower settings
- Plastic housing and noisy fan (like all inexpensive portable induction cookers).
If you want a basic induction burner that gets hot fast, is cheap, and is easy to operate, buy the Gourmia GIC-100.
CLICK NOW FOR AMAZON'S BEST PRICE ON THE GOURMIA GIC-100 PORTABLE INDUCTION BURNER:
Best Portable Induction Under $400: Mr. Induction 183C Commercial Induction Burner
The Mr. Induction 183-C portable induction burner is made by Sunpentown, a California-based manufacturer of several small appliances for both residential and commercial use, including fans, wine fridges, slow cookers, toaster ovens, and more.
Sunpentown makes a diverse and very usable range of induction cookers. They make a couple of 3600 Watt commercial cookers, which are more powerful than the 1800W commercial models, but with similar controls and performance. You need a 220V outlet and wiring (like that for a full-sized cooktop or range) to use these models.
Additionally, Sunpentown also manufactures a few single-burner, built-in induction cooktops like this one and this one (an 1800W and a 3600W). These are high-end products meant to replace full-sized cooktops, and they are an excellent option for small spaces like campers and boats. They're also part of the trend towards people creating custom cooking technology in their home kitchens, like having both gas and induction burners in their desired configuration. This trend is more popular in Europe (probably because kitchens tend to be smaller there and also because of the huge popularity of induction), but it's catching on in the US. With all their induction offerings, Sunpentown is certainly at the forefront of this curve.
The Mr. Induction 183-C is a commercial grade product that is built to last under heavy use conditions. At about $350, it's also one of the most affordable commercial grade induction cookers on the market. It's got great temp and power control and is easy to use.
NOTE: Because it's commercial-rated, the warranty may not apply for home use. We recommend buying the extended third-party warranty through Amazon if you're buying it for home use.
For more information on commercial grade PICs, see our article Induction Cooktop Reviews: Best Portable Induction Cooktop (Commercial Grade, 1800W).
Mr. Induction has trademarked "SmartScan" technology, which I think is marketing jargon for basic induction features like pan sensing and auto shutoff when a pan is removed. All PICs have these features because of the nature of how induction cooking works. One thing this cooker doesn't have is a max running time. Most residential induction cookers shut themselves off after a certain amount of time, but commercial ones will run forever. So if you want that bone broth to simmer overnight while you're sleeping, this induction cooker is one of the safest and most energy efficient methods available.
Here are the 183-C's other great features:
- Pan size and type recognition
- 5mm thick cooktop made of tempered glass
- 20 power levels (350-1800W)
- 20 temp levels (90-440F)
- Knob control
- LED display and mode indicator lights
- Fahrenheit/Celsius display option
- Stainless steel housing
- Voltage protection
- FCC/CETL/ETL-Sanitation to NSF-4.
The great thing about commercial PICs is that they have to be easy to use. In the hectic environment of a restaurant kitchen, you have to be able to change settings quickly and easily. The Mr. Induction 183-C is no exception. It has a nice big LED display, indicator lights so you can see what mode it's in at a glance, and a big knob for quick setting changes.
As you can see in this photo, operating this induction cooker is as easy as turning it on, selecting the mode, and turning the knob to the desired temp/power you want. If you need to change the temp scale, that's a one-button operation, as well. The big LED display (above the Cook/Temp buttons) shows you instantly what your setting is.
1800 Watts/15 amps (standard for all US households)
Dimensions (WxDxH): 12.6 in. x 15.2 in. x 4.5 in.
Plugs into standard 120V outlet
6 ft. power cord
20 temp levels between 90F-440F
20 power levels from 350W-1800W
Weight/Shipping Weight: 13.5/15 lb.
If you're looking for top notch quality at the lowest possible price, the Mr. Induction 183-C is an excellent choice.
CLICK NOW FOR AMAZON'S BEST PRICE ON THE MR. INDUCTION 183-C PORTABLE INDUCTION COOKER:
Best PIC Overall: The Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P
If we could, we'd give this 10 stars.
Okay, we're kitchen geeks; we know that. But because of our technical background, we appreciate the higher-end portable induction burners: the better build quality, better control, and better overall look-and-feel you get at the $300 and above price point. Good quality products are just better to work with. Their heft and smoothness in operation are a source of pleasure, and their durability alleviates many worries that come with using less well-made equipment. If you're just in it to get the job done and get out of the kitchen, then the burner you buy doesn't matter all that much. But if you want a burner you can love, the Vollrath Mirage Pro will fill that hole in your heart, and then some.
The love here doesn’t come cheaply; the Amazon price varies between $450-$550. But it is so much better than anything you’d get for less--and many people even believe it’s better than units you’d pay three twice as much for (like this guy).
Important: Like most commercial-grade induction cookers, the Mirage Pro does not honor the warranty when purchased for home use. So if you do go this route, be sure to purchase the third-party extended warranty. (At this price point, you should be getting the extended warranty, regardless.)
1800 watts of power
6-ft. power cord
3-prong plug that plugs into a standard 120V wall outlet
100 power levels between 80F-400F (and can exceed 525F at highest setting)
Dimensions: 15 in. x 14 in. x 3 in.
Weight: 13.7 lbs.
8-inch heating element (app.)
Can accommodate pans between 4-12 inches in diameter.(Note: The Vollrath website gives 14-inches as the max pan diameter, but we are not sure how well this would work.)
It has a black ceramic top in a stainless steel case with green buttons.
The Mirage Pro has a three simple buttons--On/Off, Power/Temp, and Timer. It has a digital display, and a dial to adjust settings (we love this!). The screen is covered with tough plastic and angled away from the surface area, which is a great safety feature.
Temperature and Power Control
100 Power/Temp Levels: The Mirage Pro has an astounding 100--count them!-- power levels. This is ten times more than most portable induction burners, and more than most units even in this price range. The model has a temperature range from 80F to 400F, but the manual says it can exceed 525F at the maximum power setting of 100.
Sophisticated heat control: The Mirage Pro has sophisticated controls that can use split-second pulsing as low as 50 watts (as opposed to the all-or-nothing pulsing of less expensive models). It also goes as low as 80F. So if you plan to use your portable induction burner for delicate kitchen jobs like melting chocolate (which burns above 105F!), butter, or even cooking eggs, this is an important feature.
Full Power to Any Size Pan: Another unique capability of the Mirage Pro is its capability to use full (or almost full) power to any pan size. Most portable induction burners use less wattage with small pans, even if you set them to full power, which means slower heating times. But the Mirage Pro can scale wattage level for any pan size.
We’re not sure why these great features aren’t mentioned on Amazon. They really set this unit apart from the rest of the crowd.
The Mirage Pro's standard features are a little bit better than most other units, so we mention them separately.
Auto Pan Detection Shutoff: Like all induction burners, the Mirage Pro shuts itself off if the pan is removed from the burner. However, with the Mirage Pro, you have 60 seconds to replace a pan before the unit powers down. This is convenient for cooks who like to do the chef-shake!
Temperature Memory: The Mirage Pro remembers its last temperature setting and goes to it the next time you turn it on.
Overheat Warning: The display flashes “HOT PAN” until it detects a safe level of heat. (Nice to not have to look up an error code!) It will shut itself off after several seconds if the temp doesn't cool down.
Timer: The timer goes up to 180 minutes in one-minute increments and will turn the unit off automatically for the time you set. If you don’t use the timer, the unit will stay on forever, i.e., it has no safety shutoff feature. This is excellent for long simmerings such as stock-making.
- Precise temperature control with 100 temp/power levels
- Manual dial--fast and easy controls
- Unlimited cooking time if you don't use the timer
- Durable build quality
- Many extras such as adjusting to pan size, 60-second shutoff delay, a low of 80F, and more (see above).
- The warranty is not honored for home use. (Buy the extended warranty from the dealer!)
The Vollrath 59500P Mirage Pro has features of units that cost hundreds more and is vastly better than units that cost less. We think it is the best PIC on the market. It is our number one choice for portable induction burners.
For more information on commercial grade PICs, see our article Induction Cooktop Reviews: Best Portable Induction Cooktop (Commercial Grade, 1800W).
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