August 16

Portable Induction Cooktop Reviews (And How to Choose the Best One)

By trk

Last Updated: August 13, 2021


Updated for 2021

In this article, you'll learn:

  • Why there's such a huge price range (difference between a $40 and $400 cooker)
  • How to choose a cooktop at the price you want to pay
  • Important features of a portable induction cooktop
  • Our favorite portables at different prices.

By the end of this article, you'll know enough to buy the right portable induction cooker for you at the price you want to pay.

Portable Induction Cooktops at a Glance

Here are our favorite portable induction cookers at a glance:

Category/Model

Features

Best in $300-600 Range/
Best Overall:

Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P

100 power settings (50-1800W)
Temp range 80-400F

6-inch burner
Unlimited run time
Stainless housing
Superb low temp control

VollrathMiragePro_150px

Best in $100-300 Range:
Vollrath Mirage Cadet

20 power/20 temp settings
100-1800W/100-400F
Unlimited run time
Stainless housing

VollrathCadet_150px

Best Under $100 (or so):
Duxtop 9600LS

20 power/20 temp settings
100-1800W/100-460F
10 hr. run time
Best control under $100

Duxtop9600LS_150px

Best Under $50 (or so):

Duxtop 8310

20 power/20 temp settings
100-1800W/100-460F
10 hr. run time
Best control under $100

Who Needs a Portable Induction Cooktop?

Just about anyone who cooks regularly can benefit from having an extra burner occasionally. Here's a list of reasons why a portable induction cooktop is a great thing to have in your kitchen:

  • For entertaining (an extra burner for big cooking jobs, as an omelet station for brunches, etc.)
  • For cooking outdoors when it's too hot to cook indoors
  • ...Or, for cooking indoors on a hot day when you don't want to heat up your kitchen
  • When you want easy cleanup
  • For easy, convenient cooking in your cabin, RV, or boat
  • For emergencies (your stove breaks)
  • For beer brewing and home canning
  • For camping (if you're not the totally rustic type)
  • For outdoor grilling and barbecues (an extra burner for side dishes)
  • Because you hate your electric stove and want something more responsive
  • To experience induction without committing to a full-sized cooktop (although you must buy at the high end to mimic full-sized cooktop performance)
  • To give to your college student for cooking in her dorm room
  • For a downsized cooktop if you move to a smaller space.

The great thing is, you can have the convenience of an extra burner for as much as you're willing to pay for it: you can spend less than $50 or more than $500. As long as you know what you want and what you're getting for your money, this price range offers excellent choices!

The great thing about the portable induction cooktop market is that you can spend as much or as little as you want to. As long as you've done your homework and understand what you're paying for, you'll be happy and confident in your purchase.

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How Do Portable Induction Cooktops Work?

Induction is a little bit complicated to fully understand. We've boiled it down to two main concepts: magnetism and pulsing

These are the most basic aspects of induction technology. But more importantly, they're the aspects that are going to most affect your purchasing decision.

Magnetism

Induction works by magnetism rather than heat. Current is passed through an electromagnet (the burner), and when you place a magnetic pot on the burner, it completes a circuit and creates heat.

This is a simplified explanation, but it's all you really need to know because having induction-compatible cookware (i.e., magnetic) is a crucial part of the induction equation. 

Here's a short video from Vollrath (who makes one of our favorite induction cooktops) that explains induction cooking technology in a little more detail:

Pulsing

The other thing you need to know is how induction controls heat: induction controls heat by pulsing power on and off to reach and maintain the set point.

This is important because it explains the primary difference between inexpensive induction burners and higher-end ones. That is, when you pay more for an induction burner, you are paying for more sophisticated heat control.

In inexpensive portable induction cookers, the pulsing is crude and poorly controlled, which accounts for the scorching that can happen with induction cooking and the inability to hold a nice simmer. (Read reviews on Amazon to learn more about scorching.)

In more expensive induction cookers, the pulsing has better controls, with the ability to speed up and slow down based on how close it is to set point, and also to pulse at different wattages (rather than just On/Off, On/Off). This results in smoother temperature transitions and better ability to hold constant temperature, particularly low temperatures. The result is less scorching and gentle, constant simmers.  

You don't have to pay a fortune to get decent pulsing. Duxtop makes several models with good pulsing options for the price. No, they're not as good as Vollrath and other commercial brands, but they're better than other induction cooktops in the Duxtop price range.

How an induction cooktop pulses power is the primary difference between a mediocre one and a great one.

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What Is Induction Compatible Cookware?

We said it above, but it's important, so we'll say it again: you need induction-compatible cookware to use with a an induction cooktop.

Induction compatible cookware has a magnetic bottom. If you have aluminum or copper cookware, it won't work. If you have old clad stainless (made prior to the mid-1990s or so), it may or may not work--testing the pot bottom with a magnet is the best way to know.

Cast iron and carbon steel cookware is always induction compatible.

magnetInduction2_300px

Use a magnet to test for induction compatibility: if it sticks to the pot bottom, the pot IS induction-compatible.

For more info, check out our Guide to the Best Induction Cookware

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Are Portable Induction Cooktops Safe?

inductionEggFrying

The pan gets hot, but the burner stays cool.

As far as basic kitchen safety, induction cooking can't be beat. Because the pans get hot and not the cooking surface (except for residual heat from the pan bottom), induction is much safer than gas and electric cooking. It also has built-in safety features such as not coming on unless it detects a compatible pot and shutting off automatically when the pot is removed from the burner.

(These are often touted as safety features, but they're really just the by-products of how induction heating works.)

There are a couple of other issues to consider, though.

Pacemakers

If you or someone in your household has a pacemaker, consult with your cardiologist before buying a portable induction burner. Some (not most, but some) pacemakers are affected by the magnetism in induction cooktops.

This isn't because induction is inherently dangerous; it's just that some pacemakers are affected by magnetism--and induction burners are basically magnets.

The truth is that it is unlikely to be a problem, as the pacemaker would have to be in close proximity to an operating burner for a good length of time (probably several minutes) for a malfunction to occur. However, it's always better to be sure than to be sorry--so ask your doctor before purchasing an induction cooker if this is a concern.

EMFs

There are a lot of anti-induction people out there who are afraid of the electromagnetic fields given off by induction cooktops. We have done a great deal of research on this and the evidence overwhelmingly says that induction cooking is safe.

Even one frequently-cited study about the dangers of induction claims (in the conclusion) that no real dangers were found. (If you read this study, read it carefully!)

For more info, see Is Induction Cooking Safe? on this site.

And please, wear sunscreen before you go outdoors, because the sun accounts for about a million cases of skin cancer a year--and is therefore much more dangerous than any household appliance. 

Pot Placement

And if you are worried about stray magnetic fields, there is an easy way to minimize them to almost zero: just be careful about centering the pot in the middle of the burner. This eliminates about 95% of the stray magnetic fields given off by induction burners. 

Proper pot placement--centered on the induction burner--reduces stray magnetic fields by 95%, resulting in faster, more efficient heating. 

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Are Portable Induction Cooktops Energy Efficient?

Induction is the most efficient type of cooktop. Both gas and conventional electric cooktops have a high rate of wasted energy--energy that is lost to the ambient air. With induction, because the pan itself is what heats up, there is very little loss of heat to the environment.

You may not notice a reduction in your energy bills, but even if you don't, you'll be using the most efficient heating source available. 

Induction Cooktop Pros and Cons

An article on induction cooktops wouldn't be complete without a list of pros and cons.

Pros
  • Fast response time
  • Great low temp control (not on all models, but far better than gas on models that have it)
  • Energy efficient 
  • Very safe compared to gas and electric
  • Easy to clean (no burnt-on food, and you can use paper towels under a pot to catch splatters!)
Cons  
  • Require induction-compatible cookware (must have magnetic bottom)
  • Glass cooktop can scratch easily, esp. if using heavy cookware like cast iron
  • Cheaper portable induction cookers can scorch food and don't hold simmer temps very well
  • Cheaper portable induction cookers can be noisy--they have noisy fans and sometimes "whine" or "squeal" with certain cookware.

For a more detailed discussion, see Induction Cooktop Pros and Cons. You might also want to read Is Induction Cooking Better than Gas? (And If So, Why?)

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What Are the Important Features of a Portable Induction Cooktop? 

We break down portable induction cooker features into three categories: standard features, safety features, and important features (that is, features you might be willing to pay for). You can pretty much ignore the standard features and safety features, most of which are universal to induction technology.

The important features (see below) are the ones to educate yourself about and pay attention to when selecting a PIC.

Standard Features (What You Can Ignore)

All induction cooktops share some common "features" that shouldn't impress you too much. For example, all induction burners shut off automatically after a pan is removed; some have a delay function (which is an excellent feature), but they all do it, because induction heating requires a pot to complete the magnetic circuit.

For the same reason, no induction burner will power on if it doesn't detect a pan. If you turn on an induction burner without a pan placed on it, you will just see an error message in the display.

While these features do make induction cooking safer, they aren't technically safety features, but rather just by-products of how induction works. 

Most portable induction cooktops have:

  • Auto pan detection and shutoff (although a delayed shutoff is a nice feature)
  • Burners that won't switch on if no pan is detected
  • Power/temp setting options
  • Digital display
  • Error codes to help with troubleshooting.

Don't be too impressed by any of these. They're standard for pretty much every PIC.

Safety Features (You Can Pretty Much Ignore These, Too--Here's Why)

Overall, induction is much safer than gas or electric cooking, even if you were to buy a PIC that has no extra safety features whatsoever. For this reason, we don't consider safety features to be a very big selling point when comparison shopping for PICs. But for the sake of thoroughness, here are the most common safety features found on induction cooktops (in addition to auto shutoff and pan detection, discussed above):

Lockable controls: Some portable induction cooktops have safety features like lockable controls so settings can't be changed inadvertently. Most important for households with children.

Hot Burner caution: "HOT PAN" or something similar flashes on the display until the burner has cooled down after use. 

Overheat Shutoff: Most PICs (probably all of them, actually) also have an overheat function that switches them off automatically if they go past a certain temp. This is to save the internal components from overheating, and is a good feature (but a standard one, so don't worry too much about it).

Max Run Time/Auto Shutoff: Some PICs have an auto shutoff feature that switches them off after a certain max running time. This time can vary from 2 hours upwards to 99 hours.

In general, less expensive units tend to have shorter max run times--probably to save wear and tear on their cheaper internal components.

By the way: We consider the auto shutoff an anti-feature. We don't recommend a PIC (or any induction cooktop) with an auto shutoff feature less than 10 hours. What a hassle if you're making stock, or something else that requires a long cook time. 

On the other hand, if you want a PIC primarily for its lightning fast heating capability, this may not be an issue for you.

TIP: Most inexpensive portable induction cooktops have shorter auto-shutoff times, some as short as 2 hours. This is probably to protect the less durable components from wear and tear. More expensive PICs, especially those labeled "commercial," will run indefinitely--no auto shutoff at all. If this feature is important to you, be sure to check the specs before buying.
None of the induction cooktops we recommend here have an auto shutoff less than 10 hours.

Important Features (What You Really Need to Look At)

Now we get to the features that are important--the features you should pay attention to and that will help you select the best portable induction cooktop for your needs.

Number of Power Levels and Power Progression

How to Choose a Portable Induction Cooktop (And the Best Ones to Buy)

This one is obvious: the more power levels, the more control you have over the cooking process.

However, power levels are not all created equally. The best induction cookers don't have a linear progression of wattage (100W, 200W, 300W, etc.). Instead, they offer smaller jumps at low wattage, where more control is needed, and have bigger jumps at higher wattage, where control is less important.

For example, many cheap induction cooktops have a low wattage level of 200W. This is a lot of wattage--so they're going to have a hard time maintaining a constant low temperature. These models will be pulsing like crazy at a low power setting and will probably scorch some food.

More expensive ones also have lower low wattage levels (or should), meaning a wider range of power options. For example, the Vollrath Mirage Pro has a low wattage level of 50W. This is unsurpassed by any other cooker as far as we know (but you do have to pay for all that precision).

The Duxtop 9600LS is an example of an inexpensive induction cooktop that has really good temperature control. It has a low wattage of 100W, with small jumps from 100W to about 660W. This is about the best you can get at the $100 price point. 

The more levels, the smaller the jumps, and, therefore, the more precise the controls.

A lot of induction cooktop makers overstate the number of power options their units have. They might count all the preset function keys and programmable features to arrive at a large number of levels. But the only thing that matters is the number of power and temperature levels, and how big the jumps between the levels are. E.g., a "Simmer" shortcut key is the same as putting the cooker on its lowest power setting, so it doesn't count as an additional power setting.

The same goes for temperature levels...

Number of Temperature Levels/Temperature Range

Thermometer_200px

Temperature levels go hand in hand with power levels: the more levels, the more control you have over the cooking process.

As with power settings, this is particularly important at low temps, which are harder for induction cooktops to maintain at a steady rate. 

Temperature isn't quite as important as power. Not because it doesn't matter (it definitely does!), but because it's harder to control (so you will likely use the power setting more than the temp setting). This is due to the temperature sensor being buried underneath the glass burner, which creates a lag-time in temp reading--this is true even in expensive portable induction cooktops.

However, this lag time is particularly bad in cheaper units because their heat controls aren't very sophisticated. You'll get a lot of boiling and scorching before the induction cooker settles into a temp--and even then, it will have a hard time keeping a steady, constant temperature.

COOKING TIP: Even if you want to set the induction cooktop to a specific temperature, use the Power setting first, then switch to Temperature after it's warmed up. This will help prevent wild fluctuations and scorching.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR (POWER AND TEMPERATURE):
POWER: Induction cooktops can have 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, or 100 power levels. Fewer levels means bigger jumps between settings, with less control over the cooking process. If you want to use your induction cooktop for more than just boiling water, look for at least 20 power settings. You also want the widest wattage range you can find (e.g., 80-1800W is better than 200-1800W).
TEMPERATURE: The standard temperature range for most consumer grade portable is 140-450F. You can find them with a wider temp range though (including some reviewed here), and even if you don't need anything lower than 140F, a wider temp range indicates better temperature control in general--so less of the On/Off, On/Off pulsing that causes that annoying cycle of scorching and no cooking at all.

Weight

Weight is an indication of how well-built an induction cooktop is.

It indicates sturdy internal components and, most likely, a steel housing (which, it goes without saying, will last longer than a plastic one).

So if you're unsure about a portable cooktop and what its specs are telling you, look at the weight. This is an excellent indiction of a well-built unit.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Cheap PICs almost universally weigh in the range of 5-8 lbs. The cheapest PICs will be at the bottom of this range (5-6 lbs). Many mid-range induction cooktops ($100 - $200 or so), with stainless housings but lacking durable internal components, will be at the top of this range (8 lbs or so). "Commercial" grade induction cooktops and those with stainless housings and durable components will clock in at over 10 lbs--some close to 20 lbs!
If the specs aren't making sense to you, look at the weight. This is a great indication of the build quality and durability.

Coil Size (Actual Burner Diameter)

inductionburnerinsides3_300px

The electromagnet PIC coil--as you can see, it's nowhere near the size of the cooking surface.

Contrary to what the marketing literature might lead you to believe, the coil (that is, the actual burner size) is not the same as the cooktop dimensions.

Coil sizes run from approximately 4-6 inches in diameter. But the coil size doesn't matter as much as people might think.

Small coil size often gets blamed for scorching food (in Amazon reviews in particular), but scorching has more to do with how induction cookers work (that is, pulsing--see the discussion above).

The coil size range is surprisingly small, although a more expensive unit is likely to have a larger coil. Duxtop coils are around 4 inches, while Vollrath coils are somewhere around 6 inches. 

While a bigger coil is nice, it doesn't affect performance all that much, believe it or not. Think of the circle of flame on a gas stove--it's probably 4-5 inches in diameter, but you think nothing of using it to heat 10-inch or even 12-inch pans. This is because the pan itself distributes heat fairly evenly throughout, with some hot spots right where the flame is, which you accommodate for by stirring and moving food without even thinking about it. 

So don't worry too much about coil size. Do, however, have good clad stainless cookware to use with your induction cooker. Its ability to spread heat evenly makes a huge difference!


WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Unless you're going to be using HUGE pans ALL the time, don't worry too much about coil size. If you have good clad stainless cookware to use with your PIC, even heat distribution shouldn't be a huge issue. (And remember, as discussed above, scorching is more a factor of how an induction cooktop pulses power, and less about coil size.)

Control Panel

Portable induction cooktop control panels can be all digital or a combination of digital and manual. What you prefer is largely a personal choice.

Having said that, it is our opinion that the easiest controls to use are dials. This may not be important to you, but more expensive portable induction cooktops tend to have manual knobs, while cheap ones tend to be all digital, requiring several button clicks to set. (E.g., you have to scroll through a menu to get to a desired setting.)

Also, a lot of control panels offer several extra keys. Some of these make operation easier, like the "Simmer" and "Sear" keys that allow you to bypass Up/Down key presses to select a power level. 

Some control panels are overly complicated. They can have programmable functions that allow the PIC to "remember" your most used settings. For some, you can even set time/temp to turn the PIC on and off, run it at a certain setting, and plug in your favorite "recipes" so you can recall them with just a couple of button clicks. These are all nice extras, but in general, the best controls are the simplest ones.

From what we've seen in our research, cheaper units often have more complicated controls, while more expensive units often have little more than a Power/Temp Mode button and a dial to easily change the setting. 

Anyway, here are the NuWave Titanium control panel (top) and the Vollrath Mirage Pro control panel (bottom): 

NuWaveTitaniumCP_400px
VollrathMirageProCP2

Which looks easier to use??

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: While you should go with your own preference, look for a simple interface, preferably with a manual dial because it's the fastest way to change settings. 

Delayed Shutoff

As we mentioned above, all portable induction cooktops stop working when a pan is removed from the burner. This is because induction technology requires the pan to complete the magnetic circuit.

However, some portables (and most full-sized induction cooktops) have a delay feature that keeps the burner operating for up to 60 seconds before it switches off. This is great if you need to remove a pan for any reason, or if you like to do the "chef toss" to move food around. 

Duxtop is one of the few lower cost brands that has a 60-second shut off delay, while the more expensive and commercial grade brands all have it (e.g., Vollrath). 

Fan Type

Fans_250px

There's not a lot you can do about fan type. If you buy a cheap portable induction cooktop, it's going to have a cheap fan. This fan will most likely be a sleeve-bearing fan, which is noisy and not as durable as the ball-bearing fans found in more expensive units.

Just know that a durable fan is one of the things you get when you buy a more expensive portable induction cooker--and one of the first corners cut on cheaper ones.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Price. Low price = cheap fans. High price = durable (and quieter) fans. You just have to know this going in.

What makes one fan better than another? Here's a 5 minute video that explains the different fan types. It's about computer fans, but the same basic designs are used in induction burners. At the end, it has some valuable information about getting the most life out of your fan (regardless of type):

(Video courtesy of Techquickie)

Max Run Time

If you ever want to use your induction cooktop for long projects (stockmaking, for example), max run time is an important consideration. Nothing is more frustrating than a unit that shuts itself off after just a couple of hours--especially if you didn't know it did this when you bought it!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: If a long run time is important to you, make sure you know a PICs max run time before you buy. (All are given in this review.)

Timer

Just like a regular oven or cooktop, some induction cookers come with a timer. Some units switch off when the time elapses, and these are the most useful timers. Some just beep and keep operating.

If you do consider the timer important, make sure you buy an induction cooker with a timer that functions how you want it to. (E.g., long enough, shuts off when time is up, has enough granularity, etc.)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Make sure you understand how the timer works before you buy a PIC. Some shut the unit off, while some do not. Also, not all induction cooktops have a timer, so if you want one, make sure the unit has one before you buy.

Warranty

The warranty is important, and you should get a portable that has a minimum of a one year warranty. 

Sometimes, manufacturer warranties are not honored when buying through third party vendors (like on Amazon) or when buying a commercial product for home use. If this is the case, invest in the buyer protection plan offered through Amazon or another third party. It's only a few extra dollars, and you'll be very glad you have it if something goes wrong.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: A manufacturer warranty of at least one year. If buying through Amazon or another third party (esp. on the Internet), invest a few extra dollars in the buyer protection plan--especially if you're buying an expensive unit.

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Important Features Summary Table

Here's a summary table of important features that you should think about before you buy:

Important Portable Induction Cooktop Features

Feature

What to Look For

Number of Power Levels (Wattage)

The more power levels, the more control options you have. 

Number of Temperature Levels

The more temp levels, the more control options you have.

Weight

A heavier unit indicates better quality, sometimes the only way you can tell. 10 lb+ is a good weight.

Coil Size (Burner Diameter)

Burners can range from 4-6 inches, but this doesn't matter all that much unless you'll be using HUGE pans.

Control Panel 

Dials are easier to use than menu keys, but usually cost more.

Delayed Shutoff

A great feature that allows you to remove a pan for several seconds without having to turn the unit back on.

Fan Type

Cheap fans are loud and don't last as long. (An argument for spending more.)

Max Run Time

Some portable induction cooktops have unlimited run times while some have only 2 hrs. 

Timer

A timer should turn the cooktop off when done (not all do, and not all models have a timer).

Warranty

Make sure the portable induction cooker has at least a 1 yr warranty. It's also smart to buy an extended warranty, as well.

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How Much Should I Spend on a Portable Induction Cooktop?

How much you want to spend on a portable induction cooktop is a personal choice. As long as you know what you're getting for what you pay, you can be happy at any price point.

Here, we give our picks at several price ranges, plus a few honorable mentions. 

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Where's the Best Place to Buy a Portable Induction Cooker?

You can find portable induction cookers on several Internet sites. Amazon has the largest selection (which may be more frustrating than it is helpful, at least until you know what you're looking for), the fastest shipping, and a good return policy--even if you don't have Amazon Prime. 

So, we like Amazon for buying portable induction cooktops. It's not great for full-sized induction ranges or cooktops (appliance dealers are best for those), but for portables, you'll find the best deals, best shipping, and best return policies on Amazon. 

Best Portable Induction Cooktop Overall ($300 - $600 Range): Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P

VollrathMiragePro_500px

The Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P (see it on Amazon) is a commercial induction cooker, so it's a well-built, heavy duty product with a ton of great features. We consider it to be the best all-around model on the market today.

It has a temperature range of 80F - 400F (but gets up to about 550F) and a wattage range of 50W-1800W. It also has an unmatched 100 power settings--more even than some portable induction cookers that cost hundreds more! 

It has a temperature/power control system that Vollrath calls "G4." It's one of the most sophisticated temperature control systems around, able to hold constant temperatures, as low as 80F, very well. We are aware of no other induction cooktop that can do this. (In fact, many full-sized induction cooktops can't do this.)

You probably don't need 100 power settings. But the Mirage Pro's ability to hold constant temperatures and go down to 80F are fantastic features. For example, this means you can set a temperature and walk away without worrying about scorching or shutting off. It means you can simmer for hours at a time. And it means you've got excellent all-around temperature control. 

The Mirage Pro is made in China with American-made specs and design. It's an excellent portable induction cooktop--tough to beat at any price point. 

Click here to see our detailed review.

Pros

  • 100 power settings (from 50W to 1800W)
  • Temp range of 80F - 400F (but gets up to 550F)
  • 6-inch coil diameter and 14-inch cooktop
  • Easy to use control panel
  • Auto shutoff timer
  • F/C display option
  • Stainless housing
  • Quiet ball bearing fan
  • Unlimited run time
  • Manual dial (no menus to scroll through).

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The warranty may not be honored if purchased for home use (get the extended warranty from Amazon!).
VollrathMiragePro_150px
Buy the Vollrath Mirage Pro 59500P on Amazon:
amazon buy

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Best Portable Induction Cooktop in the $100 - $300 Range: Vollrath Mirage Cadet 59300

VollrathCadet

The Vollrath Mirage Cadet 59300 portable induction cooktop (see it on Amazon) is the Mirage Pro's little sister. It isn't quite as capable, having G1 internal components rather than the G4 of the Mirage Pro...but it isn't quite as expensive, either. It's a commercial unit designed for use in the food service industry, though, so it's durable and heavy duty and will hold a temperature down to 100F (although with a bit less precision than the Mirage Pro). 

With the Cadet, you're getting durable build quality and very good performance.

Pros

  • 20 power settings from 100W - 1800W
  • Temperature range from 100F - 400F (10-degree increments)
  • 6-inch coil diameter
  • Stainless housing
  • Quiet ball bearing fan
  • Unlimited run time
  • 1 year warranty.

Cons

  • All digital control panel (this may not be a con if you prefer digital controls)
  • Warranty may not be honored if purchased for home use (get the extended warranty from Amazon!).
VollrathCadet_150px
Buy the Vollrath Mirage Cadet 59300 on Amazon:
amazon buy

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Best Portable Induction Cooktop Under $100: Duxtop 9100LS

Duxtop9600LS_600px

The Duxtop 9600LS portable induction cooktop (see it on Amazon) is Duxtop's newest and most sophisticated offering yet. For the price, it has amazing power and has a fairly durable build quality. In fact, it outclasses all other induction cooktops at this price range.

Like more expensive cookers, the 9600LS has finer control at the low end where it's needed. This means less scorching and better simmering capability.

Here's how the power levels work (from the 9600LS User Manual):

How to Choose a Portable Induction Cooktop (And the Best Ones to Buy)

Honorable Mentions: The next best Duxtop is the 9100MC (see it on Amazon), which also has good low-temp controls for a $70 induction cooktop (but not as good as the 9600LS). The 9600LS also has a 10-hour max run time, while the 9100MC has only a 170 minute max run time, as do all the other Duxtop models including the Amazon best-selling 8100MC (see it on Amazon). 

For more details, see the Duxtop product reviews here.

Pros

  • 60 second-delayed shutoff when pan is removed--very nice feature not available on most models in this price range (except other Duxtop induction cooktops)
  • 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
  • 1 year warranty
  • Absolutely the best portable induction cooktop at this price point.

Cons

  • Plastic housing and noisy fan (like all models at this price point)
  • At about 4-inches in diameter, a smaller coil than found in more expensive portable induction cooktops.
Duxtop9600LS_150px
Buy the Duxtop 9600LS on Amazon:
amazon buy

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Best Portable Induction Cooktop Under $50: Duxtop 8310

While the price of this model hovers right around $50, you should be able to find it for under $50 most of the time.

This is a newer Duxtop model, and all the newer models have the same innards as the 9600LS (reviewed above). That is, 20 temperature settings between 100-460F and 20 power settings from 100-1800W. The main difference is in the design: the 8310 has an all glass top with a sensor touch panel. That is, all the controls are beneath the glass surface. 

It's also a "tablet" model, meaning that the controls are on the same plane as the burner. This means you have to next to the unit to read and adjust controls. While we prefer an angled panel, the sensor touch glass makes this tablet model safe to use--no worries about a hot pan bottom melting the control panel.

Why is the 8310 so much cheaper than the 9600LS? Probably because of the max run time, which is only 170 minutes (as opposed the 10 hour run time of the 9600LS). 

In any case, the 8310 is better than other induction cooktops at this price point. 

If you want to know more about the Duxtop induction cookers, check out our Duxtop Review.

Buy the Duxtop 8310 on Amazon:
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Two Other Good PICks

Here are a few other portable induction cooktops to consider. We haven't tested these brands, but from our research we think they're good options.

The CookTek MC3500 commercial induction burner (about $1400 on Amazon) has some excellent qualities that may entice you to pay the extra $$$$. It's made for commercial use, is super durable, and has extremely accurate controls. Temp range 80F - 500F with 20 power settings. One of its best features is that it's made in the USA. 

Cooktekmc1800_200

The Iwatani IWA-1800 Table Top Induction Range (about $500 on Amazon) is another commercial unit, very durable, with excellent temperature control. It has its temperature range (110F - 410F) and power levels right on the control panel, so you can see exactly what level you're on all the time--and all this without being overly complicated.

IwataniPIC_300

Iwatani IWA-1800 Commercial PIC

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Final Thoughts

We hope this article has answered your questions about portable induction cooktops. Have we missed anything? Is something still unclear to you? Or do you have a favorite brand you'd like to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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