The Best Portable Induction Cooktop for Safer, More Precise Cooking Just About Anywhere

Curious about induction cooking? We tested top-rated portable cooktops and found the best ones for boiling, browning, frying, and even candymaking.
Photo of onions cooking on our pick for the best portable induction cooktop.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

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If you’re curious about induction cooking—or you just need one more burner in your kitchen—we have expert-tested recommendations for the best portable induction cooktop for most home cooks, plus a pricier option for pros.

Portable induction cooktops appeal to casual home cooks and professional chefs alike for a few reasons: They’re an easy way to add an extra burner to a small residential kitchen (or a busy commercial one), they tend to work better than many unreliable gas or electric stovetops you might find in a rental, most are lightweight enough to be truly portable, and the best ones offer unparalleled precision for tasks like candymaking.

Though induction is a relatively new way to cook, it’s been around long enough for the market to become saturated with portable induction cooktops promising all the benefits of the technology at a variety of price points. But as we learned when we tested several popular models ranging from $60–$1,500—not all induction burners are created equally.

After testing and retesting highly rated models at various price points, our top pick is an affordable induction burner that most home cooks will find more than sufficient for boiling, browning, and frying just about anything just about anywhere. We also recommend an amazing high-tech option that makes precision-oriented jobs like sous vide cooking and tempering nearly foolproof, and a budget-friendly option for those looking to start their induction journey.

Find our top picks below, along with a note on why we think every cook should have a portable induction burner. Keep reading for more information how induction cooking works, what cookware is induction compatible, and how we tested portable induction burners.

The best portable induction cooktop for home cooks: Duxtop Induction Cooktop (9600LS)

Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop Model 9600LS

Why get it: Lightweight, user friendly, and offers the best heat control for its price range

After multiple years testing induction cooktops, the Duxtop 9600LS is still our top pick for most home cooks thanks to its accessible price combined with the fact that it offers more heat control than any but the most expensive models.

This single-burner cooktop has 20 different power settings ranging from 100–1800 watts as well as 20 temperature presets from 100°F to 460°F. It’s easy to adjust the temperature and each level is a change of 20°F.

Good temperature control

The Duxtop has a very straightforward control panel with an easy-to-read LED display and simple power and temperature settings. There’s also a timer you can set for as long as 10 hours—a great feature for lengthy slow cooks or braises—and safety features like a child safety lock button and automatic shutoff as well as a keep-warm button. Perhaps the most convenient feature is the one-touch boil button that puts this cooktop into its maximum power and temperature modes—enough to boil water as quickly as the much more expensive professional-grade model we tested. Compared to similarly priced models, it did the best job of regulating temperature when cold ingredients were added to hot ingredients in the cooking vessel too, able to return to a rolling boil in just over a minute after ice cubes were dropped in. That said, if ultra-precise temperature regulation is what you’re after, you may need to splurge for our pro pick.

Easy-to-clean surface

The Duxtop is one of the easiest induction burners to clean because the control panel is also made of glass (the sensor touch control works like a touchscreen device). It’s easy to wipe down the entire glass surface without leaving streaks.

Compact size

At just under 6 pounds and about the size of a legal pad, the Duxtop 9600LS is lightweight enough for easy transport and compact enough to use in a kitchen that’s short on counter space. It also comes with a limited 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and has a weight limit of 25 lb.—which should be more than enough as long as you don’t try to use your 13-qt., 19-lb. Dutch oven on this thing.

Lower price point

Though the Duxtop costs only a tenth of what our upgrade pick does, it isn’t the cheapest induction burner you can buy. We still think this little single-burner gadget is a good deal given its quality and capabilities, but if you’re interested in a cheaper option, scroll on down to our budget pick.

What we didn’t love about the Duxtop

While the 20 temperature and power settings are beyond what similar models offer, the increments can be somewhat limiting if you’re trying to dial in a specific temperature. In general, we found the power mode to be more effective than the temperature mode, and this held true across multiple models we tested—the trouble with temperature modes on most portable induction cooktops is that they measure the temperature of the cookware, not its contents (though some more expensive models, like the Breville below, do have probes that can combat this). Finally, we couldn’t change the display from Fahrenheit to Celsius, though if you’re in the US, this may not be an issue. All of that said, you can’t expect too much from a device that doesn’t cost much more than a hundred bucks.

Power: 100-1800 watts | Size: 11.4" x 14" x 2.5" | Weight limit: 25 lbs. | Temperature settings: 20, adjusted in 20° increments from 100°F-460°F | Power settings: 20 | Warranty: 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

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The best budget portable induction cooktop: Hamilton Beach Portable Single Induction Cooktop

Hamilton Beach Portable Single Induction Cooktop

Why get it: Fewer options than the Duxtop but still a good burner if you want to stay under $100

If you’re looking to spend under $100 on a portable induction cooktop, this model from Hamilton Beach is a fantastic option. Like the Duxtop, it has a sleek interface and a smooth, easy-to-wipe surface. What you gain in affordability you do lose in control, as this model has 12 temperature settings and 10 power settings as opposed to the Duxtop’s 20 and 20, respectively—but we still think it’s a great option for home cooks looking to get into the induction game. It even comes with a magnet to test pans for induction compatibility—a nice touch.

Good temperature control and handy settings

Like our overall winner, the Hamilton Beach has a sleek touchscreen-like display that’s easy to navigate: Just turn the unit on, select between power and temperature modes, and use the plus and minus buttons to control the output. The temperature button also allows you to toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius—a feature the Duxtop lacks. While there’s no one-touch boil button, there is a handy “boost” button that ups the power to its max for 30 seconds—great for when you’ve added cold ingredients to a hot pot and need to bring the temperature back up (this can be particularly useful if you’re using this to frying). This model boiled water nearly as fast as the Duxtop, and while it was a bit slower at coming back to a boil after we dropped in a few ice cubes, it actually performed slightly better when used for deep-frying.

Easy-to-clean surface

The Hamilton Beach is just as easy to clean as the Duxtop because of its smooth glass top, which wipes up like a dream.

Compact size

At about a pound heavier than the Duxtop and similar in size, the Hamilton Beach is easy enough to transport or stash away when not in use.

Unbeatable price

At less than half the price of the Duxtop, this model makes a great case for itself.

What we didn’t love about the Hamilton Beach

The display of this model is flush with the cooktop surface, which may make it difficult to read if you’re using a large sloped-sided pan. And where the Duxtop has a timer that maxes out at a whopping 10 hours, the Hamilton Beach can only go up to 150 minutes—something to keep in mind if you dream of day-long induction burner slow-cooking projects. It also has a smaller temperature range and fewer power settings, so if perfect precision is what you’re after, you may find that disappointing.

Power: 100-1800 watts | Size: 11" x 14" x 2.5" | Weight limit: Not available | Temperature settings: 12, adjusted in 25° increments from 180°F-450°F | Power settings: 10 | Warranty: 1-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

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The best portable induction cooktop for true precision cooking: Breville the Control Freak Home

Breville the Control Freak Home

Why get it: Incredible power and precision, more affordable than earlier Control Freak models

If it’s true precision you're after, the Control Freak Home by Breville is the best portable cooktop for you. But do know it costs a whopping $1300. This is the consumer version of the Control Freak, which was previously our upgrade pick for culinary pros and anyone super into precision cooking. The new home version is a little less expensive, but still more powerful and precise than high-end induction stoves we've used, and has just as much power and just as many settings as its predecessor. It's also more compact and lightweight. Even better? If this weren't just a single burner, we'd say it's the best induction cooktop for home cooks, period. Here's why:

Amazing temperature control

With the user-friendly touchscreen control panel and single knob, you can set your desired temperature to the exact degree—anywhere from 25°C/77°F–250°C/482°F—and once you select the temperature, you get to watch the degrees rise in real time. There's also an indicator for the well as the temperature of the pan, and what's inside it if you cook with the included temperature probe. Two sensors monitor the temperature of the pan 20 times per second, so you never have to worry about it overheating or overcorrecting with a temperature spike when you add a cold ingredient to your pan. With this kind of precision, you can count on perfectly poached eggs, oil that doesn’t smoke, sauces that never scorch, ganache that never breaks, caramel that never burns, and crème anglaise that never gets too warm.

Multiple cooking modes

You can also let the machine do the thinking for you. If you don't know what temperature you're aiming for, just use the interface to pick a cooking mode like Quick Boil, Pancakes, or Sear.

Custom presets

Easily save your favorite and most frequently used settings as presets, and go back to them at any time using the LCD touchscreen.

Sous vide capabilities

Like its predecessor, the Control Freak Home is a precision induction cooktop ideal for cooking sous vide. This machine comes with a temperature probe, and when it's plugged in, Probe Control mode automatically adjusts the settings to reach and maintain a target probe temperature. A 72-hour timer allows for long, low-and-slow cooks.

What we didn’t love about the Control Freak

This is an incredible portable induction cooktop, and even though it's more compact and affordable than the pro version, it's still very pricey. It's a single-burner unit that costs about nine times as much as the Duxtop and it’s even pricier than some full-size induction ranges. But if your success in the kitchen is dependent on precision, the Control Freak Home will be your new favorite countertop cooker.

Power: 1800 watts | Size: 12.2" x 16.9" x 4.1” | Weight limit: 13.2 lbs. | Temperature settings: Adjusts in single degree increments from 77°F-482°F | Power settings: N/A | Warranty: 2-year consumer limited product warranty

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Why buy a portable induction burner?

Compared to gas ranges and electric stovetops, induction cooktops are sleek, safe, consistent, and energy efficient. And even if you're not ready to invest in a new major appliance, you can still get all the benefits of induction cooking by using a portable induction cooktop.

Induction cooktops are energy efficient (and just plain efficient!)

Induction works by way of electromagnetic energy transfer (more on that later), which heats the pot or pan instead of the burner, and requires about 10% less energy than electric and up to half the energy of gas. No energy is wasted heating the actual surface of the cooktop; the cooktop itself only gets hot because of the thermal transfer of energy from the pan. The best induction cookers can reach target temperature strikingly fast and they allow for the kind of precision and temperature control that standard electric or gas burners can’t touch.

Induction cooktops are safer than gas or electric cooktops

With induction you never have to worry about an open flame, fumes from gas, or accidentally touching a scorching electric coil. There's also a built-in safety feature because without induction-compatible cookware on the burner (more on that below), no energy will be transferred because there's nowhere for it to go.

Induction cooktops are easy to clean

Because an induction cooking surface is made of a solid glass-ceramic combination, induction cooktops are incredibly easy to clean. You'll never have to worry about food falling into coils or grates.

Induction cooktops allow you to cook almost anywhere

Stand-alone portable induction burners have a number of uses. If you ever wished you could deep-fry outside so your kitchen wouldn’t smell like a grease trap for a week, a portable induction burner makes that possible. Looking for a way to cook in a dorm room or rented cabin? A portable induction burner may be allowed since it doesn’t have an open flame and is much safer than an old-school hot plate. And if your landlord left you with a crusty electric stove, an induction burner is an easy-to-store alternative. You could even set up a kitchen pretty much anywhere with one of those standalone sink stations from Amazon or Ikea, plus a mini fridge, and an induction burner. In short: As long as you have access to an electrical outlet, you can turn almost any table or counter into a stove to boil, sear, sauté, or fry just like you would on a full-size appliance.

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How we tested portable induction cooktops

Boiling water

If you’ve ever cooked with induction, you know that bringing a pot of water to a boil is a thrill. Here, a watched pot will boil—and fast! So first, we boiled an equal amount of cold tap water in the same stainless-steel saucepan, letting the pan come back to room temperature between each test. With our winning models, the water reached a rolling boil within seconds of each other. We then tested responsiveness by adding five ice cubes to the pan and timed how long it took each to come back to a rolling boil. Again, the difference between the winning models was just a few seconds.

Browning tofu

To measure how evenly the cooktops distribute heat, we used each to brown a slab of tofu with a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan. We seared tofu for 3 minutes at a temperature setting as close to 340°F as the cooktop would allow without disturbing it at all, then checked the cooked sides of the tofu to see how even the browning was. While the Control Freak produced the most evenly browned tofu, the Duxtop and Hamilton Beach performed well in this test too.

Frying potato chips

If you’ve ever deep-fried food over a gas burner, you know that while the heat level stays the same, the temperature of the oil continues to rise, so you need to continually adjust the flame to try to maintain a steady temperature. An induction cooktop, however, allows for precise temperature control; you set that specific temperature of, say, 340°, and by making the cooking vessel the heat source, it’s able to self-regulate. A good induction cooktop should up the temperature levels when, for example, you add cold foods that drop the temperature of the oil, and lower it when the oil temp starts to spike. So, in the name of science (and maybe also to satisfy our afternoon snack cravings), we made potato chips. The Duxtop didn’t compare to the Control Freak in this test, but it did outperform most other models. The Hamilton Beach performed as well as if not better than the Duxtop in this test.

While we had the Control Freak, we decided to try our hand at caramel as well as all the other tests. It was lights out fantastic.

Emily Farris

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What we look for when testing portable induction cooktops

Temperature control and regulation

We looked at how long each one took to boil water and if they could reach and maintain accurate temperatures for searing and deep-frying, even when a cold item was added to the cooking vessel.

Heat distribution

Manufacturers like to boast that induction offers the most even heat distribution available, so we looked at how evenly (or unevenly) foods browned when cooked in a sauté pan on each induction burner.

Ease of use

Is the interface easy to use? Is the control panel easy to read?

Features and value

What features enhance or detract from the overall cooking experience? Do any nice-to-have features justify higher prices?


We looked at the size and weight of each cooktop. After all, these cooktops are theoretically designed with portability in mind.

Cleaning and maintenance

One of the great advantages of induction cooktops (both portable and those permanently installed in a kitchen) is that they don’t have all the tedious-to-clean nooks of a standard range top. Cleaning should be just a quick, smooth wipe down.

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Other portable induction cooktops we tested

The Control Freak by Breville

The first time we used the Control Freak, we thought that this is what it would be like if our fancy Italian induction range and the Anova Precision Oven had a big, healthy baby gadget. It has all the same features (precise temperature control, probe, ability to save presets) as the Control Freak Home, minus the touchscreen. The original Control Freak is controlled via a dial and buttons on the interface and an included dongle can be used to transfer presets from one Control Freak to another, which is super helpful in a commercial kitchen, or if you have one at home and one at work. But it's bigger and more expensive than the home version, and unless you're a professional chef and need the dongle or the protective carrying case, the consumer version of the Control Freak is a better bet—especially for home cooks.

Breville Polyscience Control Freak Temperature Controlled Commercial Induction Cooking System

Isiler Induction Cooktop

The popular Isiler Induction Cooktop performed well, it looks a little nicer than the Duxtop, and we found the temperature settings to be accurate—though there are only 9 compared to the 20 settings on the Duxtop’s 9600LS. It did have a harder time coming back up to temperature during the deep-fry test, though. The Isiler’s LED display is flush with the cooking surface and while that makes it easy to clean, it’s also harder to read than burners with an angled control panel.

DEAL: Portable Induction Cooktop, iSiLER 1800W

Duxtop 9100 MC

Sometimes marketed online as the Secura induction burner, the Duxtop 9100 MC is actually a less expensive Duxtop model than our top pick, leading to some confusion while ordering one. Though less sleek, its design is very similar to the winning Duxtop. The interface is also identical, but there are fewer heat settings (15 rather than 20). It’s certainly not the worst induction burner out there, but it is the loudest one we tested. It also didn’t regulate temperature quite as well as the 9600LS during the deep-fry test, and it has more nooks and crannies for food to get caught in.

DEAL: Duxtop 9100 MC

NuWave PIC Flex

The Nuwave PIC Flex was the smallest, most portable induction cooktop we tested. While we appreciated the size and portability, the control panel had a lot of unnecessary settings and buttons. It has the highest temperature range, going to 500°, but was also the slowest to stabilize its temperature during the deep-fry test.

DEAL: NUWAVE Flex Precision Induction Cooktop

Hestan Cue SmartChef Induction Cooktop

Hestan’s luxe line of cookware consistently performs well in our product tests, so we were enticed by its take on an induction cooktop. While the Cue works with any induction-compatible pot or pan, it’s designed to be used with Hestan’s line of smart cookware products and companion app—without those, the heat is controlled by a slider, which, while sleek and satisfying to use, gives no indication of the actual temperature. While we enjoyed the compact, simple design and interface, it ultimately didn’t outperform our winning pick when used with standard cookware. If you’re not keen on investing in special cookware (and Hestan’s is nice, but not cheap), it’s hard to justify the $250 price tag on this model.

Hestan Cue SmartChef Induction Cooktop

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How does induction cooking work?

With traditional thermal conduction, a flame or an electric coil generates heat and, in turn, heats up the cookware on top. An induction cooktop uses electromagnetic induction to turn the pan itself into the heat source. There are copper coils under the surface of an induction cooktop and they pass an electric current to the iron in induction-compatible cookware. Because iron, unlike copper, is a poor conductor of electricity, that electricity is released in the pan as heat. When you pick up a pan to remove it from the magnetic field, there’s nowhere for the current to go so it stops trying (and then you get an error notification of some kind).

The cooktop itself hardly warms up at all; after you remove a pot of boiling water, the cooktop will be warm to the touch but not dangerously hot like gas stove grates or electric burners. Induction stovetops are also equipped with sensors that effectively shut off, or pause, the transfer of energy when you pick up a pan.

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How much power does a portable induction cooktop use?

Many induction burner models offer both a power level (numbered and corresponding to a specific wattage that can be as low as 100 watts and usually as high as 1800 watts) as well as a specific temperature setting, starting as low as 77º and going as high as 500°. Any induction cooktop designed for home use is suitable for a 120-volt outlet, which is standard in the US—but most advise against plugging in more than one induction cooktop at a time to the same outlet.

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Do I need special induction cookware?

There’s a common misconception that if you switch to induction you’ll also need to buy all new cookware, but for most people this isn’t actually the case. Yes, induction cooktops require compatible cookware, but most people already have at least some of that in their kitchen.

You just need flat-bottomed cookware made from ferromagnetic material (i.e., material that contains iron) that’s capable of receiving the energy transfer from the cooktop. This includes cast-iron, iron, carbon-steel, or a stainless-steel pot or skillet that has a magnetic base. Not all 18/10 stainless steel will work, and neither will glass, ceramic nonstick, copper, or aluminum.

So sure, you might have to get rid of that beat-up aluminum pan you should have replaced a decade ago, but you can probably keep using your grandma's perfectly seasoned frying pan. One thing that likely won’t be effective is wok cooking. Hsiao-Ching Chou who recently tested and reviewed woks for Epi, says even a flat-bottomed wok won’t work well on induction because the sides will not heat as they do with an actual flame.

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How can I tell if my cookware is induction compatible?

Not sure what your cookware is made of? Here’s a quick way to tell whether or not it will work with induction: If it has a flat bottom and a magnet sticks to it, you’re good to go. If you’re curious about the very best cookware to use with your induction burner, head on over this way for our guide to induction compatible cookware.

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Do I need a portable induction cooktop if I already have an induction range at home?

Need is a strong word, but if you like to deep-fry and if you don’t like your house smelling like a grease trap for weeks on end, then yes—a portable induction cooktop will allow you to do your deep-frying outside or in the garage. You can also use it as an extra burner or food warmer when you’re cooking a big dinner for a party or holiday—this is especially handy if you have a small kitchen and need to set up a satellite station for cooking tasks. Or, if you live in an apartment with a crummy electric stove, you can get yourself a much better cooking experience with a little induction cooktop. And because they are truly portable, you can use one to cook just about anywhere you have a level surface and an electrical outlet.

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Additional reporting and testing by Lukas Volger and Alaina Chou