If you’re heading to university soon, you’ll likely need a place to cook a quick breakfast omelette before you dash off to class, or a late meal when you’re pulling an all-nighter. That’s where portable induction cooktops come in.
These compact hobs are the perfect solution for people looking to cook in small spaces, like dorm rooms. They come with several advantages, says Fazal Imam, founder of servicing and repair company, Dubai Repairs, whose team has extensive experience servicing such cooktops. He said: “[They offer] fast and precise cooking, easy cleaning, and compact design. As they heat only the cookware and not the surrounding surface, they are much safer than traditional gas or electric stoves, making them ideal for shared living spaces, like dorms”.
What should I look for, when buying an induction cooktop?
Induction cooktops offer energy-efficient alternatives to gas and electric cooking. By using electromagnetism, heat is transferred directly to the cookware, while the adjacent surface remains cool to the touch. There’s no open flame involved.
Apart from energy efficiency and safety, there are other aspects to consider. Imam said: “Look for models with a wide range of power and temperature settings to accommodate various cooking needs. Dorm rooms often have limited space, so consider a compact and lightweight cooktop that can be easily stored when not in use. And opt for cooktops with features like auto shutoff, pan detection, and child-lock to enhance safety during use”.
When you’re buying an induction cooktop, though, you may have additional costs.
Since it heats pans with a magnetic field, it doesn’t use any heating elements. The pan can heat up quickly, in about 20 seconds, but the catch is that you’ll only be able to use pans with a special magnetic bottom.
Imam cautioned: “Induction cooktops require compatible cookware, made from ferromagnetic materials like stainless steel or cast iron. Regular aluminum or glass cookware won't work. Additionally, the initial cost of induction cooktops may be higher compared to conventional stoves. However, the long-term energy savings and safety advantages usually offset this initial investment”.
Based on our expert’s recommendation, we picked the best portable induction cooktops for you. If you're stocking up on stationery supplies and essential tech, don't forget to visit Amazon's Back to School Sale. Pick one up with Prime membership and get it delivered well before you move into your university’s dorms.
1. Best Overall: Tefal Everyday Slim Induction Hob, Black
- Six automatic modes and manual control
- Includes 180-minute timer
- Suitable for wide range of pans
- Easy to use and clean
- Can be noisy, reviewers say
With its ultra-slim design, Tefal’s induction hob is perfect for everyday cooking. Imam said: “Tefal induction cooktops are highly regarded for their innovative technology and user-friendly features. They often come with pre-set cooking functions and intuitive controls, making them a great option for students who are new to induction cooking.” This appliance is just 45mm thick, and can be stored away in a drawer when not in use. You can choose from six functions: slow cook, stew, boil, stir fry or fry. And when you need an intense blast of heat – for instance, when you’re searing meat – you can boost the power up to 2100W for five minutes. The touch-sensitive control panel is easy to use, and the entire hob is easy to wipe clean. Reviewers like that there’s a pause button that they can use to stop cooking temporarily, if they need to attend to a different task. But some say the hob makes a loud buzzing sound when operational, which can be a bit alarming.
2. Best Value: Prestige Iris Glass Induction Cooktop
- Timer with pre-sets
- Many safety features
- Easy to use and clean
- Warranty included
Imam recommended another single-hob induction cooktop from Prestige, saying: “Prestige offers a range of induction cooktops that are known for their affordability and reliable performance. They provide various power levels and cooking options, making them suitable for students looking for practical and budget-friendly choices.” This appliance is designed with power-saving technology to ensure more food can be cooked, while using less power. If you’re used to cooking dishes from the Subcontinent, you’ll find its Indian menu options to be useful – the hob can help you prepare food like rotis, dosas, and curries, at the touch of a button. Reviewers appreciate the appliance’s safety features – it has an in-built voltage regulator, and blocks surplus magnetic energy. It also switches off automatically if left on, without attention, for a long time.
Bonus: Redeem 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank, by entering the code ‘CB10AUG’ at checkout.
Warranty: The seller provides 1-year warranty from the date of purchase.
3. Best for Temperature Control: Duxtop 9600LS Induction Cooktop
- Lots of useful settings and features
- Long timer
- Easy to clean
- Includes manufacturer warranty
- Does not handle high heat well, some reviewers say
This induction cooktop likely has the best combination of consistency, features and usability in its category. With 20 pre-set power settings and 20 temperature level settings (between 50℃ to 240℃), it puts you in full control of your cook. There’s a built-in LCD screen that’s touch-sensitive, making it easy to adjust settings. Reviewers say the cooktop maintains lower temperatures well, and stays steady at the target heat level, so there’s less splattering or scorching. And, unlike many other portable cooktops, it has a 10-hour timer that’s perfect for slow cooking. The glass surface of the cooktop is easy to clean – you just have to wipe it with a damp cloth. However, some reviewers say the cooktop does not remain on the maximum heat level for long, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to sear meat or stir fry.
Warranty: The manufacturer provides a two-year warranty.
4. Best Double Induction Cooktop: CIARRA CUTIH2 Portable Induction Hob
- Slim design
- Excellent temperature and power settings
- Solid safety features
- Easy to use, touch-sensitive controls
- Takes up more counter space
If you require two hobs for your daily meals, consider CIARRA’s double hob induction cooktop. The spacious cooktop can accommodate cast iron pans, woks, pots or stainless steel cookware between 12 to 28cm. Although it will take up more counter space than single hob cooktops, it’s ultra-thin, with a thickness of 45mm, so you can easily remove and store it. The induction cooktop features 10 temperature levels between 60℃ to 240℃, along with nine power levels between 200W and 2000W. Each cooking zone can be operated separately. Reviewers like that it has many useful features, from automatic pot recognition to automatic switch-off and residual heat indication – all of which add to its safety and usability in a dorm room.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh55.12 for 12 months with select banks. Redeem 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank, by entering the code ‘CB10AUG’ at checkout.
5. Best Premium: Nuwave Gold Precision Induction Cooktop
- Compact, light appliance
- Programmable procedures
- Precise temperature control
- Induction-ready pan included
- Control panel may seem cluttered
With its advanced induction technology, NuWave’s 1500W cooktop generates heat quickly and safely. Reviewers say it offers precision and control, since it gives you the ability to set precise cooking temperatures that are adjustable in 10-degree increments. The appliance can also store 100 hours of memory, so you can program your favourite cooking procedures, to make the process easy. There’s also a Delay function that lets you begin cooking whenever it’s convenient. Like others on our list, the Nuwave cooktop is compact and easy to store. You can also adjust the wattage so that it’s energy efficient. The cooktop comes with a Duralon Blue induction-ready pan.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh67.63 for 12 months with select banks. Redeem 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank, by entering the code ‘CB10AUG’ at checkout.
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