best in class

The 5 Very Best Electric Cooktops

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy Retailer

In this article

Before reporting this story, I thought an electric cooktop was something you invested in if you were a content creator (the mobile units let you film and take photos of your food anywhere there’s an outlet). But after talking to more than a dozen chefs and recipe developers — including many who did originally buy one just for that purpose — it became clear how generally useful these are. Having an extra burner for big dinner parties and holidays can make things more seamless in the kitchen. You can take them on vacation (and even to some campsites) if you want a reliable heat source. And they come in handy if you’re living with a makeshift kitchen during a renovation or otherwise. Beyond that, they’re much easier to clean than a gas stove, so many pros will pull theirs out for regular cooking when they don’t need more than a single burner.

While there are only five models on this list (it’s a fairly small market, and the favorites are clear), there’s a good range of options depending on how fancy you want to get and how much money you can spend. But whichever you choose, know they’re all superefficient (every expert mentioned how quickly the one they use heats up) and simple to operate. Read on to learn more about each.

What we’re looking for

Style

There are two types of cooktops on this list: electric and induction burners. You plug both into an outlet, but the difference lies in the way they conduct heat (the former through electricity, the latter through electromagnetism). Induction tends to be more expensive upfront but is more energy efficient in the long run.

Not all cookware is induction compatible (it needs to magnetize to the top of the burner for heat to pass through). Yet that’s not as big an issue as you might think. Writer and recipe developer Rebecca Firkser says she was surprised to find that all of her cast-iron, stainless-steel, and enamel-coated-steel pots and pans work with her induction cooktop. “It’s also easy to test before buying a burner if you’re not sure,” she says. “If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will work on the induction surface.”

Size

Here, I’ve noted the dimensions of each cooktop so you can be sure it fits on your countertop and in any drawer or cupboard where you plan to store it.

Temperature

Most cooktops on this list have a range of heat settings from minimum to five with the exceptions of the Duxtop, which has a range of one to ten (with half-levels for a total of 20 options), and the Breville, which heats to exact degrees.

Extra functions

A couple of models have additional preset buttons (like “boil”) or capabilities (like setting a timer). When applicable, I’ve listed those.

Best overall electric cooktop

From $113

Style: Induction | Size: 11.4 inches x 14 inches x 2.5 inches | Temperatures: 20 | Extra functions: Boil, keep warm, timer

Used by five of the experts I spoke with, the Duxtop is the most recommended on this list. Notably, four of them are content creators who initially bought it to film but love it so much they’ve started to use it in their everyday lives as well. (Meanwhile, Todd Pulsinelli, executive chef at the Chloe in New Orleans, has had one in his restaurant for two years and says it’s still going strong, even with heavy use on the line and behind the bar.)

The appliance allows you to control its surface temperature in increments of 0.5 to ten and “maintains a steady heat on every setting,” says recipe developer Nisha Vora. The lowest will keep food warm, and the highest will boil water in minutes (both functions have preset buttons). “The differences between the levels are subtle,” says Carina Wolff, the recipe developer behind Kale Me Maybe, “so you get a really good range.” Another recipe developer, Phoebe Moore, notes that “it’s sensitive to adjustments in both directions, too, without the lag that comes with built-in electric stovetops.” While those levels are our experts’ preferred method of adjusting the heat, Firkser notes that you can also control it by set temperatures between 100 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit, which she finds helpful for deep-frying.

All the experts noted how easy this machine is to clean with a simple wipe-down across the flat top, and all mentioned that it’s lightweight and compact. “You can put it away and get it back out without it being a whole production,” Moore says.

Best less expensive electric cooktop

Style: Electric | Size: 11 inches x 11.5 inches x 2.5 inches | Temperatures: Six | Extra functions: None

While the Cuisinart cooktop doesn’t have as many temperature options as the Duxtop (or timer and boil presets), four experts say it gets the job done very well — especially for its affordable price. Both Yumna Jawad, the recipe developer behind Feel Good Foodie, and Lindsey Baruch, the recipe developer behind Lindsey Eats, have owned theirs for around five years each and say it’s still working great. They like the simplicity of the dial, which takes the machine from a minimum setting for keeping food warm, to a simmer, and then to medium-low and beyond, until you get to the maximum temperature, which will sear a steak or brown butter. “It won’t go to a crazy rapid boil, but I’ve still made pasta with it, no problem,” Baruch says. Sophia Simota, the recipe developer behind Kiln and Kitchen, notes that it heats up superfast, stays at a consistent temperature until you change it, and reacts seamlessly to those changes. Cookbook author and recipe developer Colu Henry is another fan, calling the machine “super-solid” and noting that it “doesn’t make a lot of noise with the fan like some others.”

Best even less expensive electric cooktop

Style: Electric | Size: 9 inches x 9 inches x 3.25 inches | Temperatures: Six | Extra functions: None

Eden Nosal, the recipe developer behind The Bold Appetite, originally picked this burner because of the very low price. After several tries with fancier models that eventually gave out or didn’t perform as well as she had hoped, she figured it was better to spend less and replace when necessary. To her surprise, this one has been working great for two years, even as she uses it four to five times a week for two to three hours at a stretch. She says there are no hot spots and no lags between temperature changes, and she appreciates the very compact size (it’s the smallest on this list). “I like to hide the excess platform under my pan for the sake of video, and this does that,” she says. “That also means it fits neatly right into a cabinet.”

Best simple electric cooktop

Style: Electric | Size: 11 inches x 12.25 inches x 3.25 inches | Temperatures: Six | Extra functions: None

This Waring cooktop has been in chef Chrissy Tracey’s rotation for several years — first as a cooktop for catering gigs and now as a way to create content for her channels. The whole time, she has also found it useful as an extra burner when cooking bigger meals for a group (and when she took it camping once when she had access to electricity at her site). She calls the machine “super-durable” (no surprise, given that Waring makes the panini press most professionals use in commercial kitchens). Tracey says it gets hot very quickly and is intuitive to maneuver between heat levels with the dial, plus the heat distribution is even. There are rubber feet on the bottom, which means it never slides around on the countertop.

Best electric cooktop with exact temperature control

Style: Induction | Size: 9.5 inches x 13.75 inches x 4.5 inches | Temperatures: Exact temperature control | Extra functions: Keep warm, timer, save custom temperature profiles, internal temperature probe

The Breville delivers incredibly accurate temperature control, allowing you to heat to precise degrees. Not only that, but it comes with a probe that takes the internal temperature of whatever you’re cooking and displays that reading on the screen. “You can actually even set the temperature you want something to heat to ahead of time and it will get it there,” says Nate Kuester, executive chef at New York City’s NARO. He and the restaurant’s pastry chef, Celia Lee, both love this appliance for deep-frying because when you drop something into oil, the temperature automatically drops, but the Control Freak senses that and quickly heats the oil back up to the desired degree. “It also allows me to customize presets for desserts I make often,” Lee says. And Kuester appreciates its built-in timer for things he may want to set and forget, like stock. Both professionals say that even with its more advanced functions, the machine is straightforward to use, with clear indicators on the screen and a knob to move between them.

More kitchen appliances we’ve written about

Our experts

Lindsey Baruch, recipe developer behind Lindsey Eats
Rebecca Firkser, writer and recipe developer
Colu Henry, cookbook author and recipe developer
Yumna Jawad, recipe developer behind Feel Good Foodie
• Nate Kuester, executive chef at NARO
• Celia Lee, pastry chef at NARO
Phoebe Moore, recipe developer
Eden Nosal, recipe developer behind The Bold Appetite
• Todd Pulsinelli, executive chef at the Chloe
Sophia Simota, recipe developer behind Kiln and Kitchen
Chrissy Tracey, chef
Nisha Vora, recipe developer
Carina Wolff, recipe developer behind Kale Me Maybe

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The 5 Very Best Electric Cooktops