Cuisine Technology
Top view of a single burner induction cooktop on a wooden surface

The Absolute Best Portable Induction Cooktops for 2021

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Before we begin: if you just want the quick answer as to which is our top pick for the best portable induction cooktop, it’s The Control Freak by Breville / PolyScience. This is a truly incredible professional-level tool that gives you absolute control over your food and results. But if that’s out of your budget (as it is for most of us!), go for the Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop 9610LS. We love its abundance of power and temperature levels, as well as its reliability.

Beloved by food bloggers, college students, studio dwellers, shabu shabu lovers, and passionate home cooks alike, portable induction cooktops offer incredible flexibility that you’ll never find with a traditional stove. 

Want to cook on your kitchen island or peninsula so you can get the perfect shot of whatever you’re making? You’ve got it—just check out Sohla El-Waylly’s home kitchen or the Epicurious studio kitchen to see this concept in action (by the way, both use our top pick, The Control Freak by Breville / PolyScience). 

Or are you planning a shabu shabu dinner party? While you could absolutely use an electric hot pot, having an induction cooktop means you can use any of your own pots… right on the dinner table!

And in maybe its most practical and least extravagant form, an induction cooktop means you can have a functional kitchen just about anywhere. Just because you’re living in a dorm or other space without a full built-in kitchen doesn’t mean you should go without cooking your own amazing food!

We’ve put together a list of the best portable induction cooktops on the market. These vary dramatically in price and functionality, so you’ll need to decide for yourself which is the best fit for you!

Best 5 Portable Induction Cooktops at a Glance

Best for: the ultimate cooking appliance
Best for: overall quality and functions at an accessible price
Best for: mid-range option
Best for: budget option
Best for: double-burner

The Top 5 Portable Induction Cooktops

#1. The Control Freak by Breville / PolyScience

Best for: the ultimate cooking appliance

Before we dive too deeply into this device, let’s be clear: this machine is the best of the best, and it’s priced accordingly. If you’re not up for spending this much on one of these devices, check out our #2 pick, which is much more reasonably priced for the average home user!

There’s a reason that you see the Control Freak in professional food videos by some of the top food content creators out there. (Seriously, pay attention when you’re watching food videos by high-level channels on YouTube, and you’ll be surprised by how often it pops up.) That’s because this is, quite simply, the best machine of its type.

As you might have guessed by its name, this cooktop is designed to give you ultimate and precise control over your culinary adventures. Imagine how useful that can be for applications that need specific temperatures, like tempering chocolate!

PolyScience was a master “manufacturer of liquid temperature control solutions” long before they branched out into the culinary world, and their expertise shows. Their history as a maker of scientific devices means that you get that level of precise control when using this machine. 

In fact, this is the only portable induction cooktop that we would recommend for sous vide cooking, because it’s capable of achieving and maintaining temperatures so perfectly. When you use the probe control, you can hold the contents of your pot or pan within 1.8° F (1° C), which is precise enough for any sous vide application (and within the margin of error for many sous vide devices.) Just stir occasionally, since it doesn’t circulate the water.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a large budget, and you want the absolute best option money can buy, you don’t even need to read any further; the Control Freak is the one for you. The only reason to consider anything else is the price. With that said, at the time of writing, the Control Freak is on sale. It’s worth checking to see if it’s still on sale now, in case that brings it within your budget!

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 16.2 pounds
  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Power Levels: n/a
  • Temperature Levels: 397
  • Temperature: 86°F – 482°F
  • Absolute best temperature control of any portable induction cooktop on the market
  • Uses a probe control to maintain stable temperatures (within 1.8° F / 1° C)
  • Precise enough temperatures to work for sous vide, so you don’t need a separate sous vide device
  • Saves all of your settings so you can use them again in the future
  • Great quality and construction
  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t always work with super light-weight pans

#2. Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop BT-200DZ

Best for: overall quality and functions at an accessible price

There’s a reason that the Duxtop is at the top of most people’s lists of the best portable induction cooktops: it’s a remarkably efficient and well-built device considering its affordable price! It would be nice if all of us could justify splashing out for the PolyScience Control Freak… but for those of us who can’t, the Duxtop is the best alternative. And that affordability is the reason it beats out the PolyScience on so many lists (with at least one explicitly saying that the PolyScience was actually the best, but too expensive to bother listing).

Duxtop produces a whole line of portable induction cooktops, and their expertise in the field definitely shows! We’ve picked out the BT-200DZ as our top choice, but you honestly can’t go wrong with any of their offerings. (And the ultra-popular Duxtop BT-180G3 is actually even more affordable.)

What we love most about our Duxtop pick is its variety of power levels and temperature settings. It has the most options of any device on our list (except the PolyScience, of course), with 20 settings each for power level and temperature. It’s this array of options that makes it stand out from Duxtop’s lower-priced models.

Another feature that we love is its one-touch boiler feature, which means you don’t need to fuss with various settings when you just want to boil water for pasta or tea. This machine also heats up quickly. And when you’re hungry and in a hurry to get dinner on the table, that speed is a relief! The Duxtop also has a 10-hour timer, giving you extra flexibility when you’re cooking.

Our biggest problem with the Duxtop is that the heating coil is much smaller than the cooking surface. If you tend to use small pots and pans, you’ll probably never even notice this. But with bigger ones, this means that the center heats up faster than the edges. The ideal cooktop would heat evenly across the entire surface, so this can be a definite drawback if you tend to use large/wide pans.

You should also be aware that while any portable induction cooktop will have an audible fan, the fan in the Duxtop can be louder than some other options. If you’re not sensitive to noise, this may not be an issue. But if you are, consider getting a different device instead.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 14 x 11.4 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 5lbs 12oz
  • Power: 1800 Watts
  • Power Levels: 20
  • Temperature Levels: 20
  • Temperature: 100°F – 460°F
  • Many power levels and temperature levels for extra control over your food
  • One-touch boil feature
  • 10-hour timer
  • Keep warm feature
  • Heats fast
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use controls
  • Uneven heat distribution

#3. iSiLER Portable Induction Cooktop

Best for: mid-range option

While it’s not the very cheapest option out there, we find that the iSiLER gives a fantastic balance of quality and extreme affordability. It’s noticeably more affordable than even the Duxtop, bringing it well within range of even a modest budget. (This is particularly true at the time of writing, when the iSiLER is on sale! Check on Amazon now to see if you can catch it on sale too.)

And despite its affordability, the iSiLER has quite a few power and temperature options compared to many other machines. While it doesn’t quite reach the Duxtop and comes nowhere near the PolyScience, the 18 power levels and 17 temperature levels should be enough to cover just about any use.

We also appreciate the attention to several details! The iSiLER has a child safety lock to ensure that curious little hands won’t accidentally turn it on, for example. It also comes with a magnet, which is invaluable in testing whether your current pots and pans will work with an induction cookpot!

But as usual, saving money comes at a price. While there are lots of temperature settings, they’re not as accurate as some other devices. For most uses and users, this won’t be a big deal. But if you want to do something that requires precise temperature control, this inaccuracy may be a problem. (But to be honest, this isn’t ideal for precise temperature applications anyway, since you can only adjust it in 20° F increments.)

Take note also that, while the temperature is adjustable in 20° increments, not every 20° mark is available. The settings jump from 180° F to 260° F with no options available in between. Again, this may or may not be an issue for you—but if you tend to cook at around the boiling point, it’s something to be aware of.

In short, if you just want to be able to cook somewhere that doesn’t have a stove and don’t want to spend too much, the iSiLER may be a good choice. But if you’re a passionate home chef who wants true control over temperatures, you may want to look into other options.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 2.2 x 14.2 inches
  • Weight: 5.73 lbs
  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Power Levels: 18
  • Temperature Levels: 17
  • Temperature: 140°F – 460°F
  • Very reasonably priced
  • Overheating protection and child safety lock
  • Includes cookware tester magnet
  • Higher-than-average number of power levels and temperature levels
  • Temperatures not very accurate
  • Some temperatures (specifically between 180° F and 260° F) not available

#4. SUNAVO Portable Induction Cooktop

Best for: budget option

We believe that cooking should be accessible to anyone regardless of budget, so we always like to include an ultra-affordable option on our lists! That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily one of the very best picks, but the price makes it stand out as the best pick for someone on a tight budget.

In this case, the SUNAVO takes that honor. We would definitely recommend the Duxtop BT-200DZ (or the Control Freak, of course) if your budget allows. But if not, the SUNAVO is a great choice. Also be aware that when the iSiLER is on sale, it’s pretty similarly priced to the SUNAVO, so budget may not need to be your deciding factor between these two.

But let’s talk in detail about the SUNAVO! It’s a basic, straightforward device without too many bells and whistles, which may be exactly what you’re looking for. The safety lock is set up perfectly, in my opinion! That is, it’s easy to activate, but not too easy. (If you’ve ever worked with an induction cooktop that you kept accidentally locking, you’ll understand exactly what I mean by this.)

Like some other options on our list, the SUNAVO works best with relatively small pots and pans, because the heating coil isn’t big enough to evenly heat larger ones. The lack of precise temperature control might also bother passionate home cooks. But if you’re not a foodie and just want an ultra-affordable way to cook without a full-sized stove, these details may not be an issue for you.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 16.14 x 12.79 x 3.34 inches
  • Weight: 6.25 pounds
  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Power Levels: 15
  • Temperature Levels: 15
  • Temperature: 100°F – 460°F
  • Very affordable
  • Timer function
  • Safety lock
  • Comes with an induction cookware tester magnet
  • Not a lot of control over temperatures – especially on the lower end
  • Controls are very close to burner

#5. NutriChef PKSTIND48 Double Induction Cooktop

Best for: double-burner

In general, we recommend getting two single-burner cooktops if necessary, rather than a double-burner option. This is because the entire unit can only draw 1800 watts, which gets divided between the two burners. On the NutriChef, if you start drawing too much power to one of the burners, the other will reduce automatically to compensate for it. 

This double-burner system can be problematic if you want both burners to be powerful at the same time. And since it’s always better to have more flexibility, we recommend two single-burner units instead. But if you know your own cooking habits well enough to be confident that you won’t mind the power limitations, the NutriChef is worth considering!

In addition to its main selling point of having two burners, we appreciate that the NutriChef has multiple easy-to-access cooking modes. But with only 8 temperature levels, it’s much less precisely adjustable than many other options. In short, if you need a two-burner option, we recommend this one… but the better choice would be to get two one-burner cooktops if you can.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 14.18 x 23.63 x 2.64 inches
  • Weight: 12.35 pounds
  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Power Levels: n/a
  • Temperature Levels: 8
  • Temperature: 140°F – 460°F
  • Two burners in one unit!
  • Lots of presets for quick use
  • Timer and safety lock functions
  • Very limited control over temperatures
  • Max temperatures are limited when using both burners simultaneously

What Is a Portable Induction Cooktop? And Why You Need One

In the most basic sense, a portable induction cooktop is essentially a stove burner that you can use just about anywhere you want (as long as you have somewhere to plug it in). This means that instead of cooking only at the stove, you can cook anywhere you have a flat surface and a power outlet.

A popular reason to get one of these devices is to make shabu shabu, a Japanese-style hot pot dish where you cook your thinly sliced meats and vegetables in a flavorful broth at the table. For many of us, this style of eating has long felt limited to restaurants with specialty setups to keep the broth hot. But with a portable cooktop, you can have your own shabu shabu experience at home whenever you want.

Food content creators (like bloggers, photographers, and videographers or YouTubers) are also a common audience for these cooktops. Bad lighting at the main stove? No room to get good shots in a cramped kitchen? No problem! Having a cooktop that you can use anywhere opens up a whole realm of possibilities for getting the perfect shot. 

For example, you’ll notice that the popular YouTube chef Sohla El-Waylly has a portable induction cooktop in her home kitchen, next to her main stove. The position of the stove wouldn’t allow for good videos, but the portable one makes them possible. (Notice also that she’s just one example of the many YouTube chefs who use The Control Freak by Breville / PolyScience.)

Of course, these devices are also ideal for anyone with limited space and without a real kitchen. If you’re living in a small studio or in-law unit, for example, or in a dorm room or similar arrangement, you might not have room for that fancy 6-burner stove with a griddle and two ovens (writer’s note: I don’t even have room for one of these in my house, as much as I wish I did!).

But just because you’re limited on kitchen space doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to cook! And with one of these portable cooktops, you can fry, saute, sear, and simmer even without having a traditional stove.

What Exactly Is Induction Cooking?

If you’re not familiar with induction cooking, the concept of these cooktops may be confusing at first.

Basically, there are three major types of cooktops: gas, electric, and induction.

Gas stoves use gas (surprise surprise) to create and maintain a flame, which heats your pots/pans and food.

Electric stoves do the same thing, but use electricity instead of gas.

Induction cooktops are technically also electric, but differ from regular electric stoves. Instead of using the electricity itself to create heat, they “use electric currents to directly heat pots and pans through magnetic induction.” In other words, they use magnets to heat the pot or pan directly. A traditional electric stove, on the other hand, heats the cooktop surface, which then transfers heat to the pot/pan and its contents.

Compatible Cookware for Induction Cooktops

Now that you understand that these cooktops use magnets to directly heat your cookware, you’ll probably begin to see a potential problem.

That’s right: you can’t use non-magnetic cookware on an induction cooktop. Trust me, I’ve tried, and it definitely doesn’t work.

This means that before you get your cooktop, you should check whether your pots and pans are magnetic, making them compatible with induction cooking. This is as simple as getting any magnet from your refrigerator and touching it to the bottoms of your pots and pans. If it sticks, they should work!

If your pots and pans aren’t suitable for induction, you’ll need to either buy new ones or find a different type of portable cooktop.

The Different Types of Portable Induction Cooktop

Single vs. Double Burner

As you’d guess from the name, the question here is simply whether your cooktop has one burner or two. 

On one hand, it’s always tempting to have as many burners as possible, so you can cook multiple things at once.

But on the other hand, double-burner options tend to draw the same amount of power (1800 watts) as single-burner ones. This means that if you’re using a lot of power on one burner, the other won’t be able to go as high. Our top double-burner pick, the NutriChef PKSTIND48 Double Induction Cooktop, automatically lowers the power of one burner as you raise the other to compensate.

For this reason, if you need two burners, we recommend buying two single-burner cooktops instead of one double burner. This way, each burner gets full power, so you can cook without that limitation.

Control Level

One of the biggest differences between various induction cooktops is how much control you have over the power and temperature. The NutriChef PKSTIND48 Double Induction Cooktop gives you 8 temperature levels; the Control Freak by Breville / PolyScience gives you a whopping 397. All of our other picks fall somewhere in between.

How much control you actually need is completely a question of your personal cooking style. 

If you want to use your cooktop for pretty basic cooking and aren’t a passionate food lover, just a few options may be fine! In this case, you can pay more attention to other criteria.

But if you’re a modernist home chef who wants complete, precise control, you’ll find that having just a few options is limiting and frustrating. If that describes you, and you can fit it in your budget, we recommend the Control Freak. After all, there’s a reason that so many major cooking productions use it.

6 Benefits of Using a Portable Induction Cooktop

1. Make shabu shabu at home!

I remember the first time I had shabu shabu, years ago. It was in San Francisco, and it was expensive. It was so expensive that the price of that one meal would easily pay for any of the options on our list (other than the Control Freak). And so I resigned myself to this being a meal only for ultra-special occasions. But with a portable induction cooktop, you can make your own shabu shabu at home whenever you want to! Just pick up your favorite ingredients, heat some flavorful broth, and enjoy your own hotpot dinner experience.

2. Cook more quickly than with other options!

Because an induction cooktop heats your pot or pan directly, it’s much faster than other types of heating. In fact, they can potentially heat your food or water around three times faster than gas. With one of these devices, the watched pot does boil.

3. Save energy

Again, the fact that induction cooking heats your cookware directly is the reason here. With gas or electric stoves, much of the energy gets lost between the heating element and your food. But with an induction cooktop, this isn’t the case! Reviewed estimates that induction cooktops convert 80% to 90% of their energy to heat in your food. Gas, on the other hand, is under 40%.

4. Enjoy better overall safety

Electric cooktops rely on heating up the surface, which then transfers heat to your pan. But since induction cooktops heat the pan directly, the surface stays cool. If you turn it on and accidentally touch the surface, you’ll find that it’s cool and you won’t burn yourself. (IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not advocate testing this by touching your cooktop. While the cooking surface itself shouldn’t get hot, your pot or pan will get hot—and can then transfer heat to the cooking surface, heating it up too.)

5. Clean up easily!

We’ve all dealt with food that splashes out of a pot and then bakes or burns onto the hot stovetop. But with an induction cooktop, since the surface itself doesn’t heat up, spilled food doesn’t burn and stick. Instead, you can simply wipe it up. No more soaking or scrubbing required!

6. Get great food pictures and/or videos by cooking in a convenient location

The challenge with stovetop cooking is that you’re very limited in your angles and lighting. You can’t easily put the camera overhead if there’s a hood in the way! And unless your stove is part of a kitchen island, you can’t get shots from the front either. With a portable induction cooktop, you can set up your cooking and filming/photography station in a nice, open part of your house by a north-facing window for the best results.


A portable induction cooktop offers incredible flexibility and versatility, letting you cook anywhere you have an outlet. And as long as your pots and pans are magnetic (test them with a normal magnet to find out), you won’t even need to buy new ones!

The big factors to keep in mind when choosing which one to buy are flexibility/precision in terms of the number of power and/or temperature levels, how many burners you want, and of course your budget. 

But whichever option you choose, you’ll enjoy being able to cook wherever you want (including the ability to make shabu shabu at the table!). You’ll also get all the benefits and convenience of an induction cooktop, including easy clean-up, quick cooking, and less energy consumption.