Best Induction Cooktop 2018: Top-Rated Portable Burner and Countertop Hob Reviews

Home / Best Induction Cooktop 2018: Top-Rated Portable Burner and Countertop Hob Reviews

Induction cooktops are one of the great breakthroughs in the past few years of cooking tech. At their best, they give you precision, control, and consistency without expertise. Exact, repeatable results for any home cook is a recipe for success!

The problem with shopping for an induction cooktop these days is that it’s very tricky to tell which are infomercial crap and which are legitimate kitchen appliances. After all, not all induction cooktops are created equal–far from it! Many fail quickly, while others heat very unevenly. But with all the flashy marketing, who’s to know the difference?

We’ve set our team the task of combing the market to find the true performers in the induction category. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to three workhorse cooktops which are precise, reliable and user-friendly. Then, we’ll help you figure out which is best for you!

Here’s a glance at our top picks:

BEST on a BUDGET
BEST SELLER
BEST QUALITY
FagorSecuraDuxtop
Our Rating: 4.5
Popularity: Low

Our Rating: 4.4
Popularity: High


Our Rating: 4.4
Popularity: Medium

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

1. Fagor 670041920 UCook Induction Cooktop

black induction cooktop

Click for Price

“it does all the essentials well.”

This is the least expensive induction cooktop that really works well. There are cheaper options out there, but they’re disposable junk, as far as we’re concerned. The Fagor isn’t the most powerful or precise model on the market, but it does all the essentials well.

We think it’s an excellent first induction cooktop. This is also a reasonable choice for more experienced folks on a budget, who don’t need anything fancy.

Pros:

While it isn’t as versatile or powerful as our more expensive recommendations, the Fagor has all the key features of a great induction cooktop. It has a magnetic heating coil, all-glass cooktop, and digital control panel.

“the same induction technology that’s used in models several times the price”

This is exactly the same induction technology that’s used in models several times the price of the Fagor. It doesn’t generate or retain heat on the surface itself, instead using the magnetic coil to create heat in your cookware. This thing takes up very little space, and it’ll use 90% less energy than traditional hot plates!

It covers basically the same temperature range as the most expensive induction cooktops on the market: 140-465 degrees F. So, while you can pay more for finer increment control and so forth, you’re not going to miss out on any heating power by getting the Fagor.

The controls on this one are also basically the same as the top-notch cooktops. There are 8 different temperature settings in the Fagor’s range (140, 180, 212, 260, 300, 360, 420, 465), and you can also use 8 simplified power levels (1-8). You can switch between them as you prefer.

On the power settings, it’ll hold a constant wattage. Using the temperature settings, it’ll fluctuate power on and off to hold the cooktop at a constant temp. The only real difference between this and the most expensive models is that you have wider increments on the Fagor (so, less precision).

Even though it’s the cheapest of our recommendations, it actually has a longer cook timer than our midrange choice! The Fagor has a programmable timer up to 180 minutes. It shuts off when the timer is done, so you can set something to cook and forget about it.

It has the same safety shutoff feature as the more expensive models: it automatically shuts off if it doesn’t detect cookware on the surface.

You don’t miss anything in terms of size, either. The Fagor can be used with cookware between 5-10” in diameter, the same range as our more expensive recommendations.

“ideal for camping, second homes, and apartments”

This is definitely the most portable of the bunch, though! The whole thing weighs less than 5 pounds. At 1300W, it also runs easily on generators and smaller circuits. We think the Fagor’s ideal for camping, second homes, and apartments–places where super precise temperature control isn’t as important as low weight and low wattage.

Unlike the vast majority of cheap induction cooktops, it’s actually safe to use! You wouldn’t think that’d be something to celebrate, but you should see the amount of uncertified, unsafe cooktops from anonymous brands out there!

The Fagor is ETL-approved in the US and Canada. There’s a cooling fan to keep the element from overheating, too, which isn’t always included on these budget models.

This is a lot sturdier than the other budget cooktops we’ve reviewed. It’s not industrial quality, but anything up to 17 pounds is safe on it. It’s hardy enough to travel with, and we haven’t found any real weak points in the design. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty, and we don’t know of any reliability issues with this model

Most importantly, it’s made by a reputable company. That’s a boon at this price! Nearly all others at this price are generic imports from companies with no real market presence or reputation.

The Fagor costs a bit more than them, but at least you know you’re buying from a reputable company which will actually service its warranties and which has the expertise to build a good cooktop!

Cons:

It’s less powerful than our other recommendations: 1300W compared to 1800W. The practical difference is that it simply takes longer to hit the highest temperatures. So, if speed is important to you, plan to spend a bit more. The Fagor is still faster than traditional cooktops, though!

The biggest difference between the Fagor and our more expensive recommendations is precision. This one has essentially the same temperature range as our priciest choices, but it makes much bigger jumps in between (40-60 degree increments). It’s less precise than others, so perfectionists will want to go for one of the Duxtop’s.

We’ve had mixed experiences with Fagor products, even though this one has a good reliability record.

2. Duxtop/Secura 9100MC

induction stove with egg and bacon

Click for Price

“a nice midrange choice that gives you more power and finesse”

The Duxtop 9100MC is probably the most popular induction cooktop on the market right now. Despite what NuWave’s marketing would have you believe, it’s the Duxtop that’s at the top of best-seller lists across major retailers.

This is pretty close to the same size and weight as the Fagor, but it’s more versatile and faster t0 work with. We think the 9100MC is a nice midrange choice that gives you more power and finesse than the Fagor, without a premium price tag.

Pros:

The biggest difference coming from our budget pick is that the Duxtop packs substantially more power than the Fagor(1800W, compared to the Fagor’s 1300W). It’s not designed to go any higher on the thermometer, but the higher wattage means it hits its targets more quickly.

The Duxtop offers more control as well. Instead of 8 power levels/temperature increments, it offers 15: 140, 160, 180, 200, 220, 240, 260, 280, 300, 320, 340, 370, 400, 430, and 460 degrees F. As you can see, the increments are smaller across the range.

So, that’s nearly twice the precision you get with the Fagor. You can use 15 wattage settings as well, if you prefer the numerical “power” values to temperatures.

There are some tangible, practical benefits to getting more finesse. For example, we found that it could be tricky to get eggs to cook perfectly on the Fagor, since there are such drastic jumps between settings. With the 9100MC, it’s easier to find a “just right” setting. As any home cook knows, that’s key to putting together a perfect plate!

It has all the key features we like on the Fagor: a timer which shuts off automatically at the end of your set cook time (goes to 170 minutes, only negligibly shorter), automatic pan detection/safety shutoff and an onboard cooling fan.

As you’d expect from something a bit pricier, it has a better digital control panel than the Fagor. It’s not wildly different, but it gives you some helpful diagnostics for troubleshooting cookware, as well as warnings for low and high voltage.

This one’s been on the market longer than the Fagor, so we have a better perspective on its reliability prospects. While it’s far from perfect, it’s a lot more reliable than comparable offerings from other brands. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty, too. Just be sure to inspect yours and make sure you register your warranty coverage.

As with the Fagor, it’s ETL-approved, and meets all the North American standards. It includes a slightly longer cord than the Fagor, too.

Cons:

It’s heavier than the Fagor, if only by a pound or two.

The extra weight doesn’t mean it’s any more rugged. The Duxtop has an imperfect reliability record, even though most long-term users don’t report any issues. Lemons are definitely a possibility, and some people have had issues after a year or two of use.

We suggest extended coverage, to be extra sure you get your money’s worth from this one. We’ve directed our product links to Amazon, where it’s easy to tack on a few extra years of coverage.

3. Duxtop 9600LS

Digital LCD Sensor-Touch Control Panel with ketchup and tomatoes

Click for Price

“the ideal countertop cooktop for a perfectionist!”

Our top induction recommendation is a Duxtop–essentially a fancier version of our midrange pick. The 9600LS has the same temperature range and wattage, but it adds even more precision. We think it’s the ideal countertop cooktop for a perfectionist!

Pros:

The 9600LS is practically identical to the 9100MC, but it has some crucial improvements which make it worth the money to the perfectionist home chef! Instead of 15 options, it has 20 heat levels/temperature increments onboard! That’s the best precision we’ve found in a countertop model. And as with the others, it’s easy to switch between levels and degrees, as you like.

“ the best precision we’ve found in a countertop model.”

This one also has a range between 100-1800W, where the 9100 only starts at 200 watts. So, this one adds some extra versatility for low-heat uses.

The timer is also a major point of difference between this and the cheaper 9100MC. While that model only lasts about 3 hours, this model’s timer will up to 10 hours! That’s perfect for slow-cooking, especially since the 25-pound weight limit on the Duxtop means you can safely stew or simmer large pots for as long as you want!

While the biggest advantage this one has over the midrange Duxtop is in precision, the 9600LS also has some extra conveniences that we think justify the higher cost. There are quick buttons for keeping something warm (at 140 degrees F for 30 min) and for bringing water to a fast boil. The boil feature is especially convenient, especially if you have an inductive kettle.

It’s the safest of the bunch. Anyone with kids can use this with confidence that no inquisitive hands could accidentally start it. The 9600LS locks for safety, and you simply hold the lock button for three seconds to activate.

There’s a multi-step unlocking procedure that kids won’t be able to figure out. And if there’s no cookware on the surfaces it automatically shuts off, like our other picks.

duxtop featuresThe nicer Duxtop also keeps all the main features of the midrange model. It has a diagnostic display panel, just like the 9100MC, and a cooling fan which runs as long as it needs to after the burner shuts off. Similarly-priced NuWave models don’t do that, which we suspect is a reason they burn out faster!

This one cleans easily, works well, and packs just as easily as our other recommendations. It has the same 5-foot power cord as our midrange pick, and is ETL-listed for the USA and Canada.

It’s not perfect, but the Duxtop has a far better long-term track record than anything else in its price bracket. We don’t think you should have any issues getting a few years of use out of it. There’s a 1-year warranty out of the box, and you can get extended coverage on this one, using the links in our review!

Cons:

While this offers the best precision and power of the bunch, it doesn’t give you any more cooking surface than the Fagor. We’ve found that’s true of nearly all induction cooktops, but it’s a bit disappointing given the price. You have to stick to pots and pans under 10” in diameter.

It’s disappointing given the price that the Duxtop doesn’t have a perfect reliability record. Of course, nearly any appliance will have occasional lemons, but there’s no noticeable difference in quality between the 9100MC and the 9600LS.

As with the midrange model, we suggest getting an extended warranty when you shop through our links! We’re directing to an Amazon listing where you can get a few extra years for a pretty low cost.

The fan on this one is the loudest of the three. Even though it’s not unpleasant, it’s definitely prominent.

This is the best countertop model we’ve found, but there’s room for improvement in future. The fluctuations on the temperature settings are a bit annoying, since there can be some lag between the burner kicking on and off to maintain a steady temp.

We’ve found that it’s better to just learn what the power settings represent, and use them. Then, the machine isn’t constantly fluctuating to try and stay at the constant temp. It sets a power level, and sticks to it.

Using a temperature setting, it goes full-bore until the temperature is hit, then kicks off. Again, it’s not as seamless as some full stovetop models, but the best we’ve found in a countertop format.

There’s an extended timer for longer cooking, and you do have to use it if you want to simmer for an afternoon or something. If you don’t set a timer, it automatically switches off after 2 hours, so be warned!

Conclusion

Since you’re now acquainted with a few good options, it’s decision time. Which of these induction cooktops should you actually buy?

The Fagor is a perfectly good budget option, if you’re not concerned about having the absolute best precision. It’ll get just as hot as our other recommendations, and it can handle the same size cookware. The only real difference is the amount of options it gives you.

If you want to be more of a perfectionist, spend a bit more. You’ll also find that the higher wattage on our more expensive picks gets you to your temperature settings faster.

The Secura 9100MC is a nice midrange choice for the average buyer. It gives you more precision than the Fagor, but it doesn’t cost nearly as much as the Duxtop 9600LS. It’s just as powerful as the 9600LS, only missing a few conveniences and options.

This one doesn’t have the 9600LS’s extended cook timer, though. It’s also missing the quick-set buttons for boiling water and keeping things warm. And, of course, it only has 15 settings instead of 20. If you want the most precise cooktop available, get the 9600LS.

The Duxtop 9600LS is our ultimate pick for an induction cooktop. It’s the most precise, reliable, and user-friendly model we’ve found to date! This is significantly more expensive than our other picks, but we think it’s worth the cost to a perfectionist.

If you’re not that concerned about precision or conveniences, you can certainly save money with one of our cheaper picks.

Model Name Cost Wattage
Fagor $ 1300 Watts
Secura $ 200-1800Watts
Duxtop $$ 100-1800Watts

Buying Guide

Although a lot of induction cooktops can look the same to the casual observer, there are actually a wide range of options. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve put together this handy buying guide! These are the key points to consider as you compare our recommendations, and consider which one is the best buy for your cookery.

Power

As with any type of cooking appliance, power is a key aspect of induction cooktops. They range in wattage from about 1000-2000W, and there’s a vast difference between models at the bottom and top ends of the scale.

While nearly all induction cooktops have the same temperature range, having higher wattage generally means that they can power up to the highest temperature settings faster. The benefit there is convenience, plain and simple. You’re also less likely to burn out a cooktop in a hurry of it’s not working as hard.

There’s a downside to high-powered models, though. They could trip a breaker if you don’t have a dedicated outlet. They’re also harder to use in campers and for portable applications. If that’s important to you, it may be better to stick with something on the lower end of the spectrum.

As you’d expect, you’ll pay more for more power, so consider your budget as you compare wattages.

Precision

Aside from power, the biggest difference you’ll see between induction cooktops is the level of precision each one offers. The cheaper options may have as few as 6 settings, while the nicest offer as many as 20 intervals in the same temperature range.

If you don’t do anything fancy, the amount of options may not matter much to you. You can easily cook pasta or make a soup on something with a few basic settings. If you’re going to be cooking something finicky like eggs, though, you definitely want to invest in something that gives you more finesse.

So, think about the skill level of the cookery you do. The trickier you dishes are, the more precision you’ll want.

Convenience

Like most appliances, more expensive induction cooktops have more conveniences built-in, while the cheaper options have the fewest extra features. Think about how convenient you want/need your cooktop to be! If you want dedicated buttons for things like boiling water or keeping pans warm, or more versatile timing features, plan to spend a bit more.

Safety

There are a few safety features which you should consider as standard on induction burners.

One is a cookware detection system. Any good induction burner can detect whether there’s a pot or pan on the surface, and will shut off if none is present.

There should also be an automatic shutoff after a given time period (usually two hours). This will make sure you don’t accidentally leave your cooktop on indefinitely, since unlike electric or gas, it can be hard to tell from the outside. You can always override the timed shut-off by setting a timer, so don’t think it’ll get in your way!

Here’s also where it becomes very important to buy from a reputable brand. There are any number of generic induction cooktops offered from companies you’ve never heard of, with seemingly random names or acronyms.

They’re all imported from China, and are disposable garbage. Worse, many aren’t up to US electrical codes. So, using them can not only be frustrating, it can be dangerous!

With something that uses so much wattage, you really want to be sure to get something above-board which won’t burn your house down or cause injury. That’s why we’ve only considered models from reputable appliance-makers for our review.

Reliability

Finally, you should consider the long-term whenever you buy any kitchen appliance. That’s especially true with induction cooktops, since they aren’t the most reliable things on the whole.

Always get something from a manufacturer which will honor a real warranty. You should all know that extended policies are always a good idea on these things.

If you can add a few years with a Square Trade plan or something similar, you’ll be a lot better off. Most manufacturers only offer 1-year policies on these units, and many will give out shortly after that. So, be sure to protect yourself for the long haul!

What’s Next

We hope you’ve found our guide to the best induction cooktops useful and enjoyable. If you think one of our recommendations is just what you’re looking for, great! The best way to find out more and to see current prices is to click on the links in our review.

We’ve also got the rest of your kitchen needs covered, so head to our home page for more expert reviews and buying advice. Our team has put together guides to everything from water filtration systems to sous vide equipment. Check it out!