I tested the Smeg Portable Induction Hob – and it’s the piece of kitchen kit I never realised I needed

For anyone who loves to entertain, this is like a kitchen extension in a box to cater for all

Compilation of three images showing teh new Smeg portable induction hob review process
(Image credit: Future | Rosie Conroy)
Woman & Home Verdict

The sleek design offers a much more attractive option when compared to most alternatives on the market. It is really powerful in terms of heat conduction, therefore great if you cook a lot and need your pans to come up to temperature fast, to allow for speedy cooking

Reasons to buy
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    The heat dial is on a sliding scale, which offers more nuance and control than some others which might only have 3-5 settings

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    The hob space itself is generous, meaning you can cook for a family in a frying pan if needed

  • +

    The detachable cable allows for easy storage and cleaning

  • +

    We loved the addition of the thermometer - a nifty little extra that we haven’t seen elsewhere (although it wasn’t always accurate)

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    This model from Smeg only has one ring, so if you’re looking to use a portable hob during a renovation - for instance - and need a few things cooking at one time, this might not be the one for you

  • -

    At nearly £350, this is the most expensive portable induction hob we’ve tested. In this case though, we think you get what you pay for in a quality model that feels built to last.

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The best portable induction hobs offer a way to diversify your cooking space, and for that reason, they’re becoming increasingly popular with more and more brands bringing out models. 

Whether you want one to get you through a kitchen renovation or fancy cooking outdoors more (if you have outdoor power), they can be hugely helpful. This is the first time we’ve seen a release from the iconic brand Smeg, so I was keen to see how it stacked up against the competition. 

Let’s be honest, most of the portable hobs aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, but that’s where Smeg steps up. In line with the brand’s general output, this single-ring edition looks smart, and I have high hopes for functionality too - it’s a trusted brand which usually delivers strong results. 

I’ve tested each of the hobs in the Woman & Home round-up to the best portable induction hobs, and I’d say I’m particularly fussy when it comes to the details. With years spent in recipe development, I look at most things with daily use in mind and am keen to give authentic insight on every product I test. But given that Smeg has given us one of the best induction pans, I was hopeful that this new appliance would be everything I was hoping for and more.

Smeg Portable Induction Hob

Smeg Portable Induction Hob

This sleek new Smeg Portable Induction cooking appliance provides versatility for smaller kitchens and those looking for an extra induction hob, the portable appliance is adept at everything from stir-frying to stewing using the same technology to emulate how all induction cookers work.

Smeg Portable Induction Hob review


  • Cost: £350
  • Dimensions: H5.4 by W31.5 by D41.2 cm
  • Max power: 1.45 kW
  • Touch Control
  • 2100 watts
  • 1m cord length
  • Anti-slip feet

First impressions of the Smeg Portable Induction Hob

Smeg portable induction hob during testing

(Image credit: Smeg)

Arriving in fully recyclable packaging, this was nicely presented in an illustrated box, with a presentation style inside where the hob came in a compostable fabric pouch, and everything else slotted into the cardboard surrounds. So far, so good. 

It was sort of reassuringly weighty, but not too cumbersome to be able to move around easily - crucial if something claims to be portable - and I liked that there was a thermometer included. It feels quite professional and chef-like from first look. 

In terms of set-up, this was really straightforward, with intuitive controls and a simple plug-in-and-go sort of style. At first, I didn’t think I’d need the instruction booklet, as I know everything you need to know about induction hobs pretty much, and it performed as most other similar styles so I got started straight away by plugging it in and turning it on. Further down the line though I did need to return to the info pack, to get to grips with more fiddly settings.

User experience of the Smeg Portable Induction Hob

  • Design: While it might not be the most exciting design purchase you’ll ever make in your life, there’s no denying that when compared to the white plastic of the competition, this has a high-end aesthetic. Small details, like the curved top, really set it apart. Because of that, I’d be happy to leave this out on the countertop, rather than storing it away all the time - something I felt like I had to do with other similar products I tested.

Silver Smeg portable induction hob with saucepan

(Image credit: Future | Rosie Conroy)

The brushed silver finish looks premium and is easier to keep looking clean over a few uses vs polished metal or white plastic, so it was nice to see details like the materials were considered too. For people who aren't mad about branding, be warned, there is robustly sized lettering across the front in raised metal (as is consistent with other products across the brand’s portfolio, if you’re familiar with them) and across the hob space itself in flat, white markings.

  • Speed: As a general rule, induction is a fast way to cook. The Smeg hob really doubled down on this and brought a pan of water to the boil in one minute - which was more than twice as fast as it took on my own hob stove. I can see this being particularly handy over busy periods like Christmas when you need to get through loads of prep fast or want to leave something simmering low and slow in a controlled fashion.
  • Size: With its spacious top, you can use a pan up to 24 cm, which meant I could use most of my cookware easily without having to use small, pinchy pans. I easily made a dinner for four in one of my larger frying pans, so I think this would be great for families if bought in addition to other cooking surfaces. That being said, it’s also slim and compact enough to fit in a standard kitchen drawer, which is great for storage.
  • Noise: All portable induction hobs are noisy to a degree, because they use fans to regulate their temperature, and they’re an electronic piece of kit. This one was the quietest I’ve ever tested, which was a huge relief as I can find the usual noise grating after a little while. Overall this is fairly quiet if you were to put all the hobs we tested on a sliding scale, but not silent (which would be pretty much impossible with the required elements of this type of electronic). 

Rosie testing the control panels on the new Smeg portable induction hob

(Image credit: Future | Rosie Conroy)
  • Controls: Rather than physical dials or buttons, the Smeg Portable Induction Cooker has touch controls. In one way, this is great. It’s easy to clean, it looks good and when it works it’s sort of the perfect scenario. The thing is, and I’d say this is often an issue with touch induction hobs, sometimes they get a bit sticky and aren’t immediately responsive which I find frustrating. When sliding between the temperatures it’s easy to find the right temperature, however, and it’s not that it didn’t work, it just felt like it could have the potential to be temperamental with frequent and sustained use.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning the induction hob was really straight forward and there were a couple of things that contributed to that. Firstly, the cable is removable, so there are no tight bits to wipe around at the joint, which is a pet hate of mine. I simply wiped that before putting it away. Secondly, the lack of dials meant you could go across the whole top to mop up any spills. The only tiny things are that there’s a slight lip where the hotplate meets the brushed metal part, and the raised lettering on the front could potentially pick up grease and dirt over time if not meticulously maintained.

Extra features and settings of the Smeg Portable Induction Hob

  • Keep warm: This was surprisingly one of my favourite extra features which allowed you to leave a very gentle heat under a pan to keep your cooking warm. It’s so simple but so useful, and actually, I wondered whether you’d be able to sort of slow cook in a way, throughout the day, although I didn’t have a chance to test this one out this time. Instead, I left my partner’s mashed potatoes on while he went for a run, and they were lovely and warm when he returned, without going funny and gluey which can happen on a typical low hob heat.

Cooking broccoli in a frying pan on the new Smeg portable induction hob

(Image credit: Future | Rosie Conroy)
  • Fry: If you’re into frying, then an induction hob offers a much safer way to do so than over a naked flame, on a gas top. The latter poses a very real fire hazard, whereas the induction hob has no open fire element, and so feels much safer. This was one of the pre-set functions, and you’re able to choose between fresh, frozen or dessert options. Once you’ve selected the way you’re going to cook, the hob pre-heats the oil for you and allows you to cook at a programmed setting. For me, this didn’t really offer anything more than being able to operate the temperature myself, and I actually preferred being able to toggle up and down while I was frying, rather than relying on the pre-set. If you’re more of a novice cook, it might be handy in that it brings the oil up to temperature gradually, avoiding any unexpected bubble ups. 
  • Barbecue: This one lets you use a grill plate to reach a really high temperature for that nice charred finish. I thought it was nice that Smeg had thought about the different scenarios people might want to use their stove for, and this wasn’t an option offered on any other portable induction hobs I tested. However, as with the frying, I wasn’t overly sure how this was an advantage over heating it regularly, but it was an easy way to get the plate scorching and did result in a nice char on our lamb skewers. 

Collage of images showing the probe on the Smeg portable induction hob

(Image credit: Smeg | Rosie Conroy)
  • Probe: In theory, I loved this. It seemed so clever to me that you could pop the probe in, walk away and the machine would switch off when the meat you were cooking had come to the right eating temperature or finished the allotted time (you can choose to switch off using either measure). There were a couple of issues though, in that the probe was fixed in place using a clip you popped on the side of the pan. On the first use, this melted at the bottom. Additionally, I was cooking two chicken breasts and removed one when I would have said it was cooked by sight, waiting for the other to come up to temperature. When it took much longer than expected I used my own thermometer to check the meat, and the Smeg probe was out by 10 degrees if mine was reading correctly - which it seemed to be. This could be an issue with just the individual hob I have, but worth noting if you’re going to invest in this machine.
  • Timer: The timer was really fantastic. It meant I could pop my food on to cook and then get on with other jobs in the kitchen without worrying that anything would burn or overcook. It’s also handy that it displays a countdown while it’s running so you can keep tabs as you check back every now and then. So simple but so effective.
  • Eco-friendly features: I’m not sure this is as much an ‘eco-friendly’ feature as a fact, but I like that with a portable induction hob you can really limit your power usage. That means if you’re just cooking for yourself, you don’t have to heat a whole oven or even use gas. Instead, plugging in this little chap is much more wallet-friendly, using a small amount of electricity vs guzzling gas, if you have a traditional stovetop. For those with existing electric or induction hobs, the usage wouldn’t really make a difference.

How does the Smeg Portable Induction Hob compare?

There isn’t really a comparable portable induction hob on the market, as this is a lot more of a financial outlay compared to the average. That being said, if you’re happy to invest, this feels head and shoulders above other models. It was much quieter, had a sleeker design and had a range of additional features that most don’t offer. This felt like something you’d invest in to use over the years, rather than buying something cheaper for a temporary fix.

Should you buy the Smeg Portable Induction Hob?

If you’re looking for a high-functioning portable induction hob, this one really didn’t disappoint. A Couple of the extra features, like the probe and the barbecue function maybe felt a little unnecessary when they were tested in reality, but the overall machine performed so well and was easy to use that I didn’t think I’d use them much anyway, even if they worked seamlessly. 

For its main function, this is a powerful hob which comes up to temperature quickly and easily. It’s also so much quieter than your average model, smartly designed, compact enough to store in a drawer and was really quick and easy to clean. 

The main drawback was probably the plate retaining heat for a little while after use. Typically built-in ones cool off more speedily, and they're meant to be safer for avoiding burns. There was also an issue with the temperature probe being a little inconsistent which could be fairly frustrating if you didn’t have an alternative to use instead. 

Overall, the main performance points were properly premium, and the few niggles I had wouldn’t really have upset me in the long run I don’t think. If you’re a capable cook looking for fast and efficient cooking in a temporary space, or perhaps want to add an additional hob for holidays - this is the one I’d recommend. 

About this review, and the reviewer

Smeg sent over a sample for me to use and keep for a week or so before I had to write up my thoughts. That meant I could use it a few different times, and see how it performed in varying situations – similar to how we test induction pans.

I set it up in my kitchen and every time I went to cook something over the week I asked myself if I could use the portable hob. If the answer was yes, I popped it on quickly and got to work. That meant everything from boiling water for potatoes and eggs to making omelettes and frying chicken to give each different setting a whirl. 

As a food journalist, I’ve tested a huge range of products that span pots and pans through to stand mixers. I was previously in the Woman & Home food team, developing and shooting recipes, so I have a good grasp on what a cook really needs from their kit.

For comparison, here are three alternative best induction hobs I've tested for our buying guide.

Rosie Conroy is a food and drinks journalist with over a decade of experience working for big-name titles in both print and online. Formerly the Digital Food Editor of woman&home, Rosie went on to head up the team at SquareMeal, reviewing the best London restaurants and hunting out emerging culinary trends. With previous experience in food styling and recipe development, Rosie knows what to look for in a good piece of kitchenware and has extensive experience testing consumer goods—from kitchen electricalz and cooking accouterments through to new foodie treats.