By Rosie Conroy
If you're keen to purchase one of the best portable induction hobs, we don't blame you. When it comes to versatility in the kitchen (and elsewhere), portable induction hobs are incredibly useful and super easy to use.
There are so many reasons why people are moving away from gas and electric and towards induction these days—not least of which the energy you can save by doing so. Induction hobs are generally deemed safer too, immediately turning off the heat when the pan is lifted from the hob.
Portable induction hobs feature flat glass surfaces powered by heaters, which warm up faster than electric and gas counterparts. So why might you need one? Portable hobs offer solutions to many storage problems, including adding an extra hob to make better use of your kitchen space. That's why, when it comes to organizing a kitchen, they can be real space-savers, providing an extra hob that you can stow away when cooking is over (see more kitchen storage ideas here if you're short on space). Moreover, they're also a smart buy if you’re undertaking a kitchen renovation, or even as a stopgap while waiting for a new cooker.
Plus, they can also be good for trips away, too. If you're a camper or like to go on a lot of UK staycations, then you can take your portable induction hob along with your best induction pans for an easy cook wherever you are, be it in a rental cottage or a mobile home. The best portable induction hobs even provide the option to cook outdoors if you're having a big family gathering. They're quick, energy-efficient, and most importantly safe—there's no need to worry about flames or elements that may emit fumes or cause burns. Many cool down immediately after use, too.
Simply put, they're one of the ultimate kitchen essentials, whether you use them on-the-go, or at home.
How do I choose the right portable induction hob for me?
There are a few things to consider when picking the best portable induction hob for you:
- How are you going to use it? The first step is to narrow down exactly what you need from your portable induction hob. For instance, if you have a big family you’ll probably want a machine with more than one hob, while those looking for a cooking surface to supplement an existing stovetop during busy moments might prefer a piece of kit with a single ring.
- Its capabilities: When on the lookout for a good portable induction hob it’s also worth considering factors such as temperature capabilities, additional settings and small (but important) details, such as how long the plug cable is and how noisy the fans gets.
- Whether or not you've used induction cookware before: If you're considering the differences between induction hob vs gas hob, it's important to note that you may need new induction cookware for your portable induction hob—a whole different type of pan. If making the switch from gas or electric, some people find sourcing induction pans a tricky task. An easy way to test your existing kitchenware is to try sticking a magnet to the bottom; if the magnet stays in place, your pans will work. You could also browse our guide to the best induction pans. It's important to bear in mind though that induction hobs are not suitable for anyone with a pacemaker.
The best portable induction hobs as reviewed by our experts
1. VonShef Twin Digital Induction Hob
Best overall portable induction hob
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
We haven’t found a more efficient portable induction hob at this price point than the VonShef model by VonHaus. Its clean, contemporary looks are supplemented by ten heat controls that allow you to carefully tailor the settings—so whether you need rapidly boiling water for pasta, or are slow-cooking a batch of stew, it can handle your cooking needs.
We love that the hot plates themselves are larger than most, allowing you to use generously-sized soup pans with ease. Small drawbacks include a relatively short cable and a slightly unclear instruction manual. However, as with most portable induction hobs, the settings are fairly intuitive—once we’d got to grips with the basics we found no need for the help sheets anyway. This model was easy to clean (if you're after a portable induction hob that doesn't add too much time to your kitchen cleaning routine), is good value, and has two convenient hob rings, making it a great overall pick.
2. Lakeland Smart Touch Induction Hob
Best luxury portable induction hob
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Being compact and easy to clean are two plus points on a long list of positives for Lakeland’s portable induction hob. Other attributes include a hugely helpful instruction manual, which is available online and offers detailed step-by-step processes, as well as including interesting hints, tips and FAQs to allow you to make the most of your machine. This hob is a slim design, making storage simple when the hob is not in use, as well as plates that aren’t overly sensitive to pan positioning—something that was problematic on many competitors. Because of its lightweight design and easy use, we'd recommend this hob most highly for trips away too—whether you're wild camping in Scotland, or checking into a fancy lodge with a hot tub.
Small niggles include loud warning noises (which admittedly, some users may like) and having to rotate through all the settings to find your favorite, rather than being able to individually select one. Overall, a standout example of an easy-to-use, neatly designed portable induction hob.
3. IKEA Tillreda Portable Induction Hob
Best portable induction hob on a budget
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
As with all things Ikea, the Tillreda portable induction hob has an innovative design, namely the power cable that neatly winds around a carrying handle for easy storage, meaning it doesn’t require much cupboard space (though see our guide to the best kitchen cabinet organization ideas if you need help sorting yours out). The hob has a fairly standard range of controls but, considering this is one of the most affordable pieces in our guide, we think it has great functionality. At 3kg, it’s heavier than many other portable hobs, and a little thicker than most too, but if you’re not planning on moving it far that shouldn’t be a problem. The accessible price point means that even if you’re only planning to use your hob occasionally, it’s still worth the spend.
4. Tefal IH201840 Everyday Portable Induction Hob
Best portable induction hob for smaller spaces
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Tefal is already a trusted brand across the UK so, if you like the reassurance that that sense of brand familiarity brings, this one could be for you. While a little trial and error is needed in order to find your perfect setting, there are plenty of elements to commend this small, efficient model—and it's a great option for those with small kitchens (if you're low on space, check out our pan storage ideas too). We like that it offers good value for money, with a few above-average offerings; the stew mode, for example, can be used to slow cook everything from pulled pork to baked beans. Be warned though, it has a two-hour limit so some monitoring is needed if your recipe requires a little more time. Slight drawbacks come in the form of a loud fan noise and fairly piercing warning beeps when you remove a pan—although these are fairly standard across the board and can be beneficial for safety.
5. Gionien Domino Induction Hob
Best portable induction hob for regular use
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
While some induction cookers can struggle to get up enough heat to sear a steak well or achieve a lovely crisp skin on a piece of fish from flash-frying, this model beats the odds to allow for intuitive cooking at any temperature. There’s good variation on the settings too—you can go from a gentle simmer to a rapid boil in minutes, and the addition of a boost function means the latter takes less time than a regular hob to come up to heat.
Things unravel slightly with a common complaint: the noisy fan, which in this case goes on for minutes post switching off, so can be irritating. If you can brave the noise, the positives elsewhere make it a useful addition to any kitchen though, and while it’s not strictly classed as ‘portable’, the plug-and-play functionality means you can buy it as a temporary fixture and if you like it enough, have it built in later. We like that kind of commitment-free option!
How to use a portable induction hob
Using an induction hob is relatively straightforward; however, it's easy to feel a little confused if you're a beginner. Follow our easy step-by-step guide for getting started with a portable induction hob:
- First, be sure to switch on the induction hob unit. Heat isn't generated by the induction hob without cookware placed on the cooking ring.
- Then, place your induction pan and/or cookware on the cooktop ring you want to use.
- From there, you'll want to locate the power mechanism on the induction cook and press it to switch on.
- If you have a cooktop with multiple burners, be sure to select the sensor that's meant for the specific ring you want to use (it may not be evident immediately)
- Many induction hobs feature adjustable heat buttons, which will enable you to prepare dishes to your liking.
- Once you're done, power off the induction cooktop by returning the hob ring and the hob itself off.
How to clean an induction hob
Cleaning an induction hob isn't rocket science, especially when compared to more labor-intensive household chores, such as how to clean a fridge, or the ever-fiddly task of learning how to clean a garbage disposal. There are five practical tips to follow:
- Use the proper pots and pans: Avoid cookware that can easily scratch the surface of glass-top stoves. Example materials include glass, stoneware, aluminum, ceramic iron, and cast iron. Opt for tools made of steel or magnetic stainless steel.
- Have a damp sponge or cloth nearby: It's best to immediately clean up messes, spills, and grime as they happen on an induction hob. If you don't, expect hard-to-scrub stains and buildup to form. Wiping with a sponge/cloth will prevent this from occurring—and keep your induction hob in tip-top shape.
- Daily cleaning: This will help maintain the quality of your induction hob and extend its lifespan. Along with a damp soap, be sure to always use mild household detergent and a kitchen spray designed for grease removal.
- Use a scraper or razor for serious stains: These work well for stubborn, baked, and burnt-on foods and should be purchased directly through the hob manufacturer to prevent damage to the glass surface. And before going in with your device, remember to apply a good amount of liquid cleaning detergent to the area.
- Avoid caustic cleaners: Think bleach and ammonia. These cleaners are abrasive and incompatible with induction hob surfaces, often causing scratches and cracks.
What to do if your induction hob isn't working
Induction hobs are generally ease to use and hassle free, but issues can arise from time to time that you wouldn't experience with gas or electric hobs. Some common problems include:
- If you're setting up your induction hob and it doesn't turn on: Check the voltage for your cooktop and see if you have the right voltage distribution. If the hob still isn't powering on, check the power outage. Your circuit may be overloaded and/or there may be an issue with the house fuse.
- If your cooktop shuts off while cooking: Most likely, the automatic power-on feature turned it off, which happens when your cooking exceeds the maximum time limit. Additionally, many hobs feature sensors, which automatically shut down when they don't detect any cookware on the burner. Therefore, be sure to properly place your cookware on the hob. Also, many induction hobs are sensitive to pressure elsewhere—if you have other items on the hob whilst cooking, the hob may turn itself off to stop any burning occuring.
- If your meal isn't heating properly: Check the control settings—your heat may be too low in temperature. Overheating and uneven heating can be attributed to how your cookware is positioned. To resolve this, place your cookware flat on the burner, as this will ensure even heat distribution.
- When the display keeps flashing: This happens when there isn't a pan placed on the cooking area, or when the pan's material and size aren't suitable for the appliance. Make sure you combine an induction hob with an induction pan, and ensure that the bottom of the pan comfortably fits the hob ring (e.g, not too big or too small). You may also want to refer to the provided manufacturer's manual for additional information.
Rosie Conroy is a food and drinks journalist with over a decade of experience working for national, big-name titles in both print and online. Formerly the Digital Food Editor of woman&home, Rosie now heads 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. On a freelance basis she works for brands like The Independent to test consumer goods—from kitchen electricals and cooking accouterments through to new foodie treats. In her spare time Rosie enjoys amateur photography and runs a small floristry studio in Scotland.
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