Best Low Wattage Burners for Camping, Van Life

It’s not always possible to cook on a grill or over an open flame while camping. That’s when you need an electric burner to easily prepare food. Especially in rainy or windy weather. These are the best low wattage electric burners that we tested for use with a portable power source. They are excellent for van life, tent camping, car camping or replacing a broken burner in your RV.

We bought three single burners that were under 1,000 watts. One electric burner actually says 1100 watts, but we figured if we didn’t use it on the highest setting it would be under 1,000 watts. There are not a lot of portable burners that have a low wattage.

The wattage level was very important to use because we wanted to use it with our 1,000 watt Jackery. This way, we could easily boil water or cook food with the portable power station that we own (and use frequently while RVing).

Also, we wanted very low wattage because we intend to use the single burner in our Emergency Preparedness Kit for home, too. While the Jackery power supply can be replenished with the solar panels, we did not want an appliance that would eat up all of the battery with just one use and have to wait hours for the solar panels to recharge it if we didn’t have power.

How We Tested

We bought each of these burners and used them while plugged into our 1,000 watt Jackery. Each burner was used on the Medium setting. I monitored the battery level to see how much battery was consumed, as well as the wattage consumed. I used a stop watch to determine how long it took 2 cups of water to come to a boil in a 1 1/2 quart pot. The same pot was used for each test and allowed to cool completely in between testing.

Low Wattage Electric Burners

These are the three brands that we tested. Each was a single burner with an electric cord, which means they can easily be used at home. We tried two coiled burners, and one flat top burner.

IMUSA

The IMUSA was the cheapest single burner that we tested, yet it performed among the best.

We strongly considered keeping this one, but were a little concerned about storing the burner safely and not damaging the coil.

  • Average Wattage Used: 850 watts
  • Amount of Battery Used: 11%
  • Time to Boil 2 Cups of Water: 6 minutes and 30 seconds
  • What We Paid: $12

Elite Gourmet Single Countertop Electric Burner

The cost of this Elite Gourmet Single Burner was more than the IMUSA, however we didn’t find any benefits for the increased price.

The cord was a couple inches shorter than the other coiled burner we tested. There was no indicator light, which the other two burners had. The box stated that it was a 750 watt burner, but we used 800 watts on Medium setting.

Handles on the sides are useful if you need to move the burner, although we definitely wouldn’t suggest doing that while the countertop burner is on. What we found was that the handles sticking out would have been awkward for storing.

  • Average Wattage Used: 800 watts
  • Amount of Battery Used: 10%
  • Time to Boil 2 Cups of Water: 5 minutes and 45 seconds
  • What We Paid: $17

Elite Gourmet Coiled Countertop

This is the portable electric burner that we liked the most and ended up keeping for off-grid living.

At the highest price point, I wasn’t sure that we really needed a flat cook top surface. However, after comparing putting pots on each type of burner, we really enjoyed the stability and safety of the flat top. We also liked that it was flat and could be easily packed away with other items on top of it, if necessary.

This portable burner was among the heaviest. The cooktop also stays warm the longest.

  • Average Wattage Used: 790 watts
  • Amount of Battery Used: 11%
  • Time to Boil 2 Cups of Water: 8 minutes
  • What We Paid: $21 (although I’ve since seen it for less)

You might also be interested in our other low-wattage appliance guides:

You might also like to see our video comparison on our Youtube Channel:

Conclusion

If you are looking for low wattage electric burners that can be used on the countertop and while traveling, there are quite a few options. The cheapest burner that we tested was one of our favorites. While we ended up keeping the most expensive countertop burner, it was based on the safety of the flat top surface, as well as the lower wattage use.

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