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RV Gadget: Duxtop portable induction cooktop

Today’s gadget review is of a Duxtop 1800-watt portable induction cooktop. How is this related to camping? Actually, it is and we tried it out on a recent trip where my wife, Peggy, went tent camping off the grid. Seriously. 

Induction cooking

I am fascinated by induction cooking—which is essentially using magnets to excite the molecules in the pan. You have to use induction cooktops with pans that are magnetic, so you can test if your pan will work by simply applying a magnet to it. 

My fascination stems from the fact that induction cooking literally is faster and cleaner than using gas. When it’s off, it’s off. And it’s portable. 

In fact, as we plan the move to our next house, my vision is to have no traditional stove, but a few of these portable induction cooktops instead. Yes. I’m weird. But that idea would mean more cooking surfaces when I need them and something that only serves one purpose, a stove that cooks food, not taking up a big space in the kitchen. 

If you’re keeping score, that means more counter space when I don’t have it littered with induction cooktops. 

Further, as modern appliances become more expensive and far, far less reliable, a series of small, relatively inexpensive cooktops replacing a pricey range really appeals to me. 

But we’re talking camping. 

Camping with induction

My wife happened to be going on an all-girls weekend getaway and, since we totaled our RV and aren’t finished with our vintage trailer restoration, it was going to be one in tents weekend. So how do you use an electric appliance in a tent? 

Jackery to the rescue. Not only did we buy this induction cooktop, but we also broke out our Magma nesting pots as well. All of this packed up into a small box, which made it even better. 

The Jackery’s ability to power up to 15 amps, or 1800 watts, from one of its 120-volt power outlets was the perfect match to this cooktop. In theory, you have about an hour’s use from the Jackery with this cooktop. But I don’t know anybody who cranks the cooktop up to full blast for an hour. You’d have some scorched grub. 

Peggy used the cooktop to make coffee with our Aeropress and an ancient camp coffee pot used to boil water. In that case, she set it on full blast. In that circumstance, the Jackery and the Duxtop were both pushed to their limits and performed fine. 

 Cooking at the campsite
A bit of Spam and eggs cooked on the picnic table at the campground powered by our solar generator

Advantages

One of the advantages of this type of cooking is that it heats up whatever you’re cooking very, very quickly. Boiling water with an induction cooktop is quite quick as there is far less heat being lost to just heating your surroundings. The heat is actually going to increase the temp of whatever’s in the pot instead. 

Another thing that’s good about this is that there are no fumes. There’s no reason to vent your tent to avoid carbon monoxide if you’re using an induction cooktop. The cooktop just heats the pan through the power of magnets. 

Further, you have very precise control over the heat. The Duxtop allows you to choose either heat-based settings or settings that are just numerical, 1-10. There is also a temperature control that starts at 140° F and goes up to 460° F. One of the benefits of induction cooking is the precise temperature control. However, just because the Duxtop thinks you’re cooking at a specific temperature doesn’t make it true. 

There are a ton of variables, but the pot itself is one of the largest ones. Some are thicker, thinner, wider, more narrow, etc. If precise control is your thing, you probably already have a thermometer—and that’s a good thing. 

Lastly, there’s a timer that will allow up to 170 minutes of cooking. That’s almost three hours continuous. That might sound like a lot, but I had hoped to use the precise temperature controls of this thing to turn a pot into something of a crock pot. That’s not happening. 

Oh, well. I still have a crock pot. But I really like when I can combine functionality of things so I have to bring along fewer things. I suppose I could just reset the timer but then the whole point of a crock pot is to set it and forget it. 

One more thing. No flame. I can’t see how it would be possible to burn down a tent or an RV with one of these. When the pot is removed, the thing shuts off after one minute when it senses no pot on it, and it beeps to remind you that there’s no pan on top of it. 

So, if Fido or a little kid pulls the cooktop off the counter and onto the floor, you don’t have an open flame that’s suddenly out of control. 

In summary

This was one of those gadgets that I’ve been lusting after for a while. I love to cook and do most of the cooking here at Casa Barthel. 

Since buying this thing we’ve made pots of food, fried eggs and Spam, boiled water and more. I have cooked a scramble that had a bunch of peppers and onions and flipped the mixture with the pan by taking it off the Duxtop and flipping it. 

For a few moments the Duxtop just beeps in complaint that there’s no pan. But the delay is long enough that you can flip something and put the pan back on. Once it has been reunited with the pan, it’s happy once again. This was another of my questions. 

There is a tremendous amount of stored energy in liquid fuel. That’s why propane still is a great way to cook, particularly when you have to carry that energy around with you. In an RV, propane cooking makes a lot of sense. 

But as batteries and solar become better and better, such as in the case of the Jackery or some of the solar and battery systems some of you are putting in your own RV, I’m liking induction cooking even more. 

Initially, we were planning on doing a custom cargo trailer as our next RV. While that isn’t the case now, I still like these portable induction cooktops for a lot of things. 

Surprisingly, including tent camping!

##RVT1049

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Paul B.
17 days ago

100+ amp draw? So I guess that would make use while plugged into 30 amp campground pedestal a no go. Thanks for a good article but I’ll pass.

Michael
17 days ago

Our motor home with a two-burner induction cooktop. Foolishly, they put both burners on a single circuit so you can practically only use one burner at a time. A portable induction hot plate solved that problem. If the built-in cooktop ever fails, I’ll replace it with two singles.

mulley
1 month ago

I love to cook and cook most of our meals at home. I also usually make a huge mess and cleaning a glass top stove was so hard that I got an induction top from Costco and then another one from Ikea. We used them on top of the glass top stove so that the vent and light would be above them. So quick to use easy to clean and any spatters on the glass stove top just wiped up. In Dec 2020 I ordered a Frigidaire induction range and use it daily. Some of our cookware worked and some didn’t so I ordered a good quality set that really holds the heat, will never need to be replaced and will be handed down to our granddaughter.

Jim
1 month ago

I would like to state the obvious that people should realize they need to replace their aluminum cookware with steel, or hard to find stainless steel that is magnetic. We also have replaced our range at home with an induction cooktop and have never regretted it. It is soooo much more efficient and safer.

Steve Comstock
1 month ago

Tony, I’ve been using a pair of NuWave cooktops since succumbing to their goofy late-night advertising from about 6 years ago. Love them, and one resides permanently in my Micro Lite.

Mark Kaye
1 month ago

after moving to lithium battery, induction cooktop is the way to go
breakfast is faster, ie boiling water for tea & my moka pot
heat control on the frying pan is superior to gas
propane lasts longer for heating water & furnace

Mike Sokol(@mike)
1 month ago

Oh yes, induction cooktops are way safer and offer more precise temperature control compared to propane or electric heating elements. My son, the Culinary Institute trained pastry chef, says that many of his chef colleagues use induction cooktops all the time. My wife is still unconvinced, but we’re working on her. 😁

mulley
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Tell your wife there will be no more scraping burnt on food from spills with an induction cooktop. I use the dish scrubber for big messes and wipes for regular spatters. So much easier.

Bob S
1 month ago

I agree with Tony, induction is the way to go. I learned about these portable induction cooktops 10 yrs ago when we bought our first RV. I bought one a few months before our first trip and tried it out at home. It worked so well, I stopped using our built-in cooktop at home. Once we started using it in the RV, I found that there was no reason to use the propane cooktop. After a couple yrs, it made sense to remove the original propane cooktop & oven since we didn’t use them. I mounted the portable induction cooktop into a new countertop where the old cooktop was. We live in our RV most of the year and do all our cooking on the induction cooktop, microwave and Weber gas grill. Our first portable cooktop failed after 7 yrs, we are on our 2nd one now. Replacement costs for the portable unit are a fraction of any built-in RV cooktop. We remodeled our kitchen at home a couple yrs ago & installed a 4-burner induction cooktop. Couldn’t be happier.