It is easy to set up a mobile or temporary kitchen such as an RV, dorm, or workspace with induction burners such as the Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice Induction Cooktop. Apart from portability, the real benefit of these burners is their induction technology.
The burners run electricity through a magnetic coil under the cooking surface, which produces a magnetic field, generating heat on the inside of the pot. The pot and pan are directly heated, so they are heated faster than on a gas or electric cooktop, and the surface of the pot stays relatively cool, thereby reducing the risk of burns. We also have compiled a guide that will help you choose portable electric stove, if you are looking for the best one.
Manufacturers are bringing models to the market as more consumers embrace induction cooking. Our team tested a model from one of the top induction cooktop brands to see if it lives up to its reputation. Find out how it performed by reading on.
The Max Burton doesn’t require any special setup, like most other induction burners we’ve tried. Connect the cord to a 120-volt outlet, and you’re ready to go. It is recommended, however, not to share the outlet with other appliances, and to position the burner at least 4 inches away from walls so there is enough room for airflow to prevent overheating.
The Max Burton will appeal to anyone looking for an easy-to-use, clean design. I like how utilitarian it is, like something you’d find in a commercial kitchen. It is slightly angled down to make it easier to see and protect it from being damaged by heavy pans placed on the cooktop. You have only a few buttons to choose from, and they are intuitive to use.
Additionally, the Max Burton 6400 is very portable. It stands just over 2 inches off the counter and is just a few inches bigger than a standard sheet of paper. It fits easily into our cabinets and can be tucked away in a drawer. It weighs just over 6 pounds, making it easy to move around the kitchen or pack it up for trips.
Clean-up is easy thanks to the glass surface. A soapy sponge is all that is needed to keep it clean. Due to the fact that the burner only gets hot where the pan comes in contact with it, spills did not get baked on. Due to the angled control panel, there is a border around the cooktop that may attract grime, but it is still easy to clean.
The induction burner only works with iron cookware and pans with a specific bottom diameter (depending on the model) so that enough of the pan can come into contact with the burner. All cast iron, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel or aluminum pans with magnetic bottoms will work.
For testing, we simply put a magnet on the bottom of our pots and pans. Most of them worked, but we had two stainless steel sauté pans that were magnetic but didn’t work on the burner. Our suspicion is that their magnetic properties aren’t strong enough. Further, Max Burton recommends using cookware with a bottom diameter of at least 4.5 inches, and specifies not to put more than 50 pounds on the top.
As stated in the manual, this cooktop can be adjusted between 500 and 1800 watts, and it can be adjusted between 100 and 450 degrees. Another brand we tested listed a lower wattage output—100 watts—but its temperature range began at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Max Burton achieves low temperatures by cycling the wattage on and off rather than throttling it very low. In any case, the Max Burton can go low enough to just keep foods warm and it can also do it with the touch of a button.
The Max Burton has a Heat Mode, which assigns numbers 1 through 10 to the heat levels it offers. You can also select Temp Mode, which has 15 temperature settings in degrees Fahrenheit starting at 100 degrees and going up to 450 degrees in 25-degree increments. We had a lot of control over how much heat we used, especially at the upper end of the heat spectrum.
It’s important to remember that the temperature settings are really just guides since they’re measuring the temperature of the cookware where it touches the burner, not the food. Both water and oil were heated (separately) for comparison with the accuracy of the setting. There was always a difference of at least 10 degrees between the liquid and the setting. It is better to use the settings as a general guide to determining how much heat to apply rather than as a precise end goal.
It is easy to heat up pans and pots quickly with the induction burners. Using the “boil” button, which sets the burner to its highest power level with one touch, it took 8 minutes and 40 seconds to bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
We boiled two different skillets of water to determine the Max Burton’s heating area and whether it had any hot spots. It produced a hot spot when we used a cast iron skillet and its induction ring was 5 inches in diameter. When we used an induction-friendly aluminum skillet, the hot spot didn’t appear.
The quality of the pan and its materials also determined how evenly the burner heated. While our cast iron skillet didn’t allow the burner to heat evenly, our aluminum nonstick skillet with a magnetic bottom did a much better job.
In the beginning, we detected a faint high-pitched buzz that drove us nutty. Because we didn’t know if it was specific to this unit or not, other reviews we found online didn’t mention it. Following subsequent uses, however, the buzz disappeared. Whether it was the cookware, the outlet, or just a fluke, we haven’t been able to recreate it since.
The Max Burton was the quietest of the three burners we tested, with a fan noise that was about as loud as a computer fan. It emits piercing beeps when we press buttons, however.
Because the Max Burton 6400 doesn’t have many extra features, it’s incredibly easy to use. There aren’t a lot of buttons to confuse things or menus to navigate. However, it does have two one-touch buttons that are convenient. Using the “boil” button, you can blast the highest wattage right away. On the other end of the spectrum is the “simmer” button, which automatically sets the burner to the lowest setting. They are not essential, but they are nice to have.
Furthermore, there’s a lock button, which is useful if you don’t want to turn it on accidentally, and a countdown timer that can be set for up to 180 minutes. When the unit has been used for three hours continuously, it will turn off automatically. It also has a 20-minute timer. However, if you want to simmer something all day, you’ll have to remember to reset it periodically.
As with other induction burners we’ve tested, the Max Burton will automatically shut off if the cooking surface becomes too hot. The device will also beep and display an error code if no cookware is detected or if the wrong kind of cookware is detected. If we lift the pan off the burner to scrape out contents into a bowl, or toss ingredients we’re sautéing, it will beep and flash the error until we place the pan back on the burner. Because it resumes heating, we don’t have to start over with the settings.
Max Burton 6400 typically retails for around $80 to $100, which is right in the middle of the pack price-wise. There are cheaper burners that cost closer to $50, but they do not have the one-touch boil and simmer buttons. There are also much more expensive burners with far more features that cost $150 and up.
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