A hot plate is a portable tabletop stove that uses one or two electric heating elements. Electricity is the source of power and the heat generated in the heating element is what cooks the food.
A hot plate can be used as a standalone appliance, when cooking for a single or two individuals. Hot plates are used in food preparation, generally in locations where a normal sized kitchen stove would not be convenient or practical due to space constraints or lesser cooking requirements. But it is often used along with a cooking range or LPG gas stove to decrease the time required to cook large quantities of food.
Though a hot plate is easily moved from one location to another, care must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient clearance between the appliance location and any combustible materials. Since the heating elements are exposed or uncovered, a hot plate should not be located in a place where the appliance would be accessible to children and others unfamiliar with its operation.
A hot plate is used not only for cooking but also for heating or warming food. Since it mainly uses electricity, it is pollution free, and the pressures of procuring LPG cylinders for the purposes of cooking are avoided.
Essential requirements of a hot plate are that the stove body should be shock proof, stable, easy to handle and is maintenance free. Most of them have a powder coated MS body with a rigid frame. A heat regulator on the hotplate maintains a range of preset temperatures, automatically. The heating surface is made of a high performance, tubular element with a round cross section.
Since the heating surface is flat, it is preferable to use flat bottomed utensils, so there is no heat loss.
Hot plates are available in single burner and two burner models too as shown below.