I live in an area that can get power outages during storms. Since my kitchen stove is electric, I needed a way to cook dinner, when power is out. I have a small generator that can provide enough electricity to power things like this hot plate. So, I bought it, hoping I could cook with it. The owner's manual says its "not for braising, frying, etc", and suggested it was only intended to "boil water". So, I was concerned that this hot plate wouldn't get hot enough to cook. As a test, we turned it on, and was able to cook bacon and fried eggs with no problem (using the larger burner). There is no doubt that this hot plate can cook hamburgers, steak, or whatever you may need to cook. So yes, it works fine! It is a little slow to get hot at first, but that's to be expected with a 1000W 120V burner. The body appears to be made out of metal, and the entire unit seems sturdy. As others have said, the cast iron hot plates do seem solid, and retain heat quite well. No, the surface won't get "red hot" like your kitchen stove, but it is hot enough for small cooking jobs. There are indicator lights on the front, to let you know that a burner is turned on. There are no detents in the control knobs, so it could be easy to turn a burner on, by accidentally touching (moving) the control knob. Overall, very pleased.
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