Selecting a Hot Plate on Amazon.com
A laboratory hot plate, sometimes called a heating plate, is used in research, classroom, or clinics to heat liquids, solids, or glassware. Similar to a stovetop, hot plates have one or more burners and are used to heat liquids or solids or to ensure that substances are kept at a specific temperature. Most hot plates have an adjustable temperature range, and some have timers that turn off the heat source after a specified amount of time. A stirring hot plate has a motorized magnet that spins a stir bar placed within the solution. Stirring hot plates are used to prevent hot spots, overheating, and separation of solutions that are left unattended over extended periods of time. A digital hot plate or digital stirring hot plate has a digital display that allows users to precisely set the temperature and stirring speed.
Some hot plates with multiple burners allow temperatures to be set independent of each other, while others have one control setting for all burners, which allows users to test different solutions under the same conditions. Three different heating element surfaces provide different benefits. A white ceramic hot plate is resistant to most scratches and chemicals and heats quickly. Elements covered with porcelain-coated stainless steel cool down quickly and are resistant to corrosion, while a milled-aluminum top is resistant to chipping and provides uniform heat distribution over the surface of the element.
A hot plate differs from a heating mantle in that while a mantle provides uniform heat over the surface of the glassware, a hot plate heats from the bottom and provides a better view of the contents. Hot plates are available with 120VAC and 240VAC power requirements. Features to consider when selecting a hot plate include the size of the vessel being heated, temperature range and precision, stirring capability and precision, number of spaces, and the proximity to and type of power source.