We've seen portable induction cooktops before, but never so well-designed. This one from Spanish manufacturer Fagor offers all the advantages of induction: incredible energy efficiency, quick response, and increased safety, with style...We also like the built-in timer, which would be perfect for simmering stock.
The power of induction cooktops is measured in watts, and, as is the case with the electric kettle, our relatively wimpy power standards in the US limit the potential of this device somewhat. It's rated at 1300 watts, about the most you'd want to pull through old wiring -- equivalent to about a gas burner of 4500 BTUs.
That's small as gas burners go, but here's where the efficiency comes in: 90% of that energy goes into the pan, so you're cooking with around 4000 BTUs. Our conventional gas range has a 10,000 BTU "power burner" -- but only 50% of that energy, or 5000 BTUs, goes into the pan; the rest goes into the air in the kitchen.
Kenmore makes a full-size induction cooktop for $1700. And the price for the Fagor Portable Cooktop? We'll have to get back to you on that.