A hot plate is a portable self-contained tabletop small appliance that features one, two or more electric heating elements or gas burners. A hot plate can be used as a stand alone appliance, but is often used as a substitute for one of the burners from an oven range or a kitchen stove. Hot plates are often used for food preparation, generally in locations where a full kitchen stove would not be convenient or practical. A hot plate can have a flat surface, or round surface. Hot plates can be used for traveling, when you have no power, or out in the woods.