WE DID THE WORK TO FIND THE BEST AND THESE ARE THE RESULTS:
Presto 5900 1500
Aroma Housewares AEW-306
Best for the Money
Aroma Housewares AEW-305
Best on a Budget
Do you ever feel frustrated by the fact that the Asian food you cook at home never tastes quite as good as the one you get in a restaurant despite the fact that you are using the same ingredients? Well, a lot of that has to do with the wok that you are using. We are going to go so far with the science behind a wok that you may get tired of it all, so, for now, let’s just say that the only way us, regular folk, can manage the cooking temperature as well as the chefs is by using an electric wok.
Of course it is not just about the wok itself! It has to do with the non stick coating that allows you to raise the cooking temperature as fast as you have to. It also has to do with the ability to monitor the simmering process very carefully, which you would be able to do with a glass lid, and there is also the fact that the entire cooking system needs to be extra stable or your delicious meal will end up on the floor during those last few stirs.
So taking all of that into consideration we have put together the following list of the best electric woks out there. We did so after carefully reviewing dozens of similar products so you can be sure that we have picked the very best options for you. Finally we have compiled detailed electric wok reviews for each one of our choices so you will know why we made each choice and you can grade our homework based on your own preferences.
Best Electric Wok
This is considered by us the best electric wok on the market!
We are going to go into a much more detailed review further on, but for now let us just mention that the best electric wok out there today is the Presto 5900 Stainless Steel Electric Wok. It is important to note here that there are much more expensive products on the market but they do not really deserve your attention or the huge price tag that comes along. We believe the Presto to be the best choice you have today because of its large 17 inch diameter, the 1500 Watt power heating element that can heat up the cooking surface to 400 degree Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds, and also because of the lack of any non stick coating. That last reason might seem like an odd one, but we are going to give you ample reasons for it in our in depth review, so make sure to check that if you are unclear about our choice here.
Best Electric Wok for the Money
Large 5 quart capacity with high domed lid
There is a very interesting alternative to the Presto Electric Wok and it is the Aroma Housewares AEW-306. If you need to watch those purse strings but still would like to get as much as you can out of your electric wok, than the Aroma is the better choice. It is somewhat smaller, but just as powerful as the Presto. It also has a glass lid which is very important when dabbling in Asian cuisine – particularly if you are a beginner. It has a dial that allows you to perfectly control the temperature while you are cooking, and a rack that you can use to allow tempura to drain. The lid allows you to switch between cooking and steaming, by allowing some of the heat from inside to escape or not depending on what dish you are planning to serve. The only reason why this is not our top choice is really the non stick coating and the fact that the Presto electric wok is actually bigger.
Best Electric Wok for the Money
Large 7 quart capacity with high domed lid
Although we would love to know that all of our readers can afford to use one of our top 2 picks, we do know that sometimes you have to balances the desire for a delicious meal with a decreased income. For that reason we have also taken into consideration the Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok. It has many things going against it, but the one thing that really impressed us was the huge 7 quart capacity. However the heating element is not that big and you should definitely not expect to reach cooking temperature as fast as you would with our 2 other choices. However, it does get there, and the non stick coating is quite durable so, provided you take adequate care of it, the Aroma Housewares AEW-305 should last you for several years without any problems. It does have several things going against it but we do encourage you to read our in depth review to find out more about them.
Why You Need an Electric Wok
Temperature control is essential when cooking most types of Asian food. Even if you are thinking of boiling a simple rice cup, you will need to let the rice boil on its own without mixing it. The risk then becomes that a part of it will become stuck to the bottom of the pan, burn and give a nasty flavor to the entire dish. And if rice is that difficult to cook, you can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to get anything else ready. That is why it is so important to have an electric wok with a temperature probe that touches the exact cooking surface that the food comes in contact with. That means the wok will automatically increase its power output when you start cooking and will decrease that power as things start to heat up in the pan. These are things that an experience cook will do while using an open flame stove and, after years of experience, she will not even think about it. But since we do not have years to home our skills, it becomes essential to use an electric wok.
There is also the fact that most people do not feel like having Asian food all of the time. So while an electric stove might be an interesting alternative – although it does not give you the same temperature control – it cannot be stored away as easily as a wok. And storage may be key here because, if you enjoy camping trips, or you are a fan of couch surfing, you will know how great it can be to have the essential cooking utensils that you enjoy at home, ready wherever you go. The point is that you can easily pack your electric wok with you and have it ready to go wherever you travel to. It does not draw that much power so you can easily power it from the outlet of an RV, or you can even use a power inverter and cook from the cigarette port of a regular car. Cleaning is also very easily done because of that temperature control we have praised so much. 2 out of the 3 electric woks we have chosen as our favorites have a non stick coating, so combined with the temperature probe, you have a guarantee that you will not end up with a difficult to clean pot. You will find it very easy to wipe most of the food out of the wok and then you could even dip it in cold, stream water and get it clean.
What Makes a Great Electric Wok
There are several aspects that you need to take into consideration when buying an electric wok so we are going to take them by the numbers for you.
1. The Non-Stick Coating
There certainly are many advantages to having a non stick coating on all of your favorite pots, but there are also several disadvantages. The problem with non stick coatings is the fact that they become very brittle at high temperature so they can be easily damaged by the stirring the food. You can use wood or Teflon spoons, but they will only postpone the inevitable. On some inferior products we have even seen the non stick coating come off during cleaning. On the other hand, while it lasts, the non stick coating makes cooking that much easier. That is why we have chosen electric woks with and without the coating and you can choose your favorite. What we can say that may influence your choice is that the fact that you have perfect control over the cooking temperature means it should be relatively easy to keep the food from sticking even from surfaces without non stick coating.
2. Temperature Control
Because the temperature control feature is one of the things that convinces most people to buy an electric wok, we have seen some manufacturers go overboard with how precise they make it. The truth is that temperature control is great, but anything that goes over 7 steps of power control is really going overboard with it. Most cooks will refer to 5 temperature levels: low, medium low, medium, medium high, and high. So even 7 steps are a bit of an overkill, but it certainly can be nice, particularly on the lower settings.
3. The Lid
Finally, you should consider the quality and type of the lid you would be using. While the stainless steel lids are a lot cheaper, and thus the price of the electric wok is lower, it can be great, particularly in the beginning to be able to look at the food as you are cooking. The lid keeps the heat in, so what may be simmering temperature without the lid, can easily become boiling temperature with the lid on. Plus, there is almost a hypnotic attraction that a slow simmering rice can have, where you will keep looking at it as it cooks, through the lid, and may come up with a significant flavoring detail that will give your dish that important personal touch.
Best Electric Wok – Full Review
You may find it odd that our top choice is not actually the biggest wok on our list. The Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric Wok has roughly a 4 quarts capacity, making it on par with the Aroma Housewares AEW-306, but it will be a very rare occurance when you will be cooking at the full volume capacity of the wok. In fact, no Asian dish will have you use the full capacity of the wok, most of the time you will be using just a single quart of the entire capacity. That is because all of the food usually needs to be in close contact with the bottom of the pan where all the heat is.
The Presto Electric Wok is a stainless steel wok, with no non-stick coating what so ever. That means it there is nothing to deteriorate over time, and it is a much easier wok to cook in than the rest. You can use anything from your kitchen knife to a gentle wood spatula to stir, and everything will turn out great. Most Asian dishes use a relatively large amount of oil or fat so the food should not stick to the pot anyway. There are many dishes that require you to sear the meat, and that will come out much better, it will even have a stronger taste profile with a stainless steel wok than with something that uses a non stick coating.
You should also take into consideration the fact that the Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric Wok has a glass lid, and we have already talked about how important that is. The other important feature that you may not be aware of is the 1500 Watt heating element. It may sound like something that will drain a lot of power but the 1500 watts are only used when they are really necessary, and may not be used at all if you do not turn the dial up to maximum. The reason why you do want such a big heating element is that smaller ones tend to burn out quite easily even if not used at their maximum output. It is similar to why your car’s speedometer goes to 150 miles per hour but you never drive that fast, and, unless your car is brand new, you may not even be able to reach that speed.
The Presto comes with its own wooden spatula and measures 14 inches from the bottom of the feet to the top of the lid. These characteristics may not be so significant unless you are planning to take the wok without on family vacations, and then you need to take into consideration every aspect of the wok. There is also the fact that the entire thing except for the temperature probe and wire is dish washer safe. So there really is no reason why you should shy away from this electric wok, unless, of course, if you need to spend as little as possible, which is where our other 2 choices come into play.
Best Electric Wok for the Money – Full Review
Large 5 quart capacity with high domed lid
You may not be that restricted by financial consideration as to have to cut on quality, but you many need to get the biggest bang for your buck. That is where the Aroma Housewares AEW-306 Electric Wok comes into play. It is that little bit cheaper than the Presto, but the main reason why it is not our favorite choice may very well make it your favorite: it does have a non stick coating. The coating is of the very best quality and we have no doubt that, with proper care, it may last several years without a scratch or mark on it. However, most people do not take proper care of their kitchen utensils, and we certainly fall in that category. The volume of the Aroma Housewares AEW-306 Wok is also of 5 quarts so almost identical in volume with the Presto wok, and it too comes with extra long, wood chopsticks, so you will have every chance to protect your wok from scratches. However, we should point out that there have been users that complained about the non stick coating failing after 6 months. Obviously we have no way of telling how those people used it, and we only tested it for several weeks, but for as long as we used it, the coating seemed to be very good and did not give any signs of that it would fail any time soon.
The one other difference between the Aroma Housewares and the Presto is that the former draws 1400 Watts of power, so it is slightly less powerful, but that goes with the lower price tag. Then again 1400 Watts is more than enough to make us sure that the wok will not short out anytime soon, even with heavy duty use.
The one thing that we do like about it is the fact that it comes with a glass lid so you can monitor your cooking easily. Besides the lid the Aroma Housewares comes with several other interesting features like the drying rack and a steaming support. The steaming support is made out of stainless steel and will come in contact with the non stick coating if you choose to use it, so we would recommend setting it in place once and not moving it again until the wok has had a chance to cool down. Despite the threat it poses to the non stick coating we would encourage you to use the steaming element because it greatly expands the variety of the dishes you can cook. We were also happy to discover that you can very comfortably use anyone of the electric woks we have been talking about as deep fryers, except that you will have to improvise your own wire rack to pull out the fries or meat.
Best Electric Wok on a Budget – Full Review
Large 7 quart capacity with high domed lid
There is a very simple reason why the Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok is not our favorite product and it has to do with its power output. Everything else about it is so exceptional that we considered for a long time making it our top choice but the fact that it only has a 1400 watt heating element – plus the fact that it does not have a glass lid – convinced us to leave it as our third favorite choice. The fact that it has a 1400 watt heating element may not seem that significant, since the Presto uses 1500 watts and the other Aroma Housewares we have talked about uses the same 1400 watt heating element. However, you are forgetting the most impressive feature of the AEW-305: it has a 7 quart capacity. That makes it the biggest wok on our list, and one of the biggest electric woks on the market.
The problem with having a very large electric wok, though, is that you may be tempted to use it at its fullest capacity and that is when you will be taking that important heating element past its recommended level. To achieve the highest temperature indicated by the temperature probe, which would be around 450 degrees, the heating element will have to stay on for extended periods of time and that may reduce its life span. So while we know what to expect from a non stick coating, and you can easily tell when it is almost completely spent, you cannot do the same with a heating element. It will just stop working one day without any prior warning.
However, that may not happen that soon, particularly if you will not be using the wok at its maximum capacity all the time. So we should consider some of its better qualities. The first thing that impressed us what the textured non stick coating because it let us know that high quality steel was used in the manufacture of the wok. You should also appreciate the fact that textured non stick coatings last longer because they stick better to the surface of the wok. That high quality steel also distributes the heat better along its surface better, so even when the wok is half full, the food will cook evenly throughout the entire surface.
Of course that lowered price means you are going to miss some of the more interesting features that would recommend this wok. For example, beside the missing glass lid, you get a regular stainless steel, black lid, there is also the fact that there is no steaming support or drying rack. You can buy those separately, of course, but that only brings the price up. There is also the fact that the power cable is connected directly to the wok, so it really is not recommended that you use put the entire thing in the dish washer. However, the Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok is so much more affordable than the Presto, that it may be the perfect choice for the purse wary customer.
We have touched upon this fact a little bit when talking about the Aroma Housewares AEW-306, our “best for the money” category, but most woks can be used as deep fryers. However, there are a couple of things that you should take into consideration before you do that. One thing is the fact that the wok becomes progressively larger as you go further up from the bottom which means you will use a lot more oil if you plan to use the wok as a deep fryer. Other people have tried using the wok as a regular pan, but then the problem is that the bottom itself is too small so anything larger than 2 eggs or perhaps a medium size steak will be too big. So, while there are other functions that you can use a wok for, you really should only purchase one if your are mainly focused on cooking Asian food.