When placed over an electric or gas stovetop, a stove heat diffuser helps distribute heat evenly over the cookware, producing a more gentle low heat that not only helps protect your delicate, it slowly cooks your recipe to perfection.
The diffuser adds a layer of protection between the bottom of your cookware and the burner, but yet allows evenly distributed heat to gently get through, and so slowly cook your favorite meals the way you like them.
Stovetop heat diffusers are made from various materials and shaped in many forms. Those made with iron or ferrous material can be used with induction cookers. Here is a simple test – if a magnet sticks to the heat diffuser, it will most likely work with induction cookers, electric, and gas stoves. I would add though, you should check the manufacturer’s instruction.
Ever heard of flame tamers? They are similar to stovetop heat diffusers, but perform different functions. While a heat diffuser primarily distributes heat from a stove evenly before it reaches your cookware, a flame tamer as the name implies, is reduces and spreads the flame before it hits your pan and pots.
Good heat diffusers, when used on gas stovetops, generally serve as flame tamers too.
5 Key things I like about Stove Heat Diffuser
- Ideal for even distribution heat and temperature control for slow cooking and simmering.
- Eliminates hot spots, ensuring foods will not stick, scorch or burn.
- Protects cookware and can be used with glass pots
- Help prevent liquid from boiling over
- Can be used on electric, gas and induction cookers – if made of ferrous material.
- In this review, I will be looking at three popular heat diffusers to help you narrow your search for a good product.
#1 Simmer Mat Diffuser
The Simmer Mat Diffuser is extremely versatile for all round use on different stovetops. It is the type of ultimate stove heat diffuser I have described that can be used on gas, electric and induction cookers. In low heat setting on a cooktop, this diffuser evenly distributes heat over a pot or pan, providing the perfect temperate control to slowing cook a meal. Your food will not stick, scorch or burn.
Uniquely designed, and made from enamelled steel, it can also be used with delicate clay and glass cookware.
Simmer Mat stovetop top diffuser has a reversible side that work on either gas or electric cooker. There is a clear instruction on the diffuser that tells you which side to use. Most users have found the best use of the Simmer Mat by heating the diffuser on high heat for a couple of minutes before placing a pot or pan, then lowering the heat level.
It can be used in place of a Slow Cooker, Double Boiler or Rice Cooker. Now you know why the Simmer Mat made #1 on my top 3 stove heat diffuser.
Key things I like about the Simmer Mat Heat Diffuser
- Made of zero carbon steel
- The Simmer Mat can be used on many cooking surfaces including electric coil, gas burner, glass cook tops, induction cook tops, halogen, barbeque, camping or marine stoves
- Eliminates HOT spots so food does not stick, scorch or burn
- Cookers are set on low heat seating providing ideal temperature control for frustration free cooking
- Simmer Mat allows you to cook on a low setting with glass and clay cookware
- Ideal for soups and casseroles, rice and oatmeal, milk desserts and sauces, chutney and melting chocolate and toffee
- Comes with full instruction on how to use it
- Dishwasher safe
How much should you pay for Simmer Mat Heat Diffuser?
The manufacturer recommended price for Simmer Mat heat diffuser is surprising low at $26.21 for such a quality product. I would gladly pay more for it. It was even more jaw dropping that the heat diffuser was discounted for about 35% with free shipping when I was writing this review on some reputable online stores.. You may get yourself a great deal if you check it out today.
- Though this worked for majority of users, some have remarked that the Simmer Mat fail to simmer on their gas stovetop, and liquid boiled over. One can only thing that the heat level was set too high is these cases. The best results are with the lowest heat level, and slowly increase if needed.
- Some users also commented that it did work well for them on glass and ceramic top cookers.
#2 Ilsa 7-Inch Cast Iron Stovetop Heat Diffuser
The Ilsa 7 inch is a cast iron cooking heat diffuser that has great appeal to those that love cast iron cookware. The main attraction for cast iron pots and pans is even heat distribution from a stove that slowly cooks a meal to perfection without burning or sticking.
But cookware made of cast iron are heavy are require considerable attention to look after. Ilsa heat diffuser offer you the benefits of cast iron cookware even heat distribution, without having to use real cast iron cookware.
You only have to place the Ilsa stove top heat diffuser over your electric or gas burner, and then place your regular pot or pan on top of the diffuser – and there you have it, an even heat and better temperature control, just like using a cast iron cookware.
The Ilsa 7 inch heat diffuser comes with a stainless handle for safe handling and convenience.
Key things I like about the Ilsa Stovetop Heat Diffuser
- It produces the same even heat distribution as using cast iron cookware without the excessive care and weight of cast iron pots and pans
- Allow you to use any regular pot or pan, and cook as you would with a cast iron cookware
- Diffuses heat and eliminates hot spots, preventing burning or scotching
- Can be used on electric or gas burner heat surfaces
- Includes stainless steel handle for safety and convenience
- Good size 7 inch diameter surface
How Much Should you pay for Ilsa Stovetop Heat Diffuser?
The manufacturer recommended price for this cast iron heat diffuser is $20.97 which though cheaper than the Simmer Mat on my #1 spot, the price is not far off the mark.
It is sold on big online stores with free shipping. Though there is no discount on it at the time of this review, you may get it cheaper than the recommended retail price during promotions. Check it out today, and who knows, you may be lucky and grab it on one of the regular online promotions.
Any Cons with Ilsa Heat Diffuser?
- The 7 inch size has a limitation on the size of pot and pan you can place on it. It will not work well for very large cookware.
#3 – Norpro 144 Stovetop Heat Diffuser
The Norpro 144 stove heat diffuser is another product that is very popular for achieving slow cooking without the expense of costly cookware. The perforated design is radically different from the Simmer Mat and the Ilsa heat diffusers on my #1 and #2 choice.
The Norpro 144 adds a good layer of protection between a burner and the bottom of your cookware, and yet the perforation tames, diffuses, and allows evenly distributed heat to get through.
This is another good product that produces low and gentle heat that can be used to cook your delicate recipes to perfection.
With the Norpro 144 stovetop heat diffuser, your meal will not burn, cookware scotch, or liquid boil over. It can be used with glass and porcelain cookware.
Keys things I like about the Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser
- Produces evenly distributed heat that prevents scorching, burning and liquid boiling over
- Can be used on electric or gas stovetops
- It has a wooden handle for safe handling
- Protects glass and porcelain cookware from overheating and cracking
How much Should You Pay the Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser?
At under $8, it is by far the cheapest stovetop heater diffuser on my top 3 list. But that does not mean it is a cheap product. My preference though is the Simmer Mat or the Ilsa heat diffuser.
It is sold on Amazon with free shipping, and there was no discount on it at the time of this review.
Any Cons with the Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser?
- Though it can be used on smooth glass or ceramic stovetops, users have observed that if you move the Norpro 144 about too much, it may scratch your cooktop because of the perforated design.
- Some customers have also observed that heat can discolor the Norpro 144 diffuser.
- Do not leave in water as it is made of tin that can rust. Hand wash is recommended, then and allow it to dry.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
The Simmer Mat or the Ilsa stovetop heat diffusers are definitely my top choice, and it is no surprise that they are #1 and #2 on my list.
I particularly like the more versatile Simmer Mat that can be used on a wider range of cooktops – including Induction cookers.
The cast iron Ilsa 7 inch diameter heat diffuser will appeal to many, especially older folks familiar with the benefits of cast iron cookware. The Ilsa extends these benefits to regular pots and pan, eliminating the heavy weight and great care required to care for cast iron cookware.
I would probably be hesitant about the Norpro 144, but then for $7.32 and free shipping; it is a good choice to start experimenting with stovetop heat diffusers.