Using an electric skillet out on the road is one of the best ways a trucker can save some cash. But how much electricity does an electric skill use? Let’s take a look.
Let’s face it;
As a driver of a commercial motor vehicle who’s out on the road all the time, you can spend ridiculous money constantly eating out.
Having cooking appliances like an electric skillet in your truck so that you can prepare your own meals. It’s like camping on steroids!
Not only is it easy on your wallet and cheaper than eating out all the time, but you also get the added benefit of controlling what you eat.
The thing is, an electric skillet has specific power requirements that allows it to perform at its best level which means more power than just a standard 12 volt.
Let’s check out the energy requirements for an electric skillet.
How much electricity does an electric skillet use?
An average electric skillet uses 1500 watts (around 120 volts) to cook food at temperatures of 400+ degrees.
Electric skillets and griddles run a range of as low as 1000 watts (for the lower end models) and upwards of 1800 watts for some of the higher rated appliances. If you’re planning on getting an electric skillet, pay attention to hot it will get your food. Make sure that you purchase a good power inverter (link to our power inverter page) so that you’ll have plenty of juice for any appliances.
Remember – food safety! You don’t want to have to spend time in a truck stop bathroom trying to recover.
While there are some 12-volt appliances available, many drivers don’t recommend them because of the lack of temperature control.
To give you calculate the amount of electricity usage for an electric skillet and other household devices, you can check out this website.
There are some skillets that will go as low as 1000 watts, but you may not get the higher temperatures that you’re looking for if you’re going to cook meats, poultry or fish.
Whenever you plan on plugging an electric appliance of any sort, you need to pay special attention to the amount of power it’ll take to operate the device.
While there are plenty of smaller devices with different options on the market, the best way to go for truckers and RV’ers is to use an AC-powered unit that can plug into an inverter.
For those with an engineers brain who really want the nuts and bolts of AC power usage you can check out this calculator to help you estimate power consumption.
Most of the average large rectangular skillets will draw 1500 watts, which is really about all you’ll need. If you’re looking to get real high speed, you can can spend the extra cash and get an 1800 watt skillet.
What Size Power Inverter is needed for an Electric Skillet?
As a pro driver you know that you need to make sure that the appliance or device is not drawing more energy is than the inverter than it can provide.
You will find that a 1500 watt inverter is more than adequate to handle just about any electric appliance you may wish to use, including a microwave oven.
Just remember that when using multiple appliances at the same time it may not work out that well, you may be putting too big a load on the system.
The refrigerator in a truck runs on a separate circuit so you won’t have to worry that it will use some of the overall wattages you have available.
There are exceptions, so make sure you know how electrical circuits for appliances are set up in your vehicle.
A 12-volt microwave oven will draw about 1000 watts so it’s best to use that appliance by itself to make sure you don’t blow any fuses.
Keep this in mind;
The same goes for an electric skillet. If you’re going to power it up, you may want to use it by itself. The skillet or griddle is going to take some extra power just to get it ‘fired up’.
If you need some additional help trying to determine the right power inverter size for an electric skillet check our guide on the best power inverters. There is also some additional info over on this website.
Do companies supply inverters?
Some trucking companies (but not all) will have 1500 watt inverters built into their trucks. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t have any concerns about power, especially if one uses a smaller 1000 watt electric skillet.
Larger companies like Prime supply 1500 watt inverters, check with the prospective company you may be working for to find out more.
Most companies don’t, so you may have to take a look around and find an inverter that will be big enough to get the job done.
That’s going to be a separate expense of course, but having a top notch power inverter will be able to power all your needs from cooking to entertainment.
When set to the lower temperature settings the skillet powers on and off every few minutes to maintain the selected temperature to maintain the desired setting.
If you’ve ever owned an electric stove, it maintains a set temperature much the same way.
Because the heating element is bonded to the bottom of the skillet it is more energy efficient than a hot plate.
However, if you’re looking to purchase a skillet, you may want to pay attention to the material it’s made of. It’s a no brainer that some materials will conduct heat more efficiently, which means using less power overall.
What is an Electric Skillet Good For?
If you are on the road you need to get creative with your cooking sources and an electric skillet is a great appliance that can be used for a variety of different cooking and warming applications.
Here’s the cool thing;
You can use it for any type of dish that needs frying in oil such as chicken and fish, bacon and eggs, and stir-fried dishes.
Because it has a temperature control you simply set it to the desired heat, wait for the indicator light to go out, and it’s ready to use.
What’s nice about them is this –
Most electric skillets have a non-stick coating that makes them very easy to clean and a vent in the lid to release steam and prevent oil from splashing all over the place.
Being able to clean up quickly and efficiently is important when you work a job with strict deadlines.
Foods you can cook in an electric skillet
Need some quick ideas? Here’s a small sampling of foods that you can prepare yourself.
- Eggs (scrambled is the easiest!)
- Warming up pre prepared foods
- Pizza – Stick to freshly prepared. If your going to use a frozen pizza you need to thaw it out first.
- Panini or grilled cheese sandwiches
- Meats, chicken or poultry
Just about anything!
You can also use the skillet to try your hand at cooking techniques like:
- Stir frying
- Pan Broiling
Make sure you have an electric skillet that has a lid and raised sides. You don’t want hot grease splattering your truck interior or burning you.
Electric Skillet Temperature Controls
The even temperature and precise control make it easy for even a novice cook to create wholesome tasty dishes. The deep, straight-up sides make it an ideal vessel for preparing one-pot dishes and casseroles if you are so inclined.
It is also great for warming up dishes that have been pre-made at home, thawing frozen TV dinners and making the best homemade hamburgers. The only thing it can’t do is make a great cup of coffee.
Things to look for in an electric skillet
When your selecting a skillet, you may want to opt for stainless steel or ceramic coated surface. Be aware that some non-stick surfaces are said to give off a toxic gas when heated to high temperatures.
Some non-stick coatings also tend to disintegrate after a while and come off in bits of black, which is not the ‘flavoring’ you’re looking for.
Skillet size: The 12-inch size is pretty convenient but they also come in a larger, 16-inch rectangular shape.
Storage: Try and get a skillet that can store unders a bunk or vertically. The cord can be unplugged and folded into a paper napkin for storage inside the unit which stops it from rattling around.
Handles Oil: Many electric skillets have sides that are sloped to handle oil and grease. The last thing you want is hot liquids spilling into the sleeper or cab.
How easy is it to clean: You’re not going to have access to a dishwasher and not all skillets are dishwasher safe anyway.
Check the handles and Legs: Make the sure the handles are heat resistant. You’re cooking in a confined space, you need to be able to handle a hot skillet without having to throw oven mits on all the time.
Glass lid: Try and get a skillet with a glass lid. It’s easier to check your food without having lifting the lid to let the heat out. Bonus if you can have a lid for your skillet with a vent.
Electric Skillet vs Griddle
For truckers, there are benefits of both the electric skillet and the electric griddle but there are a couple small differences.
Electric skillet: The electric skillet will heat up in just a matter of a couple of minutes of getting plugged in. The skillet will provide you with a flat heated surface that has ‘walls’ or sides and a cover.
Having those two features in an enclosed space with high heat keeps accidents to a minimum.
Electric griddle: Griddles have a large flat surface that tends to heat more evenly than a skillet. The disadvantage here is not having any grease or liquid containment.
Can you use a Pan on an Electric Griddle?
An electric griddle is a great piece of equipment to have as it can be used in one of two ways;
1: As a flat surface for grilling burgers and making pancakes, French toast, frying eggs;
2: A cooking surface similar to a stovetop for pots and pans; and as a surface to heat pots and pans.
Check the pans manufacturers specifications to insure that it can be placed directly on a griddle. Chances are though, that if it can handle a stove, it can handle a griddle.
Safety and Cleaning
1: Cook outside whenever weather and time permits and buy lots of oven bags and aluminum foil to cook food like chicken and fish in your skillet. Cooking on foil makes cleanup a snap – when it cools just ball it up and throw it away, which will save you lots of cleaning time.
2: Paper towels and Clorox wipes are indispensable cleaning materials as washing up is always a problem when traveling on the road.
3: A quick cleaning tip is to scrunch a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball and use it like a scouring pad, especially on non-stick surfaces. It cleans without scratching and can be disposed of immediately, eliminating the need to keep unhygienic sponge scourers that never dry out.
4: There are a few things to keep in mind when using an electric griller, the first being safety as the entire surface and the handles can become extremely hot.
5: Always use oven mitts and long-handled spatulas to move food around on the surface and to remove it to your dish. A fair amount of oil, butter, or cooking spray is needed to prevent food from sticking or burning.
6: After each use just scrape off the excess bits of food and wipe the skillet surface clean with a damp cloth while it is still warm. Add a thin coat of cooking oil and wipe it down with a clean rag before storing it in a safe place.
Having an electric skillet with you on the road is a great way to save money on food. But before you run out and just grab one, make sure your truck (or other vehicle) can handle the power requirements.
How much electricity does an electric skillet use? Plan on it using at least 1500 watts, so make sure that you get an inverter that will handle that load.