As of 2021, these are way out of production and have been since roughly 2015. As a substitute, I’d recommend buying the Duxtop 9600LS instead, as it’s much more capable and the best value among all portable induction cookers on the market today.
This is not going to be a full product review, because this product is out of production. Nevertheless, it was the first induction cooker I actually liked.
The Tru Eco Energy Efficient Induction Cooker was an inexpensive portable induction burner made in China by Guangdong Electric Holding Ltd. It was sold as the Tru Eco Energy Efficient Induction Cooker in North America, and Eternal in Asia.
The Tru Eco is like most other cheap induction cookers in terms of coil width. The maximum diameter is around 6.5 inches, with a 2.5-inch diameter hub. The net result is a circular hotspot roughly 3.5 inches in diameter, as can be seen by boiling water in a thin metal pot and observing where the bubbles emanate. The smaller the circle, the more the cooker struggles with large-diameter-bottom pans.
The Tru Eco has has ten power levels, interpolated, so that at lower power levels it blasts high power for several seconds before turning itself off for several seconds, repeating so that the average of the on and off pulses is something resembling the power level you’d like. This is par for course for lower-end induction cookers.
Where the Tru Eco starts to depart from the really cheapo induction cookers is feature set:
The Tru Eco has a dial to set power settings, so you can very quickly go from max power to minimum power or vice versa, giving you very fast, gas-like control over power. There is no slow, repeated poking at a button to increment power levels up or down, one increment at a time.
The Tru Eco also has a built-in timer goes up to 120 minutes, and can do so in one-minute increments, not really coarse increments of 10 minutes or more (cough cough Tatung TICT-1500W). I routinely set it to something like 11 minutes to steam veggies, after which it beeps a few times and turns itself off (except for the fan which continues to run until temperatures fall to what the manufacturer deemed an acceptable level).
The Tru Eco also has a thermometer under the ceramic top plate so that you can theoretically program it to keep the pot at a steady 160F to 430F (in coarse increment: 160, 180, 210, 250, 290, 320, 350, 390, and 430 degrees F). In practice, the temperature is probably going to be lower underneath the ceramic than above, so that if you want to simmer, set it to 160F or 180F. And since it pulses on and off, by simmer I mean several seconds of boiling followed by no-boiling.
The Tru Eco also won’t turn itself off immediately if you lift a pan. You get roughly 10 seconds before it automatically shuts down. If you put the pan back within that 10 second period, it remembers the power level and timer settings that you were using before, and thus it continues on as if no interruption had occurred.
The power/temperature/timer settings are displaed on a green LCD on the front panel.
The Tru Eco may have a mediocre fan like most cheap induction cooktops, but it does have a 3-prong grounded outlet for safety, though it doesn’t really need it since it’s entirely made out of plastic so it doesn’t conduct electricity to the user under any circumstances. It also has the usual safety features like auto-shutoff if it does not detect a compatible pan, or if it starts to overheat.
The front panel is angled, unlike cheap portable induction units that look like flat tablets and as a result can have hot pan edges scorching the electronic control panel. However, the angle starts off so close to level that I’d still be worried about scorching the electronics. So don’t use this induction cooker with large-diameter pans, not only because of the undersized coil, but also because it may damage the front control panel.
The Tru Eco has an off button, but if plugged in, even when off, it emits a flashing, green “–” sign.
All in all, the Tru Eco is actually a pretty good unit that has a midrange feature set, except for power. At 1400 watts rated maximum power, it probably wasn’t competitive with other units advertising 1800 watts. But the thing is, do you really need 1800 watts? 1800W is good for boiling water or preheating a (non-fragile) pan quickly, but that’s about it–you wouldn’t actually cook on such high heat. 1400W is pretty sensible for a small-diameter coil, and it also means that each power increment represents a smaller jump in wattage all else equal; in other words, you get finer temperature control with a 10-increment 1400W cooker than a 10-increment 1800W cooker.
I am quite fond of our Tru Eco unit, because although it might not have the largest diameter coil or 1800W maximum, it is VERY functional. It excels at the grunt work of boiling water for pasta or steaming vegetables–tasks where coil diameter is irrelevant and where 1400W power is “good enough,” and where prolonged operation would prematurely wear out the fan on your more expensive portable induction cooker. After my experiences with the disastrous Tatung TICT-1500W and underwhelming All-Clad Induction Cooker, the Tru Eco renewed my faith in induction as a viable cooking technology, paving the way for my purchase of more powerful, larger-coiled, finer-control induction cookers like the Vollrath Mirage Pro.
Update July 2015: these are way out of production now. Buy the Duxtop 9100MC instead, as it’s much more capable and the best value among all portable induction cookers on the market today.