I would like to create a food heater , the heater should reach around 80C. I had an idea of using a copper wire (or any other metal / alloy) , connecting it to a power source , and thus heating the wire.

What i want to ask is first of all is it possible and do you think the wire will heat , and how much voltage will i need to heat the wire ? . Second question is can i safely cook food using that wire , and eating that food afterward ?.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is far too broad and it is not clear what you are asking. Most of the issues are on the food safety axis and are probably not appropriate for this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoyC
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you safely build this (without burning your home down) is my question to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka - I think that, considering the OP is apparently unaware that appliances like toasters already exist, the answer to your question is "probably not"... \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also copper is a poor choice for this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a Thermodynamics 201 question. How much energy is need to raise mass of X by 60'C. What heating rate is needed? What is the thermal resistance? makes estimates. I expect 250W range which you can calc from wire resistance. it should be stainless food grade wire if exposed inside. normally it is Nichrome or insulated magnet wire on outside then insulated with air then enclosed. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can. You probably shouldn't, though.

This is the operating principle behind essentially every appliance that heats; put a current through a wire and it gets hot.

For a food heater, because of the generally high powers required, I would highly recommend you use an off-the-shelf waterproof heater. This will be much safer then making one yourself.

If you really need to do this, I would highly, highly recommend you not use wall AC power for this, because the electrocution and fire hazard is very high. I would recommend using a low-voltage (12v, say) supply, to keep things safer.

The amount of voltage one needs depends on how many watts of heating power you want.

Typically, because of the low resistance of copper, you use high-resistance Nichrome or Kanthal wire. Copper itself isn't typically used.


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