I've been using a cheap hot plate from Wally World to boil 1-gallon test batches. It takes a loooong time to reach a slightly rolling boil. I'm going to try my Coleman camp stove and white gas for my next test batch.
Yeah, that's what I was afraid of with a cheaper hot plate but was hoping a commercial version would be better. Searching around nothing except for insanely expensive ones have enough wattage to provide enough power to boil 5-10 gallons.
Try heatsticks. Easy to make and easy to use.
Here is the website that I have used: http://www.cedarcreeknetworks.com/heatstick.htm
Googling for the website site I found several others, even youtube.
I use two 110v ones and have a raging boil. I have been using them since 2008. Jim Spencer in Basicbrewing even had a show on using one where it one was placed in the pot ontop of a stove.
Thanks for the link. It's is an interesting and economical way to tackle it. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do but when I do I'll post it here with some pics.