There really is no good substitute for a combination heating and magnetic stirring plate, nor is there any reasonable excuse not to get one. These are perfectly legal to buy and can be found at any science outlet for about 200-400 dollars. Here's one area that the chemist should not skimp on. This piece is going to be the center of every action in the laboratory so a really good one with as large a surface area as possible is a definite plus.
Let's just suppose, hypothetical^, that the underground chemist is too stupid or unwilling to get a stir plate. In this case a single unit portable hotplate can work, but controlled heat using these is best accomplished by water or oil baths. Stirring can be accomplished by attaching a shaft and paddle to a power drill or any gear driven motor.
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