Boiling water would seem to be one of the simplest of all household tasks. Fill a pot or kettle with water, apply heat, wait a few minutes, and you’re done. If you wonder why anyone might need a special contraption for the purpose, then you might not be an avid tea or coffee drinker.
Electric kettles are popular with many coffee and tea lovers because they bring convenience, speed, and precision to the process of boiling water that no traditional kettle can match.
Benefits of Using Electric Kettles
They provide a few considerable benefits that make them well worth the cost for many consumers:
- They’re fast Electric kettles bring water to a boil faster than either a stove-top or the microwave can. If you value efficiency or want your morning cup of coffee to be ready faster each day, this is a big selling point in favor of electric kettles.
- They’re easy to use You add water and press a button, pretty much. Even electric kettles with more temperature settings and features are usually pretty intuitive to figure out.
- They’re energy efficient Electric kettles use less energy to boil water than either a microwave or traditional stove-top kettle.
- They’re precise While this won’t matter for everyone, for tea lovers getting just the right temperature when brewing some types of tea can make a big difference in the flavor you get. Anyone that likes oolongs or green teas will appreciate being able to set the water for a specific temperature.
You don’t need an electric teakettle to boil water, but if you make tea and coffee with any frequency, it can make your life a lot easier.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Kettle
If you’ve decided that an electric kettle makes sense for your home or office, then there are a few things you should consider in your search for the right one. Shop for an Electric Kettle
For most people that love electric kettles, the main thing they cite in their praise is the speed they offer. If one of your main reasons for buying an electric kettle is to speed up your tea or coffee making routine, then you should especially look for an electric kettle that has a reputation for being fast.
Most electric kettles will take somewhere in the range of three to four minutes to boil water, while some advertise being able to heat a mug’s worth within 90 seconds. Check the claims the manufacturer makes in the product description and give a glance to reviews of the kettles you consider to see if what customers say bear those claims out.
Any electric kettle should be faster than your microwave or stovetop kettle, but you have some room to be picky on this point when choosing between different models.
For tea connoisseurs, the speed of electric kettles may well be a nice bonus to the main benefit they offer: precision.
Different types of tea taste best when brewed at different temperatures. So while boiling your water may work fine for black tea, it’s not ideal for the flavor of green, white, and oolong teas.
A temperature below boiling is also ideal for coffee. Again, for many consumers the difference in flavor between coffee made with boiling water or coffee made with water at a slightly lower temperature may not be noticeable, but those who are particular about brewing the perfect cup of coffee will notice a difference.
Some low-cost tea kettles don’t offer variable temperature settings, so if this is a feature that’s important to you, then be sure to look for a kettle that allows you to select different temperatures and check that the options include the temperatures you’ll need.
Simple electric kettles with limited features can cost as little as $15. Higher-quality and higher-capacity models can cost closer to $100. If you’re simply looking for a kettle that will heat tea quickly and aren’t too worried about long-term durability, then one of the models in the $15-$30 range will likely suffice for your needs.
If you want variable temperature options, high-quality materials, and a greater likelihood that your electric kettle will last a long time, then going for one of the more expensive options is probably a better bet.
You’ve got two main factors to consider when it comes to size. The first is capacity. Do you typically make a cup of coffee or tea for one, or are you usually brewing drinks for several? Most electric kettles hold enough for several cups, but some portable options have a smaller capacity, so make sure you think through your needs and compare them to the capacity of the kettles you consider before making a choice.
The other important size concern has to do with counter space. Every new item you add to a kitchen has to go somewhere and most kitchens already have a limited amount of counter space to work with. Before you buy an electric kettle, figure out where in your kitchen you’ll be keeping it and take some measurements. Better to know in advance what you have room for than to buy something that you can’t fit into the available space.
If you’re considering an electric kettle, then you’re probably the kind of person that intends to use it often enough to keep it out on the counter full time. That being the case, it’s important that you like how it looks enough that it’s not an eyesore every time you go in the kitchen.
While electric kettles are generally designed to prioritize function over form, many models are made to look good as well as work well. If aesthetics matter to you, then spend some time browsing in order to get a good feel for your options and figure out what type of look you want your kettle to have.
Ease of Use
In general, electric kettles are easy to use. That’s one of their big selling points. But some have features or design options that can make them easier to use than others.
If your priority in buying a tea kettle is simplicity and speed, then you may find a simple barebones unit without different temperature settings and features simpler to figure out than some higher-end machines. If you do like those extra options that come with higher-end machines, then you want to make sure you choose a model that makes selecting the temperature you prefer easy to do.
An electric kettle that’s either cordless or has a detachable cord will generally be easier to use than one you have to keep close to an outlet every time you use it. And a kettle with handy features like a keep-warm option and auto shutoff will ensure even the most forgetful consumers don’t have to worry about remembering all the little things.
If you have much experience with traditional stove-top kettles, then you’re likely familiar with how hot they get to the touch on both the handle and the outside of the kettle. Electric versions aren’t immune to this issue, but some avoid external heat better than others.
If you don’t want to worry about burning yourself when you use your electric kettle, do some research to see what people say about how hot the appliance gets on the outside. A tea kettle that uses glass or plastic is likely to fare better in this regard than one that uses metal (although metal kettles offer other benefits).
While electric kettles aren’t as loud as some kitchen appliances, they do still make some noise when boiling the water and many include beeping noises to let you know when your water is done as well. Both types of noise can get annoying to customers, particularly the beeping if it goes on for too long or there’s not an easy way to turn it off.
If you’re generally pretty sensitive to noises, this is another factor where it’s best to spend some time looking at an electric kettle’s reviews to see if anyone mentions the noise it makes. Consumers that are sensitive to noisy appliances are usually quick to comment on it if they’re bothered by the noise a product makes, so you should get fair warning if there’s anything to be concerned about.
For any type of product that has electric components, durability should be a concern. You don’t want to spend money on an electric kettle that only lasts you a year, you want to be able to use and enjoy your purchase for years to come.
As you’d expect, one of the big indicators of durability when looking at kettles will be price. A $15 model is less likely to hold up for several years than a $75 one, generally speaking. Something else to keep an eye out for is a warranty. Brands that back their products with warranties show that they trust the products to last and are willing to stand behind that trust.
And of course, one of the best ways to find out if a product is made to last before you buy is to see what people who have already bought it say. A customer that buys an electric kettle that lasts less than a year is very likely to come back and let other customers know about it in a review.
Electric kettles are most often made with metal, glass, plastic or some combination of those three materials. Stainless steel and glass are largely considered to be of higher quality than plastic, although plastic won’t get as hot to the touch as the other two and can make for more lightweight kettles that are easier to travel with. If the part of the kettle the water touches is made of plastic though, it’s possible that it may influence the flavor of your coffee or tea.
Stainless steel is considered the best material for durability. And electric kettles that use glass are often popular with people who favor aesthetics and like being able to watch the water boil.
In short, which materials to prioritize in your electric kettle search depends on your personal preferences.
If your electric kettle will mostly sit on your counter and rarely move, then weight may not be a big consideration for you. If you want to be able to easily take it with you when you travel, or if you know you have a hard time lifting a full kettle to pour, then you should look for an appliance that’s lightweight enough to be good for your purposes.
Most kettles will have the weight included in the product specs so you can easily compare your options in this category.
Features and Extras:
- Auto Shutoff — We all forget to turn appliances off from time to time. An electric kettle that includes an auto shutoff feature will make sure you don’t waste energy by turning the kettle off after a set amount of time if you don’t return to it.
- Base Cord Storage — Cords have an obnoxious tendency to always get in the way. Base cord storage ensures you only have to deal with the kettle’s cord when you need.
- Cordless (or detachable cord) — A kettle that’s cordless or has a detachable cord will generally be easier to use and store.
- Water Gauge — A visible water gauge will help you more easily keep up with how much water’s in your kettle at any given time.
- Keep Warm Feature — Have you ever had your kettle go off right when you were in the middle of doing something important? An electric kettle with this feature will keep the water warm for you until you’re able to get back to it to pour your drink.
The Most Popular Brands for Electric Kettles
With anything electric, you need high-quality parts and construction to know you can count on the product for long haul. That means electric kettles are a space where brand reputation really matters. To help you find the most reputable brands to consider in your search for the best electric kettle, we looked at customer reviews by a number of the main brands in the industry. Here’s what customers have to say about their experience.
Bonavita’s variable temperature electric kettles are popular with customers. The general consensus seems to be that their electric kettles are easy to pour, easy to clean, and warm up water fast. The vast majority of reviews are positive, so you’re probably in safe hands with Bonavita.
Capresso’s glass electric kettle gets primarily positive reviews, but with a few negative ones mixed in. Most customers love how the kettle looks, like how fast it warms water, and like being able to see the water boil through the glass. Some customers specifically praise their electric kettle for lasting for years, while others complain theirs didn’t last longer than a few months – so mileage varies on how durable the kettles are. More customers are happy than not, but there’s at least a little cause for concern based on reviews.
Chef’s Choice sells a number of electric kettle models, many of them cordless. Most reviewers are happy with their purchase, saying their kettle heats water fast, looks good, and is convenient to use. A number of reviewers complain about durability issues though. With Chef’s Choice, your electric kettle is likely to work great for as long as it lasts, but it may not last long.
Chefman’s another brand with predominantly positive reviews for their electric kettles, but a number of detractors mixed in amongst the happy customers. Most reviews talk positively about the kettles, saying they’re easy to use, have great features, look good, and heat water fast. Others complain about loud beeping and durability issues. Most customers are happy with their Chefman kettle, but this is another case where there’s a chance you’ll have issues.
Cuisinart sells a range of electric kettles that earn mixed, but mostly positive reviews from customers. Reviewers say their kettles work fast and offer great features. But a number of customers complain about problems with durability, and many of those mention disappointing experiences with Cuisinart’s customer service. This is another case where you’ll probably be happy with your Cuisinart kettle for the amount of time it works, but may start to have problems not too long after purchase.
Epica’s affordable electric kettles are well reviewed by customers. People say their kettles are fast, offer good temperature settings and features, and are easy to use and pour. Reviews are almost uniformly positive and customers seem to agree they’re a great budget option.
Hamilton Beach offers affordable electric kettles that earn mixed, but mostly positive reviews. Happy customers say their kettles work fast, are safe, and are easy to use. Some models get complaints for being hot to the touch or leaking. In general, customers see Hamilton Beach as being a good value for the price.
KitchenAid sells attractive, colorful electric kettles that customers routinely provide positive reviews for. Reviewers say the kettles are sturdy, easy to use, warm water fast, and look good. The occasional reviewer complains about a kettle not lasting long, but they’re in the minority. On the whole, reviews suggest KitchenAid is a safe bet.
Ovente’s affordable electric kettles earn mixed reviews from customers. Some customers praise the look of the kettles and how fast they work, but others say that they don’t last long and complain about the amount of plastic used in making them. According to customers, Ovente’s kettles are hit or miss.
Oxo provides electric kettles that are generally well reviewed by customers. Reviews frequently comment that the kettles are easy to use, work well, have great features, and are beautiful. Negative reviews are rare, but some people do complain about their kettle having particular parts that are low quality or having some issues within a couple of years of buying. On the whole, reviews suggest Oxo is a reliable brand to consider.
You can definitely live without an electric kettle. But once you’ve experienced having one, you’ll wonder why you would bother. The right electric kettle can improve the flavor of your daily cups of tea or coffee and ensure that cup is ready for you faster. It just makes life a little easier; why deny yourself that?