Though often overlooked, the electric kettle can offer a serious upgrade to the modern kitchen. We’re all about convenience and efficiency as we fit eating and drinking into busy lives and the electric kettle is an excellent way to make things a little smoother.
Not just for tea-drinkers, an electric kettle can benefit coffee and hot chocolate drinkers, along with anyone who wants to speed up the cooking process for any recipe that asks for boiling water. They’re also perfect for anyone living with limited access to facilities, such as students.
Electric kettles are faster and more efficient than their stovetop counterparts and many modern kettles come with a range of features for the true enthusiast. In short, they’ll suit most kitchens.
In this guide, we’ll look at electric kettles in more detail, including what to look for when buying one. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best kettles of 2020.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp
- Best Budget: AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle
- Best Design: Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle
- Best Gooseneck Kettle: OXO BREW Adjustable Temperature Electric Pour-Over
The Best Electric Kettles: Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp
Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp
A great all-rounder for any kitchen.
Why We Picked It
For our Best Overall category, we looked for a balance of cost, quality, and features. Ultimately, we gave this to the Cuisinart CPK-17.
The CPK-17 is a 1.7-liter stainless steel kettle with an excellent, easy-to-use set of controls for its temperature and activation settings. The handle features a set of large buttons with various temperature presets, along with the start and keep-warm controls. A rear water window makes it easy to see the kettle’s current fill level, made easier still but its blue backlight.
The keep-warm function will persist for 30 minutes and the kettle also includes a 2-minute memory function. Cleaning the kettle is easy thanks to its concealed element and removable filter.
The CPK-17 also comes with a generous 3-year warranty, which will offer plenty of peace of mind for buyers.
Keep in Mind
Though full-featured, the CPK-17 isn’t the most aesthetic choice available.
In a Nutshell
- 1.7-liter capacity
- Easy-to-use controls
- 6 temperature presets
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle
AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle
The best kettle for shoppers on a budget.
Why We Picked It
For many shoppers, a kettle is a convenience item, not a luxury one. In other words, a basic, budget-friendly model will do the job just fine. For those shoppers, we recommend the AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle.
The AmazonBasics kettle is a 1-liter-capacity stainless steel kettle with a 1500-watt power rating. It features a cordless design for easy filling and a water window so you can gauge the fill level. Boil-dry protection ensures the kettle won’t switch on below its minimum fill level.
The AmazonBasics kettle has a concealed heating element and a removable filter, both of which make cleaning the kettle easy. This all makes this kettle a no-fuss, easy-to-use addition to the kitchen.
The kettle is backed by the 1-year AmazonBasics warranty, so shoppers on a budget can rest easy knowing their investment is protected.
Keep in Mind
An affordable option for everyday use but lacks standout features.
In a Nutshell
- 1-liter capacity
- 1-year warranty
Best Design: Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle
Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle
Upgrades the humble kettle with an intriguing, modern design.
Why We Picked It
Customers who rate form as high as function in their kitchen will want a kettle that looks the part. For that, we’ve chosen the Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle.
The Fellow Corvo kettle offers an intriguing yet modern design, and it’s sized smaller than average, so it won’t draw attention away from the rest of your kitchen. The design is minimalist, offering an almost featureless exterior but for a light chrome accent on the handle and the base unit’s control dial and temperature display.
This kettle offers variable temperature control, so it’s ideal for delicate teas and coffees. The kettle’s hold temperature function will keep your water at the correct temperature for up to 60 minutes after boiling. The LCD temperature screen allows you to keep track of your set and real-time temperature, and you can switch over to the stopwatch function to time your extraction.
Keep in Mind
The minimalist, subtle design comes at the expense of capacity.
In a Nutshell
- Modern, minimalist design
- Temperature control
- Temperature hold functionality
Best Gooseneck Kettle: OXO BREW Electric Pour-Over
OXO BREW Adjustable Temperature Electric Pour-Over
The perfect gooseneck kettle.
Why We Picked It
Gooseneck kettles give the user precision control over the direction and flow of water from the spout, which makes them ideal for the connoisseur. The OXO BREW kettle is our top pick in this category.
The OXO BREW kettle is a 1-liter capacity stainless steel kettle with a modern aesthetic. The base includes an easy-to-use temperature control, with feedback provided by a simple digital display. A built-in timer helps you track your pour-over, so you can make full use of the gooseneck design. A temperature guide on the base covers a range of teas and coffees, making this an excellent enthusiast’s choice.
The kettle is fitted with an auto shut-off which will activate after a 30-minute keep-warm cycle and a stay-cool safety handle.
This kettle comes with a 2-year warranty.
Keep in Mind
This kettle has full temperature control, but no programmable temperature memory.
In a Nutshell
- 1-liter capacity
- Gooseneck design
- Pour-over timer
How We Chose the Best Electric Kettles
To choose the best electric kettles, we looked at a number of key performance categories to form a complete picture of each model. Here are some of the categories we used:
The main appeal of an electric kettle lies in its ability to heat water quickly and efficiently, so speed plays a crucial role in a kettle’s convenience. We look at the boiling speed of each model to find out how it rates against the average boiling time of two to three minutes.
Though we don’t tend to think of kettles as dangerous objects, they can be without the right safety features in place. Think back to ye-olden-days kettles represented by some of the more old-fashioned stovetop options—with their metal handles and lids, and their risk of boiling over if not removed from the heat source. Electric kettles avoid most of these problems, but they do need safety features like boil-dry protection and handles that will keep cool after use, so we take a look to see if each kettle measures up to our expected safety standards.
Ease of Use
As we’ve mentioned, convenience is the big selling point of an electric kettle. From basic operations like handling and pouring to more complex elements like controls and features, we look at the kettle’s ease of use to demonstrate how it works in day-to-day operations. This includes the simplicity of its interface and any accessibility considerations, such as whether it has tactile buttons.
The most basic ease-of-use test for a kettle lies in its design, however. A kettle’s pouring action should be smooth and keep the hands out of harm’s way, just like a well-designed stovetop kettle. One often-overlooked usability feature of an electric kettle is how well it fits under a faucet for easy refilling.
Kettles aren’t typically a high-end luxury item, but some buyers may choose to spend more for something full-featured and designed for the enthusiast. This means kettles occupy a curve from dirt cheap to expensive, so we look at each model’s price to see how it performs for its bracket. When selecting our picks, we made sure to choose kettles at a range of price tags to suit all buyers.
Customer reviews can give us a broader view of a product, including how it performs in a live environment. By looking at customer reviews in aggregate, we can get a sense of elements that may not come out in a single review, such as a kettle’s durability or any usage quirks it may have.
Cheap and poorly-designed kettles sometimes suffer from a lack of longevity, particularly basic plastic models. Customer reviews also help us determine whether a purchase represents a good investment.
Who Should Buy an Electric Kettle
While they’re ubiquitous in places like the tea-obsessed UK, electric kettles are a less-common alternative to traditional stovetop kettles elsewhere. But an electric kettle can offer many advantages over the alternatives.
Electric kettles offer a level of convenience unmatched by other water-boiling methods. They’re able to boil water faster, accurately control the water temperature, and often possess stay-warm features. An electric kettle also doesn’t need to be rescued from the stove once the water reaches boiling point—its auto shut-off takes care of that.
Tea and pour-over coffee enthusiasts will enjoy the efficiency an electric kettle can bring to brewing and the ability to control the water’s temperature will be perfect for the true connoisseurs, like those who enjoy different kinds of tea.
An electric kettle can also speed up any recipe that involves boiling water, which can be a comparatively slow process on the stovetop. That makes an electric kettle ideal for kick-starting pasta meals, preparing noodles, and so on.
Kettles are also perfect for any accommodation without a full working kitchen, like a dorm room or even a studio apartment. They take up less space than a microwave and offer hot drinks on demand without the need for a stove.
What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Kettle
When choosing your perfect electric kettle, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are some pointers to help you choose the right model for you. Everyone needs a little something different out of a kettle, so think carefully about how each of these categories applies to your specific needs before you shop. This has the added benefit of cutting out some options, which will help those who find themselves paralyzed by choice.
Whether you’re living the dorm life or cooking for one, a small-capacity electric kettle might suit some users. Others will opt for a larger option, such as those with families or people who might use a kettle to boil water for cooking.
In most cases, it’s better to go big and go home. You can always boil less water than you need in a larger kettle, but the opposite isn’t true of a smaller one. The average base price for a kettle is so low that you might as well opt for the larger capacity in most situations.
For some users, the idea of an automated kettle extends no further than one that knows to switch off at the boiling point. But for enthusiast shoppers, more advanced programmability is on offer. This can make boiling your favorite brews a breeze, whereas you’ll need to input your desired temperature every time on a non-programmable kettle.
Electric kettles may be made from a variety of materials. The cheapest tend to be made of heat-resistant plastic, but plastic kettles can taint the water with an odd taste and may even warp over time. Most people prefer stainless steel kettles for this reason, and stainless steel also looks a little nicer. For a truly aesthetic option, some people opt for glass or ceramic kettles. Ceramic kettles often mimic the appearance of a stovetop kettle for shoppers who prefer that traditional touch, while glass kettles usually feature 360-degree transparency.
The “standard” kettle spout actually varies by model, but has the common trait of being a wide, angled spout that makes it easy to control the general pouring action of the kettle. Gooseneck kettles have a more stylized, thinner spout that often originates near the base of the kettle. Goosenecks are the preferred option for those who want fine, almost painterly control over the water flow and direction, making it the choice for enthusiasts.
Electric kettles start at dirt cheap prices, with feature-rich kettles and those made with better-quality materials sitting at a higher price bracket. Except in extreme cases, however, a kettle’s price doesn’t typically affect its basic performance. Instead, a more expensive kettle tends to offer more or better features, such as temperature control. It may also offer a stronger aesthetic, combining form with function. Cheaper kettles often skip the aesthetics and can look cheap in a well-coordinated kitchen, and some cheaper kettles may also have longevity or durability issues.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle
Over its lifespan, a kettle will become grimy on its inner surface, particularly in hard water areas. Limescale can form on the bottom, sides, and around the heating element (if not concealed), which can reduce a kettle’s lifespan and taint the water.
Cleaning a kettle isn’t complicated, but it is a little more complex than a stovetop kettle.
First, you should never submerge your kettle in water to clean it. This is likely to damage the electrical components of the kettle, as the outer body doesn’t usually sport the waterproofing of its inner chamber. In a worst-case scenario, submerging the kettle could even risk electrocution or a fire if the unit isn’t sufficiently dry before use.
So don’t throw the kettle in the dishwasher or dunk it in the sink. And instead of cleaning chemicals, stick with the superheroes of natural cleaners: light acids like white vinegar and lemon juice.
Mixing white vinegar at a 1:1 ratio with water and boiling it in the kettle can help with descaling. Alternatively, lemon juice can be used for a more gentle clean. Boil either mixture and then leave it to sit. Afterward, pour the mixture away.
After disconnecting the kettle from the mains, lightly scrub away any dirt on the interior and exterior surfaces. After leaving it to dry, reconnect the power and run one or more water-only boiling cycles to flush out any residue.
If you’re ever unsure how to care for your kettle, be sure to check the user’s manual. This will contain manufacturer-approved methods for cleaning your kettle.
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