Best Electric Kettles

Updated October 2021
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best electric kettles

An electric kettle is a simple and safe device whose uses can go beyond boiling water for tea. Since this is a tool you may use daily, it’s important to consider your needs and the available features of electric kettles.

In general, electric kettles are faster, more reliable, and safer than traditional tea kettles, though they may lack the classic look. Though most electric kettles function similarly, they may vary in their construction and their power source. Cordless models can be a great choice for those regularly on the go, but a corded kettle is usually the best choice if you plan to keep your electric kettle in your kitchen. The wattage of an electric kettle determines how quickly it brings water to boiling, which can be an important factor for anyone in a hurry.

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The first electric kettles date back to 1893 in the U.K. Later, they came with an automatic shut-off feature that was developed in 1955 by British manufacturer Russell Hobbs.

How electric kettles work

An electric kettle is an extremely simple appliance. Look inside, and you’ll see a container to hold water and a heating element. When the kettle is plugged in, the element gets hot and heats the water in the container. Simple stuff.

Most electric kettles have 2,400 watts of power and take approximately two to three minutes to bring water to a boil. However, an electric kettle with even more power — say 3,000 watts — will boil water even faster.

When the water reaches its boiling point, the kettle turns off. In pricier electric kettles and high-end coffee makers, an electronic thermostat provides the user with precise control over the temperature at which the appliance shuts off.

Electric teapot vs. standard teapot

There’s no denying that a standard, non-electric teapot is a beautiful symbol of the “classic” kitchen. But with the right electric kettle — one that looks as good as it functions — you can have that classic look while enjoying the perks of an electric model.

Beyond aesthetics, there are a number of reasons why you might select an electric kettle over the traditional variety.

  • Electric kettles work faster.
    In fact, an electric kettle can boil water up to twice as fast as a stovetop kettle.

  • Stovetop kettles can explode.
    This is a particular danger for glass kettles. High heat can cause the glass to shatter, sending little pieces of shrapnel flying around the kitchen.

  • Electric kettles have cooler handles.
    Anyone who has lifted a stainless steel or glass kettle off the stove without the aid of an oven mitt will testify it’s an easy way to suffer a bad burn. The handle of an electric kettle is cool to the touch.

  • Electric kettles heat more precisely.
    A number of electric kettles allow the user to select a precise heating temperature. If you'll be using it primarily for tea, our expert Francois suggests choosing a model with different temperature settings for green or black tea. If you’re a green tea lover, you may already know that Japanese green tea steeps with boiling water that has been heated between 160°F and 170°F. If this kind of precision matters to you, an electric kettle could be the better solution.

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Did you know?
In the U.S., an electric kettle is sometimes referred to as a “hot pot.”
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Safety concerns

As with other electric appliances, the safety concerns relating to electric kettles center around the use of plastic in the product.

When plastic parts, such as the liner of the kettle, come into contact with water, there are possible health hazards. Polycarbonate plastic parts that have BPA are known to cause health problems in young as well as unborn children. BPA also has been linked to obesity.

Even if an electric kettle says it is plastic-free, there may be a part of the appliance — such as the lid — that’s made of some sort of plastic or resin. The key is to avoid kettles in which any plastic part comes in contact with the water.

  • While one might believe that boiling water would reduce BPA health hazards, the opposite is actually true: it only intensifies the contact with the plastic.

  • Also, there are many consumers who claim plastic gives the water an unpleasant taste.

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For your safety
For safety reasons, do not get an electric kettle in which any plastic parts come into contact with boiling water.
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Beyond hot water beverages

You can easily tick off the most common and obvious uses for an electric kettle. There’s tea, coffee, and varieties of instant soups that require boiling water.

An electric kettle can be a traveler’s (or food hacking enthusiast’s) best friend. Here are a few nifty tricks.

Rice

Soak rice in water for 20 minutes. Cut up vegetables such as scallions and green beans into small pieces. Add rice, vegetables, seasonings, and water to the kettle and cook for 20 minutes or until done.

Instant noodles

Simply bring some water to a boil and add your instant noodles. Cook and season the noodles according to package directions.

We advise that you don’t add the seasoning until you’ve poured the water into a different container. The noodle seasoning might be yummy, but you probably don’t want that flavor crossing over into your next cup of tea!

Boiling eggs

This is a fairly simple process that includes placing raw eggs in the kettle and propping up the appliance to prevent the automatic shut-off from engaging. (The reason for this is that if the kettle turns off once the water boils, the eggs will not have cooked long enough to be done.)

Set your clock for 13 minutes, and shut off the kettle at that point. Drain the water and carefully place the eggs in ice water.

Caring for your electric kettle

  • When you’re finished with it, turn off your kettle and allow it to fully cool down.

  • Clean the outside and the base with a damp cloth, and then dry it with a smooth, soft rag or cloth.

  • Wash the inside of the kettle with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Never immerse the kettle or place it in the dishwasher.

  • Dry the inside of the kettle with a cloth, or allow it to air dry.

  • To remove scaling, fill the kettle with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to sit and penetrate for 30 minutes. Dispose of the solution, and let the kettle air dry.

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An electric kettle should never be fully submerged in water or placed in the dishwasher.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of a cordless electric kettle?

A. A cordless electric kettle sits on a base that contains the heating element. Being able to remove the kettle allows the user to bring it more easily to the table for serving.

Q. What is the origin of the word “kettle”?

A. “Kettle” may stem from the Latin word catillus, which means “deep pan or dish for cooking.” Others believe it is from the Old Norse word ketill, which means cauldron.

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