Electric kettle recommendations

arley_gwAugust 29, 2012

I did a search in the Appliances forum, but didn't find anything...

I'm interested in an electric kettle so I can make pots of tea at work. We have a microwave so I can make a cup at a time with a teabag, but I'd rather have a pot at a time.

Electric kettles seem to range from around $20 to over $100. I'd like to hear from anyone with real world experience in using these items. Thanks.

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We have a Hamilton Beach unit from COSTCO a few years ago. They are selling other brands now. I see ours now lists for $46 and at discount is $37 as are the current COSTCO units.

I can't imagine that we paid more than $26. Ours is fine. My guess is that they are all essentially the same. If I were needing a new one, I would wait for a special at COSTCO. I expect most units have the cord on a base where the pot can be removed. Very convenient.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:26PM
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We have two electric kettles which have the base and removable pot, as chas mentions. They both have automatic shut off which seems to be standard. One is made by Bosch, the other is a Proctor-Silex, I think. We've used both for years. The Bosch is more sturdy with a metal body, the PS is just some kind of plastic. All we do is heat water for coffee or tea, so they are fine. I don't think we paid more than $30 for either.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I have a Breville, which is stainless steel, because I didn't want to drink water heated in plastic. It's the second one I've had and it's much nicer than the first brand I had (don't remember the brand) because it is so nicely ergonomically designed. They can be heavy if you fill them and try to pour...this one is very nice to handle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Breville Water Heater

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 1:17PM
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I have Toastess at home and at work. The one at home is stainless steel and the one at work is plastic and lights up when it is on. They last a long time.

Do not buy a Bodum - they are junk. Don't get one with the element exposed in the vessel.

Also, be warned that electric kettles suck a lot of energy, so much so that at a previous office in an old building I couldn't use one because it would trip the circuit every time. In this office it's on the same circuit as a medium sized fridge and still trips the circuit when it is more than half full.

The expensive ones are like the Zojirushi that keep the water hot all day. You really don't need that for home use.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 1:25PM
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If you happen to have a Tuesday Morning store near you, they generally have a nice selection for a "good" price. I've purchased several there over the years.

I've had inexpensive and expensive ones and found they all pretty well work the same and last about the same length of time. I have two in use all the time and they are both cordless, which I prefer. Only the base is plugged in.

Chef's Choice - 7-cup stainless steel model is used for hot water for beverages (we use home-distilled water in this kettle). #2 is an inexpensive plastic 8-cup Crofton (purchased at Aldi) for heating tap water and it has been in daily use for 5-years. You will pay more for stainless steel than plastic models. You can find BPA-free plastic electric kettles if that is an issue.

You may want to keep in mind the minimum amount of water the kettle will heat, as well as the maximum amount you need. I wouldn't get one any larger than what will meet your needs, as well as one that has an automatic "off" feature so someone doesn't forget to turn it off after using it.

The minimum amount my kettle heats is enough for two cups and I store the extra cup in a small Thermos to use later. The next time I'll be sure to find one that does a minimum of 1-cup.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 1:42PM
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I would like to second the idea of Tuesday Morning, or Ross and TJ Max. I forgot to say that the Hamilton Beach is stainless. Like grainlady, I was somewhat concerned about minimal volume. The HB minimal mark is at one liter (just under a quart), but I have used less from time to time with no problems; although I have kept an eye on it in those situations.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have been eying the DeLonghi Kmix 54-Ounce Kettle for awhile. The coffee pot too...
Seeing a blue, green, yellow, or pink, kettle everyday would make me smile.
It's eighty bucks on Amazon. Good reviews.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Here in NYC, most offices do not permit employees plugging in an electric kettle because they draw so much power, around 1,500 watts, which is about the same as an electric heater.

It is also illegal to use extension cords.

That said, selction should be based on features (adjustable temperature, capacity, water level indicator, etc.)

Otherwise a good thermos can keep water boiling hot the whole day.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:49PM
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I use this one at home. By Aroma (??). It works well and looks good, has an auto shut off. I think I got it for about $25.

I do have a coffeemaker at work, which I only make once a week, but use the hot water dispenser in our water cooler for tea, etc.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I looked into them a while back and what turned me off of everything I found at the time was the tube with a floating bead to indicate liquid level. That seemed very "uncleanable" to me, esp - but not only - if using the kettle for something other than water. At the time I was watching a lot of Alton Brown and he'd warm chicken stock in one, for say risotto, and it just didn't seem sanitary to me.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:53PM
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Why not just use a larger container in the microwave. I always make tea in the microwave by bringing a 4 cup measure of water to a boil then putting in the tea bags. Easy Peasy! Oh and don't forget CHEAPY! HA!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 10:06PM
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I'm a Canadian, but have also lived in England and the USA. In Canada and the UK, electric kettles are considered absolute must-haves in any kitchen, while in the US they seemed to be something exotic, if not weird. They are MUCH more efficient at boiling water than any stove-top kettle (on any type of cook top). And micro-waving water to the boiling point is wayyyy off the bottom of any comparative scale for speed and efficiency.

The cheapest kettles are probably plastic ones. As you move up the price scale, you get the stainless ones, and the "cordless" ones with the corded bases. I'm not sure, but most, if not all, have auto shut-off, which I would definitely recommend. I've never seen much difference between various brands - these are all pretty basic "throw-away" appliances, so get something with the features you want, at a price point where you are comfortable. I'm not sure if the same brands are even available in the US as here in Canada. Most popular brands here range from $30 - $60 for 1.8L (about 2 US quarts) at dealers like Canadian Tire, or London Drugs, which are national chains with locations everywhere.

Oh, and despite what Alton Brown may suggest, I would NEVER heat anything but WATER in an electric kettle.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:30PM
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I don't own one but I haven't seen anything that works faster to heat water. Yes, they are a power suck but not for long. Still an issue in older buildings. The tea drinkers I know find them indispensable.

If I were to buy one I choose the one in my price that I found most attractive. I think they are very similar. And I wouldn't use it for anything but water.

Heating water in a microwave takes just as long as on a stove and is far more dangerous.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:46AM
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I started using an electric kettle several years ago when I found I would turn on the burner under my tea kettle on the stove and walk away and forget it. I wanted something that would turn off automatically; I wasn't worried about the amount of power it would use, as I use it only once a day and it couldn't be as bad environmentally as burning down my house. I love the cordless feature, too. I was biased because I believed Breville was an Australian product, but while they tout the Australian connection, they are actually made in China :(

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:37AM
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Sherry (Sheshebop) sent me a Presto electric kettle, along with a small red teapot, a few years ago when I was underemployed, and I have been using them ever since for my morning tea. I had posted about my regular kettle becoming practically unusable, and she took pity on me!

I love the electric kettle, and it holds just the right amount of water for the teapot, which is about two mugfuls. I drink one mugful of tea when I first make it, and then I drink the second one the next morning so that I don't have to make a new pot each day. I am fine with day-old tea, but I don't keep it longer than that.

I have on occasion boiled the water in the teapot with a teabag in the MW, but the results are better when using the kettle and loose tea in a tea ball.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:50AM
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The discussions about energy used and speed is interesting. Here are my findings heating 5-cups of water.

We are water savers and use one gallon of saved water (that's water that normally runs down the drain waiting for the shower to get hot) for after meal clean-up and washing dishes that don't get put in the dishwasher. We use 5-cups of hot water heated in an electric kettle, plus approx. 5 more cups of cold, and the remainder of the gallon is used for rinsing. We use a small plastic tub for washing dishes. Normal use for doing dishes is somewhere between 5-7 gallons of water (charts and "experts" on the subject vary dramatically).

I tested several methods for heating 5-cups of water calculating the amount of energy used and the cost using a Kill-A-Watt meter, as well as the amount of time it took to heat it to a boil.

A stove top kettle is the least energy efficient because the heat source first heats the kettle, which in turn heats the water, and some of the heat source can be wasted heating air around the kettle if your kettle is smaller than the source. The heating element in an electric kettle comes in direct contact with the water.

All tests were done with 5-cups of water.

Sharp Microwave/Convection Oven: 13-minutes - .29 kWh

Induction Cook Top: 8-minutes - .15 kWh

And the winner is.....
Electric Kettle: 5-minutes - .11 kWh or about 1-cent

From what I've read on the subject, the only thing faster than an electric kettle is an instant hot water tap, but I don't know how much energy it would use.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 5:20AM
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Thanks for the very good test comparision.

I just want to add, you have forgotten one important test; you should include how much electricity it uses to heat up the water in one of your solar ovens.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 6:58AM
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We have an Oster 1-1/2-liter stainless steel electric kettle. The design of the long handle is both ergonomic and graceful, making it easy and comfortable to use. It's convenient because it can be placed on the corded base from any direction. It heats water quickly and has automatic shut-off, but there is also a keep-warm feature that can maintain a temperature a few degrees below the boiling point--handy if you expect to need to reheat water again soon, so it takes less energy to raise the temperature.

Like olychick, we ruined many a stove-top kettle by inadvertently letting it boil dry, so this electric pot is saving us a lot of money.


Here is a link that might be useful: Oster electric kettle

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:26AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Love my Breville electric kettle.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Ditto the Breville. I don't use it all that often as we have an instant hot water tap, but when I do, it's great!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 2:01PM
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I had an electric kettle many, many years ago, not sure what happened to it, but then didn't have one. I got mine earlier this year and LOVE it, and wonder what took me so long.

I stay away from plastic for heating/boiling water, my kettle is stainless. I don't nuke water in a cup because, in some cases, the cup gets too hot to touch and my microwave is over the cooktop, I've had a few spills and sloshes of hot water.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:15AM
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Today's paper tells me that Aldi's has their electric
kettle on sale this week for $19.99, with a 2 year warrantee.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 3:42PM
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