Stovetop kettles are nostalgically cute in movies and lovable as collector’s items, but when it comes to our time-crunched, energy-efficient world, electric kettles–which boil water twice as fast as their stovetop counterparts–are the way to go.
More specifically, stainless steel electric kettles are the way to go, since plastic pots can contain bisphenol A (BPA) and start looking dingy pretty quickly. Plus, according to Chow.com, plastic pots can imbue your favorite brew with a plasticky taste and aroma. The best electric kettles boil water quickly, last a long time, require little maintenance, and are loaded with safety and efficiency features.
Here are our picks for the best electric kettles:
Chef’s Choice Cordless 677 Electric Kettle
The Chef’s Choice Cordless 677 is what I own — and by the fact that I’ve put it first, you might be able to guess that I’m happy with it. After 2 years of heavy use, this kettle still boils water in 4:50–or more accurately, still automatically shuts off in 4:50, since the water’s hot enough for my French press before that point. This mostly-stainless steel kettle has a detachable base and sleek design–with a concealed heating unit to prevent any buildup of mineral deposits.
Capresso H2O Plus Electric Kettle
The Capresso H2O Plus wins big on style points because it’s sleekly designed out of glass–which lets owners watch water boil, if so moved. Of course, the glass exterior can also be more easily broken by clumsy owners.
Like the Chef’s Choice, the Capresso boils water under 5 minutes, shuts off automatically, and has a concealed heating element. As a bonus, the cord retracts into the electric kettle’s base. This kettle also has a slightly smaller six-cup capacity, though whether that’s an upside or downside depends on how many people live in your household and how often you entertain guests. The Capresso costs $53.48 at Amazon.
Home Page: Capresso
Bodum Ibis Electric Water Kettle
The Bodum Ibis Electric Water Kettle boasts a 7-cup capacity and a boil time of 4:25 according to Slate, which gives the product top ratings. While the carafe’s made of an unstylish plastic, the Bodum shuts off automatically once water’s at boiling point and catches mineral deposits in a special filter. It boils a full tank in fewer than five minutes. Get it from Amazon for $47.99.
Home Page: Bodum
UtiliTEA Variable Temperature Electric Kettle
The 2.8-pound UtiliTEA Variable Temperature Electric Kettle’s the picky tea lover’s dream. This kettle heats up to 30 ounces of water via its concealed heating element to the temperature of your desire.
Want your water at the optimum temperature for green or white tea? All you have to do is turn a knob. For black tea? Turn the knob a little more to reach the regular boiling point. This UtiliTEA kettle’s yours for $49.95 at Amazon.
Zojirushi Electric Water Boiler and Warmer
If you just can’t wait five minutes for your water to boil in the morning, you can set your Zojirushi to do it for you ready your water at 140, 175, 195, or 208 degrees up to 10 hours ahead. Hit your snooze too many times? Then hit the reboil button when you wake up to reheat the water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, many Metaefficient readers will find this product less efficient than their standards. Do we really need water heated to an exact temperature available at the push of a button every moment in the day? I can readily answer no to this as an individual–but have also been in too many homes and offices where full kettles get completely forgotten on stoves for hours or reheated over and over again by absent-minded employees. If you’ve had to give up on reforming your family members or co-workers, this 7.2-pound Zojirushi with its 4-liter capacity and “interchangeable melody or beep indicator to alert the completion of the boiling process or a low water level,” as described on Amazon, might actually make your workplace or home run more efficiently.
Zojirushi Electric Water Boiler is available from Amazon.
Home Page: Zojirushi
If you decide to go for an electric kettle off this list, try to go for an item that’s mostly stainless steel with a handle that doesn’t get hot and an automatic shut-off button. And if your electric kettle doesn’t have a concealed heating element, follow the advice from Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and clean it regularly by boiling water with vinegar to remove mineral deposits that can reduce energy efficiency.