Fueled by a passion for hot drinks — particularly pour over coffee — we purchased the ten best electric kettles on the 2019 market for comparative testing. These products cover a range of designs from general purpose to specialized functionality. All the kettles in this review have been subject to the same tests for boil time, pouring ease and temperature accuracy. We also cataloged each kettle's suite of features. Keep in mind that all the kettles in this review are of relatively high quality. So, rest assured, all you have to do is pick the unit that best satisfies your needs.
The Best Electric Kettles of 2019
The Bonavita is an elegant gooseneck kettle that brings a touch of sophistication to any countertop. This model offers the user a balanced, controlled pouring experience that is a result of a well-designed handle and spout. With temperature selection and holding options, this kettle is great for tea and coffee aficionados as well as hot drink enthusiasts with a variety of uses in mind. And, as one tester pointed out, it can double as a house plant watering can.
While we are quite impressed with the Bonavita, we do have a few gripes. For starters, the kettle does not have an alert when the desired water temperature is reached. Moreover, the narrow spout pours very slowly. This is great for pour over coffee where controlled pouring is critical but can be frustrating for other applications. Despite these limitations, we think the merits of this machine far outweigh the demerits as an all-purpose electric kettle.
Read review: Bonavita BV382518V
The Fellow Stagg EKG is a fantastic kettle for pour over coffee. Its efficient handle design and narrow gooseneck spout restrict water flow to a slow, steady pour. The combination of these two features will take you far down the path towards the perfect cup of drip coffee. Additionally, this model features adjustable temperature, automatic shutoff, and temperature holding — a great feature for those trying to dial in their hot drink experience.
On the downside, EKG has a small capacity (0.9L) and, at 5 min, 30 sec, it has a relatively long boil time. So it's not a great model for production or use outside the hot drink realm. However, if your primary hot water need is for coffee and tea, then this machine will be a pleasure to use.
Read review: Fellow Stagg EKG
The Hamilton Beach is the best model in the class for those looking to purchase a general use kettle for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. The machine has discrete temperature settings, temperature holding, automatic shutoff with notification, and a voluminous capacity (1.7L) — all of which make it a great product for multiple users. At just 4 min to a rolling boil, this kettle heats water fast, too. The exterior of the machine is an unassuming brushed stainless with controls inset on the handle lending a modern touch to a classic look.
The downside of a general use appliance is that it doesn't excel at any one task. For example, the large capacity and pitcher-style spout make a steady, low volume pour challenging to achieve, though not impossible. Despite some difficulties in pouring, the Hamilton Beach offers a general purpose kettle to those with more than one hot water use in mind.
Read review: Hamilton Beach 41020
The Best Buy Award-winning COSORI is unique in the class with an all glass water container that is illuminated with blue LED lights when in use. While the addition of lights may seem over the top, it actually produces a visually attractive effect that makes watching water boil appealing. Additionally, this model pours quite smoothly considering that it has a pitcher-style spout.
While the COSORI has ample flair, it is a one setting machine. This model does not have temperature selection — just boil. Nor does it have temperature holding. And, while the vessel is big enough to get a hand inside for cleaning, the glass poses a risk of breaking that is not shared with the other models in the class. Despite these concerns, this unit is reliable, looks good on the countertop, and has a competitive price point.
Read review: COSORI Electric Kettle
Like all gooseneck kettles, the OXO Brew Adjustable is great for pour over coffee as its narrow spout, and articulated handle facilitates a balanced, even pour. Unlike other gooseneck models, this kettle pours water at a relatively fast pace. The OXO boasts temperature holding and continuous temperature control settings. Unique to this model is an elegant temperature dial and digital display on the base.
Given the features described above, this model would have earned more accolades were it not for its pronounced temperature inaccuracies. Further hurting this product's standing is the lack of an automatic shut-off feature. Despite these issues, this is a quality machine that is priced competitively.
Read review: OXO BREW Adjustable
Breville's The IQ Kettle was a contender for the Editor's Choice Award for the best multipurpose kettle. This model has preset temperature options, auto-shutoff, and temperature holding if you want to keep water hot indefinitely. The pitcher-style spout makes for fast pouring which can be nice given its 1.8L capacity.
While The IQ's wide spout makes for speedy pouring, it also makes a slow, even pour much more difficult to achieve. Further exacerbating this issue is the unit's relatively large dimensions and capacity. So, it's not the best for pour over coffee. This model is also quite expensive, which makes its array of features a little less impressive. Despite these shortcomings, the Breville remains a reliable device for those who want high capacity and multifunctionality in a kettle.
Read review: Breville the IQ Kettle
The Cuisinart PerfecTemp is 1.7L pitcher-style kettle with preset temperature controls, temperature holding and a super fast boiling time. This model also has conveniently placed controls on the top of the handle that can be toggled with the thumb. Like the Hamilton Beach, these features are great for households with multiple uses in mind.
Conversely, this model shares all the shortcomings of the other large capacity pitcher-style kettles. Specifically, it is poorly weighted and heavy which makes it a bit clumsy when attempting a controlled pour. While these deficiencies may be overlooked depending on the intended use of the product, the hefty price tag may be another story.
Read review: Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp
For those tea drinkers that want to upgrade their old stovetop teapot but don't want to lose the classic look, this is the kettle for you. The KitchenAid is a no-frills, single setting machine that has everything your old teapot has except a steam whistle. Replacing the whistle is an automatic shutoff that resets the on switch with an audible click.
Like some of the gooseneck kettles reviewed here, this kettle has — to a certain degree — a single function design. This machine is essentially a teapot. The spout is suited to quick, gurgling pours; which is fine for tea, but not so good for coffee applications. Moreover, the placement of the handle makes steady pours all the more difficult. That said, this throwback kettle boils water with the best of 'em and looks good on the countertop, too.
Read review: KitchenAid KEK1222SX
The Secura is a large capacity plastic kettle with a stainless steel interior. It has no temperature settings nor temperature holding. However, it does shut itself off when a boil has been reached.
This pitcher-style model is not great for pour over coffee applications as it is heavy, doesn't have great balance and the spout is wide. On the other hand, these same features promote fast pouring. This unit is simplistic and straightforward to use.
Read review: Secura SWK-1701DB
The BLACK+DECKER KE1500B is an unassuming pitcher-style kettle that makes no pretenses about style, features or flair. This machine is inexpensive and straightforward to use. It has a relatively large capacity, one setting, and an automatic shutoff.
While we have a few gripes about the KE1500B's design, we think the main issue is that its reservoir is plastic. While there isn't much information on the nature of this plastic, a BLACK+DECKER customer service agent stated that "we have insufficient information to support a BPA-free claim at this time." Health concerns aside, plastic can add an odd flavor to water. If saving money is your goal, then spend the few extra bucks on the worry-free COSORI, our Best Buy Award-winner.
Read review: BLACK+DECKER KE1500B
Why You Should Trust Us
In our relentless pursuit of detailed, data-driven evaluations of consumer electronics we perform extensive and continual research on the most compelling products. In the case of electric kettles, we scoured the web for the most popular units. We read manufacturer specifications, customer reviews, and consulted experts in the tea and coffee business. After much deliberation, we purchased the best kettles on the 2019 market for comparative testing in our lab.
Senior research analyst Austin Palmer, research analyst Michelle Powell and senior review editor Nick Miley have extensive experience testing and reviewing consumer products. Austin has tested everything from bread machines to VR headsets. He has a special knack for isolating the features that are often overlooked, but nonetheless have a significant impact on the consumer's experience. Michelle has over a decade of professional culinary experience that is centered in the gourmet coffee business. Her experience in coffee bars and cafes make her uniquely suited for an analysis of electric kettles. Nick has been writing consumer reviews for over six years. During that time he was also engaged in research in a university laboratory. He is adept at posing questions, testing hypotheses, and writing about the results.
How to Choose an Electric Kettle
One of life's consistent pleasures is waking up to a freshly brewed hot drink in the morning. If there's a way to improve on this experience, we think that many readers will be willing to spend a few dollars to do so. Case in point, many people today are ditching their bulky countertop coffee machines or the old grease-speckled teapot that lives on the range. In their place are sharp-looking electric kettles.
If you're looking to make this transition, then the first question to ask is whether you need a high-end kettle with lots of controls or just a model that boils water quickly. For many a hot drink consumer, having a convenient boiling device will suffice. However, if you're spending time and money picking out and brewing loose leaf teas or specialty coffees, then the ability to control temperature and pour is paramount.
Of course, there are more uses for an electric kettle than tea and coffee. With the multiplicity of kettle uses in mind, we must also consider the wide variety of functions that may be of value for alternative purposes. Namely, these are temperature selection, temperature holding, automatic shutoff, internal material, spout type, capacity, and water level indicator. These will be discussed later. First, we will boil down our analysis to the features common to all kettles, and thus of interest to all potential kettle owners.
You may have heard the axiom a watched pot never boils. That may have been true at one time, but no longer! Electric kettles seemingly attack the water and force it to change states right before your eyes. To quantify this action we run a simple boil time analysis. We take four cups of 57° F water and pour it into the unit, turn it on and record the time it takes to bring it to a rolling boil. Most of these kettles will boil water in around 4 minutes. However, the Fellow Stagg EKG takes quite a bit longer than the others at 6 min 38 sec. On the other end of the spectrum is the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp which achieves the same outcome in a mere 3 min, 46 sec. That's a pretty big difference if you want hot water in a hurry.
Water's boiling point varies based on atmospheric pressure and — all things being equal — atmospheric pressure decreases with elevation. Our lab is about 6,200 ft above sea level, an elevation that yields a relatively low average boiling point of 201° F. This value increases to ~212° F at sea level. The take home message here is that you shouldn't be surprised if you purchase one of these products and can't match our reported boil times. However, the differences between the kettles will remain the same.
These machines alert the user that a boil (or predefined temperature) has been achieved in a number of different ways. Some, like the Fellow Stagg EKG and the Bonavita BV322518V simply turn off unless set to hold the predefined temperature. Others, such as the OXO BREW Adjustable and the Breville IQ issue beeps. The remainder have an audible click that sounds when the on/ off switch returns to the off position. The BLACK+DECKER KE1500B and KitchenAid KEK1222SX fall into this latter category.
Balance, Weight and Ergonomics
It might seem silly to be delving this deep into how kettles feel in the hand when most people only have one in hand for a few seconds a day. While it is true that most people use these products lightly, we found that some kettles are a bit unwieldy. If for approximately the same price you can either have a well-balanced, comfortable machine or a heavy, awkward one, wouldn't you want to know which one is which? We'll assume the answer is yes.
The Secura and the KitchenAid are both examples of the larger, heavier models with pitcher-style spouts that pose problems when pouring. The demands that weight and size place on the user are compounded by the placement of the handle. While these two models have different designs, the problem is the same across both units: the handle and the spout are both high on the body of the machine. The result is that a full kettle has to be muscled into the pouring position. Conversely, the OXO, the Fellow Stagg and the Bonavita have gooseneck spouts (which pour from the bottom of the kettle) and handle designs that, once gripped, naturally angle the unit into the pouring position. These models are quite nice to hold and, at the same time, facilitate smooth pours. We will go into the importance of controlled pouring below.
Coffee drinkers vary considerably in palate and attention to detail in the brewing process. In our tests, we brew coffee in accordance with the industry's highest standards of extraction. If you are looking to up your coffee game, we suggest engaging a local coffee bean roaster (or coffee shop that has a relationship with one) and following their recommended extraction parameters. This will likely require you to invest in the tools of the trade if you haven't already. Namely, a quality grinder, a dripper, a kitchen scale and a gooseneck kettle with adjustable temperature settings.
On Proper Pouring
This review is not a guide to proper coffee brewing practices. However, we will touch on this subject as it provides background for the importance we place on certain kettle features. For more information on brewing coffee, please refer to the experts at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Coffee experts have long experimented with grind coarseness, water temperature, and brew time to extract the unique flavor profile that each bean variety has to offer. In an effort to isolate the factors contributing to desirable flavor outcomes, the variables in the extraction process have been limited. The result is a procedure that — as a general rule — sets the coffee to water ratio at 1:17 and the brew time to three minutes per 360 grams of water. Like many culinary tasks, simply following the directions is not enough. A certain degree of craft is required to render the best results.
The craft we are referencing here is the manner in which the hot water is poured. The aim is to deliver the water to the dripper in a slow, circular pour with pauses between full saturation and drainage. This method yields even extraction and full flavor.
To evaluate each kettle's pouring accuracy we placed a carafe and dripper holding 21 grams of ground coffee on a scale and zeroed it out. We then attempted to pour water over the grounds in an even, circular pattern until full saturation was achieved. We then continued to wet the grounds every 10 - 15 seconds until the scale registered 360 grams of coffee in the carafe. For consistency and accuracy, this test was conducted on each kettle by our expert barista and inhouse tester Michelle Powell.
As the coffee to water ratio combined with proper pouring technique is known to produce a pour of approximately three minutes, it wasn't a surprise that the practiced hand of our tester managed to get all the kettles to cluster around this time. However, what this data does not show, is the quality of the pour itself. The Secura SWK-1701DB and the Breville, with their chunky proportions and pitcher-style spouts, sloshed their way to a 360 grams in just 2 min 13 sec, and 2 min 30 sec respectively. While the remaining majority of the kettles were much closer to the mark, our tester experienced mixed results with pouring ease and accuracy. Only the gooseneck models — such as the Fellow Stagg and the Bonavita — produced even pours that saturated the grounds opposed to plunging through and pooling underneath them.
Time to Pour a Hot Glass of Water
This analysis is primarily for tea drinkers, but hot cocoa lovers may be interested, too. In this simple test, we ditched the coffee drip and timed how long it takes to make a controlled pour of 360 grams of hot water from a kettle directly into a glass, just as one would do when pouring for tea. Surprisingly, the range of pour times is fairly wide with the Breville and the Fellow bookending the class at 4 seconds and 27 seconds respectively. The models with goosenecks pour much slower than those with a pitcher-style nozzle, but as discussed in the previous section, they pour more smoothly and evenly.
There are several kettle features that are not common to all the products in this review. The following is a rundown of these features and why they may or may not be of importance to a consumer.
As the title implies, some models allow the user to heat water to a specific temperature. Kettles like the Bonavita have continuous settings within a range — in this case, 140° - 212° F. Others, like the Hamilton Beach offer preset options ranging from 160° F - boil in 5° F increments. Models like the COSORI have boil as their only option. As has been mentioned previously, water temperature options are primarily the province of connoisseur coffee and tea drinkers, as each leaf and bean has a preferred temperature that promotes the ideal flavor array. However, there are several other cooking applications that this function would help facilitate.
Temperature holding is simply the ability to set a certain water temperature and have the machine hold the water to that value. This is particularly nice if you're doing production pouring as in a professional setting or for a big get-together. Think hot toddies at a party or coffee Christmas morning with the whole family. About half of the models in the class have this feature, including three award winners. Namely, the Bonavita, Fellow Stagg and Hamilton Beach. Interestingly, the OXO BREW Adjustable does not have an automatic shut-off switch which means that it has a temperature holding function by default.
With the exception of the OXO, all models in this review turn themselves off automatically when they have reached the desired temperature — or a boil — unless set to hold a particular temperature.
All the kettles in this review have stainless steel interiors, except the BLACK+DECKER, which is plastic (note: Black+Decker states that their product may contain bisphenol A or BPA), and the COSORI which is glass. The COSORI's glass is pretty cool as the kettle is lit up by LED lights ringing the base that make for a nice visual display when the water begins to boil.
There are two spout types: goosenecks and pitcher-style. The gooseneck spouts draw from the bottom of the kettle whereas the pitcher-style flows from the top. In terms of pouring performance, the main difference between these two spouts is the amount of tilt required to make a pour and the corresponding control over the rate of pour. Goosenecks models like the Fellow Stagg and the Bonavita require little tilting to initiate a pour, and they have easy to control pour rates. The opposite is true for the majority of pitcher-style kettles.
The maximum capacity of the models here reviewed ranges from 0.9 - 1.8 liters. Whether you want a gooseneck or a traditional spout, there is a range of volumes available in each category. Most kettles, however, lean towards the larger capacities. Presumably, this is because one can always heat small batches of water with a large unit, but can't add more water to a small one at capacity.
Water Level Indicator
Some kettles have a water level window on the side of the container, some have minimum and maximum or just a maximum line on the inside of the container. Still, others have no indicators at all. This is a convenient feature, but not essential as one can simply look into the vessel for confirmation of water content.
Electric kettles are a fantastic addition to any kitchen appliance line-up as they accelerate and simplify hot water preparation and use. These nifty little machines offer an array of utilitarian features that range from boiling water rapidly to holding a predefined water temperature indefinitely. Whatever your hot water needs happen to be, there is a kettle with the right features for you.
— Nick Miley, Michelle Powell and Austin Palmer