Best Electric Kettle of 2021
The Bonavita BV382518V is an elegant gooseneck kettle that adds a touch of sophistication to any countertop. It provides a controlled, balanced pouring experience supplied by a well-designed handle and spout. With temperature selection and holding options, this kettle is great for tea or coffee aficionados and other hot drink enthusiasts. Plus, as one tester noted, it also works well as a watering can for houseplants.
Although we are impressed with the Bonavita's performance, we have a few gripes, too. Specifically, the unit does not have an alert indicating that the desired water temperature has been reached. Additionally, its narrow spout pours very slowly. These flaws may not matter for ritualized pour-over coffee but can be frustrating for high-volume applications. Despite these limitations, this machine's merits far outweigh its faults.
Read review: Bonavita BV382518V
The Fellow Stagg EKG is a great kettle for pour-over coffee. Its narrow gooseneck spout and efficient handle design restrict water flow to a slow, steady stream. These two features will greatly aid one in their pursuit of the perfect cup of drip coffee. This model also has adjustable temperature control, automatic shut-off, as well as temperature holding — all great features for those trying to dial in their hot drink experience.
On the downside, the EKG has a small capacity (0.9L) and a relatively long boil time at 6 min 38 sec. As a result, it's not great for production or uses outside the specialty hot drink realm. However, if your primary hot water need is for coffee or tea, then this machine is a pleasure to use.
Read review: Fellow Stagg EKG
This economical, do-it-all kettle is an excellent addition to high-volume kitchens or break-rooms. The COSORI CO108-NK has beverage-specific push-button presets that make heating water a no-brainer. The gooseneck spout and articulated handle provide low flow rates suitable for pour-over extraction. Yet, unlike pour-over-specific kettles, this model can also accommodate high flow rates if needed. Moreover, the large capacity (1.7L) and temperature holding option will keep the hot water flowing even if demand is high.
Conversely, this kettle has a relatively slow boil speed, especially at the upper end of the temperature settings. At the same time, gooseneck leaves a bit to be desired as it requires a steady hand to deliver the ideal stream of water that such a design suggests. Still, the COSORI is a capable kettle that will satisfy most people's hot water needs without being ostentatious.
Read review: COSORI CO108-NK
If you are not a hot drink aficionado but want a sleek-looking kettle that won't break the bank, this kettle is a great option. The AmazonBasics Stainless Steel 1.7L kettle has a large reservoir that can boil water at a decent rate. It pours reasonably smoothly, given the disadvantages of pitcher-style spouts and handles. However, if the kettle will be used for tasks other than making hot drinks, this model can discharge water with gusto, too.
While there is much to like about this model, it lacks all the control features enjoyed by the competition. This means that one can't set the water temperature, and there's no temperature holding function. This kettle boils water and then turns itself off with an audible click. That's it. Yet, if all that one requires is a decent-looking machine that will boil water, the affordable AmazonBasics kettle is a great option.
Read review: AmazonBasics Stainless Steel 1.7L
The Miroco Electric Kettle is a simple, single temperature kettle that has an understated but timeless design that will look good on almost any countertop. The water reservoir is double-layered with a stainless steel interior and thick plastic exterior that holds heat in while keeping the exterior closer to the ambient air temperature. The stainless steel imparts no flavor to water that we could detect, but, if needed, the large reservoir opening makes it possible to reach one's hand in for cleaning purposes.
While the Miroco's design speaks to basic utility, some may find the absence of features like temperature holding and temperature selection to be a deal-breaker. Moreover, those who are habitually in a hurry may see the long boil time — just under 5 minutes for four cups — as an inconvenience. Finally, the lip of this pitcher-style kettle struggles with the pouring that is favored by the pour-over coffee crowd. Yet, if you're not too particular about your hot water — aside from it being hot — then this basic and affordable unit has a lot to offer.
Read review: Miroco Electric Kettle
Like all gooseneck kettles, the OXO BREW Adjustable is great for pour-over coffee. Its articulated handle and narrow spout facilitate a balanced, even pour. Unlike other gooseneck models, this kettle pours at a relatively high rate which makes it more useful for general purpose applications. The OXO also boasts temperature holding and continuous temperature control settings. Unique to this model is an elegant temperature dial as well as a digital display.
Given the OXO's features, one might think it should be ranked higher. However, this model displayed pronounced temperature inaccuracies. Additionally, the OXO lacks an automatic shut-off function. Yet, in light of this machine's competitive price point, we think it is worth considering.
Read review: OXO BREW Adjustable
Breville's the IQ Kettle made a strong showing in our evaluation. The unit offers automatic shut-off, preset temperature options as well as temperature holding. The pitcher-style spout makes for fast pouring, too, which is nice considering it has a 1.8-liter reservoir.
While the IQ's wide spout makes for quick pouring, it also makes it challenging to achieve slow, even pours. Compounding this issue is the unit's relatively large dimensions. In other words, it's not the best for pour-over coffee. It's also quite expensive, rendering its array of features a little less impressive. Despite the shortcomings, the IQ is a reliable kettle that successfully combines multifunctionality and high capacity.
Read review: Breville the IQ Kettle
The Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp is a 1.7-liter pitcher-style kettle with preset temperature controls, temperature holding, and an ultra-fast boiling time. This model has conveniently placed controls on the top of the handle that can be easily toggled with the thumb. These features are great for accommodating multiple uses.
On the other hand, the PerfecTemp has the same shortcomings as all the other large-capacity pitcher-style kettles we tested. Specifically, it is heavy and poorly balanced, which makes it clumsy when attempting controlled pours. It also has a hefty price tag. With that said, this unit will get a hot drink in hand in a hurry.
Read review: Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp
For those tea drinkers that are looking to upgrade their old stovetop kettle without losing the classic look, the KitchenAid KEK1222SX will be a perfect fit. This model is a no-frills, single-setting machine that has nearly everything a flame-heated kettle has except for the steam whistle. Replacing the shrieking boil alert is an automatic shut-off that resets the on switch to off with a pleasant click.
Like some of the gooseneck kettles we reviewed, the KitchenAid is a single-function design. The spout is suited to quick, gurgling pours, sufficient for tea but less ideal for pour-over coffee. Moreover, the placement of the handle makes slow and steady pours very difficult. That said, this throwback kettle can boil water with the best of them and looks good to boot.
Read review: KitchenAid KEK1222SX
The COSORI Electric Kettle's all-glass reservoir illuminated by blue LED lights makes it a standout in the class. Depending on your view, the addition of lights is either an aesthetic choice that makes watching water boil appealing, or completely over the top. On a more practical note, the rolled lip pours quite smoothly despite the pitcher-style design.
While the COSORI has ample flair, it is a single-setting machine. There is no temperature selection — just a button to turn it on. It also lacks temperature holding. Although the vessel is big enough to get a hand inside for cleaning, the glass construction poses the risk of breaking. Despite these concerns, this is a reliable unit available for a competitive price.
Read review: COSORI Electric Kettle
The Mueller Ultra Kettle M99S is a decent glass kettle that comes at a moderate price. The unit has an attached lid, a 1.8-liter reservoir, and an automatic shut-off that is delayed for 30 seconds following the boiling point. The unit will bring 4 cups of water to a boil in about 4 1/2 minutes which is average for the models we tested. Finally, the rolled lip of the spout facilitated controlled, even pouring as compared to the other pitcher-style kettles in the class.
While many like the look of glass — and the spectacle of the illuminated water within — this material poses a few risks worth noting. First, glass is fairly fragile as compared to other construction materials. Second, glass offers almost no insulation. This latter issue means that the heat of the water will bleed off rapidly and, perhaps more concerning, it offers no buffer between the boiling water within and the kettle's surface temperature. All in all, we think that this kettle is worth the asking price, but there are other options we would consider first.
Read review: Mueller Ultra Kettle M99S
The Secura SWK-1701DB is a large-capacity plastic kettle with a stainless steel interior. It has no temperature settings nor temperature holding. It does shut off automatically, however, when it comes to a boil.
This pitcher-style model is not great for pour-over coffee because it's poorly balanced, heavy, and the spout is wide. On the other hand, the same features promote fast pouring. The Secura is simplistic and straightforward to use.
Read review: Secura SWK-1701DB
The BLACK+DECKER KE1500B is an unassuming pitcher-style kettle with no pretenses about features, flair, or style. This machine is straightforward to use and inexpensive. It has one setting (boil), an automatic shut-off, and a relatively large capacity.
While we have few gripes about the BLACK+DECKER's design, we do have an issue with its all-plastic reservoir. Although 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 and is prone to staining.
Read review: BLACK+DECKER KE1500B
Why You Should Trust Us
In our pursuit of detailed, data-driven consumer electronics evaluations, we perform extensive and continual research on the most compelling products on the market. In this case, we scoured the web for the most popular electric kettle units, read manufacturer specifications, and consulted experts in the tea and coffee business. After much deliberation, we purchased the best kettles we could find 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 knack for isolating the features that are often overlooked but tend to have a major impact on customer experience. Michelle has over a decade of professional culinary experience that is rooted in the gourmet coffee business. Her experience in coffee bars and cafes makes her uniquely suited for an analysis of electric kettles. Nick is an experienced home cook and baker who is rarely without a cup of coffee or tea within arm's reach.
How to Choose an Electric Kettle
All of our testers agree that one of life's most consistent pleasures is enjoying a freshly brewed hot drink in the morning. We think many readers would agree and would be willing to spend a few extra dollars to improve this experience. Case in point, many people are looking to replace their old, grease-speckled, stovetop kettles with sharp-looking, efficient electric kettles.
If you're looking to make the same change, the first question to ask is whether you need a high-end kettle with lots of controls or a model that simply boils water quickly. For many hot drink consumers, a convenient boil-only device will suffice. However, if you're also spending time and money picking out loose leaf teas or specialty coffees, then the ability to control temperature and discharge rate is more important.
Of course, there are more uses for an electric kettle than just tea and coffee. With the diversity of kettle uses in mind, we also considered the wide variety of functions that could be important for alternative purposes. Namely, these are temperature selection, temperature holding, automatic shut-off, internal material, spout type, capacity, and water level indicator. These unique features are discussed later in the review. First, we focus our analysis on the characteristics 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 might have been true in the past, but no longer! Electric kettles seemingly attack the water and force it to change states right before our eyes. To quantify this action, we ran a simple boil time analysis. We took four cups of 57° F water, poured it into the unit, turned it on, and recorded the time it took the water to reach a rolling boil. Most of these kettles will boil water in about 4 minutes. However, the Fellow Stagg EKG takes quite a bit longer at 6 minutes 38 seconds. On the other end of the spectrum is the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp, which achieves the same outcome in a mere 3 minutes, 46 seconds. That's a pretty big difference if you hit the snooze button one too many times and are running late.
Water's boiling point varies based on atmospheric pressure and — all things being equal — atmospheric pressure decreases with elevation. Our lab is situated at about 6,200 ft above sea level, an elevation that yields a relatively low average boiling point of 201° F. At sea level, this value rises to ~212° F. Accordingly, one shouldn't be surprised if they can't match our reported boil times. However, the observed differences between the kettles should remain the same.
Some kettles will alert the user that their water has come to a boil (or predefined temperature). There are several ways in which this end is achieved. Some, like the Bonavita and Fellow, turn off unless they're set to hold the predefined temperature. Others, such as the IQ Kettle and the OXO BREW Adjustable, issue beeps. The others have an audible click when their on/off switch returns to the off position. The BLACK+DECKER and KitchenAid 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 hold them for a few seconds a day. Although most people tend to use these products lightly, we found some kettles to be unwieldy and hard to pour. Given the option between a comfortable, well-balanced machine or an awkward, heavy one, we assume most people will select the latter.
The KitchenAid and the Secura are both examples of the heavier, larger models with pitcher-style spouts that pose problems when aiming for a smooth pour. The demands that their weight and size pose for the user are compounded by the handle's placement. Although these two models have different designs, the problem is the same across both units: the handle and the spout are high on the machine's body. The result is that a full kettle has to be muscled into the pouring position. Conversely, the OXO, the Fellow, and the Bonavita feature gooseneck spouts (which discharge from the bottom of the kettle) and handle designs that naturally tilt the unit into the pouring position. These models are quite nice to hold and, at the same time, promote smooth pours.
Coffee drinkers vary considerably in palate and attention to detail in the brewing process. In our tests, we brewed coffee following the industry's highest standards for extraction. If you're 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 also 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.
This review is not a guide to proper coffee brewing practices. However, we will touch on this subject because it provides the background for the importance of certain kettle features.
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. The variables in the extraction process were limited to isolate the factors contributing to desirable flavor outcomes. 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, merely following the directions is not enough. A certain degree of craft is required to achieve the best results.
The craft we are referring to here is how to pour the hot water. 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 more even extraction and maximum flavor.
To evaluate each kettle's pouring accuracy, we placed a carafe and dripper with 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 we achieved full saturation. We then continued to wet the grounds every 10 - 15 seconds until our scale registered 360 grams of coffee in the carafe. For consistency and accuracy, this test was administered by our expert barista and in-house tester, Michelle Powell.
This coffee to water ratio combined with proper pouring technique is known to produce a pour time of approximately three minutes, so it wasn't a surprise that our tester's practiced hand managed to get all the kettles to cluster around this time. However, what the data cannot show, is the quality of the pour itself. The Secura and the Breville, with their chunky proportions and pitcher-style spouts, sloshed their way to 360 grams in just 2 min 13 sec, and 2 min 30 sec, respectively. The remaining majority of the kettles were much closer to the mark, but we experienced mixed results with pouring ease and accuracy. Only the gooseneck models — such as the Bonavita and the Fellow — supplied even pours that saturated the grounds rather than plunging the water through them and pooling underneath.
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 took 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 Mueller 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.
Several kettles offer additional features that are not common to all the products in this review. The following is a rundown of these features and why they may be important for certain kettle applications.
Some models can heat water to a specific sub-boiling temperature — we refer to this function as temperature control. Kettles such as the Bonavita have continuous settings within a range. In this case, the range is 140° - 212° F. Others, like the Cuisinart, offer preset options at various increments below boiling. Still others like the COSORI CO108-NK have boil as their only option. Specific water temperatures are primarily the province of connoisseur coffee and tea drinkers, as each leaf or bean may have a specific temperature that promotes its unique flavor. Moreover, this feature allows one to satisfy their water temperature preference.
Temperature holding is simply the ability to set a specific water temperature and have the machine hold the water at that value. This feature is particularly nice if one is doing production pouring in a professional setting or for a big get-together. Think hot toddies at a party or bottomless coffee on Christmas morning with the extended family. About half of the models in the class offer this feature, including the Bonavita, Fellow, and COSORI CO108-NK. The OXO does not have an automatic shut-off switch, which means that it functions as a temperature-holding kettle by default.
Except for the OXO, all models in this review turn themselves off automatically when they reach the selected temperature — or a boil — unless they are set to hold a particular temperature. The Mueller delays shut-off for 30 seconds following the boiling point.
All the kettles in this review have stainless steel interiors except the COSORI Electric Kettle and Mueller, which are glass, and the BLACK+DECKER, which is plastic. (Note: BLACK+DECKER states that their product may contain bisphenol A or BPA). The COSORI and Mueller's glass looks pretty cool when illuminated by the LED lights ringing their bases.
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 spouts is the amount of tilt required to make a pour and the corresponding control over the rate of flow. Goosenecks models like the Fellow and the Bonavita require little tilting to initiate a pour, and the flow rate is easy to control. The opposite is true for most of the pitcher-style kettles. The COSORI Electric Kettle and Mueller have rolled glass lips that pour quite nicely compared to the other pitcher-style models.
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 you can always heat small batches of water with a large unit, but you can't add more water to a unit with limited capacity.
Water Level Indicator
Some kettles include a water level window on the side of the container; others 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 because you can simply look into the vessel on any model to check the water level.
This review provides a wide range of information on electric kettles as derived from our extensive hands-on testing of these products. Our analysis looks at boiling times, pour rates, and available features such as temperature holding. Using this information, we highlight kettles that are best suited to activities such as pour-over coffee and tea as well as other kitchen tasks requiring hot water in a hurry. Whatever one's hot water needs happen to be, there is a kettle here with features that will satisfy.
— Nick Miley, Michelle Powell and Austin Palmer