An electric kettle is a gadget that does only one thing in the same sense as a knife
is a gadget that does only one thing: it's not. As soon as you get one you'll find dozens
of uses. My only recommendation is to spend the extra for a metal one. Plastic has
definite taste issues. We have a metal Chef's Choice at work that's about five years old
and gets a real workout daily and except for expected wear-and-tear (lid loosening, chipped
handle when it got dropped, etc.) it's holding up great.
I have a Bodum I am very happy with. It is oval in shape and takes up very little counter space and is very fast.
Consumer Reports just did a feature on them and on they liked was the Capresso. The new Sur La Table catalog came today and they have the Capresso on special for $59.95 down from $100.
I have the Chef's Choice as well. I believe that's the one that Alton Brown recommends (not sure if he is paid by them). I replaced a Cuisinart that had seen it's better days. The Chef's Choice was significantly cheaper, and I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond using a 20% discount coupon. Both tea kettles work very well, but with the difference in price I'll go with a CC any day.
By the way, the electric kettle makes heating up pasta water much quicker. Put on a kettle to boil while you're heating up half a pan of water.
Hi witnessprotection. I was tired of spending so much $$ on coffee during the workday, so I needed an electric kettle to boil water for my french press. After a lot of research, I ended up with the Braun WK600 Impressions 7-Cup Electric Kettle in Brushed Stainless Steel:
The stainless steel option is a lot more pricey than plastic models, but the more research I did, the less comfortable I was with the prospect of boiling water over and over in a plastic container, for health as well as taste reasons. The stainless steel is non-reactive, and puts my mind at rest given all the recent solid studies that have questoned the wisdom of heating comestibles items in plastic.
I have been REALLY happy with the Braun. It's easy to fill (watch out for hard to fill tops & spouts on electric kettles -- go see the brands you're interested in and see how they work. This was a big surprise for me.) This model has a anti-calcification filter, which seems to work well. The only thing to keep in mind is that stainless steel types of kettles are metal all the way through. This means that the outside of the kettle gets hot (well, it's got boiling water inside!) just like a proper kettle you use on the stove. As long as you're not using this someplace where young children might accidently touch it while hot, I don't think it's a problem. For me, it's in my office, so it's not an issue. You just have to remind yourself it's like a stovetop kettle -- I only touched the hot kettle once by accident, the very first time I used it, and haven't done it since.
The hotness aside, this is a nearly perfect kettle -- at least for my needs. It was more than I had intended to spend on an electric kettle, but I'm very happy with it, and it's clean modern lines look very nice as well.
I tried to buy a Russell Hobbs after reading threads on Chowhound, and ended up buying a Chef's Choice from the same company. They don't make RH anymore, but the US salesman was pretty big on this brand. I like it a lot. It boils water quickly and has an automatic shut off, which is a good thing. Can't compare it to anything other than a stovetop model, but I would get one again. You can find these on the Russell Hobbs web site.