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Electric kettle vs stove top?

buzz t Oct 27, 2008 03:32 PM

Is it worth buying an electric kettle for boiling water...? I (think) it can boil water alot faster but is it more efficient to use than a regular stove top kettle (energy wise that is)? I am trying to be more energy conscious (both for saving money and the planet).. Or is the energy use between the two neglible?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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  1. JoanN RE: buzz t Oct 27, 2008 04:17 PM

    I saw a manuscript recently for a not-yet-published book on ecological tips around the home that said that electric kettles were far more energy efficient that stove-top kettles, but I don't recall the scientific details.

    A few years ago I bought an electric kettle mainly to humor a British friend who stays at my apartment a couple of times a year. He thought I was a luddite heating water in a tea kettle. He was right; I was wrong. It boils water a lot faster. I use the electric kettle whenever I need hot water--even to get a head start on boiling water for pasta.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN
      RShea78 RE: JoanN Nov 5, 2008 02:51 PM

      ""I saw a manuscript recently for a not-yet-published book on ecological tips around the home that said that electric kettles were far more energy efficient that stove-top kettles, but I don't recall the scientific details.""

      Because these kettles (aka Hot Pots) have their heating coil made into the base, they provide superior heat to liquid transfer capabilities. Most of these use inverted "U" or "omega" heating coil design also increases surface to liquid contact area if we were to compare it some flat base coil design used in some household grills, skillets and fryers.

      Bottom line is that less energy is used as we do not have to heat a pan first, before the energy gets transferred to the liquid.

      As a science project my niece took my hotpot into class to demonstrate the time and energy used to heat a quart of water. The rest of the class then went into the Home-Ec class to measure the same in using a pan over a burner. Calculations came out that 5 minutes with 1000 watts vs an electric burner and a pan at 2400 watts took nearly 15 minutes for water to reach a boil.

    2. jillp RE: buzz t Oct 27, 2008 06:42 PM

      The Krups kettle I have is not perfect but it certainly boils water far more quickly than on the stove or in the microwave. Everyone I know who drinks tea in any quantity has a kettle and I think that's why - it's just far more efficient.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jillp
        legourmettv RE: jillp Oct 28, 2008 04:56 AM

        I've had this argument with my American cousins in the past (they all live in Arkansas, while my half of the family lives in Toronto). Electric kettles are on just about every Canadian countertop, and when mine recently broke I had to heat water for tea on the stove with a back-up stove-top kettle that I keep deep in the basement. The stove top took forever (gas stove- 1 gajilion BTU's)!
        The electric has to be more efficient if it is so much faster.


      2. OCAnn RE: buzz t Oct 28, 2008 09:24 AM

        I have one and love it during the cooler months. During the summer, it goes in a big drawer & its counterspace is used by an ice shaver; when the weather dips, it swaps places.

        I've been eyeballing a new one w/a stainless interior at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/6nweg2

        We use the hot water everyday; me for tea, Mr OCAnn for his French press.

        1 Reply
        1. re: OCAnn
          legourmettv RE: OCAnn Oct 28, 2008 12:52 PM

          I would stay away from the all plastic models, we had a stainless model growing up... there are pictures of me as a baby with it in the background - 42 years later it is still churning out hot water on my parents counter.


        2. BerkshireTsarina RE: buzz t Oct 28, 2008 01:35 PM

          We made the switch about two years ago to an electric kettle, and never looked back. It's really fast, clean, frees up another burner on the stove. We have a Braun, and it's completely serviceable, no complaints. I couldn't believe I'd give up my stove top tea kettle --- but what an improvement this is.

          1. Scrapironchef RE: buzz t Oct 31, 2008 12:19 PM

            They are much more efficient, the heat transfer is direct from element to the water, not element>pan>water with loss in between. I've had a plastic Bodum one for 10 years, if it would only break I'd replace it with a stainless one.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scrapironchef
              BobB RE: Scrapironchef Nov 5, 2008 01:00 PM

              Ours is in daily use (we're tea drinkers in the AM, not coffee). Absolutely more efficient than a stove top, and considerably faster.

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