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electric kettle recommendations

BeaN Mar 28, 2009 07:38 AM

I'm going to be buying a new electric kettle soon and would appreciate hearing which ones other 'Hounds recommend (or not).

I use it primarily to make coffee with my Aeropress, and less frequently to heat water for tea and other things, rarely (if ever) for stock or anything else other than water.

  1. jillp Mar 28, 2009 08:09 AM

    Take a look at the Breville. It's the one I wish I'd purchased instead of the Krups that drives me crazy.

    In addition to heating very quickly, the Breville has a lid that pops up for easy filling and has an automatic switch off.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jillp
      f
      FigNinja Apr 12, 2009 10:10 PM

      I have had a Breville for a few years and really like it. I'm lusting after the new variable temperature model. It's nice for coffee and teas that require a water temperature a bit lower than a full boil.

    2. c
      chuckl Mar 28, 2009 11:15 AM

      our Russell Hobbes has been going strong for years

      1 Reply
      1. re: chuckl
        d
        DPGood Apr 11, 2009 12:47 PM

        We too have a Russell Hobbs we purchased recently on sale at Macy's for around $30.00. It looks great and works great. As far as I can tell, they all do the same thing, except for a few that allow you to select from a variety of temperature settings. Other than that, there's no need to spend top dollar for one.

      2. Politeness Mar 28, 2009 11:48 AM

        We have had two, with different strengths and weaknesses.

        The Edgecraft Chef's Choice Electric French Press, http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/vacpots/frenchpressplus/latest, is an electric kettle that comes with two interchangeable tops, the second of which allows you to make French press coffee directly in the pot -- but if you use it that way, some residual coffee oil will build up over time, and you can use it after that ONLY to make coffee, because water boiled in the pot will have a faint coffee taste. We used ours strictly as an electric kettle. The wonder of the Chef's Choice is that the walls are clear from top to bottom and you can watch the water boil (and know if scale has built up inside the pot that needs to be scrubbed out). And getting your hand inside the kettle to scrub out the insides is a cinch, unlike other kettles that have small openings. It appears that, over time, the silicone seal between the cylinder that forms the walls of the Chef's Choice and the base of the appliance will cease to make a perfect seal and the appliance will begin to leak. That happened to ours about five years into ownership, but it was a great unit while it lasted. Edgecraft, headquartered in Pennsylvania, is also a wonderful company to work with (as we did when the seal gave out), and it would be nice if other companies took their customers' concerns as seriously as Edgecraft does. (Our kettle was actually made in Germany.)

        Eventually, we replaced our Chef's Choice with a Braun WK200B, the same as this one: http://www.imperialsales.net/wk200.html except ours is all black. The Braun has stood up to hard use for several years and it has worked flawlessly, but in all that time, we never have scrubbed out the inside of the Braun even once because the top opening is so tiny. (Peering in there, it still LOOKS clean, fortunately.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Politeness
          Paulustrious Apr 2, 2009 07:04 AM

          Boil vinegar in it to help remove scale.

        2. l
          lergnom Mar 28, 2009 12:19 PM

          The glass Capresso is our choice. It works fine and looks really cool, especially as the water reaches boil. The old models tended to drip from the spout but not the newer ones. The glass part sits on a plug-in base. Absolutely no off taste to the water.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lergnom
            c
            comestible Apr 1, 2009 08:40 PM

            I bought a Capresso too; it's my first electric kettle. On the recommendation of a tea-shop owner whose opinion I value.

            Unfortunately, there is a slight chemical smell released into the pot after a boil. I don't think it remains in the water, and hasn't affected the taste of my (expensive) teas, but that does bother me. I think it's from some gasket at the bottom where the silver heating element meets the glass. It bugs me, but I stopped thinking about it. I'll probably have cancer in 5 years, hee-hee.

            I must admit, the pot is quite attractive. I like watching the water come to a boil in it; it's just a nice design.

            1. re: comestible
              l
              lergnom Apr 8, 2009 04:30 PM

              We got ours because the others, including some recommended in this thread, affected the water taste. We don't notice what you've pointed out.

          2. Robin Joy Mar 28, 2009 02:46 PM

            You sometimes use your electric kettle for stock? Doesn't tea or coffee made from this kettle taste a little err....unusual?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Robin Joy
              BeaN Mar 28, 2009 03:51 PM

              Not since I discovered soap and water.

              1. re: BeaN
                Robin Joy Mar 28, 2009 11:02 PM

                Sorry. Didn't mean to sound sarcastic, just intrigued.

                Anyway, we've had quite a few over the years and there's not much th choose between the brands we've owned (Magimix, Dualit, Russell Hobbs, Morphy Richards etc.) in performance. Much more important is the design of the handle and how it will feel to pick up when full and hot. Safety from spills or dropping is definitely an issue I think.

                Our latest is a "Prestiege" brand which is a mid-market name here in the UK and it's fine, especially as it was only about $28. An earlier $150 item made us feel horribly smug for about a week. After that it just became "the kettle".

                One more thing is that white plastic takes a weekly wipe down much better than stainless which needs a proper polish fairly often, or it quickly looks pretty tired.

                1. re: Robin Joy
                  Soop Mar 31, 2009 07:58 AM

                  Hot damn Robin. I just image searched "kettle" and saw a glass one with 'Prestige' clearly written on the side, and a couple of seconds later, I came up with this bad boy, which I really like :
                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prestige-Cord...

                  And it's still less than £30. I have to say the platic bits are rather tasteless, but let's see:

                  Glass is a good insulator
                  Seeing the water boil is probably very amusing (simple things..
                  )You could put whatever you want in it, and the glass will not absorb odors etc

                  I'm off to find out more stats about it, but I think I've found my next kettle.

                  1. re: Soop
                    Robin Joy Mar 31, 2009 09:34 PM

                    Yes, they look great, don't they? However, I'm tipping that a proper weekly clean and polish will be required, even if it does not look needed. Otherwise it may start to look cruddy pretty quickly.

                  2. re: Robin Joy
                    BeaN Apr 2, 2009 07:00 AM

                    I don't think I've ever dropped my kettle, but that potential has me leaning away from glass.

                    The cleanup issue is one I wasn't thinking about. We have white plastic now. I don't think that it would ever occur to my husband to wipe it down. I'm the only one who will ever clean it, so i need to think about that.

                  3. re: BeaN
                    c
                    comestible Apr 1, 2009 08:42 PM

                    I think you may find that the instruction booklets for many electric kettles tell you not to boil anything in them but water. Mine certainly does.

                    1. re: comestible
                      BeaN Apr 2, 2009 07:02 AM

                      No room for any one-trick ponies in my kitchen except the fire extinguisher.

                      I rarely ever use my kettle for anything other than water, but if I can use a pot to boil water or stock or milk, I intend to use my kettle the same way. I'm thinking I might finally be able to make pho at home.

                2. c
                  CrazyOne Mar 28, 2009 04:01 PM

                  I looked over these carefully late last year when I was buying one as a gift. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I sprung for the Breville, which was the most appealing overall in my search. I was able to get one at Bed Bath and Beyond using one of the ubiquitous 20% off coupons, although the price on Amazon.com may be similar. The killer features to me were the wide opening should you wish to wash it out and the soft-damped auto opening top that flips with a push of a button on the handle. Thus, you can grab it with the hand, use that hand to open while using the other hand to work the faucet. The straight up and down stainless design was not my favorite; the glass Capresso was cooler looking to me. But the other workings of the Breville won me over.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CrazyOne
                    v
                    voyageurs60 Jun 18, 2010 06:19 AM

                    Which Breville model did you settle on please... Dan

                  2. monku Mar 28, 2009 04:09 PM

                    From one AeroPress user to another, I got a cheapo Rival that cost less than $10 (check places like Target) an it fits nicely in my suitcase when I take my coffee gear on a trip.

                    1. BeaN Mar 28, 2009 04:37 PM

                      Wow, thanks for all of the reply so far.

                      Monku - that was my first impulse. I have become a bit paranoid about the safety of plastic, though.

                      That Capresso is sexy but when I think about traveling, I could stuff the stainless Breville into a suitcase without worry about breakage. Then I could just worry about extra weight. . .

                      I'm relocating to Greater East Podunk, so I'll probably limit myself to what I can get online. But I have a month before I have to make a decision if there are other favorites out there.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: BeaN
                        monku Mar 28, 2009 08:19 PM

                        I've had it 10 years and never a problem....no melt or burn marks.
                        It's cheap and it boils the water just as quick as more expensive ones and has a temperature control to keep the water warm or boil.

                        It's also light and my AeroPress and a zip loc bag of coffee will fit into it-perfect for travel.

                        1. re: monku
                          BeaN Mar 29, 2009 05:06 PM

                          Oh now that's just unfair pressure. How's any other model going to compete?

                          Y'know, I never drank coffee until my husband started roasting it at home. Now I'm a junkie. Always asking if we have enough green beans, in a sweat if Sweet Maria's goes offline. . . .

                          1. re: BeaN
                            monku Mar 29, 2009 05:14 PM

                            I'll bet you could roast beans in it in a pinch.

                            1. re: monku
                              BeaN Apr 10, 2009 09:21 PM

                              you're just a regular Lothario, aren't you?

                              1. re: BeaN
                                monku Apr 10, 2009 11:14 PM

                                I try.......

                      2. k
                        kayakado Mar 30, 2009 08:05 AM

                        Stay away from the big round Black & Decker with the big round handle. The design is really poor and is likely nto cause major burns. They tell you to only use it to heat with the lid off, this makes the handle get so hot you can't touch it. It will also burn you when you tip the pot to dispense the water.

                        It's the CK1500R Cordless Electric 57-1/2-Ounce Dome Kettle

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kayakado
                          m
                          MillCreek Mar 30, 2009 08:09 AM

                          I have been happy with my Chef's Choice electric kettle:
                          http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

                          $ 50 list price, but an even better deal with the ubiquitous 20% off coupon.

                          1. re: kayakado
                            k
                            Kinnexa Apr 18, 2009 11:39 AM

                            My Black & Decker (the one referred to above) arrived yesterday. I'm happy with it. First of all, I didn't see any instruction to use it with the lid off. With the lid on it heats well and the handle stays cool. I did find that I need to pour by holding the round handle in the middle - if I grab it at one end, sometimes a small amount of steam does escape where the lid meets the kettle. Holding it in the middle gives me a nice pour with no burns. I also like the large capacity (1.7 liters) and the water level window, although the window does tend to fog over. If you have really big hands it may be a pain for you to remove the lid, which is directly underneath the handle, but I haven't had a problem with it. Works for me, and at $45 on amazon.com, a reasonable compromise between quality and price.

                          2. PattiCakes Mar 30, 2009 12:19 PM

                            I asked for one for my birthday because I drink a lot of tea at work & can never get water hot enough to steep it well. Darling Daughter got me a Russell Hobbs from Macy's. The pot sits on a round detatchable base that is the actual heating unit. When off the base, the pot is "cordless". Heats very fast & has an easy on/off switch. Down side is that the water cools very fast as well -- the pot I have doesn't have a thermal capacity. They probably make those, but it wasn't a feature I needed.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PattiCakes
                              w
                              walker Jun 3, 2009 09:18 PM

                              I really love my Russell Hobbs, have given them as gifts, don't know how I ever did w/out it. I really like the "cordless" aspect. So fast. Pretty, too.

                            2. o
                              onocoffee Mar 30, 2009 05:36 PM

                              Check out the Bodum water heater. They're relatively inexpensive (about $25) and work great.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: onocoffee
                                j
                                Jim Washburn Mar 30, 2009 06:35 PM

                                My Bodum Mini does work great. I got lucky and found a used one at a thrift shop for a buck and have been using it daily for about six months. It boils water fast and is small, light, and portable.

                                Jim

                              2. r
                                RGC1982 Mar 31, 2009 07:44 PM

                                Chef's Choice International comes in differet styles, from sleek to traditional. Mine is cordless (when pouring) and has an automatic shut-off. It was recommended to me by the Russell Hobbs sales staff when I was looking for one of those. Clean it easily with white vinegar and water every month or so, and the scale dissolves in about twenty minutes.

                                1. Paulustrious Apr 2, 2009 07:21 AM

                                  You are American so your kettle is restricted to a max of 1700 watts. More common is 1500. Do not go lower than this. Power is the most important consideration.

                                  If you use it to make single cups of tea then you want a kettle that has a minimum level of 10 fluid ounces or so.

                                  Get one where the base detaches from cord so it is easy to fill.

                                  If the base can drop in the sink make sure the receptacle is GFI protected (That's code anyway)

                                  Ensure you can fill it without taking the lid off.

                                  I think all kettles now switch off automatically. It should also have a boil dry shut-off.

                                  The heating element should be 'invisible' or it tends to scale up. (How hard is your water?)

                                  You must have an easily readable gauge that shows the water level as you fill it.

                                  External 'tube' water indicators tend to leak or get broken. A see through panel is better.

                                  Plastic is less likely to burn you than glass or metal. But that's hardly an issue.

                                  A wider base is less likely to be knocked over.

                                  A nice feature is for the base to store part of the cord if it is too long.

                                  Some (such as Hamilton Beach) continue to boil for 30 seconds before switching off.

                                  It should have an easily visible light so you can see if it is switched on.

                                  If you are going to store it in a cupboard make sure the height is OK - take a tape measure.

                                  And to our UK readers...one thing you would find surprising is how few US kitchens have electric kettles. And if they do have them they are not necessarily permanently on the counter. Canada has more proportionately.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Paulustrious
                                    Soop Apr 2, 2009 07:37 AM

                                    Really? I didn't know that. So they use the stove? That must take longer, and it's less efficient.

                                    Although I suppose the British drink far more tea, and I'd imagine Americans are more likely to buy a coffee machine like a perculator

                                    1. re: Soop
                                      Paulustrious Apr 2, 2009 07:45 AM

                                      Very few percolators in the US or Canada. They are more common in the UK. Mind you they started going out of fashion (a la Russell Hobbs) in the 80's. Standard here are drip coffee machines.

                                      Chowhounders are unusual in terms of the equipment they own. They are much more likely to have coffee presses (= UK cafetiere) or other esoteric equipment. UK gourmets will have more vacuum (Cona) makers then their US counterparts.

                                      But you are right, it is primarily to do with the ratio of coffee to tea drinking.

                                      1. re: Paulustrious
                                        Soop Apr 2, 2009 07:56 AM

                                        I used to have a stovetop one, with a platform for the espresso cups. Never got on with French presses, and I tend to drink more tea now. In a massive cup. With vanilla sugar :)

                                        I'm really considering a glass kettle now despite everyone's warnings.

                                      2. re: Soop
                                        d
                                        dscheidt Apr 7, 2009 02:00 PM

                                        One of the problems with electric kettles in the US is that US household outlets only supply half the watts as UK ones. So electric kettles don't produce boiling water with the amazing instantness that they do in the UK. They're still faster than the stove, but not that much. I've got one, which I got as a gift when I was in college (wasn't allowed any other electric appliances). I wouldn't be without it, but I drink more tea than most americans,

                                      3. re: Paulustrious
                                        PattiCakes Apr 7, 2009 12:55 PM

                                        Paulustrius and Soop: You are correct. It's probably because we drink more coffee here in the States, and our electric appliance of choice is a coffee maker. We tend to use a stove-top kettle to boil water, or just do a cup at a time in the microwave. My daughter did her student teaching in Wimbledon, UK, and got addicted to tea. The teacher's "lounge" in the school had several kettles always at the ready. As soon as she came back to the States, she asked for a kettle for her birthday. Now I have one as well at work & don't understand how I did without for so long. We Americans are a funny breed.

                                        1. re: PattiCakes
                                          k
                                          Kinnexa Apr 12, 2009 12:05 PM

                                          I second that! I used to heat water by running it through my coffeemaker or (yuck) putting a tea bag in a mug of cold water and nuking it. After I heard a report on Radio Canada about electric kettles and how Americans seem not to have heard of them, I bought one - a Melitta Express Kettle - and will never be without again! I use it several times a day for tea, French press coffee, ramen, or helping my hot plate along when I want a quick boil for pasta or whatever.

                                          My kettle just developed a leak in the handle that's affecting the switch, after 5+ years of service. I shopped on Amazon.com and couldn't find the Melitta, so after drooling over the high-end kettles I narrowed my choice to: under $50; no glass, no plastic (please, not a dorm-room "hot pot" - always makes me think of Spaghetti-Os); MUST have sealed heating element and auto shutoff and at least a liter capacity. Last week I ordered the Black & Decker that Kayakado warns about...stay tuned for my review when it arrives this week...

                                          As for cleaning - and I have very hard water that leaves white crusty deposits in the kettle and on the filter, which will flake off into the water if not removed - I use a cleaner called B-Brite from the homebrew shop. Vinegar works well, too, or citric acid sold for winemaking. And man, does that first clean pot taste good!!

                                      4. e
                                        embee Apr 8, 2009 11:07 AM

                                        Electric kettles have been a standard kitchen appliance in Canada for the entire 40+ years I've lived here. As of the late sixties, they were unheard of in the US. This made it easy to choose wedding gifts for family and friends in the south, since we KNEW they didn't have one and wouldn't be getting one from someone else.

                                        At first, it seemed a silly idea, but I've come to consider my electric kettle an essential appliance. (Though I don't understand the appeal of the expensive, computer controlled Japanese versions that actually take forever to heat water.) If you think about it, you'll come up with many uses beyond just making coffee or tea.

                                        To second Paulustrious' post, high wattage is the most important thing to look for. An 1100 watt kettle will probably be slower than your stove. In the US and Canada, look for 1700 watts first; then compare features.

                                        If you happen to have a 220 v outlet and access to 220 v appliances, the heating speed of a high wattage 220 v kettle will blow you away.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: embee
                                          Paulustrious Apr 11, 2009 05:11 AM

                                          They may be standard, but they are far from universal. There is also a cultural divide. Few of the old Italian families I know have EKs. I don't know enough about the other hundred cultures here in Toronto but I suspect possession is often drawn along cultural lines.

                                          1. re: Paulustrious
                                            e
                                            embee Apr 11, 2009 08:51 AM

                                            I've seen them in old school Italian family kitchens, but the "standard" item there is more likely an aluminum moka pot.

                                            1. re: embee
                                              Paulustrious Apr 11, 2009 10:35 AM

                                              "AN" aluminium (Brit) moka pot?

                                              If they have one they are not Italian. I think we have six or so.

                                            2. re: Paulustrious
                                              mogo Jun 2, 2009 10:06 PM

                                              I have one of the thermo-pot things (which I affectionately refer to as the perma-kettle):

                                              http://www.panasonic.ca/english/appli...

                                              1. re: mogo
                                                tanuki soup Jun 6, 2009 07:38 AM

                                                Yeah, they're great. I always use my Zojirushi electric hot pot for coffee.

                                                 
                                            3. re: embee
                                              Jen76 Apr 28, 2009 02:03 PM

                                              I guess percolators don't count (even though they seem to essentially do the same thing)? I have a percolator. I love it, though, oddly enough, I never really thought to use it for anything other than coffee. Ha! Old habits die hard I guess. I use the microwave to heat up small amounts of water for tea or whatever. That may change now.

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