A kettle that simply boils water is now out of date. Now you can get models that are very fast, boil at different temperatures, filter the water, or at the very least match your kitchen color scheme. This is what you need to know when buying a kettle.
Jug or traditional style designs, electric water heaters are the norm in most kitchens. You can choose from a variety of finishes that include tempered glass, plastic, brushed stainless steel, and chrome.
If you have the option of heating water in the fireplace, this is an attractive option. Slower than electric kettles, but worth considering if you have a country style kitchen. Most come with an essential whistle to let you know when the water has boiled.
Whatever the design, there are three main factors to consider before purchasing:
Speed is the key when it comes to buying kettles. There is a big difference of two minutes between the fastest and the slowest, which can add up to a lot more time and energy. The power of kettles generally ranges from 1.7 kW to 3 kW. Those with a power of 3 kW are classified as fast boiling and you can get a speed of 2 and a half minutes or less for a liter or four cups of water.
In general, the more powerful the kettle, the faster it boils, but also the higher the price. What’s more, kettles with higher wattage tend to be much louder.
Generally, kettles can hold 1.5 to 1.7 liters of water. A large cup is 250 ml on average, so you should be able to boil 6-7 cups at a time. Check the minimum capacity (it should be around 250 ml), so that you do not boil more than you need and save on your electricity bill. Smaller kettles, like travel and small ones, are great for vacations or if you live alone. Travel thermoses are dual voltage, which means they will operate on 120-240 volts without damage.
Most models have a clearly marked minimum level. If you have right- and left-handers in the family, you may find kettles with water-level windows on both sides helpful.
A full kettle can be heavy, so it is worth checking the position and shape of the handle, which can affect balance when pouring and filling. Some handles have a soft, rubberized area. If you are concerned about weight, remember that metal ones tend to be heavier than those with plastic bodies, sometimes doubling the weight of the kettle when full.
Most have removable and washable filters found at the base of the nozzle. These collect lime from the water to prevent foaming on the surface of the tea, thus enhancing the flavor.
These are responsible for heating the water: when the thermos is turned on, the element heats up until the water boils and then a sensor automatically turns off the kettle. Traditionally, kettles had exposed elements at the bottom, but these were prone to scale attack and were the main cause of kettle failures. In most kettles, the heating element is hidden under the base plate so that it does not come into contact with water. The high-end ones have sophisticated energy-saving high-power heating elements.
Boil dry protection
The kettle automatically shuts off if there is not enough water, so there is no risk of it drying out. Also, check your water meter to make sure there isn’t too much water, which could boil and be a safety hazard.
A hub pirouette connector means you can replace the water heater at the base to orient it in the most convenient direction for you. Most have a storage cord underneath. Whether you are filling the kettle from a tap or a water filter, always remove the kettle from the power base while filling it.
Fill the kettle
A wide spout makes filling faster, or look for one with a hinged lid for ease of use and maximum safety. On some models, the lids are kept cool for added safety.
Some models have a built-in water filter with replaceable cartridges, which last about one or two months. However, the cartridge takes up quite a bit of space inside the kettle, which is why they tend to be bulkier and heavier. It also takes time for the water to pass through the filter.
The bodies of some kettles can get very hot, like one made from brushed stainless steel, which doesn’t make it ideal if there are small children in the kitchen. Look for automatic shutoff when the water starts to boil or if the kettle is raised; also, closing caps, thermal cut, walls cool to the touch so that the body remains cold and non-slip bases.
A variable temperature option heats the water to different temperatures to provide the best results when preparing different types of tea and coffee.
Keep an eye out for quick kettles or eco-friendly thermos – a new generation of kettles can produce boiling water in seconds, saving up to 50% energy. These «fast boil» kettles generally have a water reservoir, dispense water at the touch of a button, and are much more energy efficient. With automatic shut-off, the kettle shuts off in seconds to prevent too much electricity from being wasted and the kettle from drying out.
Most kettles come with removable and washable anti-scale and water filters. Some are easier to remove than others. You can buy stainless steel softeners (small stainless steel wire balls) that you simply place inside the kettle after washing to collect lime deposits. Descaling tablets are also easy to use, but check the instructions to see if the tablets will work in your type of kettle.
Plastic ones can be cleaned with warm water, but don’t use anything abrasive as it will scratch the surface. Clean the outside of the metal flask with soapy water and buff with a microfiber cloth.