Electric tea kettles have been popular in tea-drinking Britain for decades, so much so that some Brits question online why Americans do not fancy them. Sales have slowly increased in the U.S., and are now outselling stovetop kettles, according to the NPD Group, a market research company. So the pros at Consumer Reports tested six electric tea kettles to find out if they boil water better.

Some claim to heat water faster than stovetop kettles or microwaves. Electric tea kettles are designed to be safer than stovetop kettles since they’re designed to shut off when water comes to a boil. And the bottom of an electric tea kettle’s carafe stays cool, so you can place it right on the counter or table.

Capresso H20Plus electric tea kettles
Capresso H20Plus electric tea kettle.

Tea Kettle Roundup

All six electric tea kettles brought a liter of water, slightly over 4 cups, to a rolling boil faster than a microwave, the fastest saving just over 2 minutes. But most took around 4½ minutes, about the same as an electric coil top range and only slightly faster than a gas range—a little more than 5 minutes.

Here are the tested kettles, appearing in descending order of overall performance based on the time it took to boil a liter of water. All of the markings on the kettles are in liters, except for the Breville, which has metric on one side and cups on the other fill line. 

Capresso H20Plus, $70
Scoring very good overall, the stylish Capresso reached a raucous boil in less than 4½ minutes. It holds 6 cups of water.

Hamilton Beach 40998, $20
It also scored very good overall and reached a boil in under 4½ minutes. The Hamilton Beach holds 4 cups of water.

Breville IQ Kettle, $130
Overall it scored good and boiled a liter of water in 4½ to 5 minutes. It holds around 7½ cups of water. There are five settings, so you can adjust the water temperature when making green, white, oolong, and black teas. The keep-warm function holds the set temperature—other than full boil—for 20 minutes. 

Chef’s Choice Cordless 681, $50
Good overall, boiling a liter of water in 4½ to 5 minutes. It holds 7 cups of water.

Cuisinart CPK-17, $90
Good overall, it also boiled a liter of water in 4½ to 5 minutes. Holding 7 cups, the Cuisinart has 6 temperature settings for different tea varieties and a keep-warm option that holds the set temperature for 30 minutes.

KitchenAid KEK1522, $180
It took the longest, needing more than 5 minutes to reach a full boil, scoring good overall. It holds 6 cups and has a sliding temperature control in Celsius. The external thermometer shows Fahrenheit too, but in much smaller numbers.

Is Coffee More Your Cup of Tea?
Then see our coffee maker Ratings. We tested drip coffee makers, single-serve models, and electric French-press coffee makers, such as the $100 iCoffee RCB100-BC12. Email questions to kjaneway@consumer.org.