Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports' Tests

Is it worth buying another appliance just to boil water? We test nine kettles to find out.

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tea kettle testing John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Electric kettles may bring to mind tea and scones in an English cottage, but sales in the U.S. have been heating up: An estimated 3.9 million electric kettles were sold last year, which is about 1.7 million more than in 2010, according to HomeWorld Business, a trade publication. Should you make room for one on your countertop?

Manufacturers often tout their speed, but our testers found they boil water only a few minutes faster than a microwave, roughly the same time as a gas range. Still, having a dedicated appliance for hot water has its pluses.

“Convenience is the main reason to consider a kettle,” says Cindy Fisher, the lead tester for this project. “The nice thing is that they keep the heated water warm—anywhere from 36 to 75 minutes in our tests.” These kettles shut off once the water boils, so you don't have to worry about keeping an eye on it, like you would a pot of boiling water on the stove. And having warm water at the ready makes it easy to have a cup of tea, yes, but also instant oatmeal, hot cocoa, ramen, or anything else that calls for hot water.

Lab Tested for Your Home
We test kettles from AmazonBasics, Bella, Black+Decker, Breville, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Oxo, Ovente, and Secura. Capacity ranges from 4 to 7 cups, and prices run from $15 to $130. There are markings in liters on all of the kettles, though the Breville and Oxo also display a scale in cups.

Our testers boil a liter of water (slightly more than 4 cups) in each kettle, and compare how long each model takes to boil the same amount of water on a gas range and in a 1,200-watt microwave. The electric kettles bring the water to a boil in about 4 to 5½ minutes while the gas stovetop takes a little over 4½ minutes and our microwave clocks in at 6 minutes and 45 seconds.

We record how long each kettle keeps a liter of water warm, and how easy the markings on the kettle’s exterior and interior are to read. We also assess how easy it is to wipe clean the interior and remove the scale filter, which captures calcium deposits in your water and needs periodic cleaning.

Below are the four top-scoring electric kettles from our tests. They appear in alphabetical order, not in order of rank. For more details and more models, see our electric kettle ratings.

CR’s take: This AmazonBasics kettle is made of stainless steel and it's one of the least expensive kettles in our tests. It’s small, though, holding just 4 cups of water—the least of the kettles we test. It's among the fastest to bring our testing standard of 4 cups of water to a boil, clocking in at just under 4 minutes and earning a Very Good rating in our time-to-boil tests. This kettle is the hardest to clean of the models highlighted here, however. The warranty lasts one year.

CR’s take: The 7-cup Cuisinart PerfecTemp CPK-17 boils about as fast as the other kettles featured here. It costs more than most of the models we tested, but it has six preset temperature settings for making different types of teas or French-press coffee, and it boasts a three-year warranty. This stainless kettle garners a Very Good rating in our convenience tests—you’ll have no trouble reading the markings of the kettle.

CR’s take: The stylish Oxo glass kettle holds 7 cups of water, and is the easiest to clean of this group, earning an Excellent rating in that test. But it doesn’t keep water hot as long as the others in this group. It’s also the tallest kettle in our tests, at just over 11 inches high. So if space is a concern, you may want to consider another model instead. The warranty lasts two years.

CR’s take: The 7-cup Secura Original electric kettle is plastic on the outside, stainless steel on the inside, and nearly 11 inches high. It’s the only model to snag an Excellent rating in our time-to-cool tests: It keeps 4 cups of boiled water warm for 75 minutes, longer than any of the other kettles. The warranty lasts two years.

Kimberly Janeway