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The best electric kettle

Cuisinart wins.

The Sweethome
03.01.16 in Home
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By Tim Barribeau, Winnie Yang and Michael Sullivan

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

Over the past three years, we've spent dozens of hours researching and long-term-testing electric kettles, and we think the Cuisinart CPK-17 is the best electric kettle for most people. This temperature-variable model is ideal for brewing a myriad of teas, making pour-over coffee, or simply boiling water for instant oatmeal. Its winning combination of speed, accuracy, and ease of use allowed it to best all of the other electric kettles we tested.

How we tested

We tested the accuracy of the temperature-variable kettles using a Thermapen thermometer. Photo: Michael Hession

We tested kettles by measuring how long a liter of water took to come to a boil, as well as how accurate the internal thermometer was for non-boiling temperatures. We tested the internal thermometer of the kettles by heating the water to one of the specific temperature settings (below boiling) and measuring it with a Thermapen thermometer. We did this multiple times for various temperatures available on each kettle, with ample time for cooldown in between sessions. Some models we tested had a warming feature that could hold set temperatures, so we checked their accuracy after letting them rest for an extended period of time.

Our pick

The speedy, easy-to-use Cuisinart CPK-17. Photo: Michael Hession

The Cuisinart CPK-17 is the best electric kettle for most people, thanks to its ease of use, quick boil time, and temperature accuracy. It has six preset temperature settings and is simpler to operate than its competitors. You add the water, hit the temperature you want, and wait for it to beep when it's done. It then kicks into an automated keep-warm cycle, where it maintains temperature for up to 30 minutes. On average, in our tests it brought 1 liter of water to a boil in 4 minutes, 4 seconds. After the kettle held a set temperature of 185 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, the water measured just 2 degrees over. The CPK-17 didn't lead in every test, but it did rank highly in all of them, and it lacks any appreciable drawbacks.

Runner-up

The Bonavita kettle had the most accurate internal thermometer of all the kettles we tested, and it offers a long gooseneck spout for precision pouring. Photo: Michael Hession

If you love coffee, the Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle represents an excellent compromise between a traditional tea kettle and one better suited for making pour-over coffee. It's extremely accurate, designed to provide excellent pouring technique, and easy on the eyes. This kettle had the most precise temperature control out of all the models we tested: In our tests it impressively measured just 1 degree off regardless of the temperature setting, so it gives you the freedom to set it in single-degree increments from 140F to 212F. Tea lovers will geek out over its spot-on temperature accuracy, too, but it took almost three minutes longer to boil water than the Cuisinart, and its 1-liter capacity is probably best for smaller households.

Budget pick

The Chefman kettle had one of the fastest boiling times of all the models we tested. Photo: Michael Hession

If you prefer something more affordable, we recommend the Chefman RJ11-17-GP Precision Electric Kettle. It quickly brings water to a boil, has preset temperature controls, and offers a warming feature that shuts off after one hour. It had one of the fastest boiling times of all the models we tested (3 minutes, 50 seconds), and it was one of the only kettles in its price range that had variable temperature controls and didn't seem cheaply made. Impressively, after being set to a holding temperature of 180F for one hour, it measured just 4 degrees off. Operating this kettle involves one minor quirk: It precisely heats the water to the desired set temperature, but the residual heat causes the water to rise about 10 degrees higher. To compensate, we recommend setting the temperature 10 degrees below the temperature you want to hit.

If you drink a lot of tea

The Zojirushi CV-DCC40XT VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer.

If you can spend more, and you drink a prodigious amount of tea, you might want to look into the 4-liter and 5-liter Zojirushi VE Hybrid Water Boilers and Warmers. These models cost significantly more and take up more space than regular electric kettles, but they're ideal for keeping a large volume of water at a specific temperature for an extended period of time. In our tests, the 4-liter Zojirushi CV-DCC40XT did well at holding temperatures for a long time, but it measured about 10 degrees over the preset temperature. Although it's a well-made boiler, we recommend it only for offices, restaurants, or larger households with young children that need a lot of warm water ready throughout the day.

Wrapping it up

After spending dozens of hours researching and testing electric kettles over the past three years, we think the Cuisinart CPK-17 is the best electric kettle for most people. It quickly brings water to the temperature needed for optimum flavor from teas and coffee, and it offers the best combination of speed, accuracy, and ease of use of all the electric kettles we tested.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

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