America’s Test Kitchen is a resourceful place to go when you need to buy small kitchen appliances but aren’t sure what to get. Their comparison posts and videos are some of the best you can find online.
For equipment comparisons, the test kitchen chooses a certain piece of equipment, buys a range of options from different brand names and at different price points, then puts those purchases through the wringer. Kitchen testers use, abuse, then wash the appliances only to turn around and do it all over again.
Sometimes they even purposely push them off counters to see if the products break!
All of this is meticulously recorded, then the data is compiled and compared.
After all this work, the test crew then selects one or two recommendations: A favorite, and sometimes a less expensive option.
How did they rate electric kettles?
America’s Test Kitchen’s Best Electric Kettles
The folks at America’s Test Kitchen tested electric kettles once in 2008 and again in 2016.
The first thing that was noted is that plastic kettles tend to make water taste funky. Heating water in plastic also brings up health concerns. For this reason, the test crew chose to limit selection to metal and glass kettles.
If you’re looking for a quality electric kettle that will last years, avoid the all-plastic ones.
The kitchen tested 8-10 kettles on several metrics:
- How safe and easy it was to use
- How long it took to boil a full quart of water
- How neatly and precisely it poured
- How the kettles held up during 365 boils, to simulate a year of daily use
- Safety features such as boil dry protection
The metrics testing eliminated most of the kettles pretty quickly. They either took too long to boil, splattered boiling water while pouring or rocked uncomfortably on their bases, causing the testers to worry the kettle would tip over.
The Old Favorite
In 2008, America’s Test Kitchen determined the Capresso Silver H2O Electric Kettle was the best electric kettle. Made of stainless steel, it came with a 48-ounce glass carafe that enabled users to see how much water was inside and at a glance know if the water was boiling.
It was also cordless, one of the few cordless kettles purchased in 2008. Testers really liked this feature because it let them take the kettle completely off the heating element to pour safely and put the kettle back on the base in any direction.
Eight years later, all the kettles they tested were cordless, showing that this cordless design had caught on with other manufacturers.
Cordless is a misnomer, however. Previously, electric kettles had a cord which plugged into the side of the water reservoir. It could be awkward when trying to pour boiling water.
The new design has the cord in a base at the bottom, and the water reservoir sits on top. It can be completely removed from the base, giving the kettles much better maneuverability.
The New Favorite
In 2016 America’s Test Kitchen still liked the Capresso, but the new favorite was the OXO Cordless Glass Electric Kettle. The Capresso was deemed a best buy.
The OXO kettle can hold up to 60 oz. of water, larger than most of the kettles they tested, and it can boil a quart in less than 5 minutes.
It also had a wide lid with a soft open/close mechanism. Other kettles with quick open lids flicked boiling water backward at the user. The wide opening was also easy to clean because a person can fit a hand inside.
The Amazon Test
In 2019, testers tried the AmazonBasics Electric Glass and Steel Kettle. Amazon had promoted the kettle as a cheaper alternative that was just as good as more expensive kettles.
America’s Test Kitchen liked it as an inexpensive option but felt it did not outperform their favorites. Testers praised it for its sturdy metal and glass design but determined it didn’t have enough small ease-of-use features to match up to the more expensive kettles.
The lid opened way too fast, sending droplets of hot water flying. The extremely wide spout made controlling water flow difficult while pouring, which is a necessity for making pour-over coffee or performing other tasks where accuracy and control are important, such as making traditional risotto.
The Final Word on America’s Test Kitchen Electric Kettle Selections
America’s Test Kitchen is an excellent resource for learning about different models and brands of small kitchen appliances, especially ones that get heavy use like electric kettles.
Rigorous testing ruled out models that weren’t durable enough for daily use, while data on user-friendliness can help prospective buyers avoid kettles with designs that are annoying or difficult to use.
However, their testing procedures focus on working in a busy, industrial-scale kitchen, so home users might not find these kettles as useful as the testers do.
You may prefer their best buy, the Capresso, because of its smaller size. Then again, you might need an inexpensive option, like the AmazonBasics model for your small, lightly-used home kitchen.
Whatever kettle you choose to buy, it should fit seamlessly in your daily life and be reliable enough to work for years. Having one will also encourage you to drink more tea or brew pour over coffee, which is great for your health!
FAQs on America’s Test Kitchen Best Electric Kettle
What is the most energy-efficient electric kettle?
Electric kettles, in general, use less energy than stove top kettles. If you’re looking to watch your energy use, look for kettles that have:
1. A rapid boil function, which allows you to quickly boil a single cup of water
2. An auto-shutoff feature that doesn’t keep the heat on once the water has boiled
3. A base that has at least a 2,000W heating element
These features make an electric kettle heat faster while using less energy.
What is the healthiest type of tea kettle?
The healthiest types of tea kettles should have no plastic parts that come into contact with water. They should be made mostly from stainless steel and borosilicate glass. Kettles shouldn’t have any aluminum, which can leach into the water, or enamel coatings.