Are Electric Kettles Safe? Answered

Are all you tea and coffee makers wondering whether switching to an electric kettle worth it? Read this article to find out whether are electric kettles safe.

Are electric kettles safe?
Electric kettles are safe and probably safer than our beloved stovetop

I’ve grown accustomed to stovetop kettles. When I was a child, my grandmother would use them to boil water for her coffee and tea or to warm the water in the tub.

When we heard the whistle, us kids would come running down the stove to turn it off, and there was a good chance some of its boiling content would splash at us. Truth be told, it was not the safest thing in the world, but it was fun.

Having an electric kettle is a blast now that I’m brewing my coffee — no more waiting for the whistle, no more stovetop, and best of all, no more piping hot splashes. So to answer the question: yes, electric kettles are safe, but the answer is slightly more complicated than that.

Differences Between Electric Kettles And Others

Stovetop kettles are simpler in design than their electrical counterparts. They are made of metal with a flat bottom that serves as a base when you heat them using a stove. It has a spout and often a whistle to signal when the water has reached its boiling point.

The electric kettle is its techie challenger, made from a number of different components. Throughout the years, the design of the electric kettle has somewhat changed, but it remains with a heating element that is used to heat water, a removable jug, and temperature control, so it turns off when heating is complete.

When compared to the stovetop kettle features, the key difference is the self-contained heating unit and thermostat that allows the kettle to switch itself off once it reaches a specific temperature.

Are Electric Kettles Safer Than The Traditional Kettles?

The main concern with the stovetop kettle is its unpredictability when the water reaches boiling point. It has a whistle. There’s a chance the water will overflow, which you must clean up afterward.

And if you do not hear that whistle for some reason, then there is no auto-off feature, and the water just reduces down on the stove or boils over. It’s an unnecessary danger, especially when the alternative of an electric kettle is substantially safer and isn’t expensive.

Let’s not forget about the stove itself. I know we’re all cautious when in the kitchen, but this is just a reminder that one of the most common kitchen accidents is stove-related. If you have a chance to switch from gas-based stoves to electric, please do so.

Are electric kettles safer than the traditional kettle?
There is no auto-off feature when you don’t hear the whistle

Studies have shown that they are much safer and, thus, one less thing to worry about when in the kitchen.

An electric kettle has an automatic shut-off design, so these predicaments are avoidable. In addition, its handle is heat-resistant, unlike several stovetops, allowing you to pour your hot water without inconvenience.

The traditional cast-iron kettle might look more rustic, which can be a big selling point. However, there is plenty of variety in the types of electric kettles currently on sale, so you should be able to find one that fits in with whatever kind of kitchen design you have chosen.

Different Types Of Electric Kettles

Most electrical kettles are made with either stainless steel, plastic, or glass. There are also cast-iron and copper tea kettles, but these are much less common.

Stainless Steel Electrical Kettles

Stainless steel kettles are amongst the most reliable on the market. Generally speaking, they are heat and dent resistant and look pretty good too.

They’re rarely as expensive as their glass counterparts but might set you back a little bit more than most plastic kettles do. However, if you are trying to have a plastic-free kitchen, then they could be the option for you.

Many stainless steel tea kettles have removable scale filters, which help avoid the build-up of limescale from the boiled drinking water. Thus, this type of kettle not only looks good, but it will also last you an age. The only issue with stainless steel kettles is that they can be more challenging to recycle, but old and broken ones do make for inventive flower pots.

Glass Kettles

When it comes to glass electric kettles, you are probably worried about the heat and the glass, right? Worry not, because all of the best electric kettles are made with tempered glass or borosilicate glass – both of which are heat-resistant materials that can handle high temperatures of up to 170°C.

Of course, if you are unsure if the kettle you are considering has this type of glass, then you should definitely check with the retailer or do further research on Amazon. The last thing you want is to make a cup of tea and see the water creeping through the cracks.

This type of water kettle lets you see inside the appliance as the water boils. Thus, you are never caught off-guard by a low water level or by a build-up in limescale that you hadn’t noticed. On a side note, it’s also just fascinating to watch water crystalize as it heats up and eventually bubbles… but maybe that’s just us.

Plastic Kettles

Plastic kettles are quite common in most European homes, mainly because they are extremely affordable, with the cheapest type available for around $15. If you are buying a plastic electric kettle, then you should ensure that it is made from BPA-free materials and has auto-shut-off technology.

Generally speaking, most plastic kettles will be both BPA-free and will automatically turn off when the water is boiled. However, as these are the cheapest types of electrical kettle, it is still worth your while asking when you buy them as this will ensure any kettle you purchase has those features.

Copper and Cast-Iron Electrical Kettles

Copper electrical kettles are much less common than the ones listed above, but they do exist. The cost of the materials ensures that these kettles are often very expensive. However, they do offer a classic look that replicates the traditional stovetop kettles, and if that is something you are looking for, then they could be the choice for you.

Dangers Of An Electrical Kettle

Of course, just like all other kitchen appliances, there are some dangers involved when using an electric tea kettle. After all, you are working with boiling water, and at the best of times, that isn’t one of the safest materials.

However, providing your new kettle is made from high-quality material, and you use it with caution, these health risks are quite limited. However, you should always ensure there is enough hot water in your kettle before turning it on. If you don’t, this can lead to the heating element within the kettle burning out and you being left with a useless jug instead of a kettle.

As obvious as it sounds, you should always also be careful around electrical sockets. Water and electricity don’t mix well, so there is a need to act with extra caution there when using the electric appliance.

It’s also important to ensure the lid is correctly applied and the handle is firmly in place before pouring hot water. When purchasing a plastic kettle, it is also essential that you avoid ones that might contaminate your water with BPA (Bisphenol A) or Phthalates.

Efficiency And Longevity

One of the advantages of an electric kettle is that it’s more energy-efficient than the traditional kettle on a gas-based stove. The time spent heating a stovetop kettle takes longer as it loses heat into the kettle’s exterior and its surroundings, unlike the electric kettle, which transfers heat directly to the water.

An electric kettle is no pushover when it comes to longevity, either. If you use it four times a day, its lifespan can reach up to four or five years; that’s 15,456 cups of coffee! Also, most stores offer a one to two-year warranty, so you don’t need to worry if you have a defective product.

If you’re still unsure if you want to switch to an electric kettle, try to check out its variant. Maybe the cordless electric kettle is the one for you!

Cleaning Out Your Electric Kettle

Pouring natural white vinegar in electric kettle
You can use everyday items found in your household to descale your kettle

Like any other house appliance, the electric kettle needs to be cleaned and maintained. You can rinse it with water after every use. However, you have to descale it at least once every three months. 

When you boil water, there will be residue build-ups, such as magnesium and calcium deposits from the water’s minerals.

You can use everyday items found in your household to descale your kettle. Here’s my go-to procedure.

Equipment:

  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Non-Abrasive Brush Or Sponge
  • Cloth

Step 1: Add The Vinegar

Pour equal parts of the vinegar and water into your electric kettle. You can use a measuring cup or estimate by eye, whichever works for you.

Step 2: Boil The Kettle

Plug in your electric kettle and let it boil! The smell of vinegar can be unpleasant to some, but it’s an excellent price! Once it boils, let it rest and cool for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 3: Scrub The Kettle 

Use the water inside your kettle and scrub the exterior with your cloth. Then, move on to the interior and scrub it with your brush or sponge. Make sure it’s non-abrasive so as not to scratch the metal!

Step 4: Drain & Rinse 

Drain the solution and rinse it repeatedly with water until the vinegar’s odor is gone. I suggest letting it dry before you start using it again.

If you’re out of vinegar, use baking soda or lemon juice as an alternative! Make sure you don’t use it as a pitcher. If you boil a bit too much water, transfer it to a real pitcher for drinking later, or you can discard it. 

Author

  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies.