Have you ever wondered how a cordless electric kettle heats water? Are they safe for a home kitchen? We've written a breakdown for you.
My parents rarely drank hot tea when I was young. It was a pain to break out the stovetop iron kettle, fill it with water, and set it on the stove. Only to have to dry and put it away afterward so it wouldn't rust.
The iron kettle also took a long time to boil, mostly due to the voltage in the typical American home.
My parents preferred to drink coffee made in their automatic coffee maker, which was much simpler to use and clean.
I love coffee as much as they did, but the most used small appliance in my kitchen is my electric kettle.
I turn it on at least three times a day: for French Press coffee in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and black tea in the evening to wind down. That's not even counting the times I brew a pot of tea for company or need boiling water while making dinner.
Electric kettles have become more popular in America during the past two decades for several reasons:
- People are turning to pour-over and French Press styles of coffee over automatic coffee machines.
- Tea is becoming a more popular beverage due to its health benefits.
- The best electric kettles use less energy and boil water quickly.
Last year I bought one for my mother, a 65-year-old with arthritis in her hands. She has used an automatic coffeemaker in her kitchen for decades and grumbles when she needs to break out the stovetop kettle.
It’s a pain for her to make tea the old-fashioned way; she’d rather just pop in a coffee pod and be done with it. Like a lot of older Americans, she drinks more coffee than tea in large part because her automatic coffeemaker is convenient to use.
To her surprise, she loved her electric kettle!
It made boiling water much easier than using the microwave or the old iron stovetop kettle. And not just for brewing tea, but also for making instant oatmeal, soaking noodles, and boiling eggs.
The secret? I bought her a cordless electric kettle.
Corded Electric Kettles
Previously, electric kettles had a cord attached to the top or side of the water reservoir that plugged into an outlet.
The heating element of these kettles was a metal coil located inside the water reservoir. When the kettle was plugged in and turned on, the coil heated then transferred heat to the water surrounding it until boiling temperature was reached.
Corded kettles could be awkward to use, especially if you had a small kitchen to maneuver in or little countertop space.
You had to pour from a bulky container attached to the wall by a short cord. You could not step away from the counter, so everything you needed had to be sitting right there.
These types of kettles also had minimum water levels.
You needed to fill the kettle with enough water to completely cover the heating element, otherwise it could overheat and burn out or trip the boil dry safety feature, which turned off the kettle. You couldn't heat just a single cup of water.
For many Americans, these features were a pain, and boiling water on the stovetop was easier.
A traditional whistling stovetop kettle might take longer, but you could pick it up and walk away from the stove with it.
Cordless electric kettles solved this problem.
The Cordless Kettle Design
Cordless electric kettles aren't really cordless. It's a marketing term. The heating element has been completely redesigned.
The water reservoir on a cordless kettle sits atop a base with a knob in the center. The base has a cord that plugs into an outlet, and the metal heating coil is sealed inside the base.
When you set the kettle on its base, it completes a circuit, bringing power to the base. Flip the switch, and the metal coil inside begins to heat up, which heats the knob in the middle. The heat quickly transfers from the knob to the metal of the water reservoir and into the water.
Once the water has boiled, you can pick up the reservoir by the handle. This severs the circuit, and the base stops heating the coil.
The reservoir is not attached to anything. No cords get in your way, which means you can pick it up from its base and walk to the other side of the room.
After you're finished, you set the kettle back on the base. This re-completes the circuit, so you can turn it back on to get the water properly boiling again if necessary.
Unlike automatic coffee makers, the base does not continue to produce heat once you’ve picked up the reservoir. This feature is not only safer but it also conserves energy.
The kettle can be set back on the base in any direction, making it safe and easy to use in tight spaces and by people with mobility issues.
You can also heat a small amount of water at a time. You don't have to worry about the heating coil sticking out and overheating.
The Final Word in Cordless Kettle Function
Cordless kettles aren't complicated. They're just easier and safer to use. They also boil water more quickly than stovetop kettles.
The newer design of these kettles makes them even more convenient than older styles were, and those were more convenient than boiling water on the stovetop.
If you use boiling water a lot while cooking or enjoy making tea or brewing pour-over coffee on a daily basis, a cordless electric kettle will make your life much simpler. You won't regret having one sitting on your countertop.
FAQs in Cordless Kettle Function
Do cordless kettles need batteries?
No. Most cordless kettles aren't really cordless. The cord is attached to a base that the kettle rests on. This makes the kettle itself cordless, as you can pick it up off its base and move around easily.
Is there such a thing as a battery-operated kettle?
No. The problem is that the energy required to boil a few cups of water exceeds most typical batteries. You'd have to use new batteries every time you wanted to make a pot of tea. If you need to boil water while away from power sources, your best bet is to use a gas-powered camping stove or something similar.