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How to Choose a Kettle?
Kettles for preparing hot drinks have a long history, but electrified models only appeared in England at the end of the 19th century. The first automated kettle with a heating element and thermostat was then launched in 1955 by the Russel Hobbs company, and its models became an icon of hot water preparation (Source: Independent.co.uk).
Although kettles are not among the most complicated appliances, we are happy to bring you helpful information on what to look for when choosing them. In the following article, you will find information about the kettle’s power consumption, capacity, materials and maintenance. You will also learn what functions you can find in kettles or the approximate price of your ideal model. Our guide will make choosing a new kettle a piece of cake for you.
How to choose a kettle briefly
- Calculate the ideal volume – according to the number of cups that must be prepared for one cooking session. At least 1.7 l is recommended for multi-member households.
- Check the power input value – it affects the heating speed. For smaller models, approx. 1,500 W is enough; around 2,200 W is recommended for big kettles.
- Consider other functions – for example, adjustable temperature and maintenance, sound signalling or control via mobile phone.
- Take care of safety – kettles may have several safety devices, anti-slip elements or insulation, and you won’t burn yourself in a hot kettle.
- Choose the ideal material and design – you can choose between glass, stainless steel and plastic; kettles are also produced in a highly designed format. Plastic kettles are the lightest, while glass and stainless steel kettles do not retain odours and have a longer lifespan.
Volume and size
The first important question you should ask yourself is how often and for how many people you will be using the kettle. Are you buying a kettle for your home or work kitchen? Do you boil water for coffee or tea just for yourself or for several people at the same time? This is important to correctly choose the maximum volume of the kettle. If you will only use the kettle for yourself, one of the smaller models with a volume of around 1 liter might suit you.
Nevertheless, the possibility of visitors arises - and for that very reason it is sometimes better to choose a larger kettle. The largest models on the market reach up to three liters. Such a kettle is perfect, for example, for companies where several people make coffee or tea at the same time. For households with two or more people, we recommend a volume of 1.2 liters or more.
The minimum volume can also be important, especially if you only heat a small amount of water more often. Some kettles have a minimum volume of around 0.3 l, i.e. about one serving of tea, others require even 0.75 to start. Heating an unnecessarily large amount of water wastes time and electricity.
Power input is a parameter that determines, in addition to energy consumption, the speed at which water is brought to a boil. It, therefore, applies that the higher the kettle’s power, the faster it heats the water. For kettles up to 1 l in volume, an input of 1,500 W should be sufficient.
However, if you are buying a larger kettle, choosing a more significant power is advisable. The ideal power consumption, which is recommended for kettles with a volume of 1.7 l and above, is 2,200 W. Therefore, if you want a quality product with optimal energy consumption that meets the requirement of quickly bringing water to a boil, you should choose according to the power consumption and reach for at least this value.
Of course, safety is also one of the priorities. For example, the fuse, which turns off the kettle when it reaches boiling point, is the absolute basis. But today’s kettles also have a large number of other protective features:
- Automatic shut-off when empty – To prevent fires, every kettle should automatically shut off if you start it without water. Most kettles can do it within 30 seconds.
- Automatic switch-off when removed from the base: All kettles turn off when removed from the base, but in some models with a mechanical switch, the lever remains in the “on” position, and there is a risk that you will unwittingly put the kettle on the base. For models with this fuse, it is not possible to turn on the kettle outside the base; the lever will automatically return to the “off” position.
- Automatic shut-off when boiling with the lid open – Shutting off when boiling with the lid open is better handled by models with a temperature sensor; simpler kettles are controlled by a steam sensor that does not work ideally with the lid open and often simply does not turn off and boils on and on.
- Child lock: In some models, you will also find a child lock that will save the kettle from the persistent fingers of your little ones.
- Anti-slip features: Most kettles have a figure with anti-slip surfaces to keep them from sliding down the line.
- Double wall: Double-walled kettles are not very common, but they are the only option that is not hot after heating the water. There is no risk of burns with this type.
Handling and comfort of use
Many of us use the pressure cooker several times a day, so its operation and handling should ideally be as simple as possible. When choosing a kettle, it is, therefore, a good idea to look out for some pitfalls that could unnecessarily complicate the operation of the kettle in the future.
The lid of the kettle should be opened with one hand. Usually, the button on the handle is used for this purpose. The advantage is that you avoid contact with steam when opening the lid, so it is not ideal if the opening button is right in the middle of the lid or the lid does not open by itself after being pressed, but you have to lift it by hand.
The opening angle can also be necessary for convenient filling and cleaning of the kettle; the lid should be opened at a right angle. The opening movement should ideally be smooth so there is no danger of hot water splashing out, but in most kettles, the lid tends to shoot out.
When filling the kettle, it is advantageous when it holds the lid in an open position, and you don’t have to worry about the kettle snapping when you tilt it carelessly. The placement of the volume scale is also quite crucial. Ideally, it should be visible on both sides of the kettle so that right-handed and left-handed people can use it. However, the scale is often hidden under the kettle handle or even inside. The advantage is that it does not disturb the device’s design but at the expense of comfortable use.
Some users prefer to fill the kettle with a beak without opening the lid. For these purposes, the beak should be large enough, but even with larger beaks, there is a risk of overfilling because, for example, the filter of the kettle does not pass water quickly enough.
Another matter where design concessions are often made is pouring. The more rounded the shape of the kettle, the more you will have to tilt the kettle when pouring water into the cup. Some models need to be turned upside down to get the last remnants of water out. This can also happen with kettles with a straighter wall, handled awkwardly inside, and the water gets trapped in some places.
In the case of kettles with a neck on the same level as the beak, there is a greater risk that water will also flow through the joints of the lid. This usually does not mean anything terrible in practice, but you may have a harder time hitting the cup, or pieces of limescale may escape through these places.
Few people often scrub the inside of the kettle; most users use an acidic solution to clean it. Even so, it is an advantage if the neck of the kettle is wide enough, in case you want to wash it by hand. For maintenance purposes, it is convenient that the kettle filter can be easily removed, rinsed and put back.
It is also an advantage if the inside of the kettle is as smooth as possible. The more sensors, cracks and inaccessible places, the more scale will build up in the kettle. When choosing a kettle, it is, therefore, advisable to focus, for example, on the type of heating element, which can be built into the bottom of the kettle or exposed.
Design and material
Before purchasing, we recommend choosing the material from which the kettle should be made. Currently, many models are available in the market made of different materials. Plastic and stainless steel kettles dominate, but you can also purchase a glass or ceramic product.
Each of the named materials has its advantages but also weaknesses. Especially with stainless steel, glass and ceramic models, for example, you need to consider that they are very hot after use and have a risk of burns. In practice, you will also often encounter combinations of these materials.
+ Low price
+ Low weight
– Cheap look
– Sometimes plastic taste
Stainless steel kettle
+ Low price
+ Nice in the kitchen
– Hot while using
+ illuminating kettles
– Limescale visible
– Hot while using
+ Beautiful design
+ Low noise
– High price
- Plastic – Kettles made from this synthetic material are among the cheapest on the market. Their price starts at tens of pounds. The menu includes variants in many colours and patterns. The advantage is the light and durable construction. The cheap appearance and, in some cases, the plastic aftertaste could bother someone. It often does not disappear even after several times of boiling
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel kettles are excellent to look at and relatively easy to maintain. However, fingerprints stick to them. They also often copy the look of other kitchen appliances, making them a good fit for many kitchens. Even stainless steel kettles are not expensive.
- Glass: The elegant appearance of glass kettles attracts many customers to purchase them. In combination with the backlight, this is a very effective device. You can also always see how much water is in the kettle. But the disadvantage is more demanding maintenance. Scale settles on the glass to a large extent, which gradually reduces the aesthetic value of the device. In addition, designer backlit kettles tend to be a bit more expensive.
- Ceramics: Ceramic kettles are especially suitable for lovers of retro style. These are often very well-tuned in design. Their advantage is sound absorption, so when boiling, they do not make as much noise as other kettles. It also keeps the water temperature longer.
In addition to various materials and decorations, designers also offer many shapes of teapots. An electric kettle can easily have the shape of a retro kettle on the stove, so if you are one of the lovers of vintage style, you, too, have several exciting models on the market to buy.
Due to consumption, the shape of kettles has changed over the years. While kettles used to be somewhat elongated and tall, they are now lower and more comprehensive to save energy. This shape enables better use and distribution of heat from the bottom, where the heating element is placed.
The market is definitely rich in different styles, so we can easily choose even the craziest colour. If we want to buy an authentic designer piece, we have to expect to pay extra. Such a kettle can then amaze with a price of up to a few hundreds of pounds.
Equipment and features
Modern kettles can be divided into simple models that simply heat water at the push of a button and more advanced kettles that offer a slightly wider selection of functions. The basic equipment of the kettle includes:
- Swivel base – A standard design today, thanks to which it is possible to place the kettle on the ground in any direction; it can be turned 360°
- Volume scale: This allows you to monitor the amount of water in the kettle. It can be placed on the sides, under the handle or inside the kettle.
- Filter – Captures scale particles. It is usually made of synthetic fibres, or stainless steel, metal filters are more durable and last longer.
- Space for storing the cable: It is located in the lower part of the base; in some kettles, it is sufficiently thought out so that the cord can be wound up to the end and held securely in this condition. This makes handling and storage easier.
- Light signalling: It can be an indicator light, coloured LED lighting (for glass kettles) or a display (for more expensive models).
- Sound signalling: Informs when the desired temperature has been reached. You can mostly find it in more technologically advanced kettles, and it is often possible to turn it off.
- Thermoregulation: The pressure cooker with temperature regulation allows you to set a specific heating temperature; it is suitable for preparing different types of tea.
- Temperature maintenance – Some kettles maintain the set temperature after heating, sometimes for several hours.
- Tea strainer – With thermoregulation and temperature maintenance, the kettle becomes a tea maker, especially suitable for preparing loose teas.
- Smart functions – For example, a Bluetooth connection that allows the kettle to be controlled via a mobile app.
After purchasing a new kettle, especially a cheaper plastic model, we recommend boiling the water several times and pouring it out. It may happen that during the first cycles of use, unpleasant odours and aftertastes are released into the water. Unfortunately, with some models, you cannot get rid of them even after many boilings.
Another problem is limescale, which forms in various household appliances that have to do with water – we can find it in the washing machine and the dishwasher. It clogs the shower head, and, of course, it also appears in the kettle. It shortens the lifespan of appliances and also increases energy costs. So how do we get rid of it?
First of all, it is essential to remember not to leave water in the kettle all day. If you habitually do this, you need to clean it more often. If you also suffer from hard water, the problem becomes even more intense. A layer of limescale increases the time required to heat the water, and there is even a risk of overheating and irreversible damage to the kettle. In addition, pieces of limescale can get into your prepared drinks and food. There are several ways to get rid of the limescale:
- Citric acid: A variant that is gentle on the appliance and the environment. Pour water into the kettle to the line, add a spoonful of acid and let it boil. Then let the solution act for an hour. We then rinse the kettle and boil clean water at least once more to wash away the remaining impurities.
- Vinegar: Another way to treat limescale is to pour a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water into a kettle and boil the mixture. Leave the solution in the kettle until the next day, and then wipe off the remaining deposits with a sponge or an old toothbrush. Again, boil another batch of clean water just to be sure.
- Special cleaners: You can find them in drugstores and speciality stores, both in tablet and liquid form. There is no significant difference in effectiveness; they are mostly made based on citric acid or soda with the addition of chemicals.
Under the term smart appliance, we imagine something that can be controlled using an application on a smartphone. Even electric kettles have not escaped this trend, so we can already find products with Bluetooth connections on the shelves. You simply pair such a model with a smartphone via the app, and you can control it remotely.
In Hi-tech households, such convenience will undoubtedly find its place. On your phone, you can monitor the gradually increasing temperature, set a specific temperature at which the kettle should stop heating, or determine the temperature at which the water should be kept. For your interest, you can also monitor the frequency of use of the kettle, so you can use the application to check your drinking regime.
Under the name travel kettle, we can imagine products with a small volume of around 0.4 to 0.8 litres. These values are enough to fill a maximum of two to three mugs, so it is a minimalistic solution. Such kettles can be equipped with a classic socket and an adapter for a car socket, so you can prepare water for tea or coffee on the go. But expect a longer preparation time. Small dimensions are a significant advantage; some can even be folded.
As a supplement, we also introduce the term “wireless” kettle. But be careful; these are not products that can heat water thoroughly without a cable; no battery will heat it for you in a meaningful time. These are models of kettles that have a base (often with a central connector) on which you place the kettle itself.
There is a cable leading from the base, which you do not have to handle in any way, you connect it once, and you no longer have to worry about it when taking the kettle. Previously, there were models with a cable connected directly to the kettle’s body, but today practically all modern kettles are wireless.
Is it cheaper to boil a full kettle?
Naturally, boiling a full kettle costs more than boiling a kettle that is only halfway full since a full kettle requires less energy to heat the water. This is why it’s crucial to just fill your kettle with how much water you actually need and avoid overfilling it.
Do electric kettles use a lot of electricity?
Kilowatts (kw) are measured in horsepower, and the typical kettle has between 2 and 3 kw. Kilowatt hours, abbreviated as kWh, are the units of measurement used to assess how much electrical power is consumed in one hour. One kilowatt is equal to one watt. The majority of individuals will be charged per unit of power, which means that you can be charged 12 pence for every kilowatt-hour that you consume.
How much does it cost to boil a kettle for 1 minute?
The efficiency of an induction hob or hot plate is around 85 percent. It does this by producing an electromagnetic current directly in the vessel that it is heating, which results in very little heat being lost to the surrounding air.