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Tea Kettle vs. Electric Kettle


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My el cheapo tea kettle is rusting on the inside. Obviously, I need to replace it. It is used every morning to make french press coffee and occasionally in the afternoon for tea. I have two choices for replacements, cooktop kettle or an electric kettle. What are the pros and cons for each? I have also seen electric kettles with temperature settings. Are these worth the extra money? Are they accurate? 

 

Thanks!!

 

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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It depends partly on whether you have enough counter space. I've always admired the high-end electric kettles. By 'high-end' I mean they really boil the water, they'll maintain a boil instead of shutting off as soon as the water boils, and they have safety features like shutting off when they boil dry or get knocked over. Those are more expensive than the cheapos I've usually seen. In my kitchen I'd rather dedicate counter space to something else and leave the kettle on the stove top. Your mileage may vary.

An electric kettle with a temperature setting: hmm. Would it do small-batch sous vide?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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I like my electric kettle, I have a stainless Zojirushi, forgot the model number. I can set it to keep water at a particular temp, it is a vacuum pot so it holds temperature well with little energy use -essentially, I don't have to worry about it I just set it and then am free to do whatever I want around the house. Once it's up to temp, I can use the hot water whenever I want, so second cups are very quick. I also like having the hot water around for other uses, like cooking, and sometimes cleaning the kitchen. I also like the adjustable temperatures, I enjoy a wide variety of teas and hot chocolate, and the temperature does affect the results.

 

The Zojirushi also releases very little excess heat. My older pot, by Aroma, used to get hot on the sides which was not great in the summer and also meant it was wasting energy.

 

With a cooktop kettle, you have to make sure to turn it off or it will boil away. If you want multiple cups over the course of the day, you have to keep re-setting it up. I also think there's a lot of wasted energy with the cooktop kettle, unless it's induction.

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I have three of the Zojirushi water boilers and would not be without them.

One in the kitchen that supplies instant hot water for anything.  4.0 liter  "Hybrid" 

 

One lives in my bathroom for sterilizing toothbrushes and other things that I want scrupulously clean, supplying hot water for a cup of tea when having a soaking bath (it's a long trip to the kitchen) and etc.  3.2 liter

 

And one on the cabinet right here behind my desk for "emergency" cups of tea when I don't feel like trekking out to the kitchen.  2.2 liter

 

I did have an Instant-Hot water dispenser at the kitchen sink but even with the in-line filter it kept silting up and after being spattered with boiling water when it "spit" at me, I had it removed.  I can move the Zo around if I want to relocate it.  

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have a cheap Betty Crocker brand electric kettle that shuts off when it boils.  I love it and use it all the time -- boils way faster than stove top kettles and I no longer fear burning the kettles I forgot on the burner (nearly burnt my house down on the last one).    

 

Would it be nice to have a fancy expensive one that does tricks?  Sure.  But my BC works great for us.  

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As it happens I was considering a tea kettle last night...more than I wanted to spend but it calls to me:

 

http://umamimart.com/products/koizumi-kettle

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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What I use is a small saucepan on the stove, as often as not uncovered, particularly this time of the year.

 

The reason I was looking at kettles is that our communal kettle at work died last night.  If someone wants to buy directly from Japan I found the same kettle as what umamimart is selling for about $168, plus shipping charges, duty, etc.

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I grew up with a stovetop kettle, but during countless trips to and two stints living in Britain, the electric kettle was ubiquitous. I have to say, I kind of like the electric more. They're faster and less bother. 

 

In my apartment in DC, I have a 4L Zojirushi boiler, with settings for 212 (kind of), 208, 195, and 175 degrees. I use it exclusively now and am EXTREMELY happy with it. Boiling water at the touch of a button whenever I want it? Yes please!

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The Zojirushi does look tempting. I also like the Cuisinart PerfecTemp kettle. I like that I can pick it up and pour instead of push to dispense for the Zojirushi. Panasonic makes a water boiler just like the Zojirushi for $30 less. I need to research the difference between the two.

 

 

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I forgot to mention one very important difference, for me anyway, between an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle: the electric kettle can be plugged into a timer, so you will have hot water exactly when you need it. You might get an extra five minutes of sleep in the morning by going electric.

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I use an electric kettle that, in addition to bringing water up to 100C, will bring it up to (and shut off the power/switch to 'keep warm' mode) at 80C, 85C and 90C. I take advantage of this feature once or twice a day. If you're crazy serious about Japanese teas and whatnot you might be able to find one that'll hold/shut off at lower temperatures. I mean, yeah, you could achieve the same end with a saucepan and a thermometer but ... I'm not the kind of person that is capable of such wizardry early in the morning. I bought a Sunbeam kettle, one of the costlier models, but in more recent years I've seen even cheap knock-off ones that offer this feature.

Chris Taylor

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I use an electric kettle that, in addition to bringing water up to 100C, will bring it up to (and shut off the power/switch to 'keep warm' mode) at 80C, 85C and 90C. I take advantage of this feature once or twice a day. If you're crazy serious about Japanese teas and whatnot you might be able to find one that'll hold/shut off at lower temperatures. I mean, yeah, you could achieve the same end with a saucepan and a thermometer but ... I'm not the kind of person that is capable of such wizardry early in the morning. I bought a Sunbeam kettle, one of the costlier models, but in more recent years I've seen even cheap knock-off ones that offer this feature.

 

Yep, that's basically what my Zojirushi does. It's great!

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I <3 my cheapo electric kettle that comes up to a boil and shuts itself off. Works beautifully for cups of tea, french presses of coffee, and (because ours has a wide opening) doing hard-cooked eggs: start the timer when the kettle pops off.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did up my federal taxes tonight.  I was expecting to have to pay the government a significant amount, but I am getting a refund.  I am now broke because I just ordered the Koizumi cast iron kettle from umamimart.

 

http://umamimart.com/products/koizumi-kettle

 

Sellers in Japan offered much lower prices for the same artisan kettle but it turns out they did not have stock.  Duh.  Umamimimart had one lorn kettle left in stock, and they are the lowest price I have found in the US.  Besides, the umamaimart owners are nice people, and I am pleased to give them business.  Although for the price I would have purchased from Japan if the vendors had had stock.  Which they didn't.  And as I mentioned, umamimart had only one.

 

For anyone following along at home, the problem with the electric kettle at my work was user error.

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I grew up with a stovetop kettle, but during countless trips to and two stints living in Britain, the electric kettle was ubiquitous. I have to say, I kind of like the electric more. They're faster and less bother. 

 

In my apartment in DC, I have a 4L Zojirushi boiler, with settings for 212 (kind of), 208, 195, and 175 degrees. I use it exclusively now and am EXTREMELY happy with it. Boiling water at the touch of a button whenever I want it? Yes please!

Hassouni- I know this is a really stupid question: Is that 4 separate 1liter  pots, or is that one 4 liter pot that can be programmed with 4 separate settings? Please excuse my stupid question.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Not Hassouni - but I have the same pot - it's one 4 litre pot and you can set the holding temperature to 208, 195 or 175.  You can hit the boil button for it to get up to 212. 

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Not Hassouni - but I have the same pot - it's one 4 litre pot and you can set the holding temperature to 208, 195 or 175.  You can hit the boil button for it to get up to 212. 

Thank you!

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Five years ago I bought a Breville Ikon stainless steel electric kettle for my daughter. She used it for a year (with several roommates) and then moved across the country and didn't take it with her. I'm the lucky winner and I couldn't be happier. Before this e-kettle I used a stovetop kettle. My Viking range has a high flame and most likely heats a kettle faster than many stoves, but the Breville is significantly faster. It's a tank, I admit (heavy and industrial looking), but all stainless steel inside and out, minimalist design, not ugly, no bells and whistles except auto shut off after coming to a high boil and it seems built to last. Costs about $70 or $80. I do understand the nostalgia for a stovetop kettle, because I had a beautiful Italian one that I couldn't replace after I wore it out. So if that kind of aesthetics is of primary importance, probably an electric kettle won't measure up, but the only other down side is that it uses counter space. And the older I get the more I know that any appliance without auto shut off adds a risky element to my life, or at least to the appliance. I'm a convert.

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Like most people here, I have one of these water dispensers, which gives me hot (just below boiling point) or cold water. It is also a water filter, so is refilled from the main water supply.  It sits in my sitting room and is always on. Other models use huge bottled of purified water.

.I also have an electric kettle in the kitchen for when I need really boiling water.

 

water_heater.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Andie? just how far away is your kitchen? lol

From my desk?  Seventy feet.  In earlier times that was not much but now, shuffling that distance can be a chore because of my aortic stenosis. 

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Electric vs Stove top kettle 

 

I will admit that I use an electric kettle that has served me very well.  It is a GE model 169040 that I purchased from Walmart of all places. What I like about it is that it really does bring the water to a boil and hold it there before automatically shutting off.  It sits on a base so no need to drag the cord around.  I find that these are not as easy to clean inside thoroughly.  The idea that electric kettles are not built to last does bother me as they are not environmentally friendly - yet I still have one.  :-(

 

As for the stove top kettle I much prefer this kind but there are draw backs.  The automatic shut off is one but if you have a whistle feature you will at least be alerted.  

Depending on whether you have a gas or electric stove it may or may not be an advantage when the power goes out.  I find that this kind is generally easier to clean as it is fully submersible.  Having kids around is perhaps a concern if you are going to be turning on the stove, vs plugging in a kettle that can be placed out of reach. 

 

Bottom line, it's a personal preference. 

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