Do You Use an Electric Kettle?

Ever since Megan got me into coffee a year and a half ago, my mornings have involved boiling some water and pouring it into a French press.

This sounds fairly mild, but there was an element of danger for the first 12 months or so. Megan has a stovetop kettle that was probably forged in the 1800s (well before any safety regulations). It’s all metal, so if I groggily grabbed the scalding-hot handle, I was in for a rude awakening.

Late last year after a close call, I learned that there were such things as “electric kettles.” They seemed like an unnecessary extravagance, but they were reasonably priced ($25-$40). They also shut off automatically when they boiled, which the stovetop kettle didn’t do.

So I took the plunge and bought a Mueller electric kettle. After using it for a few months, I’m happy to report that it’s absolutely worth the extravagance to have one of these in the kitchen. I use it every day–it’s so fast, it’s much safer than the previous kettle, and it doesn’t boil over if I get distracted. Also, the blue LED lights look cool.

Have you used an electric kettle? Or do you have an ancient piece of technology that you’ve stuck with despite modern solutions?

29 thoughts on “Do You Use an Electric Kettle?”

  1. It was only a few months ago I learned that electric kettles are not commonplace in the US. Something that absolutely blew my mind and had difficulty believing, so I’m glad of this post confirming what I’d previously been told. 🙂

    It’s still an alien concept to me, since here in Australia every house has one. When you move out of home as a young adult it is one of the very first things you buy. In fact, due to limited kitchen space in my current studio apartment a decision had to be made between keeping my microwave or keeping my kettle. Kettle one and I’m not even a daily coffee drinker (I adore coffee but prefer to drink it out).

    I am deeply curious why the electric kettle never really took on in the US the way it has in other countries.

    Reply
    • Yeah, this was weird. I was looking to see if this was posted on April 1st. Kettles are a staple appliance in Australia, along with a popup toaster. Probably two of the first things you buy (or get given) when you move out of home 🙂

      Reply
  2. Yes! We use our kettle probably 8+ times a day between the both of us. It’s a central part of our daily routines. Our kettle even heats up to specific temperatures for green tea, oolong, French press, and, of course, boiling.

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  3. Yeah, tea drinker here. Constantly boiling the kettle. Because black tea needs to be made with boiling, not boiled, water.

    Life hack, if you need a pot of boiling water to cook potatoes/pasta/etc, it’s more economical to boil it in your electric jug and pour it (carefully) into your pot.

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    • Even though we have electric kettles everywhere he in Australia, another life hack I’ve discovered recently is using our coffee machine to dispense hot water instead. It’s much faster to heat up than the kettle (it’s ready in about 10 seconds), and you only dispense as much water as you need. Only really practical for other hot drinks though.

      We also use the kettle to boil water for pots on the stove. Much faster (and more efficient) when cooking pasta or the like.

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  4. Yes absolutely took a while to find a good one though. We went through about 5 before finally finding one that lasts more than a year with daily use. Have had two separate ones have leaks, and one that was incredibly dangerous because it kept having a short circuit and turning on by itself without turning off. Plenty of good Solid ones, but we always wanted clear ones so we could see when we needed to refill it, and it seemed those ones always leaked after a few months. Luckily finally purchased the Oxo and have loved it ever since.

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  5. Love the other Aussies chiming in 😀
    I was flabbergasted the first time I went to the US and realised that no one had a kettle! Not that I needed one, I don’t drink coffee or tea.

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  6. As a Brit the whole premise of this post is odd! It’s like asking us “do you use a toothbrush?” There used to be a surge in demand for electricity at 7.45pm when the nation collectively put on their kettles for a cuppa during the ad break for a popular soap.

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      • Not neighbours, that used to be on at 5.30pm…

        I’m another one who found it surprising that Americans don’t have electric kettles. I wouldn’t be without a kettle it is so versatile – hot drinks, hot water bottle, pre-heating water to cook pasta or rice…

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      • Neighbours until recently was broadcast on the BBC, so no advert breaks. It’s also always been broadcast a bit earlier in the day. The soap referred to by Sam is Coronation Street I’m afraid.

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        • Coronation Street was going to be guess number 2. 😛

          While we never got it in Australia (to the best of my knowledge at least, though we did get stuff like Eastenders), many Aussies my age (mid 40s) grew up on a diet of British Sitcoms which meant you became aware of popular British soaps through osmosis given they were so frequently referenced as parts of gags. 🙂

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  7. Canadian here and we’ve always had electric kettles as far back as I can remember! I had no idea it wasn’t commonplace everywhere. Very interesting! The only stove kettles we’ve had would have only been used for camping.

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    • Wow-this has been an interesting comment chain to read. I had no idea we Americans were the outliers when it comes to kettles. I don’t think I’ve touched a kettle more than 2 or 3 times in my life (and never an electric one).

      If we want hot water, we put it in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave it. I wonder what the advantages of one vs the other are? Admittedly, I’d need a pretty compelling reason to take up more counter space, so I probably won’t make the change, but it’s interesting to note that most of the world uses an electric kettle!

      Reply
      • In the UK, it’s not unusual not not own a microwave or a toaster or a coffee machine or sometimes even a hob, but every house/apartment/office/school will have a kettle. It’s the most basic appliance and everyone owns one.

        When I was at school there were illicit kettles hidden in classrooms by students and teachers alike so that people could have their own private source of hot water for tea or rehydrating food without having to go to the staff room or canteen.

        How do American offices cope? Do they just normally have a coffee machine and it’s coffee or nothing? What do you do if you want a Pot Noodle?

        Reply
    • What I also find wild is how it is a challenge to find one that doesn’t break, etc. (this is a statement I’ve heard echoed by my US friends, not just the comments on here).

      The most I’ve ever paid for a kettle is AUD$15 (about USD$11) and it still works. You can buy them anywhere, including supermarkets.

      Reply
  8. I have a Cuisinart Perfectemp electric kettle and absolutely love it! I’m a tea drinker and it has presets for different types of tea (white, oolong, green, black, etc).

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  9. I used to use an electric kettle, but it was loud, used a lot of energy and I switched back to a normal kettle that I put on my gas stove and never looked back, it’s better in every way!

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  10. In a somewhat related but opposite example, it turns out that in Australia we rarely use a clothes dryer when doing laundry. We hang our laundry on a line outside our on clothes racks inside our house and air dry them.

    I’ve just read an article saying that in the USA almost everyone uses a clothes dryer.

    Reply
    • I’m assuming a clothes dryer is the same as a tumble dryer. In the UK (even with our notoriously rainy weather) a tumble dryer is not a staple household appliance – some people have them, some don’t (I don’t). I think line dried clothes smell much nicer, although I did have to shake snow off them 2 days ago… In my defense it was sunny when I hung them out!

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  11. Yeah, tumble dryer is another name. We actually have a combined washer/dryer which is great but don’t often use it. But when we do it’s very convenient.

    We don’t use it for clothes at all due to the possible shrinkage problem. But it gets used occasionally for bed linen or doonas, but also genealogy only during the day so the power comes from our solar panels.

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  12. Yes! Love my electric water kettle. I use it so often though and I wish it had a larger capacity. Curious about your blue light… does it turn red when the water is heated? If not, that was a serious oversight. Just sayin’…

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  13. Jamey,

    I haven’t had one since I was stationed overseas but I did love it. I could fill the container, push the button, and go get ready, knowing that the whistle would accompany the lever popping up and I’d have hot water for coffee after getting dressed.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    Reply
  14. American here, and I was quite surprised by the prevalence of electric kettles when I served overseas. Spent time in a lot of joint commands, and the Aussies, Brits and locals (middle east) were all avid tea drinkers, and every single person had a personal electric kettle in their CHU (containerized housing unit).

    The majority of American soldiers I worked with used theirs to make ramen meals in their bunks if they didn’t want to be bothered to walk the half mile to the d-fac and stand in line for 20 minutes to get fed. Often they made the ramen inside the KETTLE ITSELF and ate it straight out, which I’m confident sounds horrifying to our tea-drinking brethren.

    I would theorize that the indifference to kettles in the states stems from a combination of several factors: we largely prefer coffee, and tend to consider it a morning beverage, rather than something to be consumed throughout the day. (There’s no ‘high coffee’ time in our afternoons/evenings)

    Also, coffee is perceived as a ubiquitous part of office life, so much so that it is the only ‘food’ appliance that is consistently available for purchase at office supply stores. I have literally never been inside an office that didn’t have a designated coffee area with a machine and accoutrement for coffee.

    My personal experience growing up (70’s child) was with every house having a coffee pot, and coffee was unquestioningly produced in that volume, so a small kettle would have made little sense. Our coffee pots are usually 12 cups (72oz).

    Reply

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