The Best Electric Kettles to Level Up Your Coffee Game
The electric kettle is the most often ignored component of a pour-over coffee set up. For some reason, the best electric kettles elude those who have spent hundreds of dollars on a perfect burr grinder, dozens of hours researching different drippers, and a few days scavenging for the beautiful glass carafes and enamel mugs. What do those people decide to use instead? A $20 plastic kettle they bought from Amazon five years ago.
It’s not that it’s impossible to get a good cup of coffee with one of those (as long as you’re cleaning it regularly), but they do present an obstacle to truly excellent flavor. Making an above average cup of coffee, leagues beyond anything you can get with most coffee makers or a Keurig, with a pour-over is pretty simple. But it’s possible to do even better, to get a cup that’s so perfectly clean, balanced, and flavorful that it’ll have you floating through the rest of your morning like a cartoon character sniffing a just-baked pie.
Aside from brewing pour-over coffee, electric kettles are infinitely better than stovetop kettles. There's no more having to listen to that eardrum-popping whistle to let you know it's time to get your ass off the sofa and back into the kitchen just to turn off the heat. Electric kettles are way faster at boiling water than the conventional stovetop method, and they'll turn off automatically once it reaches boiling point. Plus, the best ones out there will let you heat your water to an exact temperature, and the even better ones will hold it at that temp for as long as you need (OK, most of the time it'll hold for about an hour). Now, whether you need boiling water for your instant noodles or you're about to enter a coffee-brewing competition, these are the best electric kettles to get the job done.
The Best Electric Kettles, at a Glance
No need to get hot-headed over your search for an electric kettle. We already found the best ones, so shop our top picks right here.
The Best Electric Kettle, Overall: Oxo Brew, $105
The Best Upgrade Electric Kettle: Fellow Stagg EKG Pro, $225
The Best Affordable Electric Kettle: Bonavita, $99
The Best Non-Gooseneck Kettle: Cuisinart PerfecTemp, $100
What to look for in an electric kettle
A great electric kettle will allow you to boil the water to the exact temperature you want quickly and keep it there. An electric kettle with an adjustable temperature is also a great option for tea drinkers, since different kinds of teas are meant to be brewed at different temperatures. It’ll also be well-balanced and comfortable to hold. That way, when you’re trying to pour perfect spirals into your small dripper, you won’t accidentally dump a ton of extra water and splash your coffee onto the counter.
Gooseneck kettles are great at regulating the speed at which the water comes out—a necessity for pour-over coffee so you're not flooding your grounds, while ensuring proper coffee extraction. Still, that unique shape makes it somewhat annoying for other tasks that require boiling water, say, brewing tea or prepping a big pot of pasta, because it takes quite a long time for the water to actually flow out.
Your own preferences may vary, but we prioritized high-tech models that can help you get ultra precise with your pouring, while still holding enough water for a variety of other tasks, too. Through plenty of research and testing, we’ve found a handful of excellent kettles that’ll be automatic upgrades to your coffee game.
The Best Electric Kettle, Overall: Oxo Brew
Oxo Brew Gooseneck Electric Kettle
Oxo is known for making people-friendly products for use across the home, including our favorite cold brew coffee makers. It’s no surprise then that its electric kettle is basically the perfect model for a pour-over coffee. It’s extremely intuitive to set up and dial in to the exact temperature that you want your water. All you have to do is push a button, turn a knob, and push the button again to confirm. After about two minutes (if you’re heating about 500 grams of water to 195 degrees), you’re ready to go.
The best thing about it is what happens right after this, when you return the kettle to its stand. Rather than merely go to sleep or simply tell you how fast your water is cooling, the Oxo automatically heats the water back to the temperature you previously selected. This works almost instantaneously, which means you don’t need to worry about whether your water will be the same temperature during your second pour as it was in your first.
That might not seem like a big deal, but when you’re trying to get super nerdy about coffee, you have to eliminate as many brewing variables as possible. And even if you have no interest in going deep on optimal brew times, drip techniques, grind sizes, something that automatically gets water back to the temperature you read about online is going to allow you to make a better tasting daily cup without any extra effort.
We're also big fans of the kettle's ergonomic handle, which is basically just a rod enveloped in a squishy rubber, slightly grooved for your fingers with a natural place for your thumb to rest on top. This means you can get a really secure grip as you pick up the kettle, which allows you to feel more in control of your pours through the Oxo's gooseneck spout. Thanks to this balanced design, we never found myself accidentally flooding a pour-over dripper with too much water too quickly, and potentially messing up a brew. To change the temperature reading from Fahrenheit to Celsius, or vice-versa, all you have to do is hold the Oxo button, twist the dial to make your selection, and push the button to confirm. It works well, but when we were first learning to use the kettle we occasionally opened that menu accidentally, when starting up the machine. But our morning coffee-deprived brain quickly adjusted. We think yours will, too.
The Best Upgrade Electric Kettle: Fellow Stagg EKG Pro
Fellow Stagg EKG Pro Electric Kettle
The first time we saw a Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle was on the shelves of a fancy coffee shop. It kind of resembles an Erlenmeyer flask from chem lab, but in a matte black finish, a calling card for most of Fellow's elevated coffee gear. And just like the rest of its inventory, the Fellow Stagg has been a helluva product since its release several years ago. Among the Stagg collection, Fellow offers the original model, a Pro version, and a Pro Studio option, which has the Pro's upgrades as well as a more premium build. And if you're wondering which one's most worth the splurge, we think the Stagg EKG Pro is the way to go.
Like the Oxo, the Fellow is simple to operate. To turn it on, you press the circular dial on the front. The kettle immediately begins heating whatever water is inside, which’ll save you a few seconds or so as you adjust the dial to your exact temperature. To power it down, you simply push the dial again. The Stagg has gone through a few innovations since it first came out, but the most important aspects of it are still there: the ability to toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius, the option to hold a precise temperature for up to an hour, and an overall solid and sturdy build that has stood the test of time (in our case, about five years). With the Stagg EKG Pro, you get the option to program the kettle to turn on at a pre-set time, so you can hit snooze on your alarm clock a few more times than usual.
The Fellow kettle’s handle isn’t as comfortable to hold as the Oxo's, since it doesn’t have that squishy grips. Still, its design features a spot that makes a perfect thumb rest, which’ll make the kettle feel a bit more stable and give you more control on your pours. And, unlike the other kettles we recommend, the Fellow comes in a few different colors and finishes. Everything about the Fellow feels more premium than the Oxo, and there's the whole coffee nerd factor that comes into play with anything from the brand.
The Best Affrodable Electric Kettle: Bonavita
Bonavita Digital Temperature Gooseneck Kettle
If you had asked anyone a few years ago what the best electric kettle was, there’s an extremely high change they would have said this one from Bonavita. Until the Oxo was released in late 2017, the Bonavita gooseneck kettle was the one most often recommended by coffee professionals and editorial publications. It’s still an excellent kettle. It heats water quickly, is comfortable to hold and use, and has a large enough capacity for most coffee related tasks. But its interface is a little bit clunky compared to that of the Oxo and Fellow. Sure, it's only a few bucks cheaper than the Oxo, but it could be just enough to make you opt for the more affordable option.
The Bonavita kettle separates all the functionality of the Oxo single button into a six button control panel. To get your kettle to a specific temperature, you turn on the kettle with one button, use the “Temp Set” button to select an approximate temperature, and then use the “+” and “-” buttons to adjust the kettle until you've landed on the exact temperature you want. If you actually want the kettle to stay at that temperature, you have to remember to hit the “Hold” button. Unfortunately, once you take off the kettle, the hold function turns off. That means when you set the kettle back down, you have to set the temperature to the point at which you wanted it again, and then hit the “hold” button again.
Once you’ve done this enough times, it starts to become second nature, but once you’ve experienced the seamless experience of the Oxo and the Fellow, it’s hard to go back to. Still, at this price point, it’s difficult to find anything that is as effective at heating water and has a track record of good performance. Plus, the Bonavita has a decent handle, with grooves that should accommodate (or at the very least, not hinder) most fingers. If you’re looking for a kettle but can’t bear the price of the other two options, the Bonavita is unassailable.
The Best Standard Kettle: Cuisinart PerfecTemp
Cuisinart PerfecTemp Tea Kettle
For moments when you just need a lot of boiling water and pronto, turn to Cuisinart's PerecTemp tea kettle. With its generous 1.7-liter capacity and beak-style spout for easy pouring, this kettle will make you wonder how you ever used to boil water on the stove. Unlike the Oxo or Fellow's precise temperature increments, the PerfecTemp comes with six pre-set temperatures, all of which are easily accessibly on the kettle's handle. Being able to access the buttons on the handle is both a pro and a con—on one hand, it reduces the footprint of the kettle's base, which saves you counter space. On the other hand, you have to make sure to hover your thumb over the buttons when you're pouring from the kettle to make sure you don't press something accidentally.
We can't deny how speedy this thing is at getting water from cold tap to boiling hot, and it also boasts a “keep warm” setting which keeps your water hot for up to 30 minutes (about half the length of Fellow's one hour warming period). Another perk is that unlike the Bonavita, you can remove the kettle for up to two minutes and then return it to the base, all while retaining its “keep warm” setting.
3 More Electric Kettles We Like
Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle
OK, take all the things we like about the Stagg EKG (the regular one and not the Pro), ditch the gooseneck, and you have the Fellow Corvo. Pour your precisely heated water quickly and have hot water for as long as you need (up to 60 minutes). It's still on the pricey side when it comes to electric kettles, but of all the electric kettles we've ever used and tested, Fellow's always feel the most sturdy and high-quality.
$125.00, Design Within Reach
Boring-old electric kettles be damned. Hay applied its eye for bold colors to the humble electric kettle in the form of the Sowden. Its 1.5-liter capacity is more than enough to get two whole Cup Noodles ready for dinner, and that tricky, twisty cord stays squarely inside the base's cord management system.
Balmuda, the brand behind the infamous $300 toaster oven, made an electric kettle that looks a lot like Fellow's but less heavy and with a smaller water capacity. It's cute and squat, and it does its job well, but the kettle costs $150 and it doesn't even have the ability to choose a water temperature.
Originally Appeared on GQ
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