It's an oldie but a goodie (and the very first Food Lab column!). If you're planning to boil eggs this weekend for Easter decorating, this investigation will answer all your head-scratcher questions. Are old eggs better for boiling? Does the pH of the water really matter? Lid off or on? The answers: To a degree yes, use plain tap water (no vinegar or baking soda necessary), and the lid can stay off.
There is a precise volume of water I can use to hard boil an egg such that if I start it cold, bring it up to a bare simmer, then immediately shut off the heat, the water temperature will drop to below 170 degrees just as the central yolk temperature reaches 170 degrees, thereby guaranteeing that my egg will be perfectly cooked every single time. After some more fiddling and a few dozen deviled eggs, I discovered this volume to be 1.5 quarts.
For more on what factors matter most when boiling, read it all here.