We Tested 13 Electric Kettles to Find Our Favorite Ones

Our top picks include models from Fellow, Breville, and Cosori.

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three electric kettles on a marble kitchen countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Straight to the Point

Our favorite variable temperature kettle is the Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle. It’s user-friendly and can be dialed down to the degree. Our favorite non-variable, straightforward kettle is the Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle. And, finally, our budget-friendly pick is the Cosori Original Electric Glass Kettle.


There are so many reasons to purchase an electric kettle. They sit on your counter instead of on your stovetop, freeing up space. They’re quieter than a tea kettle that whistles when it approaches the boiling point and screams when it demands to be taken off the heat. They shut-off automatically once they reach a boil (and some can even hold their temperature for a prolonged period of time). An electric kettle boils water a bit faster, too. 

And if you invest in a variable temperature electric kettle, the temperature can be dialed down to the degree or at least a preset range of temperatures that aren’t just boiling. Did you know many teas and coffees actually do better at far lower temperatures than the boiling point of 212 degrees? Some green tea, for example, tastes best when steeped in 160 to 170°F  water. 

We last tested electric kettles in 2016, however all but one of our top picks were discontinued. So, we decided it was time to retest them—focusing on kettles that have about a 1.7-liter or 7-cup capacity (the most common size), with the exception of a few notable brands that only offer smaller kettles. We included both variable and non-variable temperature kettles, for those that desire accuracy and others that really just want to boil water. We didn’t set a price cap for this review, but included several budget-friendly models as well as a couple of high-end, pricier offerings. 

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Variable Temperature Electric Kettle: Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle

This beautiful, compact models has just one knob and can be dialed down to the degree anywhere from 135 to 212°F. It can hold its temperature for one-hour, too. It’s accurate and fast and has a handle with a counterweight for easy pouring. If you're looking for a larger, variable temperature kettle we still recommend the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle.

The Best Non-Variable Electric Kettle: Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle

Breville kettle

The Breville doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it heats quickly and pouring boiling water from it is a breeze thanks its small, pointed spout and ergonomic, soft-grip handle. Its wide opening made cleanup easy. 

The Best Budget Electric Kettle: Cosori Original Electric Glass Tea Kettle

Although the Cosori kettle took longer to boil, it had a wide opening that made it easy to clean, a simple on/off switch, and a spout that directed water into a cup and kept it off the countertop.

The Tests

Three electric kettles on a marble surface

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

  • Speed Test: We filled each kettle to its stated capacity and timed how long it took to reach a boil (212°F).
  • Accuracy Tests: For the variable temperature kettles, we programmed each to four different temperatures (175°F, 185°F, 190°F, and 200°F—or the closest setting to each). We took the temperature at each setting with an instant-read thermometer to guage accuracy. 
  • Keep Warm Test: For the kettles that offered it, we selected the “keep warm” function (if the kettle had one) and assessed how long the kettle was able to keep 200°F water warm for, taking the temperature after 15 and 30 minutes with an instant-read thermometer.
  • Taste Test: After boiling and discarding the water several times, we tasted a sample of water from each kettle to determine if there were any off flavors.
  • Pouring Tests: We boiled a a full capacity's worth of water in each kettle and poured the water into a mug to evaluate flow rate and how comfortable the kettle was to pour from. We then repeated this test, but with each kettle filled to half-capacity. 
  • Usability Tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated the functionality of each kettle’s features, including its control panel. We also took into consideration other usability factors, like if the kettle’s handle got overly hot when in use. 
  • Cleanup Test: At the end of testing, we cleaned each kettle and its base.

What We Learned

All of the Electric Kettles Boiled Water Pretty Fast

A closeup look at the Breville tea kettle pouring water into a light blue mug

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

When we first began testing, we expected to see a greater differences between the kettles in terms of how quickly water boiled. But most of the kettles all came to a boil in roughly the same amount of time.

For the 1.5- to 1.7-liter models (the majority of the ones we tested), the full-capacity kettles went from 61 to 63°F to 212°F in around eight minutes, with some notable exceptions. One of our winners, the Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle, boiled in seven minutes and 35 seconds. For comparison, it takes the same amount of water about 10 minutes to boil in a stovetop kettle. Now, this difference isn’t huge, but if speed’s your main concern, it’s worth noting.

Pouring, Spout Design, and Other Usability Features

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Pouring boiling hot liquid from an electric kettle shouldn’t be scary and the water definitely shouldn’t sputter, splatter, or easily overshoot your mug. 

In our pouring tests (both at full- and half-capacity), the kettles that received the highest marks were those that poured water at a steady rate—smoothly and evenly. Sharper, angled spouts worked best here. Other pouring considerations to consider were whether or not the handle got too hot to the touch and if it was weighted. Our favorite model, from Fellow, featured a handle with a counterweight that made it feel balanced when titled.

A Variable Temperature Is the Way To Go for Coffee and Tea

A hand turning the temperature control knob on the Fellow Corvo kettle

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Out of the 13 kettles we tested, six were variable temperature kettles, meaning they could be set to a range of temperatures lower than water’s boiling point. If you make immersion-style coffee (like a French press or Aeropress with a Fellow Prismo attachment) or are into brewing tea, you’ll wan’t a variable temperature kettle. (For pourover coffee we also recommend a variable temperature kettle, but a gooseneck model instead.) 

Variable temperature kettles are often more expensive than non-variable models. But, the investment can be well worth it: in addition to heating water to various temperatures, they also include a keep-warm function that holds a set temperature for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. When we tested the keep-warm function of these variable temperature kettles, all of them were within two degrees of 200°F at 15 and 30 minutes—with the exception of a model from Zwilling that was 206°F at 30 minutes.

And when we tested these kettles for accuracy (at 175°F, 185°F, 190°F, and 200°F—or the closest setting to each), the best kettles were within two degrees of all of these temperatures. In fact, the Fellow was only ever one-degree off at the most. The lower-performing kettles were four to seven degrees off.

Some Kettles Were Easier to Clean

an overhead look at the Breville kettle with its lid open

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The kettles with wide openings (where you could get your hand inside to clean it, if needed) were the easiest to clean. Those with narrow mouths, like the models from Cuisinart, OXO, and KitchenAid, required a bottle brush to scrub the interior.

an overhead look at three of the electric kettle bases

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Electric kettles should come with a mesh-like metal or stainless steel filter in the spout in order to prevent scale buildup from getting into your cup. The best models also had their heating elements concealed within their base. This prevents scale from building up around the crevices of an exposed heating coil and being a pain clean.

The Criteria: What to Look for in an Electric Kettle

The Fellow Corvo kettle pouring water into a blue mug

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez / Grace Kelly

The best kettles are fast, have a handle that stays cool to the touch, and are easy to pour from—with a spout that gently directs water into the cup. They were also easy to clean. For variable temperatures, they have to be accurate and within a couple of degrees of their set temperature and capable of holding said temperature for an extended period of time

The Best Variable Temperature Electric Kettle: Fellow Corvo EKG Electric Kettle

What we liked: This kettle was fast and incredibly accurate. When set to 175°F, 185°F, 190°F, and 200°F, the Fellow Corvo came in at 174°F, 185°F, 190°F, and 200°F.

With a single knob that allowed us to set the temperature down to the degree (anywhere from 135°F-212°F), the ability to hold its temperature for an hour, and an LED screen that displays the current and set temperature, it was exactly what we wanted a variable temperature kettle to be. The spout seamlessly directed water into a cup and its handle had a counterweight that allowed it to feel balanced during pouring. 

What we didn’t like: This pricey kettle is on the small side, which could be appreciated by apartment dwellers or those with compact kitchens. However, if a larger variable kettle is what you’re after, this is not it. And, in that case, we recommend the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle

Key Specs

  • Capacity: .9L
  • Variable Temperature Range: 135°F-212°F
  • Materials: Stainless Steel, plastic
The Fellow Corvo on a marble kitchen countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Non-Variable Electric Kettle: Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle

Breville kettle

What we liked: The Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle couldn’t be simpler to use: it has a single control switch, heats water quickly, and dings when it’s ready/has come to a boil. 

It gets the job done quickly (seven minutes and 42 seconds to boil a full-capacity’s worth of water). When pouring, the hot water flowed nicely through the small spout, never rushing or splashing or sputtering. The cleanup was also simple thanks to its wide opening.

What we didn’t like: This model could have been a little quieter during the heating process. There’s no variable temperature or keep warm function, but that’s not the fault of the kettle. 

Key Specs

  • Capacity: 1.7 liters
  • Variable Temperature Range: N/A
  • Materials: Glass, Stainless Steel, plastic
The Breville stainless steel tea kettle on a marble kitchen countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Budget Electric Kettle: Cosori Original Electric Glass Tea Kettle

What we liked: While it took a bit longer to come to a boil (eight minutes and 35 seconds), this $40 kettle is still a great deal. It was also very easy to use (thanks to its single control switch)  and clean (thanks to its wide opening) and it had a blue LED indicator that lit up the entire kettle's contents.

What we didn’t like: The Cosori was one of a few models that was slightly off-tasting after multiple rounds of boiling and discarding water. It should be added, though, that this will go away after more uses.

Key Specs

  • Capacity: 1.7 liters
  • Variable Temperature Range: N/A
  • Materials: Glass, Stainless Steel, Plastic
Cosori tea kettle on a marble kitchen countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

  • Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle: The Cuisinart came in close after being our previous top pick, but it just wasn’t as accurate as our favorite variable temperature kettle. However, it as settings that correspond to different tea types (green, Oolong, white, and black), which could be very appealing for some. If you're after a larger-capacity variable temperature kettle, this is the one we recommend.
  • OXO Brew Cordless Glass Electric Kettle: The OXO kettle took longer than most kettles to boil (eight minutes and 52 seconds) and it didn’t obviously click into place when set on the base, which gave us pause. 
  • OXO Brew Adjustable Temperature Kettle: The OXO variable temperature kettle wasn’t as accurate as other models we tested, and boiling water splashed a bit when poured into a mug.
  • Breville IQ Kettle: The Breville variable kettle also received high marks, but like the Cuisinart just wasn’t as accurate as our favorite variable temperature kettle.
  • Mueller Ultra Kettle: The Mueller kettle was the only kettle we tested where the handle was warm to the touch after boiling. It was also one of four models with a slightly off-tasting water. 
  • Hamilton Beach Variable Temperature Electric Kettle: This affordable variable temperature kettle was very accurate, but had some usability issues including water that rushed out far too quickly from the spout. 
  • KitchenAid Electric Kettle: The KitchenAid kettle is cute and looks like a traditional stovetop kettle, but the spout was very wide, causing the water to come out too quickly. 
  • Capresso 259 Water Kettle: The Capresso wasn’t easy to use and its lid was difficult to open and close.
  • Smeg Electric Kettle: The Smeg had a cool look to it, and it was easy to use and clean, but for $170, we’d rather buy a variable temperature model. 
  • Zwilling Enfinigy Electric Kettle Pro: This kettle was very sleek, but too inaccurate.

FAQs

Is a variable temperature electric kettle worth it?

If you drink tea or French press coffee, a variable electric kettle will likely make your life easier and your beverage brewing more enjoyable. From the speed with which it boils water to the variable temperatures that can be set, there’s just more flexibility and usability for the at-home beverage drinker. 

What's the difference between an electric kettle and a variable temperature electric kettle?

A variable temperature kettle is also an electric kettle, with some extra features. The difference is that a standard electric kettle will only boil your water, while a variable kettle allows for more temperature control and has added features, like a keep-warm function.

Additional research by
Marguerite Preston
Marguerite Preston is a contributing writer at Serious Eats.
Marguerite Preston writes about the best kitchen gear and equipment from Brooklyn, New York.
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