Do Electric Kettles Use a Lot of Electricity?
When you feel a yearning for a quick cup of tea, warm milk, or coffee, an electric kettle will come in handy. Boiling water using an electric stove takes time as you’ll have to wait for the coils to heat up before that heat can even begin to warm the water in the pan. In contrast, an electric kettle can bring water to the boiling point in a short time.
However, the power consumption of electric kettles gives them a bad rep as electricity guzzlers. So should you trade off a few cents for the convenience these appliances bring? Are the additional kWhs an electric kettle consumes to boil water quickly worth the price? Is the electric kettle’s power usage high enough to impact your utility bill?
Let’s look into some important details about electric kettles to find the answers to those questions.
What is an Electric Kettle?
An electric kettle functions pretty much like its non-electric counterpart. The difference lies in where they get their source of heat. You put a regular electric kettle atop an electric or gas stove to boil water. The heat energy from the stove’s hot plate or gas flame goes to the bottom of the pot and warms the water through the process called convection.
Meanwhile, an electric kettle uses a heating element to heat the water until it reaches boiling. Plugging in the electric kettle makes electric current flow through the heating element, warming the kettle’s conductor plate, a portion of the electric kettle that stays in contact with the water. This electrical energy produces heat that gets transferred to the entire liquid content of the kettle through conduction.
Because water molecules are loosely spread, heat spreads faster via conduction than convection. As such, electric kettles can bring water to a boil much quicker compared to a regular kettle.
Electric Kettle’s Energy Consumption
Different factors affect the power consumption of an electric kettle. These include the electric kettle wattage and efficiency, the amount of water you place in the pot, and how long it takes to bring the water to a boil.
To make it easier to determine how much power an electric kettle uses to boil the water, let’s base the computation on several standards. These are:
- Electric kettle wattage: 3000 watts
- Amount of water: 1.5 liters
- How long it takes to boil water: 3 minutes
Using these standards will show that the power consumption of a typical electric kettle stands at .073 kWh per use.
Average Cost of Using an Electric Kettle
If you love hot drinks and spend a lot of time using your electric kettle, it’s natural to be concerned about how much boiling water multiple times per day can add to your power consumption. Let’s see what’s the average cost of using an electric kettle.
Taking off from our computations in the previous section, we assume that the electric kettle has a 3 kW heating element, and the amount of water you want to boil is 1.5 liters. Heating larger amounts will require more electric power, so if you often need over 1.5 liters, that will add a few more kWhs to your power consumption.
If a typical electric kettle consumes .073 kWh to boil water and the average price of electricity in the US is 13.72 cents per kWh, it will cost you about $0.01 per boil.
Electric Kettle’s Running Costs Per Month
How many times you use an electric kettle is one of the factors that determine its power consumption per month. In the UK, people use electric kettles more often than those in the US. Around 40% boil an electric kettle 5 times a day or more.
Let’s assume that Americans use electric kettles as often as those in the UK and then use the figures we have in the previous section.
Let’s say you boil your electric kettle 5 times a day, and the power consumption for each boil runs to .073 kWh. We then multiply the kWh by the average price of electricity in the country, which is 13.72 cents per kWh.
5 x .073 = 0.365
0.365 x .1372 = 0.05
That means you’ll spend $0.05 per day. Now let’s multiply that by 30 days.
0.05 x 30 = 1.50
The running cost of an electric kettle is $1.50 a month.
How to Save on Your Running Costs?
The heating element of an electric kettle is behind its high power consumption. So how much energy you use per boil largely depends on the wattage of your unit. But whatever the rating of your kettle may be, there are ways to ensure that the electricity consumed by your appliance doesn’t significantly impact your power bill.
Use your kettle less often
This is the most effective way to reduce the electricity consumed by your appliance. As you can see in our computations, each time you boil your kettle, you’ll spend about $0.01. That may not seem like much, but the cost adds up over time.
Make sure your kettle runs efficiently
Limescale that builds up on your kettle’s heating element can reduce its efficiency. Limescale is a white, chalky residue from calcium and magnesium minerals in hard water. Descaling will remove the build-up and restore your kettle’s efficiency in heating water. Also, make sure that the lid closes properly to prevent heat from escaping.
Boil only enough water for your needs
The more water the kettle has to boil, the more energy it consumes to heat its contents. This wastes electricity. Not only will the increased consumption hike your power bills, but it also impacts the environment. To keep the kettle’s running costs as low as possible, don’t fill it up more than what’s necessary for your needs. Just make sure the water reaches the minimum stated level indicated by the manufacturer.
Don’t bring the water’s temperature higher than necessary
How much power a kettle consumes also depends on how hot you want the water to be. Most modern electric kettles have temperature controls. This feature lets you set the optimal temperature for your brew and save on your electricity costs.
Purchase a new kettle
If you have an old unit, its heating element will be less efficient. As a result, it will draw more energy compared to a new one. So upgrading your kettle when it’s past its prime will be a good investment.
Functions of an Electric Kettle
Buying an electric kettle in today’s time-constrained world makes sense. Unlike traditional gas or stovetop kettle, an electric one can boil water faster. In fact, it’s the most efficient way to heat water for that cup of coffee or tea you crave. The good news is the average power consumption of this kettle won’t break your budget.
An electric kettle is a versatile appliance, functioning in the following ways:
- Gives you hot water in a jiffy: Water gets hot faster through conduction compared to convection. That means you don’t have to wait too long for the water to boil using an electric kettle. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about over-boiling or boiling the water to the point that the kettle runs dry because most kettles come with an auto-shut feature.
- Let’s you make a variety of hot beverages: Electric kettles are not just for making coffee or tea. You can make a host of other hot drinks with it, such as hot lemon, hot cocoa, and warm milk.
- Cook some easy recipes: It may come as a surprise, but yes, you can use an electric kettle to prepare some simple snacks. Examples are instant noodles, oatmeal, boiled egg, and pasta.
The Top Electric Kettles in the Market
Picking the electric kettle that tailor-fits your needs can be a chore. The task is made more daunting by the sheer number of these kitchen appliances on the market. In your search for the kettle that will help you make the perfect brew, check each model’s features to determine if they make sense for you. Of course, price is also an important consideration.
Here are some of our recommendations.
- Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle
Tea lovers know that different types of teas steep at varying temperatures. This kettle model offers you 6 temperature settings that let you heat water to the optimal temperature your brew requires. Its French press setting delivers the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee in your French press.
- Mueller Austria
This electric kettle with SpeedBoil Tech lights up when heating. Moreover, its glass body lets you see inside, so you know when the water has started to boil. The kettle’s handle is easy to grasp and stays cool to the touch. Meanwhile, the large spout lets you easily pour the water into your cup.
- Miroco Electric Kettle
If you’re looking for a no-frills kettle, the Miroco Electric Kettle is it. The outside portion of this kettle is made of 100% BPA-free plastic, which doesn’t get hot. Meanwhile, food-safe stainless-steel lines the inside part, lid, and spout.
- Breville the Smart Kettle Luxe
Coming from Breville, a premium appliance brand, you’re assured of high quality when you opt for this electric kettle. This is readily evident in the unit’s sleek stainless-steel finish, innovative features, and sturdy build. You can get the perfect temperature at the touch of a button, with various options for tea brewing and pour-over coffee.
- Oxo Electric Pour-Over Kettle
This kettle suits coffee drinkers best as its thin gooseneck spout allows a slow, steady, and precise pouring, which is vital to making pour-over coffee. This Oxo electric kettle model also allows for more accurate temperature control, offering 1-degree increments from 140-212 degrees F.
- Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Electric Kettle
The streamlined appearance of this kettle appeals to many customers. So does the fact that there’s no plastic inside the unit. Its double-wall construction insulates the kettle, so the water stays warm longer. Meanwhile, the outside remains cool to the touch.
- Kitchenaid Electric Kettle
If you don’t boil plenty of water, this compact 1 ¼ liter kettle is an excellent choice. The KitchenAid Electric Kettle has the look and feel of a stovetop model. Its wraparound cord base keeps your countertop free of clutter.
- Fellow Stagg Gooseneck Kettle
The gooseneck spout makes for precision pouring, so this kettle model suits coffee drinkers best. Aside from the gooseneck design, it comes packed with features that will warm the heart of tea and coffee lovers.
- Smeg Electric Kettle
Its retro design adds to this kettle’s countertop appeal. With 11 colors to choose from, there’s one that will surely fit your taste. It can hold up to 1.7 liters so you can boil enough water for several drinks.
- Chefman 1.8 liters electric glass kettle
This is a kettle tea connoisseur will love as it allows the brewing of loose tea leaves right in the kettle. It comes with 5 settings for temperature control and has a large capacity.
Tips on Buying an Electric Kettle
Electric kettles are essential kitchen appliances. Because some models and brands are a bit pricey, you’ll need to know what to look for to ensure you get the most out of your money. Here are some things to consider when buying an electric kettle.
- Temperature setting options: Different types of tea require varying steeping temperatures. So if you’re particular about the taste of your tea, a kettle that offers a range of temperature settings is your best bet.
- Speed: You don’t want to waste time waiting for the water to boil. If your kettle takes forever to heat the water, you might as well just use your microwave oven.
- Capacity: How much water a kettle holds is a factor in the equation. You don’t want to waste electricity (and water) by boiling more than you need.
- Cost: Some kettles with fancy features come with higher sticker prices. Check if you need those features before opting for an innovative but more expensive model.
- Appearance: Some models work well and look good, too. If you want countertop appeal, it’s essential that you pick a kettle with an appearance you’ll enjoy.
- Ease of use: Most kettles are easy to use. However, some may have design flaws that make them more complicated to use than others.
How long does it take to boil 1 liter of water in a kettle?
Electric kettles are purposely made to boil water as quickly as possible. On average, a 1500W kettle takes about 4 minutes to bring a liter of water to a boil. In contrast, the same amount of water will take 6-8 minutes to boil on a gas stove and 9-12 minutes on an electric one.
Which kettle is most energy-efficient?
All things being equal, electric glass kettles are the most energy-efficient. This is because the material used offers higher temperature control. As such, less energy goes to waste to regulate the temperature. Kettles made of glass keep the water warm longer, too.
Why should you put cold water in a kettle?
It’s not the water’s temperature that matters but more where the water comes from. You get cold water from your home’s water pipes while hot water comes from your water heater. Hot water systems can give the water a metallic taste, which can affect the flavor of your drinks.
Is it bad to fill a kettle with hot water?
Filling your kettle with hot water won’t harm the appliance. However, the water from your heater may contain a metallic taste that will give an off taste to your beverages.
Electric kettles take the hassle out of making your favorite hot drink. However, with plenty of options available in the market, you’ll need to research to get the most bang for your buck. Moreover, choosing the most energy-efficient kettle can help reduce the electricity consumed by the appliance and prevent it from making a significant impact on your electric bill.