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There are four types of electric kettles in the market: plastic, stainless steel, glass, and copper.
Knowing the material of each type of electric kettle will help you understand the nuances between their strengths and weaknesses and whether it's the right appliance to buy.
For instance, you may prefer to buy an electric kettle versus a stovetop kettle if you’re constantly on the go and need to make food and beverages instantly.
The material of your electric kettle is the primary consideration as the types of electric kettle vary based on this.
Plastic electric kettles are lighter than glass and stainless steel, but they cause a slight change in flavor and odor. Stainless steel is more popular than other types because it is reasonably priced and not as heavy as glass units. A copper electric kettle is lighter than glass and stainless steel and considered more durable than other types. However, it may need to be used only as a decoration if they are the older, vintage model without the protective lining.
Understanding the different electric kettles available in the market, including their pros and cons, can help you decide which one to choose for your kitchen.
What are the different types available for an electric kettle?
The different types of electric kettles are plastic, stainless steel, glass, and copper.
The following list includes the different types of electric kettles available in the market:
- Plastic electric kettle
Plastic electric kettles have a plastic base made out of polypropylene materials.
Plastic electric kettles are typically cheaper than the other types, such as stainless steel and glass electric kettles. They are easy to lift and have little to no risk of breaking when dropped. They also have a cool exterior and keep the water warm longer than stainless steel units.
The downside to using a plastic electric kettle is the material. Many users are skeptical about buying this type because of the dangers of BPA leaking into the boiling water.
BPA is a severe health threat that can cause the reproductive, immunity and neurological systems, including an increased risk in Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, childhood asthma, and cardiovascular diseases.
Some users also avoid this type of electric kettle because plastic coming into contact with boiling water causes a slight change in flavor or odor of the heated beverage.
- Stainless steel electric kettle
A stainless steel electric kettle is made with stainless steel materials that are heat- and dent-resistant.
Stainless steel electric kettles are durable, sleek, and stylish. They are not as cheap as plastic electric kettles, but they come with a reasonable price tag – not as expensive as glass units.
Some stainless steel models boast of features such as a removable scale filter to avoid limescale buildup and a double-walled design to avoid a scorching hot exterior.
Stainless steel electric kettles are heavier than plastic but lighter than glass units.
- Glass electric kettle
Glass electric kettles have a glass bowl, allowing you to see inside the kettle. They are considered the most stylish of all the types of electric kettles and have modern features available in the market today, which is why they are more expensive than plastic or stainless steel models.
Glass electric kettles are transparent, so it's easy to see the water level and whether there’s a limescale buildup or stains. They also need a more regular and thorough clean than the other types to maintain their pristine state.
Glass kettles are heavier and are more prone to breakage than plastic or stainless steel ones.
- Copper electric kettle
Copper electric kettles are made with copper materials that quickly heat water to a consistent temperature.
Modern copper electric kettles are designed with a thin lining of stainless steel, nickel or tin, making them safer to use than antique teapots that don’t come with protective lining, causing copper poisoning and digestive issues. Old kettles made of solid copper should only be used as a decoration.
Copper electric kettles heat up liquid faster and are more energy-efficient than the other types. They are durable and last for longer than five years because they do not flake or rust. They are more prone to scratches and warping, however, because copper is a soft material.
They come with a higher price tag than plastic, stainless steel and glass electric kettles because copper is more expensive than other materials.
Copper electric kettles come with a distinct, vintage look that serves as a statement piece in the kitchen. They turn to different shades of color when heated up.
What are the different ways to use an electric kettle?
The different ways to use an electric kettle include heating water, preparing instant meals, warming bottles, preparing warm soup, cooking oatmeal, boiling an egg, and cooking rice.
Electric kettles are used primarily for making hot beverages like water, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.
Here are six other uses of an electric kettle:
Make “just add water” meals. Electric kettles are a camper's and college student's best friend – they make instant noodles, and soup mixes possible.
Warm bottles. Boil water and put it into a medium to a large bowl. Place a bottle into the bowl of hot water and remove it once you achieve the right temperature. Power tip: for baby bottles, squeeze a drop of milk on the underside of your wrist to check the temperature. It should be as warm as your body temperature, which is 98.6°F or 37°C.
Prepare warm soup. Put small, chopped vegetables (or sprinkle soup powder) into the electric kettle. Add the right amount of water and turn the kettle on. You’ll have an instant soup after three to five minutes.
Cook oatmeal. Boil water using the electric kettle and pour it over your oatmeal. Voila – an instant oatmeal breakfast.
Boil egg. Put the egg inside the kettle. Turn on the kettle to start boiling. If the unit comes with an automatic shut off feature when the water begins to boil, turn it back on until the egg is ready. Hard-boiled eggs are done in eight to twelve minutes, while soft-boiled eggs are prepared in two to four minutes.
Cook rice. Soak the grains for about 20 minutes before adding them to the kettle. Add spices or vegetables if desired but not bulky items like meat. Turn the kettle on and wait for around 15-20 minutes, or depending on how much rice you put in the kettle. If the unit has an automatic shut off feature, keep turning the kettle back on until the rice is cooked.
Once you learn how to use an electric kettle, you’ll find it has many use cases. Electric kettles have many heating capabilities beyond heating water for tea beverages.
What sizes do the electric kettles come in?
An average electric kettle holds between 1.5 and 1.7 liters of water. An average cup has 250 ml, which means that an average electric kettle – regardless of type – can boil six to seven cups at a time.
The types of electric kettles vary primarily in the material rather than size. This means that electric kettles may come in similar shapes and sizes regardless of the type.
They differ in weight, however. Here is the approximate weight for each type:
Plastic electric kettle: 1.7 lbs.
Stainless steel electric kettle: 1.88 lbs.
Glass electric kettle: 4 lbs.
Copper electric kettle: 1.6 lbs.
What food or drink can I make with different electric kettles?
The food or drink that you can make with different electric kettles are listed below:
- Hot beverages like water, tea, milk and hot chocolate
- “Just add water” meals like instant noodles and soup
What determines the best electric kettle type?
The best electric kettle type can be determined by the following: speed, temperature options, size, budget, noise, material, and weight.
Speed is a primary consideration for knowing the best electric kettle to use for your kitchen needs. Electric kettles work faster and more efficiently than a stovetop kettle and microwave. Most units take between three to four minutes to boil water, and some brands claim that they can do this in 90 minutes.
Temperature options are available in some electric kettle models or brands. Budget units do not offer this feature, while modern stainless steel or glass electric kettles allow the users to select optimal temperatures.
Temperature options are essential in getting a precise temperature for your hot beverage. Different types of tea and other beverage vary in their required temperature – boiling water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for black tea or coffee. In comparison, green tea may only require warm water at 170 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Size refers to both capacity of the kettle and how much of your counter space it occupies. How many people does the electric kettle need to serve? Do you have ample space and a nearby power plug on your benchtop to put and store the unit on?
Budget is also a primary consideration. Units with limited features cost $15, and those with higher quality, durability, and capacity fall in the higher end of the spectrum – from $100 to $200+.
Noise is a factor for deciding which type to buy. Most models make a boiling noise, which is normal but can annoy or wake up people in the room. Some units include a beeping feature, which indicates when the water is boiled. Certain brands allow you to turn off the beeping feature while others don't. Pick an electric kettle with the ideal features and noise level for your household.
Material is a crucial element for choosing the right type of electric kettle. Stainless steel and glass units are considered higher quality and durability than plastic ones, which are lighter and easier to lift and carry around for travel. Copper ones are considered highly durable and can last years but are more prone to scratches and warping.
Weight should also be considered, especially if you’re thinking of bringing your electric kettle when you travel. Plastic and copper electric kettles are lighter and easier to lift than glass and stainless steel units.
Are plastic electric kettles safe?
Plastic electric kettles are safe. They are easy to use and lift, lighter than other types, and have little to no risk of breaking when dropped.
Many users think twice about buying a plastic electric kettle because of the health hazards associated with BPA. When plastic comes into contact with high heat, it could produce BPA that can leech into the boiling water.
BPA is a serious health threat that can cause the reproductive, immunity and neurological systems, including an increased risk in Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, childhood asthma, and cardiovascular diseases.
Users opt for a glass or stainless steel electric kettle to avoid this health risk.
What is the average price for an electric kettle?
The average price for an electric kettle ranges from $15 to $200, depending on the features, size, type, and brand.
Stainless steel electric kettles that heat more water are on the higher end of the range, whereas plastic ones are cheaper.
What is the lifespan of different electric kettles?
The average lifespan of an electric kettle is four to five years.
The frequency of use, storage, material and brand affect how long an electric kettle lasts.
How does the electric kettle type affect the boiling process?
The electric kettle type affects the boiling process based on the material.
Copper is a safer and more efficient material than plastic, glass and stainless steel. It is considered to be an effective conductor among household appliances. This is why copper electric kettles heat up liquid faster and are more energy-efficient than the other types.
Plastic electric kettles have a cool exterior and keep the water warm longer than stainless steel and glass units.
What effect does electric kettle type have on taste?
Electric kettle types affect taste based on the material.
Plastic electric kettles cause a slight change in flavor or odor of the heated beverage. When plastic comes into contact with boiling water, it alters the taste and how the liquid smells, albeit rather faintly.
Glass, copper, and stainless steel electric kettles do not affect the taste of the beverage or food item inside it.
Is it better to use stainless steel electric kettles or copper electric kettles in the kitchen?
Deciding whether it’s better to use steel or copper electric kettles boils down to kitchen space and functionality.
Kitchen usability is considered when deciding between an electric kettle or hand washing. It refers to the function and structure of kitchen appliances that make them easier to use. If you have a small kitchen, organizing appliances alongside other items is essential to maximize space properly.
Both stainless steel and copper electric kettles may have similar looks and sizes. Regardless of the type, it is essential to determine whether you have ample space and a nearby power plug on your benchtop to put and store the unit on.
If you have an antique or vintage copper kettle from the 70s or 80s, you may be better off using it as a statement piece in the kitchen rather than for boiling water. Old copper teapots do not come with protective lining, which runs the risk of copper poisoning and causing digestive issues for the user. When used as a decoration, you may have the flexibility of putting the copper kettle anywhere in the kitchen as it does not require a power plug.