Electric kettles boil water more quickly than microwave ovens, and automatically switch off (unlike stove-top kettles). Cordless kettles aren’t battery-powered. They use a docking station base to connect to the electrical mains. Check our research the best cordless electric kettles.
The kettle can be easily disconnected for serving by lifting the kettle off the base. Bases that connect back to the kettle at any angle (360 degree bases) are more convenient than bases that need to be aligned in a specific direction to dock with the kettle.
Aside from the base, cordless kettles are similar to corded electric kettles:
- Water capacities range from 2 to 4 liters (2 to 4 quarts, 8 to 16 cups).
- Watts range from 1000 to 1500, boiling a full kettle in 5 to 10 minutes.
Useful features include
- Automatic shut off after boiling (almost always available).
- Boil-dry protection (not always available).
- Power-on indicator light.
- On/off power switch.
- Concealed heating element, for easy cleaning.
- Low minimum water level (1 or 2 cups) to allow boiling of small amounts of water.
Prices range from $20 to $80. Popular brands include Chef’s Choice, Cuisinart, Toastess, Ibis, Krups, Braun, Capresso, Proctor Silex, Tefal, Black & Decker, Kalorik, Hamilton Beach, and Russell Hobbs.
Plastic, Stainless Steel and Glass Electric Kettles
The biggest difference between electric kettle models is the material used to make the body. Plastic bodies are popular.
Plastic Kettles pros and cons
- Insulated. Less hot to the touch, keeps water warm.
|- Some may give off a plastic smell that leaches into the boiled water. The plastic smell should disappear after a few uses but sometimes it doesn't.|
- Despite assurances from authorities that plastic is safe, some people may still prefer to avoid plastic for health reasons.
Stainless steel Kettles pros and cons
Stainless steel kettles aren’t embroiled in any health safety controversies. However many do have plastic parts that contact the water in the kettle: the lid, water level window, maximum water level mark. They are offered by many of the major manufacturers.
Double-walled stainless steel kettles (sometimes called “cool touch”) are safer as they are insulated and will not burn skin as easily if accidentally touched. Seamless one-piece stainless steel kettles are more reliable (less chance of leaking) and are easier to clean (no seams to trap dirt).
|- No health worries.|
- Strong, especially the seamless models.
|- Hot surface can be dangerous, unless a double-walled model is used.|
- Can leave a metallic taste in the water if water is reboiled or left too long in the kettle.
- Likely to contain some plastic parts.
Glass kettles pros and cons
Glass kettles (Capresso, Chef’s Choice, Toastess) are less common but are available. They are the most taste-neutral kettles. However like stainless steel kettles, many have plastic parts that can contact the hot water. Their see-through sides make it unnecessary to have a separate water level indicator.
- Water level and boiling progress can be easily seen.
|- Difficult to find in stores.|
- Likely to contain some plastic parts.
Electric Kettle Spouts
A large spout
- Pours more quickly but can be difficult to control if pouring into a small cup.
- Allows more steam to escape when boiling. Some kettles can take a minute or two to automatically shut off, so a lot of steam can be released, potentially damaging kitchen cabinets.
- Might cause the automatic shut off to be delayed.
- Is easier to refill through the spout, in cases where it is inconvenient to remove the lid.
Top Versus Side Kettle Handles
Handles can be at the top (like a traditional stove-top kettle) or at the side (like a pitcher). A side handle
- Allows easy pouring.
- Keeps the hands away from the top of the kettle, where a loose lid could allow steam to escape and cause injury.
- Doesn’t block the way when refilling the kettle.
- Is harder to hold if the kettle is heavy and needs to be carried a long distance.
Electric Kettle Lids
Lids should open wide enough for easy refilling and cleaning (a hand should be able to fit through easily). Hinged lids sometimes don’t open wide enough. Lids can be hinged or removable, with some hinged lids being removable as well. Some hinged lids are opened with a push-button. While convenient, they can also be less reliable.
Whatever the design, the lid should stay firmly in place. Lids that come off when pouring can cause scalding injuries from the uncovered steam.
Water Level Indicator
Water level indicators are popular, but not strictly necessary. A narrow window shows the water level, often with a red ball floating on top. Unfortunately the seams can leak (especially on stainless steel kettles). They can also trap dirt. Almost all are made out of plastic, even those in stainless steel kettles. Anyone avoiding plastic kettles for health reasons should also avoid water level windows.
The Best Cordless Electric Kettle
Leaks, plastic odor, unreliable auto-off switches and unreliable electrical connection to the docking base are common complaints.
For trouble-free operation, the kettle
- Should be stainless steel.
- Should have a simple unhinged lid.
- Shouldn’t have a water level indicator.