We Are All About Temperature Controlled Kettles.
Also known as ‘Variable’ or ‘Programmable’ water kettles.
A Temperature Controlled electric Kettle (TCK) stops the boiling process of water at the desired and pre-programmed temperature.
|Normal electric Tea Kettle
|Temperature Controlled Kettle
|Boils the water
|Brings water to pre-set temperature
You want the best variable kettle – but which one is right for you?
There are a few criteria to be aware of before buying:
You can spend $20 or $200 depending on your budget and on the features you want.
Not every expansive kettle offers more functionality. Brand, design, lifestyle ambitions, and other factors all contribute to the final price.
Watch out for sales offers. There is a link below each price for a quick price check.
2. Range of programmable temperatures
Most electric kettles with temperature control have a range of programmed settings for you to select, for example, 140°F/60°C, 170°F/77°C or 212°F/100°C.
Other kettles (usually more expansive ones) allow you to set the desired temperatures at 1° or 10°F increments within a range.
For brewing tea, the TCK should go at least as low as 160°F/71°C, which is sufficient for brewing most teas. Better is 140°F/60°C to include sensible Japanese green teas like Gyokuru or Matcha as well.
The control panel can be integrated into the handle (see the image, examples are Ovente, Epica, Brevo, Cuisinart), into the base (for example, W&E Ceramic, Oxo), or can be part of the kettle (T-fal, Smeg).
3. Water capacity
Kettles nowadays have a capacity of 1.2 – 1.7 liter. This is more than enough for even the big family teapot.
It does not make sense to produce bigger kettles because some people would have to use both arms to lift them when filled. You want to heat water, not train for an arm-wrestling competition (unless you do).
Most kettles require a minimum amount of water to start boiling (0.5l). If you heat too little water, the temperature reading might be all over the place.
Some manufacturers include a cup or mug measure, so you do not have to use more water than you need.
As a piece of general advice, you should only boil as much water as you need to preserve energy and keep your bills down.
4. Keep Warm function
Convenient if you cannot use the water immediately after the desired temperature is reached.
It can be an energy-hungry feature to keep one liter of water at boiling temperature for 30 minutes.
The best practice is to heat the water when you need it.
5. Boil dry protection / Automatic shut off
Safety feature to prevent the kettle from boiling away all water and overheating as a result.
6. Additional Features
All kettles we review or recommend have the following features:
- A concealed heating element, so the water doesn’t come in contact with the heater. This also guarantees a better heat distribution and better temperature reading.
- Cordless operation meaning the kettle can be removed from the base unit without an attached cable.
7. The use of plastic
This became an issue when research suggested that certain plastic components pose a threat to human health.
BPA (Bisphenol A – for more info, click here) used in kettles became the focus of scientific scrutiny.
The high heat generated in kettles increases the risk of harmful plastics leaching into the water.
BPA is banned in the European Union and, in some countries (Canada, Japan) just for baby products.
Other health authorities see no risk at all, so it is up to everybody to decide for themselves.
It is fair to say that it is better to be on the safe side and go for a plastic-free kettle (inside the kettle, to be precise, the outside casing can still be plastic).
Except for the T-fal model, all our reviewed kettles are BPA-free.
8. Power Consumption
The power consumption of electric devices is expressed in Watt (named after the Scottish inventor James Watt, more info here).
Your kettle’s wattage determines how fast it can boil the water and how much energy it needs to do so. The higher the wattage, the quicker the boiling times.
For more info, please also read our blog “Wattage explained or Does a kettle boil slower in America?”
If you use your variable kettle extensively, power consumption should be a consideration before you buy.
Most reviewed devices lie between 1000-1500W.
We included the rough boiling time for a full kettle in each review to give you an idea of what to expect.
Depends on your region or country.
Make sure you have all the relevant information and documentation before you purchase. The minimum warranty, regardless of where you live, should be one year.
In some cases, the manufacturer’s warranty might exceed the retailer’s warranty. This means that you might have to send the kettle directly to the producer for repair or replacement (for example, the Cuisinart kettle). Make sure to fill out the warranty registration to avail of the full service (cards are included in the package, or registration can be done online).
Never buy repackaged goods. For example, the kettle is still in the original packaging, but the tape around it has the retailer’s name on it. This is most likely a returned and repackaged device – stay away.
10. Look and Feel
Pretty much up to you.
Should the kettle color match the toaster or your general kitchen color scheme (if you have one)?
Most kettles have a plastic or a metal casing, but there are also glass and ceramic models.
Some come with a window to check the water level, others with some LED lights. Again, it is up to your preferences or the lack thereof.
Pimp my kettle…
Which kettle is best for you depends heavily on your budget, intended use, and lifestyle preferences.
There are many advantages of owning one of them:
- It makes a simple thing like boiling (or not boiling) water much easier.
- Will get the best out of your quality, temperature-sensible products (baby food, coffee, tea, or other infusions, for example).
- Saves you time. You don’t need to wait for a normal kettle to boil and cool down to the desired temperature.
- It will help you to save money on your energy bill.
- Looks cool, is trendy, and gives you bragging rights.