Tea as an ingredient is an effective way to imbue a cocktail with delicious complexity. When creating the Earl Grey Marteani, Audrey Saunders, of New York's famously influential Pegu Club, completely transformed a gin sour and created a modern classic by infusing gin with Earl Grey tea leaves. But if you want to brew up a cup immediately, there's the straightforward route of heating up water and steeping a tea bag or tea leaves. The tricky thing is that since boiled water can scald the tea and embitter it thus wrecking your cocktail, you'll want to use an electric tea kettle that allows you to program the exact temperature you want.
To help you find the best tool for the job, we researched and found our favorite electric tea kettles to suit any need and budget.
Best Overall: Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Tea Kettle
Super-quick boil time
Easy to operate
Keep Warm function is on default
Some complaints about Cuisinart customer service
This 1,500-watt Cuisinart PerfecTemp has topped many a "best electric kettle" list thanks to its bounty of features that make it easy to reach the perfect water temperature.
Six clearly labeled temperature preset buttons—from 160 degrees for delicate tea to 200 degrees for French press—are conveniently located on the non-slip handle to help you select the right one for your drink needs. A Keep Warm function can hold the temperature for up to 30 minutes while auto shut-off and boil-dry protection settings ensure a safe operation. Bonus is that it even has a memory feature that allows you to remove the cordless kettle from its base for up to 2 minutes; and then when returned, it picks up where it left off in the heating or Keep Warm process. Bigger households will appreciate its 1.7-liter capacity.
Best Budget: Ovente Portable Electric Kettle KG83B
Quick boiling time
Available in several colors
No temperature control
Glass body vulnerable to minor bumps
For an appliance that can be had for around $20, this 1.5-liter, 1,100-watt electric kettle is quite the deal. It possesses many features that take it a step up from a stovetop kettle, such as a quick-boil time of about 6 minutes and an auto shut-off function that switches off the power once it reaches boiling temperature or if the kettle is empty. You also get a little light show. The blue LED indicator light illuminates the borosilicate glass body when the water starts to boil.
The kettle even comes in an array of colors—including fuschia pink, green, orange, or black—to complement any kitchen decor. Its 30-inch-long cord can be wrapped into the base for out-of-the-way storage.
Best Gooseneck: Fellow Stagg EKG
Holds programmed temperature for an hour
Quick heat time
This pricey but stylish gooseneck kettle is a staple in any high-end cafe and even coffee competition. Those who prioritize aesthetics or nerd out on precise pours won't mind paying a premium for this beauty, which is as functional as it is attractive. Its 304 stainless-steel body is available in several colors, such as polished steel, matte black, and warm pink with a maple handle. And thanks to a 1,200-watt heating element, reaching your programmed temperature is super quick. It's also able to hold the temperature for 60 minutes.
Unlike most electric tea kettles that overshoot and undershoot the programmed temperature, the EKG uses a PID controller, which is very much like cruise control in a car. Not only does this make for a more accurate temperature but it means the kettle is not constantly clicking on and off, which can be annoying to some.
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Best Large Capacity: Zojirushi VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer, 4-Liter
Three preprogrammed settings for different tea types
Energy-saving Keep Warm function
Vacuum double-insulated construction
Takes up counterspace
Steam vent on top limits placement
For the ultimate cocktail tea party, you're going to want this behemoth 8-3/4 x 11-1/8 x 13-7/8-inch water boiler. With a 135-ounce capacity, 22 hot toddies can be made in one go. But if you're serving up hot cocktails throughout the night, the vacuum stainless-steel double-insulated wall and the non-electric Keep Warm function can maintain its temperature for up to 10 hours with minimum energy.
Left the Zojirushi on warm all day and want the water hotter? There's also a handy "Quick Temp" function that can heat the water up to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. A swivel bottom and "Cafe Drip" dispensing mode—for slower, non-splashy dispensing—make serving easy.
Best Travel: Loutytuo Ultrathin Travel Foldable Electric Kettle
Collapses down for easy storage
Dual voltage for operating around the world
Need travel adapter
Can be tricky to pour when hot
No need to take your chances with sketchy hotel room coffee machines or wait around for campfire kettles to boil when you have this collapsible electric kettle on hand (and electricity). Sure, it can only boil about 18.7 ounces of water at a time, but that'll take a quick 3 minutes. When you're done, it'll collapse into a 5.9 x 5.5 x 2-inch disk and slot into your backpack. It even comes with its own travel bag.
The body of the kettle is made from ultrathin food-grade silicone, which can withstand high temperatures. Just be careful when pouring after it finishes boiling because the kettle is hot to the touch. The kettle is also equipped with auto shut-off and boil-dry protection, where it will turn off if it's empty.
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Best Cordless: Krups Cordless Smart Temp Digital Kettle
Easy-to-read digital screen
Five preset temperature settings
Tall height may limit counter placement
If you want a cordless electric kettle that you can leave on the coffee table with your guests and not have to worry about it cooling down, Krups' 1.7-liter digital kettle will best serve your purposes.
Its double-walled construction with a stainless-steel interior keeps its plastic exterior cool to the touch and the water inside hot so it doesn't need to be attached to its base to stay warm. However, the 360-degree swivel base does also offer a "Keep Warm" mode for up to 30 minutes. Other nice features include its five preset temperature settings: 105 degrees for warm, 155 for white tea, 175 degrees for green tea, 195 for oolong or coffee, and 212 for boiling. Those who want to know what's going on in the kettle will appreciate the LED display on its body that gives a real-time reading of the water temperature.
Best Stainless Steel: Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Electric Kettle Pro
Seamless stainless-steel lining
Sleek design with hidden cord storage
Have to open lid to see max water level line
For those with an aversion to plastic in an electric kettle, either for environmental reasons or for fear it will affect the hot water's taste, there's this sleek Zwilling electric kettle. It has a seamless stainless-steel lining where the only bit of plastic is the piece holding the stainless-steel limescale filter. But since the filter is attached to the lid, the truly plastic intolerant can pour with the lid open to completely avoid it.
Designed in Italy and German engineered, the 1.5-liter, 1,500-watt kettle, which would look beautiful sitting on any home bar or bar cart, is double-walled, keeping the water hot longer and the exterior cool to the touch. The base offers six temperature presets good for tea, coffee, and even baby bottles.
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If you're looking for a virtually plastic-free electric kettle, the Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Electric Kettle Pro (view at Amazon) — with its seamless stainless-steel liner manufactured by the same company known for making premium knives — is the one for you. But if your priorities lie in ease of use, a larger capacity, and a history of good reviews at a good price, we recommend the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Tea Kettle (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying an Electric Tea Kettle
When shopping for the perfect electric tea kettle for your needs, first consider its ease of use, such as how quickly it heats up water, whether its controls are intuitive, and if it has features such as temperature control, a Keep Warm option or automatic shut-off. You'll also want to consider its capacity: will you need to make just a couple of hot toddies or enough to keep a party going? And since this kitchen appliance will sit on your counter, its looks are key. You'll want a kettle that will appeal to your aesthetic or seamlessly blend in with your decor.
Can you put anything other than water in the kettle?
Depends on the model. In some cases, there are electric kettles that come with a tea infuser, which allows you to brew tea directly in the kettle. Or there are health pots that work as a kettle and can also be used to make yogurt, soup or oatmeal. Otherwise, most electric tea kettles are only meant to heat up water. Anything else may damage the kettle as well as stain or imbue it with flavors hard to remove. In many cases, this would fall under "misuse" and void any warranty you have on your kettle.
How hot does it get?
Many electric tea kettles allow you to set the temperature you want the water to heat up to. This feature allows you to pick the right temperature according to the tea type where you want 105 degrees for a delicate tea and boiling for black tea. But for boiling, the temperature will be 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level and lower at higher altitudes.
Does an electric tea kettle make a noise?
Yes. Some kettles are outfitted with a device that makes it whistle by pushing the steam of a boiling kettle through a hole. In other kettles, you'll hear the water boiling up and, when your selected temperature is reached, either the kettle will notify you by emitting a sound or it will click off.
Can you control the temperature?
Most electric kettles allow you to program them to the temperature you want. Once the kettle reaches that temperature, it will either turn off and turn on in an effort to maintain that selected temperature. Other kettles, such as the Fellow Stagg EKG, are equipped with a PID controller, which works like cruise control for a car and steadily maintains the temperature with mere pulses of on/off.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Cocktail writer Caroline Pardilla understands the importance of electric kettles. She owns two: a gooseneck kettle for pour overs and precision-filling of ice cube trays and a simple one-button kettle for everything else.
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