What is an Electric Kettle?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Electric kettles are a type of tea kettle that is a self contained heating unit used to boil water for tea and other beverages. Requiring nothing more than an electrical outlet as a means of tapping into a power supply, the electric kettle heats water more quickly than most types of conventional tea kettles, and is perfectly safe to leave on a kitchen counter. This makes the electric kettle ideal for use in small apartments, especially efficiency units where cooking space is greatly limited.

Electric kettles may be ideal for anyone who enjoys hot tea.
Electric kettles may be ideal for anyone who enjoys hot tea.

The structure of an electric kettle is not much more complicated than the configuration for a conventional stove top kettle. The body is composed of materials that will help to conduct the heat efficiently. Many electric kettles are simple stainless steel devices with a colorful enamel coating. The handle on most models is attached directly to the top portion of the body, providing an easy grip that is located just behind the spout. Like conventional kettles, the electric kettle will often include a cover to the spout that features a small hole to allow steam to escape. When the water is sufficiently heated, the steam will create the sound that most tea lovers refer to as singing.

What sets the electric kettle apart from other types of kettles is the heating element found in the base of the unit. Some kettles place the heating element in the bottom of the reservoir, but other designs enclose the heating element in a chamber located directly below the water container. More elaborate units include a control panel that allows the electric kettle to be turned off and on, as well as select various temperature settings. The vast majority of the electric kettles on the market today also include a safety feature that automatically shuts off the device after a certain amount of time.

The electric kettle is a common appliance in most parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. Over the last couple of decades, the device has gained in popularity in North America, especially in Canada and the United States. For quick heating, the electric kettle is the perfect option for anyone who enjoys a hot cup of tea.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Something that you should watch out for if you are going to purchase an electric kettle pot is whether it has an auto power off function. What this function does is to turn off the kettle when the water has boiled. If the kettle doesn't have the auto power off, it will keep boiling and if it is not turned off, it might boil over and cause damage to the kettle's heat plate. If you want to be able to turn the kettle on and go into the next room to do something without worrying about it, make sure it has this function. I had bought one without it, I returned it as soon as I realized.


I used to have an electric kettle some years ago. The kettle had a short cord and was not very efficient because you could not maneuver with them in the kitchen. Even when I plugged in an extension to the electric socket, I could not reach my stove with it.

I was almost electrocuted several times too because if you didn't turn it off right away, the water would boil too much and spatter everywhere. Thankfully the cordless electric kettle was invented and people don't have to deal with these issues anymore. The kettles that are on the market today have a separate bottom piece that is plugged into the electricity. You just lift the kettle off of that and carry it wherever you like.


I've been using an electric water kettle in the kitchen for cooking and making tea and coffee. It's so much easier than boiling water on the stove and it boils much faster in the electric kettle. I keep one in the office too and if I'm traveling for more than a few days, I sometimes take it with me to make instant coffee. I can't imagine what I would do without it honestly.

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