Author Topic: Electric tea kettles...better?  (Read 9741 times)

puglogic

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Electric tea kettles...better?
« on: October 17, 2013, 07:57:47 AM »
It sometimes seems like 90% of the use of our (electric) range is heating water for coffee or tea or noodles etc.

But I'm curious whether an electric teakettle would actually save energy over running a single "burner" (element) on the rangetop.  I wouldn't even know how to find the answer.    But I like them, and it seems like it would -- do you think it does?

Aside from the niceness of it, we're trying to plug lots of little energy-use holes like this, so I'm curious what other mustachians think.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 08:21:51 AM »
That's a bit of a tough one to answer. An electric range won't plug into your standard Klll-A-Watt usage meter. Maybe there's a meter you could get that would work, but it would probably cost more than you would stand to save by switching your water boiling habits. One thing you could try is to turn off everything else in the house that uses electricity and just watch your house meter when you're boiling water on the stove, to see how much power it uses. Then compare to the electric kettle.

MrsPete

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 08:26:07 AM »
Yes, they'll use less electricity because they'll heat your water much faster.  You'll be amazed at just how fast water will boil.  These things are useful for making tea or coffee, but they won't be good for noodles -- not unless you're talking about pouring boiling water over instant noodles.  You can't, for example, cook macaroni noodles in an electric tea pot.

They're also very cheap to buy -- even if you buy one new. 

Donovan

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 08:33:03 AM »
My current roommate has gotten me using one of these, and I would say that they are more efficient.  With the electric kettle, you don't have to waste energy heating the metal pan that the water would be in on a stove top.  Instead, the heating element is directly in contact with the water.  This is also why they get the water boiling much more quickly.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 09:41:44 AM »
They are more efficient, and faster. I like mine, I use it at work.

davisgang90

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 09:44:47 AM »
I use mine everyday to make French Press coffee.  Quick to boil!

ZiziPB

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 09:56:33 AM »
The amount of energy needed to bring a set amount of water from a set temp to boiling will not vary depending on the source of that energy.  A kettle has a stronger heating element so it boils water faster but uses more energy per minute than the stovetop which has a weaker element.  The only difference may be the amount of energy lost in the process -  if you put a small kettle on a large element a lot of the output will simply heat the air around the kettle and not the water inside ;-)  With an electric kettle, very little energy escapes since the heating element is located on the bottom of the pot.  But if you use a properly sized kettle on a cooktop, the amount of energy used should be roughly the same.

Having said that, when I had an electric cooktop, I preffered to use a dedicated electric kettle because it was much faster.  Now I have gas and use a conventional kettle to boil water as gas is significantly cheaper than electricity.

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 10:03:56 AM »
All the answers you could want about the costs to heat water are in this post -- http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/05/burning-desire-for-efficiency -- from the awesome blog "Do the math."

StarryC

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 10:42:57 AM »
I think that our electric kettle is more efficient than our 20 plus year old electric range.  Yes, the energy used to heat the water is the same, but due to the construction of the stove and its own lack of energy inefficiency I think a lot of energy is lost in transitioning the electricity to heat on the correct coil, then transferring to the kettle. 

Also, I never have to worry that I "forgot" the kettle on and am burning the house down.  It turns off automatically when the water has boiled.

galliver

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2013, 11:02:41 AM »
If you use a lot of hot water, get a good vacuum thermos so you can boil a lot at once, and then store the leftovers. If you spend most of your time at home, the pump-top ones are convenient, otherwise, you could multi-purpose a travel thermos (less convenient, but it works). Then it will matter less which method of boiling water you actually use. That said, I have an electric. Saves range-top space and uses the heating energy more directly. I didn't do the detailed math for comparison, though.

One not-yet-mentioned advantages of a standalone kettle: doesn't heat up the house in summer.

TygerTung

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2013, 11:42:03 AM »
In New Zealand everyone uses electric kettles, they are very fast (maybe 2 minutes?) and much cheaper as there is almost no heat loss. It's also cheaper to heat the water in one, then put it in a pot on the oven if you're going to cook peas, potatoes etc.

puglogic

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2013, 01:56:05 PM »
Thank you all so very much.   I'm going like "Doing the Math" too     (that's my kinda stuff :)  )

SpacemanSpiff

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2013, 08:43:00 AM »
Glad I did a quick search for discussions on electric kettles in the forum - I am definitely sold. 

The only ones on craigslist that are anywhere near me are 80 and $90, respectively, and are programmable. Seems a bit excessive.  Anyone have a recommendation for decently priced one to buy?  Don't think I need anything with fancy options but would like something that will stand the test of time if possible.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2013, 12:18:14 PM »
Glad I did a quick search for discussions on electric kettles in the forum - I am definitely sold. 

The only ones on craigslist that are anywhere near me are 80 and $90, respectively, and are programmable. Seems a bit excessive.  Anyone have a recommendation for decently priced one to buy?  Don't think I need anything with fancy options but would like something that will stand the test of time if possible.

I bought one at Wal-Mart (I know... I know) for $15 and it has lasted 3+ years, being used several times a day. It's a "Rival" brand.

Khan

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2013, 01:21:41 PM »
Glad I did a quick search for discussions on electric kettles in the forum - I am definitely sold. 

The only ones on craigslist that are anywhere near me are 80 and $90, respectively, and are programmable. Seems a bit excessive.  Anyone have a recommendation for decently priced one to buy?  Don't think I need anything with fancy options but would like something that will stand the test of time if possible.

I bought mine from Target for 20$.

BTW Puglogic, the electric kettle is the best appliance I have on my countertop. It heats water so quickly, is insulated so the water doesn't cool down too fast, and I use it at least once a day. Best. Purchase. Ever.

I mean, just hold your hand over kettle on your range, all that heat is wasted energy. It takes longer than my electric kettle too.

Annamal

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2013, 04:51:02 PM »
Glad I did a quick search for discussions on electric kettles in the forum - I am definitely sold. 

The only ones on craigslist that are anywhere near me are 80 and $90, respectively, and are programmable. Seems a bit excessive.  Anyone have a recommendation for decently priced one to buy?  Don't think I need anything with fancy options but would like something that will stand the test of time if possible.

Some of the fancy options can be really useful, our kettle has settings for various temperatures which means that I save money on hot water bottles (I used to forever wear out the rubber by overheating the water) and I can set the water for my plunger coffee and my partner can set it for his black tea (it's only a 5 degree temperature difference but it is a difference).

P.S. hot water bottles are great substitutes for eletric blankets.

_JT

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2013, 05:21:10 PM »
The amount of energy needed to bring a set amount of water from a set temp to boiling will not vary depending on the source of that energy.  A kettle has a stronger heating element so it boils water faster but uses more energy per minute than the stovetop which has a weaker element.  The only difference may be the amount of energy lost in the process -  if you put a small kettle on a large element a lot of the output will simply heat the air around the kettle and not the water inside ;-)  With an electric kettle, very little energy escapes since the heating element is located on the bottom of the pot.  But if you use a properly sized kettle on a cooktop, the amount of energy used should be roughly the same.

Having said that, when I had an electric cooktop, I preffered to use a dedicated electric kettle because it was much faster.  Now I have gas and use a conventional kettle to boil water as gas is significantly cheaper than electricity.

A few clarifications: first, a stove top heater element and the heater element inside an electric kettle are exactly the same type of device, so one isn't inherently more energy efficient than the other. Where you get your energy savings are two places. One, the element inside of the kettle is (a) precisely sized for the kettle, and (b) inside the kettle. It's still heating via conduction, but because the kettle has the heater element contained by metal all around (and directed upwards), it's losing a lot less heat to the atmosphere. Additionally, the kettle has an auto-shutoff for once the water is boiling, which the stove of course does not.

Kristin

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2013, 05:30:17 PM »
We love our electric tea kettle!  It is super fast, even compared to our gas range.
I french press my coffee every morning and my wife makes a pot of tea.  So it is really nice to fill it up and have boiling water in a matter of minutes.  Not sure how it compares with energy savings vs. the gas range, but I would imagine that it is more efficient than an electric element.

oldtoyota

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2013, 08:13:08 PM »
Glad I did a quick search for discussions on electric kettles in the forum - I am definitely sold. 

The only ones on craigslist that are anywhere near me are 80 and $90, respectively, and are programmable. Seems a bit excessive.  Anyone have a recommendation for decently priced one to buy?  Don't think I need anything with fancy options but would like something that will stand the test of time if possible.

I bought one at Wal-Mart (I know... I know) for $15 and it has lasted 3+ years, being used several times a day. It's a "Rival" brand.

Oops. Sorry. You have to leave the board now. ;-)

MgoSam

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2013, 08:55:46 PM »
That got me thinking, I should get an electric kettle. I think the features can be nice, I saw some that can heat up temperatures to a certain temperature, which for me can be nice as different types of teas require different temperatures for water.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2013, 11:23:58 PM »
In New Zealand everyone uses electric kettles, they are very fast (maybe 2 minutes?) and much cheaper as there is almost no heat loss. It's also cheaper to heat the water in one, then put it in a pot on the oven if you're going to cook peas, potatoes etc.
I know! This thread is hilarious to me because I didn't know there was any other way that people actually boiled their water...

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2013, 12:52:34 AM »
In New Zealand everyone uses electric kettles, they are very fast (maybe 2 minutes?) and much cheaper as there is almost no heat loss. It's also cheaper to heat the water in one, then put it in a pot on the oven if you're going to cook peas, potatoes etc.
I know! This thread is hilarious to me because I didn't know there was any other way that people actually boiled their water...

I used the microwave for hot water until I visited England in my mid twenties. As soon as I got home I bought an electric kettle. So much better!

Left

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2013, 02:01:47 AM »
and a larger version, the electric water heater for the house :D.

Mama Mia

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2013, 05:04:04 PM »
I got mine at Target (Aroma brand, stainless steel) a few years ago and I use it a couple times a day.  I even use it to make oatmeal.  I eat oatmeal every day and I put the oats in a bowl, pour the kettle water to cover and put a plate on top for a few minutes while I cook my eggs and it comes out perfect every time! 

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2013, 08:09:27 PM »
I got mine at Target (Aroma brand, stainless steel) a few years ago and I use it a couple times a day.

Me too.  I love my electric kettle.

galliver

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2013, 09:10:45 AM »
I also have the aroma SS kettle. Been serving me for 3 years, although I'm a lighter user than my parents, who use it multiple times a day. Theirs did die a while back after several years of service (I think the contacts between the kettle and the base gave out). Still, it was one of the more durable ones we've had.

ender

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Re: Electric tea kettles...better?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2013, 07:35:20 PM »
I got mine at Target (Aroma brand, stainless steel) a few years ago and I use it a couple times a day.  I even use it to make oatmeal.  I eat oatmeal every day and I put the oats in a bowl, pour the kettle water to cover and put a plate on top for a few minutes while I cook my eggs and it comes out perfect every time!

This is what I did for an absurd number of meals (before I got tired of oatmeal).

You can use it for so many things. My roommate actually bought one too, so between us we have two :)