Cooking | Updated March 1, 2021 10:18 am

A $20 Electric Kettle Is the Ultimate Time-Saving Hack

Your morning routine now allows for good coffee

The best electric kettle
Can this $20 Aroma electric kettle change your life? It changed mine.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

The internet is chock-full of lists purporting to offer time-saving morning routine tips, but personally, I say save the life hacks for work. Mornings are for slowly greeting the day, not taking off at a sprint. 

While other people lay out their outfits the night before, I prefer to see how the day hits me. While it’s easy to check your email from bed, I like to start by reading something not on a screen, like my local paper or my stack of New Yorkers. And while some prefer a mad-dash bacon, egg and cheese, I like getting up early enough for a homemade umami-level egg sandwich on an English muffin.

Speaking of the English, there is however one time-saving hack I not only abide by, but evangelize whenever I get the chance: the electric kettle. 

I’m not the first person to bring up the fact that the U.S. is an anomaly in the kettle department, and I won’t be the last. But for those who have missed out on the debate, or on international travel, most Europeans boil their water using plug-in electric kettles and are absolutely flabbergasted that Americans use stovetop kettles instead. It’s adjacent to the loose tea versus tea bags debate.  

Chances are you know about this continental divide, and maybe you’re like me and never did anything about it. You’ve got a stovetop and a traditional kettle, so why buy anything else? Because not only does it save you time, it saves you sanity

The only reason I started using an electric kettle is because my girlfriend and I were gifted an Aroma model from her coffee-connoisseur sister when we moved into a new apartment, along with a Chemex pour-over coffeemaker. The first weekend we used both, I plugged in the heating pad, filled up the kettle, set it on top, then hit the boil button. I walked outside to grab the paper (support your local news, people!), and by the time I came back up, the water was off. I asked my girlfriend why she had turned it off, but she hadn’t — it was already done.

I can’t overstate how quickly these kettles boil compared to what most Americans use. I also can’t compare my old stovetop kettle to my electric because I gave the old one away already, just trust me. But the best part might not even be the time you save, but the anxiety you forego due to the automatic shut off. While classic stovetop kettles spike your heart rate every time it starts whistling and eventually screaming —which I can only assume is bad for your health — your electric kettle will automatically shut off when it boils, or reaches your desired temperature if you have a more sophisticated model.

You might be wondering why you need one if you use a drip coffeemaker and don’t drink tea. This goes back to my point about slowly greeting the day. An electric kettle allows for super fast water boiling, which then leaves time for you to make a better cup of coffee in the morning — whether that’s through a pour-over (like my Chemex), French press, AeroPress or other process. And if you’re like me and make tea in the afternoon and evenings, it’s essential for that as well, and won’t disturb your quiet nights with the aforementioned screeching. Plus, if you get your electricity from a renewable sources like solar or wind (check with your utility provider if you don’t), there’s the environmental benefit over gas, too.

There are two models to choose from: the standard spout, a cheaper option found on the Aroma kettle I currently own; and the gooseneck kettle, which allows for more precise pouring if you are indeed making pour-over coffee or like your water heated to an exact temperature rather than just 212 degrees. 

Aroma Electric Kettle

OXO Gooseneck Kettle

I realize that Americans like to differentiate themselves, but the Brits have it right this time. And I know cutting down the time of boiling water doesn’t seem like it could make any appreciable difference in your life, but it does. Don’t be like me and wait until someone gifts one to you — give yourself the gift of faster, better coffee (and tea).