There seem to be two camps when it comes to electric kettles: those who can't live without them and those who don't really see the point. The question is: do you need one in your kitchen?
Electric kettles certainly have a lot going for them. They are energy-efficient and heat water quickly, more quickly than in a stove-top kettle or in the microwave. You can even control the water temperature on most of the newer models, a feature that tea and coffee aficionados love. It also shuts off automatically, so you never have to worry if you're boiling water for tea and get distracted on a phone call.
In the summer, it's nice not to have to turn on the stove to heat a cup of water. In the winter, we're making cups of tea and coffee so frequently that it's nice to have hot water available almost immediately.
But on the other hand, an electric kettle takes up significant room on the counter or in the cupboard. It's not like it takes that much longer or creates that much more heat to boil water on the stove. If we have a microwave, that already gives us two options of boiling water - do we really need a third?
We're also surprised at how expensive electric kettles can be. Most models start at around $40 and move swiftly up from there. That seems like a lot of money for a gadget that just heats water.
Take a look at these models:
• Capresso Electric Kettle, $59.95 from Sur la Table
• T-Fal Electric Kettle, $39.99 from Target
• Breville Electric Kettle, $79.95 from Williams-Sonoma
What do you think? If you love your electric kettle, what do you think makes it so useful?
Related: Immersion Blenders: Should You Buy One?
(Image: Sur la Table)