Splurge or Save: How Does Fellow’s $165 Electric Kettle Compare to Bodum’s $55 Alternative?

published Apr 15, 2024
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Credit: Photos: Fellow, Amazon; Design: The Kitchn

Before I got an electric kettle, I was unsure how often I would actually use it. As someone with a small kitchen, I didn’t want to sacrifice precious counter space for an appliance I’d only use every once in a while. But now that I’ve had my electric kettle for about a year, I can’t imagine life without it. My roommates and I reach for it every day, multiple times a day; the sound of the boiling water is now something I hear in my sleep. Even though I love my electric kettle, there are some details in its design that I feel could be improved. Mine was kind of expensive, too, but the truth is that you can find a model that suits your needs at virtually any price point, save for some splurgy models with extra bells and whistles. My colleagues here at The Kitchn have tried a variety of electric kettles, and two immediately stand out as being among the best. So we decided to put them to the test in our Splurge or Save series, which compares two editor-tested and loved products that serve the same purpose but retail for different prices.

Today, we’re comparing Fellow’s Stagg EKG electric kettle, which retails for $165, to Bodum’s Melior gooseneck electric kettle, which retails for $55. They look similar, but how much better is the more expensive option? Keep reading to find out whether you should splurge or save.

Credit: Photos: Fellow, Amazon; Design: The Kitchn

Fellow vs. Bodum

For years, Fellow’s Stagg kettle has been considered the gold standard of electric kettles. One look at its sleek design, and it’s easy to see why. But, you’d be remiss not to explore other options, like Bodum. Our editors are longtime fans of the affordable coffee gear brand; we’ve recommended its French press, pour-over carafe, and other budget-friendly kitchen tools. In short, Bodum has everything you need to brew barista-level coffee at home without breaking the bank. And, it sells an electric kettle that looks strikingly similar to Fellow’s. Let’s compare.

Overview of Fellow’s Stagg EKG Electric Kettle

Although Fellow also makes a wide range of coffee gear, from burr grinders to carafes, the brand’s Stagg kettle is arguably its most popular product. Over the years, Fellow has released different versions of it, but the Stagg EKG is the original and will always remain a kitchen staple, no matter how many times it’s upgraded. The standout feature of this countertop appliance is its sleek design and thin, elongated spout, which was designed to help you perfect the pour-over technique. Of course, it also contributes to the kettle’s elegant appearance, making it a tool you’ll want to display on your counter.

We deemed Fellow’s gooseneck pour-over kettle a must-have product on our Kitchen Essentials list, praising its easy-to-read thermometer and ergonomic handle. The EKG kettle is even better because it comes with its own quick-heating base, so you don’t have to sacrifice burner space to use it. It’s no wonder The Kitchn staffers return to this product time and time again.

Credit: stagg

“Although a bit of a splurge, we’ve found that the Stagg kettle is worth every penny,” this review reads. “The narrow gooseneck spout allows for a precision pour, ideal for achieving the right flow rate for pour-over coffee or even just making a cup of tea without getting water all over the counter.” What’s more, the kettle heats water to your exact desired temperature in no time, and its “hold” mode allows it to maintain that temperature for up to an hour, “so you can step away and come back for a second steaming-hot cup with no waiting.”

Specifically, the EKG can heat water anywhere between 104F and 212F. You’ll also be happy to learn that its built-in brew stopwatch will also time your brew, helping you achieve the perfect cup every time. Simply lift its lightweight body from the base, aim the spout toward your coffee filter, and pour without experiencing any splashback. It’s simple yet genius.

Overview of Bodum’ Melior Gooseneck Electric Kettle

If you’re shopping on a budget, Bodum’s own gooseneck electric kettle is a solid competitor for Fellow’s. It sports the same modern, compact silhouette that weighs under 3 lbs., as well as the long and slim spout that helps you pour without making a mess. Its main deficiencies are the absence of the “hold” mode feature, the brew stopwatch, and the precise temperature control that the EKG offers, but the Melior still gets the job done.

Senior Commerce Editor Ian owns the Melior kettle and wrote in his review that it has just enough space to make two large cups of coffee at a time. In other words, it’s perfect for one- or two-person households. “There’s also an indicator light and an automatic shut-off feature so it doesn’t boil dry,” he added. “The gooseneck spout is great for controlling the flow of water when making tea, pour-over coffee, and even rehydrating dried mushrooms.” And although the Melior sports a similarly ergonomic handle to the EKG kettle, the cheaper model’s handle is made of 100%-renewable European cork for an extra comfortable grip.

Credit: amazon

Honestly, if you’re someone who can’t function until you’ve had your morning coffee, you might even prefer the simple design of the Bodum kettle over the decked-out EKG model. With this $55 version, there’s no toggling with the exact temperature of the water or timing your brews. Simply wait a couple of minutes for the water to heat, pour, and you’re all set. As with the more expensive kettle, you’re bound to reach for this one on a regular basis, regardless of whether you’re preparing an instant lunch, making tea, or even unclogging a sink.

“I dig its sleek look; its easy-to-use, one-switch functionality; the grippy cork handles; and the fact that it detaches from the base, which makes it easy to bring from the counter to the table for serving,” Ian also noted. “So, if you’re in the market for your first electric kettle, an upgrade from an older model, or just another awesome tool to add to your coffee command center, there’s no better way to go than the Bodum.”

The Verdict

After considering all of the factors, we’re leaning toward a “save” verdict on this one. Simply put, the Melior kettle achieves the same final result as the pricier EKG model most of the time, and it retails for one-third of the price. Although it doesn’t come in as many colors, it still looks elegant and proves easy and efficient to use. Plus, it won’t take up a ton of real estate on your counter if you have a tiny kitchen.

That being said, if you do have the budget for Fellow’s Stagg EKG kettle, you might as well spring for it. Even Ian said he’d eventually like to upgrade to the brand-name model. “I snagged the Bodum Melior gooseneck kettle, and while I absolutely love it, I have my eyes on an even cooler kettle,” he wrote of the Fellow kettle. “The LCD screen lets you see both the set temperature and the real-time temperature of your water, and the built-in brew stopwatch helps time your extraction and can keep your water hot for up to 60 minutes.”

Basically, you can’t go wrong with Bodum, but Fellow’s kettle is a bit more satisfying to use because of its additional brewing features, so it all depends on whether you really care about those. In any case, if the Bodum is all you can afford for the time being, it’s a wonderful option. But there will be something to aspire to should you eventually want to replace it.

Buy: Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle, $165
Buy: Bodum Melior Gooseneck Electric Kettle, $38.73 (normally $55)