A Watched Pot
Forget your stove-top tea kettle—go electric.
Revere Ware Copper Bottom, $29.99 Boil time: 8:56
Your typical, regular old kettle. This is the one I had on my stove before any of my research began. Slightly weak whistle, but not piercing or annoying. Handle gets hot, but no hotter than the others. I've ranked it "Ehh, fine" because the price is nice.
CONVENTIONAL STOVE-TOP WINNER
Oxo Uplift, $49.95 Boil time: 7:45. Quickest of the conventionals.
This is a great kettle. Quick to the boil, and its handle remained relatively cool. Very comfortable to hold and to pour. The multitone whistle is harmonious, never piercing. (It sounds a bit like a distant traffic jam.)
As stove-top kettles go, the Oxo is a gem. But it can't hold a candle to …
OVERALL WINNER Bodum Ibis Electric Cordless, $35 Boil time: 4:25! And the results were identical every time I tried it. Please note that this is nearly (and sometimes more than) twice as fast as several of the other kettles.
It's no contest. Think of all the time you've wasted waiting for water to boil. You could have saved half that time by switching to this kettle. They say a watched pot never boils, but a watched electric kettle does in less than five minutes!
I needn't mention that the handle remains perfectly cool; that the pour spout is superaccurate; that it automatically shuts itself off once the water is boiling. But I will.
For less money than all but the cheapest of the stove-top kettles, you can own a device that is vastly superior. What are you waiting for? Make the leap.
Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.