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Is It Possible to Find a Quiet Kettle?

By Andy Hill
Updated May 16, 2024
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A kettle is an essential appliance in any home, but they are commonly considered to be noisy devices. Many manufacturers have realized that consumers desire a quiet kettle and have developed products to address this issue. It is worth considering that, while the appliance itself can operate at a high volume, vibration due to the location of the device can also have an effect on the noise created during boiling.

An electric kettle works by passing electricity through a sealed heating element. The element acts as a resistor, which transforms the electrical current into heat by restricting the flow of electricity through the element. The main form of noise created during the boiling of an electric kettle is caused by vibration from water molecules becoming agitated as the heating process occurs.

Some manufacturers have attempted to produce a quiet kettle by altering the shape of the water-holding tank of the device and through using different element configurations and shapes. These amendments to the traditional style of an electric kettle actually have very little effect on the vibration caused in operation and therefore show little improvement in noise reduction. It is possible to reduce the operational noise from a standard electric kettle by damping the vibrations. Vibration damping can be achieved by placing a towel or some other form of soft barrier under the kettle base; this will restrict the vibration being passed through to the hard surface on which the kettle is placed.

The most effective quiet kettle to purchase may not actually be marketed as such. Insulated kettles — those which are manufactured with a twin-wall construction to maintain a surface that is cool to touch — work as a quiet kettle due the vacuum that exists between the inner and outer skins of the kettle body. As heat movement is reduced by the twin-wall construction, so vibration and noise movements are similarly restricted.

As a traditional alternative to electric kettles, standard stove kettles work through simple heat transferal from the hot plate into the kettle body. The noises that are produced by stove kettles are primarily caused by the movement of agitated water within the kettle body and the whistle that is produced when the steam passing through the nozzle of the kettle reaches sufficient velocity. There is little that can be done to reduce the volume of a stove kettle, but they are, in general, considerably less noisy in operation than electrical kettles and can therefore be thought of as a possible alternative to consumers looking for a quiet kettle.

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Discussion Comments

By anon923838 — On Dec 30, 2013

You all seem to be too young to remember the jug kettles which had a horizontal element sitting in the water as opposed to the enclosed element of the "quick boil" kettle. It was so much quieter until it came up to boiling point which was then only for a moment before it turned off on the thermostat. The heating elements were presumably lower wattage and one had to wait a little longer, but so what? Much less stressful, but I was totally unsuccessful at trying to buy one today. Bring them back please! --BK Norfolk

By indigomoth — On Apr 03, 2013

@browncoat - No, I can see why people would want a quiet kettle. I mean, if you are living in a big household then it will be used much more than once per day.

And the time most people use the kettle is in the morning. If you've got people doing shift work, or even just with different starting times in the morning, you don't want a really noisy, but essential appliance in the kitchen that could help to wake up people who are trying to sleep.

It's probably quieter to just use a pot to boil the water if you have no other alternative. But using an insulated kettle sounds like it would probably save you money in the long run and be less dangerous as well, so where's the downside?

By browncoat — On Apr 03, 2013

@Iluvaporos - Most of the time electric kettles are so cheap there's no real need to get one that goes on the stove except for nostalgia. I think they are much less efficient, since heating up a stove element must take more energy than heating up an element inside the kettle itself.

Really though, I can't see what the big deal is with quiet boil kettles. The normal ones don't make that much noise, and it's not like you have them on all day. It's less than five minutes of noise and then it's done.

By lluviaporos — On Apr 02, 2013

If you are looking for a cheap, quiet kettle, make sure you don't get a stove one that's made to whistle. I think most people like whistling kettles because it seems nostalgic, but if you really care about noise, then it will start to grate on your nerves after a while (it is very loud!).

I found myself anticipating the whistle and trying to get the kettle off the stove before it could blow every time, which isn't very efficient.

On the other hand, it does ensure that you are never going to forget you've put the stove on and leave the kettle boiling until it goes dry.

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