See how much this energy guzzling appliance costs per use and per month, in 40 different countries.
Electric kettles are notorious energy guzzlers. But how much do they actually cost to run?
On average, in the UK, it costs 2 cents (£0.016) to boil an electric kettle. This works out to $3.07 (£2.49) per month for a typical UK household.
In the US, it costs 1 cent to boil a typical electric kettle. This equates to $1.75 per month, if using an electric kettle as much as people do in the UK.
Continue reading to get details about the average costs, and other factors used to work this out.
Also below, we take a look at how the US, and UK compares to 38 other countries in terms of electric kettle running costs. Additionally, you’ll get 7 quick tips for reducing your electric kettle running costs, along with details about the environmental impact from running electric kettles.
Update: this article has been updated to reflect Sept 2021 electricity prices (released in 2022), where available. 2020 prices remain where updates were not available. Electricity prices in 2022 are changing rapidly. These more recent developments in energy prices are not yet reflected in the costs below. As a result, the electricity costs and running costs are likely higher than listed. Costs will be updated again when prices stabilize.
But first, how much energy does an electric kettle consume?
Electric kettle energy use
The amount of water you want to boil, its temperature, your kettle’s wattage and efficiency, are some of the many factors that impact how much energy electric kettles consume.
As a result, when working out how much energy electric kettles use, many people reference electric kettle maximum ratings or simply use Npower’s statement that notes: it takes 3 minutes to boil 1.5 litres of water (i.e. what an average kettle holds), which results in approximately 0.1 kWh of electricity consumed.
As people rarely fill their kettle to its max, but still overfill, let’s look at more realistic behaviour. A study by Murray et al. (2016), “Understanding usage patterns of electric kettle and energy saving potential”, provides insight into real-world behavior.
They recorded actual electrical kettle consumption levels from various households, with varying occupancy levels. As a result, we can take behavior into account to give us a more accurate estimation of how much power electric kettles consume:
Electric kettles consume on average .073kWh per single use.
So with this in mind let’s take a look at how much it costs to boil an electric kettle.
How much does an electric kettle cost to boil?
Taking the average electric kettle consumption of .073kWh, and the average price per unit of electricity, we can work out how much it costs to boil an electric kettle.
In the US, it costs $0.01 to boil a typical electric kettle, on average.
In the UK, on average, it costs 2 cents (£0.016) to boil an electric kettle.
Electric kettles aren’t as common in the US compared to the UK. There are many behavioral / cultural reasons for this. But one of the more interesting, and relatively unknown reasons is to do with the different voltages (V). The US uses 110V, while the UK is 230V. As a result, electric kettles take longer to boil in the US compared to the UK.
Over 90% of people in the UK use a kettle every day. A whopping 40% use a kettle 5 times or more, per day!
So at 5 times per day, let’s take a look at how much it costs per month to boil an electric kettle in the US and UK.
Electric kettle running costs per month
Let’s assume the US is as addicted to the kettle as the UK. Taking the UK’s 5 times per day usage, we can quickly work out how much it costs per month to boil an electric kettle.
In the UK, it typically costs $3.07 (£2.49) per month to boil an electric kettle.
In the US, it costs $1.75 per month in electricity to run an electric kettle at the same rate as they do in the UK.
But what about the many other countries around the world? How does the US, and UK compare?
Electric kettle running costs by country
Let’s take the average 0.073kWh electric kettle consumption, typical UK usage amount and the average unit price of electricity for each country (source: Statista 2022 & 2021), and see how much it costs to boil an electric kettle once, and for a full month.
|Country||Average kWh price in USD||Electric Kettle Cost Per Use (USD)||Cost p/m at typical UK use (i.e. 5 times p/d)|
As expected, many EU countries and the UK top the table of most expensive countries to boil an electric kettle. Followed closely behind in 5th spot by Venezuela.
It costs 2 cents or more (rounded to the nearest decimal place) to boil a kettle for nearly half of the countries listed in the table.
The US and Canada are 2 of 16 countries in our list of 40, where it costs 1 cent (USD) to boil an electric kettle.
It costs under 1 cent for 7 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to boil a kettle.
The UK is the 4th most expensive county to run an electric kettle. An unfortunate position given the rate of use.
Interestingly, on average in the UK, electric kettles account for approx. 4% of an average household’s total energy consumption.
A brief tangent on the tea loving UK stereotype: it’s real! The UK experiences power surges after big events because, at mass, people pop the kettle on. The national grid actually has to monitor events to facilitate these electric kettle power surges. Simon Whistler goes into detail about this in his video, here:
How to reduce electric kettle running costs
There are ways that you can minimize your energy consumption while keeping your electricity bills low. Below, I’ve listed 7 easy tips to reduce the cost of boiling your electric kettle.
7 tips to reduce the cost of boiling water in a kettle
- Let’s get this one out of the way first: use your electric kettle, or any kettle, less. This is the quickest and most effective way to keep your running costs low. 80% of the environmental impact from your electric kettle is caused by its usage. Interestingly, the manufacturing of electric kettles makes up less than 4% of the impact, while transportation represents 1%.
- Only boil what you need. Do not fill your kettle up more than is necessary (but be sure to fill it up to at least the manufacturer’s minimum stated level). The more water you put into a kettle, the longer it takes to boil. This increases energy wastage and will increase your energy bills. Only boiling what you need will reduce the environmental impact from running your kettle by roughly 1/3. If you want to boil one cup of water, consider filling that cup up with water, and pour it into the kettle so there’s no wastage. But again, make sure the water level reaches the kettle’s mininum stated level.
- Steer away from using an electric hob/stovetop. Electric kettles are insulated, and their heating element is in closer contact with the water. As a result, they are more efficient, so it will cost you less to boil water compared to an electric hob/stovetop. Hot plates or induction stovetops can, however, be slightly more efficient than electric kettles when used effectively.
- Consider using gas. Gas hob stoves can bring water to a boil more cost effectively, even compared to electric kettles. This does, however, depend on the quality of kettles used, but given that gas prices in most countries are usually significantly lower than electricity, it could cost you less to boil water on a stove hob.
- Keep your kettles running efficiently. Check for build up on your electric kettle’s heating element and consider descaling. Check the bottom of your stovetop kettle for build up. And make sure your kettle’s lid closes properly to avoid an excess amount of heat escaping.
- Consider switching between energy providers. Usually energy providers have special offers to encourage switching. This can be a really effective way at reducing the cost of boiling a kettle.
- Finally, don’t heat water more than is necessary. Modern electric kettles, such as this best seller, have temperature controls. Not only can this reduce your costs, but you may also select the optimal temperature for your brew. Controlling the water temperature can reduce the environmental impact of your kettly by 2%–5%.
Electric kettles are notorious energy guzzlers. You may or may not be surprised at how much they cost to run. But if you use them as much as 40% of the UK does, then you may be brewing (kettle pun) up a storm. The cost of running a kettle once may not be substantial, but over a 2 month billing period this could get considerable.
As a whole, however, the impact on the environment from kettles is considerable. An estimated 19.5-33.3 TWh of electricity is consumed in the EU, each year, to power electric kettles.
In Britain, overfilling kettles alone wastes GBP68 million each year in electricity, and 3,525 tonnes of CO2 every day. The CO2 wasted per year (1,286,625 tonnes) from overfilling kettles is equivelant to over 250,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year. To put it another way, it would take over 19,000,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years to remove this wasted CO2.
So do consider the energy saving tips above, if not for your pocket, then for the environment.
By the way, compared to the average power consumption of boiling a kettle, Dolce Gusto coffee machines consume less than half of the power. But does that mean they’re more efficient?
Get details about Dolce Gusto power consumption and electricty cost per cup, here.
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