Best Electric Kettles Not Made in China

Best Electric Kettles Not Made in China

How to get safe boiled water

There are a lot of names for “portable appliance that can heat water and dispense it for use with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, instant noodles, or hot water”. In some cases people are looking for an “electric water boiler or thermo pot”, where water is stored in a pot and you can push a button to dispense. In other cases people are looking for an “electric kettle”, that looks a lot like a regular kettle, but which can be heated on an electric base.

Whatever you call it, it’s becoming harder and harder to find one that’s not made in China. And that’s worrisome. We’ve already seen with crockpots and other kitchen appliances that operate at high heat, bad chemicals and lead from shoddy raw materials (plastic, steel, glaze) can leach into your water. These are the sorts of details that corporate executives don’t think about–and because long-term impacts can’t be measured easily–don’t care about.

So it comes down to you, the consumer, to educate yourself, especially as more and more “fake brands” start to pop up on Amazon and Walmart.

By the way, if you’re looking for a non-electric kettle (i.e., a traditional tea kettle), see our earlier reviews of the best tea kettles not made in China.

Are any electric kettles not made in China?

While hot water heating hasn’t been big in the Western world (we do use hot water heating technology here, but most often in conjunction with a coffee maker), it’s to Asia and in particular Japan we need to look for the innovation, as they’ve been at it for years. Specifically, brands like Tiger Corporation and Zojirushi have pioneered and perfected the art.

Unfortunately, even they’ve mostly outsourced to China, at least products intended for sale outside of Japan. These brands are hoping that consumers don’t notice a difference, but as you read reviews you see reports of rust and premature breakage from units made outside of Japan. But if you look hard enough you’ll be able to find units that are not made in China. If you’re lucky, you know a friend in Japan who can find and ship you one (or visit Japan yourself), but if worst comes to worst you can find a seller on Amazon or eBay (for example, this promising model from Tiger is made in Vietnam).

The same goes for European brands. Most of the once-reliable European brands like Mueller and Bodum outsource to China, but one name keeps coming up on discussion forums–Ottoni Fabbrica. They’re made in Italy, but only sell to Europe. If you know of someone who lives in Europe, chances are you can have one shipped to them.

Of course, if you see a European or Japanese brand, you’ll need to look very carefully at the product listing, as Japan uses voltages of 100V or 200V (they use plugs that don’t fit a standard 120V socket here) and Europe uses different voltages and plugs across different countries. Contact the seller–in some cases you’ll need to get a transformer.

If you Google “electric kettle not made in China”, you’ll see sites that reference brands like Saki, Mueller, Hamilton Beach, and even Amazon Basics. Don’t be fooled–these are all made in China. The only brand I was able to find that still sells non-China products to the US market is Zojirushi, and even then you need to look for certain models.

Best Electric Kettles Not Made in China – Quick Ranking

# Preview Product Rating  
1 best hot water kettle Zojirushi CV-DCC40/50 4.8 View on Amazon
2 Micom Water Boiler & Warmer CD-NAC40/50 4.8 View on Amazon

1. Zojirushi CV-DCC40/50 – Best Overall

One thing I love about the Zojirushi Web site is that there’s a filter that shows you very clearly whether a certain product is made in Japan with none of the trickery that sites like Amazon use to try to obfuscate China-made from Japan-made products.

The VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer (CV-DCC40 and CV-DCC50) comes in 4-liter and 5-liter sizes respectively. It boils water and then maintains it at precise temperatures of 160, 175, 195, and 208 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re wondering the significance of these temperatures, you’re probably someone who, like me, has always thought that hot water is hot water.

160°F is the optimal temperature for brewing “delicate” teas like white tea. 175°F is ideal for brewing green tea. 185°F is best for oolong tea, and 208°F (just off boiling) is ideal for black tea, herbal tea, coffee, instant noodles, instant oatmeal, and even blanching vegetables. If you’re chuckling at this premise, like I said I was once like you, but I became a believer the moment I tasted green tea at 175° vs. 212°.

If you’ve owned a rice cooker or other appliance from Zojirushi, you’ll know that the Japanese put the same engineering prowess into their appliances as they do their cars. The vacuum insulation technology (the same as used in high end travel mugs) and micro computerized (“Micom”) temperature control keep water at the precise temperature (and an easy-to-read LCD panel and controls), and a “quick temp” mode heats the water without it coming to a boil, if that’s important to you. There’s a timer function that can shut off after 6-10 hours. The insulation is stainless steel that you know has never seen the inside of a Chinese factory. You can view through a clear window how much water there is.

Lots of people may scoff at the thought of paying $200 for a pot that boils water, but if you drink tea or pour-over / French press coffee every day, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Pros

  • NOT made in China
  • Vacuum seal for maximum efficiency and energy savings
  • Micro computerized temperature control
  • Large capacity
  • Made in Japan with Japan’s material safety and quality control

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not a kettle but a water dispenser

2. Micom Water Boiler & Warmer CD-NAC40/50


This is essentially the same product as above, except that it lacks the vacuum seal for heating efficiency, and it comes in a stylish black color. It does have the same Micom technology for precise temperature control.

Pros

  • NOT made in China
  • Micro computerized temperature control
  • Large capacity
  • Made in Japan with Japan’s material safety and quality control

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not a kettle but a water dispenser

Do you know of other electric kettles or hot water dispensers not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!

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