Overall Rating: 8.0
This kettle strikes an impressive balance between a generous capacity and a compact footprint while also reaching brewing temperature remarkably quickly. Its display is clear and easy to read without having to slide the whole unit closer on the counter, and its beep is a handy cue for when water has reached the target temperature. Its large and satisfyingly resistant temperature control knob instills confidence in its build quality, and its appearance is pleasantly and unobtrusively modern. Lots of bang for the buck here.
The base displays the current water temperature during its initial heat-up but subsequently displays only the targeted temperature, even though the actual temperature drifts down and back up. If the built-in timer is also running, the base displays only the time.
How to Interpret Equipment Ratings
The OXO kettle is an excellent product with one significant flaw, which is a failure to display water temperature on a continuing basis after reaching its target. One can only speculate that perhaps it was a cost-saving measure on OXO’s part — and indeed, at $99, this kettle is on the budget-friendlier end of the category spectrum. Yet, particularly for a brew method so dependent on precision, it’s a frustrating omission.
In almost all other respects, the OXO kettle performed quite well in our tests. Not only did it bring 600ml of water up to 205°F more than a minute faster than the other three kettles we tested, but it also accurately recognized the targeted 205°F and turned the heater off, shifting automatically into “keep warm” mode. A handy beep alerts you to this first achievement of the target temperature, though after that the exact temperature becomes something of a guessing game — see below.
The OXO allows a roughly three-degree drop before reheating to the target temperature. This fluctuation is well within average compared to other kettles but it only beeps the first time it hits the target. So, you can therefore assume that the temperature inside the kettle is almost exactly the temperature you want either at the moment that it beeps or at the moment the quiet heater ceases its whisper after reheating — though, in the latter case, you’ll have to hover and listen carefully. As for the exact temperature during the cooling and reheating cycle, the unchanging display simply leaves you in the dark.
Finally, there may be a hypothetical caveat raised by the powerful 1500-watt heater responsible for such speedy heat-up: If you should find yourself grinding your beans, toasting your toast and charging your phone all at once in the morning with the radio on, the OXO kettle might just be the straw that flips a sensitive circuit breaker.
Overall, however, this solid and otherwise user-friendly kettle heats like lightning, seems built to last and will blend into a variety of kitchen aesthetics. The kettle’s weight is distributed comfortably and its grippy handle lends itself to steady, spot-on pouring. At $99 (or less on sale), the OXO is a very compelling choice.
Capacity: 1 Liter
Dimensions: 11.4″ x 6.3″ x 8.1″
Manufacturer Website: www.oxo.com