The Bodum BISTRO Electric Cordless Water Kettle: Reviewed

To boil water for one or two cups of coffee or tea in a stovetop kettle seems to consume a great deal of energy for what you get, a few cups of hot water. Thus, the growing popularity and variety of plug-in water kettles that heat small amounts of water quickly and with greater energy efficiency. The 34 oz version of Bodum’s BISTRO Electric Cordless Water Heater is an interesting, attractive but imperfect entry into this growing field of more energy efficient products. In its favour, it is made of brightly coloured plastic and has a presence all its own. It is virtually impossible to not notice it on a kitchen counter. Available in a dozen brightly obvious colours, mine is a bright red. It boils water quickly. I timed it several times and it brought a full load of 34 ounces to a full boil in just under six minutes. This kettle has gotten great reviews all around, especially from the experts at

You fill it from the top then push the “On” button. The BISTRO does the rest. It boils the water and then shuts itself off so it is impossible to destroy it by forgetting to turn it off.

Bodum BISTRO Electric Cordless kettle reviewAnother nice feature is the base from which it separates. It requires neither dragging a cord around while you try to pour hot water from it not having to unplug one. Rather, the pot sits on a base which stays plugged in then lifts off of it when it is time to pour. This is a nice idea as is the lack of more traditional electrical coils inside the pot itself. The heating element is a flat metal disk that covers the entire bottom of the interior of the pitcher.

There are, however, some downsides of the BISTRO that are important to mention. These include 1) The lack of a manual shut off switch, so that water cannot be heated to a temperature short of a full boil without taking the kettle off of the base before the automatic shut off triggers; 2) Once used, the kettle must stand and cool for about ten minutes before reuse is safe and 3) The pricing is not particularly competitive with other electric kettles that take #s 1 and 2 above into account in their manufacture.

Made in Switzerland and sold around the world, the instruction book is in eleven languages. This suggests a certain air of sophistication. But, when it comes to having and using an electric water kettle, a booklet in seven languages and colorful plastic does not make up for a couple of reasonably evident oversights in design.

This BISTRO electric cordless water kettle is very light and feels delicate although seems to have been built and assembled sturdily. The small, removable “scale filter” is a mildly irritating insert that requires maintenance not common in other water heaters in this class and size.

A nice try, but not one I would recommend at the price. At half the price (nearly $40. from tea kettles for sale) a device at least as good can be readily had.