Is it cheaper to boil water in a microwave? Best time to ditch the kettle to save money

4 mins read


Boiling water in a kettle is the most obvious way to make a cup of tea or heat water for cooking, but few of us stop to think about how much it costs. While most kitchen appliances use electricity to function, different items require varying amounts of energy to do the same task. Using any appliance to boil water will cost you money on your energy bill, but which method costs the least? Is it really cheaper to boil water in a microwave?

Is it cheaper to boil water in a microwave or kettle?

Figures published by the Centre For Sustainable Energy revealed that it costs around 12.5p to use a 3kW kettle for 10 minutes.

If you’re using the kettle for water to fill one average sized cup, then it will only take around one minute to boil, costing just a little over 1p.

To boil a more sizeable quantity of water or even a full kettle, it will undoubtedly cost more – but how does it compare to a microwave?

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According to estimations by the Centre For Sustainable Energy, one cup of water can be boiled within two minutes using a microwave, while an electric kettle only needs around 100 seconds to reach boiling point.

The average microwave has a low kilowatt rating of around 0.6kW, costing around 2-6p to use for 10 minutes.

While it is cheaper to use a microwave for larger quantities of water, you will save money using the kettle if you require just one cup of freshly boiled water.

Microwaves are generally only about 50 percent efficient because they can lose more energy while in use.

Aside from the low cost, there are few reasons to use a microwave to boil water, but what are they?

You can lose water while it boils

Boiling water in a microwave comes with the risk of a spillage, which will ultimately leave you with less water at the end.

This can occur when the microwave ‘superheats’ the liquid and reduces it to vapour.

You might under or over boil the water

Unlike kettles, microwaves use manual timers which mean it’s up to you to decide how long the water will take to boil.

Using your own estimations could leave you with under boiled, or scorched water – neither of which will make a very good cup of tea.

Microwaves only hold a small amount of liquid

While it is cheaper to boil large amounts of water in a microwave than a kettle, you may struggle to find a suitable container to hold the liquid.

If you’re making large batches of brewed tea or coffee, or have a particularly large pan to fill, it could be better to stick to the kettle.


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