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Why is the heating element at the bottom of a kettle?

In this article we list several reasons as to why the heating element is generally found at the bottom of a kettle. The reasons range from design limitations to manufacturing considerations to safety issues.

Why do kettles have the heating element at the bottom?

1. Hot Water Rises. Hot water, like hot air, rises. In a normal kettle the heating element is at the bottom so the water it heats rises. It then pushes the cooler water at the top downwards so that it too can be heated. If the heating element were at the top of the kettle then the water at the top would be extremely hot and the water at the bottom would be much cooler.

2. Boil Small Amounts of Water. If the heating element were at the top of the kettle and you only wanted to boil, say, 1 cup of water then the heating element would be above the water rather than immersed in it. You would therefore have to fill the kettle to the top each time to boil it.

3. Burnt Fingers. Having the heating element at the top of the kettle would put it within reach of your fingers. You could easily burn yourself when opening the lid.

4. Splashback. Water being poured into the kettle would have to hit the heating element. It can then splash out of the kettle and cover you (and your lovely kitchen) in water.

5. Aesthetics. It would look pretty strange and it would also mean that the kettle would not be able to conceal its heating element without making it impossibly difficult to clean.

6. Top Heavy. Moving the heating element to the top of the kettle would raise its centre of gravity. It would then be more prone to tipping over.

7. Wiring. There would have to be additional wiring in the kettle as the heating element would be at the top, but the power supply is in the base.

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