Every now and again I’ll get a phone call from a guest on our caravan site asking me why when they turned their kettle on the power has gone off in their caravan or motorhome? Granted, this is only really applicable to new caravanners. Those new to caravanning sometimes bring with them their kettle from home. So what are the best kettles to be used in caravans or motorhomes?
While kettles used at home will boil water very quickly, they also use a lot of power. So with this post, I thought I would discuss the best kettles for caravans and campers. I’ll also provide some examples of how the power of the kettle relates to boiling time.
This post on the best kettles for use in a caravan or motorhome is pretty long. Therefore please use the Table of Contents below if you’re in a rush and want to skip to a particular section.
Kettles Used at Home
So, I’m going to have to provide some general examples here and presumptions. For instance, I’m going to presume you don’t use a low wattage caravan kettle at home. According to Which, kettles used in most homes today have a power rating of 2.2 to 3kW. With most kettles at home at the highest power rating of 3kW, which is the maximum power you can pull through a 3 pin plug.
Let’s calculate how many Amps (current) a 3kW kettle is using, as we can use this later for comparisons. A 3kW Kettle can also be expressed as 3000W (wattage) and your homes voltage is 240V. The formula to calculate amperage is the following:
- Typical Domestic Kettle 3kW (3000W)
- Wattage / Voltage = Amps
- 3000 / 240 = 12.5 Amps
So a typical kettle used in your home will be drawing 12.5 amps of current. I’ll reference this figure again below.
Pitch Power Supplies
So depending on the caravan site that you visit the amount of power they supply can vary. At Horton Common, our site has a dedicated grid supply. Therefore, we are fortunate enough to be able to provide each of our guests with a 16A (Amp) supply to their fully serviced pitch. A 16A supply is the highest amount of current provided to pitches on any caravan site. However, some sites may only offer 10A or less.
On the continent, you could find small caravan sites that provide as little as 6A or even 3A. For this post, I’ll do electrical calculations just based on the 16A supply we are able to provide to our guests. However, if you are visiting another caravan site with a lower supply, you can easily redo the calculations. Below is the calculation to go from Amps to Watts so you can understand the power demands of kettles by various measurements.
- Pitch Power Supply 16A
- Voltage x Amperage = Wattage
- 240V x 16A = 3800W (3.8kW)
Domestic Kettles on Pitch Power Supplies
So reviewing the electrical calculations above the issue of using a domestic kettle in your caravan or motorhome should be clear. A domestic kettle today is commonly rated at 3000 Watts or 12.5 Amps, and a pitch power supply is a maximum of 3800 Watts or 16 Amps.
If your caravan or motorhome has no other facilities on there is 800 Watts of difference between the power supplied and the power used by a domestic kettle. Therefore, a domestic kettle may not always trip the pitch electrical supply. However, if your onboard water heater kicks in, you use the microwave or heating system the pitch supply is likely to trip. Also, please bear in mind this 800W buffer is the best-case scenario. If you were on a pitch with a 10A supply that’s only 2400W. Therefore a typical domestic kettle would trip a 10A pitch power supply instantly. This issue also applies when choosing a suitable caravan microwave oven replacement.
Low Wattage Kettles for Caravans, Power and Boiling Times
To address the problem then, a kettle used in your caravan or motorhome needs to have a lower wattage and consume less power. Now that does mean it’s going to take longer to boil the water for your cup of tea. So how do you go about choosing the best low wattage kettle for your caravan or motorhome?
How much power do you use?
Before you choose a low wattage kettle for your caravan or motohome you want to evaluate how much power your other appliance use. Think about the appliances that could be running at the same time. Now, this is obviously also dependant on weather conditions. If you only ever use your caravan in the summer, do you need to factor in the electric heating system? Therefore, every situation is different and you need to run your own calculations. So the figures below are just an example.
Let’s say you have a Microwave (800W), leisure battery charger (300W), water heater (1350W) and lights (50W) running in the background. That’s 2,500W in total or just under 10.5A. So on a 16A pitch supply, you have 1400W left over to run a low wattage caravan kettle.
Kettle Boiling Times
Before I discuss some low wattage kettle examples I wanted to discuss boiling times. The reason being, you may wish to prioritise boiling time over purchasing the lowest wattage kettle. You may be so desperate for that cup of tea you have no problem turning off the electric appliances in your caravan or motorhome prior to turning on the kettle. For the following boiling time calculations, I’m going to presume the following.
- 1 litre of water in the kettle
- Tap water 10 degrees
Using a water heating calculator I can generate some example boiling water times depending on the wattage of the kettle.
- 1000W Kettle = Boiling Time of 6M, 30S
- 1500W Kettle = Boiling Time of 4M, 20S
- 2000W Kettle = Boiling Time of 3M, 15S
- 2500W Kettle = Boiling Time of 2M, 52S
- 3000W Kettle = Boiling Time of 2M, 10S
Therefore, the lower the wattage of the kettle, the more patient you need to be. However, this also brings up another important point. You only want to put just enough water in the kettle for what you need. Boiling more water than you need just means your going to be waiting longer for that cup of tea.
What are the Best Low Wattage Kettles Available?
So below I’ll discuss some of the most popular low wattage kettles currently available for caravans and motorhomes. First I’ll discuss low wattage 240V kettles, however, you can also get 12V kettles which I’ll discuss further below.
Kampa 1L-1.7L, 1000W, 240V Kettle
Kampa is a popular brand in outdoor leisure products, I have quite a few guests who now have Kampa inflatable awnings. There is a large range of Kampa low wattage camping kettles which can be used in caravans and motorhomes. They are all rated at 1000W, so on a 16A pitch, you should have no problem making a cup of tea while someone else is having a shower etc.
I’m not going to bore you referring their entire range of low wattage camping kettles, I just wanted to reference the 1L cream Cascade. The reason being I actually use this kettle in my kitchen at home to save power. Referencing my calculations above, you should expect this 1L kettle to boil in around 6M, 30S. However, if your only making drinks for a couple of people, you will need to boil much less than 1L, and therefore the boiling time is much quicker.
The reason I like the range of Kampa low wattage camping kettles is their stainless steel and not plastic. If you do a bit of research on plastic drinking containers etc, plastic does over time degrade. Therefore with a stainless steel lined kettle, there is less risk of small particles of plastic going into the water.
Quest 0.5L, 600W, 240V Kettle
While my personal preference is the Kampa low wattage kettles, they may be scenarios where you don’t have 1000W available. As discussed above, if you’re not on a 16A pitch you may have less power to play with. Therefore I felt it was important to reference products which used less than 1000W. Such a product is the Quest Travel Kettle. Compared to the Kampa range the capacity is reduced down to 0.5L and so is the power rating, down to 600W.
The Quest Travel kettle is a very popular product on Amazon and its a good alternative to the Kampa range if you need an even lower wattage kettle.
1L, 150W, 12V Kettle
You can even get 12V kettles which you could use in your caravan or motorhome. You may consider this option for instance if you are wild camping off the grid. However, you really have to consider if this option makes sense for you. If you are that low on available power, a gas stove kettle below is a far more practical option.
The product referenced above states its 1L capacity as being ‘more practical for family and friends’. That depends on how practical you consider the boiling time of this kettle on a 12V, 150W supply to be.
1L, 150W Kettle = Boiling Time of 42 Minutes!
If you are going to use a 12V kettle to make cups of tea for friends and family, with a 42 minute boiling time you really need to plan ahead! Really, if you are severely limited on available power or your wild camping off the grid, you should be considering a gas stove kettle.
Gas Stove Kettles
We get so used to electric kettles at home we often forget that the traditional gas stove kettle is often the most practical option when it comes to caravans and motorhomes. While the power rating of a gas hob obviously varies from unit to unit, a gas hob will on average provide a heat output around 2kW per burner. Therefore, in a caravan or motorhome, the fastest way to boil water is not with an electric kettle but with a kettle on your gas hob. But to do that, your obviously going to need a metal stove kettle.
In terms of the capacity of metal kettles for your gas hob in your caravan or motorhome, they range from 1L up to 3.5L. Again though, the same principle applies as before. To keep the boiling time to a minimum only put into the kettle the amount of water you really need. I have also noticed recently that more of our guests are going for refillable gas bottles in their caravan and motorhomes.
Conclusions on the Best Kettles for Caravans and Motorhomes
It’s pretty clear that using your electric kettle from home is probably going to cause you to trip the electrical supply to your caravan or motorhome. That’s going to be the case even on a 16A pitch such as ours at Horton Common. Therefore, if you still want to go with an electric kettle, either the 1000W Kampa range or the 600W Quest could be worth considering. I don’t think a 12V kettle for your caravan or motorhome is a practical choice, especially with a boiling time of 42 minutes.
Really, when it comes down to it, the most practical way to boil water when your camping or in a caravan or motorhome is on a gas hob. It will take a reasonable time to boil and your at no risk of tripping the electrics to your caravan or motorhome. I hope you found this post useful, and I also hope you consider coming to visit us at Horton Common at some point in the future. 🙂
What do you do if your kettle has tripped the power supply to your caravan or motorhome?
The process to get the power back on will depend on how the electrical hook up connection is set up on the site your visiting. Here at Horton Common, each pitch has its own RCD breaker, so each pitches power supply is independent. Hence someone tripping their supply with an electric kettle on one pitch will have no impact on the electrical supply to the other pitches. It will commonly just require you to turn the breaker back on. First, turn off the RCD breakers in your caravan. The go out to the hookup supply point and lift the breaker up to the on position. If it won’t hold in the on position there may be a second breaker/test button you need to press first.