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For a long time, people used stovetop kettles in their homes—until the electric kettle took over as the popular way to warm water. But stovetop kettles arguably come in a greater variety of styles and colors than electric kettles, and they have that old-timey feel that some people crave in their kitchen. Electric kettles, on the other hand, tend to be sleeker and more convenient to use, and there are great options for those who like high-tech kitchen appliances.
When you’re shopping for a tea kettle, it is important to consider every feature available to you. For instance, many stovetop kettles are small, so they likely won't take up a lot of space, but their materials and capacity will matter depending on how frequently you need to use them. We kept these attributes in mind when we tested our top kettles. All were sent to home kitchens to determine how long it took a couple of cups to get to a boil, how pouring boiling water felt, and if the kettle was easy to clean.
Based on these tests, we were most impressed by the OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle.
To help you choose your next tea kettle, we’ve picked the best ones out there to help you make your perfect cup of tea.
Best Overall: OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle
What We Love: Silicone handle makes pouring easy, heats up water quickly, swivel handle
What We Don't Love: Might be too big if you regularly brew a cup or two
If you’re looking for a fashionable, well-designed kettle, then the OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle is a great choice. Able to heat up to 2 quarts of water, it features a large lid that makes it easy to clean and a wide bottom that ensures it heats quickly. This kettle's body is made from stainless steel, while the main part of the handle is silicone, ensuring you stay burn-free. There are also touch points on the spout cap to protect you from heat, and the handle swivels down for easy filling.
Our Editor in Chief Emma Christensen was impressed enough to pick up one for her own kitchen and put this to the test. For the first round, 2 cups of water took a little more than 3 minutes to come to a boil, and she could hear the whistle from a few rooms away. The water was a little less than lukewarm (92 degrees) an hour later, so you do definitely need to turn the heat back on for a second cup. When pouring boiling water out of the kettle, she noted that none splashed outside of the mug and its silicone handle keeps you safe, even when bare-handed. Cleaning has been a breeze as every grease splatter easily wipes away, and the opening is large enough to get your hand in. Christensen does say that this is a fairly large kettle with a large base.
"Its sleek chrome design is pleasant to look at and I don't mind it sitting out on my stovetop. Despite its size, it doesn't feel like it takes up an excessive amount of room. I really like that you can move the handle to one side or the other. This makes it much easier to remove the lid. The silicone handle is also really nice! I've only ever had kettles where you have to protect your hand with an oven mitt when you pour, so it feels magical to just lift the kettle without needing any protection." — Emma Christensen, Product Tester
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 2 quarts | Weight: 2.7 pounds
Best Budget: Mr. Coffee Carterton Stainless Steel Tea Kettle
What We Love: Affordable, easy to clean, comfortable pouring
What We Don't Love: Handle gets hot
The Mr. Coffee Tea Kettle is surprisingly sturdy and efficient at heating water for the price. The stainless steel kettle comes in three colors: brushed satin, metallic red, and mirror polish. This kettle can hold up to 1.5 quarts, with a stationary Bakelite handle, and a tightly sealed spout cover.
We sent this home to one of our editors to see how this product performed in her home kitchen. For her first test, it took about 4 minutes over medium-high heat for 2 cups of water to come to a boil, with the kettle whistling at 180 degrees, and the water was lukewarm (100 degrees) an hour later. The whistle wasn't the loudest ever, though it could be heard from a couple of rooms away.
When it came to the pouring test, the handle did get very hot, necessitating a dish towel, and the opening got in the way, making the pour feel off-balanced. The spout did pop open easily, and there was only a little bit of splashing. If you’re looking for a no-frills, budget-friendly kettle that's still quite stylish and has all the features you may need, this is an easy choice.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 1.5 quart | Weight: 1.2 pounds
Best Electric: Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle
What We Love: 6 temperature settings, boils water in 2 minutes, keep warm function
What We Don't Love: Expensive
There are many electric kettles on the market, but this one has everything you need in an electric model. This 1500-watt stainless steel electric kettle holds a little more than 7 cups and was able to get water to a boiling point in 2 minutes during our tests. Our home tester also found that even when pouring at a high flow rate, there were no boiling water splashes outside of a regular coffee mug.
What makes this electric kettle so special is that there are 6 preset heat settings for a variety of teas and a button to keep heated water warm for 30 minutes. What's even better is that this kettle is cordless, eliminating any wires on your countertop. Other features include a blue water window, a removable scale filter, and auto shut-off. This electric kettle is great for people who want a high-tech option with top-of-the-line features. The only point of concern with this was that the body of the kettle got very hot and remained so for almost an hour after use.
"I really liked this. I personally don't need much beyond a function that brings water to a boil (e.g., 165 degrees)—I'm not enough of a tea aficionado to care that much. It pours really nicely. But I do like the stay-warm feature (great if you need a second cup)." — Rebecca Treon, Product Tester
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 1.7 liters | Wattage: 1500 W
Related: The Best Electric Kettles
Best Enamel: Le Creuset Classic Whistling Kettle
What We Love: Stylish and could become an heirloom, swivel handle, can be used on all cooktops
What We Don't Love: Expensive, boiling the maximum amount leads to spilling
Le Creuset is a well-known company for its high-quality kitchen appliances, and its enamel tea kettle is no exception. The Le Creuset Enamel Tea Kettle is made from quick-to-heat carbon steel, and it boasts a classic design and comes in eight colors, including Caribbean (light blue), cerise (red), and oyster (gray).
Though pricey, this is perfect for people who love Le Creuset and want to add to their collection, as well as for people who want a kettle that is more refined.
This 1.7-quart kettle has a removable, heat-resistant knob and ergonomic handle, as well as a single-tone whistle. Plus, the kettle is not only stylish but also durable: it's non-reactive, stain- and chip-resistant, and safe for all heat sources. During testing, 2 cups of water took 5 minutes to boil, and our tester noted that the whistle was louder when the kettle had more water. It does appear that filling this to the max, though, will cause some spillage during pouring. The handle can be swiveled to the side for easy cleaning.
Material: Steel | Capacity: 1.8 quarts | Weight: 4 pounds
Related: The Best Travel Coffee Mugs
Best Gooseneck: Chefbar Tea Kettle
What We Love: Drip-free pour, thermometer integrated into the lid
What We Don't Love: Odd metal smell, rust risk with spout
This sleek gooseneck kettle holds 4 cups of water and is made with food-grade stainless steel. A heat-resistant handle and ergonomic design make it easy to hold, while the spout allows for smoother, more controlled pouring.
The lid has three openings for you to insert your thermometer for a more accurate water temperature reading—all the better to make the perfect cup of pour-over coffee or herbal tea. Our tester especially loved this since you can watch for whatever temperature you need (and it makes up for the lack of a whistle). For her, this meant no burnt matcha leaves. The gooseneck gave a perfect, drip-free pour. A few concerns did arise during testing. For one, our tester found the kettle gave off a metallic smell, though this isn't a concern in online reviews. Also, not being able to clean inside the gooseneck may lead to rust, so getting a flexible pipe cleaner to thoroughly clean the pot might be a good investment.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 0.8 liter | Weight: 0.8 pound
Related: The Best Milk Frothers
Overall, the best kettle for the price, design, and functionality will be the OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle (view at Amazon). If electric tea kettles are more your speed, then you can’t go wrong with the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Kettle (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying a Kettle
Kettles can hold up to 7 cups, but there are some that can hold smaller and larger amounts. If you like to drink a lot of tea or use the water for cooking large amounts of food, then check the capacity to ensure it’s the minimum capacity for your needs; a larger capacity will be the better choice.
There are a few styles to choose from. Stovetop kettles have the traditional dome shape, while electric kettles can either have a dome shape (depending on the brand) or the traditional jug shape. These kettles can be made from stainless steel, enamel, cast iron, or aluminum on the inside and outside for aesthetics and function. Handles can be designed ergonomically, with or without rubber handles or swivel technology. Spouts can come in the traditional spout style, but for a more sophisticated look, gooseneck spouts are also available.
You want to make sure your kettle can function on all heat sources effectively. Kettles made from cast iron can scratch the surface of an induction stove, for instance. Then, consider the kettle's weight, which can get heavier once water is added. So if that’s an issue, look for a lightweight model. And all stovetop tea kettles should have the ability to whistle to alert you once your water has boiled.
Should you always use boiling water for brewing tea?
No, you shouldn’t. "It depends on the tea," says Vanda Asapahu, a chef of Ayara Thai in Los Angeles. "You don't want scorching hot water, which can damage the integrity of the tea leaves." If you’re unsure about the right temperature for the tea you’re making, you might want to check the manufacturer’s website for brewing instructions. Black tea requires the hottest water.
Do you ever need to descale a tea kettle?
It’s definitely a good idea to, as buildup can happen. In turn, that can affect the taste of your tea. "Descale calcium deposits in a tea kettle using equal parts water and white vinegar," says Asapahu. "Boil, let cool, and scrub off easily. Repeat if needed."
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Robin Mosley understands the importance of choosing the right kitchen appliances. She is always researching and testing the latest kitchen appliances, utensils, and products as a food writer, and recommending them to interested food aficionados.
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