It seems like such a simple thing to boil water and pour it over dried leaves, making tea. In fact, the first vessel for boiling water dates back as far as 3500 B.C., to Mesopotamia. Made of bronze, they look almost exactly like tea kettles we use today.
From complex tea ceremonies to an afternoon cuppa, tea as we know it today is enjoyed by around three billion people in 160 countries. Once expensive and reserved for the wealthy, tea is now inexpensive and available to the masses, and has more than 1500 variations.
No matter your favorite tea flavor, it’s all brewed the same way: by pouring hot water over dried tea leaves (either loose or in a bag) and letting it steep to release the flavors. These days, our tea kettles are made mostly from stainless steel and not bronze, and come in two basic varieties: stovetop and electric. We’re going to take a look at the best tea kettles in each category.
Electric Tea Kettles
Electric tea kettles heat water using an electric outlet source, and are usually made of a kettle set on a heating element. They are very portable and do not require an actual kitchen space, and they heat up much faster than stovetop tea kettles. However, they do take up counter space and require an outlet. Many have built in thermostats that will shut the tea kettle off once the water reaches a boiling point, eliminating the risk of boiling over.
Best High-End Electric Tea Kettle: Breville The Smart Kettle Luxe ($199.95; amazon.com)
Breville is a leader in kitchen appliances, and for good reason. This smart kettle has a seven-cup capacity and five temperature settings to brew the best cup possible based on the kind of tea you’re brewing. It’s made of stainless steel, ergonomically designed with what they call a soft-opening lid to prevent hot water splash-back. At $199.95, it’s for the serious tea drinker, but it's absolutely worth it if you want to brew with precision (because as all hardcore tea junkies know, different teas need to steep at different temps). Oh, it also acts as a French press for your coffee, if you’re a dual tea/coffee household.
Runner-Up: Brewista Artisan Electric Gooseneck Kettle ($159; amazon.com)
This electric tea kettle from Brewista looks a little bit like a work of art on your countertop, with its matte black finish and wood accents. Fortunately, it also heats up quickly with its “Flash Boil” setting, so it’s not all about the good looks but function too. Brewista claims to be the number one choice among baristas and all its products are developed by coffee and tea lovers. The gooseneck pour spout controls the flow of water, and the comfort grip handle is easier on your hands. And like the Breville, it also allows for precise temperature control.
Best Mid-Range Electric Tea Kettle: COSORI Electric Gooseneck Kettle ($60.99; amazon.com)
The COSORI electric tea kettle is quite a looker and elevates any kitchen countertop. Made of stainless steel with a matte-black finish, it has four preset temperatures for brewing, and if you’re feeling technologically inclined, you can connect it to an app and create your own custom temperature settings. The elongated “gooseneck” spout pours from the bottom and makes for steadier tea pouring. Best of all, the water heats to the perfect setting in under five minutes.
Runner Up: Nostalgia RWK 150AQ Retro Stainless Steel Electric Kettle ($63.96; amazon.com)
What’s old is new again and retro is cool, just like this vintage-inspired electric tea kettle from Nostalgia. It comes in a cool aqua color and holds 1.7 liters of water that heats up in just a few minutes, meaning no wait time for your perfect cup of tea. It also has a boil-dry protection, meaning it shuts off once water has reached boiling point and/or if there’s no water left in the kettle.
Best Inexpensive Electric Tea Kettles: Mueller Ultra Kettle ($29.97; amazon.com)
This bad boy tea kettle from Austrian-brand Mueller is made of Borosilicate Glass, which lasts a lifetime. It’s got a rapid boil and shuts off automatically when the kettle is at a boil or empty. And here’s a fun feature — the kettle’s LED light systems indicate when the water is at the right temperature, which makes it look like a tea kettle from space.Scroll to Continue
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Runner Up: Hamilton Beach Glass Electric Tea Kettle ($29.99; amazon.com)
Much like the Mueller, the Hamilton Beach tea kettle is primarily made of glass, heats quickly, and has an LED lighting system that lets you know when the water is ready. It boils water faster than the microwave, has an automatic shut off system, and a stay-cool handle. It’s not complicated, but boiling water doesn’t have to be.
Stovetop Tea Kettles
Stovetop tea kettles are what most of us think of when we think of a “tea kettle.” They need a heat source from below, which is usually a stove, but could also be a campfire, grill, or hot plate, making them a little more portable. They also can be much less expensive than electric tea kettles.
Best High-End Tea Kettle:Le Creuset Tea Kettle ($105.89; amazon.com)
Le Creuset is a popular French brand of cookware known for its long-lasting enamel-coated materials and the wide range of colors available. This fancy-pants tea kettle has a heat-safe handle and can be used on any heat source. Like any stovetop kettle, it is best to make sure you empty it completely and dry it out before storing to prevent rust build up.
Runner Up: Chef’s Secret Stainless Steel Tea Kettle ($88.95; amazon.com)
Chef’s Secret calls this extra-large boiling vessel a “21st Century Tea Kettle,” and it certainly looks the part. The copper capsule construction in the bottom of the kettle means it heats up quickly — copper is known for its ability to conduct heat quickly and evenly. The opening lever is designed to keep hands away from escaping steam, which is a thoughtful feature. The extra-wide bottom means it can be used on larger burners on the stove.
Best Mid-Range Tea Kettle: Barista Warrior Gooseneck Kettle ($36.97; amazon.com)
Unlike a lot of stovetop tea kettles, this copper-coated kettle has a built-in thermometer, which allows your inner tea or coffee snob to heat the water to the perfect temperature for your blend of tea. The gooseneck feature is not typical in a stovetop kettle, which means it’s a smooth pour but doesn’t have the traditional whistling feature of most stovetop kettles. It also is unusual in that it comes with a lifetime warranty. Not bad for a tea kettle under $40.
Runner Up: Whistling Tea Kettle with Visible Window ($33.99; amazon.com)
The visible window isn’t so much to watch your water boil, because you know what they say about a watched pot and all that. It’s to allow you to fill the pot to exactly the right spot so you don’t overfill and have a boil-over situation. Made from stainless steel, this tea kettle has nothing but 5-star ratings, making it a tea lover’s favorite.
Best Inexpensive Stovetop Tea Kettle: Glass Tea Kettle with Removable Infuser ($15.99; amazon.com)
The definition of small but mighty, this tough little tea kettle is made from borosilicate glass and stainless steel and is heat resistant to 150 degrees. The included infuser means you can brew your tea right on the stove — no waiting to steep tea once you’ve boiled the water. It’s got limited capacity, so it’s good for one or two cups of tea before you need to make more. And if you take out the metal infuser and lid, it’s microwave safe.
Runner Up: Cuisinart Aura Silver Stainless Steel Stovetop Tea Kettle ($19.95; amazon.com)
This stovetop tea kettle from Cuisinart is your basic, whistling tea kettle, and that’s fine because it does exactly what it needs to do. It’s got a comfortable heat resistant handle, a pleasant whistle, and a smooth polished stainless-steel finish that comes in three colors — silver, red, and copper.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.