When shopping for conventional tea kettles, it's helpful to understand the various materials they are made from, as each offer drawbacks and benefits. Keep in mind that boil times don't vary as greatly among stovetop models as with electric kettles, and that should be less of a consideration in your search. The most important thing to bear in mind, though, is that it takes more than twice as long to boil water with a stovetop kettle. In addition, stovetop kettles don't have automatic shut-off features like electric models. If left unattended, stovetop kettles may over boil and break, creating a safety hazard.
The Cuisinart PerfecTemp Teakettle PTK-330W (*Est. $70) earns an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 in about 30 owner-written reviews on Amazon.com. It's also named the top stovetop tea kettle in a review on Bestcovery.com, which praises its removable whistle feature and iron core. The Cuisinart PTK-330W has a color-coded temperature gauge which alerts users to the appropriate temperature for different types of beverages. It's constructed of an iron core, which heats quickly and retains temperatures well.
The iron is coated with a porcelain interior and exterior coating (in one of four colors or stainless steel). It features a silicone-coated handle for comfort, which doesn't become hot to the touch. The Cuisinart PerfecTemp tea kettle has a three-quart capacity and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. A few users report problems with rust in the porcelain-coated versions of this kettle, a problem that doesn't seem to occur with the stainless-steel version. Users love the temperature gauge, which is an uncommon feature for stovetop tea kettles, although there are a few isolated complaints about malfunctioning gauges.
The KitchenAid 2.25-Quart Porcelain Enamel Teakettle (*Est. $40) heats water quickly and looks good on the stove, according to reviewers at Amazon.com and Cooking.com. It has a comfortable handle that doesn't get hot to the touch. However, it's not without flaws. The most common complaint cited by owners is that it doesn't whistle, despite claims that it does. Several owners report broken handles after just a few months of use, and some say the spout sits too high for accurate pouring. At nearly three pounds, it is lighter than most other kettles. It is available in nine ceramic colors, although they cannot be used on a glass-top stove.
The most common complaint from users about the KitchenAid 2.25-Quart Porcelain Enamel Teakettle is the position of the handle, which sits directly atop the kettle, making it difficult to pour without twisting your hand significantly, which can be especially challenging for users with arthritis or mobility issues.