Breville BKE820XL Variable-Temperature Kettle
Breville BKE820XL Variable-Temperature Kettle

Best electric kettle

The Breville BKE820XL variable temperature kettle does everything right: It boils water quickly, lets you tweak the temperature to suit whatever tea you're brewing, and holds water at the desired temperature for up to 20 minutes. Experts and users alike love the BKE820X's generous 2-quart capacity, handsome stainless steel body, and clearly marked temperature controls. The one-touch handle means you can lift the kettle and open the lid with one hand.

Adagio Teas 30 oz. utiliTEA Electric Kettle
Adagio Teas 30 oz. utiliTEA Electric Kettle

Cheap electric kettle

If you're only brewing for one or two people, the 30 oz. Adagio Teas utiliTEA kettle is a great choice. This petite bargain offers quick boil times, variable temperature settings for different types of tea, and a simple, single dial control.  The utiliTEA also features a 360-degree swiveling base and an auto shut-off to keep it from boiling dry. Better yet, it's at a lower price point than the competition.

$51.24
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Mr. Coffee Harpwell Whistling Tea Kettle
Mr. Coffee Harpwell Whistling Tea Kettle

Best stovetop tea kettle

Users love the 2-quart Mr. Coffee Harpwell's seamless, leak-free bottom. It's extra-wide for more contact with the burner, which makes for quicker boil times. The Harpwell's cool-touch handle and hearty whistle also get a lot of praise. Owners say this tea kettle feels well-balanced, and users with arthritis particularly love the "stay open" trigger on its lid: Just flip the lever and the lid stays open until you flip it closed.

$22.50
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Breville BTM800XL Tea Maker
Breville BTM800XL Tea Maker

Best automatic tea maker

The 1.5 liter Breville Tea Maker BTM800XL makes tea quickly and easily with a minimum of fuss. Just load it with tea leaves, then select water temperature, brewing time and start time. The BTM800XL took top honors from a prominent test kitchen and draws rave reviews from users who love its easy automation -- including a delay timer so you can wake to fresh tea.  You can also use it as an electric kettle.

$244.76
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Cuisinart TEA-100 Tea Steeper and Kettle
Cuisinart TEA-100 Tea Steeper and Kettle

Cheap automatic tea maker

Although the Cuisinart TEA-100 doesn't offer fully automated brewing, users still love this cheap tea-making machine for its great looks, sturdy construction, and the way it prompts you through the process of brewing perfect tea: select water temperature and steep time, and it beeps to let you know when it's time to raise or lower the steeping basket. As a tea steeper, it has a 1-liter capacity; 1.2 liters as a water kettle.

$95.53
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Bonavita Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle
Bonavita Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle

Best pour-over kettle

The stainless steel Bonavita Electric Gooseneck Kettle offers a range of great features you'd expect from a more expensive kettle: Variable temperature control, a 60-minute "hold temperature" function, and 1000 watts of power for quick heating. But its most important feature is the slender gooseneck spout, which experts and users agree provides a steady, easy-to-control flow of water for making consistent, flavorful pour-over coffee. This Bonavita kettle has a 1-liter capacity.

Hario V60 Buono Coffee Drip Kettle
Hario V60 Buono Coffee Drip Kettle

Cheap pour-over kettle

The Hario V60 Buono Coffee Drip Kettle has a level of flow and control that reviewers say is unsurpassed even in much pricier pour-over kettles. The low spout design offers control to the very last drop, and the handle is comfortable and easy to grip. Some owners don't even use the Hario V60 to heat the water; preferring to do that in a separate kettle and reserve this little Hario just for its pour-over perfection.

$35.14
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Tea kettles do more than just boil water

A tea kettle's job description is pretty simple: All it really has to do is heat water quickly while keeping its handle cool enough that you can safely pick the kettle up to pour. With that said, tea and coffee drinkers can be just as strongly invested in their kettles as in what they're actually drinking, and some kettles have evolved to suit specialized uses such as pour-over coffee, or electric kettles that can be used without a stove.

Even your basic kettle can be used for more than just tea. College students, office workers and busy parents all appreciate a good kettle's ability to quickly, safely heat water for ramen noodles, instant oatmeal or hot cocoa.

Electric tea kettles offer a number of features

Electric kettles are especially handy for this sort of "cooking," because they don't require a stove at all. Just plug the kettle in, push the on button, and wait for the water to boil. Also sometimes called hot pots, the best electric kettles add not just convenience but safety, too, automatically shutting themselves off when they reach the desired temperature or if the water level gets too low -- before they boil dry. Some electric kettles even whistle to let you know the water is boiling, just like a stovetop kettle, or have variable temperature settings to help you hit the perfect brewing temperature for certain types of tea.

In general, delicate green teas will taste best when brewed between 150 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit; white teas at temps up to 185 degrees; oolong teas up to 195 degrees; French press coffee up to 200 degrees; and black tea and most herbal teas at 212 degrees -- a rolling boil.

Stovetop kettles still get the job done. If you'd rather not worry about whether an electrical outlet is nearby, stovetop tea kettles still offer the same quick, convenient brewing you'd expect. You'll find stovetop kettles made of everything from cast iron (avoid unless you're willing to wipe it dry after every single use) to steel, aluminum, tempered glass and, on the high end, copper. Because stovetop kettles can't shut off automatically, a good, loud whistle alerts you that the water has boiled; some kettles offer harmonic whistles to make this necessity a little more pleasant. And, of course, a stovetop kettle should still pour easily and stay cool enough to pick up without steaming or cooking your own hand, even when the contents are boiling.

Specialized kettles serve die-hard coffee and tea enthusiasts. Kettles aren't only good for tea; any enthusiast of pour-over coffee will tell you that a good pour-over kettle is a key part of the brewing process -- and some tea enthusiasts feel this sort of flow control lends itself to a better cup of tea, too. These gooseneck kettles have long, narrow necks that provide a constant, slow rate of flow, which in turn helps you saturate the coffee grounds without disturbing them -- a crucial element in achieving the perfect pour-over brew. Pour-over kettles may come in stovetop or electric models.

Automatic tea makers are usually fully automated. Finally, there's the tea machine. This electric gadget may be fully automated -- immersing the tea leaves in hot water and agitating them for you -- or acting as a coach, prompting you through the brew process for a perfect cup of tea. Program a fully automated tea machine's start timer, water temperature and brew time to wake up to a freshly brewed cup of any type of tea.

Despite the many specialized types of kettles that have evolved, we ultimately applied the same criteria to each one: The best models heat quickly, stay cool to the touch, and have a wide spout for easy, controlled pouring (except for gooseneck kettles). We evaluated kettles based on expert reviews from publications such as Cook's Illustrated, TheKitchn.com and TheSweetHome.com. That said, nobody is more passionate about a tea kettle than its user, so we also scoured through hundreds of enthusiastic user reviews from sites like Amazon.com and Walmart.com to find the very best kettles.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Electric Kettles | Best Stovetop Tea Kettles | Best Automatic Tea Makers | Best Pour-over Kettles | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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