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Best Stovetop Tea Kettles

By: Lisa Maloney on December 04, 2017

Stovetop tea kettles are a simple, classic option

Because they're so simple, it's tempting to think that one stovetop tea kettle is just like another -- but in this category, small things matter. Although the field of stovetop kettles tends to shift a lot ever year, one model stands out as a clear, enduring favorite: the OXO Good Grips Classic Tea Kettle (Est. $40). This classic, wide-bottom design is sturdy, stable and boils water quickly, with a hinged handle that can be flipped to the side for storage or to fill the kettle, but stays upright while the kettle's on the stove.

Users really appreciate the silicone touch points on this OXO Good Grips kettle's spout lid and handle to protect you from heat, and they say the whistle is soft enough not to wake late sleepers. In our experience, that means you have to stay in the same room as the kettle -- but one independent test kitchen describes this kettle's whistle as "assertive," so your experience will depend upon your sensitivity to noise. The spout pours easily and doesn't dribble -- a real high point for a lot of users.

The OXO Good Grips Classic Tea Kettle takes the top spot in a comparative test from an independent test kitchen, where they praise its smooth pouring, sturdy build and easy to clean exterior of brushed stainless steel. But like most stovetop kettles, the OXO Good Grips Classic does have a few quirks. You're supposed to empty it out and remove the lid after every use to prevent rust (this is typical of OXO kettles) and users are sometimes surprised to find that because of the spout design you can only fill the kettle about halfway; otherwise water may come out of the spout when it boils. But it still holds 1.7 quarts, which is more than enough to brew tea for you and your family or friends. If you have an induction stove, this kettle unfortunately will not work on it.

However, the KitchenAid KTEN20CB 2-Quart Kettle (Est. $40) will work on an induction stove. Owners say it's also pretty enough to display proudly on the stovetop when it's not in use. They describe its classic look, bright colors and C-shaped handle as cute, charming and adorable. Not everybody likes that you have to use your finger (or your other hand) to tip the lid of this kettle's spout open, but they do like that once it's flipped up it stays there, so you don't have to worry about holding it open and potentially scalding your hand as steam rises from your pour.

They also like this KitchenAid kettle's whistle, which starts soft and builds in intensity until you can easily hear it in another room; and that this kettle is compatible with induction stovetops. Its most notable downsides are a tendency to dribble if you don't pour carefully, and if you don't take the kettle off the stove as soon as it starts to boil, the metal strip in the handle can get hot.

The KitchenAid KTEN20CB kettle also has some reported durability issues, including a plastic hinge on the spout lid that will melt off if exposed to too high a gas flame, a tendency to rust around the lid, and a tendency for the enameled exterior to chip and scratch easily. If you read through the manual carefully, you'll also see that if you leave this kettle standing on a hot glass cooktop, it can fuse to the glass. Users also say, however, that KitchenAid's customer service is good about honoring their lifetime warranty.

No matter which type of stovetop kettle you use, be careful not to overfill it. If your kettle isn't marked with a "max fill line," leave at least 1/4-inch air space below the bottom of the pour spout or the bottom edge of the lid. This protects the lid seals in the kettle, which in turn protects its ability to whistle, and also keeps you from being splashed by hot water bubbling out through the whistle hole in the lid. Most users say they love being able to walk off from a heating stovetop kettle, confident that they'll hear its whistle when the water boils; but an overfull kettle will whistle more quietly than usual, or in some cases stop whistling entirely if the lid seals become damaged.

If you don't want to worry about rust, you might enjoy one of the newest stovetop tea kettles on our radar, the enamel-on-steel Le Creuset Zen Kettle (Est. $60). It comes in even more cheery colors than the KitchenAid kettle -- a total of ten -- and earns a recommendation from an independent test kitchen for its fold-down handle that makes for easy filling and cleaning, a "nicely audible whistle," and secure pouring. However, be warned that if you don't remember to flip the spout cover back down after pouring, the kettle won't whistle when it's back on the stove.

Interestingly, some users are more critical of the pouring than the test kitchen. They say the kettle tends to dribble, but they also don't mind the dribbles that much; we wonder if they might be adding water past the interior fill line, which can be a little hard to see because of the kettle's dark interior. When properly filled, the Le Creuset Zen Kettle holds 1.6 quarts of water. We also find a few mixed reviews saying that the kettle takes a long time to boil, but they seem to be outliers. Most people are very happy with this kettle's looks, sturdiness and even heating. They say you do need to be careful not to chip the enable, but otherwise this kettle is very sturdy, and much less prone to rust than an all-metal kettle.

Also new in this report is the large 2.75-quart Chef's Secret KTTKC (Est. $40). Users love this mirrored stainless steel kettle's looks, and the wide bottom not only keeps it stable but, paired with a copper capsule for improved heating and heat retention, makes sure your water boils quickly. The whistle is extremely loud -- a plus for some, while others aren't so thrilled -- and you have to hold a spring-loaded lever down to keep the spout lid open. Some users say slight adjustments to that, and the overall hand position, would make this kettle easier to use.

Even with those quirks, most reviews of this kettle are enthusiastic, with mixed but generally positive feedback on its durability. Like many other kettles, you're not supposed to store water in it. The other kettles we've highlighted are a notable step up in quality but, if you want a large and relatively inexpensive kettle that gets the job done efficiently, the Chef's Secret KTTKC is worth a look.

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