When it comes to homey kitchen images, they invariably involve a stout and colorful tea kettle, whistling happily atop a flickering stove. So, while more contemporary electric and gooseneck kettles may have elbowed their way into the spotlight—preferred by many for their rust-proof durability, ability to heat quickly, and helpful upgrades such as temperature regulation—they’ve never quite taken over the classic teapot's place.
Perhaps it’s a renewed appreciation for simple, old-fashioned comforts—just like sipping a hot cup of tea—that speaks to the stovetop tea kettle’s unflagging appeal.
After testing 10 of the most popular teapots, we found the Susteas Stovetop Whistling Tea Kettle(available at Amazon) outlines just why people love them so much. We adore its appealing design, easy to push spigot, controlled pour, and of course, its cheerfully steamy song.
But it’s not the only kettle worth its pride of place astride your stove.
These are the best stovetop tea kettles we tested ranked, in order:
Susteas Stovetop Whistling Tea Kettle
Cuisinart Stovetop Tea Kettle
Hiware Glass Teapot
Le Creuset Whistling Tea Kettle
All-Clad Stainless-Steel Tea Kettle
Kate Spade Tea Casual Kettle
Towa Japanese Tetsubin Tea Kettle
OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle
Medelco Glass Stovetop Whistling Kettle
Staub Cast Iron Round Tea Kettle
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The stylish Susteas boasts the best of both worlds, pairing the conductivity and durability of surgical stainless steel, with the eye appeal of enamel. Although instead of leaning into 1950s style whimsy, the large capacity (2.64 quarts) kettle is modern and chic, featuring burnished, embossed gold touches on a backdrop of white, scarlet, or basic black.
As sexy as it is, what matters more is performance. Three layers of encapsulated metal on the base help water boil faster, and when it does, the accompanying whistle is clearly audible without being ear-splittingly shrill. It’s well balanced and has an ergonomic handle that helps you pour steadily into cups and mugs of all sizes without spurting, splashing.
The kettle is also heat-safe on all essential touchpoints, and has an easy-push spigot mechanism that you’d think would be second nature in the construction of tea kettles, but clearly (judging from the other models we tested) is not.
The Susteas is also Teflon and BPA-free, and comes with a two-year warranty, which speaks well to the kettle's potential longevity.
At 8.5 minutes, the Cuisinart raced straight to the head of the pack when it came to rapid boiling time (yes, 8.5 minutes, we’re not talking about electric kettles here). And that impressive performance can be had for a truly budget price—it’s considerably less expensive than any of the models that marry quality, capacity and good looks.
The stainless-steel exterior is finished with metallic red or copper polish, and has a non-reactive interior that claims to be corrosion proof. We had no issues hoisting the kettle or comfortably operating the spigot, and when it boils, the kettle produces a loud and clear whistle that’s easy to hear from another room.
The only thing that gave us pause is that the top opening is a bit small, and in very close proximity to the handle, making it harder to fill with water from the tap.
If you’re drawn to glass kettles, the sweet and affordable Hiware has a lot of things going for it. Handcrafted from heat-resistant borosilicate glass, water comes to a boil quickly. And while it doesn’t whistle, you can clearly see it bubbling through the sides.
This glass teapot with a removable stainless-steel infuser lets you brew your tea as you heat the water. Just add your favorite loose or blooming teas.
The graceful gooseneck spout makes for a steady, streamlined pour, too. It can be placed in a microwave, and it’s top-rack dishwasher safe—both of which tend to be total no no’s when it comes to kettles.
At one liter, it is smaller in capacity, and you need to be careful to not overfill it—or you’ll risk hot water running out of the spout. It goes without saying that glass is prone to breakage, and doesn’t hold heat as well as other materials, so you’ll want to drink up quickly!
My name is Sarah Zorn, and I’m a professional food writer, cookbook author, and recipe tester, which means function and aesthetics go hand in hand in my kitchen. I need tools that work as efficiently and effectively as they can and look attractive while doing it.
We began by filling a bin with cold tap water and measured the temperature of the water in the bin. We transferred 5 cups of the water to each kettle and took turns setting each kettle over the same burner on the highest setting. We timed how long it took each kettle to come up to a full boil or whistle, then poured the water into a teacup, coffee cup, travel mug, and Chemex-style filter.
We also used each kettle casually over the course of a few days, taking note of how easy they were to fill with water straight from the sink or using a measuring cup, how stable they were on the burner, how quickly they came to boil, how loud the whistle was, how comfortable they were to maneuver, how controlled the pour was, if we had any safety concerns using them, if they had any special features, and how attractive they were (or weren’t).
What to Consider When Buying Stovetop Tea Kettles
The thing about stovetop kettles is they generally live on top of your stove (and can even be used as serving vessels on your table), so you’ll probably want to choose one that complements your kitchen décor. And much of that will come down to materials, which is the primary factor that sets kettles apart—especially since it affects their functionality, as much as it does their good looks.
Stainless Steel: The primary material used in electric kettles, steel is durable, affordable, low maintenance, and comes to a boil reasonably quickly. It can also hold heat for quite a while. You’ll just want to make sure the vessel contains heat-resistent elements, like cool-touch handles, made of different materials. And keep in mind that steel models are definitely on the less attractive side, so don’t look to them to make a fashion statement in your kitchen.
Enamel: The go-to material for tea kettles, with a shiny finish that can come in many vibrant designs and colors, enamel models are generally equipped with that signature whistle. Which, besides being pleasant (well, at least one would hope—occasionally they’re annoyingly screechy) is a helpful way of knowing when your tea has come to a boil. These kettles can run the gamut in terms of price and durability though, so do your homework. There are many reports of enamel coatings fading, rusting, peeling, or burning.
Cast Iron: Your patience for waiting out a long boil time (without the aid of a whistle) will be rewarded, as nothing retains heat quite like cast iron. And kettles made from this ultra-sturdy material are invariably striking. They tend to be smaller capacity, however (since iron is incredibly heavy), are definitely on the more expensive side, and if not cared for carefully, just like a pan, there’s a long-term danger of rust.
Glass: Super lightweight and budget-friendly, glass tea kettles are easy to maneuver and simple to care for. They can be quite good looking too, especially if they’re equipped with an infuser that allows you to see your tea. That said, since we’re talking glass, they’re considerably less durable than, say, cast iron (which can crack or break over prolonged high heat). And while glass teapots come to a boil quickly (keep an eye on them, since they don’t have whistles), they lose heat just as quickly.
Other Factors to Consider: No matter what primary material they’re made of, make sure your tea kettle includes heat-safe elements like handles, spigots, and knobs. Think about whether you want a whistle, and if so, what type of sound (some come with a modulated whistle, that gets louder as the temperature rises, while others are one-tone). And pay attention to the spout, which will control the pour. Narrow, gooseneck-type spouts will provide a controlled flow if you plan to use these for pour-over coffee too, while a larger, clumsier spout will invariably lead to splashing.
Other Tea Kettles and Teapots We Tested
Le Creuset Whistling Tea Kettle
The classic Le Creuset is made from enamel-coated steel and comes in vibrant colors such as Caribbean blue and red/orange ombre Flame. At 1.7 quarts, it’s a baby bear when it comes to size; not too big, not too small. And the Le Creuset landed near the top when it came to a speedy boiling time (9.4 minutes).
The heat-resistant handle stays cool, as does the spigot. Although we didn’t love that that the push-button for opening the spigot is positioned right next to the spigot. Awkward! Instead of flipping the spout cover up manually before pouring, it would have been better if you could depress it via the handle in a single motion.
All-Clad products are the classy, costly, understated little black dress of the kitchen world. So if you’re an enthusiast, you’ll probably want to add this stainless-steel stunner to your collection.
Since it’s designed and constructed to last a lifetime (it also comes with a warranty), that may help combat the sticker shock. But it fell in the middle when it came to water boiling time (11 minutes). And especially when filled anywhere near its 2-quart capacity, the kettle is extremely heavy, making it unwieldy and uncomfortable to manipulate and hold.
From designer Kate Spade, these moderately priced kettles are absolutely adorable, in lively colors and designs like lilac and black dot. They feature arched handles and “Whistle While You Work” embossed on the spigot making them fun décor for your kitchen or dining table while serving.
They’re also speedy boilers (coming in third, at 9 minutes), so points scored for efficiency.
The issues that dinged it in our testing ranks are that the whistle is almost inaudible. And there are no heat-safe elements, so extra precautions need to be taken around spots that hands naturally touch (including the handle).
We wanted to love this kettle, since it is so knock-your-socks-off gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want this beauty on their stovetop, as a standing advertisement of their good taste?
Its potential as an art/conversation piece is the only thing that placed the Towa this high on the list. Plus, it’s crafted from cast iron, which means it’ll hold onto heat for ages. But it takes forever to heat water in the first place (13.5 minutes), even for a small, 1.3-liter kettle.
And since it’s opaque with no whistle, you won’t know it’s at a boil, until scalding water starts sloshing from the spout. A serious safety concern, certainly, along with the fact that there are no heat-safe areas whatsoever. If you’re still intrigued, store it on your mantle instead of your stove.
OXO generally manages to strike a balance between function and form, but oof, this kettle is so utterly homely, it might as well be electric. Although at least you’d have speed on your side if it were electric. This was a middle-of-the-road performer at boiling water, clocking in at 10.22 minutes.
And although it’s made from stainless steel, it still looks like it would dent like a tin can. As with the Le Creuset, the button for opening the spigot is positioned right next to the spigot, which seems (and feels) counterintuitive.
Generally priced the same as our best teapot pick, we'd recommend the Susteas instead.
This kettle looks like it belongs in your office break room, or at the corner greasy spoon. It’s certainly not a bastion of style, which we suppose we could forgive if it at least did what it was designed to do. But it boiled water painfully slow at 16.1 minutes, taking even longer than our bottom ranking model (sorry, Staub).
Sure, it has a whistle, which is unusual for glass. But the scarcely more expensive Hiware is infinitely more attractive and a lot more pleasant to use. The Medelco is totally without grace, and that applies to its clumsy construction as well as overall looks.
The stovetop kettle’s retro vibe generally screams the 1950s. Not so with Staub’s cast-iron crock, which may just take you straight back to the 1800s.
Listen, Staub’s reputation proceeds it. They are well known for gorgeously crafted products with unparalleled longevity—and astronomical prices to go with them. And this kettle is no exception. Being cast iron, it’s a beast at holding heat (but will take forever to get there, at 15.15 minutes to boil). And it’s oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can cook up a mini serving of stew, as soon as you’re done making your tea.
Yet while the design is aesthetically fascinating, it’s also functionally bizarre. As with the Towa, the opaque exterior and lack of whistle mean your only heads up that water is boiling is when it bubbles all over the stove. And that’s not the only potentially dangerous element. There are no heat-safe spots, and if you don’t firmly grasp onto both handles, the lid and vessel will slip over sideways.
It’s incredibly heavy and hard to maneuver, and water rushes like a geyser from the spout. In short, look but don’t touch with this teapot.
Sarah Zorn is a food writer, cookbook author, and product tester for Reviewed, Wirecutter and the Food Network. She regularly contributes to outlets such as Saveur, Esquire, and Civil Eats, and has very much passed her food obsessions down, as her beloved rescue hound, Rowdy, regularly deglazes his kibble bowl.
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