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Stovetop vs Electric Kettle: Which Is Right for You?

Stovetop vs Electric Kettle

Many people cannot start their mornings without a hot cup of Joe or tea. Some even routinely take breaks at work to unwind with a hot beverage. A kettle is the most likely choice to boil water. Depending on the source of energy, there are typically two types of kettles retailing in the market: A stovetop and an electric kettle. However, deciding which is better is a never-ending debate because both have benefits and drawbacks.

For most people, an electric kettle is a better choice because it boils water faster, is easier to use, and is significantly safer. A stovetop is also a worthy consideration if you use your kettle infrequently or have limited space. While both produce hot water for your coffee or tea, how they boil water is slightly different.

Whether you are in the market for a new kettle or simply want to replace an old one, this article will help you determine which kettle fits your needs and preferences. Read on to learn more about the features, pros, and cons of electric and stovetop kettles.

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Overview of Stovetop Kettles

tea kettle on stove
Image By: tookapic, Pixabay

A stovetop kettle is simply a household appliance that typically boils water using a metal component found inside the kettle. The water is usually heated when it comes into contact with the metal base of the kettle. This is done by simply positioning the kettle directly over a heat source. When water is boiled in a stovetop kettle, it can reach temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to make a hot beverage.

Features of a Stovetop Kettle

Most kettles are equipped with various safety features to make boiling water easier and safer. They include:

  • A whistle alarm that notifies the owner when the water has boiled. This feature is designed to prevent over-boiling water. However, keep in mind that the whistle alarm doesn’t guarantee that your kettle will not scald your skin or flood your kitchen. The whistling sound is simply meant to get your attention when your water is ready.
  • Stovetop kettles have an opening on the lid through which you can add water to the kettle. This feature is, however, not present in all brands that manufacture stovetop kettles.
  • A plastic handle to carry the kettle, even while the contents inside are still hot.
  • These kettles also feature a stay-cool knob on the lid. This is where you cover with your hand as you pour water to prevent heat from escaping. It also allows you to hold the kettle without burning yourself.
  • There is a steam release sprout located at the top of the kettle, right behind the handle. You can also opt to pour water from this opening.

How Does a Stovetop Kettle Work?

Before anything, you should find the right size of the kettle to fit your intended purpose. Different stovetop kettle brands have different water capacities. Usually, the least number of cups you can boil in this product is 1 cup while on the extreme end, you can boil up to 40 cups.

Once you are satisfied with the water capacity, remove any chip if the product comes with one. This helps make the stovetop kettle more effective and efficient in performance. Position the kettle on a flat surface to balance the appliance and minimize the chances of accidents.

You can now proceed to make your hot beverage by opening the lid and filling it with water. Alternatively, you can pour it directly into a mug. Just don’t let the water levels in the kettle drop below its half capacity.

When everything is set, heat your stove and wait for the water to boil. As soon as the water reaches 100 degrees Celsius, turn the stove off and remove the product from the direct heat. Once done making your cup of tea, thoroughly dry the kettle before storing it away for later use.

kettle boiling water
Image Credit: Ken Boyd from Pixabay


  • Features an elegant design that can blend with any interior
  • Can make up to six cups at a time
  • Affordable
  • Made of high-quality steel
  • Pleasantly whistles to indicate water has boiled
  • A secure and stay cool handle
  • Available in various colors
  • Narrow opening at the top
  • Can only be used with an external heat source
  • Comparatively slow-to-heat water
  • Not as flexible as electric kettles

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Overview of Electric Kettles

electric kettles
Image By: Kabardins photo, Shutterstock

This is a household appliance that heats water for hot beverages through electricity. It is almost similar to the stovetop kettle in shape and size but with one major difference. It must be plugged into an electrical output instead of placing the kettle on a hot stove. The electric kettle is made up of a water container connected to a heating system to boil the water.

There are two types of electric kettles retailing in the market. They include:

1. Kettles with cords that plug directly into an electrical outlet

2. Kettles with cords wrapped around the bottom of the product and plugged into a slot located at the side.

Electric kettles are a favorite in most households because they heat water faster than the stovetop kettle. This is especially ideal if you want to make several cups of coffee or tea. This product comes in different colors and designs allowing you to style your kitchen according to your preferences.

Features of an Electric Kettle

Electric kettles come with some features that make the product easy to use while adding convenience to the owner. They include:

  • Unlike the traditional stovetop kettle, this product comes with an automatic shutdown feature that turns the kettle off once the water has boiled and the lid is closed. This safety feature was added to help people from forgetting to turn off the kettle and scald themselves with steam and hot water.
  • This kettle also features a reminder that notifies the user when the water has boiled while the lid is closed.
  • Electric kettles are equipped with a timer that can be programmed for individual use. It can even be set up one day before you intend to make your hot beverage. This allows users to prepare their cup of coffee or tea just in time to go to work or host a couple of friends over.
  • This product comes with a cordless base form where you can safely and easily store your kettle. It also features an electric cord that can be removed from the base when the kettle is not in use.
  • Due to technological advancements, electric kettles today feature a digital display interface giving users more control over how to make a hot beverage with the kettle.
  • Electrical kettles are also equipped with accurate temperature control features. You can heat water to the required temperature to ensure that you extract the real flavor of your teas or coffee.
finger switching on electric kettle
Image Credit: Ekaterina Ershova, Pixabay

How Does an Electric Kettle Work?

You first need to fill the kettle with cold water. Keep in mind that the water container requires at least two extra cups of water above the minimum required amount. Plug the kettle into the electrical outlet and turn it on. However, ensure that water doesn’t leak from the closed lid before you turn on the appliance.

When the water has boiled, add your ingredients to the water container including chocolate, coffee, or tea. Close the lid and finish making your hot beverage by pressing a button located at the base of the kettle. You will know your beverage is ready in about two minutes after the kettle automatically shuts off.

Once you are done, clean the appliance by rinsing the water container. You should also remove any debris buildup left on the lid and unplug the kettle from the base to prevent any future malfunctions or damage.


  • The water tank has a one-liter capacity
  • Features a 1500 watts unit that quickly heats water
  • Features an elegant modern design
  • Are easy to fill, pour, and clean
  • Better cord management
  • The kettle can be separated from the base during storage
  • Features a removable filter
  • Affordable price
  • Harder to Clean due to the electrical components
  • Has a lower lifespan
  • Cannot work without electricity

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Stovetop vs Electric Kettle: Which Is Right for You?

To determine the ideal kettle for your needs, here is a quick comparison between stove kettles and electric kettles:


As you may have gathered, electric kettles are much more expensive than stovetop kettles. So, if you need a kettle for your kitchen and have a limited budget, it makes more economic sense to purchase a stovetop kettle.


Electric kettles are more portable and can be used almost anywhere. It can boil water at work, at home, in a hotel while traveling, or in a school dorm room. All you require is an electrical power outlet from which you can plug in. On the other hand, stovetop kettles require a heat source, whether an open fire or a stove (be it gas, electric, or induction) to boil water.

pouring water from electric kettle
Image Credit: Tyler Nix, Unsplash

Outdoor Use

If you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or picnics the stovetop kettle is the most reliable choice. You can heat your water via a stove or an open fire pit. Most outdoor activities take place in remote areas without access to electricity, so the only way you can boil water is by using stovetop kettles. They also come in handy in the event of natural disasters or during power cuts.

Heating Speed

When it comes to time consideration, the speed of the electrical kettle is unbeatable. It can take an electric kettle an average of two minutes to boil a few liters of water. It would take stove kettles about 10 minutes to complete the same job.


As earlier mentioned, electric kettles are more portable and easier to travel with than stovetop kettles. Therefore, you can virtually travel with them anywhere you want and keep them in your person. This is because they don’t require an external heat source like a stove, a fire, or a kitchen. So, you can purchase one for use in all the places you frequently visit.


Granted, water is tasteless. However, some people like to make hot beverages by making sure that they extract all the flavors from their ingredients. This may not be possible with an electric kettle because of the automatic shutdown feature that turns off the kettle when water reaches 100 degrees Celsius.

To release that rich flavor of say, green tea, it needs to boil for a few extra minutes than is possible for the electric kettle. So, if you enjoy taking beverages brewed to perfection, the stovetop kettle is an ideal choice.

stainless tea kettles on the stove
Image Credit: David Mark, Pixabay

Auto Shut-Off

This safety feature is very important for people who tend to forget water is boiling in the kettle. This feature is found in most electric kettles and it automatically shuts off the appliance once the water has reached its boiling point. On the other hand, stovetop kettles will only produce a whistle, however, this will depend on the brand and the model of the kettle.

The whistles might be easy to miss especially if you are not near your kettle. This might cause your appliance to overheat and even melt if made from plastic glass or fiber materials. So, if you know you tend to forget, an electrical kettle might be better for you.


Usually, electric kettles are made from either metal or plastic and feature a heating element. Their design is always the same and somewhat bland. Stovetop kettles, on the other hand, feature an elegant design that can add style to your kitchen. They are made from stainless steel, fiberglass, or plastic and retail in various shapes, designs, and colors, and are usually aesthetically pleasing.


No matter how hot the water gets; the exterior of electric kettles always remains cool and safe to touch. However, stovetop kettles can get really hot if allowed to sit on a hot stove for a long time. The body can get red hot, especially if heated over a gas stove or fire. Sometimes even the handle can get too hot to hold. So, on matters of safety, an electrical kettle is a better option and is user-friendly.

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It can be overwhelming when one is trying to purchase a kettle to make their favorite cup of tea or coffee. However, this should not be a complex decision because both have unique features, benefits, and drawbacks as shown in this article. Both are practical in terms of boiling water and making hot beverages. However, they differ in terms of how they achieve the result.

Tea and coffee lovers will appreciate the elegant design of stovetop kettles and their ability to derive flavor from their ingredients. However, they are comparatively slower and require an external heat source. Despite being slightly more expensive, the electric kettle is more user-friendly and modern. It is also equipped with all the latest features that make it more convenient for use at home, work, or at school. Your ultimate choice will depend on how you use your kettle and your living situation.

Featured Image Credit: (L) p_kennedy123, Pixabay | (R) an_vision, Unsplash


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