Founded in 1891, kettles are one of the oldest kitchen appliances still in existence today. Originally kettles were heated by being held over an open flame, however, we’ve come a long way in 130 years.
Today kettles can conduct heat in two ways; electricity or flames – most commonly now in the form of a stovetop.
While both appliances result in the same end result, boiled water. How they get there varies significantly and is likely to impact exactly what type of kettle is best for you.
An electric kettle is better than a stovetop kettle for most people as it’s significantly safer, comes to the boil quickly and is generally easier to use. That said, a stovetop kettle may be worth considering if your short on space or don’t use a kettle frequently.
In this post, I’ll be breaking down the basics of a stovetop kettle and an electric kettle to help you determine which one might be right for you.
Remember, both appliances produce the same end result – boiled water for your tea, coffee or food. However, how they achieve that end result is slightly different.
What Is An Electric Kettle?
Electric kettles are supplied with electricity which powers a heating element situated inside the kettle (where the water goes).
This heating element is known as a resister and resists the flow of electricity.
Inside the resistor, the electricity is turned to heat which in turn heats up the water inside the kettle.
The majority of electric kettles then have a thermostat inside which triggers the power transmitting to the kettle to be disconnected when the water inside reaches a certain temperature.
Despite being electric a kettle is a relatively safe appliance. The auto shut off means that the power automatically cuts out when the water inside reaches a certain temperature. Meanwhile, the easy to use design minimises human error.
Electric kettles are generally relatively affordable and retail between $10 and $200 depending on the brand, size and any additional features.
These style kettles also boil water quickly, it roughly takes around 100 – 300 seconds for an electric kettle to boil water – again the exact amount of time depends on the size of the appliance and how full it is.
The speed in which an electric kettle is able to boil water should make it unsurprising that it’s a very inexpensive appliance to run.
In fact, and electric kettle costs roughly $0.02 to boil water – although this exact price will vary depending on the electric tariff you’re on and how full the kettle is / the size of the kettle.
The affordability of both purchasing and using an electric kettle has only further increased their popularity. As a result, you’ll be able to find a variety of shapes, colors and styles to suit your needs within your budget.
What Is A Stovetop Kettle
A stovetop kettle is a more traditional kettle and is significantly more common than an electric kettle in America.
The kettle works by sitting on top of a gas or electric-powered stove and boiling the water through the metal element underneath onto the water inside the pan.
Prior to the introduction of electric kettles, this was the only way water would be boiled. Although instead of a stove the pan of water would often sit on top of a fire.
While a stovetop kettle has no electrical components they are slightly more expensive than electric kettles.
This is a result of the materials the kettle is made out of. While an electric kettle is mainly heat-treated plastic a stovetop kettle is often 95% copper.
Stovetop kettles are also traditionally more kitsch and therefore finding one on the lower end of your budget can be difficult. This designer appeal also makes finding different brands, colors, sizes and styles more difficult than electric kettles.
Obviously, for an electric kettle to work you need electricity. However, for a stovetop kettle to work you only need some kind of flame, this could be from a gas stove or even a camping stove in the likes of a power outage.
A stovetop kettle is more durable than an electric kettle and is almost impossible to break as there’s no electric of power elements. Even if the pot becomes slightly dented it’s still relatively functional.
While there are many upsides to owning a stovetop kettle the two major drawbacks are enough to make me opt for an electric appliance over a stovetop.
These downsides are;
No thermometer or power stoppage system. This means the kettle should be monitored at all times to prevent excess boiling or the water overflowing.
It takes longer to boil water in a stovetop kettle when compared to an electric kettle which can lead to excess power consumption – and therefore additional costs.
Considering the appliance should be monitored at all times as there’s no cut off when the water reaches the boil I found this to be somewhat annoying.
Electric vs Stovetop: A Kettle Comparison
I’ve used the table below to help you compare between electric kettles and stovetop kettles so you can see which appliance might be right for you.
It’s important to remember that the appliances both provide the same end result, boiled water. An regardless of whether you boil the water in an electric kettle or a stovetop kettle the water will taste the same and be able to reach the same temperatures.
|Electric Kettle||Stovetop Kettle|
|Power||Electric||Gas / Flame|
|Speed To Boil||100 – 200 Seconds||200 – 500 seconds|
|Auto Shut Off||Yes||No|
|Cost To Purchase Appliance||$10 – $200||$30 – $200|
|Cost To Run Appliance||$0.02 per boil||$0.05 per boil|
Best Electric Kettle
If you’ve decided that an electric kettle is for you here are some of my favourites which can be purchased online.
It’s no secret that Krups is a fantastic brand and they’ve outdone themselves with this incredible 1.7-litre electric digital display kettle.
This kettle is modern and stylish but also incredibly practical thanks to the large digital display on the front.
The interior of the kettle has double layer insulation which keeps the internal contents of the kettle warmer for longer but also makes the exterior safe to touch.
An thanks to its large opening area and easy to fill system it’s perfect for those who might otherwise struggle to use a kettle.
This stylish brushed chrome and clear glass kettle is ideal for those who want to monitor their kettle’s boiling process.
The kettle holds 1.7l enough for twelve cups of boiling water and has an auto shut off design enabling the power to stop transmitting within 30 seconds of the interior water reaching boiling point.
The appliance is cordless and can detach from the base easily which makes pouring the boiling water into cups or containers easy and hassle-free.
Best Stovetop Kettle
If you’ve decided that a stovetop kettle is for you here are some of my favourites which can be purchased online.
This Le Cruset enamel on steel stovetop kettle doesn’t come cheap however, it certainly makes a statement and is designed to last a lifetime.
Available in green, orange, blue, black and white the kettle is incredibly practical and made from high grade materials.
The heat-resistant, ergonomic, loop handle ensures a secure grip and the enamel coating ensures it’s safe for use on all heat sources, including induction.
This 1.5-Quart Mr Coffee whistling stovetop kettle has a simple yet effective design.
The kettle has a whistling feature whereby when the water boils inside the kettle a large whistling noise will be made.
The Flip-up spout cover allows for safe and easy pouring meanwhile a stay-cool trigger is added for safety.
This stovetop kettle is significantly cheaper than the Le Cruset model and achieves the same end result in a similar amount of time.
Hi all! I’m Cora Benson, and I’ve been blogging about food, recipes and things that happen in my kitchen since 2019.