Posted on 31 Comments

Watching water boil

Our stovetop tea kettle sprung a leak. I had no idea they could even do that! Putting aside, for a moment, the question of how icky the insides of that kettle might be (and by extension, the water I have been making my coffee with [ugh!]) I am left with a dilemma: what do I replace it with?

BW 25/30

I’m pretty sure Neil had this kettle before he had me. We’ve been married almost 20 years, so I would have to say it’s been a pretty good workhorse up until now.

I figured replacing it would be a fairly simple task: I’d hop online, pick out a cool color to match the kitchen and be done with it.

But no. There are a million different kinds of kettles out there, people! And they’re made out of a million different kinds of materials (porcelain, enamel, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, glass…), and those are just the stovetop kettles. Kitchen counter space being at a premium, I was all set to get another stovetop kettle, but I’ve been reading reviews and it sounds like electric might be a better way to go. They are more energy-efficient, they boil more quickly, and you can get ones that control the temperature so that the water is the best temp for your particular type of tea or for coffee. That appeals to me, since I like all kinds of hot drinks.

Morning 6/31 - Restocking

No matter what kind of kettle I pick, though, they all seem either super spendy, or they have terrible reviews. So before I drop $50 on a gadget to boil water, please can we talk about this?

Specifically, how do you boil water? Do you like your current method? If you use a kettle, is it stovetop or electric, and can you recommend the brand/style you have?

I did not expect replacing the tea kettle to be a “major purchase” but I was really surprised by the prices I was seeing. I have to be reasonably sure I am getting something that is going to last a while and will be a good fit for my kitchen. Thanks for helping me! Right now I am boiling water in the microwave, which is do-able but not ideal.

Posted on 31 Comments

31 thoughts on “Watching water boil

  1. I ditched my electric one because it was hard to wash, the icky ness you’re talking about was all over the heating element and you couldn’t use soap on that part so that was just a mess. so now we boil water in a Cherry red plain jane stovetop kettle. it does take longer than the electric one though. I would love to buy one of the Creuset cast iron ones – they’re beautiful.

    1. Do you wash the stovetop kettle? I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it never even occurred to me to wash it! I figured the boiling water kept it clean. (ack)

  2. We have the exact same one, but in green! But it gets grease all over it because of its home on the range..top. (Ha!) This one is also a bit of a pain to fill. I think an electric or a dome-shaped, flat-bottomed stainless steel kettle might be better if we need to replace ours.

    1. Small world 🙂 Ours gets grease splashed all over it, too.

  3. I discovered the joys of an electric kettle while visiting England and having it the only source of hot water when the boiler broke. My husband & I have had the same Braun electric kettle since we got married 8 years ago. The kettle part is submergible so there are no issues with cleaning it. I love the speed at which it heats water.

    1. From the reviews I’ve been reading (of all kinds of kettles) on Amazon, 8 years is impressive. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I finally went with an electric kettle last year and I love it! Especially because it shuts off when I get distracted or I’m too far away to hear the whistle (a few kettles died that way!). I got this brand that I will link to below. Mine came from Sam’s Club so it was under $40, but this is close to $45 or $50 online. It is ceramic, like a teapot. I wash the inside occasionally. Outside is easy to wipe clean. The heating element is plastic and easily wiped. I thought I would dislike another thing on my limited counter top space, but the benefits outweighed that drawback. Bella Electric Tea Kettle:
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/33830733?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227023482731&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40345544792&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78311145152&veh=sem

    1. I like this one, but the image on the outside doesn’t grab me. I wish they came in solid colors!

      1. Yeah, the one I got isn’t shown. It’s a really cute pattern it turquoise to match my kitchen. Here’s a pic of mine: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsoccasional/11467611803/

        1. Yours is nicer than the one shown 🙂
          I would really like a solid navy blue. Or red. Or white. Or vintage pale aqua. I just don’t want any more patterns in my kitchen, with the possible exception of stripes.

          1. Totally understand! It’s all about the pretty! If you are spending the money you should get exactly what will make you happy!

  5. I still use a stainless steel stove-top kettle. I just throw it in the dishwasher when it gets too grungy. I always leave some water in it because after I cook something and remove it from the burner and turn it off, I move the kettle to that spot so I don’t accidentally touch or set something on it. And in the winter, putting it on the warm burner provides the added benefit of humidifying the room a bit. I replace the water if I am actually going to drink the heated water though 🙂

    1. Are there any plastic parts on/in your kettle? I’m finding it hard to find a brand that doesn’t include some plastic!

  6. i had a $100 electric kettle (can’t remember brand) that died after a year. got the cheapest one at target:

    http://www.target.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/p/aroma-hot-h20-x-press-7-cup-stainless-steel-electric-kettle/-/A-13795316

    it has lasted me 5 years. love the electric kettle.

    (first time comment – hello!)

    1. Hi! THanks for commenting 🙂 I was looking at that one on Amazon, but I’m not fond of the plastic in the lid. It seems that it’s hard to avoid though. I’m glad to hear it has had some longevity! If I decide I can live with plastic in the lid, then this one will go on my short list 🙂

  7. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I have a hot water spigot on the sink. I hang my laundry to dry, I grow the majority of my food (including meat), I eschew electrical gadgets when elbow grease will work…but I can’t live without my instant hot water gizmo.
    It was in the house we bought, or I would never have known about the wonder that is instant hot water. I drink a lot of tea (mostly homegrown mint and such), but I also use it for almost instant oatmeal or cream of wheat, cous-cous in a flash, etc.
    They start at $150 new, so not a lot more than some of those electric kettles.

    1. Given the fact that we bought a new faucet for our sink when we moved here 17 years ago,and still haven’t bothered to install it, I feel like we might also never get around to a hot water spigot 🙂 It does sound super useful, though!

  8. Use the microwave, and save your money…fast, frugal and using something that you already have.

    1. I would suggest the same thing. Heating water is all a microwave does, but you knew that. 🙂 If you have one that has a temperature probe in it then you can use that to automagically get the right “setting” for whatever beverage you might like.

      But that’s just my opinion.

      1. My microwave is only marginally newer than the busted tea kettle. I bought it in 1993. It doesn’t have a temperature probe that I know of, and I don’t particularly like using it. I’m definitely going to replace the kettle with *something* once I make up my mind, but until then the microwave is working alright.

    2. It is certainly cheaper to not buy a new kettle at all 🙂 I have read that it takes more energy to boil water in a microwave than it does in an electric kettle, but I am not entirely sure how reputable a resource that is. I still lean towards getting a kettle. The microwave works ok for me when I’m just doing one cup at a time, but I am going to want a better solution when I entertain and need large quantities of hot water.

  9. There are always three beverage vessels sitiing on my glass top stove: my Le Creuset tea kettle for boling water, my ceramic tea pot and my Bonjour French press for coffee. In other words, I am always prepared. I had the same tea kettle you had but the handle broke and my current one was a gift. Nothing beats pressed coffee or a hot pot of tea at the ready. They all get regular washing but the tea kettle gets the occasional hot vinegar bath to clean out the insides. I’d say $50 is about right for any of these items and it is money well spent. Treat yourself!

    1. Yeah, it definitely seems like I’m going to have to part with $50 to get something decent. Still, I’m having trouble committing!

  10. LOVE our electric kettle. The electric base is separate from the tea kettle. We wipe off the outside periodically and boil vinegar in it monthly to clean the insides. It does stay clean on its own, but our water tends to have lime in it, which causes encrustation inside of the kettle.

    We have T-Fal Vitesse (yes, that spelling is correct). I really recommend these. Dependable, safe, easy to clean, etc. We don’t have multiple settings on it, but basically this is a tea kettle (or cocoa, or just plain hot water for something we’re doing). The cost is worth it.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation (and the cleaning tip)! I’m trying to stay away from plastic if I can, though.

      1. There are others out there. This one is on the Williams & Sonoma’s website: Breville Crystal Clear Glass Tea Kettle, metal and glass. I’m with you, I don’t believe in getting rid of things just because they are 3-4 years old. Our tea kettle is over 12 years old now. Working just fine and not dirty.

      2. And an article from kitchn, which may be useful. Read the comments. 🙂 some of the respondents have some good ideas.
        http://www.thekitchn.com/recommendations-for-a-reliable-long-lasting-tea-kettle-182890

  11. DH got me one for mothers day last year that I love. It is a Krups electric that has different temps to boil the water to and a warm button to keep the water at that temp for an hour. It also has a basket to put loose leaves in but I stopped using that part because it was too hard to clean. It boils fast too. I am also guilty of never cleaning the inside of my kettle but mine is clear

    1. All of the Krups kettles on Amazon currently look a little too rich for my blood, but yours sounds really nice. I like all of those features. Thanks for your comment!

  12. I just read an article about how long do I keep it? And for tea kettles it said 2 1/2-3 years… Because of all the ick! So I’d go cheap… That said I was so sad when I read it because I love my 4 year old kettle

    1. Ugh, I wish that things like this were not made to be so “disposable!” I would bet that with proper cleaning you could keep your kettle much longer than 3 years. (Although, I don’t have the best track record for keeping things clean, so for me maybe 3 years is more realistic. I still don’t like it though, LOL!)

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