Best Stovetop Water Kettle: Why the Gooseneck Reigns Supreme

I get asked all the time which stovetop water kettle I recommend. And being the thorough barista that I am, I decided to create this well-researched guide.

Best Water Kettle Overview

I get asked all the time which stovetop water kettle I recommend. And being the thorough barista that I am, I decided to create this well-researched guide.

Just to be clear, though, this article will primarily focus on stovetop water kettles since electric kettles are a different beast altogether. But don’t worry. I promise to give you a separate article soon on the topic of electric kettles. 

If you’re currently reading this and feeling torn between an electric and a stovetop water kettle, though, no need to worry. I recommend you buy — at least — one of each

The truth is there’s a lot to consider when trying to find that perfect kettle. You’ve probably already noticed that kettles come in a wide variety of shapes, materials and sizes. Honestly, a quick search for “water kettle” on Amazon is likely to send you straight from the coffee shop to the bar — the choices are just so overwhelming.

I’m going to help you navigate those choices and make suggestions about which stovetop kettles are worth a shot. Shoot, I’ll even throw in a few suggestions on electric kettles at no extra charge. Consider it a sneak preview on the electric kettle article that’s on the way. 

Why Do I Need a Kettle?

Isn’t it obvious that people need stovetop water kettles to boil water?

I mean, I get why the question is funny, so maybe you’ll find the answer funny, too. The truth is it all depends

The whole point of having a hot water kettle — or more specifically, a stovetop water kettle of a particular design — really depends on what caffeinated delight you plan to brew. Where you plan to enjoy your beverage matters, too. For instance, will you be at home, the office, on a boat, camping in the woods or even atop a mountain on a hike?

Sure, there once was a time when every home had a kettle of some sort. Most of us might even have some memories of a whistling stovetop kettle that let us know to turn off the heat before the water dried out.

But at some point — like with almost everything in life — convenience won out. Electric water kettles, super-automatic espresso machines and even microwaves replaced stovetop water kettles.

Since the pandemic, there’s been a trend toward slowing down and rethinking what really matters in life. People are taking more time for family and more time for themselves. They’re resetting life to a pace so that they can enjoy the process and art of things, including how they brew their coffee and tea.

For coffee lovers, a stovetop water kettle is an essential tool for using a French press, Woodneck, Chemex or hand filter. But when you brew coffee with one of these, it’s important that your fresh coffee grinds come into contact with water in several, precise steps for optimal extraction.

In my pour-over coffee guide, I go into detail about the importance of pouring a little water in at a time in gentle, circular motions to activate the extraction process before adding more water. I also stress the importance of leveling the grinds and avoiding craters from pouring. This is best achieved with a gooseneck water kettle because it delivers water slowly and accurately.

Bonavita BV382510v mit Kaffeefilter

Tea lovers, on the other hand, have their own reasons to appreciate stovetop water kettles. 

For starters, boiling water in a microwave has a tendency to superheat the water and the cup — which can seriously scald a person. The best stovetop water kettles have the added benefit of a whistle, thermometer or both to prevent superheating. If you’ve ever drank a hot cup of tea straight from the microwave, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. Ouch! 

Tea drinkers can also benefit from gooseneck water kettles. Like with the coffee grinds, it’s important to activate the tea leaves before pouring in a bunch of water. 

If you use loose leaf tea, you also know that tea dust from the packaging can be an issue — that’s why, in China, they dump the first pot of water poured over the loose leaf tea. You read that right: they just fill the pot with water and then empty it immediately to get rid of the tea dust.

Plus, truly passionate tea drinkers know the importance of water quality when brewing tea. That’s partly because they don’t have a super-automatic espresso machine with a built-in filter cleaning their water for them. 

And to be honest, they don’t always want all of the minerals removed, either. Take the cast iron kettle, for example. It adds a balance to the water that enhances the flavor of many teas.

What Material Should Kettles Be Made Of?

Not to worry, I won’t bore you with a long-winded scientific lecture about the variety of metals you’ll find in stovetop water kettles. We’ll save that discussion for, well, never. 

But make no mistake, it’s important to take a close look at a variety of kettles to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of the metals, manufacturing processes and shapes — because it all matters.

Before we dive in, though, I want to point out that there’s no such thing as bad material for a stovetop water kettle. Even popular kettle materials usually have something going for them — which is why they became popular in the first place.

The type of heat source that you use to heat a kettle also plays an important role in which kettle is better for your specific application. For instance, will you use gas, electric, induction or a campfire? 

Which Is the Best Electric Kettle for Convenience?

Glas Wasserkocher mit kochendem Wasser

Yes, electric kettles do have advantages

For starters, electric kettles free up an eye on your stove, which is nice if you’re multitasking in the kitchen. You can also plug them in pretty much anywhere, so long as you keep safety in mind. 

Another advantage to electric kettles is the automatic shutoff feature, which is especially useful if you tend to forget you have a kettle heating up on your stove. We’ve all been there, right?

Then again, I see the automatic shutoff feature as a downside, too. 

Case in point: if you’re in an emergency — like a natural disaster — where you need to boil water for a long time to kill bacteria, the kettle would automatically shut off before you could actually kill off the bacteria.

For everyday use, though, I can recommend a few electric kettles that stand out:

I’m sure you won’t be surprised that three of these are gooseneck water kettles! I mean, after all, I think gooseneck kettles offer the best control over the flow of water anyway.

Which Kettle for Induction Stoves?

People with induction stoves often swear by them. Why? Well, because induction stoves save a lot of energy. So if you’re looking to be more green, it’s worth considering the benefits of induction technology.

Woodgrouse Filterkaffee Magarrisa

When it comes to boiling water, induction stoves deliver on the promise of boiling water faster and cheaper. But that’s only if you’ve done your homework and bought the right kind of pots, pans and kettles, of course.

You see, to get technical, induction technology is based on an alternating magnetic field. So the cookware must also be magnetic. All that to say, if you search for “induction kettle” or “induction cookware” on Amazon, you’ll find what you need.

A word of caution, though: always read the product page closely to see whether the specification “suitable for induction” is really true. You’d be surprised how many variations there are that companies use to sell more products.

As you know, I’m a big tea fan, but nothing beats coffee. That’s why I always look at the spout first when buying a kettle for induction. 

My favorites in the induction category are:

And yes, it’s no coincidence that a gooseneck water kettle made the list! (Seriously, didn’t the title give it away?)

I also enjoy the option to upgrade to a different Alessi Whistle — that dragon whistle is definitely the coolest! Then again, the color options that Le Creuset offers, and the sleek look of the All-Clad stainless steel kettle are among my favs, too.

What Can (And Can’t) a Copper Kettle Do?

Copper Water Kettle

If you don’t cook with copper, then you’ve probably at least had a bright and shiny set of copper pots and pans catch your eye. Copper cookware fads tend to come and go, though copper remains the metal of choice for many professional chefs. So why all the fuss?

Well, copper is a very good heat conductor and ensures even distribution of heat. But unfortunately, since copper breaks down easily, it’s possible that some copper can leach out into your copper cookware. 

That’s why people in the know go with a set lined with stainless steel — like the “affordable” Lagostina Copper Cookware Set or the higher-end Mauviel Brushed Copper Set.

Having copper on the outside allows for quick and even heat distribution, while the stainless steel inside protects you from any copper leaching issues.

The same thing applies to kettles. So whatever copper kettle you go with, look to be sure it has a stainless steel or alternative metal lining on the inside.

Here are my top recommendations:

Note: If you take a close look at the OPUX Copper Classic Gooseneck Kettle, you’ll notice it appears to be the exact same product as the Barista Warrior and FIIHO options, but for a fraction of the price. All three look like the same machine, or is it just me?

The Best Gooseneck Water Kettles

Gooseneck Water Kettle

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for since I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m a big fan of gooseneck kettles. 

Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about them. In my experience, a gooseneck water kettle will help you achieve better results in the cup, every time, hands down.

Even if you have a super-automatic espresso machine, I highly recommend you have a gooseneck water kettle on hand. That way, you’ll have something to heat the water when you want to make an Americano. You’ll also have a great tool to use when you’re in the mood for pour-over coffee.

Here are a few of the ones I think of when I think of the best gooseneck kettles:

  • Hario Gooseneck Coffee Kettle 'Buono' (The 1.0-liter model is made in Japan, while the 1.2-liter version is made in China. Many users claim to have noticed a considerable difference in build quality.)
  • OPUX Copper Gooseneck Kettle (Again, remember that if you take a close look at the OPUX Copper Gooseneck Kettle, you’ll notice it appears to be the exact same product as the Barista Warrior and FIIHO options, but for a fraction of the price.)

How Useful Is a Cast Iron Kettle?

Cast Iron Kettle

Like copper, cast iron is a great heat conductor, and the tea lover in me really appreciates what a cast iron kettle can offer.

Japanese experts insist that cast iron kettles — tetsubins — be uncoated because iron can leach out during heating and get absorbed by the body, which is beneficial for your health.

Green tea connoisseurs in Japan will then pour the water into a clay teapot with loose leaf tea. The clay also affects the flavor and balance of the tea.

On the other hand, if fruit tea is what you’re after, brewing in an enamel-coated cast iron kettle may also be an option, though most experts agree that it’s better to heat your water in a separate kettle.

Others argue that you should brew fruit teas in a glass pot — like the Bodum Assam Tea Press — to be able to appreciate the color and quality of the tea.

What that all boils down (pun intended) to is that cast iron kettles come in two broad categories: with enamel and without enamel. 

Shops like Teavana, who deal in a lot of fruit teas, sell enamel-coated kettles. Some are OK to put on the stove, and some aren’t.

If you’re in the market for an uncoated cast iron kettle, two of the best tea kettles I can recommend are:

With these, you have to know going into the purchase that even your children’s children will probably still use this kettle, so long as you’ve taught them its value.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an enamel-coated pot that you can heat water in, here are three stovetop options to consider:

Be sure to do a smell test on your enamel-coated kettle when you get it to make sure it doesn’t smell like chemicals. Occasionally, something will go wrong in the factory, leaving you with an unpleasant chemical smell that won’t go away … ever!

As a rule of thumb: cast iron kettles bring value to tea drinkers but do nothing for coffee drinkers.

Enamel Kettles: Offering Both Color and Function

Enamel Kettles

If there’s one style of kettle that looks like it walked right out of the 1960s, it’s the enamel kettle! Often brightly colored, enamel water kettles will liven up any room.

On the plus side, the enamel coating makes cleaning mineral deposits left behind from boiling much easier, and enamel is also a reasonably good heat conductor.

My personal favorites come from Le Creuset, Chantal and Kate Spade — at least for home use. So check out these retro-style beauties:

You can also use enamel kettles when camping but in a different style. We’ll take a closer look at kettles for camping in a few moments.

Aluminum Water Kettles: Cheap Crap or Bargain Treasures?

When it comes to aluminum kettles, I quickly lose interest. But since I don’t want you to do the same with this article, I’ll only touch on aluminum briefly.

For the most part, the value of aluminum is that it’s lightweight, which can make it a plus for camping or hiking.

On the other hand, aluminum is also an easily influenced material. So it dents easily. It’s also reactive to acidic foods — like tomatoes, vinegar and citrus — which means it can change the flavor of water and food big time.

If I were you, I’d stay away from aluminum kettles at home if you can. Well, unless you’re using a Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Coffeemaker. But then again we’re no longer talking about water kettles, are we? The only time I use aluminum is when I’m camping.

Glass Kettles: Never 100% Unbreakable

Glass Kettles

Honestly, I debated about whether or not to include glass in this overview of water kettle materials. 

While I fully appreciate the look and simplicity of a glass kettle, I’d prefer to use glass on teapots and French presses because glass can break super easily. 

Imagine this scenario: you’re in the process of making some tea or coffee and decide you need to boil more water. Now if the kettle is metal, you can immediately add more water and not have to worry about the difference in temperature between your hot kettle and the cooler water shattering the thing. 

Then again, if the kettle is glass, you’ll have to wait a while for the kettle to cool down before topping it off with more water.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or cafe, then you also know that even a minor chip on glassware means you have to throw the whole thing away. Otherwise, you risk sending someone to the hospital.

So that’s why I’m not recommending any glass kettles.

Stainless Steel Kettles: What’s Not to Love?

Hario Gooseneck Coffee Kettle

If you’re searching for a stainless steel water kettle, there are endless options available. Virtually all of the big names are represented in this category because stainless steel is sturdy, conductive and retains the temperature. It’s certainly the ultimate material when it comes to kettles, at least for making coffee!

As far as tea goes, stainless steel is as neutral as Switzerland, and many teas benefit from it as much as coffee. If you’re all about nuance, though, unfinished cast iron is still your best bet.

For me, stainless steel is as much about style as it is function. But I’m sure some folks at Alessi would agree! 

When it comes to stainless steel, my favorites are the Alessi, All-Clad and Coffee Gator Gooseneck — which, by the way, has a uniquely shaped spout that’s great for moistening coffee grinds for maximum flavor output. 

Here are links to those and more: 

The Best Kettles for Camping

Traveler pouring hot water from steel kettle

While some of you didn’t exactly appreciate my rave review of the Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade hand coffee grinder, when it comes to kettles for camping, I think we can agree that you always need one! 

I mean, there’s just something about sitting by a campfire with a fresh, hot cup of coffee or tea — especially if you’ve stayed up late the night before.

Before I tell you my top picks for camping, here are the must-have features I think you should look for in a camping kettle:

  • Is space-saving yet still able to hold a reasonable amount of water
  • Has a robust build that makes it fairly indestructible
  • Is easy to clean
  • Is suitable for small gas stoves or metal grates over a fire

I would just go for an aluminum kettle because of the price-performance ratio, weight and thermal conductivity.

My top camping kettle recommendations are:

The Bulin Camping Kettle sports a high-efficiency design that reduces gas consumption, which is a plus when you’re on a camping stove with limited resources nearby.

If you’re hiking, the Jetboil Flash Java Kit has a lot going for it, too. Namely, it can boil water in 100 seconds — that’s unheard of, right?

Then there’s the REDCAMP, which is like many camping kettles on Amazon, except that the handle on its lid has this winged look about it that reminds me of the wings on Jay Garrick’s helmet. I guess it just makes me feel like I’m going somewhere fast!

Humidifying Water Kettles to Balance the Winter Heat

US STOVE CO Kettle Fireplace

Back in the day, our ancestors had a habit of keeping a cast iron kettle on the stovetop to add moisture to the air when winter rolled around. So if you want to do the same, here are some options specifically made for humidifying:

One thing you’ll notice about each of these kettles is how it warns people that it’s for humidifying, not human consumption. 

So if you happen to have a wood stove you’re burning all the time, I recommend you use an enamel kettle instead. Unlike stainless steel — which can burn on a wood stove — enamel holds up well. You can also use it to make some tea or coffee.

Something to keep in mind if you buy an enamel kettle for a wood stove is that you’ll need one that doesn’t whistle. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy! That also means you’ll need a larger water capacity and will need to monitor the kettle to keep it from running dry.

Here are a few options to consider:

Pros & Cons

For those of you who don’t feel like memorizing all the stuff I just elaborated on, here’s another overview of the most important materials.

CopperProsCons
Looks greatPrice
Excellent heat conductivityCopper can leach out into water
Excellent heat transferPure copper is not suitable for induction stoves
Who it’s forConnoisseurs
Cast IronProsCons
Excellent heat conductivityPrice (often high)
Extremely high qualityWeight
Extremely durableRust possible
Suitable for all stove typesIron can affect flavor (only negative for coffee lovers)
Who it’s forTea lovers
EnamelProsCons
Good heat conductivitySomewhat slower to heat up
RobustRobust
Robust enamel layer must always remain intact
Easy to cleanPrice for just enamel is relatively high
Numerous color options
Suitable for all stove types
Who it’s forThose who like bright colors
AluminumProsCons
LightDoesn’t maintain temperatures for long
Very good heat conductivityDents easily
RobustReacts to acidic water
InexpensiveNot for induction stoves
Who it’s forMinimalists or those on a tight budget
GlassProsCons
Neutral tasteNever 100% unbreakable
Good heat conductivityNot for induction stoves
Easy to clean
Designed for purists
Who it’s forPeople who want to see the action of the water
Stainless SteelProsCons
Neutral tasteDepends on the model
Easy to clean
Good heat conductivity
Good holding capacity
Large selection
Suitable for most stove types
Who it’s forPeople who are serious about manual brewing methods

Top Recommendations: The Right Kettle for Every Occasion

As promised, your trusted coffee blog finally gave you a few tips about the best kettles and revealed whether the most popular kettles on Amazon are any good for us coffee nerds. I’ve also thought of the tea lovers.

Le Creuset Enamel

Long story short: if your goal is to have a kettle to boil water on the stove at home so you can add water to coffee-based drinks, I’d go with the 1.0-liter version of the Hario V60 Gooseneck Coffee Kettle. It’s the perfect companion to a super-automatic espresso machine or pour-over. Plus, its gooseneck design is ideal for brewing coffee.

For tea drinkers, I’d go with the ITCHU-DO HAKEME Cast Iron Water Kettle unless you’d like a whistling kettle, in which case I recommend the Alessi Kettle.

If color is what you’re after, though, the Le Creuset Enamel On Steel Whistling Kettle will definitely brighten your kitchen.

And if you have tea and coffee drinkers in your home, why not buy two?

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the kettles mentioned here in this guide. So if you like one more than another, go for it. I stand behind all of my recommendations.

Do you have any questions, suggestions or additions you’d like to share about kettles in 2021? Please join the conversation below! Your comments and interaction are what make this a community. Thanks for reading!

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