Kettles are pots that are used for boiling water and they are usually used for making tea. Usually, it has a lid and a spout and it is made from metal.
We can differentiate two kinds of kettles based on the source of power they use. There is a stovetop (traditional) kettle that uses the stovetop heat. And there is an electric kettle that uses the electricity. But, the end result is the same – boiled water.
What’s the difference between a stovetop kettle and an electric kettle? A stovetop kettle gets its heat from a gas, fire, or electric stove, while an electric kettle is a plug-in countertop device that creates its own heat to boil water using electricity. Electric kettles boil water faster but take up more space.
A stovetop kettle is a good choice if you don’t use a kettle too often or don’t have much space in the kitchen. If you use it every day, maybe an electric kettle is a better option for you.
If you wonder what kind of materials are used to make kettles, how the kettles really work, and what the differences between stovetop and electric kettles are, keep reading and we will guide you through it all.
What Are Kettles Made of?
There are a couple of different materials that are used to make kettles. Each have their pros and cons.
Let’s start with the worst material used to make kettles. Plastic is used to make kettles because it’s a cheap material.
These kettles are unsafe and you should only use them on rare occasions when you don’t have any other choice. Don’t use them for an extended period of time.
Plastic kettles are unsafe because they can release chemicals into your water. Chemicals like BPA and Phthalates can have a bad effect on your health, especially if you use them for a longer period of time.
You can get BPA-free plastic, but no plastic should never be exposed to high heat, as it can melt or release other chemicals. This makes having the kettle in the first place a moot point.
Also, they might get an unpleasant odor or even change the taste of your tea or water.
Glass is generally a healthy and safe material because it doesn’t release any chemicals. Most glass kettles today are durable, long-lasting, stain-resistant, and don’t have an odor. Many even come with infusers set inside them.
However, they are more expensive than the plastic kettle and are easier to damage. Also, they might be a bit heavy to carry around, but having a high-quality glass kettle is worth it.
Plus, they are the most stylish and elegant kettles available. Also, their transparent look makes it easier to monitor the water levels.
There are also kettles that aren’t necessarily made of glass but made for glass stovetops. You can find our top picks for tea kettles for glass stovetops in a separate article.
Aluminum, Brass, or Copper
These kettles are usually made as stovetop kettles and today they are safe to use because they have stainless steel, nickel, or tin lining so the copper will not get into your water.
The downside is that they can be expensive, can easily get tarnished, and can scratch and dent easily. There are no electric versions; only the stovetop kettles are made of brass or copper.
This material has become the most popular material among kettle manufacturers. The reason for it is that it is the safest material and it does not release any chemicals or metallic taste.
They are relatively cheap, compared to other types of healthy kettles, so they are usually the favorite option. Also, when it comes to an electric kettle, you can opt for a cordless and portable model that is very easy to use.
The downside is that they might be a little difficult to clean. Also, after a while, the stainless steel kettle might rust, and in that case, you’ll have to replace the kettle right away.
The stovetop kettle is used by simply placing it on the top of the stove.
These kettles are often a bit more expensive than the electric ones because they are usually made of copper.
On the other hand, they are more durable than the electric ones because they use no electricity other than what the stovetop itself may need.
The main downsides are that they have to be monitored at all times and take more time to boil the water.
The stovetop kettle has no thermometer and no automatic shut-off feature, which means that if you don’t monitor it, you will face water overflowing or excess boiling.
Also, it takes longer to bring the water to boil in the stovetop kettle. This means you may also be using more power if you use your kettle every day.
However, a stovetop kettle doesn’t require a power source and is perfect for camping trips or hikes where you’re far from electricity.
The electric kettle, as the name implies, uses electricity to boil water through the heating element (or resister).
The great thing about these kettles is that they have an automatic shut-off system.
There is a thermostat integrated into the kettle which turns the heat off when the water reaches a certain temperature.
This way, you won’t face excess boiling or water overflowing and can simply leave the kettle to do its thing.
These are fairly affordable appliances and they boil the water really quickly (around 100 to 300 seconds to bring the water to boil).
They come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. The speed of bringing the water to boil also leads to using less electricity.
They are more energy-efficient compared to the stovetop kettle. But, if you use gas for the stovetop kettle boiling, which is a cheaper option than electricity, the consumption would be similar.
An electric kettle is easy to use and portable. Some models heat different liquids to their precise temperatures, which is great because you can use them for different purposes like a pour-over coffee.
And some of the newer models can work even on a USB car charger port, which is an awesome feature if you travel a lot. Additionally, they mostly have heat-resistant handles, so you won’t have a chance to burn your hand when handling them.
Some people find a whistling kettle charming, but that sound can be rather annoying to others. The electric kettle doesn’t whistle at all. But, if you are nostalgic and like the whistling noise, you may prefer the stovetop kettle.
If an electric kettle sounds like your cup of tea, we have another article dedicated to the best electric kettles not made in China.
Stovetop Vs Electric Kettle – Final Comparison
There are a couple of main differences between electric and stovetop kettles.
We’ve gone over their qualities individually, but below is a concise table and list of differences you can use to compare the two side by side.
Stovetop Vs Electric Kettles – Comparison Chart
|Stovetop Kettle||Electric Kettle|
|Automatic Shut Off||No||Yes|
|Heating Time||500 seconds||Less than 300 seconds|
|Power Source||Gas, electricity, flame||Electricity|
|Cost to run||Approx. $0.05 per boil||Approx. $0.02 per boil|
As you can see from the chart above, these two products have many differences and many similarities. If you’re trying to decide which one is for you, here’s a more detailed look at these differences.
- Use – Electric kettles can be used anywhere, whereas stovetop kettles are tied to the stovetop’s source of power (electricity or gas) or an open fire.
- Outside use – For outside activities, the stovetop kettle might be a better option because it can be used on an open fire and doesn’t need electricity. The electric stovetop needs electricity. But some can be used through a USB car charger. So, if you plan on going into nature far from civilization, the stovetop kettle is a better option.
- Time – If you want to save time boiling water, the obvious choice is the electric kettle. They are way faster than stovetop kettles. They might be a little slow if their capacity is larger, but even then, they are faster than stovetop kettles.
- Safety – The electric kettle has an automatic shut-off design, so there can’t be any water overflowing or excess boiling. Also, electric kettles don’t heat up on the outside and they have heat-resistant handles so you have less chance to burn yourself, unlike the stovetop kettle.
- Design – It all comes down to your personal preference. Even though in some cases, the shape is the same, some people prefer the old, vintage look of the stovetop kettle, and some prefer the modern electric kettle look.
We hope this guide has proven to be a valuable resource for you and that you now have a clearer picture of the differences between stovetop and electric kettles.
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