Stovetop Tea Kettles vs. Electric Kettles: Pros and Cons

Stovetop Tea Kettles vs. Electric Kettles: Pros and Cons

Updated on - . 5 min read

When it comes to making a hot cup of tea or coffee, having a reliable and efficient kettle is essential. Traditionally, stovetop tea kettles have been the go-to option for boiling water, but with the advancement of technology, electric kettles have gained popularity in recent years. Both stovetop and electric kettles have their own set of pros and cons, which can influence your decision when choosing the right one for your needs.

In this post, we will explore the different types of materials used in kettles, discuss the differences between stovetop and electric kettles, and weigh the pros and cons of each option.

What Are Kettles Made of?

Kettles are available in various materials, each with its own unique properties. Here are some common materials used in the construction of tea kettles:

  • Plastic: Plastic kettles are lightweight and affordable, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers. However, they are less durable compared to other materials and may not withstand high temperatures over an extended period.
  • Glass: Glass kettles are visually appealing, allowing you to see the water boiling inside. They are also easy to clean and do not retain flavors or odors. However, glass kettles can be fragile and may require careful handling to prevent breakage.
  • Aluminum, Brass, or Copper: These materials are often used in traditional stovetop kettles due to their excellent heat conductivity. They heat up quickly and evenly distributes heat. However, they may react with certain acidic beverages, affecting the taste and potentially posing health risks if consumed in large amounts.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel kettles are highly durable, resistant to rust and corrosion, and can withstand high temperatures. They are also easy to clean and maintain. Stainless steel is a popular choice for both stovetop and electric kettles due to its versatility and longevity.

For an in-depth exploration of the evolution of the tea kettle from its origins to the present day, we invite you to read our article on the historical journey of this iconic kitchen tool.

Stovetop Kettle and Electric Kettle: What's the Difference?

The main difference between stovetop and electric kettles lies in the way they heat the water:

  • Stovetop Kettles: Stovetop kettles are designed to be used on a traditional stovetop burner. They require direct heat from a gas or electric stove to heat the water inside. Stovetop kettles often have a whistle or other indicator to alert you when the water reaches boiling point. They offer a more traditional and hands-on approach to boiling water.
  • Electric Kettles: Electric kettles, on the other hand, are standalone appliances that are plugged into an electrical outlet. They have a built-in heating element that rapidly heats the water, usually in a matter of minutes. Electric kettles often come with additional features like temperature control, automatic shut-off, and keep-warm functions, providing convenience and precision.

Is a Stovetop Kettle Better Than an Electric Kettle?

Determining whether a stovetop kettle is better than an electric kettle (or vice versa) depends on your personal preferences and needs.

Here are some pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision:

Stovetop Kettle:


  • Aesthetic appeal: Stovetop kettles often have a classic and elegant design, adding a touch of charm to your kitchen.
  • Versatility: Stovetop kettles can be used on any type of stove, including gas, electric, and induction cooktops.
  • Control over heating: With a stovetop kettle, you have direct control over the heating process, allowing you to achieve the desired temperature for different types of beverages.
  • Whistle feature: Many stovetop kettles have a whistle that alerts you when the water reaches boiling point, preventing overboiling and potential damage to the kettle.


  • Slower heating time: Stovetop kettles generally take longer to heat the water compared to electric kettles.
  • Need for supervision: As stovetop kettles require direct heat, they need to be closely monitored during the boiling process to prevent accidents or boiling dry.
  • Inconsistent heat distribution: Depending on the stove and kettle design, heat distribution may not be as even compared to electric kettles, potentially leading to uneven boiling.

Electric Kettle:


  • Speed and convenience: Electric kettles are known for their quick heating times, allowing you to have boiling water ready in minutes.
  • Automatic shut-off: Most electric kettles come with an automatic shut-off feature, ensuring safety and preventing the kettle from boiling dry.
  • Temperature control: Some electric kettles offer temperature control options, allowing you to select the precise temperature for different types of teas or coffees.
  • Keep-warm function: Certain electric kettles have a keep-warm function, which maintains the water at a desired temperature for an extended period.


  • Limited portability: Electric kettles require an electrical outlet, which can limit their portability compared to stovetop kettles.
  • Additional counter space: Electric kettles occupy countertop space, which may be a concern if you have a small kitchen with limited room.
  • Cost: Electric kettles tend to be more expensive than stovetop kettles, especially models with advanced features like temperature control and keep-warm functions.

Should You Buy an Electric Kettle?

Considering the pros and cons of electric kettles, they can be a worthwhile investment for many individuals. Here are some reasons why you might consider purchasing an electric kettle:


  • Time-saving: Electric kettles heat water quickly, making them ideal for busy individuals who value convenience and efficiency.
  • Safety features: Electric kettles often come with safety features such as automatic shut-off and boil-dry protection, providing peace of mind during use.
  • Precision and versatility: Temperature control and keep-warm functions allow you to customize your brewing experience based on the specific requirements of different beverages.
  • Easy to use: Electric kettles are user-friendly, requiring minimal effort to operate.


  • Cost: Electric kettles can be more expensive compared to stovetop kettles, depending on the brand and features you choose.
  • Limited portability: Electric kettles are primarily designed for use in a stationary location near an electrical outlet, making them less portable than stovetop kettles.
  • Counter space: If you have limited counter space in your kitchen, adding an electric kettle may further reduce available workspace.

Is an Electric Kettle Harmful?

There is no inherent harm in using an electric kettle as long as it is used according to the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines. However, it is essential to ensure the kettle is made from food-grade materials and does not contain any harmful chemicals or coatings that could leach into the water.

It is Cheaper to Use an Electric Kettle or Stovetop?

When it comes to energy efficiency, electric kettles are generally more cost-effective than stovetop kettles. Electric kettles are designed to heat water quickly and efficiently, whereas stovetop kettles rely on direct heat from a stove burner, which can result in heat loss and energy waste.

Additionally, electric kettles often have a built-in automatic shut-off feature, preventing unnecessary energy consumption. However, the exact cost difference may vary depending on the specific models, electricity rates in your area, and the frequency of use.

In the debate between stovetop tea kettles and electric kettles, there is no definitive winner. The choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and specific needs. Stovetop kettles offer a traditional and hands-on experience, while electric kettles provide convenience, speed, and additional features.

Consider the pros and cons discussed in this post to make an informed decision and select the kettle that best suits your tea and coffee brewing routine.

Further Reading

  • If you've decided to go with a stovetop kettle but are unsure where to begin, we encourage you to check out our article on the best stovetop kettles, where we provide seven top recommendations to help you get started on finding the perfect one for your needs.
  • If you're leaning towards an electric kettle, our article on the best electric gooseneck kettles can serve as a helpful starting point to guide you in the right direction.
  • Find out the optimal method to clean your kettle in T Ching's article "Dirty Little (Tea) Secrets."