A cooking utensil which is used most often to boil water for beverages made with additional ingredients that are best prepared with boiling water. Although the kettle is most often considered to be a Water Kettle, it is also commonly referred to as a tea kettle. Made of metal, copper, anodized aluminum, ceramic, glass, enamel, or stainless steel materials, the Water Kettle will generally have a water capacity from 2 to 4 quarts. Water is typically filled to the level of the spout or recommended levels for filling, otherwise if filled higher it could spill out of the spout onto the counter and may splash around the Kettle, which could easily cause a painful burn to anyone close to the Kettle.
When selecting Water Kettles, consider the factors of greatest importance:
- Check to see if it easy to handle both in weight and design so it pours easily and can be safely handled without being too heavy or cumbersome.
- If a whistling feature is important, make sure the whistle can be cleaned to keep it functioning properly.
- Consider the purpose of use. If the Kettle is to be used for decorative purposes as it rests on the stovetop, then the material used to make the Kettle may not be the most important factor as much as the design, look and feel.
- When considering use, it is of value to determine whether the stovetop models that use stovetop burners for heating are best for the purpose of use or whether it is better to consider an electric model with a self-contained heating element.
- If heating efficiency is important, the electric models are the best at heating water the fastest. Copper materials are the most efficient for heating while anodized aluminum are generally the third fastest for heating. The remaining materials such as glass, cast iron, enameled, and stainless materials are all close in heating speed, but each requires some consideration when in use. Copper and glass cannot be placed on a high heating temperatures while glass and ceramic may break or chip easily. Cast iron requires some seasoning to perserve the finish however, for ease of cleaning, the glass and ceramic are probably the best.
- When considering use in a microwave or dishwasher, the glass or ceramic are the best.
- Handles that are ergonomically designed and stay cool for ease of use and safe handling are important.
- A capped spout with a trigger on the Kettle handle allows for heat to stay in the Kettle as water boils and allows water to be poured easily by using the trigger to lift the cap keeping hands away from boiling water.
- Built-in heat diffusers on the Kettle bottom are a nice feature for some materials to effectively disperse the heat for more consistent or even heating.