Monday, December 6, 2010

The Perfect Tea Kettle

Forget it: It doesn't exist. We used to be able to put men on the Moon, but we still can't make a kettle that doesn't rust, leak, fall apart, or burn us.

Actually, there are some kettles that are sturdy and safe, but they aren't attractive. Since our kettle sits on our stove, always in plain sight, we want to admire the way it looks. There are a lot of really ugly kettles. Although I am dying to show you a few, I will refrain, in case you already own one.

Our kettle, a handsome steel and teak model by Bodum, has a swingy handle that makes the kettle sway as I try to pour it, occasionally burning the sides of my hands. The lid likes to fall off and it's burned me, too. I hate and fear the darn thing, and it seems to hate me, too. As a result I rarely make tea, except in the microwave, and I hesitate to fill my furry hot water bottle, weighing the likelihood of burns over the pleasures of a warm bed.

And I'm not alone. I've been researching kettles on Amazon with poor results. But the reviews are entertaining. Here are a few of my favorites:
"I bought this kettle because I have several le creuset pans, but its pretty awful - the whistle has broken off and the top keeps coming unscrewed. Also, the lid fills up with water vapor."(Le Creuset)
"This kettle is apparently for decorative use only, when I used it a few times the handle burned and the spout fell off." (Old Dutch)
"Although the tea kettle looks great - it leaks!!! The spout was not welded properly to the base of the kettle and therefore when you tilt the kettle to pour - hot water leaks out all over the table etc. Dangerous!" (Old Dutch)
"Don't buy this piece of junk. The bottom is so flimsy it buckles when placed on heat---soon the kettle is rocking back and forth until it wobbles right off the burner." (Joyce Chen)
"Please be careful if you are using this kettle!!!! Ours broke after 2 days.....the bottom just fell out, boiling water going everywhere! Several other reviewers had similar things happen....including one who got 2nd degree burns on their legs!!!! We are expecting a baby in 2 months, so will be returning our kettle and getting something SAFER!!!! I didn't want to give this product any stars....there is not an option to give it ZERO STARS!!!!"  (Bodum)
"I have been using this thing for a week. Just now I found the lid broke in half. It was standing on a trivet, without anything in it, on the kitchen table, and without anything around it. It just broke by itself for no obvious reasons." (Grosche)

With visions of wobbling, breaking, cracking, leaking, and scalding tea kettles dancing in my head, the search continues. Any suggestions or endorsements are welcome!


  1. Get an electric kettle. I've had one ever since 1981, when I lived in the UK. They are ubiquitous there. I use mine not only for tea water but for pre-heating pasta & other cooking water.

  2. If I had counter space, I certainly would! Here's yet another reason why we need a larger kitchen.

  3. Try the Chantal classic stainless kettle:

    I bought this 7-8 years ago, and it still looks/acts like new. Take out the whistle, though. Bad news w/4 cats. Other than that, it is a sturdy, well-made kettle, well worth the price.

  4. What a timely post from you, as I just finished an exhaustive search for a new tea kettle for my mother for Christmas. After holding them in stores and reading hundreds of online reviews, I went with the OXO Good Grips Uplift Tea Kettle:

    The thing I love the most about it is that when you pick it up, the spout automatically opens so no awkward fiddling required. Mom hates stainless steel, so I thought this in cream was quite classy.

    I myself have this Copco, which I have had for over 2 years. I drink tea daily and it's still in tip top shape.

    Despite the stainless steel, it doesn't really show a lot of finger prints or mess either.

    Hope that helps!


  5. Oooh, that Chantal one is pretty and at least has 1 good review!

  6. of course, all of us need a larger kitchen.

  7. Indeed, it is perfect. I own a similar version like yours. :)

    1. Actually, Sam, we're having a problem with ours — and with the replacement kettle Simplex sent. Our original kettle lost its tin plating, probably because we boiled water at too-high heat, being impatient. This exposed the copper underlayer, which is supposed to be unhealthy. But when the new kettle arrived, it looked almost as bad! I need to write to the company and ask about it, but I've been hesitating because I don't want to seem like an ingrate. I will be updating my thoughts on Simplex kettles soon, though. I'm glad you love your kettle... just take a good look inside, where you should see silver metal, not pink!

    2. Sorry to hear that, but mine is working fine to the date, no errors, all good. Do keep the thing in mind you mentioned, the overheating. Thanks :).
      I think you should have written to the company, I mean, when you are paying for some service and you got it wrong, you got total rights to report it. There is nothing like ingrate in that.

    3. Hi again, Sam, and thank you for writing! Yesterday I spoke to a fellow in Rhode Island who relines copper cookware and Simplex kettles with tin. He told me the free "new" kettle I received is probably a refurbished one, which made sense. He said that even if it looks awful inside, it's safe; tin gets mottled and discolored over time. He also suggested that the copper showing in my original one may not be that unhealthy as long as we only boil water and never brew tea (acidic) in it. He also said we should never scrub the interior with anything abrasive, but, if there's any scale, to just wipe them out every so often with a little white vinegar and rinse it right away.

      I'm thinking over whether to spend $120 to have him re-line it. I could use the new one but the whistle is just a sad little whisper. I will try the old lid on the new kettle and see if that helps. And now I can thank the Simplex people for sending me a refurb. When it arrived, it was wet inside, and I had to pull out pieces of dirty rags. The packaging was lovely, though...


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