Electric kettles and stovetop kettles are two kitchen appliances that do the same thing – boil water.
Despite sharing the same purpose, some differences exist between them; hence the electric kettle vs stovetop debate.
To help you make an informed purchasing decision, we’re going to delve into the stovetop kettle vs electric kettle debate.
Let’s find out the differences between an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle.
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What Are the Main Differences between An Electric Kettle vs A Stovetop Kettle?
The main difference between an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle is in their heat sources.
An electric kettle is a kitchen appliance that boils water by using electricity to power the pot’s heating element: it does this within 100 and 300 seconds without an external source of heat. While a stovetop kettle boils water by using an external heat source such as a gas or an electric stove.
The second main difference between an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle lies in how precise they can heat water to the appropriate temperature.
Electric kettles come with an auto shut-off feature and settings to help you heat water for tea, coffee, and other foods with precision. The stovetop kettle doesn’t come with such settings to attain precise heating temperatures, so it sometimes heats water over the boiling point.
To know which of these kitchen appliances will serve you better at home, we’ll explore the individual capabilities of these pots.
What is an electric kettle? An electric kettle is a kitchen appliance (with a heating element called a resister) for boiling water very fast using electricity. The electric kettle is plugged directly into a mains supply. And in 100 to 300 seconds, it boils water to the exact set temperature.
The electric kettle is 80% energy efficient because it is insulated and loses only minimal heat while boiling water. And when the appliance gets very hot, the handles remain cool to touch.
Because electric kettles boil water within a short time, they’re cost-effective, costing around $0.02 and $0.05 to boil water. Although the price depends on the electricity tariff used, the size of the kettle, and the volume of water in the pot.
Electric kettles are easy and safe to use. Plus they come with features such as an auto shut-off system and a thermostat that cuts off the electricity supply when the kettle reaches a certain temperature.
What is a stovetop kettle? A stovetop kettle is a traditional kettle that boils water without generating heat on its own. It gets its heat from a gas- or electric-powered stove.
Stovetop kettles are durable because they’re made of quality materials like copper and aluminum, and don’t have heating elements or other electrical fixtures.
Because stovetop kettles don’t require electricity, you can easily take them on camping trips. However, due to the appliance’s source of heat, it takes a longer time to boil water, loses more heat than an electric kettle, and has a 70% energy efficiency.
What are the advantages of an electric kettle when compared to a stovetop kettle?
The advantages of an electric kettle when compared to a stovetop kettle are that it boils water faster, it’s cheaper, more energy-efficient, and it allows you to boil water to precise temperatures.
Boils water faster
When compared to a stovetop kettle, it takes an electric kettle 100 to 300 seconds (3 to 5 minutes) to boil water. This is opposed to a stovetop kettle that boils 1 liter (4 cups) of water in 6 to 8 minutes using a gas stove or 9 to 10 minutes on an electric stove.
Unlike stovetop kettles, electric kettles come with features such as a thermostat and auto shut-off setting that make them boil water to the precise temperature. Being able to control the temperature of your hot water is important when making French press at 195°F or green tea at 160°F to 170°F, etc.
With stovetops, you can’t control the water temperature except leaving it to cool after boiling.
Electric kettles are designed to use less energy than their stovetop counterparts. Electric kettles are insulated so that when they boil water, they don’t lose heat to the environment. This makes them 80% energy efficient.
Stovetop kettles aren’t as insulated, so they take a longer time to boil water, and thus use more energy. They have 70% energy efficiency.
An electric kettle is cheaper and more cost-effective than a stovetop kettle. Electric kettles cost between $20 and $200. Depending on the kettle’s size and your electricity rate, it costs between 2 and 5 cents to boil water in an electric kettle. It also boils water faster.
Stovetop kettles are made of aluminum and copper, and these make them more expensive. A stovetop kettle costs between $20 and $400, and it also takes a longer time to boil water.
Ease of use
When compared to stovetop kettles, electric kettles are easier to use. They have a thermostat that allows you to set them to your desired temperature, and an auto shut-off feature to prevent the hot water from overflowing or boiling over.
With a stovetop kettle, you’ll have to always monitor the water on the stove so it doesn’t over-boil.
Secondly, electric kettles are insulated and don’t heat up their exterior, and this reduces your chances of burning your hands. On the other hand, stove top kettles have heat-resistant handles but a metallic exterior which may burn your hands as it gets hot.
Although people have their preferences, and while there are people that love the professional look and classic style of a stovetop kettle, electric kettles offer more color and style variations.
It doesn’t whistle
Compared to a stove top kettle, an electric kettle doesn’t scream because it shuts off automatically when the water boils. Stove top kettles are known for whistling loudly after boiling water.
What are the advantages of a stovetop kettle when compared to an electric kettle?
The advantages a stovetop kettle has over an electric model are that it’s more durable, easier to clean, and great for taking on camping trips.
Great for outdoors
When compared to an electric kettle, stovetop kettles are great for camping as all you'll need is a source of fire. This feature also makes a stovetop kettle a great option when there’s a power outage.
An electric stove, on the other hand, requires electricity to work. Unless you have an RV, you may not be able to use your electric kettle on your camping trips.
Stovetop kettles don’t have electrical parts, and they’re made from more quality materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper, etc. And should there be a dent on the pot, it’ll still work perfectly.
Electric kettles on the other hand have heating elements that may become faulty. Plus while you can find electric models that are made of stainless steel, many electric pots are made of plastic.
Easier to clean
Stovetop kettles are easier to clean than electric kettles as there are no heating elements or electrical parts. Electrical kettles have electrical components, and these make it difficult to reach some parts of the appliance.
Produce rolling boil
Unlike the electrical kettle that shuts off automatically when water boils, a stovetop kettle produces a rolling boil to maintain the boiling temperature of your hot water all day long. This is a great feature for people who serve coffee multiple times a day.
After using your stovetop kettle, you can store it in your cabinet or any other space. Conversely, an electric kettle sits on your kitchen countertop because of its electrical component.
Which One Is more Usable in the Kitchen Between An Electric Kettle and A Stovetop Kettle?
An electric kettle is more usable in the kitchen than a stove top kettle because you can set the desired boiling temperature of your water and the appliance will automatically shut off when it reaches the temperature. This is an appealing feature if you love making coffee or tea at the optimum temperature.
Also, electric kettles heat water faster (within 100 and 300 seconds).
And if you’re asking, “Is an electric kettle the same as a stovetop kettle?” No, they’re not the same appliance. Although they do the same thing – boil water. Electric kettles boil water using heating elements that are powered by electricity. While a stovetop kettle boils water by using external heat from a gas or electric stove. Here's how to use an electric kettle.
What foods can you cook in an electric kettle?
While electric kettles are designed for boiling water, you can cook some foods in an electric kettle (although it’s not advised). Here are the uses of electric kettles.
- Boiled eggs
- Sweet corn pasta
- Rice meal
- Vegetable maggi
What foods can you cook in a stovetop kettle?
You can cook the following foods in a stovetop kettle;
- Water meals: noodles and freeze-dried foods
- Boiled eggs
- Curried couscous
- Rice meal
- Breakfast burrito
- Miso soup with tofu and nori
- Masala corn
Can an electric kettle and a stove top kettle be used together in a kitchen?
Yes, you can use an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle in a kitchen despite them having the same function. An electric kettle works using electricity while a stovetop kettle uses heat from a stove. In the event of a power outage, you can use the stovetop kettle on the gas stove.
What are the instances where you can use an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle together?
You can use an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle if you live in an area with electricity issues. This is because while an electric kettle can boil water faster than a stovetop model, it’s almost useless without electricity. In such times, a stovetop kettle will boil your water.
What are the instances where an electric kettle and a stovetop kettle should never be used together?
Because electric kettles can boil water at optimum temperatures for your drinks, it’s mostly people that enjoy the real taste of their pour-over coffee or tea that will appreciate electric kettles.
So do not use an electric kettle and a stove top kettle together if you do not care so much about how your coffee or tea tastes.
What to Consider when Buying An Electric Kettle or A Stovetop Kettle
While boiling water may seem like an easy task, some features make using a kettle easier. Let’s find out what they are.
What’s the boiling speed?
The primary reason people buy electric kettles is because of how fast they boil water. On average, electric kettles boil water within 3 – 4 minutes. However, some manufacturers claim their kettles can boil water in 90 seconds.
Boiling water at the precise temperature for certain drinks like coffee, green tea, etc., makes the drinks more tasteful. However, not all coffee kettles offer you the luxury of choosing the ideal temperature for drinks.
Low-cost kettles don’t come with such features. So go for electric kettles that allow you to boil water to the optimum temperature so you can best enjoy your brew.
Electric kettles usually sit on the kitchen counter, so if you have a small kitchen or limited countertop space, this pot may not be right for you. Instead, a stovetop pot may be a better option as you can easily tuck it anywhere.
The standard capacity for kettles is between 1.5 and 1.7 liters of water: this is enough to make a 250 ml cup of tea for 6 to 7 people at a time. So if you drink a lot of coffee, this kettle size will be ideal for you. But if you brew tea or coffee for three people or less, go for pots with smaller sizes.
How much does it cost?
There are different types of electric kettles, but if you’re only looking for one that can boil water quickly, a model that costs between $20 and $45 will be good. But if you’re looking for higher-end features like auto shut-off, etc., you can expect to pay around $50 and $200 for your desired kettle.
How easy is it to use?
Electric kettles are easy to use but get a model with features like automatic shut-off, notification LED light, and overheat protection. These features make it easier to use the kettle.
What are the best brands for electric kettles?
The 5 best brands making the best electric kettles are Hamilton Beach, Chefman, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Bonavista.
Hamilton Beach is one of the best brands making electric kettles. They are reputable for making budget-friendly appliances, and their kettles have positive reviews like being fast and easy to use.
Chefman is also one of the reliable brands making kitchen appliances. Their electric kettles come with lots of tasteful features but there were complaints that the product didn’t last long.
KitchenAid manufactures durable kettles that are easy to use and heat water fast. However, there are rare complaints that the kettle did not last long.
Cuisinart is one of the best brands making mid-priced kitchen appliances. Their kettles heat water very fast and have nice features. However, there were complaints about the brand’s durability.
Bonavita makes some of the best electric kettles. Their products allow you to set your desired boiling temperature, and they’re easy to use and clean.
What are the best brands for stovetop kettles?
The best brands making the best stovetop kettles are Le Creuset, Mr. Coffee, OXO, Staub, and Alessi.