An electric kettle is an indispensable tool for the modern tea enthusiast. Far from the simple plastic water boilers they once were, modern electric kettles often boast numerous features such as timers, gooseneck spouts, and — most importantly for tea drinkers — temperature controls.
First off, it’s important to note that there is absolutely no need to have a gooseneck kettle for tea. However, it is true that some of the most well-designed and well-featured kettles on the market come with gooseneck spouts, which create a slow, controlled flow — ideal for making pour-over coffee, but not too useful for making tea. So, if you’re someone who makes both pour-overs and tea, or you’re just a tea drinker who wants a high-quality temperature-controlled kettle, it’s worth taking a look at what these kettles have to offer.
These days, there’s a seemingly endless variety of kettles to choose from, so we selected a few of the most popular to take a look at.
Fellow Stagg - $160
Temperature Range: 40-100C
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic modern kettles, the Fellow Stagg is well liked for its sleek design and incredibly controlled pour. There is no mistaking the fact that many other kettles on this list owe their matte black finish and conical shape to the Stagg. The counterbalanced handle gives the kettle some heft and allows you to have a great deal of control over its pour. The insulated lid is another thoughtful touch. The Stagg has some of the best controls, with an easy to use and precise temperature dial and readily accessible timer. The temperature control is down to the degree and can accurately gauge temperatures as low as 40C, which is great for shaded teas like gyokuro.
That being said, we don’t recommend the Stagg for tea drinkers simply because its maximum pour rate is far too slow. Even at full tilt, water merely trickles from the spout. While this is great for brewing a Chemex, it is not ideal for a flash steeping of sencha.
Pros: Sleek design, precise temperature
Cons: Expensive, pours too slow for tea
If you like all of the Stagg’s features but just don’t want the gooseneck spout, then you’re in luck: Fellow makes the Corvo, which is practically the same kettle, but with a more traditional spout.
Bonavita - $100
Temperature Range: 60-100C
One of the first temp-controlled gooseneck kettles on the market, the Bonavita was another game changer that still performs pretty well today. Unlike the ‘home decor magazine’ styling of the Stagg, the Bonavita has a much more ‘utilitarian kitchen appliance’ feel, with the brushed stainless steel finish and plastic-covered buttons. In line with its stripped back design, it has a rather lackluster feature set offering only preset temperatures and a hold function alongside the fine temperature control. Unlike the Stagg, its spout can pour at a wide range of flow rates, making it very versatile.
However, compared to many other kettles in the list, the Bonavita is relatively underpowered for its size, meaning it takes longer to boil. Coupled with its bare bones features, this makes it seem a little outdated. Additionally, while the precise, to-the-degree temperature control is great, navigating it through plus and minus buttons can be annoying if you’re making large temperature changes.
Pros: Solid build, precise temperature control
Cons: Basic features, slower boil
Brewista Artisan - $160
Temperature Range: 40-100C
Made by the same parent company as Bonavita, the Brewista kettles are more expensive, modernised offerings, but are they worth the extra price?
The Artisan boasts a timer and a fast boil button in addition to the Bonavita’s features, and also has a sleeker, updated styling. Like the Bonavita and Stagg, temperature is adjustable to the degree and it has a lower temperature limit of 40C, which is great for delicate greens. Like the Bonavita, temperature is controlled with plus and minus buttons which makes large adjustments tedious. However, its ability to hold temperature is counterbalanced by its audible click, which pales in sensitivity and technical grace when compared to other kettles.
Pros: Quickly boils, precise temperature control, good features
Cons: Expensive, larger footprint
Timemore - $110-130
Capacity: 0.6 or 0.8L
Power: 1000W or 1500W
Temperature Range: 40-100C
The Timemore has a sleek, minimalist styling that is certainly inspired by the Stagg, For features, it has a ‘fast boil’, temperature hold, and precise to-the-degree temperature options. However, the control for adjusting the temperature is a frustratingly finicky trackpad.
The Timemore comes in two sizes, ‘home’ and ‘commercial’ with the commercial version being 200ml larger and having an extra 500W of power. Well-powered for their sizes, both versions are quick at heating water to just under the desired temperature, but seem to take a while to do those last 5 degrees, gently pulsing to avoid overheating. While most of the kettles on this list do some variation of this, the Timemore is probably on the slower end. However, we found this preferable to other kettles which heat on full power until they reach the desired temperature and then click off, meaning the residual heat will overheat the water by 3-10 degrees.
Pros: Stylish, precise temperature control
Cons: Lower capacity, finicky controls
Cosori - $70
Temperature Range: 77-100C* (in Fahrenheit)
The Cosori is often billed as a budget alternative to the Stagg, with similar-ish styling for less than half the price. To achieve this price point, however, it lacks a lot of the features present in other kettles on this list. Most notably, there are only 5 temperature options (erroneously labelled by tea type) listed only in Fahrenheit: 170F, 180F, 195F, 205F, and 212F. For brewing green teas, this leaves a fair bit to be desired, as only 170F and 180F (77C and 80C) are really all that useful. The only features it has are temperature hold, and anti-boil dry. The lack of a screen means that there is no live temperature reading, which means you have to trust that the kettle did not over- or underheat.
The kettle is well-powered for its smaller size and boils relatively quickly. If the limited temperature options and basic features are not a problem, then this is a great budget workhorse kettle.
Pros: Affordable, quick boil, versatile pour, holds temperature well
Cons: Lower capacity, only 5 temperature settings, only in Fahrenheit, limited range
Cosori Smart - $78
Temperature Range: 40-100C* (in Fahrenheit)
Many of the limitations of the original Cosori kettle are solved with their newer bluetooth-enabled version. This version has only 4 preset temperature buttons, but also has a “mybrew’ button, which allows you to have full, granular temperature control from an app on your phone. Through this app, the kettle’s temperature range is extended to 40C (104F) which opens up a lot of brewing possibilities for green teas.
The app also allows you to view the live temperature, control how long the temperature is held for, set a personal preset, and set a delay timer for up to 12 hours. Offloading all of these features into an app means that the kettle is still quite affordable, but does mean you’ll have to take your phone out any time you want to use a water temperature that’s not one of the 4 provided or your personal preset.
Pros: Still pretty affordable, fully featured
Cons: You have to control it through an app
Cuisinart - $100
Temperature Range: 60-100C* (in Fahrenheit)
A relatively new offering from an established kitchen appliance company, the Cuisinart’s styling is similar to other Stagg-inspired matte black kettles on this list. Like the Stagg, it has an insulated lid, which is always a nice touch.
For features, the Cuisinart has the standard temperature hold button, and allows you to adjust temperature by 5 degrees Fahrenheit from 140F to boiling. 5 degree adjustments are better than presets, and are probably fine enough for most people, but they are not as flexible and precise as single degree increments.
Pros: Stylish, mid-priced, quick heating
Cons: Only in Fahrenheit, 5 degree adjustments
These are only some of the many temperature control kettles on the market, and we hope that as the specialty tea hobby grows, more kettle manufacturers consider our needs when designing these primarily coffee-centric kettles.