Last updated: 16/10/2022

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A kettle is a great way to bring water to the boil quickly. It has existed in its original form for 900 years and has been known to us in Europe for 400 years. Unlike modern kettles, kettles do not rely on a power supply. Boiling water with the help of alternative heat sources makes them very suitable for camping trips. With our large kettle test 2022 we want to inform you as best as possible about the topic of kettles to make your purchase decision as easy as possible. For this purpose, we compare kettles made of different materials with various features and report on the respective advantages and disadvantages.




The most important facts

  • The purpose of a kettle is the same as that of a kettle, but the way it works is not comparable.
  • There are kettles made of copper, stainless steel, cast iron and silicone. Even though the result of a kettle is independent of the material, all materials have different properties.
  • The choice of material is very important and must be adapted according to preference and intended use. Especially for outdoor activities, the weight of the kettle as well as the fire resistance is elementary.

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Kettles: buying and evaluation criteria

The extensive range of kettles can lead to a difficult overview of high-quality products due to the abundance of information. In the following chapter, we would like to make your decision to buy a kettle as easy as possible. For this purpose, we will present the most important buying criteria that you should use when choosing your kettle.

In the following paragraphs, we would like to explain the various criteria in more detail, which you should consider before buying a kettle.

Capacity

The capacity of a kettle is a practical function in everyday life. Rarely do you want to have too small a filling volume and have to refill it several times. In this case, it makes sense to match the desired capacity with the daily volume requirements and the people in the household.

A Kelly kettle is a kettle that, thanks to a chimney effect, can boil water in only 90 seconds.

As a rule, kettles start at 800 ml and can also be available in 6 litre format in the XXL version. Of course, be aware that the more water you heat, the longer it will take for your water to reach boiling point.

Material

As with many other kitchen appliances, a kettle can be made of different materials. In general, a kettle can be made of four different materials, cast iron, stainless steel, copper or silicone. These materials differ mainly in their respective properties. In the following, we would like to list the most important material properties of a kettle.

Thermal conductivity

This property mainly influences the time it takes for the liquid to boil. In general, it can be said that all materials used have good conductivity, otherwise they would not be used in kettles. Copper is physically the best conductor of heat. It conducts heat about 25 times faster than stainless steel. It should be noted that the inner coating of a kettle does not always have to be identical to the outer material. This can have an effect on the properties of your desired kettle.

Heat storage

The length of time the heat is retained depends very much on the workmanship of the material. Poor construction can lead to the heat escaping quickly. Furthermore, the inner coating also plays a major role here. Unfortunately, it has to be said that there can be great differences between the various materials. The choice of material for the inner and outer coating is therefore elementary. In terms of heat storage, it can generally be said that copper and stainless steel are among the best materials with a similar effect. You still have to consider the purpose for which you want to use your kettle. If you prefer to consume your water quickly, then the ability to store heat is secondary.

Durability

When it comes to durability, this feature of a kettle mainly refers to the heat supplied. This can range from low to very high temperatures. This depends mainly on whether the kettle is used on a cooker or over an open fire.

Cracks in the material can have a negative effect on the material’s properties.

The melting point of the material is an elementary factor in choosing the right material. Metals can usually be used on an open fire without any problems. Furthermore, a look must be taken at the materials of the enclosed accessories. A heat-resistant kettle is useless on a fire if the handle is made of wood or has a rubber coating. Basically, all kettles are designed for high temperatures. For example, the melting point of cast iron, copper and stainless steel is well over 1000 degrees and can therefore be used over open fires without any problems, as long as no inferior components have been used on the handle or other small parts.

Inner coating

When it comes to hygiene and functionality, the inner coating of a kettle plays a fundamental role. The term “enamelled” is often associated with the kettle. This is a material with glass-like properties, which consists of glass and metal and is produced by various melting processes.

The metallic material copper has antibacterial properties.

An enamelled kettle is more resistant to limescale. This makes cleaning the utensil much more pleasant and also leads to better water quality, because various germs also hide in limescale. Furthermore, a clean kettle improves heat conductivity, which is otherwise negatively affected by limescale. In addition, an enamelled object can be considered sustainable because of its durability. This surface is protected against rust, scratches and knocks, acid and temperatures from minus 60° to plus 240° Celsius.

Intended use

Before buying a kettle, you should ask yourself in which situations you want to use it. Due to the wide range of kettles, it is possible to differentiate according to the intended use.

You can even prepare whole meals in a kettle on a camping trip.

Accordingly, these kettles also have different features that need to be considered. The traditional way of using a kettle is on the cooker in your own home. A distinction must be made here between an ordinary cooker, a gas cooker and an induction cooker. The material of your kettle or the type of construction must be compatible with the respective heating variant without it being damaged. For example, there are two main types of camping kettles. One is usually made of durable stainless steel and the other is a foldable water kettle made of silicone with a stainless steel base. It can already be guessed that these kettles are not identically suitable for use over an open fire.

Safety

Statistically, most accidents happen within one’s own four walls. The top 5 injuries include burns, electric shocks and fire. For this very reason, it is important that one’s own kitchen utensils are as safe as possible, i.e. of a certain quality. Therefore, your kettle should have certain accessories to make your everyday life as safe as possible. In the following, we will introduce you to three features:

  • Thermometer
  • Whistle
  • Handle material

The thermometer is a practical addition to your kettle. By accurately monitoring the temperature in the kettle, you can adjust it to your preferences. It also minimises the risk of scalding the mouth area. The whistle in a kettle produces a signal tone as soon as the water boils. This allows you to react quickly and prevents scalding due to boiling liquid from the kettle. The handle material is of the utmost importance. It should be insulated in such a way that the handle cannot burn the hands despite high temperatures. A wooden handle is often popular in this context, as it does not conduct heat so strongly.

Care

In order to guarantee the long-term durability of your kettle, the care of the product plays an important role. Products that are poorly cleaned or incorrectly cleaned can quickly lose their functionality. It is therefore essential to find out what care your kettle needs. The easiest way to clean a kettle is to use a dishwasher. It is important that the material of your kettle is compatible with this type of cleaning. In a dishwasher, temperatures are usually around 70 degrees. The combination of heat and chemical detergents can damage your kettle. When cleaning stainless steel products in the dishwasher, these metals, which are actually rust-free, can be attacked by flash rust. The outer surface of the kettle should also be easy to clean. Here, of course, it depends primarily on the nature of the surface, but also on the material itself. Stainless steel, for example, tends to leave fingerprints after every touch. If this is undesirable, frequent cleaning is necessary. An appliance that regularly comes into contact with water tends to quickly accumulate limescale residues. This occurs regularly, which is why the kettle should be decalcified at regular intervals. This serves both hygienic aspects and functional ones, because a calcified kettle can conduct heat less effectively.

Kettles: Frequently asked questions and answers

In our guide section, we want to clarify the most important questions about kettles for you. With the help of this chapter, we want to close possible information gaps and provide you with sufficient knowledge to help you with the everyday use of your kettle.

Who is a kettle suitable for?

A kettle is generally suitable for anyone who needs hot water as quickly as possible. It makes sense to buy a kettle especially for people who like tea and coffee. Away from the home, a kettle is very popular for outdoor activities. Since these kettles do not rely on a power supply, they are perfect for camping in remote areas.

What types of kettles are there?

If you are considering buying a kettle, you will need to look at the different types. You can choose from the following materials: cast iron, stainless steel, copper and silicone. In this section, we would like to show you the advantages and disadvantages of each. This table gives you a brief overview, which is explained in more detail below.
Material Advantages Disadvantages
Cast iron Traditional design, Intense taste, High-quality material Susceptible to rust, Heavy weight, More complicated cleaning
Stainless steel Stainless, Good heat conductor, Good insulating properties, Very heat-resistant More expensive to produce, Visual deficits
Copper Stainless, Excellent heat conductor, Good insulating properties, Antibacterial Expensive to produce, Possible formation of heavy metals
Silicone Very light weight, Resistant to low temperatures, Flexible material Not a good heat conductor, Stores heat only briefly, Cannot be used over an open fire

Cast iron kettles

Cast iron kettles, when made in the traditional way, are a very high quality product with great design. The cast iron ensures an intense taste of water, tea or coffee.

In order not to damage the façade of the cast iron, you should clean the kettle with a brass brush.

On the other hand, these kettles are awkward to transport because of their weight and complicated to clean because of their porous surface. If a cast-iron kettle does not have an inner coating of stainless steel or enamelled steel, it will be susceptible to rust relatively quickly.

Wasserkessel-1

Unlike heating on hotplates, you need to wear extra protection if you want to use your kettle after heating it on an open fire.
(Image source: unsplash / Anne Nygard)

Stainless steel kettle

Apart from copper, stainless steel offers the best heat insulation. It also has the properties of good heat conduction and therefore causes water to boil quickly. In addition, stainless steel is considered rustproof and very heat-resistant. Only the marking of fingerprints on the reflective material can be seen as a small minus point. So this material is just right for you if you are interested in an easy-care, robust kettle that offers a wide range of different colours.

Copper kettle

Copper has the best physical conductivity, followed by cast iron and stainless steel. To be precise, copper has five times the thermal conductivity of iron or cast iron, which on the other hand also conducts heat about five times faster than stainless steel. Copper also has antibacterial properties and stores heat optimally. A product made of copper therefore offers you the best way to prepare your water as quickly as possible. The high price of copper kettles can be a negative factor due to the expensive production process. It is very important to pay attention to the origin of a copper kettle. Impure materials resulting from cheap manufacturing can lead to the unwanted dissolution of heavy metals in your drink. This is considered highly toxic to the human organism.

Silicone kettle

With its light weight and small size, a silicone kettle is a good companion for small luggage. The plastic is robust against high and low temperatures and very flexible. The heat conductivity and heat storage of a silicone kettle, on the other hand, is not optimal and usually these kettles only have a small filling volume. So this product is perfect for you if you prefer a quick consumption of your hot water in the remote nature.

What are the alternatives to a kettle?

Of course, you can also heat your water without a kettle. If you prefer to do without another kitchen appliance, you can resort to a traditional way of heating water in a saucepan. The boiling time can be reduced by adding a lid to the pot.

With both alternatives, the heat storage cannot be compared to a kettle.

The second alternative is an electric kettle. This is very similar to a kettle in terms of handling and functionality. The only difference here is the need for a power connection. For some years now, the electric kettle has replaced the traditional kettle in the household.

How do I clean a kettle?

Cleaning a kettle can have specific differences depending on the product. It is therefore essential that you study the operating instructions and cleaning instructions for your kettle. If you follow the instructions for cleaning your kettle regularly, you can expect your product to last a long time.
Look out for rust on your kettle.

A quick and easy way to clean a kettle is to put it in the dishwasher. Make sure that the kettle is described as dishwasher safe. It is also possible that you will have to clean narrow areas by hand. Another point for a clean kettle is descaling. This should be done regularly in order to generate good water quality. There are several ways to descale your kettle. For the sake of the environment, you can use home remedies instead of chemical cleaners. Of course, when using home remedies, you should make sure that the material of your kettle is not damaged by the agent used.

What do I have to bear in mind when using a kettle?

When using a kettle for the very first time, there are a few things to consider. First of all, you should make sure that there is no packaging residue left on your kettle. This could, for example, cause the plastic on your kettle to burn and can result in an unpleasant smell and unhealthy smoke. Before you can enjoy your first tea, you should first use your kettle with water, which you then dispose of. The reason for this is that manufacturing residues can come off the bottom the first time you use it. Cast iron kettles in particular often have an anti-rust coating on the product for shipping. However, this will come off your kettle after the first use. In general, you should pay attention to the handling of your kettle to prevent scalds or burns.

How can I heat a kettle?

A big plus for a kettle is the versatility of how it can be heated. Since the kettle can work without a power supply, this makes it especially popular for outdoor activities. In the following, we would like to show you all these possibilities. The most popular way to heat a kettle is by induction. This is an electromagnetic process and is therefore compatible with all metallic materials of a kettle. You can also use your kettle on an ordinary cooker or gas cooker. The metal, heat-resistant base of the kettle protects it against damage from fire. If you want to use your kettle on an open fire, the main thing is to make sure that your kettle is made entirely of fireproof material so that it is not damaged.

What can I cook in a kettle?

You can cook a lot of things in a kettle apart from water. In terms of function, it is no different from a saucepan with a lid. Only the shape or the design is designed for faster cooking.

Wasserkessel-2

Acidic teas can damage a cast iron kettle.
(Image source: unsplash / oriento)

The most common use of a kettle, apart from boiling water, is for making tea or coffee. With these options, it makes sense to use a strainer to avoid unwanted residues in the drink. Soups can also be prepared in a kettle. Here, however, the aspect of cleaning must be taken into account so that all residues can be removed for the subsequent preparation of water.

Conclusion

Even though kettles are now almost out of fashion in European households, they are indispensable in the world of outdoor enthusiasts. Especially in the world of camping, they form the basis for preparing food, tea and coffee by boiling hot water. Most of the time, these kettles are made of very robust and fireproof material, which also allows them to be used over a nice campfire. In summary, the kettle should not be counted as a worn-out device in the modern world, but as a relevant alternative to electronic devices. Image source: Dmitry/ 123rf.com

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