sunday night surf-n-shop: tea kettles


We bought this Bodum Osiris kettle about a year ago. We liked the clean lines and the way it matched our stainless steel appliances. Now I’m ready to chuck it out the window. The main problem is that it doesn’t whistle. You see, I like to multi-task while I’m boiling water… like reading the paper, watching tv, or surfing online. This means I often get distracted from the task at hand and forget that I’m boiling water. By the time I realize that the 212° F has come and gone, the water is boiling like a witch’s cauldron, the handle is waaaaaay too hot to touch, and the damn spout spits at me when it pours. Enough! I need a new kettle. One that whistles, and one with a handle that can be grabbed. Here are some that I’m eyeing. – Angela M.

Oxo’s Downpour, $40 at
The spout automatically opens when you go to pour so you don’t have to press any buttons.

Chantal’s The Loop, $40, at
I really like the curves of this one.

Copco’s Virtue, $37, at
A little too boring, maybe?

Windsor’s Whistling Tea Kettle, $99, at
The quick boil one (far left) is supposed makes your water boil faster on a gas stove — but then, would I have time to multitask? Also, I’m not sure about the old fashion design, or hefty price.

Farberware Napa Whistling Tea Kettle, $30, at
Very simple, clean lines, and I like the long spout.

Steam.e Kettle at Crate & Barrel, $50.
This kettle, designed by Michael Graves, is adorable. It whistles and claims to have a heat-resistant handle. But, it only comes in white.

From our partners

Aaahhh Tea! The everyday indulgence! Being from a British family, my afternoon revolves around my cup of tea! Its our obsession! I really love the idea of a stovetop kettle, but I have to tell you that a year ago I bought the electric kettle from Braun for my home, and it is my new best friend! (I got hooked on the mini Bodum electric kettle when working for a publisher in NY at a job I really didn’t enjoy. I never had to walk to the galley!!)
While for style, I love the Chantal. The Farberware is pretty too. I know this isn’t the popular opinion, but I really dislike anything Michael Graves. Too many bad experiences with simple items from Target and the like. His stuff looks pretty, but always seem to fall apart! They William-Sonoma ones are very unique, but the price does reflect it! Ouch!
Don’t dismiss the electric option. They shut off when ready and keep the water pretty hot if your mind wanders for a time! And I am positive there is a prettier one out there than the Braun! Its kind of designless! But it keeps me dreaming of tea time!
Good luck in your seplace!

Sarah D.

You may find this article useful: The author is a big proponent of electic as well.

Angela M.

Thanks to you both. I used to live in London and do know the joys of electric kettles. But as that very handy Slate article pointed out, they can be problem if counterspace is an issue — and it is, in our place. And they’re not too pleasing on the eye… Still. We do boil a hell of a lot of water (for the french press, instant oatmeal, and oh yes, tea). Hmmmm.


I have had the Revereware kettle for years and years. It heats up quickly (leaving the handle cool enough to touch), shines up nicely with a good scrub w/ some Barkeeper’s Friend, and has an arresting whistle. It is cheap, basic, and works great. But, my true feeling about it has always been “eh”.

But what I really long for are the Staub teapot that can also be used on the stovetop and the “9091” kettle that Richard Sapper designed for Alessi in the 80s. Talk about a whistle.

i have the william sonoma one (got it on sale!) and i love it. it’s a quick boil, which is great. and has a lovely whistle…


oof, i think we registered for the bodum one. thanks for the tip!!!


I bought the Oxo Downpour and…it was terrible! The whistle stopped working within a week; as I’m also a multitasker, this created some obvious issues. My husband (who doesn’t drink tea but makes mine every evening) really hated it and came home with, of all things, an Emeril teakettle. The whistle mechanism is a little plastic doohicky that proclaims “BAM” in highly stylized letters and a green Emeril’s “signature” subtly graces the side of the gray powdercoated body of the kettle, but it works.


As a tea drinker whose likes to catch the kettle just as it boils, (so the oxegen is not boiled out – needed for a full-flavored cuppa!) the Chantel with Hornsby whistle does the trick! They are not cheap (approx. $90) but very well made and well worth it.

I have to agree with the electric kettle. I don’t even drink that much tea, and I use it nearly every 3 days. I can boil water for pasta faster if I heat it up in the kettle and THEN pour it into the pot. It is such a time saver, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. My beautiful stainless steel kettle now just takes up cupboard space and will be going onto craigslist soon.

Baba Yaga This is really the very best option.The harmonium whistle is lovely-it chimes like a harmonica.This particular one has a capacity of over 3 quarts.Chantal makes other versions and sizes of harmonium teakettles,but this is the largest and the most stylish.

I love my electric kettle. And I use it all the time so having it out on the counter is convenience, not clutter! There are some very attractive ones out there right now. I do not recommend the BODUM IBIS kettle – I had a red one at work and my water was pink after boiling.


i have the windsor whistler quick boil, and it’s fantastic. also comes in copper, for even speedier (and more expensive) heating. this site is wonderful!

Angela M.

Wow. That Chantal one Baba Yaga suggested is lovely. Worth the splurge, perhaps? Thanks for all the comments. I will have to do a seplace for attractive electric kettles and then we can have a showdown vs stovetop.


Getting ready to register. I’m sold on the electric, but are there any good looking ones?


I use a regular pot to boil my tea water. We steep the water in the pot and then decant it into a vaccum thermos. My thermos keeps the tea hot all day.

I am sometimes tempted by the electric kettle but I don’t know how I’d make my giant pot of tea? (can’t put loose tea in my vaccum thermos and a regular tea pot doesn’t insulate well enough)


Go with the Windsor, if you like its traditional style. I have had one for over 10 years and adore it. It has a robust whistle that reminds you that you were making tea on those times when you leave the kitchen and head back to the computer (some multitasking is possible with a quick boil model).

Long ago, someone gave me the original Graves kettle that the Create & Barrel is modelled on, it is expensive rubbish. You have to remove the bird whistle from the spout to pour and hot steam is coming out of the spout. That could be a problem with its Crate & Barrel offspring?

I’ve been without my tea pot for a few months now. I had a Chantal that I dearly loved and used quite frequently… until one day.
The harmonica sound was lovely, until one day it decided NOT to work after I’d started a pot on the stove. I went back to work at my computer waiting for that lovely sound and promptly remembered the pot on the stove when a strange smell came in to my office. I ran into the kitchen to rescue it and found the bottom had completely melted and dripped into the pan underneath it. No warning, not a peep. Now when I put anything on the stove, I set the timer to remind me to check on it after 5 minutes.
If your pot needs a new home, I’ve space on the new burner.


Can’t lose with the classic Revereware kettle. Not the made in china crap out now, but the made in Clintonville, Ill oldies. Picked up at a thrift for $4. Loud loud whistle and easy to clean. It’ll last longer than you.

Experience similar to Jen’s – my mom is a great one for forgetting to lower the whistle on kettles. We went through two or three enamelled Chantal kettles, which are not cheap. One was on a new flat-top range, and the kettle fused to the range; we were able to chip it off, but it did permanently mar the surface of the cooktop. We’d paid $100 for the first kettle, then whatever Marshall’s was charging for the second two (around $40-60, IIRC). We also burned Revereware and a couple of Copco kettles.

I’m now in the electric kettle camp, because it shuts itself off. I recommend spending a little on one – go for one with a metal mesh filter, for example, rather than something flimsier. I use a lot of hot water – tea drinker, etc – and to me, it’s worth the counter real-estate.

PS – to the Michael Graves haters: the stuff at Target is lower-end than the rest of his branded goods. There are slightly different versions in spendier stores at higher price points, and those models are sturdier. Specifically, his first kettle is considered a design icon, but the Target version is basically a knockoff of the real thing.


I have original Michael Graves tea kettle with red singing bird and have used it daily since 1985. Unfortunately, black ball top has melted over the years and the black finial that is currently being sold will not fit it. Anyone have any idea where I can find that black screw on piece? I would dearly love to replace it.

Thanks much.