Electric Hot Water Kettles – What kind do you need

There are plenty of different ways, in this day and age to get hot water for brewing your tea. Everything from the old fashioned cast iron, fire heated kettles to highly sophisticated, top of the line, electronic devices are available. In this article we’ll go over some of the different types of electric hot water kettles – and non-electric models available, to help you in making a good choice if you are in the market for an electric tea kettle.

How Hot Water Kettles have Evolved

Billy Tea

Billy tea - primitive Hot Water Kettle

Brewing Billy tea on an open fire in outback Australia

One of the most basic forms of heating water and brewing tea was used by Australian Bushmen with billy cans. A billy can is a lightweight metal tin bucket commonly used for boiling water and making tea over a campfire. It is more commonly known simply as a billy (something similar was also used in Canada and called a Tea billy pot). Prepared in the wild, the water was brought to boil and then the tea thrown in the billy and allowed to brew on the open campfire. The Bushmen would either scoop it out of the billy with a tin cup or – if no cups were on hand, they would pour some into the billy lid and sip it out of the lid.

Cast Iron kettles

Cast iron Hot Water Kettles

Old cast iron kettles on an open fire stove pit

The old style cast iron kettle is still used in some parts of the world for boiling water over the open fire. If not on an open fire, then it is likely to been found sitting on top of a pot belly stove in a retro style or restored kitchen or in an old country homestead.

The Japanese Tetsubin kettle is an expensive modern version of these ancient kettles

Whistling Kettles

The whistling kettle was a major advancement in kettle development utilizing the laws of physics to blow the whistle when the water was starting to boil and turn into steam.

Whistling kettles are still very popular today and are available in a big variety of shapes and sizes and colors.

Amazon has a big range or all kinds of contemporary and retro style  whistling kettles available if you are interested.


Early Models of Electric tea kettles

Copper electric hot water kettle

1930 style copper electric kettle

Early British style hot water kettle

Early British electric tea kettle

 Cordless Electric Kettles

Electric hot water kettles have evolved over the years and are one of the most common household appliances used now to heat water for tea and other hot drinks. There are many kinds available.  The most common and cheapest is a molded plastic jug-like vessel that sits on an electric base and automatically shuts off when the water boils. The kettles are usually referred to as a cordless kettles as they be removed from the base and therefore not attached to the electric cord, which make it quite practical and safe. There are more elaborate and expensive versions of this basic cordless kettle, such as stainless steel or clear glass material instead of plastic. Amazon carries a large range of all different kinds of cordless kettles

Variable Temperature and Temperature Hold Features

For brewing tea the ideal kettle is one with a variable temperature control feature. Some teas such as delicate green teas need to be steeped at a specific temperature of around 80-85 degrees. Other teas vary in recommended steeping temperatures from 85-100 degrees.  So the best way to take the guess work out is to have a kettle that can be pre-set at the required heating temperature. These kettles are becoming more readily available on the market now, although considerably more expensive than the “bring to boil” only versions.

Other helpful features for tea drinkers are temperature hold – which can keep the water at a set temperature for a period of time (ideal for teas needing multiple infusions). A goose neck spout is also very handy when pouring hot water into small teapots such a Gong Fu style tea pots.

Gong Fu Tea Ceremony Style Hot Water Kettle

Chinese Gong Fu Tea Style Tea Hot Water Kettle

Another variation of a hot water tea kettle is a teapot style kettle that is heated on a hot plate. This style is frequently used in China with the Gong Fu tea ceremony. It is a very convenient and quite elaborate way to prepare tea. This hot water kettle is usually a part of a bigger Chinese tea set up including a wooden tea tray and various tea utensils. It features a swiveled faucet for refilling the teapot that is connected to a water source. So with water and electricity on hand and a variable temperature control it makes for a pretty complete tea makers hot water set up. This Chinese style kettle is not so common in western countries and if you are interested in purchasing one send us an email at info@goodtearesource.com and we try to get one for you.

Check out our review on some top rated kettles HERE.

Restaurant and Industrial Hot Water Urns and Kettles

There are a large variety of hot water urns and water pots used in the restaurant business for hot tea and other hot drinks. A thorough coverage of examples and details of these is beyond the scope of this article. Je They can range from the simple 2 or 3 liter hot water pots to larger 15-20 gallon stainless steel, thermostat controlled urns.





Clover D7A - Hot and Cold Water Dispenser

Clover D7A Water Dispenser – Hot and Cold Water

Here are a couple of high end hot water dispensers used in the hospitality industry businesses such as fine restaurants, hotels and other food service locations.


Clover D7A Water Dispenser -Hot and Cold, Comes with a complete installation Kit. This hot and cold water dispenser has a condenser that’s cooled via convection. Used in the food service industry and is Maker) also very suitable for home and office environments

Available on Amazon. Price: $335



Wilbur Curtis Comercial Hot-Water Heater

Wilbur Curtis Hot Water

Wilbur Curtis Hot Water Dispenser Narrow Black 5.0 Gallon – Commercial Hot Water Dispenser with Digital Control Module – Available on Amazon. Price: $1,062







So whether you are an Australian bushman or a fancy restaurant owner in Las Vegas, if you are a tea drinker you can always find a way to heat your water and enjoy a good cup of your favorite tea.


3 thoughts on “Electric Hot Water Kettles – What kind do you need

  1. Jenny

    Thanks for the great read. I found it interesting and like reading about what they used to do in the olden days. interesting how kettles have changed!
    Takes me back to when my nan was alive, think she had a kettle like the 1930 style picture. Looks so familiar.
    I enjoyed reading about the temperature that some teas need to be steeped at. Especially the green tea. Never thought about the temperature it might be best at! thanks for the info

  2. Peter Post author

    Thanks Jenny. Yes, time certainly bring a lot of changes. Regarding tea brewing temperatures it does make a big difference in the tasting quality of the tea – especially for the more some of the delicate green tea teas.

  3. Peter Post author

    Thanks Jenny. Yes, time certainly bring a lot of changes. Regarding tea brewing temperatures it does make a big difference in the tasting quality of the tea – especially for the more some of the delicate green tea teas.


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