Last Updated on February 23, 2023
Every household obtains a kettle, whatever the size, colour, or type it may be.
The kettle – is a fantastic invention that tea drinkers worldwide adore. These simple but effective devices allow us to boil water with minimum effort in virtually no time. They are convenient and brilliant for making hot drinks and cooking. This guide looks at how to use a kettle and offers some important tea kettle safety tips for your benefit!
The Different Types of Kettle
There are two main categories of kettles today – electric and stovetop. Understanding the differences is crucial because the boiling process varies slightly depending on the design.
Electric kettles are the most common today. Using an electric kettle is incredibly easy. You essentially flick a switch, and you have boiled water in a few minutes.
These appliances are some of the simplest you will find in your kitchen. Inside, they typically contain a metal heating element. An electrical current passes through this element when the kettle is switched on. It is then converted into heat which is what heats the water.
In contrast, stovetop kettles are now not as common. Before electricity was widely available in households, it used to be the predominant appliance.
This kettle uses heat from an external source, for instance, your oven hob. This heat is passed through the conductive material of the kettle and thus heats the water. These appliances are traditional and typically take longer to heat water.
Many people, however, find them incredibly satisfying to use – especially if you have a whistling tea kettle.
How to Use a Stovetop Kettle
Stovetop kettles are often known as whistling kettles or traditional kettles. This is the traditional method of boiling water that has been used for decades, if not centuries, before the invention of electric kettles. They are still relatively easy to use, but stovetop kettles typically take longer to boil and require more attention/care.
Step 1: Fill the Stovetop Kettle With Water
First, you should fill your stovetop kettle with water. Many people use filtered water as opposed to normal tap water. Filtered water firstly has any harmful mineral deposits and chemicals removed. Secondly, it also usually gives a better taste.
Do not overfill your traditional kettle. If you add more water than required, the boiling process will take far longer. Also, it will mean that you use more gas/electrical energy depending on the type of hob you have.
Your traditional kettle may have a maximum and minimum fill line. If it does, always observe this and ensure you do not exceed either.
Step 2: Place the Kettle on a Hob
Next, place your kettle on the stove/hob. It is important to position the kettle directly on the centre of the hob or as close as possible. This makes sure that the kettle gets high heat from the hob.
Step 3: Ignite the Hob/Turn the Hob On
With the kettle on the stove, you can now ignite your hob/turn it on (depending on if it is a gas hob, electric hob, or induction hob).
It is generally advised that you do not use the highest heat setting of your hob. Use a medium-high heat first, and then turn it up if necessary, for example, if the boiling takes too long. If you have your hob set to the maximum heat, you can overboil and potentially cause boiling water to spill everywhere.
You may also want to adjust the heat or use different settings depending on using the water. For example, you may want the water only extremely hot – not boiling, when making a cup of tea. Alternatively, you may want boiled water if you use it for cooking.
Step 4: Listen for the Kettle Whistling
Now you can play the waiting game! Depending on the design, the stove kettle will alert you in two different ways.
Firstly, a whistling kettle will provide a relatively high-pitched whistling noise when the water is boiling. This whistling sound is a brilliant thing to hear, and the whistle of a kettle is often associated with traditional tea making.
Secondly, if you do not have a whistling tea kettle, you can usually identify that it has finished when it starts to steam. You will notice that a high quantity of steam escapes from the spout and thus can deduce that the water is boiled.
Step 5: Pour the Hot Water
You can now pour the hot water and use it for brewing tea, making coffee, or cooking. Note that it can be incredibly easy to use your kettle and forget about the hob, which could lead to a potential disaster and safety hazard. This is why you have to ensure you turn the hob off as soon as you have taken the boiling kettle from its heat source.
Step 5: Empty Any Excess Water
Once you have finished whatever you are doing, empty the kettle. An empty kettle can help prevent the growth of bacteria. Also, it will help prevent limescale and potentially hazardous mineral deposits inside your kettle.
How to Use an Electric Kettle
Electric kettles are far more common today as they have made boiling water easier and more convenient. These appliances are incredibly easy to use and make it easy to get the correct temperature for processes like making tea and coffee or even boiling water to boil vegetables.
Step 1: Plug the Electrical Outlet In
Electric kettles have a base that contains the heating element and an inbuilt thermostat. Most electric kettles then have a power cable connected to that base. Before you do anything else, the first step is to plug the electrical outlet into a socket.
Many people place their electric kettle near their drinks making station or oven top to not carry the kettle too far from the sink/water source.
Step 2: Fill the Electric Kettle With Water
Once the electric tea kettle is plugged in, it is time to fill it with water. If you want to use your kettle properly, we advise only filling it with the right amount of water that you need for the specific task you are using it for.
For example, if you want to brew a cup of tea, try only to add enough water to that single cup. If you continually overfill your kettle, you waste water, which isn’t great for the environment. Secondly, you are also putting extra strain on the kettle thermostat and heating element.
Some electric kettles have a minimum and maximum level indicator on the side. If so, always pay attention to these markers and never go below the minimum or above the maximum.
Step 3: Flick the Kettle Switch
With the electric kettle filled, you can now turn it on! This may vary depending on the design and manufacturer of the electric tea kettles.
Most kettles have a simple switch that you flick. This essentially turns the kettle on and activates the heating element. These are the simplest design of electric kettles available and require the least effort.
Flicking the switch will start the process and boil the kettle. When the water is boiled (as detected by the thermostat), the switch usually clicks and flicks off – this is how you know you have boiled water in the kettle.
Alternatively, there are electric kettles that have temperature control. A temperature-controlled kettle allows you to set the desired temperature that you want the water to reach. This can be useful when you need the right temperature for specific cooking processes.
Step 4: Pour the Boiling Water
Once the water has boiled or reached the set temperature, the kettle should give some form of notification. This is typically a clicking noise as the switch flicks back to its start position.
You can now pour the boiling water and use it in whatever way you need. For example, you could pour it into a teapot or cup or pour it into a saucepan on your cooker hob. Take care when pouring the boiling water, and watch for the hot steam escaping from the kettle spout!
Step 5: Empty Any Excess Water
Once the kettle has cooled, pour any excess hot water away. This is important as it helps prevent the build-up of any mineral deposits, limescale, and bacteria.
Lastly, as you are working with hot water, it is important to use your kettle safely. Tea kettles can be potentially dangerous, especially if you have children. As a result, we have provided some simple safety tips below.
Watch Out for the Steam From a Kettle
While the hot water itself can easily burn your skin, the steam from a kettle can also be harmful. Boiling steam can cause just as much damage as boiling water. As a result, avoid direct contact with any steam escaping from your kettle.
Always Empty Your Kettle After Use
We have mentioned this before, but it is advisable to empty your new tea kettle of water after each use. If you only use the right amount of water initially, you should waste virtually no water.
If you leave cold water in your kettle after use, minerals might build up. This can potentially result in bacteria and limescale. These things are primarily unhealthy for consumption, but the minerals could also damage your kettle.
Never Overfill Your Kettle
Many kettles have a maximum fill limit. Don’t ignore this! You can risk the boiled water spilling out and splashing everywhere if you overfill your kettle. This can be a huge safety risk. Maximum fill levels are there for a reason!
Always Switch the Appliance Off, or Turn the Hob off Immediately
Lastly, once you have used your kettle, always switch it off immediately! Electric kettles do not continue heating the water once it has boiled. However, switching the kettle off at the plug socket is still prudent.
For stovetop kettles, you must turn the hob off. Leaving an electric or gas hob on in any situation can be incredibly dangerous.
Enjoy Using Your Kettle
Kettles are amazing inventions! Whether you prefer the faster boiling of an electric kettle or the traditional whistling tea kettles, these appliances make boiling water a simple process! We hope you have found this article on how to use a kettle helpful, but above all, please use your kettle safely, as boiling water can do serious damage!
Paul is the type of person who never met a problem he couldn’t fix. He can always be found tinkering with something in his house, even if it isn’t broken! His tips and tricks are often shared on our site. He’s the one you call when something breaks because he has been known to improvise fixes for everything from leaky faucets to malfunctioning dryers.