Retro and Vintage Tea Kettles Guide

Retro and Vintage Tea Kettles Guide: Which Ones Are Our Top Favorites?

So, you’re on the lookout for a new tea kettle, but nothing seems to pique your interest yet. Modern-made and styled kettles just don’t grab your heartstrings quite like the kettles of yesteryear. Don’t be troubled; there is still plenty of retro and vintage tea kettles available to soothe your soul, and we’re going to help you find the perfect one for your kitchen.

Defining Terms

Before we can move on in our search, we need to define a few terms so that we’re on the same page. Specifically, we need to know what is meant by the words retro and vintage. As an aside, let’s define the word antique also. Once we know what exactly we mean when using these words, our search will be easier to complete.

Retro 

Is a term that refers to stylized items from a particular decade of time. These items are typically new items that simply take on the look and characteristics of the timeframe they are trying to emulate. Of course, they can be old, but this is because they were created a few decades ago to represent a time gone by.  

An example of this would be much of the fashion from the mid-nineties. Many of the trends during that time emulated the fashion of the sixties or seventies but were newly made. Today, we are twenty years away from the nineties, so those shoes and pants that were made in the nineties, but were stylized after the fashion of the sixties, are old today. 

Vintage

Is a term that lends itself to items that are valuable or of high quality. Consider how this term is used in the wine industry and apply it to clothes, cookware, or other household items; it’s the same. The other part of the term ‘vintage’ is that it must be at least 25 years old. So, altogether, if an item is truly vintage, it will be a top-notch quality item that is at least a quarter of a century old.

Antique

Is a term that refers to any item, whether valuable or not, that is at least a century old.

Types & Designs

Tea Kettle

Before we get into our search for a retro or a vintage tea kettle, we should also explain that there are different types and designs to choose from; after all, these items have been around for centuries.

Electric

Both retro and vintage tea kettles come in electric versions.  If you want something that can be used when a stove is unavailable, then this is a great option.

Gooseneck

This refers to the design of the tea kettle’s spout.  A gooseneck spout resembles the neck of a goose, is elegant, fun to pour from, and actually a little safer when it comes to serving hot water.

Jug

This is probably one of the most common designs for an electric tea kettle.  It is shaped similar to a pitcher with a small pour spout.

Squatter

This is the quintessential design of a stovetop tea kettle.  It’s probably the type of kettle your grandma had on her stove and that you would hear whistling early in the morning when breakfast was being made.

Stovetop

A kettle that is made for stovetop use is very common and is typically the least expensive.  Retro and vintage tea kettles were first designed for this usage before technology provided a way to make them electric.

Material Matters

Tea Kettle

Another feature that you should consider before purchasing a retro or vintage tea kettle is what material it is made from.  Let’s look at some of the most popular materials used to make these items:

Cast Iron

This material is very sturdy and a very common option from years ago and even today.  Since you’re looking for something old-fashioned, why not get it built from an old-fashioned material as well.  Today, these are commonly coated in a colorful enamel so they are easier to care for.

Ceramic

This is another common material used for tea kettles, and it is definitely the most versatile.  Since ceramic can be produced in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, it makes a great medium for all sorts of kitchen equipment.

Copper

For those who like a little glamour in their kitchen, this is a great material for a tea kettle.  It is beautiful and fun to use, but it will take extra work to keep it clean and shiny.

Glass

Of course, glass is an amazing material for tea kettles, especially if you like to view the tea while it is steeping.  They do break easily, but they are still great.

Plastic

Modern technologies have infiltrated every part of the kitchen and plastic is definitely a part of tea kettles these days.  Because it is an inexpensive material doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well or look great tea kettle; in fact, plastic tea kettles are cute and handy.  Just make sure you get something that is made from non-toxic materials.

Stainless Steel

Even if the entirety of a tea kettle is not made out of stainless steel, there is usually a part that is, especially those that are electric.  These are great items but you will have to keep them clean and dry so you don’t run the risk of the metal corroding.

Ruminating Over the Options

Now that we have our terms defined and looked at the design and material options, we can begin searching for tea kettles to match. We will use the above terminology as defined above to search for and to label our selection of products. On top of this, we have selected and are recommending products in this section by using the following factors:

  • Color
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • Size
  • Special Features or Functions

The Best Retro Electric Tea Kettle – SMEG 50’s Retro Style Electric Tea Kettle

SMEG 50’s Retro Style Electric Tea Kettle

You said you wanted retro, and you wanted awesome, so we found this tea kettle that is sure to fit the bill. There’s no doubt that one glance at this fun and funky kettle, and we assure you, it will be love at first sight. But this thing is more than just a pretty face; it has heart and soul too. Check it out:

  • Features a rapid boil and an automatic shutoff function
  • The cord wrap is built-in and cannot be seen when put away
  • The base allows the kettle to swivel 360°
  • It can hold up to 1.7 quarts of liquid 
  • Made by a 70-year-old Italian company that specialized in kitchen equipment

Pros

  • Available in seven different colors
  • Customers are raving about its style and color
  • Customers have given this kettle dozens of 5-star reviews

Cons

  • Hand wash only
  • This kettle does not whistle
  • Shipping is free within the US and Canada
  • Some customers had trouble with their kettle leaking
  • Some customers had trouble with their kettle rusting on the inside

If you love the look of this kettle, then keep shopping at the SMEG shop to fill your kitchen with other retro items. They have everything from refrigerators to mixing bowls and mixers to a mini version of this kettle.

The Best Budget Retro Electric Tea Kettle – DmofwHi Store Gooseneck Electric Kettle

DmofwHi Store Gooseneck Electric Kettle

Perhaps you want a retro tea kettle but don’t want to spend an enormous amount of money to get one. If you’ve set yourself a strict budget, then consider this amazing mint green tea kettle for your kitchen. This kettle is stylish, and with its long neck, it is also perfect to use for pour-over coffee.

What you need in a tea kettle is what this tea kettle is made of; it has all the right looks with all the right features. These features include:

  • A super-fast heating system
  • Boil-dry protection
  • Automatic shutoff 
  • A handle that will not get hot when the kettle is heated

Pros

  • Made from BPA-free plastic
  • Interior is made from stainless steel 
  • Holds 1 liter of liquid
  • Available in two different colors

Cons

  • The exterior of the kettle will get hot
  • Should be hand washed only
  • It will require vinegar to clean out the interior section
  • Some customers have had an issue with their kettle wobbling

The Best Retro Stovetop Tea Kettle – LeCreuset Enamel Steel Demi Kettle

LeCreuset Enamel Steel Demi Kettle

We all know the LeCreuset brand from its gorgeous cookware, but now you can complete your collection with this adorable tea kettle. It is absolutely perfect because it works on any type of stovetop, and it comes with a LeCreuset Cast Iron Lifetime Limited Warranty. You’re not going to want to miss out on using this kettle. Here’s why:

Pros

  • Available in four amazing colors
  • Easy to wash design
  • Whistles when boiling point has been reached

All in all, this is a great-looking kettle that does its job, but there are a few negative aspects to consider before purchasing one. These are:

Cons

  • Some customers have commented that it is a bit overpriced
  • Some customers have stated that the lid gets hot and is difficult to remove

The Best Budget Retro Stovetop Tea Kettle – The Ellenge Store Whistling Tea Kettle

Ellenge Store Whistling Tea Kettle

For those who love using a stovetop tea kettle but don’t want to worry about the costliness of most options, this is a great alternative. This may be a simple kettle, but it has all you need when making a cup of warm, soothing tea. Plus, it is absolutely stunning to look at.

If the look of this kettle hasn’t convinced you to get it, then look at all these great features:

  • This kettle can be used on any type of stovetop, even an induction stove.
  • This kettle will whistle once it has reached a boiling point.
  • The handle of this kettle will not get hot due to the silicone insulation it is constructed with.
  • The handle is ergonomically designed so that pouring is comfortable and safe.
  • The kettle holds 2.7 quarts or 12 cups of liquid.
  • The stainless steel interior is designed to resist rusting.

Pros

  • Available in two different colors
  • Designed to heat up in 5 to 10 minutes
  • Customers are raving about the color and the style of this kettle

Cons

  • Some customers have burnt themselves due to the spout cover lever being so near to the metal parts
  • Some customers have stated that its shape makes it difficult to clean

The Best Vintage Electric Tea Kettle – The Vicars Daughter Co Vintage Electric Teapot

The Vicars Daughter Co Vintage Electric Teapot

This is a kettle I can really get behind. My grandma gave me a similar kettle years ago, and I have used it to its fullest. I have packed it away in luggage to take on trips and use in hotel rooms when the provided coffee/teapot was questionable. These old-fashioned kettles may boil wild, but they really do work well.

Pros

  • Cute design on the kettle
  • It will boil very fast
  • Compact and portable
  • The seller is available for questions
  • This shop has great reviews and ratings

Cons

  • Shipping is costly
  • Returns and exchanges are not accepted.
  • It doesn’t turn off once hot.
  • It gets very hot and can boil over.
  • Metal coils can erode over time.
  • The Best Retro Stovetop Tea Kettle

The Best Vintage Stovetop Tea Kettle – Martini K Vintage Small Blue Enamel Tea Kettle

Martini K Vintage Small Blue Enamel Tea Kettle

If you want a piece of history, go vintage. Take this tea kettle, for instance. It has the style and durability that many modern kitchen items lack. If a kettle was constructed in the 1940s and still looks this good today, it has to be amazing. Even if this isn’t the vintage kettle for you, you can still keep looking for one that speaks to your heart. When you do shop for a vintage tea kettle, remember these tips:

  • Always film yourself opening the package, so you have a record of how the product arrived.
  • Check the pricing and make sure it is suitable for what you are getting.
  • Ensure that shipping is reasonably priced, will be done safely, and that there are warranties for items broken in shipping.
  • Look for items that don’t have a lot of rust, scratches, chips, or cracks in them.
  • Talk to the seller to find out more about the history and the condition of the item.

Pros

  • Beautiful color
  • Good condition
  • Payment installment plan available for those who qualify
  • Free Shipping
  • The seller can be contacted with questions
  • The shop has good reviews and ratings

Cons

  • Only one kettle is available
  • Expensive

FAQs

Question: What is the Best Type of Tea Cup?

Answer: When I drink a cup of tea, I prefer a ceramic mug over all other types. Glass, paper, and plastic just don’t have the feel or flavor that a ceramic tea mug offers. Plus, as we all know, ceramic is very versatile, and cups made from this material can come in almost any shape, size, or color.  

So, the next time you fix a cup of tea, don’t settle for an inferior cup; get something that distributes heat well, is easy to clean, fashionable, comfortable to hold, and keeps the flavor of the tea pure. Always go with ceramic.

Question: Is There a Best Practice for Brewing Tea?

Answer: Yes, there are some best practices for crafting the best cup of tea. The tea’s flavor is impacted by the temperature it is steeped in rather than how long it is steeped. The temperature will all depend on what type of tea you have selected, so focus on this part of the process. For your convenience, we have provided a reference sheet:

Tea Selection Tea per 8oz. of water Steeping Time Water Temperature:

  • Black Tea 2 to 3 teaspoons 2 to 3 minutes 195 to 205° F
  • Flavored Green Tea 2 to 3 teaspoons 2 minutes 175° F
  • Flavored White Tea 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons 2 minutes 175° F
  • Green Tea 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons 1 minute 175° F
  • Herbal Tea 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons 5 to 6 minutes 208° F
  • Oolong Tea 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons 3 minutes 195° F
  • White Tea 1 to 2 teaspoons 4 to 5 minutes 175° F

Question: Are There Tea Kettles that are Designed for Travel?

Answer: Yes, but they don’t typically come in a retro or vintage style. While I have used a vintage tea kettle when I travel, it is not necessarily made expressly for this purpose. Whisk and Mix has an article written especially to help find the perfect travel tea kettle.  

For a quick summary of what to look for when you shop for a travel tea kettle, keep these features in mind:

  • Capacity – look for a kettle that will hold as much liquid as you need during your travels.
  • Material – there are travel kettles made from almost every type of material, so make sure you get a kettle made from the material that you prefer.
  • Transportability – consider how the travel kettle will pack in your luggage, whether that means it is compact in size or collapsible.
  • Voltage – if you travel overseas, make sure you get a travel tea kettle that will work in every part of the world you visit.

Some Final Thoughts

Tea kettles are always in fashion, but when you get something that has lasted for decades, or at least looks that way, you are going to experience something amazing in your kitchen. I’ve had lots of fun using my vintage tea kettle in the past few years, and I suspect you will also.  

Thirsty for more? Check out all our wonderful articles on tea kettlescoffee gear, and home bars. If you have any questions about beverages, Whisk and Mix are ready to provide you with answers.

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