Straight to the Point
Our favorite gooseneck kettle is the Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle. It's incredibly accurate and allows you to set the temperature down to the degree (instead of a select number of preset temperatures). It's also sleek-looking and available in a several finishes.
Coffee has two ingredients: ground coffee and water. This makes the quality of both of these—and the tools we use to handle them—incredibly important.
Most of the tools we think about and consider when brewing coffee have to do with the coffee itself, which makes sense—coffee’s flavor can be radically altered depending on the grinder or automatic brewer you use. However, coffee is 98% water, so the tool we pick to actually pour water onto coffee matters more than you might think.
Luckily, water doesn’t need much finessing. If you’re making pourover coffee, all you need is a gooseneck kettle, or a kettle with a distinct spout that allows you to control the flow of water. Instead of water rushing out the spout, like you might see on a traditional kettle, a gooseneck kettle has a thin, narrow spout, positioned towards the bottom of the kettle’s base that allows you to pour water smoothly and with control.
I could tell you, as a former barista with a decade of experience, that gooseneck kettles are superior to regular tea kettles, but anyone who has tried to make pourover coffee with a regular kettle doesn’t need me to convince them. Standard kettles with wide spouts will pour too much water over the grounds at once, making a mess of the coffee bed and sending grounds wayward (and therefore leading to poorly extracted coffee).
But many gooseneck kettles look the same...and certainly promise to do the same things. So, I ordered a dozen different gooseneck kettles—including stovetop and electric, variable temperature models—and tested them to find the best ones.
The Winners, at a Glance
The Best Gooseneck Kettle: Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle
This kettle was incredibly accurate and easy to use and the most aesthetically pleasing compared to the other models I tested. The LED screen allowed me to customize the temperature down to the degree (135-212°F), whereas many electric gooseneck kettles only had a handful of preset temperature options. This is great for those who need a kettle for both coffee and tea brewing or want to know exactly how hot water is, perhaps for experimenting with different brewing temperatures.
The Best Non-Variable Gooseneck Kettle: Hario V60 "Buono" Electric Gooseneck Kettle
If you’re simply using a gooseneck kettle to brew coffee in the morning—and don’t want to get too fussy with it—the Hario V60 electric kettle is smartly designed and takes about five minutes to heat a full pot (0.8 L) of water. The non-electric version of this kettle is also great, but takes much longer to heat up.
- Speed Test: Fill each kettle to its stated capacity and time how long it takes to boil (212°F).
- Accuracy Tests: For variable temperature kettles, program each to four different temperatures: 175°F, 185°F, 190°F, and 200°F, taking the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. If the kettle had pre-programed settings different from the temperatures noted here, I set the temperatures to whatever ones were the closest.
- "Keep Warm" Test: Press the “keep warm” function (if the kettle has one) and assess how long a kettle is able to keep 200°F water warm for, taking the temperature after 15 and 30 minutes with an instant-read thermometer.
- Taste Test: After boiling and discarding the water several times, pour a sample of water from each kettle to determine if there are any off flavors.
- Pourover Coffee Tests: Brew pourover coffee, using each kettle at least twice to evaluate how smoothly water pours out, how much control it offers, and how the handle feels when pouring.
- Pouring Observations: Remove and put on each kettle's top, and pour water freely to assess any leaks or changes in weight distribution (most kettles boast a weighted handle, but that balance can change if you’re pouring all of the water out).
- Usability: Note any functions designed to help users: does it make a noise when it reaches temperature, do the controls make sense, do you have to press and re-press buttons when you remove the kettle from the base?
- Clean Up: Clean each kettle and evaluate how easy it is to wash, dry, and store and if there are any nooks that are difficult to clean or that could hold scale buildup.
What We Learned
Water and Heat Have a Direct (and Predictable) Relationship
Before I began testing, I thought there would be a ton of variation between how quickly each of the electric kettles could heat water. Some of the kettles even boasted how fast they could reach boiling (I’m looking at you and your “boiling in 60 seconds” claim, Willow & Everett).
However, I found that most of them were able to heat water within a minute of one another, and those variations were mostly due to different capacities (we wanted to test their ability to heat water when they were at their fullest) or slight differences in temperature to start (I took water from my sink’s tap, and the temperature ranged between 58-61°F).
When in doubt, I always ask my friend, Steve Rhinehart, e-commerce manager for Acaia and a longtime brand manager for Prima Coffee, to explain the nitty gritty of equipment. “The heating element [of a kettle] is usually mounted directly to the floor of the kettle in a circle or horse shoe shape," Rhinehart said. "Most kettles use about the same thickness of stainless steel and steel's conductive and convective properties don't change a whole lot within the various stainless kettles so they will be by and large identical there.”
He also mentioned I should check the wattage of the kettles. Every kettle had the same electric capabilities (1200W), so that meant they drew the same amount of power—and therefore, heated water at relatively the same rate. “If you have a bunch of one liter kettles and they all have 1000 watt heating elements, there is not likely to be much difference in how quickly they heat,” Rhinehart said. He pointed out the Breville Crystal Clear, a 1800W kettle, would likely heat water faster than any of the kettles I was testing—however, the Breville Crystal Clear is not a gooseneck kettle and was therefore not included.
This all being said, I did notice variations between the electric and two non-electric gooseneck kettles I tested, the Hario V60 and the Fellow Stagg. Both took forever—the Hario clocked in at almost 13 minutes to boil while the Stagg took 16 minutes. The variation in speed is due to their construction. The Hario V60 is a single-walled stainless steel kettle. The Stagg is also made of stainless steel, but it has a matte coating and significantly thicker walls, which make it more difficult for heat to penetrate and to therefore heat water.
Variable Temperature Kettles Have To Balance Between Speed and Accuracy
Although I was wrong about measuring the speed each kettle took to get to boiling, Rhinehart urged me to look at how quickly each kettle arrived to a specified temperature (not boiling, where the heating element in a kettle is simply designed to make water hot, but something like 200°F). I noticed that the more precise the kettle, the longer it took to get to a specific temperature.
Rhinehart said that’s because of how each kettle is designed to “know” it has arrived at a specified temperature. “Variable temp kettles often use some kind of logic control to arrive at the intended set temperature without overshoot,” he explained. “Depending on how that logic is determined, it might be able to get within 10 degrees really quickly and then slow down to make sure it hits the temperature you want, while others may prioritize accuracy instead of speed, or vice versa.”
So basically, a kettle can try to get to a desired temperature really quickly, but could overshoot, or it could ramp up slowly, but hit the desired temperature precisely. This was especially clear on the Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle. By far, this was the most accurate kettle, but it took the longest to reach any temperature. Essentially, the kettle will turn on to heat water, and then back off as the water gets closer and closer to the desired temperature. (I could even hear some of the kettles turn their heating elements on and off.) Personally, I'd rather wait a little longer than sacrifice accuracy.
Design Choices Matter
Gooseneck kettles get hot. Some of the kettles I tested simply felt unsafe to use. I always had a towel on hand to remove the lids of kettles after we boiled water, but some lids (in particular, the kettle made by Brim) were difficult to remove, posing a burn risk.
Another important design consideration was that many of the kettles had built-in temperature settings: four or five buttons ranging in temperature and meant for different preparations, like white tea, black tea, or coffee. We found that none of these were necessarily right. The Willow & Everett kettle, for example, had a 180°F preset (which is its lowest temperature setting), designated for green and white tea.
However, according to this guide from Rishi Tea, green teas should be brewed at even lower temperatures, with some green teas requiring water around 140°F. Also having preset temperatures meant you can’t experiment or adjust your temperature based on the coffee you’re brewing. In general, (and this is not always true, so follow what your taste buds are telling you) a lighter-roasted coffee might need hotter water to fully pull out all the flavors within the bean than a darker-roasted coffee, which is more water soluble. This all meant that the electric EKG kettle again came out on top, allowing you to dial the temperature down to the degree within its 135-212°F range.
And then there’s the “keep warm” function. Most of the variable temperature kettles had a button you can select to keep the kettle at a specific temperature—if you don’t press it, the kettle will reach the temperature you set, and then immediately turn its heating element off. However, if you remove the kettle from its base, the “keep warm” function resets itself, which sort of renders the button useless in certain situations. To me, the “keep warm” function is good for people who want to set their kettles and walk away or for those who want extremely precise temperatures throughout their brewing cycle (you want your water to be at 205°F from the first pour to the last, for example) or are brewing more than one pourover at a time (I learned this lesson working in cafes where I expected a kettle to be hot only to learn the “keep warm” button reset itself). In the latter two situations, the “keep warm” function doesn’t seem designed to be helpful—except on the EKG, which had a “keep warm” switch that didn't reset, so you don’t have to keep pressing a button to keep your water at a specific temperature.
Now, onto some good news: I found that all of the kettles had a proper gooseneck shape and gave some level of control over pouring. None of them made a mess of the coffee grounds and the differences in flow rates were only apparent when we specifically filled each gooseneck kettle to the brim and aggressively poured all the water out, which you wouldn’t really do during brewing. I did fine counterweight of the handle to be more important—a gooseneck kettle should have enough weight in the handle to make pouring evenly feel comfortable. The kettles with lighter handles required more wrist strength to use, which can lead to discomfort.
The Criteria: What We Look for In a Gooseneck Kettle
I looked for gooseneck kettles that were durable, functional, and safe to use and had features that made sense like an easy-to-use “keep warm” function and a well-designed handle with a proper counterweight. When I specifically looked at variable temperature kettles, I also considered accuracy: an accurate kettle, like the Fellow Stagg EKG Gooseneck Kettle, that allowed me to set the temperature down to the precise degree (rather than just a select number of presets) was vastly preferable.
The Best Gooseneck Kettle: Fellow Stagg EKG Gooseneck Kettle
What we liked: The Fellow Stagg EKG was consistently the most accurate kettle, spot-on measuring temperature at 175°F and 185°F and only being a degree off at 190°F and 200°F. The EKG also had a hold switch located on the back of the brewer to maintain a set temperature for up to an hour. This seems like a small detail, but all the other variable temperature kettles had a button you had to press, which would reset anytime you took the kettle off its base—not ideal for making pourover coffee.
I found the variable temperature kettles with preset buttons to be both less useful and not entirely accurate. If you’re going to buy a variable temperature kettle, you should be able to set it to any temperature you’d like, which you can do with the EKG (again, anywhere from 135-212°F). To set the temperature on the EKG, you turn a knob and then press it down, which I found intuitive. The LED screen displays both your set temperature and the current temperature of the water, which was a nice way to gauge how far the water had gotten at any point in time (most kettles only display the current temperature). The handle on the EKG also had a proper counterweight, making it comfortable to pour no matter how full the kettle was. When I poured water freely into the sink, the flow rate was consistent from first pour to the last drop.
What we didn't like: Of course, the EKG is expensive. I also noticed a little bit of leaking from the top, but only when I aggressively tried to pour from the kettle (tipping it really far to see if the flowrate changed, which it didn’t, but some water did spill out). It also had a smaller capacity than some kettles, at only 0.9 liters.
- Weight: 4.52 pounds
- Stated capacity: 0.9 liters
- Length of time it holds temperature: One hour
The Best Non-Variable Gooseneck Kettle: Hario V60 "Buono" Electric Gooseneck Kettle
What we liked: Hario kettles are a classic for a reason: they do exactly what you need them to do and nothing more.
The reason I liked this kettle was because of its simplicity and speed. The non-electric version of the Hario kettle took more than double the amount of time to heat water than this model. I did like the versatility of Hario non-electric kettle (you can take it on the road, use it on an induction burner, and if you’re going camping, you can put it on an open flame), but I imagine most people are using a gooseneck kettle in their homes. The fact that the electric Hario turned off when it reached boiling was a big plus. I’ve seen folks forget their kettles on the stovetop before and the automatic off function is a good built-in safety feature.
The Hario’s gooseneck spout was easy to control, and its stainless steel build a cinch to clean. This kettle is ideal for folks who simply want to brew coffee: all you have to do is bring the water to a boil and wait about 30 seconds in order to reach an ideal brewing temperature (this does depend on how much water you fill the kettle with, so try taking a temperature read the first time you do this).
What we didn't like: The cord on the kettle is pretty short, so it needs to be close to an outlet. It doesn't offer the same control as the Fellow and lacks other features, like a "keep warm" setting.
- Weight: 1.76 pounds
- Stated capacity: 0.8 Liters
- Length of time it holds temperature: N/A
- Stagg Pour-Over Kettle: The Stagg is not induction-friendly and took much longer to reach boiling than the Hario. I liked the built-in thermometer on the lid, but for almost double the price of the Hario kettle, it isn’t enough to justify the cost.
- Cosori Electric Gooseneck Kettle: The Cosori came with five preset temperature options and no digital interface. The coolest option was still too hot (170°F) and it had a slightly plastic burning smell when heated.
- Bodum Melior Gooseneck Electric: This kettle's cork lid and handle didn't seem like wise choices for a product designed only to boil water and for a handle that’s meant to act as a counterweight. I actually ended up using this one a few more times because I was concerned about the quality and noticed some leaking towards the base.
- Bonavita Variable Temperature Electric Kettle: A great variable temperature kettle with a comfortable handle (it had a little divot for your thumb to hold) but the “keep warm” button had to be repressed every time I lifted the kettle. Even though you can program custom temperatures, you have to toggle through +/- buttons to set the temperature versus the EKG’s twisting temperature knob.
- Willow & Everett Gooseneck Electric Kettle: Similar to the Cosori, the Willow & Everett had five preset temperatures, but all the presets are 180°F-plus. The fact that you can’t dip lower than 180°F seems to defeat the purpose of a variable temperature kettle.
- Brewista Artisan Electric Gooseneck Kettle: The Brewista is very similar to the Bonavita and had the same drawbacks. I liked that it beeped when it reached a set temperature, but the temperature settings made weird jumps (like from 177°F to 178°F to 180°F—it skipped over 179°F as I toggled through).
- Cuisinart Digital Gooseneck Kettle: The Cuisinart was the most confusing kettle to use. I ended up pressing buttons over and over and had to read the manual very carefully, as opposed to the other kettles which were intuitive to operate. This kettle also only measured temperature in five-degree increments.
- KitchenAid Precision Gooseneck Digital Kettle: This kettle was really heavy and had superfluous features—it had a digital read thermometer, but also an analog thermometer on top. However, this was the only kettle that had an adjustable flow restrictor, so you could customize the flow of water coming out of the kettle. While this feature might be appropriate for coffee shops or home brewers who want to get super into manual brewing, I don’t think it's necessary for most home users.
- brim Temperature Control Electric Gooseneck Kettle: The lid on the brim was really hard to remove, and because it was made of stainless steel, got really hot. I felt comfortable handling all the other brewers, but was a little nervous I’d burn myself with this one.
- Hario “Buono” Kettle: I have nothing bad to say about this kettle except that it took a long time to reach boiling. However, this seemed to be an issue with all non-electric kettles and not the fault of the kettle itself.
Why buy a gooseneck kettle?
Most people have probably seen a kettle with a wide spout located towards the top. However, with these kettles it's way too easy to pour out water too fast or slow, resulting in poorly extracted pourover coffee. A gooseneck kettle allows you to pour water slowly and at a controlled rate, which is important for pourover brewing where you’re trying to evenly saturate your bed of coffee.
“When making pour overs it's incredibly helpful to be able to focus the pour on specific areas rather than splashing it all across the brew bed, and also to use the speed of the pour to manage the coffee's extraction time.” says Jackson O’Brien, a technician and trainer for Peace Coffee in Minneapolis.
You don’t need a gooseneck kettle for automatic brewers or brewers that require full immersion with the coffee grounds, like French presses or Aeropresses since the grounds will be fully saturated and hang out with water for a period of time. Gooseneck kettles are primarily for brewers like a Hario V60 or a Chemex. However, they can also be handy tools for loose leaf teas, since different tea styles often require different temperatures.
How does a gooseneck kettle control the flow rate of water?
Gooseneck kettles control the flow rate due to their shape and design. “Kettles whose spouts come out from the top of the vessel are going to have vastly variable flow rates depending on how full the vessel is and the angle the person holding it pours,” O’Brien says. “Gooseneck kettles have the water exit the kettle at the bottom of the kettle, so the flow rate isn't going to be affected by how full the kettle is. In addition the fact that the tube is of a uniform diameter across the entire length means that the angle of the user's pour isn't going to affect the flow rate too much.”
We noted that the KitchenAid kettle had a flow restrictor, which allowed you even more control of the flow rate. If that’s something you’re looking for, most coffee equipment websites sell flow restrictors, which are usually a small plug that narrows the passageway of the gooseneck.
How often should I clean a gooseneck kettle?
Probably more often than you think. Since the kettle only touches water, you might be inclined to believe that you don’t need to clean it: that’s incorrect. As water touches certain surfaces, it leaves behind scale, or calcium carbonate, which can look like a white, powdery substance or stubborn stains at the bottom of your kettle that won’t come off.
Luckily, you can see most parts of a gooseneck kettle (versus an automatic coffee brewer on an espresso machine that has tubes and reservoirs that aren’t easily accessible), so you should clean your kettle anytime you see grime or anything that doesn’t look like water. “If you ever get hard water deposits inside your kettle, the best way to rid yourself of it is by dissolving 2 tbsp citric acid powder (available at most hardware stores and grocery stores among the canning supplies) in one-quart [of] water and popping it in the kettle and turning it on,” O’Brien suggests. “Don't boil soap unless you're comfortable with your kitchen walls wearing soapy water.”