Whistling tea kettle that doesn't destroy my hearing?
February 16, 2010 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a tea kettle that plays a melodic sound when the water boils, rather than the common high-pitched screeeeee? I heard one once, so I know they exist, but I'm having zero luck finding one. Even when they claim to be pleasant, they aren't, and buying and returning tea kettles (especially online) is getting old fast. Do you have a lovely sounding kettle? Please tell me all about it.
posted by kestralwing to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Google for
train whistle tea kettle
That should supply you with one for every day of the week.
posted by Namlit at 7:51 AM on February 16, 2010

As I recall these (not cheap) teakettles have Hohner harmonica whistles.

posted by marmot at 7:54 AM on February 16, 2010

The Chantal harmonica teakettles have a pretty-sounding whistle, but in my experience they're not very durable-- I and family members have had the whistles rust and break on three separate kettles, and while the company is very nice about sending out free replacement whistles, it's kind of a PITA to have to order them every 6 months.

After my Chantal, I switched to this Circulon, which doesn't have the nice two-tone whistle, but is nonetheless very deep and mellifluous instead of screechy.
posted by Bardolph at 7:57 AM on February 16, 2010

...and then there is a kettle that plays Chopin's funeral march on Youtube
Couldn't find out whether it's for sale.

But seriously, it seems that the Alessi brand is where you need to look.
posted by Namlit at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: Have you considered an electric kettle? They turn themselves off when they're done and make no noise at all. I don't know whether "no noise" counts as "lovely" or not :-)
posted by emilyw at 8:20 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have this electric one - and absolutely love it. If you only drink black tea the temperature control may not be important, but I find it essential for brewing a good cup of green or white tea.
posted by COD at 8:36 AM on February 16, 2010

I got a harmonica sounding kettle for my parents a few years back and they love it. It's loud, but not piercing. If you like harmonicas, all the better
posted by pmbuko at 9:56 AM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: When I moved to the US from the UK I was shocked at how few people had electric kettles, they're an essential appliance in the UK! Mine turns itself off automatically when it boils and just makes a tiny *ping* when it does it. Maybe this is a non-answer, but I really think electric is the way to go!
posted by crabintheocean at 10:16 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a oxo brand kettle purchased years ago from Bed Bath and Beyond and it makes a pleasant sounding hum when the water boils. It's similar to this, but not quite the exact same model.
posted by seesom at 10:27 AM on February 16, 2010

You definitely want the Hohner one. Hohner is by the world's foremost harmonica manufacturer, and plays the same chord you get by simply blowing into a harmonica. (I have zero musical knowledge, obviously, but so I was once told by a super-musical boyfriend.)

Personally, one day I inherited a copper tea kettle from my grandmother. It has NO whistle, you just kind of listen (and watch) for the clouds of steam escaping. I don't think I could ever go back to a noise-making tea kettle again. It just seems so... civilized!

(Not as civilized as an electric kettle - but alas, I haven't the counter space.)
posted by ErikaB at 12:58 PM on February 16, 2010

Just as an additional data point -- I have a Chantal Enamel-on-Steel kettle with a Hohner whistle. It gets daily use and has served me well for almost a decade, with no real sign of wear or tear. I paid about $75 for mine, because I found a good sale. (I've seen these same kettles at places like T.J. Maxx or Marshalls for about half the retail price.)

The whistle is a two-tone harmonica that sounds a little like a train whistle. I wouldn't call it "pretty", exactly, but it's warm & pleasant -- and it's loud. I typically put the kettle on in the morning, & go about my business several rooms away until I hear the whistle.

A critical part of keeping a high end tea kettle happy & providing good service is maintaining the kettle. I boil vinegar in mine periodically to help remove calcium buildup inside the kettle, and to keep the whistle clear & functioning. Leaving water sitting in the kettle is inadvisable as well -- this frequently leads to rust damage. Also, never let your tea kettle boil dry. Chantal kettles come with pretty clear instructions on kettle maintenance, as do most high-end brands I'm familiar with.
posted by dryad at 3:19 PM on February 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! We're going to give the electric teakettle a try. I've never even known anyone who's had one, but all those foreign tea-drinkers have convinced me. (If that doesn't work, we'll cough up the bucks to buy one with a Hohner harmonica.)
posted by kestralwing at 4:31 PM on February 16, 2010

Congratulations! And as the neighbor of someone who makes tea several times a day with a screaming kettle, I guess thank you too!

My experience has been that electric kettles available in the US are often not as well made as those in the UK, and in six years I've been through three. I've had this one for a good while now though, and I'm really happy with it. It has all the features I think are important, like a cord that retracts into the base, it looks good, and it's doing what it's supposed to.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:34 PM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Chantal - I have their loop style kettle, and I love it. People come over and gush about its pleasant harmonics!
posted by Eshkol at 6:02 PM on February 16, 2010

Canadian with an electric kettle here (Sunbeam) and loving it.
posted by Billegible at 7:43 PM on February 16, 2010

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