Kettle vs a Microwave for Boiling Water

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Updated August 19, 2022

Owning the best microwave isn’t only about warming food, but heating water and other liquids as well. For example, suppose you enjoy having a few cups of tea throughout the day. In that case, you may consider whether an electric tea kettle might deliver a better drink. Unfortunately, which works better between a kettle vs. a microwave for boiling water isn’t necessarily that simple.


  • A kettle uses an external or internal heating source to heat water and bring it to a boil.
  • Microwaves use electromagnetic radiation to heat food or liquid in the cavity.
  • While either appliance will boil water, a kettle is more efficient and will give better-tasting tea.

While either electrical appliance will make hot water, the question is which will give you a uniform temperature in a cup of water. Read on to discover the crucial differences to get the best hot water for tea, coffee, or instant soup.

Insider Tip

Use hot water in your kettle before applying heat because your water will boil much faster.

Which Boils Better: the Electric Tea Kettle or the Microwave Oven?

Before we get into which device is better for boiling water, let’s look at how they work. The microwave oven uses electromagnetic radiation to excite the water molecules in either your food or drink. In addition, some models have an automatic reheating function compared to regular microwave operation.

The most basic kettle is a stainless steel model that needs an electric or gas stove to heat water. Some standalone electric models use an internal heating element to heat the water. In addition, most electric kettles use an auto-stop function that powers off the unit when your water temperature is reached.

Hot Drink Flavor

Just like comparing a Lightwave oven and a microwave oven, there will be a taste difference between the two heating methods. For example, while the average microwave delivers a fine drink, an electric kettle produces a more consistent flavor compared to microwaved water.


Due to a difference in the water convection process, there will be a temperature difference between an electric kettle vs a microwave. In addition, most kettles are insulated to reduce heat loss. Therefore, while the electromagnetic waves of your microwave will boil water, it may result in cooler water than from an electric stove.

Energy Efficiency

Neither electric appliance is more energy-efficient, but a standard non-electric tea kettle will work with an alternate heat source like an open flame. For best results, look for an appliance with Energy Star approval to ensure low levels of energy use. With that said, choosing a microwave should be based on your overall health for using an oven or microwave. And, you’ll want to make sure you get cookware that is oven safe or microwave safe, depending on which appliance you buy.


If microwaving water, make sure you only heat it in a microwave-safe container. If not, it may melt or seep harmful materials into your water.


Can you put honeycomb in your cup of tea?

You can put honeycomb in your tea, but you’ll want a type of tea that maintains its flavor at a lower temperature. Stick to a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius or 107 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results.

What is the cheapest way to heat water?

Unless you’re using propane, a gas stovetop is the cheapest route for hot water. That said, it is only marginally less expensive than using an electric burner.

Why does a kettle make a noise when boiling?

Your kettle makes noise due to the unusual convection process in the kettle. As the water heats, steam bubbles form and collapse, making the sound we recognize as a boiling kettle.

STAT: According to the US Tea Association, up to 159 million Americans consume tea every day. (source)

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