The 10 Best Travel Kettles
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. There are few items more useful for a frequent traveler than a good portable kettle, especially one that works on both 110- and 220-volt power sources. The options in our selection provide a quick and easy means of boiling water to enjoy a soothing cuppa in the comfort of your hotel room, combat jet lag with an invigorating dose of caffeine, or even heat up water for a pack of ramen noodles. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 11, 2019:
Like standard tea kettles but more compact and easier to travel with, these portable kettles are great for heating water for beverages, oatmeal, or noodles when you’re away from home. Most can heat between half a liter and a full liter of liquid, and some even collapse for compact storage in your travel bag.
Coming on board in this update is the stainless steel AmaonBasics 1 Liter, which features a smooth-pouring spout that’s equipped with a mesh filter to ensure you get clean, pure water each time. Its prominent side window slows for precise filling and lets you check the water level with just a quick glance. The base serves as its heating element and attaches to the power cord, so the kettle stays conveniently cordless when you need to bring it around the room to fill up everyone’s cup.
For an option that not only heats water but also can be used for cooking eggs, pasta, oatmeal, or soup, look to the Liven Hot Pot. It comes with a one-liter capacity and is great for heating up a liquid-based meal for one to two people. It’s a convenient way to cook in an RV, a dorm, or any place where you’re limited on space and don’t have access to a gas stove.
The T-Fal Balanced Living moves into our top spot, as it’s a convenient means of heating up to four cups’ worth of water quickly. It’s designed with safety in mind, featuring an automatic shutoff function that keeps it from boiling dry. It costs a bit more than many, but it comes with conveniences often not included with others, such as variable temperature control, a locking lid, and a 360-degree swiveling base.
A Brief History Of Tea
Buddhist monks quickly added it to many of their spiritual practices, and they created ceremonies that used tea to demonstrate harmony and simplicity.
Wars have been fought over it. Gods have been honored using it. And British people have completely arranged their lives around it.
We're talking about tea, of course. It's one of the most beloved drinks known to man, and is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, trailing only water.
Its history dates back to China around 3000 B.C.E., specifically the Yunnan province in the southwest portion of the country. Initially, it was used only for medicinal purposes, and was often combined with other healing herbs and plants. Once it spread to the Sichuan province, however, people began to also drink it for pleasure.
Tea was mainly relegated to China until the Tang dynasty came along around 600 C.E., at which point it spread through much of Asia, including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Buddhist monks quickly added it to many of their spiritual practices, and they created ceremonies that used tea to demonstrate harmony and simplicity.
Throughout this time, the drink was slowly being introduced to the rest of the world, thanks mainly to Arabian travelers and Italian and Portuguese traders. For whatever reason, though, it wouldn't truly take off until the early 17th century, at which point the Dutch East India Company brought green tea to Amsterdam.
By the 1650s, tea had spread to France, Russia, and England. It was mostly still imported from China, however, which kept prices high and made it a delicacy known only to the wealthiest citizens.
It didn't help that the British government taxed tea heavily. As a result, smuggling was rampant, and many powerful criminal organizations popped up to control its distribution.
Those high taxes led directly to a little mishap in Boston in 1773, when citizens angered by new tea regulations boarded a ship owned by the British East India Company and threw its entire shipment into the harbor. It would be one of the opening salvos in the burgeoning American Revolution (because when you mess with an Englishman's tea, it means war).
Tea would be tangentially involved in another fracas in 1839. Britain went to war with China over the importation of opium, and as a result, tea imports suffered as well. Not willing to risk their precious beverage, the government dispatched a spy to China to learn all of their tea-making secrets, which were then deployed for British use in India.
Today, tea is seen as the epitome of British-ness, but it's enjoyed in various forms all over the world. It hasn't caused any more wars — but that's because people have learned what happens when you take tea away from the Brits.
Why You Need A Travel Kettle
Buying a travel kettle may seem like making a concession to your own addiction, but it's actually a smart idea for anyone who's often on the go and has trouble finding a good cuppa.
The ones in your room might be a little finicky, and by the time you've figured them out, you're off to the next hotel.
Having your own machine that you use constantly allows you to figure out all the tips and tricks necessary to brewing the perfect cup. The ones in your room might be a little finicky, and by the time you've figured them out, you're off to the next hotel.
Speaking of hotel kettles...you don't know where they've been. Or who's been using them. Or what they've been doing with them — such as boiling their underwear. That's not the kind of infusion you're likely interested in.
With your own, personal kettle, you can be sure that it's kept clean and well-maintained, and that the only germs you're exposing yourself to are your own.
It's also much cheaper in the long run than going to a cafe every time you need your fix. That kind of expenditure adds up quickly, so if you're trying to be frugal, buying a travel kettle is a good place to start.
Of course, there are downsides — mainly that it's bulky to lug around. So yes, you might need to buy a bigger suitcase, but that's a small price to pay for having a cheap, perfect cup of tea on-demand.
The Smart Person's Guide To Drinking Tea On The Road
Unfortunately, getting a quality cup while traveling can be extremely hit-or-miss. That's why you need to put together your very own kit to ensure that you can always brew a perfect pitcher, regardless of where you are. You've (hopefully) found your perfect kettle from the options above, so that's a good start.
Once you have all of the parts and pieces assembled, you'll have everything you need to get your fix, anywhere you happen to be.
Next, you need to find the right leaves. Chances are, you've already got a type and brand you prefer, so the next thing is to find a storage tin to carry them in. You can also use a Ziploc bag if you don't care about style; the important thing is to find something relatively airtight that can keep them protected and in one place.
If you take your tea with sugar, honey, or other sweeteners, you can put them in your tin as well. It's probably best to rely on your hotel for milk, though.
A high-end travel mug is also a must, as you likely want to take some with you on the way to your next location. Even if you only drink a cup in the morning, do you really want to trust the mugs in your room — especially after we learned what some monsters do with the kettles?
Once you have all of the parts and pieces assembled, you'll have everything you need to get your fix, anywhere you happen to be. After all, there's absolutely nothing in the world that's worth looking at before you've had a cup or two in the morning.