Welcome to our big samovar test 2021. Here we present all the samovars we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.
We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best samovar for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a samovar.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Samovar: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a samovar
- 5 Decision: What types of samovars are there and which one is right for you?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate samovars based on these factors
- 7 Facts worth knowing about samovars
The most important facts
- Samovars are very practical tea makers and kettles at the same time. They are appreciated for their design, fast brewing and give you more options to make your perfect tea.
- The biggest difference between samovars is between electric and charcoal samovars. However, practically all other features are not linked to these "top points".
- An electric samovar has the advantage that you don't have to buy or carry charcoal. On the other hand, unlike charcoal samovars, they are tied to a power source. Charcoal samovars can be used on beaches or in the garden with some preparation.
The Best Samovar: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a samovar
What is a samovar?
Samovars are tea makers, kettles and warmers in one. They are valued for their traditional background, especially in Russia and some Middle Eastern countries, because of their beautiful ornaments and designs and different ways of developing the flavour of teas. Samovars consist of two kettles - one for the tea and a second for the water.
The upper kettle, the teapot, is filled with tea or tea concentrate, which is then heated by the steam from the lower kettle, a kettle. Tea concentrates are tea leaves that have been mixed with a little water. The purpose of the lower kettle is to keep the upper pot at a constant temperature by its escaping heat. By keeping the tea (concentrate) and water apart, cleaning the inside of the samovar is no longer necessary as often.
Samovars that work with charcoal also have a small chamber for the charcoal, which is used to heat the lower kettle. Nowadays, many samovars work with integrated heating plates. Although they are mainly known for making tea, you can of course also use samovars as normal kettles.
What is good about a samovar?
Samovars have become real cultural assets in Russia, Turkey and other countries in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. Even though their importance is diminishing, their history is strongly linked to these countries. A samovar belongs to a Russian wedding like a priest to a church wedding. Another point in favour of samovars is their beautiful ornamentation.
Especially in earlier times, samovars were very heavily decorated, which was not an insignificant benefit for them. Even if they are not used, they are still beautiful furnishings. Often the decorations and designs are also the recognisable difference between samovars in different cultures. So they are also very suitable for catering establishments and celebrations - a visual eye-catcher and still useful.
When making tea with a samovar, you have several freedoms, such as determining the mixing ratio or tea concentrate. This can help you to discover the perfect taste for yourself. Especially the blending ratio, which differs in many cultures and tea varieties, has a great influence on the taste of the tea. Samovars often last a lifetime.
Even in old Russia, the Tsarist Empire, where samovars cost a month's wages, they were considered a long-term investment. The next point is ease of use. Setting up and operating a samovar can be tricky at first, but the samovar has some advantages that make it easier to use.
A samovar can stay hot all day, which you will appreciate especially if you have a lot of guests. As a host or restaurant manager, you have one less thing to worry about.
Furthermore, the capacity of samovars can be considerable. From small samovars with one to one and a half litres to huge samovars with over 40 litres, everything is possible. Of course, in most cases you will not need such huge amounts of water. Normal households are usually well equipped with about three to five litres.
What's not so good about a samovar?
To be fair, I will also mention the disadvantages of a samovar, because it should be clear to you what you are getting into. A samovar is still "just" a kettle and tea maker. In households where more coffee is drunk, the samovar might get dusty if the household has a conventional kettle.
A samovar can be much heavier and larger than a regular kettle because the capacity comes at a price. You should therefore always make sure that you have enough space and a good stable stand for a samovar.
Depending on the size and weight, transporting a samovar can also be very tiring.
Samovars are often more expensive and harder to get than a standard tea maker. The choice of models is quite small and the availability of spare parts and accessories is also not very good. As already mentioned, the first use of a samovar can also be very complicated.
This is not a disaster, as an instruction manual is supplied in all cases and there are plenty of sources on the internet that explain to you in an understandable way how to operate the samovar. However, you should not think you are an expert right out of the box.
What features are important in a samovar?
The thermostat is a particularly important feature for tea lovers, as different types of tea need different temperatures. With a thermostat, you can achieve the desired temperature in an electric samovar. A Harvard Medical School study explored the health benefits of black tea prepared in a samovar. Black tea contains a plant compound called a flavinoid. Flavinoids reduce inflammation, reduce plaque formation in the arteries.
Dr. Sesso says that drinking black tea regularly can even reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and strokes, but it should still be consumed in moderation. Since samovars can be very expensive, make sure they come with a long warranty. Despite their robust design and long lifespan, this does not mean that no faults can occur during production or that samovars are indestructible.
So it's better to be safe than sorry. A good instruction manual is a "feature" that first-time samovar owners in particular should pay attention to, otherwise they will only cause themselves unnecessary stress. Other functions that are appreciated by many customers are the pilot light, automatic switch-off and keep-warm function. These are much more common in newer samovars, but are not limited to the electric ones.
If you buy a samovar, you should also buy pretty tea glasses. There are also complete sets where samovar and accessories are coordinated. Trays can also be nice to look at and are very practical, especially if you have a lot of guests. Other useful accessories are small tins or boxes to store the tea.
What is usually already included with a samovar is a tea strainer. This can be very useful, especially for loose tea leaves.
Decision: What types of samovars are there and which one is right for you?
The characteristics of a samovar can be roughly divided into four different categories:
- Electric or charcoal
- Russian or Turkish
- Decorations - Designs
You can combine these characteristics practically without restrictions. Whether you want to buy a light electric Russian samovar with a simple design or a large Turkish one with stylish ornaments is up to you.
Mobile samovars differ from conventional samovars in their small size. Any samovar can theoretically be used wherever you need it, but some samovars are less suitable than others. So if you like picnics or camping, a small mobile samovar is of course more advantageous for you. The disadvantage here is the smaller capacity - so such a model is unsuitable if you are expecting a lot of guests.
Electric or charcoal
Electric samovars do not need charcoal, which means less cost and effort, as charcoal can be a bit heavy to carry. Samovars that are still operated with charcoal or even paraffin are advised not to be used indoors (filling up, lighting etc.), but outdoors.
This is not necessary with electric samovars. When it comes to looks, it should not be a problem to find an electric samovar in the style of the old traditional samovars, but the choice is more limited than with a charcoal samovar with an old-fashioned design. Electric samovars always need a power source.
However, mobile battery stations can help out here, so that you can also use an electric samovar on the move. Samovars that still work with charcoal imitate the classic Russian samovar and are still the most widespread samovars today.
Russian or Turkish
The difference between Turkish and Russian samovars is really only visual. While Russian samovars are for the most part still very traditional and built with the shapes of the last centuries, Turkish samovars are distinguished by their modern design. Caydanliks are also very popular in Turkey. These are simpler forms of the samovar, consisting of two pots, whereby the lower pot, the caydanlik, has no lid and is "closed" by the upper pot.
A samovar in Turkey is called a "samower", so a caydanlik is not just another name for samovar - both versions are popular in Turkey.
Basically, you shouldn't worry about getting a Russian or Turkish samovar unless you have personal preferences for the ornaments or a cultural connection to one of these countries. A Russian samovar is currently the most popular model.
Ornaments / Designs
When it comes to designs, there are not only the various ornaments that differ culturally, but you can also choose between different modern looks and the more uniform old samovar designs. Samovars are so popular as furnishing items that some models cannot even be used for making tea, but only as decoration. There are interesting creations in modern samovars.
For example, the "pyramid", a samovar with a conical design that does not diverge at the top like some other samovar designs. If you want to buy a samovar for its ornamentation or shape to decorate your home, or if you have a collection of antiques, you will be delighted with the wide range of samovars available.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate samovars based on these factors
In addition to the guidebook, which is designed to help you choose the right samovar based on the characteristics listed (origin, type of heating, capacity, designs), there are also the buying criteria.
On the one hand, they enable you to make an even more precise decision by being much more product-specific, and on the other hand, they provide further information on the basic characteristics that may also have an influence on your choice of samovar. After extensive research, I decided on the following chewing criteria:
Also check out our samovar comparison chart! This makes it much easier and quicker for you to compare the currently most important samovars based on their features and purchase criteria.
Samovars are cleaned like normal tea makers or kettles. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Normally, you should clean the samovar or the lower kettle that heats the water about every fortnight, depending on how often you use it. However, when you take the samovar out again, I would advise you to take a look inside to see if everything is in order or if limescale has already built up.
A samovar is descaled in the same way as a kettle. The outside of the samovar should also be cleaned of dirt and stains to preserve its beautiful design. The upper kettle, the pot, does not need to be descaled often, as it only holds the tea or tea concentrate. You can clean it in the sink or with a cloth. To prevent calcification, you can treat the inside of a samovar with special products or run the water through a filter first.
In the case of electric samovars, make sure that the electrical components at the base do not come into contact with water, and use damp cloths instead. When choosing an electric samovar, make sure that the heating element is covered - this makes cleaning the inside much easier.
I have not included this item in the comparison table because you can already see the colour in the pictures. However, there are a few things you can note here that should make your purchase decision easier. Colours are of course very important for the decorations and the look. Many samovars get their charm from the material.
Stainless steel is very common. Many samovars get their shiny tone from stainless steel. If you are looking for something more striking, you will also find it. As already mentioned in the guide, other samovars have pretty coloured decorations or are at least a little more colourful, for example in beige or light blue. Apart from the decorated samovars, most models are monochrome or black and white.
Getting hot water quickly is an important feature of any kettle, tea maker or samovar. The average power of a samovar is a little over 2,000 watts, which is comparable to modern kettles/tea makers. However, the power of samovars varies considerably. Most operate at around 1,500 to 2,500 watts.
If you don't want to wait too long for your tea or hot water, we recommend the more powerful versions. The power consumption is higher and many customers are also satisfied with 1,500 watts in terms of speed. As a normal tea drinker, you can therefore comfortably use the relatively weaker versions. Practically all samovars, but the electric ones can also keep water warm. With charcoal models, on the other hand, this cannot be determined exactly.
Keeping warm is not a problem in terms of power, because samovars use only a fraction of their maximum power for this - usually a quarter to a fifth. This is a nice advantage if the samovar is to keep hot tea ready all day, but not draw so much power. Normally, samovars automatically go into keep-warm mode when the desired temperature has been reached. Samovars that use charcoal do not need electricity.
However, the price of charcoal must be taken into account to make a fair comparison. In addition, the charcoal needs to be replaced from time to time if the samovar has been in use for a long time - not an uncommon occurrence at celebrations.
Samovars intended for households, i.e. with a capacity of around three litres or less, usually weigh around three kilograms. Samovars made of plastic are somewhat heavier than those made of stainless steel, but this may be due to the processing.
Larger and heavier samovars do not automatically have more capacity. Either way, you should not have any problems with the weight of a normal samovar. All the models presented here weigh between 2 and 3.2 kg.
Even if it is rather secondary to your decision in comparison to design / capacity / type of heating, the material also has an influence on satisfaction. Material has an impact on other factors such as appearance. For example, stainless steel has a shiny tone, plastic or plastic rather a plain look and glass is transparent so that you can see the water.
However, the look is not always unchanging due to the material. So you can find a stainless steel samovar with plain colours or glass samovars with a silver look. However, if you think a transparent samovar is pretty, you won't be able to avoid glass.
Despite various options, the choice could be very small for special combinations. If necessary, one would even have to send a request to a manufacturer. With plastic or plastic, several customers have complained about the plastic taste in the tea or the plastic smell in the room caused by boiling the water with different appliances.
By and large, these complaints have been isolated and reviews for these samovars have still generally been very positive. If you decide to buy a samovar that has this problem, you should insist on your warranty.
Not only with plastic, but also with other materials, you should stop using the samovar or return it immediately if you notice that the material affects the taste of the tea.
The aim of every manufacturer is to keep the samovar itself neutral in taste. If this is not the case, it is probably a manufacturing defect.
I already mentioned the thermostat in the functions section of the guide. It is a valuable feature, along with the keep-warm function and the automatic switch-off function. I have already mentioned the keep-warm function and the switch-off function is available in practically every electric samovar. With the thermostat, you can distinguish between stepless variants and those where the temperature can be regulated in stages - i.e. whether you can specify an exact temperature or the samovar only heats up to one of the preset levels, similar to a hotplate. Stepless, of course, has the advantage that you have more freedom to regulate the heat.
Tea lovers can use it to optimise their tea enjoyment. Steps are not a big problem, however, as samovars are usually designed so that the steps are matched to the tea and even novices can prepare a good tea. The optimum tea temperature is 95 °C. Charcoal samovars do not have thermostats. Here, the temperature is only determined by the amount of charcoal filled in.
Facts worth knowing about samovars
The name samovar
Like the appliance itself, the name comes from the Russian: "Samo" stands for self, "war" for cooking - "self-cooker", in other words.
What is the history of the samovar in Russia?
Samovars as we know them were invented in Russia around 1730 in the industrial city of Tula. However, there are records of similar devices or precursors much earlier in China and other East Asian countries. Tula is still the centre of samovar production today. From Russia, the samovar spread to neighbouring countries and so on to the Middle East, especially Turkey and Iran.
Both countries were also enthusiastic teen nations even before that. Especially the Persians of that time, today's Iranians, enjoyed the look of a samovar and decorated them more than in Russia. Samovars were real status symbols for a long time. They were very expensive because of the metals used.
After brass was used as the main component, the price dropped sharply, which made the samovar affordable for the lower classes and allowed it to spread to other countries. Nowadays, samovars are part of the equipment of Russian and Turkish households because of their history and usefulness, as both countries are still big teen nations. The samovar is not only a household appliance, but also really rooted in Russian culture.
This can be seen, for example, in the fact that samovars are also depicted on postage stamps or that there is a museum with historical samovars in the town of Gorodez. In Germany, the samovar does not have a large fan base, except among people with Russian, Iranian or Turkish roots - out of nostalgia and the feeling of having a piece of home with them.
Another reason is the popularity of tea in these countries. Tea is a national drink in Turkey, Iran and of course Russia.
Picture source: 123rf.com / Kyrylo Shevtsov