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Hot Water Urns

Updated on May 8, 2012

Find out how to use, maintain, and enjoy hot water urns!

Coffee urns / hot water urns are a great way to have hot water, coffee, or tea ready for large company. This lens will cover tips for selecting urns, maintaining them, and using them to their best.

Hot water urns are fantastic for avoiding to constantly have to refill and reboil water in a kettle. Also, for those who observe a sabbath, hot water urns mean being able to enjoy coffee or tea on the sabbath without having to turn on electrical appliances.

Enjoy this lens and feel free to leave your feedback!

Five things to look for when getting a new coffee urn

1. Is it made of stainless steel?

Cheaper coffee urns are made with aluminum. A white scale can build up on these very quickly and aluminum has been suspected of causing health problems. Stainless steel urns are easier to clean, less likely to dent, and may even have health benefits (iron).

2. Does it have an on/off switch?

Or do you just plug it in? Yikes! Make sure you can shut this off without having to unplug it.

3. Is there a water level gauge?

Will you know how much water / coffee / tea is left inside while you're using it? Level gauges also help you fill.

4. What is the wattage?

Kitchen outlets in North America can typically handle 15 Amps, which means a hot water urn greater than 1800 W is likely to trip a breaker often.

5. Is it UL / CSA approved?

Make sure that the urn bares a seal of a reliable testing lab to make sure it's been tested in many different conditions.

High Quality Stainless Steel Coffee Urns

Five tips for cleaning coffee urns

1. Don't leave them wet

Once you're finished using your coffee urn, empty it and dry it.

2. Use a spray bottle with vinegar

Fill a clean spray bottle with vinegar and spray it on the inside of your coffee urn. Wait a few minutes then wipe clean with a dry towel or paper towels.

3. Keep the outside clean too!

Don't leave a message outside, wash of stains with vinegar.

4. Heat stains? Use baking soda.

If you have a heat stain on the outside of the urn, make a paste of baking soda and rub it on the stain. Wait a few minutes and then rinse free.

5. Rinse before use.

Haven't used your urn in awhile? Rinse the inside first to wash away dust and anything else that might have accumulated between uses.

Waring Pro Coffee Urn

This is one of the coffee urns that are stainless steel and will last. You can check out it working in this clip from The Shopping Channel.

Coffee urns aren't only for coffee! Yes, you can use them for making tea and hot water.

More stainless steel coffee urns

These are great for travel! I have a small coffee urn that I take with me whenever I travel over a weekend.

Ten tips for using a coffee urn

1. Don't overuse your urn

Parts of the urn may deteriorate if the urn if left on for hours at a time. Limit your use to two hours at a time.

2. Use a heavy duty timer with your urn

This will help you prevent leaving the urn on for too long.

3. Use a separate circuit / outlet

Coffee urns can draw a lot of power. Make sure to use them on a separate line from other appliances or you might risk tripping a breaker.

4. Keep it clean

See the cleaning tips above. Calcium build-up in urns can cause short circuits and ruin your urn.

5. Use a thermos

Use a thermos for storing and transporting hot water from the urn.

6. Always use the spigot / basket

Even if you are only using the urn for hot water and not tea or coffee, use the spigot and basket. The spigot (long metal tube that comes with the urn) circulates the water and keeps certain parts from overheating.

7. Don't overfill

Estimate how much hot water / coffee you'll need. Just you using the urn? Only put in a few cups - not fifty.

8. Make sure it's closed

Check the cap to make sure it's securely in place. With high quality urns, hot water will spurt up the spigot and you don't want to send the top flying.

9. Keep it close to an edge

If you don't have young children running around, keeping the urn close to the edge of a counter / table will help with the filling of carafes and thermoses.

10. Broker urn? Fuggedaboutit.

Urns are expensive, but unless you know someone who's reliable at fixing small appliances, it's better to buy a new one than repair one. Repairing can cost a significant fraction of the purchase price and take months and months.

Making coffee in your urn? You'll need filters...

Industrial Coffee Urn

Whoa! That's a lot of coffee / hot water!

Classy Coffee Urns - Samovars

The original coffee urn... the samovar is pure elegance in tea making.

Got a tip on coffee urns?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I got a used urn at a restaurant supply store. Great deal!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Need an urn for my focus group.. thanks

    • LeorG profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the feedback - I'll take a closer look and update.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This article is painfully out-of-date. Most of the stainless steel urns mentioned as "high quality" are either no longer available (on Amazon where they are linked to) or rate poorly by reviewers.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      10 years ago

      I love the functionality of coffee urns (and now can even say the beauty as you highlighted a few very good looking ones), and have been considering purchasing on to have for large family functions. Thanks for giving me some good information and some resources.


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