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No kitchen is complete without a kettle to make the tea and coffee that we drink in vast quantities. We also use kettles for food prep, sterilising and much more.
There are plenty of factors to consider before buying. Do you want to splash out on a kettle that's multifunctioning and high-tech, with 'keep-warm' and other additional options. Would you like the lid to flip up or lift off? Are you after a kettle that's not too noisy during early-morning brewing sessions?
Read on to discover which kettles are best – you might be surprised by how inexpensive some of our choices are.
The best kettles to buy in 2020
Bosch cordless kettle
Best high-tech kettle
Read our full review of the Bosch cordless kettle here
This Bosch cordless kettle offers great features for tea aficionados. The kettle sits on a black base with touchscreen-like controls. From here, you can turn it on and off, or select the best temperature for your brew between 70C and 100C.
There’s also a 'keep warm' button to maintain the water at the same temperature for 30 minutes. Although its not the smallest or quietest model we tested, the Bosch is the quickest, boiling water in just two minutes and six seconds.
Dualit Domus kettle
Most user-friendly kettle
Read our full review of the Dualit Domus kettle here
The shiny, stainless steel Dualit domus kettle doesn’t come cheap but it's brilliantly designed. Smaller than most of the kettles we tested, it has a maximum capacity of only 1.5 litres, but this is still enough for six cups of tea and its footprint is smaller as a result, giving it a compact feel. Boiling in an average 2 minutes and 26 seconds for a litre, it's a great little kettle for households.
Tower Bottega kettle
Best traditional kettle
Read our full review of the Tower Bottega kettle here
We loved the unusual look of this Tower kettle. Taller than a pyramid kettle and rounder than a jug, it has a cottage-style appearance and would look great as a statement appliance to add character to a kitchen. The kettle was one of the quietest we tested and was reasonably quick too, boiling a litre of water in an average of 2 minutes and 16 seconds. The only downside we found was the water-level indicator, as the markings are difficult to read.
Home Bargains Open Kitchen copper effect kettle
Best bargain kettle
Read our full review of the Home Bargains kettle here
For the money, this Home Bargains kettle is well-designed and stylish. It’s pretty sizeable, too. With a capacity of 1.8 litres, it’s the biggest of all the kettles we tested, which means it could be a good buy if you make tea for the masses. It also boiled a litre of water efficiently in a decent 2 minutes 25 seconds, and was the lightest we tried when empty. You get a lot for your money with this one.
Swan Nordic jug kettle
Most stylish kettle
Read our full review of the Swan Nordic kettle here
If you want a kettle that's striking and different, this Scandinavian-style Swan kettle could be the answer – it's an elegant and streamlined appliance that also comes in a cordless model. The wood-effect handle is made of rubber and easy to grip, but obstructs the water level gauge behind it. However, the upright design of this kettle means that despite its 1.7 litre capacity, it doesn't take up that much space on the worktop. It's also fairly efficient, taking 2 minutes and 24 seconds to boil a litre of water.
Which kettle to buy?
Classic or multifunction
If you just want a kettle that boils water, you’re spoilt for choice. If you’re a lover of fine teas, some of which brew better at lower temperatures, you might want one which enables you to select the temperature. This option can also suit parents making hot drinks for children. Some kettles also have a 'keep warm' function, which is useful if you don’t all want your tea at the same time.
Classic, old-fashioned, shaker, trendy, futuristic – there’s a kettle for you whatever type of kitchen you have. While most modern kettles are jug-style, taking up less space on the worktop, there are plenty of pyramid kettles on the market if you prefer one of those. All the kettles we tested sat on a base, which plugged into the mains, and all had auto-switch off.
Flick up or pull off? If you like to operate your kettle with one hand, you might prefer one where you just press a button to lift the lid. Some people would rather have one where the lid comes off completely.
If you want a quick break from work, you might appreciate a kettle that is a minute or so quicker.
Some people want their kettle to be as unobtrusive as possible, and certainly not loud enough to drown out the radio or music. But if you like to flick on the kettle, then go off into a different room while it boils, you might like one that’s a bit louder, so you can hear when it clicks off.
You might be surprised at how cheap – or expensive – a kettle can be. Our samples ranged from £22.99 to £149
Best kettles for hard water
In areas of hard water, there's usually a faster build-up of limescale inside kettles, particularly around the element. To avoid getting limescale in your tea, you want a kettle that has a robust and finely meshed filter inside the spout, which is also easy to remove.
How we tested kettles
We tested a representative sample of kettles and scored them on the following criteria:
Good looks Kettles live on worktops, so the one you buy might come down to the one you like the look of, and whether it will fit in with the style of your kitchen.
Quality Well-fitting lids, quality on switches and filters – we were looking for a kettle that felt like it would last.
Speed While speed might not be the deciding factor when choosing a kettle, for most of us the quicker, the better. We poured a litre of water into each of the kettles – enough for four mugs – and got the stopwatch out.
Ease of use There’s no point having a beautiful kettle if it’s awkward to use. We looked for kettles that were simple to fill and pour, with a good grip and easy-to-read water levels.
Value We awarded extra points for those kettles that were great value for money.
How to clean a kettle
It's the age-old question of kettle maintenance – how do you get rid of a build-up of limescale? We recommend using vinegar, which is a common household ingredient that works as a gentle acid to break down deposits inside of your kettle. Add half a cup of neat white vinegar to a kettle filled with water and leave it to sit overnight – this should remove any surface scale. Try to do this regularly to avoid a heavy build-up that becomes impossible to remove.
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This review was last updated in February 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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