An electric kettle is a staple in British kitchens. We use them, of course, to make hot drinks, but also for food prep, sterilising and much more.
They will all boil water, but kettles vary considerably. Some let you choose the temperature, which can be important if you drink teas like oolong. Some have ‘keep warm’ options, and we even tested one that can be controlled remotely by app.
Even kettles that simply boil water without any extra features vary considerably in terms of size, speed and lid type. A kettle is something most of us use several times a day, so it’s worth thinking about whether you prefer a flip-up or pull-off lid, if you want the water scale to measure in cups or litres, and whether the weight of the kettle matters to you.
Capacity is also something to take into account – our samples ranged from 1.2-1.8 litres. A smaller kettle may be good for a single person or small household to avoid the temptation of overfilling.
All our kettles came with bases, and all switched off automatically when finished. Read on to discover the best kettles to buy.
Best kettles at a glance
- Best overall kettle: KitchenAid Artisan 1.5 litre variable temperature kettle,£129
- Best traditional kettle: Tefal Loft kettle, £39
- Best for tech lovers: iKettle, £99.99
- Most fun kettle: Russell Hobbs and Emma Bridgewater polka dot kettle, £59.99
- Best for water conservation: Stellar glass filter kettle, £19.99
- Best mid-range kettle: Morphy Richards Verve kettle,£39
- Best variable temperature kettle: Smeg KLF04 kettle, £159
- Best budget kettle: Tesco textured plastic back 1.7 litre kettle, £18
- Best value cordless kettle: Bosch cordless kettle, £69
- Most user-friendly kettle: Dualit Domus kettle, £86.96
- Most stylish kettle: Swan Nordic jug kettle, £47
How to choose a kettle
Unsure what to look for when choosing your kettle? We’ve summarised the main features you should consider:
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 that 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 range 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 that’s also easy to remove.
The best kettles to buy in 2021
KitchenAid Artisan 1.5 litre variable temperature kettle
Best overall kettle
This is a statement kettle that looks great and does everything you need. It’s got a big footprint with a large base, and it’s eye-catching and glossy. Chunky, solid and highly effective, it’s shorter and squatter than most. This kettle gives you a choice of temperatures for your water, of between 50-100C. As well as being suitable for people who enjoy teas that requires a different temperature, it’s ideal for parents making hot-but-not-too-hot drinks for children, or those using warm water for other purposes, like cooking. Read our full KitchenAid Artisan kettle review.
Tefal Loft kettle
Best traditional kettle
Light in weight and quick on its feet, the Tefal Loft (KO250840) is a good mid-range option that does what it needs to without making any fuss. We particularly like the wide pull-off lid, which comes off easily and gives a good space to fill it. This is pleasingly quick, boiling at an average of 2 minutes 14 seconds, though it is a little on the noisy side. Read our full Tefal Loft kettle review.
Best for tech lovers
The iKettle works via an app, and you can set it to come on from wherever you are. Perhaps surprisingly, this is one of the least-flashy kettles we tested. The kettle itself is rather minimalist in looks. The kettle has an ergonomic handle, with only the top attached to the kettle. It’s comfortable to lift and easy to open, and has a wide opening for easy filling and a small spout for precision pouring. The iKettle was one of the speediest we tested too, boiling water in an average of 2 minutes 14 seconds. Read our full iKettle review.
Russell Hobbs and Emma Bridgewater polka dot kettle
Most fun kettle
This kettle is a traditional pyramid shape with a bright, modern polka dot pattern (it’s also available in a pink heart design). It’s eye-catching, cheerful and stylish, and one that visitors are bound to comment on. As well as scoring highly in looks, the kettle oozes quality. In terms of performance, the kettle is no slouch either, boiling a litre of water in 2 minutes 16 seconds. Read our full Russell Hobbs Emma Bridgewater kettle review.
Stellar glass filter kettle
Best for water conservation
If you’re trying to conserve water and energy, this is a kettle that will encourage you to do just that. The glass jug is completely transparent. Clear cup markings on the body of the kettle mean you can easily see exactly how much water you are putting in. The kettle has a neat shape, which means it won’t take up too much space – it has one of the smallest footprints of our sample. There’s a removable water filter for easy cleaning, plus it’s one of the most unobtrusive kettles we tested in terms of appearance, with a simple, unflashy design. Read our full Stellar glass filter kettle review.
Morphy Richards Verve kettle
Best mid-range kettle
Morphy Richards’ Verve kettle is no-nonsense and effective. It’s quiet, efficient and well-priced. It’s a solid-feeling kettle with a chunky, robust handle and on switch. The Verve is averagely speedy, coming in at around 2 minutes 23 seconds for a litre, and it isn’t one of the noisier models either. Holding 1.7 litres of water, it’s ideal for a bigger family, and there’s a matching toaster available. Read our full Morphy Richards Verve kettle review.
Smeg KLF04 kettle
Best variable temperature kettle
If any kettle could cheer you on a cold winter’s morning, it would be this one. You can set the temperature for between 50-100C, and lights along the base will show you how it is progressing towards its target. There’s a sizeable button in the middle of the lid to press and lift the lid. The handle is notably comfortable, and doesn’t attach at the bottom. One point to note is that the kettle is heavier than most. Read our full Smeg KLF04 kettle review.
Tesco textured plastic back 1.7 litre kettle
- Available in-store from Tesco (£18)
Best budget kettle
This great value kettle is an ideal one to pack students off with for university. It’s a good size at 1.7 litres, so will be good for entertaining the permitted five friends. It’s a decent price – you won’t need to worry too much about the hammering it will undoubtedly get – and it’s surprisingly speedy for a budget model. It boiled a litre of water in an average of 2 minutes 14 seconds. Read our full Tesco kettle review.
Bosch cordless kettle
Best value cordless kettle
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 70-100C.
There’s also a ‘keep warm’ button to maintain the water at the same temperature for 30 minutes. Although it’s not the smallest or quietest model we tested, the Bosch is the quickest, boiling water in just 2 minutes and 6 seconds. Read our full Bosch cordless kettle review.
Dualit Domus kettle
Most user-friendly kettle
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. Read our full Dualit Domus kettle review.
Swan Nordic jug kettle
Most stylish kettle
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. Read our Swan Nordic kettle review.
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 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 heavy build-up that becomes impossible to remove.
Find more top kitchen kit by visiting our review section, plus share your kettle recommendations with us in the comments below.