Kettles buying guide

Integral to every home, the kettle is always on hand to boil up for your favourite brew. In addition to their obvious functionality, kettles now bring colour and style to the kitchen, with contemporary and traditional designs and finishes from brushed steel to art deco enamel.

Don't miss our kettle and toaster packs, with stylish matching appliances for a co-ordinated finish. This guide will give you an idea of what to look out for when purchasing a kettle.

Features to look out for:

  • Quick boil: a new generation of kettle can produce a cup's worth of boiling water within seconds. These ‘quick boil’ kettles generally have a water reservoir, dispense water at the touch of a button and are far more energy-efficient.
  • Capacity: a large cup is holds around 250ml, so kettles with typical capacities (1.5 to 1.7 litres) can boil six or seven cupfuls at a time. If you have a small household or limited work surfaces in your kitchen, look for smaller kettles.
  • Power ratings: the power of a kettle ranges from about 2kW to 3kW - higher Wattage kettles are more powerful, and so boil faster. As a rule, kettles with 3kW of power are classed as ‘rapid boil’, although performance may vary.
  • Safety features: manufacturers have built in various features for your safety and protection, such as auto shut-off when water begins to boil or the kettle is lifted, thermal cut-off, cool-touch walls so that the body remains cold and non-slip bases.
  • Energy efficiency: look out for handy ‘cup indicators’ to boil only the amount of water you actually need - work on the ‘fill a little, save a lot’ principle. Some models feature angled graduation with tilt handles to help you to fill up to just the right measure. Some manufacturers are also using improved technology for their heating elements, giving energy savings of up to 35%.
  • Cordless swivel bases: most kettles are now ‘cordless’ in that the power cable attaches to a separate base, meaning that the kettle is free to be lifted for pouring and cable length is therefore not restrictive.
  • Concealed element: this makes cleaning much easier than on models with exposed elements. It is also generally considered to be more efficient at boiling water.
  • Water filter: this reduces limescale build-up, making your kettle last longer and your tea taste better. Most models now feature a removable washable filter; always make sure that filters fit well to prevent limescale in your cups. Some models have a built-in water filter; replaceable cartridges last approximately one to two months.
  • Whistle on boil: just like old-style hob kettles, this handy little feature alerts you to when the water has boiled.
  • Variable temperature settings: these allow you to heat water to a specific temperature, which is often optimal for specific types of brewing - a feature which is particularly useful for specialist teas or coffees.