All kettles are able to boil water, but it doesn’t mean they’re all the same. So what do you need to look for to get a good kettle?
Speed of boiling– you need to look at how long it takes to boil a litre of water and how long it takes to boil the minimum amount. The slowest kettles can take almost two minutes longer than the fastest (which is consuming much more energy of course), so it’s worth checking the facts first.
Noise- loud kettles can be a real irritation – the noisiest kettle can be almost as loud as an electric drill, so ask about the decibel levels and how intrusive the noise is.
Size and weight – an electric kettle is something you’re likely to use every day, and kettles that are heavy and poorly balanced can be a strain to hold, so try out display models in the shop ( we admitn this can look a bit strange, but worth it!) to see how different electric kettles feel to pick up and tip. If you find a kettle cumbersome when it’s empty, think of what it’s going to be like filled with water. It’s probably one to leave on the shelf.
Ease of use – if you have arthritis or trouble gripping things, certain characteristics may make a kettle better suited to your needs. Investing in a kettle that you can fill through the spout means you won’t need to keep opening the lid. If you want to use the lid, look for one with an easy-to-press button release that opens the lid wide. When looking at kettles, make sure the handle is comfortable to grip and hold, while also keeping your hand clear of any steam that may rise from the spout. If you’re partially sighted, opt for a kettle with markings on the water window that are easy to read.
Are cheap kettles any good? – you can buy a no-frills own-brand kettle for less than a tenner, while the priciest branded kettles can exceed £100. So what are you getting for that extra money? At the top end of the scale you’re often paying for a premium brand name along with the style and finish of the kettle – including shiny glass and glossy, metallic exteriors as well as a quality, solid build. Cheaper kettles will be less likely to include extra features, such as variable temperature settings for making different drinks. Cheaper kettles may not all have the designer good looks of pricier models, but if you’re after a decent model at an affordable price, it is certainly possible to buy a good cheap kettle and you can check review on online sites.
Can I save money on my energy bills with an ‘eco’ kettle? – your kettle isn’t nearly as power-hungry as large kitchen appliances such as a fridge freezer or dishwasher. But investing in an efficient kettle can save you time and energy whenever you boil water, as well as a few pence a week. If you sometimes make just one cup of tea or coffee at a time, look for a kettle with a low minimum fill, so you don’t waste time and energy boiling more water than you need.
What’s the best kettle for coffee or green tea – some kettles let you alter the temperature the water is heated to. This is a feature particularly worth looking out for if you’re going to be using the kettle to make coffee or green tea. Coffee is best made with water that’s between 90-95°C, while green tea is best with water that’s 70-80°C, so look out for kettles that let you set the temperature within these ranges.
Hundreds of hours of tests and a survey by Which? of more than 13,000 owners revealed that many budget options were just as good as upmarket makes and models. But while there was praise for the less expensive brands available at supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, those from rivals Tesco performed poorly.
• The study of almost 200 kettles by Which? magazine found that a £17 model from Sainsbury’s scored a higher rating than a £75 design by Villaware.
• Overall, the most reliable brand was found to be M&S.
• Tesco came bottom for overall reliability and one of its models was judged among the ‘Don’t Buy’ category.
• Each kettle was given a score out of 100, which determined if it was rated by the consumer watchdog as a ‘Best Buy’, a ‘Don’t Buy’ or neither.
• Which? said plenty of models costing around £20 scored just as well as those with a much higher price tag.
• It tested 194 makes and models under laboratory conditions, looking at energy efficiency, weight, ease of use, style, how quickly they boil and overall value for money.
• Just 46 were good enough to be recommended as a ‘Best Buy’ and many of those were variations or slightly updated versions of existing models.
• The top-ranked list included some expensive and trendy kitchen extras but also many that are priced at around £20, including an own-brand one from Sainsbury’s.
• But consumers who could get ripped off by pricey kettles should also be wary of buying a cheaper one without checking out their ratings.