Our list of must-have kettle features will help you avoid paying too much for fancy functionality that might be unnecessary, or you might not end up using.
If you’re simply looking for a decent kettle that does its job well, we’ve rounded up a handful of essential features to look out for.
We’ve also analysed all of the kettles on our website to see if there really is any correlation between price and performance, or if you can bag a high-performing bargain on a budget.
Head to our kettle reviews to see which models we recommend.
The kettle features you really need
When you’re buying a kettle, instead of focusing on colour or design, there’s really only a handful of features you should look out for:
- A minimum fill of 300ml or less – this is enough for a large mug of tea or coffee, meaning you won’t waste time or energy boiling any more water than you need.
- A tight-fitting limescale filter – to help to prevent limescale from building up inside your kettle. Bonus points if it’s easy to remove and clean.
- A generous maximum capacity – most kettles hold around 1.7 litres, which is enough for seven hot drinks, but there are a few smaller models out there.
- An auto switch-off feature – to ensure your kettle switches off as soon as it has reached boiling point. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and energy.
If you find a kettle that ticks all of these boxes, chances are it’s a very good option and will do the job well.
To find out which kettles impressed in our tests, head to our Best Buy kettle reviews.
Fancy features: necessary or dispensable?
Some of the kettles we’ve tested come with extra features, which might grab your attention and sway your buying decision. While it’s tempting to buy the fanciest model you can get your hands on, it isn’t always the best idea.
Extra functions or accessories we’ve seen include:
- Variable temperature settings for more delicate teas
- Keep-warm functions that hold water at a set temperature after boiling
- ‘Easy-pouring’ spouts (don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it
- Smart functions so you can control the kettle from your phone
However, these features aren’t necessarily representative of a ‘good’ kettle, so while they’re nice additions, they’re not going to save an appliance that struggles to get the basics right.
How much do you need to spend on a kettle?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that dictates exactly how much you need to spend to get a good kettle, but with Best Buys as cheap as £18, there’s no need to overspend.
The scatter graph below shows the price vs test score of all of the kettles on our website. As you can see, there’s zero correlation between the two. This means that buying an expensive kettle does not guarantee that it will perform well.
Kettle test score vs price
The red dots represent our Best Buy kettles, while the grey dots show models that scored badly enough to be deemed Don’t Buys.
You can end up paying a premium for design or extra features, so if you’re opting for a pricier model, make sure it’s for the right reasons.
To find out which kettles you should avoid, take a look at our Don’t Buy kettles.
Our latest kettles on test
We’ve recently tested six different kettles, taking into account how quickly they boil, how easy they are to use and whether they have an eco-friendly minimum fill.
These are a few of the more unusual models we reviewed.
Philips HD9635 5000 Series Eco Conscious Edition kettle, £50
This stylish Philips kettle is made exclusively from bio-based plastics (plastics produced using materials from natural sources such as corn, sugar cane, vegetable oil or even food waste), so it might catch your eye if you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact. You can boil as little as one cup at a time too, so no need to waste energy boiling any more than necessary.
The 1.7 litre capacity is enough to make seven hot drinks at once, which is is great if you often cater for large groups.
It has a pilot light so you always know when it’s boiling, plus a 360° cordless base that’s designed for both left and right-handed users.
Intrigued by the idea of an eco-friendly kettle? Read our Philips HD9635 5000 Series Eco Conscious Kettle review to find out how it performed in our lab tests.
Tefal Includeo KI533840 kettle, £50
Tefal says that the Includeo KI533840 kettle is parts of its ‘first inclusive breakfast set made to be accessible to all’. The markings are much larger than those on other kettles we’ve tested, plus there’s an extra-large power button and handy lights to tell you when it’s boiling.
You don’t have to pull at the lid to remove it – instead, there’s a large button on the top that pops it open ready for filling. There are two water gauges too, plus an ergonomically-designed handle that should help you maintain a comfortable grip.
It’s on the small side compared to most standard kettles, so it can only hold a litre of water at a time. This is enough for up to four hot drinks though, so it may do the job for small households.
Find out if this kettle really is easy to use in our Tefal Includeo KI533840 kettle review.
Smeg KLF05BLUK kettle, £119
Smeg appliances are notoriously expensive, and this miniature retro-style kettle is no different. It holds up to 800ml of water – enough for three hot drinks – so might not be the best choice if you have a larger household.
It has anti-slip feet designed to prevent it from moving about on your worktop, plus a metre-long power cord and integrated cord storage. There’s an auto shut-off feature too, and a push-button lid designed to make filling it easier.
This kettle doesn’t come with a limescale filter as standard, so you should use filtered water to prevent the inside from scaling up, especially if you live in a hard-water area. It does come with a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee though.
Should you consider buying this kettle, or settle for a cheaper option? Read our Smeg KLF05BLUK review to find out.
Prices correct at the time of writing. Prices and availability may change.
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