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How to buy the best electric kettle

By Matt Clear

Are cheap kettles any good? And which models can help you save on your energy bills? Our expert guide will you choose the best kettle.

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All kettles are able to boil water, but that certainly doesn't mean they're all the same. We answer some of the key questions you might consider to ensure that you buy the best kettle for you and your kitchen.

Once you've decided what type of kettle to buy and how much to spend, take a look at our Best Buy kettles to discover the models that Which? recommends.

What do I need to look for to get a good kettle?

Speed of boiling

One of the most important considerations is how quickly the kettle boils. We assess every kettle we test on 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 twice as long as the fastest, so check our kettle reviews to make sure the kettle you're considering isn't a slouch.

Noise

Loud kettles can be a real irritation - the noisiest kettle can be almost as loud as an electric drill. That's why our reviews include noise ratings for each kettle.

We measure decibel levels while a kettle boils, and also ask an expert panel to rate 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, which is why each of our kettle reviews includes a rating for handling the kettle. You can also try out display models in the shop to see how different electric kettles feel to pick up and tip.

If you find a kettle cumbersome when it's empty, 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.

However, plenty of the Best Buy kettles we've uncovered are less than £30, and we've even uncovered some Best Buys at around the £10-£15 mark. 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 - just make sure you check our kettle reviews first.

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.

We test kettles to find out which waste energy by staying on after they've finished boiling, and we also look at the minimum amount of water you can boil in the kettle. 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.

Can I get a kettle that matches my toaster?

Yes, plenty of toasters now come with a matching kettle, so it's easy to colour-coordinate your kitchen. Bundled kitchen sets are available to buy for various brands and can cost less than buying the equivalent products individually.

Take a look at our guide to kettle and toaster sets to see some of the matching pairs we've tested.

Now find the perfect kettle for you by checking out our kettle reviews.

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