Our testing proves that you don’t have to pay over the odds to get your hands on a stylish, functional kettle and toaster.
Cheaper brands and even supermarket own models can now look just as trendy and work just as well as their more expensive equivalents, but without the hefty price.
But while we’ve tested budget kettles and toasters that have outperformed high-end brands, we’ve also encountered total duds that we wouldn’t recommend to anyone.
We’ve rounded up the kinds of features you can expect depending on how much you’re willing to spend, as well as some handy hints and tips on what to look out for.
What can you expect for your money?
With the price of a new kettle or toaster ranging from a tenner to well over £100, it can be tough knowing exactly what you should be looking for when you decide it’s time for an upgrade.
Paying less doesn’t always mean you’re compromising on performance, however it does mean you will miss out on certain extra features, which aren’t always necessary but can often enhance your breakfast-making experience.
However, if you’re desperate to get your hands on a well-known brand or simply must have a kettle and toaster in a distinct colour to match the rest of your kitchen, you’re likely going to end up paying over the odds.
Price vs performance: it doesn’t always matter what you spend
Our in-depth tests on kettles and toasters have proved that spending more doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with a better model.
Take a look at the graph below, for example. These are the kettles (purple) and toasters (red) that we tested most recently, and as you can see there’s no strong correlation between the price of an appliance and its overall test score.
Just as we saw a £20 toaster score 57% in our tests, we also saw an £18 kettle only just miss out on Best Buy status, proving there’s no way of knowing for sure just how well a cheap model will perform until you try it out.
Cheap kettles and toasters: under £30
If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum, you’ll have to be somewhat realistic. You’re not going to snag a top-of-the-range kettle or toaster for this price, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still get your hands on a decent model.
Most toasters in this price range will be two-slice rather than four-slice models, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that’ll squeeze in anything larger than standard sliced bread.
When it comes to kettles, you can expect a simple, functional model with no extra frills. Kettles don’t usually differ in size though, so it would be rare to find a cheap kettle that could hold any less water than an expensive one.
Around a third of the kettles and toasters we test cost less than £30, so you won’t be limited in choice at all. Scores range from a paltry 34% up to an impressive 81%, so make sure to check out our reviews before you buy.
Mid-range kettles and toasters: £30-80
Most of the models we test tend to sit in this price range. Just under a third of these are Best Buys (both kettles and toasters) and are normally from big brands with a handful of pricier supermarket options thrown in.
Spending at least £30 on a toaster means your chosen model will likely have something called a ‘peek and view’ setting. This means you can keep an eye on your bread as its toasting without interrupting the cycle and having to start all over again.
Again, you’re unlikely to see any drastic differences in kettles aside from features such as colour lights around the base to let you know when they’re boiling.
We tend to see a greater range of colours at this price point too, which is handy if your kitchen has a specific colour scheme or you just like to have all of your appliances matching.
If matching sets are more your thing, head to our guide on the best kettle and toaster sets
Premium kettles and toasters: £80+
If you’re shelling out more than £80 for a kettle or toaster, it’s likely that you’ve got your sights set on a high-end brand such as Dualit, Smeg or KitchenAid.
Models in this price bracket tend to look more traditionally ‘designer’ than cheaper options, and some of them will even match other kitchen appliances such as microwaves, fridges, freezers and even stand mixers or food processors.
You can expect pricier kettles to have multiple temperature settings (usually from around 60°C up to 100°C), allowing you to make delicate fruit teas without burning and ruining them.
Lots of toasters might also have a bun warmer to heat up baked goods and pastries such as croissants, as well as reheat and defrost functions.
Want a kettle with multiple temperature settings? See our guide to the best variable temperature kettles
Kettles and toasters to avoid
Sadly there’s no real way of knowing how well a kettle or toaster performs before buying it – unless you’ve already taken a look at our comprehensive reviews, of course.
Often, steering clear of matching sets is a good way to ensure you don’t end up with a dud product. It’s very rare that both the kettle and its matching toaster perform well in our tests, so you’re better off opting for two high-scoring models in similar colours.
There’s no need to part with stacks of your hard-earned cash unless you really want to though. There are loads of high-performance kettles and toasters available that won’t break the bank.