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13 Apr 2022

Do fast boil kettles use more energy?

Find out whether slow and steady really does win the race, or if you're better off choosing a fast boil kettle to save time and money

It's a common misconception that if a kettle boils faster, it must use more energy. However, our extensive testing shows that this absolutely isn't the case.

In fact, most of our Eco Buy kettles have been awarded the title because of their speedy boiling. If a kettle is able to reach boiling point in around three minutes, it will use far less energy than one that takes four or five minutes to boil the same amount.

So if you're looking to cut down on your energy bills you're far better off choosing a fast boil kettle as it'll likely save you money in the long run. You won't be left waiting around for your morning cuppa either, which is a nice bonus.

Head to our guide to the best kettles for 2022 to find out which models scored well in our performance and ease of use tests.

Which kettle boils the fastest?

While we have tested kettles that can boil a litre of water in less than two-and-a-half minutes, we've also come across models that take almost four minutes, so there could be quite a lot of difference between two products sitting next to each other on a shelf.

Do note that just because a kettle scored well in the speed element of our tests, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good all-round model. Some of the kettles we've reviewed and rated are nearly Don't Buys, as they scored poorly on our tests, so be sure to read our full reviews before making your final decision.

Here are some fast boil kettles we've tested recently:

Daewoo Hive SDA1970, £29

You won't be left standing around waiting for a well-deserved cuppa if you opt for this kettle, as it boils a litre of water (enough for four hot drinks) in a little over two minutes and 40 seconds. The minimum fill is two cupfuls rather than just one cup though, so you might end up wasting water if you're the only tea-drinker at home.

The 360-degree rotational base aims to make this kettle easy to use for both left and right-handed people, plus there's boil dry protection to prevent the inside from damage. We've tested the matching Daewoo Hive SDA1968 toaster too, if you like the idea of a colour-coordinated kitchen.

So it's fast, but is this kettle any good? Read our full Daewoo Hive SDA1970 review to find out.

Russell Hobbs Textures 21270, £22

This affordable kettle has been on the market for a long while now and has been put through its paces in our test lab on two separate occasions. Both times it has impressed us with its speedy boiling times, taking just over two minutes and 40 seconds to boil a litre of water.

The minimum fill amount is a very eco-friendly 235ml too, so you won't need to waste time or energy boiling any more water than is necessary. It can hold enough water for up to seven hot drinks and the water gauge has handy cup measurements too.

Read our full Russell Hobbs Textures 21270 review to find out if this kettle is also user-friendly and easy to clean.

Tower Terrazzo T10065TAN, £40

This speedy kettle will boil a litre of water in just two-and-a-half minutes, so you'll have just enough time to get out a couple of mugs - and maybe the biscuit tin, too. You can boil as little as 235ml at a time, which is ideal if you're the only one at home who fancies a hot drink.

The total capacity of this model is 1.7 litres, which is about standard compared to other kettles we've tested and will allow you to make up to seven drinks at once. There are matching two-slot and four-slot toasters available to buy, too.

Find out if this kettle is also quiet and easy to use in our full Tower Terrazzo T10065TAN kettle review.

What to look for in an energy-saving kettle

There's a handful of important things to look for when choosing an eco-friendly kettle. These are:

  1. A brief overboil time
  2. A low minimum fill
  3. The ability to boil quickly
  4. A clear water level indicator

These will give you the best chance of being as energy-efficient as you possibly can, saving you time and (more importantly) money.

Check out our guide to the best energy-saving kettles to see which eco-friendly models we recommend.

What temperature does water boil at?

We were all taught in school that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius, and while this is true for the most part, it can actually depend on where you are in the country.

For example, if you live at sea level (or very close to it) your kettle will boil at almost exactly 100°C. If you were to relocate to somewhere like La Paz in Bolivia, for example, it would boil at less than 90°C.

This is less to do with elevation and more to do with atmospheric pressure. At over 3,500m above sea level, La Paz is the world's highest administrative capital. When you're at an altitude, the atmospheric pressure is lower, which means that water doesn't have to reach such a high temperature in order to boil.

So if you were ever to pop a thermometer in your kettle and find that it doesn't quite reach 100°C before switching off, not to worry - it's likely just related to where you live.

If you like the idea of boiling hot water at the touch of a button, take a look at our guide on how to buy the best hot water tap.

Do kettles use a lot of energy?

You'd be forgiven for thinking that a small appliance like a kettle can't possibly use very much energy, but you might be surprised to find out that they can really increase how much you spend each month.

Obviously they're not quite as power-hungry as large appliances such as fridge freezers and tumble dryers, but as something that's used little and often your kettle will rack up lots of energy use over time.

Based on the average capped energy price as of April 2022 (28p/kWh for electricity and 7p/kWh for gas), we've estimated that your kettle could cost you around £32 per year (based on boiling a litre of water three times per day). This is going to be a lot more than charging a phone or tablet, but slightly less than using your oven regularly or running an American-style fridge freezer.

Wondering how you can save a little bit extra? Our guide 10 ways to save on energy bills will help you make the most of your cash every month.

How to save money when using your kettle

If you're a real tea fanatic and find yourself boiling the kettle several times throughout the day, there are a few different ways you can cut down on your energy bills and make the most of your hard-earned cash. These are:

  • Only boil the amount of water you need- boiling a litre of water can use more than twice the amount of time (and therefore twice the amount of energy) it takes to boil the minimum amount.
  • Descale your kettle regularly- if the insides are all scared up, your kettle will use more energy to boil the same amount of water.
  • Choose a kettle with a low minimum fill- so you won't waste time and energy boiling more water than you need. The best models can boil as little as 250ml at a time, or just enough for a single cup.

Read our guide on how to descale a kettle for more tips and advice.