Best variable temperature kettles
Variable temperature kettles are designed to heat your water to different temperatures for drinks that need less-than-boiling water, such as herbal teas or coffee. We reveal our top picks below, so you can enjoy a perfectly brewed cuppa every time.
Whether you prefer a cup of green, white or black tea, or a mug of coffee, our recommended kettles will heat quickly and be energy efficient and easy to use, as well as giving you the option to heat to lower temperatures than boiling point.
Our selection includes a great cheap variable temperature kettle that's worth a look and our best model overall. We’ve also highlighted one pricey model to avoid.
Top three variable temperature kettles
Don't Buy this variable temperature kettle
Pick the wrong kettle and you'll end up with unnecessary hassle at break time, wasted energy and a long wait for your brew. Here's one poor multi-temperature kettle we recommend steering clear of.
How to buy the best variable temperature kettle
These are the key features to consider when choosing a multi-temperature kettle.
Range of temperature settings
Not all variable temperature kettles will have every temperature setting you need, so check the options before you buy. If you want a wide variety of beverages then five options should be plenty. Some kettles will also hold the desired temperature for a while, which can be useful if you have a busy lifestyle.
Location of temperature controls
Some multi-temperature kettles have the controls built into the handle of the kettle, while others have them on the base. This can affect how heavy the kettle is and how easy it is to select your settings.
These are either digital or consist of a retro-looking dial on the front of the kettle. The dial can be easier to read from afar, but a digital one may be more accurate.
Some kettles go the extra mile and actually brew the tea for you, using a special cage for your tea leaves that sits inside the kettle.
How to make the perfect cup of tea
Tea – it’s the most quintessential of English drinks, but how do you make the perfect cup? It’s all in the temperature. Not all hot drinks should be brewed with boiling water.
In fact, most blends shouldn't be made with water that has just been boiled and taste better brewed a good 20-35 degrees lower. The only exception is traditional black tea, which can be brewed in temperatures between 80-100 degrees.
Water temperature is a critical factor in bringing out the best qualities of tea. If the water temperature is too hot, the tea will be too bitter; if the water temperature is too cool, the full flavour contained in the leaves will not be extracted.
Over- or under- brewing can also affect the taste. Plus, if you’re using loose tea, you may need to adjust times for different quantities.
Black tea/English breakfast tea
Water: 80-100 degrees, brew for: 2-5 minutes
The traditional English breakfast tea that many of us drink today is a black tea blend of Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. It’s naturally caffeinated and is full of antioxidants called flavonoids. It can be served with milk and sugar, depending on preference.
Water: 65-75 degrees, brew for: 1-2 minutes
Green tea is made from Camellia sinensis leaves - the same leaves used for most other teas, but blended at a different oxidisation process for a lighter brew. Don’t steep too long as it will become bitter. It is best served without milk.
Water: 100 degrees, brew for: 4-6 minutes
Rooibos, pronounced roy-boss, is a nutty and naturally sweet tea. Also called African red bush, it is naturally caffeine-free and comes from South Africa. Some people like to add milk to this tea, as well as sugar, honey, lemon or cinnamon, but it can also be served on its own.
Water: 75-85 degrees, brew for: 4-6 minutes
White tea is the more delicate of the blends and is the least processed of all the teas, producing a light, refreshing brew. No need to add milk or sugar, enjoy on its own.
Water: 90-100 degrees, brew for: 5 minutes
The chamomile flower is used all over the world in a variety of remedies, but is also a very popular tea. It’s caffeine-free and can be served with a little honey, if you like it sweeter.
Water: 90-100 degrees, brew for: 5 minutes
Naturally caffeine-free, this popular tea can be served as it is, although some people like to add, honey, lemon or a slice of orange.
What's the best temperature for coffee?
This depends on the type of coffee you are making. Instant coffee tends to be hotter, while espresso or filter coffee should be brewed at lower temperatures.
As a rough guide:
- Instant coffee 80-85 degrees
- Filter coffee 50-60 degrees
- Espresso 90-96 degrees
Do you need a variable temperature kettle?
While some teas or coffees are best brewed at a lower temperature, it's considered better to boil the water first and let it cool. So you could be better off with a standard kettle, although it's harder to guess when it's cooled to the right temperature.
If you're not too fussed about hitting exact temperatures, and are happy to let your water cool after boiling, you'll have a much wider range of kettles to choose from. See our to compare the best options for your budget.
Why Which? kettle reviews are better
We test kettles more thoroughly than anyone else. Plus, we put all models through the same stringent assessments, so you can easily compare models on an equal footing.
We check how quickly each kettle boils water. We give top marks to kettles that are fast to heat up and won’t make a racket boiling. We also assess how easy each kettle is to use, and whether it wastes energy by overboiling or having a high minimum fill level.