Best kettles – the top models for the perfect cup of tea in a flash, updated for 2019

We've extensively tested the best electric kettles available, including temperature-control and quiet models

While you can’t move for coffee shops on the High Street these days, we are (and probably always will be) a nation of tea-drinkers at heart. And helping us to brew that tea  – ok, and coffee if you must – is the trusty kettle.

An electric kettle is a staple in the kitchens of houses all over the world – even those that have taken the plunge and had a boiling water tap installed will usually have a kettle tucked away in the cupboard for emergencies.

The perfect companions: Best toasters – the top models for a crisp, delicious slice every time

How we test our kettles

Our tester Ysanne was previously editor at Beautiful Kitchens magazine and has been hands on with dozens of kettles on her way to selecting the best. She’s looked at common kettle issues like noise levels and limescale build up, and has also included a range of temperature-control kettles suited to more delicate teas. Not all kettles tested made the grade long term, due to reliability problems. However we were careful to cover a wide variety of price brackets – from kettles under £30 to those over £140.

What is the best kettle in 2019?

Our overall best kettle was the Bosch TWK7203GB Sky kettle, which we rate for its usability and temperature-control functions. The Dualit Architect kettle also wins our approval for its sturdy build and good looks. Read on to discover more of our test verdicts.

Why do I need a kettle?

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Image credit: Smeg

Let’s face it, who doesn’t need a kettle? In fact, do you know anyone without a kettle? They’re invaluable, and not just for your daily brew. A kettle will make short work of blanching tomatoes ready for peeling, preparing gravy for Sunday lunch or getting the pasta on, pronto.

Best kettles

1. Bosch TWK7203GB Sky kettle – best kettle overall on test

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We love a bit of hi-tech style, so it’s no surprise we were impressed by the unique touch-control panel on this kettle. At just 1kg, it’s light, easy to fill and holds an impressive 1.7L when full. The base features a simple power-on graphic that, when gently pressed, allowed us to switch the kettle on and off in the same way as we would our smartphone or tablet. Nice.

There’s also a funky, futuristic blue-light slider that illuminates to indicate a chosen temperature, from 70˚C to 100˚C. While it wasn’t quite the quickest to boil, it was pretty speedy at just over two-and-a-half minutes. And if you get distracted, like we often do, there’s an ingenious keep-warm function. This maintains the desired water temperature for 30 minutes after the kettle has boiled.

It also has the obligatory 360˚ base, meaning it’s comfortable to pick up from any angle. There’s a lovely large flip lid and a removable limescale filter, too. Sure, it’s got a slightly bigger footprint that most of the models we tested. But we think its elegant lines and steely good looks mean it’s an absolute keeper, however much worktop space you might have.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Bosch TWK7203GB Sky kettle, £79, Amazon

2. Dualit Architect Kettle – best for style and substance

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If you’re the kind of person that likes to switch up your home décor with the seasons, then this model with interchangeable panels is for you. The (already beautiful) steel exterior can be further enhanced with easy-to-fit panels that encase the bottom and lid. The panel kits can be bought separately, and range in price from £12.50 for plain colours and metallics to £24.95 for specially commissioned designs from the likes of Bluebellgrey, Charlene Mullen and Kit Miles, whose floral Biophilia design is our current must-have.

As we’ve come to expect from Dualit products, the kettle is also beautifully built and ergonomic to use. The lid had a nice soft-open action, meaning it’s easy to refill without the risk of steaming your hand. The water indicator under the handle lit up when we started boiling, and has easy-to-read levels from two cups cup to a maximum of 1.5L. We particularly liked the unique circular pouring spout, which ensured free-flowing water with no splashes.

It’s not the lightest kettle we tested but feels stable and secure on its base. There’s an integrated cord store and it boils quietly, if not overly speedily, for such an impressive looking machine. An internal filter meant boiled water was crystal clear and scum-free, even though the water from our tap tends to be harder than action hero Jason Statham on a tough day at the office.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dualit Architect Kettle, £75.95, Amazon

3. Colour-changing glass kettle by Salter – best value and best for clear on/off indication

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The key USP of this kettle, apart from its stylish steel and glass exterior is the bold LED display that run all the way around the base of the glass jug and switch from blue to red when the kettle heating up and back to blue once it has finished boiling. It’s a clear indicator of whether the kettle is boiling or not, which could be useful for those who are hard of hearing or don’t notice once it is finished.

It has a 360-degree base with a handy cord tidy, so it’s easy to use whether you’re right- or left-handed and sits neatly on the worktop. Pretty quiet, it takes around 3-and-a-half minutes to boil a litre of water and it’s big enough to boil water for eight cups. Protecting the glass exterior is a limescale filter so you should be able to enjoy plenty of clear-water boiling – during the testing period, we didn’t notice any scale build up.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Salter EK2841SS Colour Changing Glass Kettle with LED Illumination, £24.99, Amazon

4. Nordic kettle by Swan – best on-trend kettle

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Available in either cool white or slate grey with contrasting wood-effect comfort handle, this highly attractive kettle is a great choice for anyone that loves a bit of Nordic design. The boil-dry protection mode, which prevents it from being accidentally switched on if there’s no water in it means you won’t need to worry about accidentally damaging it either. There’s also a limescale filter, which helps to keep drinks delightfully scum- and impurity-free.

It holds 1.7 litres, enough to fill around 7-8 cups depending on your ‘portion sizes’, and it boiled a litre of water in just 2 minutes 45. The end of the on lever glows an agreeable bold blue colour while it’s boiling and the handle has a lovely soft feel to it. It has a lovely drip-free pour, too, which we found very pleasing.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Swan Nordic kettle, £49, Amazon.com

5. Breville VKJ972 Brita Filter Maxtra jug kettle – best kettle for hard water

If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water then this is the kettle for you. It comes with a Brita filter cartridge, which is quick and easy to fit into the reservoir that sits at the top of the kettle. As with all filters, it needs flushing, though but once that’s done, we simply filled up the top sections and the water flowed through the filter into the second chamber.

Pressing an electronic indicator at the top of the lid will activate a count down to show when the filter needs replacing. Although the kettle’s capacity is smaller than the other full-size models we tried, it boiled our 1 litre (that’s four cups) of test water pretty quickly and quietly. The water indicator sits on the side so it was really clear to see. The feature we liked best, though, was that the kettle body and handle is illuminated a vivid blue colour when boiled.

Its plastic casing means it is relatively light, even with the filter in place and filled with water, and the chunky handle means it’s easy to pour. The 360˚ base with cord holder is stable, too, so there’s no chance of it tipping – this also means it’s easy to use whether you’re left or right-handed. A good tip is to refill the kettle as soon as you’ve boiled it. This will ensure that you’re not waiting for the water to filter through every time you fancy a quick cuppa.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Breville VKJ972 Brita Filter Maxtra jug kettle, £35.90, Amazon

6. VonShef Glass Kettle with Tea Infusion Chamber – best kettle for tea drinkers

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We love a machine that saves us time and as big tea drinkers, we were really excited to try this kettle. The design means it isn’t just for boiling water, thanks to the internal infuser chamber it can also brew up a range of different teas at the same time as it’s boiling. Simply spoon the required amount of your favourite loose-leaf tea into the infuser, screw onto the lid and pop it into the kettle’s glass body.

The handle features two LED-display buttons to adjust the final temperature up or down, allowing you to choose a different water heat depending on the type of tea you might be using. For fine green tea that’s between 70-80˚, while for black tea 95˚ will prevent the water from scalding the leaves producing a smoother, rounder taste. It’s comfortable to hold in the hand and boils fairly quietly and quickly – around 3 minutes 20 seconds for a litre of water.

It has a keep-warm function, too, but we’d recommend you remove the tea infuser if you’re using that otherwise you could end up with a bitter and stewed brew, particularly if you’re making green tea. The lid is easy to remove, so a good choice for those with limited hand mobility, and the handle is solid and comfortable to hold.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: VonShef Glass Kettle with Tea Infusion Chamber, £34.99, Amazon

7. Russell Hobbs Luna kettle in Midnight Grey – best quiet kettle

Featuring a quiet boil – it apparently makes 75% less noise when boiling than other Russell Hobbs models – this is kettle is a great fit for open-plan spaces where a loud kettle can be a real distraction.

It also has a rapid boil function for one, two or three cups that’s indicted by clear red markers on the inside of the kettle. Not only will that save energy – the makers claim up to 66 per cent – it meant our water was boiled and ready to pour onto the waiting teabag in around 50 seconds. The kettle’s main boil function isn’t too shabby either and was one of the quickest on test, bringing a litre of tap water to 100˚ in a little over two minutes. That gave us plenty of time to make a hot drink during the ad breaks of our favourite shows.

In addition this kettle has an auto-shutoff to prevent it boiling dry, although since the water window on the side is clear and lights up, you can clearly see how much water there is when it starts to boil anyway. An integral limescale filter in front of the spout is easy to remove and wash and will help stop scum forming on your tea or coffee.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Russell Hobbs Luna kettle in Midnight Grey, £43, Amazon

8. Cuisinart CTK17U Traditional Kettle – best traditional-style kettle

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It features an easy-to clean filter, which is great if you’re in a hard-water area and suffer from limescale deposits. Nobody wants scummy tea, after all. It is one of the fastest boilers we tested taking just over 2 minutes to take a litre of cold water to 100 degrees C, which is probably due to its wide base and 3KW concealed heating element.

The stylish steel exterior, with clear viewing windows on both sides, looks good on the worktop and although the shape was more traditional kettle, the finish meant it would be equally at home in a modern kitchen. The handle was comfortable to hold, which made for an easy, drip-free pour. As with many of the cordless kettles, the 360-degree base meant it was suitable for left- or right-handed users.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Cuisinart CTK17U Traditional Kettle, £52.90, Amazon

9. Smeg KLF04 Variable Temperature Kettle – best retro-style kettle

Don’t let the fun candy colours and retro design of this kettle deceive you – it’s deadly serious about boiling. The sturdy 360˚ swivel base makes it easy to use whether you’re left or right-handed, while anti-slip feet means it stays firmly put on the worktop. An audible beep can be heard when you first switch it on and similarly when the water has reached the chosen temperature.

As it’s another variable temp kettle, we decided to take it through its paces with three different teas. We tried black, white and green to see if we could taste the difference. While we’re not real connoisseurs, we did definitely feel that the lower temps suited both the white and green teas we tested. It gave them what we can only describe as a softer, more rounded taste than they had when made with fully boiled water.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Smeg KLF04 Variable Temperature Kettle, £149, Amazon

How to buy the best kettles for you

How much should I spend on a kettle?

How much you spend depends on what features you’re after. Prices tend to rise the more stylish and feature-led the kettle is. If you just want a bog-standard model that boils fairly quickly and quietly, there are kettles available from £15 and above.

Designer looks come at a price, though, and many with more thoughtful, elegant designs can cost upwards of £50.

What are the main features to look for in a kettle?

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Top of our must-have list is that it’s easy is it to hold, fill and pour. If you often refill a kettle as soon as it has boiled, choose one with a flip-top lid you don’t have to take off manually. This is really important to avoid the risk of scalding yourself on steam when you open it.

We’d definitely suggest a cordless model on 360˚ swivel base, for ease of use. A cord store will keep things tidy on a worktop, and an easy-to-view water indicator is handy.

While kettles don’t come packed with tech, some have variable boil temperatures. This is great if you’re a tea aficionado who knows their oolong boiling temp from the one that’s right for standard black tea. That’s 80-85˚C and 100˚C, respectively, if you’re curious.

I live in a hard water area. What’s the best kettle for me?

Filters that reduce limescale are invaluable if you live in a hard-water area and don’t want to be descaling your kettle on a regular basis.

Just be aware that models that feature a Brita filter, for instance, generally have a smaller capacity. That’s because of the room taken up by the filter and its holder. The cost for replacing the filters once a month can add up, too. However, it will mean you don’t need an extra water filter jug on the worktop.

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