Aqua Optima Aurora review

We've reviewed the Aqua Optima Aurora. See how this hot water dispenser performed in our home test, and find out if it'll replace your kettle...

Aqua Optima Aurora machine in kitchen next to plant with plug visible
(Image credit: Aqua Optima)
Ideal Home Verdict

Whether you regularly filter water because you live in a hard water area or just prefer the taste, having a unit which does this for you and pours cold or hot water on demand is a welcomed addition - if you're having tea-for-one that is. It'll save you money because you're boiling just the right amount of aqua for your needs, too, but if you are catering for more than one then it probably won't be replacing your kettle (and filter jug) any time soon.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Filtered hot and cold water

  • +

    Adjustable temperature and volumes

  • +

    Easy to set up

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Large unit

  • -

    Catering for more than one is a challenge

  • -

    Advised to replace filter cartridges every 30 days

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Anything to do with making the perfect hot cup (mug) of tea has our attention, so when offered the chance to review the Aqua Optima Aurora we got rather excited. To celebrate the launch, our Large Appliance Editor, Jen Oksien, was invited to attend a virtual afternoon tea which has a selection of finger sandwiches, cake, scones and sachets of tea to use with the Aqua Optima Aurora. It was a rather pleasant experience and was a lovely introduction to using the instant hot water machine.

Since it arrived with the treat box, Jen has been using the Aqua Optima Aurora for a couple of months in her own home. It's been used for the same reasons as you would when switching on your kettle or reaching for the kitchen tap - think hot drinks, cold drinks and cooking veggies - all using filtered water. Keep scrolling to find out if it went as far as replacing our kettle, and how we got on using it in a busy family home. If you're debating between something like this and a hot tap, then our feature on boiling water taps vs hot water dispensers will also be a big help.

Aqua Optima Aurora specifications

Aqua Optima Aurora product shot

(Image credit: Aqua Optima)
  • Noise level: 70dB 
  • Water tank: 3.8L 
  • Dimensions: ‎40.4 x 22.1 x 33.6 cm 
  • Weight: 5.4kg

Who will the Aqua Optima Aurora suit?

If it's to replace your kettle then this is one for households with single occupants, but it's not to replace the kettle then it would be suitable for the home office where hot beverages are needed on demand.

Unboxing the Aqua Optima Aurora

The Aqua Optima Aurora arrived in a compact box with all of the big parts assembled. The lid, tray, power cable and filter was all neatly packaged separate in polystyrene and plastic bags, along with the instruction manual.

Setting up the Aqua Optima Aurora

Setting up the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

Set up was really easy, although a little bit of a faff. Preparing and securing the filter was the main, essential part of the set up which meant that I had to shake the unwrapped filter in a bowl of water for (the advised) 10 minutes. I didn't quite make the 10 minutues, however, but did make it to six or seven. The water in the bowl went a dark, murky colour although this is nothing to be alarmed about - it's just the impurities in the water. There's some stark simularities to how I set up our filter jug (when I remember to do it) although it feels like it is much quicker because I do this in three stages, rather than one big swoop.

I then slotted in the filter, filled up the container with water and popped the lid on. The Aqua Optima Aurora was then ready to use.

Using the Aqua Optima Aurora

The first time I used the Aqua Optima Aurora was during the virtual afternoon tea. I made a tea. It was really easy but what did take a bit of figuring out is the capacity of my mug. Luckily, my Le Creuset mug is being sold online so I learned that it can hold 350ml of liquid. I wanted boiling water so used the navigational arrows on the temperature gauge to get it up to temperature, before pressing on the water droplet button which means 'pour'.

Using the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

Most of time I had this temperature and volume selected (owing to my Le Creuset mug collection) so it was relatively quick to make a cup of tea or coffee for myself. When it came to thinking of others and making my husband a brew, one of us would either need to be stood next to the machine to swap over mugs to be filled or we'd be making a drink at different times. It's advertised that you can have a drink made within 30 seconds but this must be for the 200ml because it certainly took much longer than this to make a brew in the morning. 

Curious to find out if it is in fact boiling water coming out of the Aqua Optima Aurora, I tested it with our cooking thermometer.

My first test was to fill a saucepan with 1000ml / 1 litres of 95°C + water. This was the maximum setting on both. To do this I removed the tray (handy) and left the thermometer in the saucepan as it filled up so I could take the most accurate reading possible when the water had stopped pouring. Our thermometer displayed a reading of 81°C. The response from the team was: 'The Aurora uses a patented element to ensure water is a true boil at the nozzle, but there’s some cooling as it reaches the cup due to variables such as air temperature and distance from nozzle to cup...' This is fair enough and it's absolutely fine for starting off boiling your veg in, making a quick soup or porridge although I wouldn't feel confident to use it to sterilise any of my child's teethers in.

Pouring hot water into a saucepan with the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

I could tell it was not boiling water when I made a cup of tea, too. My Le Creuset mugs are 350ml which I filled to the brim with the hottest possible temperature, but the thermometer displayed a temperature of 82°C. 

Pouring hot water into a mug with the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

The water in the cup cooled down much slower than in the saucepan, so I was still able to enjoy my cup-of-tea albeit sooner than I would if using the kettle.

I also thought it would be interesting to time how quickly the Aqua Optima Auroa could fill my Le Creuset mug. This took 01:09.22. To boil the kettle with double the amount of water (700ml) it took 00:54.74 - that's 15 seconds faster. Even without the timer I could tell it was quicker to boil the kettle, especially when making tea-for-two, although I appreciate that this does have a higher energy usage. The kettles water temperature once I'd poured it into my 350ml mug was 95.7°C, which did start to cool quickly and is on parr with the reference stat that Aqua Optima team shared with me.

Pouring cold water with the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

On the other end of the temperature scale is cold water which was lovely and refreshing when I wanted a pint of water. It tastes really nice but it does feel like it takes longer than turning the cold water tap or, indeed, pouring filtered water out of a jug. And, again, if you're making more than one drink you're going to be instinctively reaching for the tap or the filtered water jug because the reality is; it's quicker.

Other things to note
The automatic lock acts as a good child safety lock so little hands won't be able to activate or harm themselves, although this appliance should be kept up and out of the way on the worktop for safe keeping. You can turn off the automatic lock by pressing and holding the the temperature up arrow and volume down arrow. To unlock before using after a while, just hold down the illuminated padlock symbol.

Maintaining the Aqua Optima Aurora

Changing the filter on the Aqua Optima Aurora

(Image credit: Future)

Aqua Optima recommend that you should change the filter cartridge after every 100 litres, which is approximately 30 days of typical use. A pack of six can be bought from Amazon for £15.99. And if you're not using the appliance for more than 72 hours then there are various maintenance tips for the filter which would be worth a read in the user manual.

Aside from the maintenance of the filter, it's important to descale regularly in a very similar way as you would with a coffee machine. When it's ready to be descaled the descale icon will be illuminated in orange, which takes out the guess work of when to descale. I'd recommend referring to the user manual for this, again, so best to keep this somewhere safe.

Should you buy the Aqua Optima Aurora?

If you really want a hot water dispenser then the Aqua Optima Aurora is a safe option with it's simple controls, ability to filter water and pour cold or hot water. The £199 is a high ticket price to pay, yes, but if you live in a single household then this would be a really good option for you to consider, and is one which I feel would replace the kettle - especially in the home office.

However, if you have a family demanding lots of drinks at the same time and / or can taste the difference between a mug-of-tea made with hot water rather than boiling water then the Aqua Optima Aurora is probably not for you. I also found that it takes up a lot more space than my kettle and water filter combined, so feel that it would also not be a good call if you have compact space to cater for.

About this review - and the reviewer

Jennifer (Jen) Oksien is our Large Appliance editor who has reviewed too many home appliances and mattresses to count over the years. She was sent the Aqua Optima Aurora to review, with a complimentary afternoon tea, by way of celebrating the product launch. The appliances was used regularly over a few weeks to make hot and cold drinks for herself, and her family.

We are not given any compensation for our reviews, but we may be gifted the product meaning that we can test it over a greater length of time, and update our reviews if required. We also receive affiliate commission for some products brought through our site.

Jennifer Oksien
Large Appliances Editor

Jennifer Oksien has been our large appliances editor on Ideal Home since March 2021. Jennifer (Jen) has over 10 years experience as a product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazines. She also works on Real Homes, Homes&Gardens, Livingetc and Gardeningetc in the Future Homes portfolio.