What to look for
Left/right-handed use: The handle should be symmetrical, and ideally there’ll be a water-level indicator on both sides that’s easy to read. A centrally located water indicator, such as behind the handle, can be another good option, but check it’s easy to see.
Handle: Should be comfortable to hold and made of heat-resistant material.
Controls: Check the switch is easy to reach and use and the indicator light is bright and obvious when the kettle is heating water. It’s good if it turns off with an audible click once it’s boiled.
Filling: A large spout and a lid that’s easy to open give you two easy filling options. Pouring: This is hard to check in a shop, but all the tested kettles pour smoothly and none directs a dangerous amount of steam onto your hand.
Base: Should be non-slip and allow the kettle to be placed on it in any position. It should also have a long enough cord so the kettle doesn’t have to be right next to the power point, and have room for cord storage underneath. All the tested kettles have these features.
Weight: A light kettle is generally easier to use, especially when full, though a heavier one can still be comfortable if it’s well-balanced — hard to tell in the shop when it’s empty.
Safety features: All the tested models automatically switch off when they’ve boiled. Even if a kettle doesn’t do this, it should switch off if it boils dry.
The measured wattage for the tested kettles ranged from 2110 W to 2350 W. This is approaching the maximum safe limit of 2400 W for standard household power points, so to avoid power cutouts it’s better not to run another appliance from the same power point as a kettle (by using a double adapter, for example).
For people with a disability
If you have impaired vision or weakness in your hands or wrists, some kettles can be harder to use than others. While the nature of your disability influences which kettle is best for you, the Independent Living Centre (NSW) recommends looking for a cordless kettle with the following features:
- Lightweight and easy to fit under the tap.
- A large, well directed spout. This allows easier filling without having to open the lid.
- Clear water level indicators on both sides.
- A roomy, D-shaped handle.
- Light touch controls or a large switch.
- A lid that’s easy to remove and replace.
The BRAUN would be a good choice as it meets most of these criteria. The KAMBROOK is another option; its lid is easy to open, but it mightn’t be a good choice for vision-impaired people, as its water level indicator is behind its handle and so is a little hard to see.
If you have weak hands or arms a kettle tipper allows you to pour from the kettle without having to lift it — particularly useful with a heavy kettle like the TEFAL, which otherwise might suit some people with a disability because its controls and lid are very easy to use.