Kettles review 2006

Looking for a kettle that combines cool style with hot performance?
 
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  • Updated:6 Dec 2006
 

01 .Introduction

Kettles

Test results for 10 kettles priced from $60 to $120

We scored them for:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Boiling time
  • Noise
  • Ease of use


Findings:
  • All the tested kettles are energy-efficient and boil water fairly quickly.
  • Good controls, easy-to read water level indicators, and being easy to fill and pour all help make a kettle easier to use.

Models tested

  • BRAUN AquaExpress WK210
  • BREVILLE Nova SK50
  • KAMBROOK Stainless Essentials KSK90
  • KRUPS TeaStyle FLB1 DW
  • MORPHY RICHARDS Reflect Glass 43125
  • RUSSELL HOBBS Montana 3070
  • SANYO U301
  • SHARK Sensor-Temp EP2110B
  • SUNBEAM Express KE7300B
  • TEFAL Vitesse BI7625

Please note: this information was current as of December 2006 but is still a useful guide to today's market. For more recent information, see our Kettles Review 2011.  

 
 

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What to buy

  • SHARK Sensor-Temp EP2110B - $120
  • BRAUN AquaExpress WK210 - $70
  • BREVILLE Nova SK50 - $70

All 10 tested kettles are energy-efficient and fairly quick to boil water, and they’re all pretty easy to use, so the choice comes down mainly to which one you think looks best. That said, the three above had a slight edge over the others, mainly for ease of use.

As well as being a good kettle, the SHARK has a novel feature to help justify its high price: you can dial up a specific water temperature and the kettle will heat to it and then hold it (for example, its instructions recommend 60°C to 80°C as the ideal temperature range for green tea).

What about the rest?

If you prefer to choose on looks, the rest were good kettles too.

  • The SUNBEAM has the worst controls — they're unlabelled and hard to see, and its only water level indicator is inside the kettle.
  • The base of the KRUPS tends to slide on the benchtop, and it has a very small, hard-to-read water level indicator.
  • The TEFAL is one of the noisiest kettles on test, and at 1.29 kg it's also the heaviest. Weight doesn’t always affect comfort when holding and pouring, but on the TEFAL it does.
  • The MORPHY RICHARDS is the most difficult to fill, as you have to keep its lid open by holding down a button, and water can spray out if it hits the filter. However, like most of the kettles, it's fairly easy to fill through the spout.
  • The water level indicator of the KAMBROOK is hard to see and it’s one of the noisiest kettles on test.
  • The RUSSELL HOBBS also has a hard-to-read water level indicator and its base tends to slide on the benchtop.
  • The SANYO’s blue plastic water level indicator is hard to see through, and steam tends to drift up onto your hand while pouring.

Results tables

  Performance
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score1
(%)
Ease of use score2
(%)
Energy efficiency score3
(%)
Boiling time score4
(%)
Boiling time4 (min:sec) Noise5
(dB)
Price
($)†
SHARK Sensor-Temp EP2110B (A) 82 78 90 84 2:44:00 AM 58 120
BRAUN AquaExpress WK210 81 82 87 77 2:54:00 AM 58 70
BREVILLE Nova SK50 80 78 85 80 2:50:00 AM 59 70
SUNBEAM Express KE7300B 77 73 88 80 2:50:00 AM 60 80
KRUPS TeaStyle FLB1 DW (B) 76 70 86 81 2:48:00 AM 61 100
TEFAL Vitesse BI7625 76 70 86 81 2:48:00 AM 62 80
MORPHY RICHARDS Reflect Glass 43125 74 77 84 68 3:08:00 AM 58 89
KAMBROOK Stainless Essentials KSK90 72 73 85 67 3:09:00 AM 62 60
RUSSELL HOBBS Montana 3070 72 73 85 67 3:09:00 AM 60 69
SANYO U301 70 70 83 66 3:11:00 AM 57 70
 

 

  Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Claimed capacity (L) Material* Lid type Weight (kg)** Warranty (years) Origin Manufacturer / distributor
SHARK Sensor-Temp EP2110B (A) 2 Stainless steel Swivel (C) 1.15 2 China SSM
BRAUN AquaExpress WK210 1.6 Plastic Hinged 0.74 2 Germany Braun
BREVILLE Nova SK50 1.8 Stainless steel Hinged 0.95 1 China HWI Electrical
SUNBEAM Express KE7300B 1.7 Stainless steel Removable 0.96 1 China Sunbeam
KRUPS TeaStyle FLB1 DW (B) 1.7 Stainless steel Hinged 0.91 1 China Groupe SEB
TEFAL Vitesse BI7625 1.7 Stainless steel Hinged 1.29 1 China Groupe SEB
MORPHY RICHARDS Reflect Glass 43125 1.7 Glass / stainless steel Hinged 1.13 2 China Morphy Richards / Asko
KAMBROOK Stainless Essentials KSK90 1.7 Stainless steel Hinged 0.93 1 China HWI Electrical
RUSSELL HOBBS Montana 3070 1.7 Stainless steel Removable 0.92 2 China HWI Electrical
SANYO U301 1.8 Stainless steel Hinged 0.96 1 China Sanyo

Table notes

* All have a plastic handle and base, and the lid is also at least part plastic.
** Empty kettle, not including base.
† Recommended retail, as provided by manufacturers in August 2006, or the price we paid in June 2006

(A) To be discontinued around December.
(B) Discontinued, but you may still find it in shops.
(C) Press a button to make it swivel down, or it can be removed.

1 Overall score
This is a combination of:
Ease of use: 50%
Energy efficiency: 10%
Boiling time: 40%

2 Ease of use score
We assessed the following equally weighted factors:
Controls
Filling
Pouring
Removing/replacing the kettle on the base
Water level indicator
Balance and handle comfort

3 Energy efficiency score
This is a measure of how efficiently the kettle uses electricity to heat water.

4 Boiling time score
This is based on how long the kettle takes to boil one litre of water, starting at 20°C.

5 Noise
This bothers some people even in a kettle. The SANYO was the quietest on test, the KAMBROOK and TEFAL the loudest, and the difference is noticeable.

Product profiles - the best

Models in the What to buy list are profiled in rank order.

SHARK SENSOR-TEMP EP2110B

Price: $120

Good points

  • Quickest boiling time (2 minutes 44 seconds to boil 1 L)
  • The most energy-efficient on test
  • Pours easily
  • The base is very slip-resistant
  • Can heat to and hold a range of temperatures
  • No problem boiling a small amount of water even though its minimum stated water level is 1 L

Bad points

  • The water level indicator is only on one side, making the kettle more suitable for right-handers

BRAUN AQUAEXPRESS WK210

Price: $70

Good points

  • Very good controls
  • Pours easily
  • Very good water level indicators, visible from both sides
  • The lightest in the test

Bad points

  • Nothing in particular

BREVILLE NOVA SK50

Price: $70

Good points

  • Very good controls
  • Pours easily
  • Good water level indicators, visible from both sides

Bad points

  • Nothing in particular

SUNBEAM Express KE7300B

Price: $80

Good points

  • Extremely stable
  • Pours well
  • Base is very slip resistant

Bad points

  • Worst controls
  • Dull indicator light difficult to see from some angles
  • Internal maximum water level indicator only

KRUPS TeaStyle FLB1 DW

Price: $100

Good points

  • Pours well.

Bad points

  • Minimum stated water level is 1300 ml
  • Dull indicator light difficult to see from some angles
  • Base tends to slide on bench
  • Very small water level indicator located located behind handle and hard to see

TEFAL Vitesse BI7625

Price: $80

Good points

  • Best controls
  • Water level indicator visible from both sides

Bad points

  • Heavy
  • Equal noisiest kettle tested
  • Tiring when pouring due to weight

MORPHY RICHARDS Reflect Glass 43125

Price: $89

Good points

  • One of the easiest to fill through the spout
  • Water level very visible through glass sides of kettle

Bad points

  • Amongst the slowest boiling time
  • Dull indicator light difficult to see from some angles
  • The hardest to fill through the lid, water can spray out if not careful
  • Tiring on the wrist when pouring.

KAMBROOK Stainless Essentials KSK90

Price: $60

Good points

  • Pours fairly well

Bad points

  • Equal noisiest kettle tested
  • Amongst the slowest boiling time
  • Indicator light dull and not very obvious unless you bend over
  • Water level indicator is located behind the handle and hard to see

RUSSELL HOBBS Montana 3070

Price: $69

Good points

  • Pours well

Bad points

  • Amongst the slowest boiling time
  • Base tends to slide on bench
  • Water level indicator located behind the handle and a little hard to see. Graduations can only be seen if kettle is held in the right hand.

SANYO U301

Price: $70

Good points

  • Quietest kettle tested
  • One of the easiest to fill through the spout

Bad points

  • Slowest boiling time
  • Indicator light difficult to see from some angles
  • Some steam drifts up onto the hand when pouring
  • Water level indicator located on both sides of the kettle but very difficult to see level through the blue plastic

04.What to look for plus tips

 

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.

Tip:

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.