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Electric kettles to avoid buying

Don't settle for an inferior kettle – here are the models that rated lowest in our lab tests.

kettle with red cross
Last updated: 11 January 2022

Aussies love a good cuppa, but there's more to a kettle than just boiling water. Increasingly, there are more sophisticated models on the market with features such as temperature control, constant boil and noise reduction, plus a range of pretty finishes and vivid colours.

But, if a kettle drips and dribbles, is too loud or just hard to hold, all the bells and whistles in the world won't make your tea break the relaxing ritual it should be.

Of course it's impossible to know just by looking at one in-store or online. That's why our lab experts put 50 popular models through a range of tough tests – from boil time to noise levels, to ease of use and more – to ensure you get the best cuppa you can.  

kettle product test choice

Tea time and testing at CHOICE.

Our tests found some great kettles, both budget and high-end, alongside some really mediocre models that were truly off the boil (see our full review results). Here are the five that rated lowest, ranging in price from $20 to a whopping $299.

1. Sunbeam Quantum KE6310

CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
Price: $70

Like your peace and quiet? Then don't buy this kettle, which boils very loudly and scored equal lowest in our noise test. 

sunbeam quantum stainless kettle

Quantum kettle, quantum noise.

When it comes to 'ease of use' (which makes up 40% of our CHOICE Expert Rating), it's a mixed bag. On the upside, it's easy to pour and you don't have to tilt it much at the end, so it's easy on the wrist. On the downside, the water level markers are difficult to see and the indicator light is quite faint, which makes it hard to see in a bright room.

Our testing found Sunbeam made some great kettles – this just isn't one of them. See our full reviews.

2. Russell Hobbs Eden RHK4W

CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
Price: $50

Just want to go with the flow? Not with this kettle you won't. Our testers found this model awkward to use, with poor balance and an uncomfortable handle that needs to be tilted a lot to pour by the end.

russell hobbs eden kettle

The Eden kettle: No paradise when it comes to handling.

It's one of the quicker models to boil, but does bring the noise (not as loudly as the Sunbeam though), so avoid this one if you're the type who likes an early cuppa before the rest of your house gets up. Again, like Sunbeam, there are Russell Hobbs models that performed far better in our tests, so check out our full reviews

3. DeLonghi Icona KBO2001.S

CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
Price: $89

Another model that needs a volume switch! Scoring equal lowest in our noise measurement test, the Icona promises a full kettle racket when it boils. 

delonghi icona silver

Full kettle racket: The DeLonghi Icona.

It also has other curious quirks – among them, the water level isn't indicated below 1000mL and both the detachable lid and filter are fiddly to remove. 

On the flipside, it offers good handle comfort and doesn't need much tilting to get the last of the water out. Not one of DeLonghi's best models, though. 

4. Smeg 50s Style KLF04

CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
Price: $259

The second most expensive model we tested oozes retro style, but it'll prove troublesome come tea time. It's bottom-heavy, sports an uncomfortable handle and the water level is hard to see. It's also notably noisy.

smeg 50s style variable temperature

Fashionably flawed: The Smeg 50s Style kettle.

On the plus side, it packs handy features such as an audio boil finish reminder, a soft-opening lid and a 'keep warm' function. It also has seven preset boil temperatures, which would be great, except our tests found six of them were wrong by 1–8 degrees. Oops! 

Russell Hobbs Brita Glass Kettle RHK550

CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
Price: $80

Yet another noisy boiler, this glass number from Russell Hobbs has an in-built water filter – a feature that's a great idea in theory, but not so much in practice. 

russell hobbs brita glass kettle rhk550

It's crystal clear: The water filter is a great idea that doesn't work.

Using filtered water in your kettle sounds clever – except that it'll take you 2–3 minutes to fill the kettle because the water has to filter through first. And then you'll have to wait a further 3 minutes 45 seconds for the kettle to boil, so you'd want to hope you're not already desperate for that cuppa!

Kmart 1.7 Litre Smart Variable Temperature Kettle 

CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
Price: $59

What you save in dollars when buying this Kmart kettle, you might lose in hearing – it's considered 'very noisy' by our experts. 

kmart 17 litre smart variable temperature kettle ld k3068

Kmart's 'smart' kettle flunked our tests.

On the plus side, it's easy on the wrist when pouring, and it's easy to fill up – although you'll have to remove the lid to do so. 

For a Kmart kettle, it has a bunch of fancy features like a keep-warm function that maintains the temperature for 40 minutes, and five pre-set temperatures – although they're out by 2–3°C each. We think Kmart should stick to what it knows: cheap and cheerful products without the bells and whistles. 

Dishonourable mentions

Breville's The Smart Kettle BKE825

Despite performing well in our tests at first, this model has received an overwhelming amount of complaints about long-term reliability after one to two years of use, so beware. See full review and complaints.

KitchenAid 5KEK1722ACU0

There's been a product recall of models with serial numbers beginning with YA342XXXXX through to YA724XXXXX, sold from November 2013 to February 2018. This is due to the risk of the handle becoming loose and detached, so we've removed our recommendation. Please see the recall notice for information on how to obtain a replacement.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.