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 more than 40 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.
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 $45 to a whopping $259.
1. Morphy Richards Aspect
CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
The lowest scorer in our lab tests lands itself in hot water, with a raft of frustrating usability issues that threaten to make your relaxing tea time anything but. It's noisy and the lid is fiddly – it must be positioned correctly or it won't lock into place. The water level visibility is poor, the water level markings are confusing and the spout is very wide, meaning you may easily overfill your cup if you're not careful.
Not pretty in pink: the Aspect model rated lowest in our tests.
And it's not just our testers who had a problem. CHOICE reader Bree shared her own scathing review: "It is truly terrible!!! The lid is a pain to line up. The water level indicator is not great so I often overfill. Overfilling is not something you want to do as it appears to overflow at the top and leak 'between' yes, BETWEEN the side of the kettle and out the bottom."
2. Sunbeam Quantum KE6310
CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
Like your peace and quiet? Then don't buy this kettle, which boils very loudly and scored equal lowest in our noise test.
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.
3. Russell Hobbs Eden RHK4W
CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
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.
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.
4. DeLonghi Icona KBO2001.S
CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
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.
Full kettle racket: the DeLonghi Icona.
It also has other curious quirks – among others, 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.
5. Smeg 50s Style KLF04
CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
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.
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!
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.
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.