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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: 01 March 2024

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.

kettle product test choice

Tea time and testing at CHOICE.

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 60 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.  

Our tests found some great kettles, both budget and high-end, alongside some really mediocre models that were truly off the boil. Here are the kettles that rated lowest, ranging in price from $40 to a whopping $269.

sunbeam quantum stainless kettle

Quantum kettle, quantum noise.

Sunbeam Quantum KE6310

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
  • Price: $80

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

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 the full Sunbeam Quantum review.

russell hobbs eden kettle

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

Russell Hobbs Eden RHK4W

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
  • Price: $69

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.

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 the full Russell Hobbs Eden review.

delonghi argento kbx2016w1

The DeLonghi Argento prioritises style over substance.

DeLonghi Argento KBX2016.W1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
  • Price: $99

It might have the style, but unfortunately this DeLonghi doesn't back it up with substance. 

Our testers found it awkward to use: from removing the lid to pouring water to checking the water level and replacing the filter, it isn't a great experience. 

If you're not irritated by those aspects, the noise will probably get to you. Our experts classify its 65dB mid-boil reading as "Very noisy".

Read the full DeLonghi Argento review.

delonghi icona silver

Full kettle racket: The DeLonghi Icona.

DeLonghi Icona KBO2001.S

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
  • Price: $109

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.

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. 

Check our full kettle reviews if you're looking for a better DeLonghi. 

sunbeam rise up 17l kettle kep0007wh

Cheap, but far from a bargain: the Sunbeam Rise Up kettle.

Sunbeam Rise Up KEP0007WH

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
  • Price: $40

It may be cheap and cheerful compared to some of the high-end kettles we've reviewed, but this Sunbeam kettle was outperformed even by $25 models, so if you're looking for a bargain this isn't it. 

Like many of the kettles in this list of poor performers, it's noisy and has a few frustrating features – an indicator light that's not very bright or obvious, water level markings that are difficult to see, and a lid that requires extra effort to open fully. 

It also takes an agonising 3m37s to boil, and since time is money, what you'll save on buying the kettle you'll lose in the long minutes spent waiting for it to boil. 

If you're looking for a good boil on a budget, you can find one in our detailed kettle reviews

smeg 50s style variable temperature

Fashionably flawed: The Smeg 50s Style kettle.

Smeg 50s Style KLF04

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
  • Price: $299

The most expensive model we tested oozes retro style (and comes in a range of colours), 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.

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°C. Oops! 

russell hobbs brita glass kettle rhk550

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

Russell Hobbs Brita Glass Kettle RHK550

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
  • Price: $80

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

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!

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 the full review of Breville's The Smart Kettle BKE 825 and complaints.

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.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.