All kettles boil water, but there are many innovations on the market. How does a cheap $8 kettle compare with a stylish $350 one? How do we choose which electric kettles to include, and how do we test them?
Our small appliances expert testers know the importance of an operational kettle – especially first thing in the morning! Our rigorous test method looks at a kettle's energy consumption, boil time and noise levels, as well as its ease of use.
There are a huge number of kettles on the market, and we can't test them all. When we narrow down our buy list, we usually look at ones with features such as variable temperature settings (useful for brewing specialty teas). We may also include the occasional budget brand, and we try to feature kettles made from a range of materials including stainless steel or plastic.
Once a buy list is put together, we then order them in-store just as a consumer would, to ensure that the samples have not been 'tweaked' by manufacturers in any way.
We store the water and kettles together overnight in our lab, so that the temperature is maintained at a constant level. Each kettle is tested with one litre of water.
As the kettle boils, we measure noise levels and record the reading around halfway through the boiling cycle. We also record the total energy used and the time taken for the kettle to switch off automatically after the boiling cycle.
For kettles with variable temperatures, we assess accuracy at each setting.
We conduct a dry boil test for safety, switching on the empty kettle and wait until it switches off automatically.
Ease of use
We look at:
- how easy it is to switch the kettle on
- visibility of the indicator lights
- ease of filling the kettle and pouring water out of it
- how comfortable it is on the wrist
- whether the kettle has to be tilted too far when pouring
- clarity of the kettle markings
- ease of removing and replacing the filter.
At present, we don't have the resources to test long-term reliability in the lab. Quite a few members have got in touch about their kettles becoming temperamental after a period of time, so in 2016 we used our annual reliability survey to ask about how electric kettle brands stack up over time.
You might also like to read other members' reviews alongside our lab test results on individual product pages, which should help you get an overall picture of the kettle's performance – and you can share your own review if we've tested a kettle you already own.
Our kettles are ranked on noise (40%), ease of use (40%), boiling time (10%) and energy efficiency (10%).