Stylish kettles for modern kitchens
Kettles used to be simple things that boiled water, so you could make tea or, I dunno, Bovril or something. Now, thanks to all of us getting richer, at least statistically speaking, they've joined the premium kitchen tech consumer revolution. Though of course you can also still get cheaper ones. All told, there are a LOT of kettles available.
How does a kettle stand out in such a crazily busy field? Two ways: they can be made of premium materials and look like an industrial work of art. And they can use digital tech so as to have different temperature settings.
The latter allow you to make the most of different beverages - coffee requires about 90 to 95 degrees, green tea, which can be literally nauseating when made with boiling water, requires about 80 degrees. Oolong tea requires 90 degrees and white tea about 85. Do you drink oolong tea? Then there you go. Sorted.
Now an interesting thing, in our experience, is that a really expensive kettle will not necessarily last any longer than a cheap one. Probably if you tallied up all users around the world, a £100 one lasts longer, but T3 has had several pricey kettles drop dead after a few months, and we've all owned cheap plastic kettles that lasted for all our student years and well beyond. If you're going high-end, buy from someone who's reputable in terms of accepting returns, like John Lewis or Amazon.
At the end of the day, these things are kettles, for heating up water. We know which ones we like, and we'll tell you here. You can judge for yourself whether you like the look, we'll fill you in as best we can how good they are at boiling and dispensing water without scalding you or exploding. It's hot work, but someone's gotta do it.
Once you're done, come back and check out the rest of our kitchen tech verdicts, links are above. They're way less boring than kettles, we guarantee.
Before you read on, let's answer a few questions.
Do these kettles all have removeable scale filters? Yes.
Do they all have variable temperature control? No. We've mentioned when they don't.
Hey, my variable-temp kettle stops boiling for a while, then restarts when it's heating to a temperature other than 100 degrees! Yes, they all do that. We don't know why. Don't worry about it, guy.
Are these kettles ranked in order? Yes, but based on our taste. And let's face it, kettles are not the most difficult things to get at least somewhat right. So browse till you find one you like the look of.
KitchenAid 1.7 Litre Kettle
As with its toasters, KitchenAid does two types of kettle: a merely expensive one, and an outrageously expensive one. And again, this - the "cheap" version - is the one we recommend.
This cool-looking, 1.7 litre model comes in cream, black, red and stainless steel and has six 'digitally-controlled' heat settings, plus a keep-warm function - which seems like an amazing waste of energy, to us, but if you're a chain-sipper of hot beverages, could be useful. It also has adjustable temperature from 50 degrees to 100 degrees, without the need for a massively bulky base - the controls sit on the handle instead.
The spout is wide and effective and it’s a reasonably quick boiler, too. The digital beep it emits when docked and on boiling is admittedly rather shrill compared to its more expensive sibling's calming, analogue 'ping', however.
Price £100 | Kitchenaid
Dualit Dome Kettle
Best known for its toasters, Dualit also tries its hand at other appliances, making really excellent hand blenders, and not-bad milk frothers, for instance.
Dualit also makes a wide and growing range of kettles, and this is our favourite. It best captures the classic Dualit look of being retro without looking old - timeless, really - and boild quick and fast. The handle allows easy lifting and pouring and the water level gauge is very easy to read. The scale filter is unusually easy to access and clean, too.
Sometimes, the simplest tech, done best, is the most pleasing. Shame it doesn't have multi-temperature settings, though.
£70 | John Lewis
Sage by Heston Blumethal Smart Kettle
We keep giving the Sage range top spot in our kitchen tech lists for several reasons: we like the masculine, steeled look, the products feel high-end and offer geniune innovation, and although the pricing is not cheap, it's actually pitched below the established names in the premium appliances market.
We're deliberately not going to make this our #1 pick as it starts to look like we're in their pocket if we do, but the Sage Smart kettle is another strong product. It boils quietly and reliably, has a large, 1.8-litre capacity, looks pretty good and has a lid that opens with a pleasingly slow, but not so slow as to be irritiating, action. Textbook. The buttons, as on the Sage Smart Toaster, are amusingly quirky - has there ever been a UK kettle with a dedicated "oolong" button before?
Price £90 | Lakeland
Bosch Styline Kettle
This may look rather chic in the picture but it is actually a hulking, industrial beast, almost entirely lacking in elegance. And that's just fine: it's a kettle.
You can heat water to anywhere from 70 degrees to 100 degrees and it will then hold it at that temperature if you so wish. It's fairly quiet, beeps when it's done, and stays impressively cool.
The buttons do feel a bit flimsy and unengaging, but the Styline is otherwise a supremely effective kettle that is so plain, it's quite beautiful. Vorsprung durch technik.
Price £70 | John Lewis
Russell Hobbs Legacy Kettle
We haven't tried this one yet but the Legacy toaster is very good for its price, Russell Hobbs' devices in general are sometimes dull but always super effective, and not excessively ugly, so we're gonna go right ahead and assume this is too. We'll update ASAP when ours comes in, if it proves otherwise.
The traditional kettle look has been totally out-punched by the jug style these days, but there's a lot to be said for the lower centre of gravity on this type of water boiling appliance. This one has a removable scale filter, just boils water rather than trying to be clever with temperatures, and boasts a 1.7-litre capacity. In short: a kettle.
Price £35 | John Lewis
From the reliably efficient purveyors of high-end, large kitchen appliances comes this attractive kettle, which looks a bit like a very attentive metal rooster head. It's quick and quiet, though the pointy spout is rather unforgiving and the lid has a tendency to stick. Very solid generally, though. Also about the most affordable AEG appliance there is, if you're feeling aspirational.
There's also a multi-temp version, but we've not tried that yet.
£40 | John Lewis
Kenwood kMix Jug Kettle
This is a great looking kettle, though we found that the lid was a massive pain to use. Like trying to coax a sick man out of bed, it took so long to rise, we had almost lost our appetite for tea by the time it rose.
It's also on the noisy side and feels lightweight and cheap. The look remains compelling, however.
Price £60 | John Lewis
All hail the dawn of the Wi-Fi, connected kettle! Once sat on its base, the painfully-named iKettle looks a lot like the Sage Smart Kettle, with temperature settings from 65 degrees to 100. It's nowhere near as good in terms of volume level, feel and finish, but it does offer Wi-Fi control from your iOS or Android device.
That's something of a mixed blessing as it means you can set it off remotely - for a little extra in-bed time of a morning, for instance - but it also means that you now have a kettle that needs to be set up on your home network, with all the inevitable misery that entails. It will also, like all IoT devices, then sometimes fall off your network, causing you to swear like a docker.
Price £100 | Smarter
Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Compact Kettle
A more affordable Sage kettle, this dispenses with the multiple temperature control and only holds a litre. That's why it's called The Compact Kettle.
However, it keeps the same benefits as the pricier Sage devices, being very handsome indeed, quick and quiet to boil, and having an excellent spout and reliable, sproingy lid.
If you live in a hard water area, don't even THINK about buying it, unless you want to be cleaning regularly. You know just limescale and glass don't mix…
Price £70 | John Lewis
KitchenAid Artisan Kettle
If you fall in love with the look of this one, perhaps its price tag won't put you off. We find it rather squat and unappetising, and overly self-conscious in its analogue affectations, from the temperature dial on the side to the soft "ping" it emits once the desired, adjustable temperature is reached.
On the other hand, the temperature slider is hugely satisfying and covers the widest range of any of these kettles, from 50 to 100 degrees.
On the OTHER other hand, our one's lid kept popping up when boiling, and then the pinger stopped working, and it was also kind of loud. Doubtless that isn't what usually happens, and no doubt most of these work fine, but it does go show that even spending 120 quid on a kettle can't guarantee it'll always work flawlessly.
Price from £119 | John Lewis
Bugatti Vera Kettle
Yes, the £200 kettle is here! In it's chrome finish, this one is £199.99 although you can get it in various colour finishes for a tenner less. It looks absolutely magnificent, and has a particularly fetching digital display for its variable temperature settings. It can also hold the water at your chosen hotness, has a clock and, if you please, a timer, so you can have it boil at set times.
It is, in our experience, pretty crap as a kettle, being unreliable and tricky to pour. However, as a statement piece, it is very hard to beat, even if the statement is, "I TOTALLY value style over substance."
Price from £190 | Amazon
Another classic, cheap kettle that does what most people want from a kettle. It is undeniably noisy, but it's cheap. The switch lights up blue, which feels a bit 2011 at this point, and there's a scale filter. It's like an entry level, Kettle 101. Fine by us.
Price £20 | John Lewis