Your kettle is likely to stand on your work surface rather than hidden away in the cupboard, it’s important to get the style right to co-ordinate with the rest of your kitchen. Do you want a statement piece? Or perhaps a kettle that blends in? You might consider a matching kettle and toaster set, this often work out cheaper if bought together.
If you can’t wait for that first cup of tea or coffee in the morning, or you’re pushed for time, then a quick boil function should be on your list of important features. Quick boiling kettles will have a power output over 2kw with the quickest having over 3kw. If you are searching specifically for fast kettle, then ‘rapid boil kettle’ is also a useful term to use.
Capacity: A large cup holds around 250ml of water, so kettles with typical capacities (1.5 to 1.7 litres) can boil six or seven cupful’s at a time. If you have a small household or limited work surfaces in your kitchen, there are smaller kettles available. Smaller kettles are also ideal if you struggle to lift a standard sized kettle full of water.
Power ratings: The power of a kettle ranges from around 2kW to 3kW, this is usually reflected in the price - higher Wattage kettles are more powerful, therefore boil faster. As a rule, kettles with 3kW of power are classed as ‘rapid boil’, although performance may vary.
Safety features: Manufacturers have developed various features for your safety and protection, such as auto shut-off when water begins to boil or the kettle is lifted, thermal cut-off, cool-touch walls so that the body of the kettle remains cold and non-slip bases.
Energy efficiency: Cup measures on the water level indicator ensure that you boil only the amount of water you actually need if you work on the ‘fill a little, save a lot’ principle. Some kettles feature angled graduation with tilt handles to help you to fill up to just the right measure. Manufacturers are also using improved technology for their heating elements, giving energy savings of up to 35%.
Cordless swivel bases: Most kettles are now ‘cordless’ in that the power cable attaches to a separate base, meaning that the kettle is free to be lifted for pouring and cable length is therefore not restrictive, this also allows the handle of the kettle to face any direction which can make positioning the kettle easier whether you are right or left handed.
Concealed element: This makes cleaning much easier than on models with exposed elements. It is also generally considered to be more efficient at boiling water.
Water filter: This reduces limescale build-up, making your kettle last longer and your drink taste better. Most models now feature a removable washable filter; always make sure that filters fit well to prevent limescale in your cups. Some models have a built-in water filter with replaceable cartridges which last approximately one to two months depending on how frequently the kettle is used.
Whistle on boil: Just like old-style hob kettles, this handy little feature alerts you to when the water has boiled.
Variable temperature settings: These allow you to heat water to a specific temperature, which is often optimal for specific types of brewing - a feature which is particularly useful for specialist teas or coffees.