If you hanker after style, substance and kitchen kudos then grab yourself a KitchenAid. This undeniably chic 1.7 litre model is available in four colours – cream, black, red and stainless steel – and features six different digitally-controlled heat settings and a useful keep-warm function for those who enjoy relay beverage sipping. Other keen selling factors include a non-drip spout that is wide enough to fill the kettle without the bother of having to lift the sprung lid (as you do), a pair of blue interior LEDs that illuminate the level of contents through a thin transparent strip and a small enough footprint for even the most crowded worktops. This kettle set the fastest boil time (1’15”) though the jury’s out on the slightly annoying digital beep it emits when ready. Still tops, though.
KitchenAid 1.7 Litre Kettle
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Dualit is a past master at producing retro-style kitchen gear that not only looks authentically old fashioned but probably lasts longer than its owner. Like the company’s time-honoured toaster, the 1.7 litre Classic Kettle looks elegant on any work surface. And as an extra bonus, the 69-year-old British brand is currently offering it in a whopping 50 different colour schemes. The 1.7-litre Dualit has just one temperature setting – 100˚ – but it boiled our test-bed 500ml of water in a not-too-shabby one minute and 25 seconds. And what’s more its Whisper Boil element ensured it performed the deed without too much noise in the process. The Dualit comes with a classic teapot-style spout and the most comfortable handle on test. Looks good, feels good, boils well. Job done.
Dualit Classic Kettle
This very well designed and rather colourful kettle doesn’t need any whistles or beeps to let you know it’s boiled because you can see it for yourself through the illuminated Schott glass housing. We never thought watching a kettle boil could be so mesmerising but this really is, especially in a darkened room. As soon as you switch it on, the interior lights up, illuminating the water as it bubbles to a crescendo. It’s rather like the kettle equivalent of a Lava Lamp. Unfortunately it doesn’t feature different temperature settings so it’s not a kettle for the herbal tea drinker. Limescale in hard water areas is also a problem since it tends to cling to the side of the glass and looks unsightly. But as a funky kitchen lightshow that offers a product as a finale, it’s a veritable showstopper.
Russell Hobbs Glass Line
If the single blue glow of the Russell Hobbs Glass Line isn’t psychedelic enough for you, try this multi-coloured alternative. Granted, the full glass display of the RH model is more striking but this one’s half plastic/half stainless steel construction still looks stylish on the worktop. The clever bit here is the sequenced light display it provides while on standby. Switch it on, and as the water raises in temperature, the interior runs through a rainbow of colours before finishing with a deep red to signify the end of the show. Encore! The Breville boils quickly and comes fitted with a swivel base and an ergonomic handle that has proved popular with arthritis sufferers.
Breville Spectra Illumination Jug
Here’s a leftfield option for the family that drinks a lot of different hot beverages. The Filtrino offers five temperature settings from ambient to boiling and that makes it a great choice for coffee fans and herbalists. Moreover – and here’s the clever bit – it only heats the amount of water for your selected cup size (120 ml, 150 ml, 200 ml, 250 ml and 300 ml). This feature is said to save as much as 80% of energy when compared to a standard kettle. The Filtrino also comes equipped with a Brita water filtration system that removes chlorine, limescale and other taste-affecting nasties. And from a safety point of view, there’s the added child lock that only allows access to filtered room-temperature water. If you struggle to lift a heavy kettle or want to save a few pennies or have children who can reach the worktop then this slice of aqua tech is a genuinely useful – and safer – alternative to a bogstandard kettle.
This brushed aluminium water scorcher uses Whisper Boil technology and is so quiet you hardly know it’s on. Thank heavens for the beep. It’s a fairly quick operator, too, coming third in our scientifically devised bench test with an acceptable finishing time of one minute 44 seconds. It also comes with a warming function and seven digitally-controlled temperature settings that rise in 5˚ increments from 70˚ to 100˚C; a decent enough range that covers pretty much every variety of tea from delicate whites and greens to good old builders’ black. It looses a star for taking up a little more room than the KitchenAid and having the name Kenwood on it. Pretentious snobs? Nous?
Kenwood Persona Kettle
Smarter Wifi iKettle
It was going to happen sooner or later and here it is, a wifi-enabled kettle you can boil remotely using an iOS or Android app. The 1.8-litre kettle has two methods of connection: its own local network or via your home router’s wifi. We see no point in using the kettle’s personal wifi network since it will hog your phone’s wifi mode and prevent access to your home broadband. Much better to set it up using your home’s wifi so you can switch it on while on the way home – it tells you if the kettle’s empty – or during a TV ad break. Social nerds are even offered the opportunity to post the fact they’ve just boiled the kettle on FaceBook and Twitter. Not sure why you'd want to do that. So that’s the tech out the way, what’s the kettle like? Slow, it has to be said: two minutes and 20 seconds to boil just 500ml of water, a whole minute slower than the KitchenAid. It looks a little cheap too and wobbles about a bit. And it’s a trifle noisy. But, hey, it has four temperature settings – 65˚, 80˚, 95˚, 100˚ – and a keep-warm function, so that’s cool. Or rather hot.