Guide to Buying an Electric Kettle – Part 1

kettle guideThere was a time when all you needed to know when buying a kettle was..

1) Can it boil water quickly?

2) Is it safe?

Today there are lots of options when buying a kettle. This kettle buying guide looks at many of them, plus other aspects that you might want to consider.

General Features of Modern Kettles

This first section of this guide to buying a kettle gives a quick run down of general features found in new kettles.

Some of these things can appear trivial, but in reality they can make a big difference, especially as kettles are normally used everyday.

Some things to check..

Can you fill through the spout or do you have to open the lid each time?

Is there a water gauge? Is it in a practical position for your kitchen or office? Is it going to annoy checking a gauge that’s in an awkward position?

Is there an easy pour spout mentioned? This will help avoid hot water spluttering out every time you make a cup of tea or coffee; you basically get a more even pouring action.
easy pour spout
Would you prefer a plastic or stainless steel finish? A kettle with a stainless steel body will be much hotter to the touch compared to a plastic body. Something to consider if your household has children.


Would a swivel base be useful to you? This feature means you can resit the kettle from any direction.

360 base

Other notes –

A keep warm function allows you to keep the water at a desired temperature for a certain amount of time. This function won’t be for everybody and it will increase overall cost (in electricity too).

Generally speaking, cool touch handles are a common feature, as are non-slip handles. Many modern kettles are cordless, but you should double check the feature list so you don’t get a surprise.

Now let’s look at more specific features and considerations.

Water Capacity – Electric Kettle Sizes

The capacity of a regular electric UK kettles is typically between 1.5 litres and 1.7 litres.

Assuming a cup of tea or coffee uses 250ml of boiling water, then a 1.5 litre kettle will make about six cups worth and a 1.7 litre kettle, around 7 cups.

If you have a large household or small office, the capacity of the kettle should definitely be a consideration.

You may also wish to search for a 2 litre kettle. While it is not a common size, they are available. A 2 litre kettle will make around 8 cups.

(Note – Travel kettles are usually around 0.5 to 1 litre in capacity.)

Noise – Is a Quieter Kettle Important to You?

All kettles are going to make some noise and I would advise scanning a few reviews to see if a potential purchase is particularly loud or not.

Taking a more direct approach, you could search for kettles with a ‘Quiet Boil‘ feature, such as the Russell Hobbs 20460 Quiet Boil kettle. According to the reviews that I’ve read, it does seem pretty quiet.

Not only are some kettles louder than others, but some, like the Bosch TWK8633 make a loud electric beeping sound both when switched on, and when the water is at the correct temperature. If you are not aware of this at purchase then if could be a surprise.

Again, when you have a short-list of kettles, I would always advise reading a few user reviews.

  Part Two of How to Choose a Kettle Guide >>