The best electric kettles for easy tea preparation

When you’re a country fuelled by caffeine, this could be the most important appliance in your kitchen.

It might sound like an overstatement to suggest that the kettle is the most important appliance in your kitchen, but it’s probably used more than any other electrical device—think how many times it’s switched on every day to make a hot drink, how it’s a quick and easy way to boil water for cooking pasta or vegetables—and in some student digs without access to a proper kitchen, it doubles up as a saucepan too. But before you pick your kitchen kettle, there are a few things to bear in mind—because everything from your living arrangements, to where you live in the country could have a bearing on the model you choose.

Breville Impressions Electric Kettle
A smart, 1.7-litre kettle that illuminates when in use and has a removable, cleanable limescale filter.Amazon

Most contemporary kettles hold just under two litres of water which means that, when full, there’s enough water to make a cuppa for between six and eight people, depending on whether you’re drinking from dainty tea cups or mugs. For easy filling—and ensuring you’re not boiling more water than you need—look for a kettle that has a window that shows exactly how much water is inside. And opt for a cordless design that sits on a base, so you don’t have to worry about the cord when filling or pouring.

Russell Hobbs 20460 Quiet Boil Kettle
Brushed stainless steel kettle that resists fingerprints, and has both quiet boil and one-cup technology.Amazon

If you share living space with other people, you’ll know how irritating unwanted noises can be. And while a cup of tea is almost always welcome, if you’re on the phone, or trying to do a video conference, the last thing you want is a loudly boiling kettle. So keep an eye out for those that have features that are conducive to communal living, such as quiet boil technology, or one-cup boil settings that mean that you can quickly—and quietly—boil enough water for just one cup.

Russell Hobbs 22851 BRITA Filter Purity Kettle
With integrated filtration system for improved taste and longer kettle life.Amazon

Hard water areas aren’t good news for tea lovers. It’s the minerals in hard water that are responsible for the white fuzz, or limescale build-up that you’ll find in your kettle—and for that slight scum on the top of a cup of tea. One way to get rid of these minerals is with a water filtration system, but you can also look for kettles that have a filter already integrated into them. Not only will this make your tea look and taste better, but it will mean you don’t have to descale your kettle as frequently, and, without limescale building up on the element, it will retain its energy efficiency.