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We try before you buy: Are fast-boiling kettles really hot stuff?

We try before you buy: Are fast-boiling kettles really hot stuff?

Of all the small appliances on my kitchen counter, the electric kettle is surely the one I use the most.  Across Britain, we drink 165 million cups of tea a day — that’s enough boiling water to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools before we’ve even started making coffee or cooking. So having a kettle that

Of all the small appliances on my kitchen counter, the electric kettle is surely the one I use the most. 

Across Britain, we drink 165 million cups of tea a day — that’s enough boiling water to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools before we’ve even started making coffee or cooking.

So having a kettle that gets the job done quickly is pretty important — and increasingly, manufacturers are promoting their products as super speedy to boil. 

Rachel Halliwell (pictured) compared seven of the latest electric kettle models to reveal which makes a brew fastest without costing a fortune 

Rachel Halliwell (pictured) compared seven of the latest electric kettle models to reveal which makes a brew fastest without costing a fortune 

Rachel Halliwell (pictured) compared seven of the latest electric kettle models to reveal which makes a brew fastest without costing a fortune 

So do you need to spend a fortune to get your brew a bit faster? And which ones will drown out the radio with their steaming and whistling?

Here Rachel Halliwell pits seven models, each filled with a litre of water — enough for four cups of tea — against each other . . . and Radio 4. 

Two of the seven also boast they can make a single cup in less than a minute.

STYLISH ALL ROUNDER

Linsar 1.7 Litre Jug Kettle, £34.99, euronics.co.uk

Rachel describes Linsar 1.7 Litre Jug Kettle (pictured) as a good basic and easy to pour

Rachel describes Linsar 1.7 Litre Jug Kettle (pictured) as a good basic and easy to pour

Rachel describes Linsar 1.7 Litre Jug Kettle (pictured) as a good basic and easy to pour

Boiling time: 2 minutes 43 seconds

Noisy? The radio went up five notches.

A basic kettle, but I liked the matt colour and its pleasingly simple, thoughtful design. It’s sold on the Euronics website as being ‘rapid boil’, but there’s no time promise, committing only as far as to say my drinks would be ready ‘in no time’. A little quieter than the next cheapest model, it took longer to boil a litre of water, but was still well below three minutes. The shape of the spout made it particularly easy to pour.

Verdict: Buy for its looks — it comes in a range of colours — and good basic function. 7/10

GLOWING REPORT

Lakeland Blue Glow Mirrored Kettle 1.7L, £49.99, lakeland.co.uk

Rachel rated Lakeland Blue Glow Mirrored Kettle 1.7L (pictured) 8/10 for its ability to make minimal noise and reasonable price

Rachel rated Lakeland Blue Glow Mirrored Kettle 1.7L (pictured) 8/10 for its ability to make minimal noise and reasonable price

Rachel rated Lakeland Blue Glow Mirrored Kettle 1.7L (pictured) 8/10 for its ability to make minimal noise and reasonable price

Boiling time: 3 mins 31 secs

Noisy? Not at all. The radio remained untouched.

Sat on the counter this looks like a regular mirrored kettle, but switch it on and you can see the water glowing blue and bubbling as it heats. It’s a gorgeous effect and makes up for the three-and-a-half minutes this takes to boil. Best of all though is how quiet it is — I didn’t have to adjust my radio at all.

The quality is as high as you’d expect from Lakeland.

Verdict: I was so delighted by the blue bubble effect and the fact this kettle didn’t interfere with the dulcet tones of John Humphrys presenting the Today programme that I was untroubled by the longer wait for my cuppa. Good price, too. 8/10

SCANDI COOL

Swan Nordic 1.7L Jug Kettle, £49, jdwilliams.co.uk

Rachel says Swan Nordic 1.7L Jug Kettle (pictured) is a fantastic all-rounder due to its speedy boil and classy design 

Rachel says Swan Nordic 1.7L Jug Kettle (pictured) is a fantastic all-rounder due to its speedy boil and classy design 

Rachel says Swan Nordic 1.7L Jug Kettle (pictured) is a fantastic all-rounder due to its speedy boil and classy design 

Boiling time: 2 mins 23 secs

Noisy? A little — but I only had to take the radio up a couple of notches to get John back.

This kettle promises a rapid boil, and delivers reasonably quietly. I love the classy design, and while the handle looks wooden it’s actually rubber, which is surprisingly tactile. This would be a sophisticated-looking Scandi addition to any kitchen.

Verdict: Looks great, is well priced, quick to boil and fairly easy on the ears. A fantastic all-rounder. 9/10

HIGH-TECH HERO

Sage the Smart Kettle 1.7L, £99.99, lakeland.co.uk

Rachel was impressed with Sage the Smart Kettle 1.7L (pictured) which was the fastest to boil and has a soothing sound 

Rachel was impressed with Sage the Smart Kettle 1.7L (pictured) which was the fastest to boil and has a soothing sound 

Rachel was impressed with Sage the Smart Kettle 1.7L (pictured) which was the fastest to boil and has a soothing sound 

Boiling time: 2 mins 15 secs

Noisy? Not very, and the sound was actually rather soothing.

The tech gets cranked up with this clever kettle that allows you to boil your water to the perfect temperature for coffee and different types of tea — many loose leaf teas are best brewed with water at around 70-90c, as anything too hot can scald the leaves, while similarly using 95c water when making a cafetiere of coffee prevents the beans from being burned.

So far, so fancy, and this was also the fastest of all to the boil. Yes, it’s expensive, but it looks it.

I did need to turn the radio up slightly, but the sound of this kettle heating up was really pleasant — my 12-year-old described it as sounding ‘like Sunday morning’. I would have liked to have a one-cup option, but its minimum fill was half a litre.

Verdict: If you know your oolong from your white leaf, then this takes the guesswork out of tea. And if not, then it’s still a high quality, good-looking kettle that won’t keep you waiting. If only it had a one-cup option it would have gained full marks. 9 ½/10

PRICEY PERFECTION

Dualit Domus Kettle 1.5L, £100, johnlewis.com

Rachel rated Dualit Domus Kettle 1.5L (pictured) 9/10 for it's ability to boil quickly and quality design that's made to last

Rachel rated Dualit Domus Kettle 1.5L (pictured) 9/10 for it's ability to boil quickly and quality design that's made to last

Rachel rated Dualit Domus Kettle 1.5L (pictured) 9/10 for it’s ability to boil quickly and quality design that’s made to last

Boiling time: 2 mins 22 secs

Noisy? I went up a couple of notches on the radio

This has a slightly smaller capacity and doesn’t offer any functions beyond ‘boil’ despite the high price. Quick to boil, it promised a quiet brew but still challenged my radio. But it does have a one-cup feature, which delivered boiling water in just 48 seconds.

The quality and design are excellent, and I like the fact that the plastic parts are free from BPA — a chemical found in many plastics that has been linked to health effects in humans. It has a softer, less utilitarian look than other Dualit models.

Verdict: Dualit’s a solid brand with products designed to last. Being able to boil enough water for my cuppa in record time elevated it to a top spot. 9/10

FAST AND FURIOUS

Wilko Silver Ribbed Design 1.7L, £25, wilko.com

Rachel was least impressed with Wilko Silver Ribbed Design 1.7L  (pictured) for its loud noise levels and appearance

Rachel was least impressed with Wilko Silver Ribbed Design 1.7L  (pictured) for its loud noise levels and appearance

Rachel was least impressed with Wilko Silver Ribbed Design 1.7L  (pictured) for its loud noise levels and appearance

Boiling time: 2 mins 16 secs

Noisy? Very. I had to take the radio up six notches.

This is a bog standard kettle, which makes no bold claims beyond being easy to clean. And yet, it clicked off at a boiling point that took little more than two minutes to reach — one second longer than the overall fastest, which cost four times as much.

Modern-looking but a bit insubstantial compared to more expensive models, it was also noisy. Within 20 seconds it had overwhelmed Mr Humphrys, who needed cranking up to an ordinarily deafening volume.

Verdict: Excellent value for money — you’ll get a speedy brew, but might miss the news headlines. 6/10

HEAVY LIFTING

KitchenAid Artisan 1.5L Kettle, £149, lakeland.co.uk

Rachel says KitchenAid Artisan 1.5L Kettle (pictured) is heavy even when empty but built to last

Rachel says KitchenAid Artisan 1.5L Kettle (pictured) is heavy even when empty but built to last

Rachel says KitchenAid Artisan 1.5L Kettle (pictured) is heavy even when empty but built to last

Boiling time: 2 mins 37 secs

Noisy? I turned the radio up a touch, but only to overcome a gentle hum.

This seems super expensive for a kettle, but it looks good, is fast to boil and makes an inoffensive humming noise while it goes about its business. This also has a one-cup feature, which managed to boil in just under a minute.

There are plenty of high tech features — you’re able to choose a range of heating temperatures for different types of tea — but cleverly delivered in a retro-style appliance.

Verdict: It’s expensive, but built to last. However, I found it heavy even when empty, which could be a problem for some.7/10

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Susan E. Lopez
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