/ Home & Energy

Does your kettle make your blood boil?

Leaks, loud noises, sticky lids – these are just a few of the problems you can run into with your kettle. Our testing helps weed out models prone to these issues, but which kettle problems really get on your nerves?

Kettles are an everyday product that many of us take for granted, yet they certainly inspire strong opinions among Which? members.

In fact, we get more reviews posted about kettles than almost any other product we test. Those reviews give us a wealth of insight into what you do and don’t like about kettles, which we’ve then used to improve our lab testing.

Your top 5 kettle complaints

Unclear and hidden water gauges were your fifth most common complaint with kettles, while difficult lids you struggle to open came in fourth. As a result of your feedback, we’ve changed the way we assess the water gauges on kettles, so that kettles with big, clear windows on either side are rated more highly.

Kettles which stay on once the kettle’s boiled – wasting energy in the process – were your third most common bugbear. So every kettle we test now has an ‘overboil’ rating, which also feeds into our test scores.

Noisy kettles are the second most common source of irritation to many of you, so we made noise levels a more important factor in determining a kettle’s overall test score.

But by far the most common complaint we get is about kettles that leak. As this is almost always a fault that develops over time, we can’t always tell from testing alone which kettles are most likely to leak a year or two down the line. But what we can do is survey thousands of small appliance owners every year to find out how reliable the big kettle brands really are.

What’s your biggest bugbear?

Personally, what I find most annoying is not being able to see how much water is in the kettle or the kettle having a high minimum fill level. I’m a stickler for waste, so I only like to boil as much water as I need. I recently bought a Best Buy kettle that has a really clear water gauge and can boil as little as one cup at a time and it’s been worth every penny so far.

So which of the above kettle complaints annoy you the most? Are there any issues I haven’t mentioned that really get your goat?

What is your biggest kettle bugbear?

Noisy kettles (30%, 141 Votes)

Leaky kettles (20%, 92 Votes)

Kettles that continue to heat water after boiling point (16%, 75 Votes)

Difficult lids (15%, 71 Votes)

Poor or unclear water gauges (11%, 50 Votes)

Other - tell us in the comments (8%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 469

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With regard to boiling water and the correct temperature for the task I find putting some cold water from the tap ahead of adding the boiling water works wonders.

Just to return to the Quooker, which is expensive, however it does save energy, time and costs. For instance pasta cooking requires water to boil before being added for cooking. For me I walk to the Q. put in a litre or so of boiling water into the pan onto the hob and add the pasta.

I have saved time, I have saved the energy necessary to bring the water to boil, and reduced the amount of steam vented into the kitchen. When I say I have saved energy to boil the water it is in an enclosed system, the high efficiency thermal lining apparently keeps the water at boiling on the energy of a lightbulb. I never use more water than I need to fill cups for drinks and I am not limited much by the capacity as to the number of people I can make a drink for at the same time.

What does go against it is the capital cost and the installation. However for the elderly it would seem quite handy as no heavy lifting of boiling water or kettle filling is required. As for dripping spout or room on the worktop dictated by plugs you are freed from them.

Apparently Which? has looked at them though the linked page is no longer available – this from MumsNet
“Have a look at the which website. http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/kettles/page/faqs/
…………….. It is also immeasurably safer than using the kettle (did you know that 60 people a day are scalded by kettles in the UK, and thats just the ones reported to ROSPA!).


Regarding boiling water taps like the Quooker – we haven’t tested these products, but I’m not convinced that they would be that helpful in reducing energy use.

Boiling a kettle uses very little energy anyway (according to our most recent calculations, boiling a litre of water twice a day would cost you an average of just £11.86 per year in electricity) so even if boiling water taps are more efficient, there’s not much room to save money there, and certainly not enough to offset the cost of the system.

If you’re interested in instant boiling water then it would be worth considering the much cheaper option of a hot water dispenser:




I agree that the electrical costs are not huge either way though the concept of a household that boils only a litre of water twice a day seems faintly unreal. However the time saving does not seem apparent from the ones I have viewed on YouTube following your review and of course most are severely constrained in what you can place under the spout.

I think most people would find a kettle more versatile even if slower.

Paul says:
29 October 2012

I hate kettles that don’t pour neatly. Features I like are :- Easy to aim and control the flow. No dribbling.


I use a “no brand”, made in China (Woolworths). All the ratings issues do not apply. But (and there is always a BUT), the damn thing dribbles more than an old man standing against the wall. Pour then wipe dry….

R.Clark says:
13 November 2012

We have the kettle that you have placed in the Headings. I can Judge now how much water I need for two cups of tea/coffee. The problem is when I need more than two cups. At 4 cups, the handle is so hot, one has to be careful to check how hot, before grasping it, to pour water.

Sheila says:
25 November 2012

I have just returned a Prestige kettle after 6 months as it was leaking. I had an inkling that there would be a problem as when I bought the kettle the man in front of me was returning a different make and was refused a replacement as the manager said the kettles weren’t guaranteed unless descaled regularly. However, we don’t have a problem with lime scale as our water is very soft.
Took the kettle back and was told that it was my fault as kettle hadn’t been descaled. There was the finest layer of scale on the bottom of the heat plate. I asked how this made a kettle leak, as I genuinely don’t understand it.
The manager said on this occasion he would replace it- I asked if there were any better kettles and the answer was no and it doesn’t matter how much you pay.
The situation seems bizarre to me that all of these companies make the same type of kettles which are essentially not fit for purpose and potentially dangerous. You are right that this subject makes our blood boil!


I would be interested to know if the instructions actually say that failure to descale the kettle will invalidate the warranty.

It is standard practice for retailers to deny any responsibility for goods that are over a year old and even say that the Sale of Goods Act does not apply, but I have never heard of anyone refusing to deal with a fault in a product that is less than a year old.

You have achieved more than the previous customer, so if you have further problems it would be good to be prepared to outwit the store manager and make it very clear that you know your rights.

My top tip for dealing with unhelpful store managers is to go back when someone else is on duty.