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10 best temperature control kettles: Brew tea and coffee just the way you like it

From green tea to your morning coffee, this lot will make sure you get the best possible cuppa

Tamara Hinson
Tuesday 11 January 2022 16:12
<p>Has your kettle gone off the boil? Try one of our picks </p>

Has your kettle gone off the boil? Try one of our picks

Gone are the days when kettles simply boiled water to 100C – now, temperature control kettles have never been more popular. Generally these appliances will also have more features than other kettles, whether it’s functions to maintain certain temperatures for fixed periods of time or energy-saving, quick-boil functions, designed for use when the kettle is only partially full.

Temperature control kettles are especially useful for fans of different types of tea, which should ideally be made with water that is slightly cooler. “Green teas should be brewed at lower temperatures (generally no higher than 70C). They’ll be sweeter, and you’ll be able to taste all the wonderful flavours in the tea,” says Beverly-Claire Wainwright, a trainer at the Tea Academy. “Brewing time is a big factor – the longer the tea is brewed for, the more bitterness will be present in the cup. However, loose-leaf teas with larger leaves take longer to brew as you need to give time for the leaves to unfurl. Teabag tea has tiny particles with a huge surface area, which is why they can be brewed so quickly.”

As for the nation’s favourite? “Black tea is best brewed at around 95C, except for Darjeeling black teas, which are delicate and brew much better at around 90C.” Finally, make sure you take time to familiarise yourself with the kettle’s features. “Having a temperature control kettle makes it really easy to experiment until you get the perfect brew,” says Beverly-Claire. “However, make sure that the temperature options go down to at least 70C.”

How we tested

In a nutshell; we drank a lot of tea. As big tea fans (put it this way, we’ve even got a dedicated travel kettle), we’re confident we know exactly what to look for when it comes to top-quality boilers.

We considered a wide range of factors, including boiling time, noise levels and the ease with which we could scroll through pre-set temperatures. We’re pleased to report every one of our kettles will pour a near-perfect cuppa, although we’ve highlighted any features which make the kettle in question especially suitable for tea drinkers with certain preferences.

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The best temperature control kettles for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Gastroback water kettle colour vision pro: £75.53, Gastroback.co.uk
  • Best for families – Sage smart kettle: £99.95, Sageappliances.com
  • Best for quieter boiling – Russell Hobbs digital quiet boil kettle: £59.99, Russellhobbs.com
  • Best for style – Tower temperature control kettle: £32.99, Towerhousewares.co.uk
  • Best for clear temperature controls – Cuisinart signature collection multi-temp kettle: £63.75, Cuisinart.co.uk
  • Best for tech – Zwilling kettle pro silverZwilling enfinigy: £129, Zwilling-shop.com
  • Best for classic accuracy – Haden Dorchester 1.7 grey jug kettle: £69, Housingunits.co.uk
  • Best for retro styling – Smeg KLF04 temperature control kettle: £179.95, Smeguk.com
  • Best for value – VonShef variable temperature kettle: £39.99, Vonhaus.com
  • Best for coffee – Dualit 72960 pour over kettle: £84.99, Johnlewis.com

Gastroback water kettle colour vision pro

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Range: 50-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

This kettle is packed with interesting features – as serious tea addicts, we loved the “keep warm” function which meant, on occasions when we knew we’d be chasing our first cup with a second and third, that the boiling time was slashed. And then there’s the quick-boil function, for use when the kettle contains only half a litre of water, and which reduces energy output and cranks up efficiency. The purify function will appeal to anyone with contamination concerns (press it for an extended three-minute anti-bacterial boiling cycle) although this feature was somewhat wasted on us due to the fact that we put all our tap water through a filter anyway. Switching between the different temperature settings (50C, 60C, 70C and 100C) was easy, and the controls were bold, bright and easy to tweak.

Sage smart kettle

Best: For families

Rating: 10/10

  • Range: 80-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

This is one of the most hi-tech kettles in our selection. The controls are on the base, which we actually prefer (largely because there’s less risk of accidental steam burns), and although we were initially concerned by the sheer number of buttons, it’s actually incredibly easy to use. Features include a keep-warm function (which can be activated before, during or after the boiling cycle) and five temperature settings. We loved the subtle audio reminders too – one beep when the kettle is placed on or removed from the base, and three when the required temperature has been reached.

Russell Hobbs digital quiet boil kettle

Best: For quieter boiling

Rating: 9/10

  • Range: 60-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

An impressive 1.7l capacity means you’ll get plenty of top-ups from this kettle, which claims to be one of the quietest on the market. Our first thought, when using it for the first time, was that it didn’t seem particularly quiet, but the lower noise levels become more evident when it neared the boiling stage, when it was significantly quieter than other kettles. Using the controls and reading the display, whether it was switching between celsius and fahrenheit or selecting the boiling temperature, was a breeze, and although we were sceptical about the so-called “perfect pour” spout, we can confirm that it was a spill-and splash-reducing godsend.

Tower temperature control kettle

Best: For style

Rating: 9/10

  • Range: 50-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

This is one of the most stylish kettles we’ve come across, and it’s incredibly easy to operate, thanks partly to the use of colour and light. A purple glow comes as standard, although different colours indicate different temperature settings (100C is represented by a particularly cheery red). Big plus and minus buttons make it easy to scroll through the temperature settings, and it’s also surprisingly quiet – even when it comes to the boil – and a single, short beep sounds when the desired temperature has been reached.

Cuisinart signature collection multi-temp kettle

Best: For clear temperature controls

Rating: 10/10

  • Range: 85-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

Don’t get us wrong – thick manuals aren’t always a blessing, but we loved this one, which has useful guides to the ideal temperatures for a wide range of hot drinks, ranging from oolong and French press coffee to white and back tees. The kettle’s bold temperature display was incredibly accurate – adding just a few drops of cold water prompted the display to react immediately. It’s also a great option for anyone who likes to fine-tune their drinks – the temperature can be adjusted in five-degree increments, and the exact temperature (not one which is rounded up) is shown at all times. A slow-opening, soft-close lid (we’re certain we’re not alone in having a dislike of kettle lids that slam shut) is the icing on the cake.

Zwilling kettle pro silverZwilling enfinigy

Best: For top tech

Rating: 9/10

  • Range: 60-100C
  • Capacity: 1.5l

With its space-age styling, this kettle is a must for modern homes, although it’s also a brilliant option for families – and not just because the manual points out that it can be used to heat babies’ bottles. As a tester who has suffered burns in the past due to our eagerness to obtain our next tea fix, we loved the child-friendly, stay-cool exterior, which was even more surprising given this kettle’s lightweight feel. There are seven pre-set temperature programmes (although the temperature can also be tweaked in 10C increments), and a keep-warm function that maintains the temperature for 30 minutes. Our one gripe is a minor downside to its sleekness – once we’d peeled off the plastic overlay which covers the controls, which are on the 360​​-degree base station, rather than the kettle itself, we found it tricky to remember which area we needed to press, so keep that manual to hand initially. Unfortunately, this one is currently out of stock, so we’d recommend signing up to receive email notifications for when it’s back.

Haden Dorchester 1.7l grey jug kettle

Best: For classic accuracy

Rating: 9/10

  • Range: 40-95C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

A modern kettle with a nod to tradition in the form of a wooden-effect handle and lid knob, this offering from Haden Dorchester has a wide range of features, including a keep-warm function which will maintain any temperature between 40C and 95C for up to 40 minutes, and an incredibly accurate digital display that shows the exact temperature (which can be adjusted in five-degree increments) down to the degree – not by increments of five or 10, which seems to be the norm.

Smeg KLF04 temperature control kettle

Best: For retro styling

Rating: 10/10

  • Range: 50-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

The new, improved version of Smeg’s most popular kettle, the KLF04 will be a guaranteed hit with die-hard fans, and although it lacks some of the features of more hi-tech kettles, we were pleased to see the keep-warm function (albeit for a shorter time of just 20 minutes) and we loved how this could be tweaked not by a button but by a knob – we pushed it to the right to raise the temperature, and to the left to lower it. There’s no digital readout – instead, a neat row of lights indicates the progression towards boiling point. Think of this as the classic car of kettles – it works brilliantly but speed obviously isn’t a priority (even the button-controlled lid was incredibly slow to open). But then again, in an age where there’s a growing emphasis on enjoying the moment, perhaps a slower approach to brewing the perfect cuppa is no bad thing.

VonShef variable temperature kettle

Best: For value

Rating: 10/10

  • Range: 50-100C
  • Capacity: 1.7l

Although there’s plenty of tech in this kettle, the oversized handle was actually one of favourite things about it. It looks incredibly stylish, and there are five temperature settings to scroll through using the plus and minus buttons. We also loved the fact that each of the five settings has its own colour (courtesy of a light built into the side window), as well as the speedy boiling time.

Dualit 72960 pour over kettle

Best: For coffee

Rating: 8/10

  • Range: 38-100C
  • Capacity: 0.8l

Although this kettle has been designed with coffee drinkers in mind, it’s a brilliant option for tea drinkers too. We loved the classic styling and its elegant, curved spout – again designed for slowing pouring over a V60 in mind, but an aesthetic extra we were seriously wooed by – and the options for customisation, whether it was the tweaking the temperature by tiny increments and the presence of a mute button – to silence the audible alerts – or the pause button, which can be used to hold the pre-set temperature for a period of five minutes.

The verdict: Temperature control kettles

Gastroback’s brilliant features – including the energ-efficient fast-boil function – earned this kettle the top spot, while Russell Hobbs’s digital quiet boil kettle gets top marks for its low noise levels and sleek profile. Tower’s temperature control kettle also gets a gold star for its brilliant price point and easily programmable settings.

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