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Our Recommended Best Variable Temperature Kettle Is TheSmeg KL04!
- LED display / 7 Temperature settings from 50°C to 100°C
- Stop/Start button, Temperature selector lever, Keep warm button
- Acoustic alarm: switch on/off, start of cycle, end of cycle
- Max capacity: 1.7 litres (approx. 7 cups) / 360° swivel base / UK plug
- FREE UK DELIVERY & HIGH QUALITY
Electric kettles are useful kitchen appliances, allowing water to be heated up quickly. However, with so many drinks and other things needing different water temperatures to be used, the "variable temperature" kettle has come into its own.
Five best selling variable temperature kettles were put through their paces to find the best in terms of function, quality and value. Here's how they performed, and why.
The Smeg KL04 Variable Temperature Kettle. - Editor's Pick
The editors's choice based on functionality, design, quality construct and real value must go to the Smeg KLF04. While not "smart", the overall quality of what it does and its design makes this kettle a real winner.
On first inspection, the Smeg KLF04 with its somewhat retro styling and rounded edges, seemed to be straight out of the 1950's. However, that's where the 1950's ends , and the modern variable temperature kettle takes over, but with no real boast of its hi-tech design.
The only real sign of its modern design is a set of LEDs, a retro toggle lever and two buttons on the KLF04 kettle's stainless steel base.
Starting at the top, the Smeg KLF04's lid opened smoothly to 90° allowing easy filling. The water level indicator is easily visible, so overfilling is avoided.
Operation is uncomplicated. By using the toggle level on the KLF04's base, in either direction allowed the temperature to be set. Just a press of the button starts water heating with a short, very shrill confirmatory bleep.
Temperature settings ranged from 50°C to 100°C within +/-2°C, including the "keep warm" feature, which maintains temperature for 40 minutes.
The Smeg KLF04 kettle also features a welcome anti-limescale filter preventing limescale spoiling the hot that has just been made! While the anti drip spout stops hot water being on the kitchen surface.
In the past traditional kettles have been usually been slow and noisy when heating water, but the KLF04 heated up its 1.7L of water to 100°C in about 3 minutes at 72dB (as loud as an air conditioner 100ft away).
As with all Smeg appliances the KLF04 kettle comes with a 2 year warranty, provided the product is registered within 90 days of purchase.
Despite its stainless steel build the KLF04 is the lightest kettle under test, weighing 1.3kg.
The Smeg KLF04 kettle comes in 4 colours.
While there are many positives with the Smeg KLF04 kettle there were a couple of negatives which must be mentioned.
The price. The Smeg KLF04 is certainly no budget range kettle, but its well made and easy to use, and these two points should be thought about.
As previously mentioned the confirmation "bleep" is a little shrill and quite loud. It can, however, be disabled by pressing the keep warm button for five seconds.
- Very simple design, hence easy to use.
- Relatively quick and quiet heating.
- "Keep Warm" feature which maintains temperature for 40 minutes.
- Anti-drip spout and limescale filter.
- Stainless steel construct, including the base.
- Its weight. At 1.3kg the Smeg KLF04 is the lightest kettle on review.
- The price. The KLF04 is the most expensive on test. However, build and ease of use should be taken into account
- Confirmation bleeps are very shrill and loud.
AppKettle WiFi Smart Variable Temperature Kettle
The AppKettle is, as its name suggests, a kettle that is contolled by a "smart" phone app or Alexa.
Made from stainless steel the AppKettle is available in only a brushed steel finish, while the base section is a myriad of LEDs and bubble buttons. Which, while looking hi-tech, can be also be very confusing.
The manufacturer has emphasised that this variable temperature kettle should be controlled by the "app" and that the base control panel is purely for back up.
For internet connection, the App phone is compatible with tablets, smartphones and smartwatches with either iOS8 or Android 3.1systems or above.
With a 1.7L capacity the AppKettle is able to heat water up to between 60°C and 100°C within +/- 1°C. While its keep warm feature will keep water at the desired temperature for 30 minutes.
While this "smart" kettle may look modern with its brushed steel finish, it is extaordinarily heavy. Weighing in at a very hefty 2.8kg when empty, it could be a real challenge to those with weakened wrists and as such could pose a very real risk of injury if filled with boiling water.
The AppKettle comes with a 2 year warranty.
As mentioned earlier, the AppKettle is primairily designed to be used with an app so that it can be controlled by "smartphone", tablet or watch, as well as by Alexa.
Downloading the app is simplicity itself, however, connecting to home WiFi was found to be a different matter!
Not only does the "smart" AppKettle connect with few ISPs, but if the signal strength falls below 80% or so, the kettle will not respond. There is no information about compatible ISPs in the instruction manual.
Customer Service was also disappointing, with long queuing times and unable to give a list of compatible ISPs.
- Comparatively large 1.7L capacity.
- "Keep warm" facility maintains water temperature within +/-1°C.
- Extremely heavy, weighing 2.8kg when empty.
- Only compatible with a few ISPs.
- Poor customer service, with long queues and lack of product knowledge.
Smarter iKettle "Smart" WiFi, and Voice Controlled Kettle.
The company, Smarter have produced a very aesthetic, brushed finished, stainless steel "smart" kettle.
Designed to hold 1.8L, the Smarter iKettle can heat water from 20°C up to 100°C. While a "keep warm" facility keeps constant water temperature for 40 minutes.
Weighing 1.5kg when empty, the Smarter iKettle is one of the lightest kettles in this review.
The Smarter iKettle is covered by a 1 year warranty.
Much is made of the "smart" features of this kettle. From the app and its blink technology allowing instant WiFi connectivity, to interacting with Alexa, IFFFT and integrating with Nest.
While sounding simple to set up and easy to operate, it's not the case.
The Smarter iKettle is compatible with only a few ISPs and will only respond if the WiFi signal is consistently strong, with no allowance for signal strength fluctuation.
When there is a disruption in signal strength, the iKettle can still be used, but only as a traditional kettle with a simple on/off switch on the baseplate.
There were a couple of consistent complaints from users that cannot be ignored and are more design faults than glitches, as they can pose real hazards.
Many customers found that the auto shut off when the desired temperature is reached doesn't always work and can boil the kettle dry.
The iKettle's baseplate is not waterproof, which has led to the thermostat being damaged.
- Large 1.8L capacity.
- Temperature settings from 20°C to 100°C
- Only compatible with certain ISPs.
- Must have a very strong continuous WiFi signal to respond.
- Manual back up provides for normal kettle mode.
- Baseplate not entirely waterproof.
Vektra VEK1504 Variable Temperature Kettle.
Vektra have an interesting take on their VEK 1504 kettle. While not making it a "smart" kettle, they have made the VEK1504 into a thermos/kettle hybrid. Keeping the water warm for up to 4 hours.
The VEK1504 can heat 1.5L of water to between 40°C to 100°C with an alert sounding when the set temperature is reached.
The Vektra VEK1504 kettle has a 2 year warranty.
While Vektra has shown originality with the VEK1504 with its vacuum insulation and anti drip spout, it has omitted a couple of features that would make the kettle safer to use and increase its performance.
The weight of the VEK1504 kettle is a heavy 2.32kg due in part to the vacuum insulation's double skin.
It was surprising that Vektra, with its high reputation hasn't included a limescale filter in the VEK1504 spout as well as allowing incredibley slow pouring.
However, the really serious design flaw must be having a steam vent at the very top of the handle that has to date, caused some owners being scalded by escaping steam.
- Novel vacuum insulation feature, keeping water warm for up to 4 hours.
- Small 1.5L capacity.
- Very slow pouring.
- Its weight of 2.32kg.
- No limescale filter.
- Steam vent very close to the handle, with very real risk of injury from escaping steam.
Tower "Bottega" Traditional Rapid Boil Kettle.
The "Bottega" is not really a true variable temperature kettle, but an ordinary kettle with a temperature guage fitted.
With a 1.7L capacity, this retro style stainless steel kettle with its marbling effect body and rose gold gilt trim can boil 2 cups of water in about 1 minute, rapid indeed and very quiet at 75dB.
The Tower "Bottega" has no "stay warm" feature, so once the auto shut off kicks in at 100°C the water will immediately start to cool.
Weighing in at 1.72kg the "Botegga" is slightly heavier than an average kettle.
Tower provides a 1 year warranty but this can be extended to 2 years provided the "Bottega" kettle is registered within 28 days of purchase.
There are a couple of concerns and niggles with the Tower "Bottega" in that the trim comes away from the kettle very easily, making it look tatty in a short while.
It must also be said that leaks appear very quickly around the temperature guage, which is disappointing.
- Very quick water heating.
- No proper variable temperature feature.
- No "keep warm" feature.
- Trim peals away after a short while.
- Temperature guage has a tendency to leak.
What To Look For In A Variable Temperature Kettle.
The most important thing to consider about buying a variable temperature kettle is quite simply, how easy is it to use.
If it's easy to use, then it can be fairly assumed that there are less things that can go wrong. With less things to go wrong means that it will be more reliable.
There are some manufacturers who will add little gimmicks which while sounding useful, are actually nothing more than an effect that does nothing for the kettle's performance.
Try to avoid an over reliance on technology. Is it really necessary to have the kettle connected to the internet so it can be operated remotely? After all the kettle still needs to be filled by hand, so why not just manually flick the switch when placing the kettle on its baseplate. Saves finding the app on the phone!
The kettle's weight. If the kettle is heavy when empty, then it will be even heavier with water. Remember that hot water can cause a painful injury.
Our choice of best variable temperature kettle is the Smeg KLF04.
The kettle's ease of use, no nonsense design, and no over reliance on technology put it above the field, while its quality of build and reliability really were good reason for the expense.