From wi-fi-enabled air fryers to Alexa-friendly microwaves, there are new smart kitchen appliances appearing almost every day. Smart kettles are fairly new to the party, but what exactly do they do and how do they work?
Sadly, they’re not smart enough to fill themselves up or pour out your mug of tea unaided, but a smart kettle will enable you to perform the basic task of boiling water, without leaving the comfort of your sofa.
This convenience comes at a price though, and you’re unlikely to be able to pick up a smart kettle on a whim from your local supermarket. We recently tested a smart kettle that cost just over £100, and it’s rare to see branded models any cheaper than £50.
We’re diving into the world of smart kettles in order to explain how they work, what they do, and whether or not you’ll benefit in any way if you choose to get one.
Not convinced by smart appliances? Head to our kettle reviews to see which standard models we recommend and why.
What does a smart kettle do?
As far as the basics go, a smart kettle operates in almost exactly the same way as a standard kettle, just with a few added extras, the main one being they allow you to control your kettle from your mobile phone.
It might sound like a fairly niche product, but it’ll likely come in useful for many people. For example, new parents using baby formula can spend more time with their child rather than constantly standing by the kettle waiting for it to boil.
A lot of smart kettles also allow you to set a daily schedule, meaning you can wake up to freshly-boiled water that’s ready to make your morning brew. This could come in useful if your life is pretty hectic, or even if you just can’t function properly before the first coffee of the day.
If the idea of a speedy morning routine appeals to you, head to our top five kettles for 2021, which includes the best fast-boil kettle we’ve tested.
How does a smart kettle work?
When you get a smart kettle, you’ll be prompted to download an app to your phone (it shouldn’t matter whether you have iOS or Android) and this will be what you use to operate the kettle remotely.
You’ll have to fill up your kettle yourself, but then you can perform a range of tasks from the comfort of your sofa. Depending on which model you choose, these may include:
Turning the kettle on or off – even the most basic models will do this.
Checking the water level – most smart kettles will tell you approximately how much water is left inside, and won’t boil if there isn’t enough.
Setting variable temperatures – some pricier models will allow you to boil water at lower temperatures, which is good if you enjoy green or fruit tea.
Activate keep-warm setting – much like a standby setting, you might be able to keep your water warm for a certain period of time.
Multiple people can download the app and control the kettle at any given time, as long as you’re all connected to the same wi-fi network.
Take a look at our guide on how to set up a smart home, including the wifi-connected products we recommend.
Can I use a smart kettle with Alexa or Google Home?
While it won’t be the case for every single model, the majority of smart kettles currently on the market will work with smart home devices such as Alexa or Google Home. Some may work with one but not the other, so be sure to find out before you commit to a purchase.
Simply put, this means you’ll be able to put the kettle on without even needing to pick up your phone – just ask your voice assistant to boil the kettle and head out to the kitchen when it’s done.
The way you pair your kettle with your smart home device will vary from one model to next, so that’s another thing to check before buying. While some kettles will have a feature where you can directly connect them to Alexa, with others you may have to purchase a smart plug separately in order for everything to work as it should.
Voice assistants are capable of a lot more than boiling your kettle – check out our best commands for Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri so you can make the most of your device.
What is the best smart kettle?
The tricky thing about smart kettles is that they’re still fairly new, so there aren’t lots of them on the market yet. There are few to no offerings from known brands either, so chances are you’ll have to opt for a brand you might never have heard of.
Googling the term ‘smart kettle’ will return hundreds of results at a range of prices, so you’ll have to decide what you’d like to spend as well as which features are absolute must-haves for you. The Sage smart kettle seems to be very popular at the moment, but we haven’t tested that one just yet.
We recently tested our first smart kettle, which is exclusively available on Amazon, and made some interesting discoveries. Not only can it keep your water warm for up to 30 minutes, it also has specific settings for making up baby bottles and comes with a sleek LED base.
But how well did this smart kettle perform in our lab tests, and will it actually get your morning cuppa on the go any quicker? Read our full AppKettle review to find out.
How does Which? test smart kettles?
We’ve recently changed our testing methods to keep up with new developments in the market, which means we now have specific additional tests for any internet-connected products.
One of the main things we test is the functionality of any connected apps, including how easy they are to download. We assess what you can control via the app, how easy the app is to use, and how well the app has been designed.
We also test the privacy and security of each product to help keep you and your family safe. This involves checking how secure the password is and whether it can be changed easily, how much personal data you’ll need to provide and how susceptible the product is to cyber attacks.
Like the sound of smart appliances? Here are a few other smart products we test:
Find out more about how to set up a smart home.