Best Travel Kettle - Researched, Tested, and Reviewed
Updated: May 9, 2020
I've got some great news for those looking for a mini electric kettle for travellers - I've done plenty of research and testing so you don't have to! Read this post to find out what kettles I bought and tested and what I think the best travel kettle is - plus the important things to consider when buying a travel kettle.
If you don't care for a long and uber-detailed post about the pros and cons of travel kettles and just want to me to get to the point, here it is! My recommended travel kettle for you is the Lakeland travel kettle, which I've now been using for a fair bit of time and it hasn't let me down. It's been on several trips and I've even used it at home when a larger kettle wasn't available. Its stainless steel body is both durable and BPA-free. Check out the Lakeland kettle here:
If you want to get into the nitty gritty details of why it's so good, then keep reading!
I love drinking tea and strongly believe that having a small electric kettle and cups in a hotel room is a basic necessity. Unfortunately, many hotels don't share my view and quite often even those that claim to have tea and coffee making facilities put in a Nespresso-like machine, so if you're lucky enough to get any tea pods at all, I wouldn't actually call the final result tea - it goes more in the direction of something odd with an aftertaste of coffee - yuck! So when I found out that I was going to be spending three weeks in a hotel with no kettle, the dreaded prospect of having to leave the room in the morning without consuming that all-important cuppa first thing took finding the best travel kettle straight to the top of my priority list.
At first I though this would be super easy and went to Boots - all I found there was one rather large and ugly-looking kettle, which I did not want. Online shopping it was then...
So, my fellow tea aficionados, let's start with the key things you need to consider when looking for a kettle for your travels. Reading the below will make it easier to make sense of the stats in the comparison table and understand my choices. If you don't care about any of that and just want me to tell you what travel kettle to buy, scroll down to the next section.
One of the key things that turns a normal electric kettle into a travel kettle is portability - so I suggest you focus your attention on kettles with capacity of 500ml or a bit less, especially if you travel as a couple or alone. 500ml capacity is enough for two people to get a normal-sized cup of tea each, so anything bigger is just wasting precious suitcase space that could be used for something else. If you are absolutely determined to go for a bigger capacity, you might want to consider a collapsible kettle.
Though kettle wattage (a number followed by a 'w', e.g. 600w, 1000w etc.) may seem like a meaningless number at first, there is actually a direct link between this number and the speed with which you can get your cup of tea! Wattage reflects the power of the kettle, so the bigger this number is, the faster the kettle will boil. I tested travel kettles of different wattage and can confirm it does make a difference to boiling time - check my handy key stats table further down in the post for wattage and boil times.
If you want your kettle to function worldwide, it will need to have a feature called 'dual voltage', allowing it to work both in countries with 200-240 volts (e.g. European countries) and 100-127 volts (e.g. North American countries). To check voltage for a specific country, you can refer to this helpful Wiki article.
I've thought long and hard about whether to put this in or not. Don't want to be seen as scaremongering, but I personally find this kind of information very important, so here we go. You may or may not have heard of BPA or Bisphenol-A, a chemical contained in plastic. It has generated a lot of controversy around potential negative effects to health and is a candidate for the 'substance of very high concern' list in the European Union due to its endocrine-disrupting properties and being toxic for reproduction. On the other hand, USA Food & Drug administration claims BPA in food plastics is safe at current levels. It's up to you to make the decision on whether you are ok with a plastic kettle or want to choose a material that doesn't contain BPA, like stainless steel.
Though they are called 'travel kettles', just like any other electrical device, they come with a non-interchangeable country-standard plug (e.g. the 3-pin plug in the UK), so if you are buying your kettle in the UK and planning to use it to travel to continental Europe or the US, you will also need to have a travel adaptor to be able to use your kettle. This is a very important piece of advice that I managed to forget myself - arrived at the hotel and wanted to make a cup of tea to discover that I have forgotten the adaptor - oops! The hotel didn't have any I could borrow, but luckily Amazon delivered to Portugal (I did have to wait several days even with the Prime option, so double important to buy your travel adaptor in advance, especially if your trip is a short one). Click here to shop travel adaptors.
Now that you are aware of what to look out for, let's move on to the main bit of this post - my search for the best travel kettle.
Having looked at quite a lot of different travel kettles on Amazon, I discarded the following;
'noname' brands - they may be cheap, but I wanted something I could trust
kettles with conflicting information (e.g. different data on key stats between description and Q&A sections)
kettles with poor ratings or potentially worrying things mentioned in the reviews
I bought them both and spent a couple of weeks measuring, testing and comparing to pick the best travel kettle. Though a few weeks isn't a true test of durability, so far both kettles are still operational (which, by the way, is already better than the suspiciously cheap 'noname' sunrise alarm clock I tried, which lasted exactly a week...)
Both kettles come with accessories that can be stacked inside the kettle for transportation, have a covered element and dual voltage. Both also switch off automatically when boiled - an important feature in a travel kettle!
So both will do the job of making you tea, but I do have a winner of my newly established best travel kettle title to share with you. Though Kenwood has scored a few points in its favour, Lakeland is the one I will be taking on my trip.
Update: It's now been a good few months since I wrote this post and I am happy to say that my Lakeland travel kettle has been a reliable hot water provider on several trips already. Everything is still functional, I've made good use of all the accessories and the carry bag is very handy. Still my recommended choice!
For an easy comparison of the two travel kettles across the key characteristics, check out the table below:
Find comparison tables a bit dry and want to know more about my experience with each kettle plus see some photos? Keep reading because I have plenty of information left to share with you.
Both travel kettles with accessories side by side (excluding the carry bag for the Lakeland kettle):
Lakeland is a British kitchenware brand, which was one of the reasons for choosing this kettle - I would rather support a local business than a no-name Chinese manufacturer. The body of the kettle is made from stainless steel, which was my preferred material, not just because of BPA, but also since it feels more durable, so if your suitcase gets knocked around by the baggage handlers at the airport, a stainless steel travel kettle is less likely to get damaged (whereas plastic could crack).
I was a bit concerned that stainless steel would be heavier than plastic (hence getting a plastic kettle too for comparison), but the kettle itself weighs only 20g more than its plastic equivalent from Kenwood, so the difference is negligible. Yes, when all the accessories are stacked inside, it becomes 80g heavier than the Kenwood one, but that's because it's got an extra container for coffee/tea and sugar, which is actually a useful little accessory, so a positive rather than a drawback. Plus with 1000w, its fast boiling time sealed the deal for me, so we have a winner! It might be a bit on the pricier side, but it's worth the money spent.
Some photos of the Lakeland travel kettle - click on the images to enlarge:
Made of stainless steel and yet only 20g heavier than the plastic kettle (without accessories).
For people conscious of BPA, the only plastic part that comes in contact with the steam/water is the lid - apart from that, it's all steel on the inside.
Has more accessories than most on the market - carry bag and sugar/tea container included as well as 2 cups and spoons. Carry bag fits well and will definitely be used - don't want to open my suitcase on arrival and find the kettle full of fluff from clothes!
Quick to boil - when filled to capacity at 500ml, it takes 3.5 minutes to boil
I did find a few cons with the Lakeland travel kettle, but they are very minor:
No water window, so have to look inside the kettle to see how full it is.
The 500ml marker inside is set a bit too high - the actual 500ml is a few millimetres below, so make sure you don't fill it right to the marker to avoid the kettle spitting some water out when boiling.
Though the kettle is made of steel, the cups are plastic and there is nothing to say they are BPA-free, so I am considering whether to get a separate BPA-free cup.
For my American readers: Click here to check out an identical travel kettle on Amazon US
My experience with Kenwood so far is that it's a reliable brand - have had their food processor in our kitchen for years and so far no issues (*touch wood!*). This trust factor is one of the main reasons I've chose the Kenwood travel kettle over numerous other small plastic kettles available.
It's a nice-looking little kettle, a tiny bit taller than the Lakeland, but not by a lot. A handy feature of the Kenwood travel kettle is a removable spout filter mesh to stop limescale pouring into your cup, which the Lakeland kettle doesn't have. Plus it's easy to see how full the kettle is through the water windows.
However, I was disappointed that the manufacturer managed to err by as much as 50ml when putting the marker in for the max level, and it did take a while to bring the water to the boil. Neither of those issues stop the kettle from functioning, so if they don't bother you, it's a viable alternative to the Lakeland one.
Some photos of Kenwood travel kettle - click on the images to enlarge:
Dual water windows make it easy to see how much water is in the kettle without opening the lid
A spout filter mesh is included to protect against limescale
Misleading information on capacity - max marker is set at 450ml in spite of manufacturer claiming that the capacity is at 500ml.
Slow to boil - almost 5 minutes for 450ml
Made of plastic, so not BPA-free
For my American readers: Click here for a similar kettle on Amazon US
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases