Best Instant Hot Water Dispenser for a Perfect Cuppa (2021)

Ah… there’s nothing quite so necessary as coffee in the morning – except perhaps afternoon tea. But, if you’re using the same old scaly kettle to heat both cups, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Instead, spring for a modern, multi-functional instant hot water dispenser. Such units are far better equipped to serve the perfect refreshment, without costing you dearly in the monthly power bill.

Hot water dispenser - one cup kettle

Today, we review the best kettle-killers you’ll find on the market.

  1. Breville HotCup Hot Water Dispenser

  2. Breville BRITA HotCup (Instant Hot Water Dispenser)

  3. Breville VKT124 HotCup

  4. VonShef Catering Urn Water Dispenser

  5. VYTRONIX CUP01 One Cup Kettle

  6. Perma Therm Instant Hot Water Dispenser

  7. VonShef Instant Kettle

  8. Morphy Richards 131004 Redefine

What is a hot water dispenser?

A hot water dispenser, aka instant hot water dispenser, is a device that does exactly what its name suggests — heats water instantaneously. Comprising a water tank with a heating element, hot water dispensers bring water to a near-boiling temperature on demand.

What is a one cup kettle?

A one cup kettle is a type of hot water dispenser that (you guessed it) produces a single cup of hot water at the click of a button. It’s a rather genius invention — why wait (and waste precious electricity) for an entire kettle to boil if all you need is a single cup? If you agree and a one cup kettle sounds like the right way to go, you can jump to see our top one cup kettle pick below.

Features to Look For in a Hot Water Dispenser

Depending on the model, some hot water dispensers may have myriad settings, the likes of temperature control, timer, etc. Meanwhile, others are brilliantly simple, boasting nothing but a power button.

Some of the better models also come equipped with handy functions, like scale filters and removable drip trays for straightforward cleaning.

We’ve considered all these features when making our picks for the list below; meaning, you’re about to see the cream-of-the-crop of the hot water dispenser world.

The perfect cuppa awaits, so read on.

Best Instant Hot Water Dispenser (Any Purpose)

Whether you’re serving yourself during a quiet night at home or an entire party of people, you’ve got to make sure your kettle is up to the task. It’s not enough just to make water hot, either; your dispenser must produce the proper temperature (85°C for tea, 95°C for coffee, 100°C for pasta) as often or as sparingly as needed — and efficiently at that.

Below, we review the best hot water dispensers (and one cup kettles) that offer fast, energy-efficient functionality to a variety of use-cases:

1. Breville HotCup Hot Water Dispenser

Breville enjoys the distinction of making possibly the best hot water dispenser on the market, and it’s not hard to see why with the HotCup. To wit, despite mass production, it is currently sold out on Amazon (editor’s note: not anymore, but rush to get yours), and tends to get that way quickly after restocks. Take that as a testament to how many people are looking for precisely what the Breville HotCup model has on offer.

Breville HotCup Hot Water Dispenser, 3 KW Fast Boil, 1.5 Litre

And what is that, precisely?

This instant kettle boils water in less than a minute, without any fussing with confusing settings. Seriously, you add water to the tank (which sports an easy-carry handle for ergonomic transport to the faucet), set it down into the unit, then press the “on” button. In around 50 seconds, you’ll get honest-to-goodness boiling water in exactly the portion you need for an afternoon cuppa at the office or at home.

The Breville HotCup hot water dispenser respects your energy bill as much as your time, and boils only the water you need for the task at hand, and not a mL more. It offers a generous capacity of 1.5L, which is good for about 7 cups. What’s more, the guesswork of filling up is removed entirely with a large water window, which glows blue during a boil. Cleanup is made easy with a removable drip tray, stainless steel base construction, and permanent lime scale filter.

All in all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better instant hot water dispenser than the Breville HotCup — if you can find it back in stock, that is.

Check price on Amazon

2. Breville BRITA HotCup (Instant Hot Water Dispenser)

Breville makes a triumphant return to our list with its Brita HotCup instant hot water dispenser, which, despite the family name, packs a few notable upgrades over its budget-conscious cousin.

The first is right on the product label — every mL boiled runs through a Brita Maxtra filter (cartridge included in box). This not only protects the unit from limescale build-up, but also removes chlorine and metals to improve the flavour, odour, and healthiness of your water.

Breville BRITA HotCup Hot Water Dispenser with Integrated Water Filter

Secondly, the Breville Brita HotCup hot water dispenser guarantees a true boil of 100° C –a feat which many other units only vaguely promise (most produce near-boiling water of ~95° C). Once again, Breville offers superior energy efficiency by boiling only what is poured into your cup.

This time, however, you have a manual stop switch to assert full control over the quantity of water dispensed — leave just the right amount for cream and sugar, every time. Or, if you’d rather let the machine handle it, you can dial in your cup size from 9 settings, and the Brita HotCup will fill only the specified amount and not a drop more.

Need more? How about an upgrade to a 1.8L tank, all-steel construction, concealed heating element for safety, removable drip tray, and Breville’s ever-attractive blue-lit water window? The price point is certainly higher than the first entry on this list, but if you like to spoil yourself as a consumer, you’ll find it a bargain.

Check price on Amazon

3. Breville VKT124 HotCup

Okay, okay, we hear you thinking “another hot water dispenser from Breville?” Suffice it to say,  you’ll find this is one company who have taken great pains to corner several niches on the hot water dispenser market. Think of this as a sort-of medium tier between our first two product listings. It’s got 1.7L capacity, 3,000W of true-boiling power, plus delivery of the good stuff in under a minute. Sounds standard fare at this point, right?

Breville VKT124 HotCup Hot Water Dispenser (One Cup Kettle)

On paper, yes. However, there are a few extras the standard HotCup doesn’t have. First, just look at the thing. In the midst of most modern homes and offices, the Breville VKT124 HotCup strikes a pose whilst blending in with its understated design.

Its sleek black design weighs in at just 1.65kg, so it won’t break your back to move from place to place. Non-slip rubber feet keep the unit securely in place, however, so no need to worry about fiddliness introducing burn risks.

We also really like the adjustable height of the drip tray, which lets you accommodate multiple sizes of receptacles. There’s no fancy filters or automatic measuring, but you have full control to start and stop its standard dispensing amount, which is just enough to fill a cup.

If you love this unit, but need a little bit more horsepower, consider the VKT111. It features 2L capacity, a cup size selector for dispensing variable amounts, and an impossibly chic brushed steel finish.

Check price on Amazon

4. VonShef Catering Urn Hot Water Dispenser

Finally moving into unfamiliar territory for this list, we come to VonShef’s Catering Urn hot water dispenser, which differs not just in manufacturer but intended use-case altogether. While you could run this unit in your home, it produces rather more than the average family will use. Instead, VonShef aims this product towards heavily trafficked venues outside the home, such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, and offices.

VonShef Catering Urn, Stainless Steel Hot Water Dispenser

It’s not hard to see why, either. This hot water dispenser’s imposing yet unassuming stature houses a cavernous 8L tank. The controls are nothing if not Spartan, but they belt advanced functionality. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the modest 1500w heating element to bring its full capacity to a boil, but once there, the VonShef Catering Urn politely sips power to keep your water piping hot for instant repeated delivery.

This is all controlled automatically, with a simple on/off switch and dual lights indicating the “heating” or “keep warm” operational phases. Worried about that nozzle leaking, or the handle burning you after hours of warming? Don’t – VonShef has engineered this part to be water-tight and well-insulated.

Compared to other units on this list, the VonSchef Catering Urn is a heavyweight, at 4.1kg. However, this is hardly a dispenser designed to be taken on the go; rather, it’s meant to act as a stationary gathering point for refreshments.

Nevertheless, when you need to move it, there’s a sturdy handle built right in. If the obviously solid construction doesn’t give you confidence in the VonShef as a true workhorse, consider the 2-year manufacturer warranty.

Check price on Amazon

5. VYTRONIX CUP01 One Cup Kettle

If the previous hot water dispenser was Goliath, here we come upon David in the form of the VYTRONIX CUP01 one cup kettle.

VYTRONIX CUP01 3000W Fast Boil One Cup Kettle 300ml Instant Hot Water Dispenser Boiler

When your goal is to serve no one but yourself the perfect cuppa, this affordable instant kettle calls out for your consideration. It’s a simple design really, boiling the entirety of its 300mL capacity in 30 seconds or less with its robust 3000w heating element. In other words, one cup goes in cold, one cup comes ready to greet your afternoon tea with piping hot water.

Let’s take a moment to put something into perspective: the average household wastes about £68 per year in energy continually boiling and reboiling overfilled kettles. Why should you stand for it when all you want’s a cup to yourself at home? VYTRONIX agrees this state of affairs is absurd, and provides the perfect energy-efficient answer with the CUP01 one cup kettle.

But, how can such a diminutive piece offer such power without risk? There’s a built-in boil-dry safety cut off, plus, the one cup kettle automatically shuts off after a period without use. The heating element is completely concealed, plus there are rubber non-slip feet to prevent the CUP01’s mere 1.15kg from knocking about with normal handling. Save space, energy, and time with VYTRONIX CUP01 instant kettle.

Check price on Amazon

6. Perma Therm Instant Hot Water Dispenser

Want something that stays hot all day without costing you dearly in energy or counter space? Then the aptly named brand Perma Therm intant hot water dispenser demands a second look. Yes, it makes a rather utilitarian first impression, with basic LCD, chunky buttons, and wide plastic handle which makes no attempt to hide within the design. But you’ll find that hidden underneath is a thing of beauty: a 3.5L tank which has been aggressively insulated.

Perma Therm Instant Hot Water Dispenser, Fast Rapid Boil - 3.5 Litre Capacity Digital LCD Display, Electric Instant Kettle

Once the tank’s been heated up, Perma Therm pretty much stays that way with only the barest minimum energy input required for maintenance. Seriously, bring the thing up to a boil, unplug it, then set a stopwatch. You’ll get bored before it gets cold (especially with how it looks).

This hot water dispenser is ideal for frequent coffee drinkers or households with several endlessly thirsty family members. Compared to running a standard 2,500W kettle 5 times per day from cold to boil, the Perma Therm hot water dispenser would consume 68% less energy. It’s just that good.

This gorgeous insulation works both ways, allowing the Perma Therm to also stay cool to the touch. Other smart safety features include boil-dry protection, plus the unit will shut down automatically after 3 days on standby. We love the utility too, with 5 temperature settings (40-98°C), self-cleaning functions, and 3 dispensing modes: Auto, Cup, and Manual. The adage goes that it’s what’s inside that counts, and that’s very much the case with the Perma Therm instant hot water dispenser.

Check price on Amazon

7. VonShef Instant Kettle

VonShef is back, bringing another Spartan contraption that simply does the job without a semblance of fuss.

VonShef Hot Water Dispenser Instant Kettle/Catering Urn, Red, 2.5 Litre Capacity

Under the hood of the VonShef Instant Kettle we find a 2.5L tank and a 2,600W heating element; together, they begin delivering 95°C water in just 5-8 seconds. And that’s almost all there is to say — which is a good thing.

Looking for buttons, dials, and fancy displays? Won’t find them here — just a single big, beautiful button on top which responds to a good press as Pavlov’s dogs to a bell. When you’ve got the amount of water you want, simply shut it off. The VonShef heats the water as it’s used, and thus doesn’t waste energy boiling the whole tank. Instant on, instant off, full control, no waste.

It’s of medium weight at 2.72kg, features a removable drip tray, and boasts BPA-free plastic construction. What’s more, simplicity of design yields a certain durability that you can truly rely on. And if something does go awry, VonShef offers a 2-year warranty on this hot water dispenser.

Check price on Amazon

8. Morphy Richards 131004 Redefine Hot Water Dispenser

Our last entry easily features the most expensive hot water dispenser on this list. But, Morphy Richards’ 131004 Redefine has got the bells and whistles to make the other instant kettles seethe.

Morphy Richards Hot Water Dispenser 131004 Redefine Black 3L

Let’s start with the basics: temperature control (85, 95, 100°C), plus variable water volume output from 300mL to a whopping 1.5L. That’s half the Redefine’s cavernous 3L capacity at once. Between these two parameters, you can gently warm up a dainty cup of herbal tea leaves, or you can hit the afterburners to insta-boil a pot of pasta.

Like many others on this list, the Morphy Richards’ 131004 Redefine only boils as much water as you need, saving energy. But that’s where the similarities end. Embedded into the volume control is a handy automatic mode, which you can set to conveniently dispense between 3-600mL at a time. Keep in mind that larger volumes are always manually dispensed.

Whichever mode you use, you can always pause or stop the dispensing mid-stream for full control. There are dual streams, so you can actually fill two cups simultaneously. (We use these two functions to fill multiple cups in rapid succession: fill 2, pause, fill 2, pause, etc. Everyone gets served hot without having to wait!)

What else makes this unit special? Its Brita filtration system, which uses the common MAXTRA filter cartridges. This hot water dispenser also sports a handy indicator to help remind you when it’s time for a filter change. If that’s not enough, consider the drip tray indicator, which tells you it’s time to empty the tray to reduce messes before they happen. There’s even a notification that pops up on the LCD when it’s time to descale.

Yes, the Morphy Richards’ 131004 Redefine will cost you well over £100. But this hot water dispenser handily earns its keep, with myriad dispensing parameters and smart reminders for optimal, waste-free operation.

Check price on Amazon

Finding the Right Instant Hot Water Dispenser for Your Home

Now that you’ve seen our picks for the best hot water dispenser, you’ve got a good idea of what’s out there. But be advised: the market is absolutely saturated with sub-par products, models and makers. If you’re looking to continue your comparison shopping beyond the instant hot water dispensers on this page, keep the following tips in mind:

Note the Difference Between Boiled vs. Hot Water

Many hot water dispenser listings play fast and loose with their language in an effort to obscure what their product can and can’t do. Very often, a search for “instant boilers” will lead you to dispensers that do not yield 100°C water. While this may not be a dealbreaker, just keep in mind that there is an appreciable difference between boiling and almost-boiling in many applications. (Pasta comes to mind!)

One cup kettle

Efficiency: Always-on vs. One Cup Kettle vs. Traditional Electric Kettles

It may seem we’ve made some contradictory claims on this page about which type of hot water dispenser is the most energy efficient. In fact, it completely depends on the application. If you drink several cups a day or have a crowded household, you want something that boils a large amount of water in a well-insulated tank. When such a device dispenses water, it will be brought up to temperature using only the barest energy input, since the water is already quite hot.

On the other hand, if you’re an occasional drinker, you may prefer a dispenser that heats only the water it uses. Easy, right?

Be careful, though! Mixing the two roles up will lead to higher energy bills and lower satisfaction. Imagine running a pot all day, only to use it once. No matter how politely it sips power to maintain that temperature, it still doesn’t serve you. Plus, getting up to the initial boiling point for all that reserve water is a hefty energy draw.

As a corollary, per-cup dispensers may have a smaller initial draw than the always-on unit, but it will add up to a greater total amount if multiple people are using the device over time.

At any rate, you should avoid traditional kettles, which boil 1-2 litres water every time you operate them. You’re just throwing money and time away in this use-case.

Hot Water Dispenser Safety Features

An instant hot water dispenser may seem innocuous enough. But, it has the intrinsic capacity to do major damage — be it to your hand, home, property, or even itself. While the electronics are rarely complicated on these devices, the heating element must literally bring water to a boil. This means it gets dangerously hot.

That’s why it’s vital to select a hot water dispenser that has a concealed heating element. These are much less likely to make contact with your skin or flammable materials. What’s more, look for onboard boil-dry protection, which shuts the unit off whenever there’s no water left to boil.

If you have trouble understanding this, consider that water is a powerful heat sink. This means it soaks up all that heat produced by the heating element. Without the water, there’s nothing to stop the heating element from going full power and overheating.

Don’t neglect automatic shutoffs either, especially in always-on units. You don’t want your device waiting standby when you’re going out of town for travel, for example.

Other commonly overlooked/poorly understood safety features of hot water dispensers include:

  • Hydroelectric separation, in which electrical components are kept completely isolated from water-handling components–often with an element of redundancy for safety.
  • Sturdy construction and easy handling. After all, a unit that responds poorly to daily use is far more likely to cause painful spills and burns.
  • Rubber feet. No, they’re not just there to protect your countertops! You want your dispenser to grip the surface it sits on so as to prevent sloshing or tipping over.

Hot Water Dispenser Maintenance

Most people neglect keeping their hot water dispensers up to snuff — this is a mistake. Here’s an easy checklist to keep your unit working safely and efficiently:

  • Clean the spout from time to time — Warm water mixed with dish soap or vinegar usually does the trick.
  • Empty the drip tray often — Drip trays which see heavy use can fill up quickly, accruing unpleasant sludge in the process. It’s not just disgusting, but you’ll find that the extra liquid can lead to painful or embarrassing slips and spills. It’s an easy problem to avoid.
  • Flush scale, bacteria and mold from the insides of your device — Once again, simple white vinegar is a miracle solution. Simply mix it with some water, and fill it in your hot water dispenser reservoir. Run a full boil, and repeat as necessary to empty the tank. For good measure, repeat the process to ensure a thorough cleansing. Finally, run one final tank of pure water through to remove taste. You’ll want to do this every 3-6 months, as mineral build up can impede basic function. Plus, you don’t want to drink organic buildup, which can harm your health!

Conclusion For a One Cup Kettle

At this point, you should have a good idea what kind of instant hot water dispenser solution will work best for you.

If you’ve got a busy household or office, your best option is to go for a large-capacity always-on model. Otherwise, one of the smaller units that heats water per cup will do nicely.

We’ve also boiled down the criteria we used to conduct this market research as a basis for your own. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the means to choose your new instant kettle with confidence!

Which of our recommended units most appeals to you? Do you have any prior experience with any of them? Any brand or makers that you consider the best? Leave us a comment below.

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  1. In the intro you say;
    ‘It’s not enough just to make water hot either; your dispenser must offer the proper temperature (85° for tea, 95° for coffee, 100° for pasta)’
    How many of the units you tested do this? One.

  2. I have gone through about 4 Breville hot cup units, but we are a family of avid tea drinkers so they were definitely put through the mill. The biggest annoyance of that unit is the constant filling up as it only has a small capacity. I have taken on board your recommendation and have just purchased the Morphy Richards redifine I couldn’t make up my mind so you helped a lot thankyou for your honest review.

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