Yes, we know that this product is not strictly a kettle – the Waeco Perfect Coffee MC01 is a 12V coffee percolator. But if you leave the coffee out, you can use it as a water boiler, hence we included it on our 12V kettle group test.

But why carry a 12V kettle on your caravan holidays? Lots of caravanners take traditional whistling kettles and mains kettles, too. But a 12V kettle has its uses. It can be handy to have one when travelling, for a quick cuppa on the road. And if it is a kettle that automatically switches itself off when it has boiled, you can leave it while you stretch your legs or grab something to eat.

Also, if it’s a sunny day, you might not want to fire up the caravan’s gas stove, increasing the temperature inside your tourer, so a small kettle that doesn’t give off heat might be a bonus. And if the campsite you’ve pitched at does not have electric hook-ups, a 12V kettle could save the day. Also, electric kettles tend to be a little more civilised than stove-powered ones, from a heat and condensation point of view.

Yes, 12V kettles are obviously slower than their mains counterparts, and we can understand that many users would be worried about the amount of leisure battery power they sap. Therefore, speed and power requirements are the two main factors we examined in the Practical Caravan 12V kettle group test – we investigated how long each product takes to boil a large mug (300ml) of water, and measured the battery capacity used. 

But what if your electric kettle’s packaging says it should only be used in power sockets capable of handling 20 amps (A), when most cigarette lighter-style sockets are generally only rated up to about 12A?

The maximum current stated is only drawn by the kettle for a very short amount of time when it is first switched on, before it settles down to somewhere around 9-13A. The short duration of the initial surge is almost never long enough to cause fuses to blow. 

Electrical sockets are wired to still perform efficiently even at their maximum loading. And in order to supply 12A, with minimal voltage losses due to high current flow in the wiring, the wiring has to be seriously beefed up. This means that the wiring used for most 12A sockets is usually capable of safely – if not efficiently – handling somewhere around 30 to 40A.

Of course, when it comes to electrics, think safety first. If you have any concerns, seek the advice of an auto electrician if you are worried about running any gadget from a 12V socket.

The Waeco Perfect Coffee MC01 reviewed by Practical Caravan holds 250ml, which is about the same as an average mug. This small unit actually outperformed its sibling, the Waeco Perfect Kitchen MCK750, which was the overall winner in our 12V kettle group test. Our test quantity of 300ml – done in two stages – took eight minutes to boil in total, meaning this was the fastest boiling product and had the most frugal battery consumption of all kettles tested in our group, just 1.6Ah. So the lower price and faster, more frugal performance, seriously starts to outweigh the slight faff of frequent refilling. It might also be worth looking at the Halfords Go Car kettle which costs just £20, or the £14 Summit Car/Truck Jug kettle GY-342.