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Throw me the Idol!
Member Name: GodfatherOfSoul
Date: 01/08/12, updated on 17/04/13 (142 review reads)
Advantages: Fast boiling times. Very durable and reliable.
Disadvantages: Slightly annoying hinged lid. Filter has succumbed after years of use.
However, as much I value the sacred kettle, I also value my hard earned cash. For this reason I decided to go for a standard model rather than pay extra for one with all the bells and whistles that I didn't really need (I've never found myself waiting for a kettle to boil thinking that it would be much more fun with an illuminating boil feature).
So, for the price of around £15 I went for the Breville JK46 kettle and am still using it today - five years later.
=== Getting started ===
Fortunately, the set-up involved is minimal. It comes fully assembled in the box with a laconic set of instructions and the odd bit of plastic packaging. Before you start using it, all you have to do is rinse the inside thoroughly with cold water to eradicate any sneaky contaminants left over from the manufacturing process and then boil it a couple of times disposing of the water each on each occasion as an added precaution.
The kettle's main features are:
- 1.7 litre capacity
- 360 degree rotational base
- Concealed heating element
- Water indicator window
- Adjustable power cord
- 3 kW energy usage
=== Design ===
I really like the design of this kettle and feel it fits in well with the rest of my kitchen. The white colour looks clean and neat when sat on my kitchen worktop and I prefer the simple design to some of the more audacious styles available. The conservative styling of the kettle means that it will fit unobtrusively into your kitchen if that is your aim.
The jug style of the Breville means that it is narrower than some kettles and therefore doesn't take up much worktop space, with the 17cm base its widest point. My pedestal arrangement would surely have taken up a lot of space but as it stands, the kettle fits neatly towards the back of my kitchen side out of harm's way.
Ergonomically, I find it really easy to use because of this jug design with the handle providing full control over the kettle even when full. Pouring is effortless and the chance of hot water splashing over the side and onto your feet is minimal because of the smooth water flow from the spout. It may seem unnecessary to mention something such as water flow but I have used some kettles which make it difficult to avoid anything other than a surging gush of water from the spout. Thankfully, such crises are absent from my five year history of using the Breville.
=== Filling ===
I find the kettle quite easy to fill for the most part however the hinged lid does cause some minor annoyances when filling it from the kitchen taps. The lid is easy to lift using the grey lever and clicks back into place with satisfying authority; however the hinged design means that when I tilt the kettle to fit it into the sink the lid sometimes decides to flip back down, causing some mild tutting and displeasure. This is not too vexing though and I much prefer this design to a removable lid which I would surely have lost within days of purchasing. Although, I would have liked to see a feature that holds the lid open rather than a loose hinge and feel this would have made it easier to fill for people not blessed with ample sink space.
The kettle also features a transparent water level indicator on each side showing the water content clearly and allowing for more economic filling. The fact that there is an indicator on both sides makes it ideal for both right and left handed brewers - a feat further accomplished by the fully accessible rotational base.
The non-slip base is attached to a 70cm power cable with any unrequired length easy to wrap around the underside of the base into the designated groove. I have mine positioned very close to a power socket so a lot of the cable is surplus to requirements but I found it easy to wrap the excess underneath leaving me with only a small neat piece of cable on show.
Capacity wise, the kettle boasts a 1.7 litre maximum which equates, in Breville terms, to 8 cups. However, I find this misleading because I, like a lot of people, use mugs for my tea and coffee rather than teacups. Therefore I find that the 8 cups actually equates to around 5.5 standards sized mugs. This is still a decent capacity though which makes it ideal for family use, unless you have a sixth person who scoffs at the fact that he/she only receives half a mug of coffee. I generally fill my kettle to the 4 cup mark which gives more than enough for two drinks at a time.
=== Boiling ===
Once filled, the kettle easily slots back into its 360 degree base (whichever way you approach it!) and initiating boiling is done by pressing down on the plastic switch which illuminates blue to highlight 'boiling in progress'.
For the impatient people out there, like myself, here is a run-down of the boiling times which you can expect (and yes, I admit to having nothing better to do):
2 cups: 59 seconds
4 cups: 1 minute 34 seconds
6 cups: 2 minutes 45 seconds
I refrained from inflating my electricity bill any further but we can assume that 8 cups will take less than four minutes to boil. I think these are fairly rapid times and I certainly have never had any issue with waiting around too long for the boiling to finalise. Here, the high (3 kW) wattage is responsible for the fast times and ultimately means that there is less standing around and minimal 'Sonic the Hedgehog style' tapping of one's feet waiting to make a brew. The time required to boil enough water for one cup of tea standing at less than a minute is something to be applauded in my opinion.
When boiling, the noise is quite loud not unlike any other kettle I have used but this is not an area which concerns me because I actually like a loud kettle so that I can hear when it has finished boiling from the next room. Having said that though, I have used louder kettles and the Breville has the upper hand as far as rattling is concerned; with the kettle showing very little shaking in the final stages of boiling.
=== Durability ===
As mentioned at the start of this review, I have been using this kettle profusely for over five years and I am amazed that it is still going strong for the price I paid. The only thing revealing its true age is the filter inside the spout which has lost one of its three mesh windows under the strain of fuelling my caffeine addiction. I don't find this a great problem though as two out of three filters are still intact (the bottom two) providing a suitable barrier to prevent any bits of limescale or other invaders from gate-crashing my beverage.
I use a descaler to clean my kettle every couple of months and find that although limescale does build up on the sides of the Breville, it is easily removed. The concealed element is mostly as new and only a few outer areas have succumbed to impossible to remove limescale residues.
=== Overall ===
Overall, I am very happy with this kettle and even more so considering I paid such a low price for it. The fast boil times and simple design make it a welcome kitchen companion which cannot be faulted durability wise. The faffy lid and slightly broken filter are not enough to undo years of reliable service and I feel very happy in highly recommending this Breville as a cheap and dependable kettle. You can currently buy the Breville JK46 from amazon.co.uk for £20.00 including free delivery; a very respectable and worthwhile price in my opinion.
After five years of continuous and frequent daily use, the Breville continues to show my other kitchen appliances how it's done. Toasters have fallen, washing machines have conked out but the might Breville stands tall; unrelentingly in its pursuit to provide me with hot water on demand. If my kitchen design idea wasn't so "inappropriate", then the Breville would be highly deserving of that stone pedestal.
Thank you for reading :)
Summary: It all boils down to a very reliable and great value kettle.
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