A few weeks ago the kettle my girlfriend and I use, which I got for university and which has been in use for some 10 years or so started playing up. There seemed to be something wrong with the switch as sometimes despite the switch being in the on position, the lid be fully shut and the kettle being seated correctly on the base, we would find ourselves waiting for the kettle to boil for ages before realising it was not making any noise and had not even begun to heat the water.
When it finally died (RIP kettle you did me proud, the tough years at university especially - never before has one kettle been used for so many cup-a-soups!) after the initial grieving period, we decided we needed a new kettle. Having been used to a very cheap plastic one we decided to move a little more up market and get one which was a bit stylish.
After a lot of looking at kettles (who would have thought there would be SO many different shapes, sizes and designs...I think we must have looked at about a million), we settled for the Breville VKJ372, though having looked in the shops, we ordered it online as it was quite a bit cheaper than any of our local stores. It can be picked up for about £25 online, which isn't too bad (though I personally think it's a bit steep for something which just boils water...).
Anyway, the kettle itself, as can be seen in the picture, is a pretty typical tall jug shape, finished in polished stainless steel and black plastic. The body of the kettle is stainless, the handle, base and lid plastic.
The construction of the kettle is quite good, though it feels a little lightweight and cheap in your hand, though this is better than some of the overly heavy kettles we looked at. The handle is nicely rounded making it comfortable to hold, again, unlike some we tried which had handles that were unpleasant to hold due to being too squared off.
In the side of the kettle there is an oval window which is marked up as a water level indicator, in use this is not brilliant as it is a little on the small side though you do get used to it and it is fairly useful when filling the kettle and is of course quite useful to cut down on excess water which helps to keep energy use down. The kettle has a capacity of 1.7 litres which is about the same as most of the kettles we looked at.
The base of the kettle is one of those 360 degree bases, or as I like to call it a "you can put the kettle down at whatever angle you like and it'll still work" base, making it nice and simple to slot the kettle onto the base for use. So many kettles have this these days, and it is a fairly useful feature I suppose.
The lid locks in place and is opened by pushing the button on the handle. When you press this, the lid flips up in quite a satisfying manner for you to fill up.
The kettle is of the hidden element type meaning there is no big metal element in the bottom of the kettle. This allows for the boiling of a nice small quantity of water as you don't need to ensure the element is covered, also it is one less thing for limescale to gather on.
Speaking of lime scale, there is a limescale filer in the spout so no more of the dreaded white flecks in your tea if you are in a hard water region...we are!
On to the operation of the kettle. Once filled, the kettle is nice and fast to boil up a small amount of water, though as is often the case with non-element kettles, it is pretty noisy in doing so! When completely filled it is also fairly swift at boiling, much more so than the aged item it replaced.
Now, you are probably thinking this sounds like a good bit of kit and to an extent it is, it boils water quickly and efficiently, what more could you ask from a kettle? Well I shall now tell you the bad points.
Firstly, at £25 I am just about happy with the quality, however if I had purchased it at some of the prices I saw in highstreet shops (about £40 - £50) I would really not have been happy with the quality! It feels ok in the hand but could certainly be better.
Secondly, the lid which flips open so satifyingly is also a very annoying thing! If you have to hold your kettle at any kind of downward angle to fit under your taps, you will very soon discover that there is nothing holding the lid in the open position and it will swing closed and most likely you will end up with water splashing all over the place! Honestly, how much more would it have cost to add in a spring mechanism to keep the lid open while you filled the kettle? As it is, it makes filling the kettle a two handed job, which is very unnecesssary really!!!
Thirdly, and by far the most important negative factor, the whole shape and design. Whilst this is a fairly stylish design and does look nice sitting on the side, once you have boiled your water and come to pour it out, you will discover that the shape of the kettle and spout are such that you need to tilt the kettle to quite an angle to pour the water out, which often leaves the hand on the handle right in the way of the steam rising from the kettle and whatever you are pouring into! Obviously this is not good as it could very easily leaf to scoulding! This is especially obvious when using a small amount of water, such as for making a cup of tea or two.
The best way to avoid this potential scoulding is to have more water in the kettle as then you don't need to tilt the kettle so far to pour the water out, this of course completely negates any potential energy savings you might have hoped for from the hidden element design which allows for boiling such small amounts!!!
Overall I feel this is a nice looking kettle but in all honesty I am hoping it doesn't manage to stay working for anywhere near as long as my sadly missed cheap black plastic kettle.
This is a fast and efficient kettle which gets the job done.
Filling this kettle is easy with its one press button which flips up the lid. Starting the kettle to boil is an easy accesable press down switch.
The kettle can be replaced and boiled in any position and is also cordless. It boils faster than the average kettle however this makes it very noisy - so much so that everybody who hears it just has to comment - it sound like its going to take off.
It is an attractive shiny silver kettle and has a really nice blue light when it is boiling.
The design of the kettle claims to help minimise limesacle build up - it has a concealed element and this does seem to work as although there is the occasional flake boiling way it is nowhere near what we used to get with our previous kettle.
The pouring spout can be tricky if you are trying to be accuarte (fillling baby bottles) it may be a bit small or up right I dont know but it is definatly an issue worth mentioning.
Overall I am pleased with this kettle and dont even mind its noisy boiling as it is so quick.
Short name: Breville VKJ372