* Prices may differ from that shown
Breville's VKJ557 illuminated jug kettle is a good looking, fast boiling model with a reasonable water capacity and all the basic features that we've come to expect from a modern cordless automatic kettle. It's ergonomically designed, with a 360 degree rotational base and dual illuminated water level indicator windows, for right and left handed use. The on/off switch and lid release button are both at the top, which might not be to everyone's taste but are in fact perfectly usable.
This may not be the lowest price electric kettle on the market but it does represent pretty good value for a quality product. It feels robust, performs well and looks quite sleek in our recently refurbished kitchen. Ours is shiny black but it is also available in white, for potential colour co-ordination.
Why 'again'? This is our second Breville kettle, replacing our previous VK396 model reviewed here some time ago. Our old kettle was very efficient and gave good service for several years until its base was accidentally submerged in water last year and it became the first of several electrical appliances to bite the dust within a few weeks of each other. (Still, at least that means plenty of replacement products to review this year...!)
The old appliance could probably have been resurrected but for the sake of safety I decided its time had finally come. So it was down to Argos again for the nearest equivalent at around the same price - just under £20.
Like our previous model, this is an energy efficient cordless jug version from Breville. It's equally powerful at 3kw, quick to boil and well insulated. So the water stays warm for some time
I've grown quite fond of Breville's blue water level window illumination, which at first seemed a bit of a gimmick but now seems to be quite popular. Still, when I do occasionally think about it, boiling water glowing blue does seem somewhat counter-intuitive!
The 3000 watt fast boil element does precisely that: it reaches boiling point quickly. (See test results below)
Compared to many kettles we've had over the years, this one is less noisy and, as it switches itself off automatically in less time, that means less disturbance all round. This may in part be due to the materials used.
Like our previous model, this is a well constructed appliance. It's not the most basic or indeed the cheapest. The plastic body is quite lightweight yet feels solid and is proving equally durable with use.
HANDLING AND GENERAL USE
As with our previous Breville, we've had no problems using this kettle. Ergonomically, the design seems fairly standard with the rotational base, the usual arrangements for filling (via the spout or a lid at the top) and an on/off switch on the easy-grip handle, in this case near the top.
My only initial concern was the design of the pull-back lid and release button, but this has turned out to be perfectly usable in practice.
Importantly, this kettle feels quite stable and safe in everyday use, with no tendency to tip or slip.
The 1.5 litre capacity is slightly less than our previous kettle but still more than adequate for our household. For economy (and due to lack of patience), I rarely fill it to the maximum level!
According to my somewhat unscientific tests:
* Weight (empty): c. 757g
* Time taken to boil full kettle: c. 3 minutes (may depend on ambient temperature, and I usually boil much less!)
* Thermal safety cutout (not yet tested)
* Anti-calc filter (not essential for us living in a 'soft water' area)
* Instruction booklet: illustrated, with cleaning instructions, safety information and energy saving tips
Efficient, usable, robust and good-looking appliance.
No 'keep-warm' or 're-boil' functions, perhaps? But water stays warm for some time with the good insulation properties of this device, and it's easy to re-boil manually!
A quality cordless jug kettle at a reasonable price.
[Note: Please disregard ratings for 'picture and sound quality' as these are not relevant to this product]
360 degree base / Non-slip feet / Pull back lid / Blue illumination on boiling / Illuminated water window / Removable and washable limescale filter / Boil dry protection / automatically switches off when the kettle is empty / Rapid boil / Concealed element for easy cleaning / 1.5 litre capacity / 3 kW / By Breville / Short name: Breville VKJ557