The removals men had barely made it through the door the other week when one went, 'Is the kettle packed luv?'. The kettle was easily accessible. Unfortunately the other necessities for making a brew, like tea bags, milk and sugar, were not. Though, to be fair, they wouldn't have been even if it weren't moving day. I've had this kettle for over 6 years now and it's made only a handful of hot drinks in that time, but that's not to say it's not been well used.
I am a bad Brit. I keep my fingers crossed we'll get knocked out of any sports contests early so the madness can end, I've not had a Sunday roast in 18 years, and I never, EVER, drink tea. This kettle was one of the first things I bought when I moved into my own apartment, but since my drinking habits are a lifelong endeavour, I didn't have hot drinks in mind when I picked it off the shelf. For this reason I wasn't interested in the attributes that tend to differentiate kettles - capacity, boiling speed etc etc - and stuck with the simple one of price.
The Haden 10329 is a basic model that is simple to use, whether you want to make a drink, boil water for the pasta pot or, as my uni housemates had a habit of doing, use it to boil eggs in. No, really. It is a cordless jug kettle which means you can pick it up off the docking base and carry it to where you need it - handy if you plug sockets are in weird places in the kitchen, or want to use it (with cold water) to water the garden in these times of hosepipe bans. It's very easy to get it off the base and reasonably easy to fit it back on - there's no chance you could put it on the wrong way round, but you do sometimes have to wiggle it in. There is a safety lock on it, however, so you cannot switch the kettle on unless the jug is properly back where it should be. The only issue I have with the design is that because you can take it with you anywhere, mine often doesn't find itself quite back on the base until the next time I want to boil it. This means the base is exposed, and tends to get a bit grubby if you subscribe to the fling a bit here, fling a bit there approach to cooking. It's easy enough to wipe clean, but it's something I could do without.
The docking base plugs in and the cord is maybe 80cm long. Since this only goes into the base, it just means you need a bit of worktop within that distance, which is no hardship. The cord is nice and thick, and just sits there, even when you bunch it all up together out of the way. This is a huge bonus for me since for some inexplicable reason anytime I get my hands on anything with a wire or a cord it invariably ends up tangled and unusable. I've been through 3 phone cords at work this year alone.
The kettle boasts one handed opening, which is useful if you're trying to multitask, but if you're filling it to its maximum it can then be a bit tricky to carry back without the support of your second hand, and I tend to end up doing the comedy swagger thing where I chase after my arm until my wrist comes into action and straightens up.
When I write reviews like this, I like to check online to make sure I've noticed all the features of a product. It was while doing this that I learnt my kettle has a removable filter. Better (6 years) late than never, I suppose. I duly went down to the kitchen to check it out and yes, indeed, it does have a plastic mesh filter thing. I took it out and ran it under the tap, but it didn't look much cleaner after doing so, so I took it back and, crap, spent a few minutes trying to work out how to slot it back in. Once I managed, I sat back and smiled, safe in the knowledge that I won't have to attempt that again until 2016.
The kettle is made of white plastic which means it's nice and solid (no kettle chips here!) and fingerprints don't show up as they would on chrome, but it still gets mucky. Handily, it wipes clean easily with water and a cloth, no cleaning products needed. I loved my silver Dualit toaster dearly, but those darn fingerprints nearly pushed me over the edge towards the end.
This kettle will take from between 0.5 lt to 1.5 lt at a time, and both the front and back have easy read measures so you know how much is in and if you need to fill it up or not (plus you can position it for left- or right-handed users). It doesn't have any of those fancy quirks, like telling you how many cups you've filled it up for, but you soon work out how much you need. I do think 0.5 lt is a bit much for a minimum fill, but unless you use a travel kettle, I suppose this is pretty standard. As it is, I tend to use it for pasta or vegetable water much more than for cups of tea, and when I do make these it tends to be for a few friends at once, so the minimum level is less of an issue. It takes about 3 minutes to boil the full 1.5 lt if you use water straight from the tap - less time if it's recently boiled, or you have filled it with less water.
There is only one area in which I've noticed deterioration over the last 6 years, and that's the on/off switch. To turn the kettle on you have to push the switch down with a certain amount of force - meaning you're unlikely to set it going accidentally. However it does seem like this now requires more force than it used to. Not much, but enough to notice. Once the lever is down, an orange light comes on so you know it's starting to boil, and this flicks off when the maximum temperature is reached (being a cheap kettle, there is a pre-set maximum, and you can't fiddle with this). You can however stop it boiling, or cut it off earlier, by flicking the switch up manually. I read in a magazine once that this saves a not insignificant amount of electricity each year, as kettles make water hotter than it needs to be for most purposes, but I rarely do this as I'm usually off doing something else while it's reaching boiling point.
The kettle makes a noticeable but not unpleasant hiss as it boils, and becomes warm to the touch almost immediately. Once it's boiled it is too hot to touch (not boiling, for there is some insulation, but a temperature most people would probably not easily tolerate). For this reason I would recommend keeping it out of the way of children who could just as easily hurt their hands touching it as they could grabbing it and tipping scalding water over their heads. The base does have none slip feet, but you can lift it up off the surface without too much effort. The handle is the one part that does not become hot during use, and has a rubber layer too for easy and secure gripping.
It's a simple, not very flash kettle, but it's served me well for 6 years and since I paid under £10 for it at the time, that's a real bargain. Available online and in various shops - mine came from a supermarket. Marking it against other cheap kettles (it would be unfair to put it up against ones that cost 10 times the price) it gets a full 5 stars.
Short name: Haden 10329